Little Rock Reading about the frat boy escapades from Brett Kavanagh’s youth is an appalling experience. Let’s say, just for one minute for the sake of argument, that all of these women, and there are now three, and there will be more, I’ll guarantee you that, are from Mars and Brett Kavanagh was the choir boy he is claiming to be every day of his life and a model citizen and perfect gentlemen at all times. Yes, I absolutely know this isn’t true, but just pretend with me for a minute that it is.
No matter what you think about Kavanagh, and many of us will think about him in certain ways forever, we all know with 1000% certainty that the descriptions these women give of drunken boys’ prep school parties and fraternity blowout are absolutely one-million percent correct. So, if not him, and not them, there can’t be anyone who has been within miles of these kinds of events who doesn’t know categorically that this happened involving thousands of men and tens of thousands of women.
Don’t tell me different. Don’t pretend you don’t know this.
And, reading these stories don’t for one second pretend that a huge power imbalance isn’t involved between these entitled young men with their prep school and elite college credentials and ambitions, all of which come with unspoken expectations, and some of these young women who came from different, working class backgrounds or were going to community colleges in the area. Yes, I know that matches some of the women caught in these abusive and rape situations, but look past that, and the questions of “he said, she said,” and ask yourself these questions?
Why do we continue to allow this culture to exist?
Why do we legitimize and look the other way at fraternities and the like that mix young people, liquor, and stereotypical gender roles, power and status imbalances and then act like we’re surprised when young, vulnerable women are raped and abused?
I’m not saying all parties go bad. I’m not saying that hypothetically there might not be some fraternities or sororities that are just about community service and exist only as book and eating clubs, although I don’t know of any offhand, I’m sure they must exist. Maybe.
I’m saying that prep schools, universities, and colleges that act in loco parentis are aiding and abetting a culture where rape and abuse are ever present dangers and not standing up straight and doing enough about it. If this Kavanagh catastrophe establishes nothing else, and, yes, it establishes plenty of other things, it makes certain that they have a role and so do we in rooting out this culture wherever it exists.
Read the papers, listen to the news, literally everyone knew the reputation of DKE, the Yale fraternity where some of these shenanigans happened. And, no one did the right thing and shut it down.
We need to ban all fraternities and sororities, too, that aren’t service and eating clubs, deny them legitimacy, scold and shame the stories of “boys will be boys” meaning they have a license to abuse less powerful and protected girls, until we root out every bit of this culture that is poisoning our society, and it seems our democracy, and crippling both men and women forever.
Please enjoy The Communists Have Music by They Might be Giants.
Thanks to KABF.