Another female student has been raped in her off-campus apartment (previous case here). The University Police report that the outrage was perpetrated early Monday morning by a Hispanic male, 18 to 20 years of age, who is “possibly from El Salvador” and “only speaks Spanish.” (Perhaps he is illiterate, or perhaps that should be “speaks only Spanish.”) They also tell us that “the victim has been acquainted with the suspect for a short time,” leaving us to wonder how short “a short time” might be.
In any event, we must suppose that it was upon the strength of their short acquaintance that the monolingual El Salvadorian presumed to pay an early-morning visit to “the victim,” although his confidence was further fortified by drink. Thus, when the victim opened her door in the wee hours, she found herself face to face with a monolingual El Salvadorian of slight acquaintance who was stinking drunk.
Now, what was this young woman to do when such a man appeared on her doorstep in the wee hours? She was confronted not only with a drunk, but also with what moralists call a dilemma, by which they mean a choice in which both options have a downside.
Her choices were:
- Close the door with the drunken El Salvadorian on the outside. In this case, the downside is that he is outside the door.
- Close the door with the drunken El Salvadorian on the inside. In this case, the downside is that he is inside the door.
No one said life would be easy, young lady!
On this occasion, the young woman chose to close the door with the drunken El Salvadorian inside the door. And she didn’t only close the door. She locked it, turned out the lights, and “allowed the suspect to spend the night because he was drunk when he arrived.”
The report of the University Police throws no light on what happened just after the door was closed, but two scenarios occur to my imagination. The first is a case of Imprudent Altruism, the second is Nooky Gone Wrong.
Young women are, we all know, extremely susceptible to imprudent altruism, especially when the object of their mercy is from a class of designated victims. Stray cats, wounded birds, and itinerant El Salvadorians, are all instances. If this El Salvadorian were to hop behind the wheel of a vehicle, the victim may have feared his drunkenness would attract the notice of the police, whereupon his monolingual El Salvadorianness would attract the notice of ICE. And as everyone knows, ICE is not nice.
What would be nice, she therefore may have thought, would be to invite the young man to sleep it off on the couch. And since she was so nice to him, “the suspect woke the victim and sexually assaulted her.”
Young women are also extremely susceptible to nooky with males 18 to 20 years of age, this susceptibility once again enhanced when the object of the nooky is from a class of designated victims. Lust and pity make a potent brew. Given the suspect’s linguistic limitations, we must suppose that the couple’s short acquaintance was made possible by the victim’s command of Spanish, and from this we may infer that she is drawn to things from south of the border. She may, in other words, have closed that door with the El Salvadorian on the inside because she was interested in nooky, just not so much nooky as she got when “the suspect woke the victim and sexually assaulted her.”
* * * * *
Towards the end of University Police report appears this line of mandatory modern dogma.
“It is important to remember sexual assault is not the fault of the victim, only a perpetrator can prevent sexual assault.”
This is obviously false. Indeed, it is dangerously false when it implies that a young woman can do nothing to prevent herself being raped in her own apartment. The truth, of course, is that a very large number of women, young and old, “prevent sexual assault” with things like locks, and doors, and guns, and the simple words “go away before I call the police.” They also “prevent sexual assault” by acting on the cold-blooded understanding that nooky can go very wrong if an unsated young man is not set firmly out of doors when the smooching is over.
They “prevent sexual assault” by exercising elemental prudence.
There are no laws against imprudent altruism or late-night nooky, and it is in this legal sense that the victim is not at fault for what happened early Monday morning. Nothing that she did would seem to fall under the cognizance of the police or the courts. Nor should it. But there most certainly are, or at least until not so long ago were, social conventions against such flagrant folly, and everything she did should have fallen under the cognizance of her friends and family. These people should have long since corrected the victim’s susceptibility to imprudent altruism or late-night nooky with the kindly instruments of mockery and scorn.
They should have made it clear that these things are not done, and that a young woman who persists in doing them, and comes to grief, will be faulted as a fool.