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Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
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Rape violence about power, control, not sex

I am a woman, and I'm a little disturbed by Mr. Knutson's ideas on rape.

The idea that women who dress in a certain way are more responsible for being raped than women dressed like nuns is preposterous.

Primarily, rape isn't about sex; it's about power and control. While a short skirt may make easier access the targeted body part than a pair of jeans, it really has nothing to do with the underlying reason for rape. Men are not the only rapists; while the number of reported male rape cases is much smaller, it still happens. Is Mr. Knutsen suggesting that these men must be wearing the wrong clothing and therefore are responsible, even in part, for the violence committed against them? Women as well as men should be able to wear whatever they want without living in fear of violence.

Date rape is just as much about control and power. The sex is simply a means to control another human being.

While I agree that women should take steps to ensure their own safety, such as not attending parties alone, not drinking excessively and getting a cab instead of taking someone up on a ride home, I fail to see how changing one's mode of dress will make any difference to a predator.

As a rape survivor, I can honestly say that the experience solidified this view even more. My experience had nothing to do with whether I was dressed "like a slut" and was all about exerting power over me. Unless you have looked into the eyes of a rapist, I do not believe you will really have a true grasp of how little it has to do with sex or sexy clothes.

Wendy Watters
anthropology senior

Accepting responsibility for actions is important

I am writing in response to Monday's letter by Jon Knutson. He attacks the "She was asking for it " column written by Sara Warzecka by stating: "To accept Warzecka's argument that a skimpy skirt is not correlated with rape would be to concede that the same woman has an equivalent chance of getting raped dressed like a nun. This is absolutely absurd. ... We all must take responsibility for the measured risks we consciously engage in." While I agree that we should all act responsibly, believe it or not, a woman who is not dressed like a "slut" actually is equally susceptible to the crime. In fact, one in four women are raped in their lifetime. If you believe that all girls who are raped look like hot sorority girls, think again. Females who are raped range from infants to grandmothers, and are of all body types. Just so you know where my perspective comes from, I volunteer for the Southern Arizona Center Sexual Assault. I have been on several calls in the last year and a half I've been an advocate, and not once was the victim dressed like she was "asking for it." On top of that, I had two friends in high school (back when I was 14 years old) who were beaten and raped by their out-of-control ex-boyfriends. So please, before you make these assumptions about rape victims not taking responsibility for their actions, get your facts straight and let's hope the same type of incident doesn't happen to your mother or sister.

Stephanie Slater
biochemistry and molecular biophysics graduate student

Students' responsibility to find homes for pets

Within the month, another academic year will have drawn to a close, and most students will have left Tucson for the summer or for good. Many, without the slightest twinge of conscience, will have abandoned the puppy or kitten they adopted last fall to keep them company. Often these former pets are turned loose to wander the streets alone or are tied outside with a pile of old socks and pizza boxes.

Student pet owners: It's still April. If you have no intention of taking Spot and Puff with you when school is out, please find a new home for them right now. They are your responsibility and they have only you to provide for them.

Everyone: Cats and dogs can live 10 years or more. If you do not plan to make a home for a pet for that long, don't get one. A dog or a cat is not a furnishing for your apartment to be discarded when the lease runs out.

Margo Elson
UA alumna, Friends of Alley Cats of Tucson rescue director

Saving School of Planning a good idea

What joyous news to read that the Faculty Senate members present on Monday voted unanimously to save the School of Planning, a strong program that should never have been on the closure list in the first place. But it sounds like there is hope for a workable solution wherein all parties come out winners.

With a booming population, affordable housing needs, border challenges and opportunities and shrinking budgets, now more than ever, the Tucson region and all of Southern Arizona need the educated and dedicated professionals who come through the School of Planning and serve our communities, nonprofits and the private sector.

Let us hope the Faculty Senate members who were not present vote with their colleagues and make it a unanimous official recommendation. It's a great step forward, one of support of rational and needed public policy. Kudos to all. My faith in the process may yet be restored.

Arlan Colton
UA alumnus

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