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Yale Daily News Editorial on DKE Rape Song Gets It Dangerously Wrong on Rape Culture

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Written by Jodi Jacobson for RHRealityCheck.org - News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice.

Today, we published a powerful condemnation by Will Neville, our colleague from Advocates for Youth, of Yale's Delta Kappa Epsilon pledge stunt encouraging rape.

In a comment, one of our regular readers and participants at RH Reality Check, Crowepps, linked to an editorial by the Yale Daily News in response to what must have been the widespread reaction by women's groups to the DKE episode.  I have to thank her for the tip.

And boy, does YDN get it wrong.

Calling the DKE stunt an effort to "push the right buttons to get a rise out of others," and the chanting "idiotic," YDN goes on to say:

And yet, as groups rushed to condemn the foolhardy DKE bros, they threw overwrought epithets, some almost as absurd as the chants themselves.

What was almost as absurd as the chants themselves?  According to YDN, the response by the Yale Women's Center and feminist blog Broad Recognition that called the chants “an active call for sexual violence.”

We do not believe that a drive to inspire rape motivated the young, impressionable brothers on that cold Wednesday night. As the Center responded with histrionics, what could have been an opportunity for our campus to maturely and gracefully reprove public stupidity and affirm mutual respect turned into a daylong, private spat. Although the fight was, ostensibly, resolved on Thursday with DKE’s apology, the rest of us were left unsatisfied.

I can not speak to other issues raised about past actions of the Yale Women's Center also critiqued in the editorial. 

I can say this:

Rape culture is deeply embedded in U.S. society and has found sympathizers as high up in the political food chain as Senators. Congressmen, and Presidential candidates.  It is often tolerated in business.  And many of those illustrious leaders of politics and industry come from Ivy League schools like Yale.

What the Yale Daily News misses, dismisses lightly, or completely ignores, is the fact that the majority of sexual and gender-based violence experienced by women in the United States and elsewhere in the world comes at the hand of intimate partners.  Translation: People women already know.  Their dates, their husbands, their partners. Their frat "brothers."  Their male teammates.

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