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September 04, 1986 - Image 31

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-09-04

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

'Rape culture' facilitates blaming victimr

By MELISSA BIRKS
'Something in our culture makes
rape a reality in the lives of 44 percent
of American women. That same thing
also protects rape so well that the
Federal Bureau of Investigation
eltimates that only one of every ten
rapes is reported.
"'Rape culture" - or a society that
perpetuates if not encourages sexual
harassment - is so pervasive in our
society that it's hard to notice, say
area counselors concerned with
educating the public on the program.
;Rape culture includes adver-
tisements that trap women in sub-
missive roles, or portray them as ob-
jects. It also includes blaming a
women - and not the assailant - for
walking down a dark street alone, if
she assaulted.

"Rape isn't the exception," said
Ann Arbor resident David Zeigler,
"it's something that (portrays) what
goes on between men and women all
the time."
Education
Zeigler was part of a rally in April,
trying to educate and enrage the
community about rape culture.
Masses of women take part in the an-
nual Take Back the Night March
every year, protesting that many
women can feel free to walk at night
without men only on that night. Men
are not allowed to march, but several
such as Zeigler, take part in a rally
during the march.
At the University, the Sexual
Assault Prevention and Awareness
Center, which opened last winter, has

taken over the role of educating
students and staff about rape: why it
exists, what it is, and how to stop it.
The center also counsels rape victims.
The center was created after a year
of protests against what many saw as
apathy by the University to the
problem. That belief was furthered
when University Vice President for
Student Services Henry Johnson was
quoted in Metropolitan Detroit
magazine as saying rape should be
kept quiet on campus.
Date rape
According to Julie Steiner, director
of the center, there are two kinds of
rape. The most prevalent - date
rape, or rape where the victim knows
the assailant - occurred in 90 percent
of campus sexual assualts reported
in a recent survey.

The main problem in educating
about date rape is that many still
blame the woman in those situations,
said LSA junior Pam Kisch, a student
aid to Steiner.
When Kisch and David Lovinger,
another student aid to Steiner, showed
students videotaped situations that
might lead to date rape, most blamed
the woman.
The woman in the video was shown
dancing with her roommate, then with
a man, while wearing a blouse that
came off her shoulders. The consen-
sus among the viewers was that the
woman was leading the man on.
"People don't make the connection
that she's dancing the same way"
both times, Lovinger said.
Date rape includes anything from

verbal coercion to threat of ending a
relationshipto physical abuse.
Stranger rape
Blatant and violent rape by
strangers is also a big problem on-
college campuses, says Steiner. While
it is not common at the University,
Steiner says it makes educating
people about date rape more difficult.
"It's a problem because of the myth
that most rapes happen by a tall
stranger who's going to grab us,"
Steiner said.
Pr tino sfranmer rane_ however

Social victimization
That women are continually warndd
not to walk alone is another form oft,
victimization. The blaming of the view
tim by rape culture contributes to,4
feeling of powerlessness andy
vulnerability, Steiner says.
"If you just tell a woman they caril
walk alone, that's making them vi&.
tims," Steiner said. "All these thingsd
to prevent being assaulted are n'dt
going to prevent (all) assaults from,.
taking place. If you're assaulted, th
most important thing to remember'
that it's not your fault."''

rre VellAI.ilg 2SLI dIr S
has been the focus o
University's time and
the center was created
the University installed
emergency phone syst
nects a person with ca
just by taking the phone

Homophobia affects gays on 'liberal'

most of the Kisch, though, isn't advocating thg0
money since all women walk alone at night; it's a
For instance, matter of choice. .n
a new $500,000' "I refuse to compromise my whole
tem that con- life," Kisch said, "I' know otheg~
mpus security women who won't do it. They have to,
off the hook. weigh that for themselves."
'U'campus
'eshman. Brian, though, says "coming out"
onsideration to was successful; he recently told his
may have a family about being gay and they were
girlfriend," he supportive. He has also lost one other
how other in- friend, besides his roommate, as a
scussed their result of coming out.
ships in high In spite of the difficulties of coming
out, Brian calls the University "one of
set up a peer the best places for people to get com-
. "You want fortable with their sexuality." He said
u as a nice per- the wide diversity of students makes
erson." it easier to come out.

By MELISSA BIRKS
Brian, a Residential College junior,
was getting along fine with his room-
rmate his freshman year until Brian
ihvited two lesbian friends to visit. He
recalls the conversation:
"Well that's okay as long as they
don't do any of that weird stuff," his
?,oommate told him.
Brian countered, saying, "I don't
think it's that weird." His roommate
asked if he was gay. "Yes," Brian an-
swered.
While his roommate didn't initially
'Ofreak out," the relationship was
never the same afterwards. Accor-
ding to Brian his being gay was a topic
of conversation, and the more he
discussed it with his roommate, the
more threatened his roommate felt.
It was "sort of a novelty at first;
he had no experience with it up to. that
point," Brian said of his roommate.
But eventually the novelty wore off,
and today Brian's roommate is one of
the friends he lost after "coming out"

- acknowledging being gay to others
and himself.
Once at a party in their dorm, the
two ended up "free-for-all" dancing
together; his roommate stormed out
and later accused Brian of trying to
seduce him.
Homophobia
Brian's roommates reaction is ter-
med "homophobia" - fear of gays
that manifests itself through anti-gay
jokes, anger towards gay people, and
even stares on the street.
"Society at large misunderstands
gay people," said Jim Toy, a coun-
selor at the University's Lesbian-Gay
Planning Office.
The University, through its policy of
non-discrimination, has tried to make
the campus more accessible to gays,
according to Toy. And in such a large,
diversified community, a feeling of
anonymity often makes "coming out"
easier.
But even with the "liberal" image
the University has developed, studen-
ts here are not exempt from feeling

and acting homophobic.
"I've had trouble with people who
are so-called 'liberal' get upset seeing
me hold my boyfriend's hand," Brian
said.
Most of the factors that produce a
feeling of anger towards gays are in
place long before an incoming fresh-
man moves into the dorm, according
to Toy.
Sexual orientation may become an
integral part of one's personality at.
an early age, and so myths and
misunderstandings- about something
"foreign" like homesexuality are
threatening.
"They're coming here, leaving
:family for the first extended period of
time, forming relationships, loosely
becoming adults. That means they're
finding out what to do with their
lives," Toy said. "Anything one finds
foreign to the basic value system can
arise anxiety - that's transformed in-
to anger."
According to Toy, homophobia often
exhibits itself blatantly, especially

through anger. During Gay Pride
Week, a seven day event with con-
ferences, lectures, and films on gays,
someone wrote over the announ-
cement banner: "God's gift to AIDS."
Last year, Toy received 1,066
harassing call on the Gay Hotline;
people phone into the office saying
"drop dead, faggot."
For Brian, the fear and misunder-
standing of gays was more subtle. The
hardest part of "coming out" was

trying to fit "in" as a fr
"They never give ct
the fact that you
boyfriend instead of a
said, remembering t
coming students di;
heterosexual relation
school.
"You're trying to
group," Brian said
everybody to accept yo
son and as a nice gay pe

Clinics offer convenient care

,r~'

_ 1.7

By MELISSA BIRKS
Sickness: it sticks to you like a
tetanus shot.
It glues your eyelids shut with the
mucous of pink-eye; it makes you
whisper in a gravely voice from sand
paper-lined throat; it swells your
glands to the size of shrunken apples;
and everything - even your finger-
nails - ache.

'U' minority enrollment remains low

(Continued from Page 2)
Sremain undeterred. The black
enrollment decline mirrors a similar,
rend in college and universities
throughout Michigan and the nation,
W'cording to a report issued jointly by
;he University's Office of Affirmative
Action and the Office of Academic Af-
'fairs in March. The decline is par-
-1.cularly disturbing to University of-
cials because of the large numbers
of blacks living in Michigan. The
University draws 70 percent of its un-
Wergraduate and 60 percent of its
graduate students from in-state.
Conversely, because of the
relatively small numbers of Native
Americans in Michigan, efforts to in-
crease their enrollment are less in-
tense.
Lack of financial aid
Admissions officials attribute the
problems in black enrollment to insuf-
ficient financial aid and the Univer-
pity's reputation as a racist campus.
" "We lost a lot of students because
we don't offer the attractive four year
financial aid programs that some of
the Ivy League schools do," said Cliff

Sjorgren, director of admissions. The
University offers financial aid on a
one-year renewal basis, he said, and
does not favor blacks over other
students who require need-based aid.
Admissions counselors agree that
financial aid is crucial to a majority of
black students. "Financial aid is a
pivotal factor - by far most the
blacks depend heavily on it," said
Harold Robinson, an admissions
counselor for minority students. 70
percent of the University's black
students come from inner city Detroit
high schools.
Racist reputation
Another key factor affecting black
high school student's college choices
is the perception that the campus is
racist. "It's very difficult in the
University community to be different,
whether racially or sexually," said
Eunice Royster, director of the
University's Opportunity Program
for minorities.
"Part of the problem we're having
are the accusations of racism that we
have to fight as we're recruiting in
Detroit," he said.

Robinson agrees that the Univer-
sity's racist reputation sometimes
hurts recruiting efforts. "Many have
come from an all-black environment,
and they have never learned to roll
with the punches," he said.
The University's efforts
University officials have taken a
two-faceted approach towards in-
creasing black enrollment: recruiting
and retention. Sjorgren, responsible
for recruitment, says his office makes
a special effort to seek out qualified
students.
Sjorgren saidrminority students do
not have to compete with non-
minority students for admission. "If a
black or any underprivileged
minority student can fulfill the
minimum requirement of entry, then
we will admit them," he said. "In
other words, the emphasis is to admit
a qualified minority student who can
be a success here."
Sjorgren, though, is opposed to
lowering the University's standards
to increase minority enrollment as in

1976 when black enrollment peaked.
The dropout rate among black studen-
ts was also high then, he noted.
"It was then that we realized we
needed to raise the standards for
minority students, even if it means a
big drop in enrollment," Sjorgren
said.
"I see no reason why we can't
double black enrollment," Sjogren
said.
Royster, however, remains more
guarded in her outlook. "The real dif-
ference as to how much we want to
recruit is pretty much a financial
issue - the University has to make
some choices."
Efforts to prevent dropouts among
blacks center on campus minority
services, such as the opportunity
program, which provides special
academci and personal counseling for
minority students. The program in-
cludes advice on writing papers and
preparing for exams.

You go to your roommate for sym-
pathy and are directed to University
Health Services for counseling,
cultures, and over-the-counter cures.
Health Services treats everything
from a cold to a broken arm to hay
fever. Located near central campus
on Fletcher Street across from the
Michigan League, it houses not only
the general medical clinic - the most
frequently used part in the building -
but clinics for neurology, ear, nose
and throat, dermatology, and
gynecology.
For serious problems, students are
encouraged to go to the University
Hospital. Most students come to the
clinic for colds, the flu, and other
minor ailments.
Pharmacists fill roughly 300
prescriptions a day, according to
Gwen Chivers, the clinic's head
pharmacist. Prescriptions include
everything from birth control pills to
decongestants.
Still, the various clinics are staffed
by specialists. Patients are matched
whenever possible with a clinician
specializing in the patient's problem,
said Diane McClaran, a program
associate.
"You will be referred to a
specialist, if it was something

beyond the garden variety of what we
see here," McClaran said. ~
Convenient
Health Services is best known for imW
convenience. It's a walk-in clini
(though appointments are preferred)'
and almost all services are covered In
the mandatory $63.25 per semester feNl
included in tuition bills.
Students pay extra fro psychiatrici
care, optical exams and contact lek
ses, and prescriptions.
But convenience often leads to in
convenience. Last year there wer
100,000 visits to the clinics. Mos
patients walk in when they have some
free time, with a nurse performing 4'
type of "triage" - deciding wh1W
needs help first. #,
Many students complain about long
waits in the lobby until their turn 1i8
called. But Caesar Briefer, director Ut
Health Services, says long waits are a
result of poor planning by students.
"If you choose to walk in between
French and English, that's probably
not the best way to handle things,"
Briefer said. "Students tend to come
in on the middle of the afternoon, par-
ticularily on Mondays and Fridays."
Assembly line service
With so many people using the ser-
See CLINICS, Page 12

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