Jackass of the Day: Arizona University Student Sermonizes With Sign Saying "You Deserve Rape"
As debate and outrage over college administrations' handling of sexual violence on campus continues, Arizona University is now under scrutiny for permitting one student to verbally harass other students by telling them that they deserve to be raped.
Dean Saxton, a junior, stirred controversy Tuesday for manically sermonizing in a campus square whilst wielding a sign emblazoned, “You Deserve Rape,” reports the Arizona Daily Wildcat, AU’s campus newspaper.
Saxton, better known as Brother Dean Samuel, regularly evangelizes on campus, and has gained notoriety among his classmates for his hate speeches. On Tuesday, Saxton donned a “Virgin Pride” t-shirt on his victim-blaming soapbox whilst shouting that rape victims wearing short shorts “were asking for it.” In footage posted to YouTube, students can be seen verbally criticizing the amateur preacher, to various levels of seriousness, some trying to rip the sign out of his hands. When one woman confronts him, observing that many students wore short shorts in Arizona’s sweltering heat, he tells her to “keep talking like a sorority whore.” At one point, Saxton shouts, “All Muslims are pedophiles.”
Saxton told the Daily Wildcat he intentionally timed his sermon on the same day as AU’s “Take Back the Night,” event, which seeks to raise awareness for sexual violence.
“[Saxton] is part of a larger societal culture that tolerates rape, and that’s exactly what the Oasis Program Against Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence is here to counteract,” Megan McKendry, an AU violence prevention, told the Daily Wildcat. “His message is an awful one that we condemn. No one deserves to be raped.”
Several students reportedly complained to university administrators, but the Dean of Students maintains that Saxton’s hate speech did not violate AU rules.
“We find it to be vulgar and vile,” interim dean Kenneth Washington White said. “However, it is protected speech. He has yet to, at this point, violate the student code of conduct.”
Students flooded the Daily Wildcat’s story with comments, starting a debate whether the paper should’ve given Saxton so much attention, a decision defended by its the editorial board. Other commenters discussed how Saxton’s sermon is indicative of rape culture and the pervasive victim blaming in American society. Think Progress’ Avivia Shen notes that AU has a serious sexual violence problem:
Last year, fraternity brothers were indicted for sexual abuse, sexual assault and kidnapping of another UA student, but the charges were later dismissed. Many other students have reported abuse — 29 reports of sexual abuse and 53 reports of rape in one year — to the on-campus sexual assault crisis center.
Watch Saxton's tirade for nearly half an hour: