Monday, November 24, 2014

There are a LOT of other Universities than University of Virginia

Want to know my number one piece of advice for young women going off to college?  Not "study hard" or "be open to meeting new people" - it's this:

Do NOT attend any frat party

If you do, don't go alone and don't separate from your friend.  

Do not EVER accept a drink you did not open and pour yourself.  

I think this Rolling Stone article explains very well why I have this policy.

I wrote a letter to President Sullivan at the University of Virginia (she doesn't have an e-mail but I sent it to her aide):

Dear Nancy,
I note that the president does not have an e-mail so would you be good enough to pass this along (if you have the courage of your convictions).
President Sullivan,
Your "response" to the allegation in the Rolling Stone magazine are tepid at best.  Why aren't the frats shut down for the ENTIRE school year?  Want to send a message?  That's how it's done.
I have ALWAYS told girls going off to college; never go to a frat party, if you must, go with a friend and don't separate and most of all, never drink a beverage you didn't pour. 
I write a public education blog in Seattle and you better believe, I will tell my readers, do NOT send your daughter to UVA.
Madeleine Albright said, "There's a special place in hell for women who don't help other women."
You are right at the front of that line.
Melissa Westbrook
Seattle Schools Community Forum blog

This needs to stop.


Anonymous said...

Bravo, Melissa. Bravo.

Steve said...

Yes, bravo. And great advice.

Anonymous said...

That was my mother's advice many years ago when I went away to college. Don't go near frats. Nothing good happens there. Her warning served me well.

-thanks mom

Mary G said...

The problem isn't what you don't tell girls. The problem is what we don't tell boys.

The problem is rape culture. The problem is toleration and looking the other way until a music magazine does an investigation. The problem is stigmatizing women who report. The problem is giving diplomas to men who rape.

Kudos to Rolling Stone to identifying what the DOE and the UVA have failed to identify.

Don't send any money, any girls or any boys to UVA until they get this right.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, Mary, the change has to come from the male side. But until that change happens, I would advise young women to take my advice.

David said...

Yes I've told my daughter all these things. But we need to teach our sons not to rape people. We always focus on the girls and we need to pay more attention to the boys. Seriously. Start talking to your sons in middle school what consent is.

Anonymous said...

I just read the comments on inside higher ed re this topic, it's horrifying clear THE PROBLEM IS IT'S NOT JUST UVA!!!
The misogyny in this country is geting as bad as India's and the Middle East's, we just pretend we're better! It's surreal that an 18 year old could be GANG RAPED by SEVEN MEN, and her BEST FRIENDS didn't want her to report this horror because it would hurt their social lives! And there's that Dean spouting vileness about how rapists who admitted that they did the rapes didn't need to be expelled because weren't they such good kids to go "oops, my bad" when they didn't have to, and the victims wouldn't want their rapists to get expelled, so everyone can just go back to class and everything is hunky dory, let's all hold hands and sing hallelujah! Doesn't matter that seeing their rapists in their classes make the victims want to kill themselves. And these poor girls actually defend this Dean! It's like all the women in that school suffer from Stockholm Syndrome!

What happened to us? I don't remember it being this bad when we were at Uni. Is it the web? Before people were ashamed to be this vile, but now they can find others who are like them online and have convinced themselves that there's nothing wrong with these attitudes.


Mary G said...


Yes, it reminded me a lot of the 1983 Cheryl Araujo rape case (made into the 1988 film the Accused), which didn't take place at a university, but it's the same attitude.

Anonymous said...

Yes, and as we know, these problems are not limited to colleges, but occur in high schools as well.


Johnny Calcagno said...

Thanks for posting this Melissa. I read the entire Rolling Stones article last night and came away angry and determined to have my son read it. I just mentioned it to him and he said he already had. One kid at a time.

I went to Wesleyan, which has had its own fraternity sexual assault problems. The latest solution for them is to mandate that all fraternities must now admit women. A start perhaps.

Anonymous said...

I just read the Rolling Stone article. I had no idea it was so bad.

My kids are nowhere near college age yet, but now I see that how they handle sexual assault is going to be on the list of factors to consider. And unless UVA changes its tune they are completely off the list. I'm from the east coast and I have many friends who have gone there.

And I think that MW gives good advice. I will pass that on to my daughters. I also implore everyone to read Gavin DeBecker's book Protecting the Gift, which gives very good advice on how to keep your kids safe from assault. It's not all intuitive.

-Sickened by UVA

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Johnny Calcagno said...

I just saw that the UVA has suspended fraternities, and is embarking on several other initiatives.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone been following this case: a massive demonstration regarding a high school rape in Oklahoma? reported by -- links at stop sexual assault in high school (Facebook)

Tonight the superintendent actually spoke out--a sharp contrast to . . . . Jose Banda.


Anonymous said...

On this page there's an excellent short video about the risk girls face attending college with activist academic Wendy Murphy, a law professor and outspoken advocate. Her conclusion is sobering if not shocking.

founder, stop sexual assault in high school FB