August 21, 2019

An Open Letter to the Men of the Gordon Community

By Alec Hansen (21', Managing Editor)

A girl protests - Photo by Jessica Podraza

Dear men of Gordon College,

It must end. The sexual harassment, emotional abuse, shameless assaults, and outright rape that you commit on and off this campus is unacceptable. It is imperative that each and every one of you understand the disastrous and lasting effects of your subtle jokes, your degrading actions and your deafening silence.

I can already hear the masculine naysayers: “You’re just a social justice warrior caught up in your mission.”, “It’s a problem, but not really at a Christian college.”, or “I’m not a sexist! I’ve never hurt a woman.” For just a few minutes, I implore you to set aside your hasty defensiveness and read what I have to say.

Honestly, I understand your desire to vindicate yourself. For a long time, I wanted to believe that my lifestyle was part of the solution rather than part of the problem. And I understand: as a man, navigating the fight for gender equality can sometimes hurt. Yet I guarantee you that the pain you experience from discussing sexism pales in comparison to the scars you have left on the women in your life.

Let’s begin by stepping back from our current cultural context and examining the whole of human history. For many millennia, men have controlled governments, churches, organizations and families. Entire societies have been predicated on the belief that men are superior to women in their ability to think, act and execute. This is what we call a patriarchy.

Men flock to power; once they have obtained it, they abuse their power by subjugating women both emotionally and physically. But unlike other oppressive institutions, this disgusting tendency was not relegated to primordial eras with the onset of the Industrial Revolution. Well into the 21st century, Harvey Weinstein, Bill Hybels, Donald Trump and your best friend have abused women in their lives.

I cannot understand how you still believe that you are not complicit in the destruction of women’s dignity. How can you deny the rampant and apparent abuse that permeates the campus, the office, the church and the home? How can you believe that women are lying, when they have nothing to gain but embarrassment?

If you believe in a future that truly enables all people to flourish, you must accept the reality that you do and say things that hurt women. As a man, there are implicit and explicit ways in which you destroy the integrity and identity of the females in your life. You might ask, “how does it really happen?”

You speak words that degrade a woman’s competency. She asks your opinion of minimum wage laws for food service workers. You launch into an explanation about how minimum wage law works. She mentions how low scoring the Super Bowl was this year. You vocalize your agreement, explaining to her why their defensive game was so strong. Some like to call this “mansplaining.”

Can you imagine the opposite of this? You present an idea during a board meeting run by a woman. She refuses to validate your concept until a woman presents the same idea. While by itself, this exchange may not hurt you, the implicit doubt of your competence would suppress your confidence.

Men marching for women’s rights Photo by Samantha Sophia

Your words and thoughts have a real and recognizable impact on the way that you think about women. “Locker room” talk is a protest of the weak used in an attempt to justify unacceptable conversations. Rather than rating girls with your buddies, talk about their character. Instead of checking out a girl’s ass, look at her face, smile and greet her.

If a girl doesn’t smile back at you, don’t think twice about it. Why do we say that women who don’t smile are bitches, but guys who don’t smile are tough?

Your thoughts and words devastate women’s confidence and insult their competence. But it isn’t just that; your actions advance the wrongdoing all the same.

Why do you feel that it is acceptable to catcall a woman? How would you feel if a controlling and dominant stranger whooped and hollered at your good looks? Catcalling is not a compliment.

Why do you feel that it is acceptable to follow a woman? How would you feel if someone you barely knew followed you wherever you went? Stalking is disgusting and wrong.

Why do you try to isolate a girl who you like so that you can hang out alone? How would you feel if you were alone with someone more powerful and you had no control over what happened? Sexual harassment is offensive and scary.

Why do you feel that it is okay to “go a little further” with your girlfriend, without even asking? How would you feel if someone lorded their power over you and made nonconsensual physical advances? Sexual assault in a relationship is still sexual assault.

Why do you think that you can push your genitalia upon a drunk girl? How would you feel if you were wasted and somebody violated your physical and sexual privacy? Rape is never okay, regardless of what she is wearing or what is in her system.

Men of Gordon College, we must end it. We have the power and privilege to destroy the patriarchy, sexism and abuse that is rampant on this campus. Stop believing that you aren’t part of the problem. You are. Every day, you have thoughts that advance the system; every week, you have conversations that oppress women; every month you make decisions that disfigure their dignity. Instead of living in denial, recognize that changing your behavior is the only way to become part of the solution.

Consider the effects of everything you do. Refuse to be silent. Protest when a friend tells you that a girl’s ass is a nine. Respect your girlfriend’s wish to do nothing more than kiss. And for God’s sake, slug the man who tries to rape a drunk girl at a party.

You cannot be on the fence; either you are for or against the equality of women. Talk with your friends about how you can end rape culture. Speak out or move out of the way. A just and right community can only exist in the wake of your decision to change.

Each guy on this campus can work to end this sexist culture.

Do you still believe that you are not part of the problem? You’re wrong. Yes, I am writing to you, the man who believes that his actions do not have consequences. Yes, I am writing to you, the brother who argues that toxic masculinity is a myth. Yes, I am writing to you, the boy who tells his friends they’re acting like a girl and means it as an insult. Yes, I am writing to you, the freshman who was popular in high school and believes that is a license to harass women. Yes, I am writing to you, the homophobic who teases an effeminate friend by calling them gay in an attempt to insult their masculinity.

We can spend the whole day passively suggesting that it should end. But I implore you, look in the mirror. With one voice may we, the male students, faculty and administration proclaim: “We will end it.”

Alec Hansen

15 Comments on An Open Letter to the Men of the Gordon Community

  1. I am going to address this article and its author in the most civil way possible, quite contrary to the condescending manner that was exhibited by him. I have spent days interpreting and trying to reason with the fallacies that are spewed throughout this article. I was raised by an English teacher, a philosopher, a rational thinker, a man who didn’t tolerate false accusations and will fight to his death for what is right. I am the same way. I must begin by saying that this may be the most controversial article I have ever read; It is incomprehensibly abrupt and unexpected as well as misinforming to those who, by terrible luck, come across this article. And so I begin my claims by saying that the author owes a huge apology to the men on this campus. Does huge not do it justice? Monumental? Prodigious? Here is why: he claims that all men at Gordon are guilty of several illegal actions. If so, why has he not reported them? If he’s so sure it’s going on, and if all men are doing it, there must be a mountain of evidence that is too threatening to fathom. I am personally demanding the author to name me the time, place, people involved, and context of each and every single one of these allegations. What the author is doing here is exhibiting a logical wrongdoing known as “begging the question”, which, I am so sorry to mention, completely invalidates his argument (as well as the fact that he used the term “Goddamnit”, which is greatly offensive to any Christian and so awfully unprofessional). This breaking of this s law within the world of debate involves making claims that the author assumes to be true without providing further evidence or a premise as to why their claim is, in fact, true. Sorry, but this guy fails the test by a long shot. I want stone cold dates, times, and context. What is quite interesting, and also terribly confusing about the the author, is that he thinks he is helping women by writing in their defense, meanwhile, he has not reported any crimes regarding the matters of discussion to anyone. So, he is actually doing an injustice to women and failing them by not actually taking legal action. Moving onto my next point, I will now remind the author of something. As caught up in his, what seems to be hysteria, he (like all Americans) must abide by the protocols of American jurisprudence. No matter how valiant the cause, we cannot set aside legal procedure merely because it might be currently fashionable to be having “ME TOO” hot flashes. Passion does not obliterate reason. So, while it might make the author feel valiant to be standing up for women, it does not give him the legal right to make baseless allegations in the reckless manner he does. If he thinks the argument faulty, is he willing to face the legal hurricane that will occur when we decide that some people, namely men, are not to enjoy the protection of law whenever the supposed victim is a female? Are we to create a new amendment that claims women never lie? Or that men are always legally guilty? For if men and women are “equal” according to him, that will mean that women will be deprived of these laws also. And according to him, when men run the show, it is always bad for women. So what does he really want? There are my thoughts. The level of disrespect that has been shown by the author is unlike anything I have seen in my 19 years of life, yet I am glad I have a platform to stand up and speak for those who may be shy, or unwilling to project their voices and become “involved”. I, however, love a good opportunity to show what true manliness is and speak what is true to its core using every fiber of my being in doing so. It is simply the masculine thing to do. I find it strange that I have not personally heard the opinion of a single right-wing woman, or any woman on this campus for that matter, regarding this article (maybe 1 or 2, briefly on social media, but not in person). So, when you address a general population (men) in regard to another general population of which you are not a part of (women), you better bring some better firepower than this. I hope I didn’t “mansplain” too much here. For future reference, sometimes men have the ability to think logically instead of being the raging, barbaric rapists you say we all are. I am asking with as much respect as I can possibly muster up that this be posted. It is responses like this that have set the groundwork for this great nation.

    Respectfully,
    A Proud American, Student, and Man within the Gordon Community,
    Joe Pedulla

    • I would hope that it’s self evident that I am not intimating that every man at Gordon is a rapist. If not, then let me clarify: not every man at Gordon is a rapist. If you’re willing to have a discussion about this, you’re welcome to send me an email at alec.hansen@gordon.edu.

  2. Many of the baseless accusations made in this article are gross exaggerations, and are, in and of themselves, intensely demeaning to women and men alike. Articles like these don’t help the problems they aim to address, they just further agitate the audience that you are attempting (poorly, at that) to persuade.

    You accuse all men of “outright rape”, and I, along with other men do not take this accusation lightly. I’ll be bold and say that not all men at Gordon are, in fact, rapists. You can say men are offensive, demeaning, etc., but throwing around the word “rape” only weakens its meaning. Rape is terrible, and undoubtedly wrong; however, by casually accusing all men of rape, you actively work to discredit those who are real victims.

    You argue that men “speak words to degrade a woman’s competency”, leaving women, as it seems, defenseless in these conversations. In making this claim, you imply that women are not capable of asserting their own intellect. If you want to further empower women, don’t insult their intelligence by assuming that they cannot defend it themselves.

    Furthermore, it’s hard to convince the men of Gordon college that a patriarchy persists when there are four women running for GCSA president or vice president and only two men. If you truly strive for equality, then stop labeling women as victims, as labels only perpetuate our assumptions.

  3. While your thoughts and ideas are well justified, I find this article somewhat offensive to males at Gordon College. You seem to call out all men, when the problem is a minority at most. It’s demeaning to be accused and generalized as a “rapist” and “power abuser”, especially when for most of us it isn’t true. I think yes in some cases men can be a bit insensitive towards women, but things also go the other way around. A drunk girl may back up onto your genitalia, women may rate men by their looks, and a women may try to isolate a man to hang out alone. Things go both ways, and fueling an argument through controversial writing isn’t the best way to approach a solution.

  4. I get as a male you are trying to advocate for women, but you are personally attacking every male at Gordon. Which is not fair to the guys at this college that don’t do all you claim males do at this college. As a woman on this campus, I have never witnessed a guy catcall, or make a girl feel uncomfortable. I know a lot of guys who have felt offended by this. As a woman some of your points were right but how can you say all this and not be a female who has gone through this.
    You talk about mansplaining but here you are writing this article that makes me as a women feel mansplained to. As a writer, you had to know this wouldn’t reach the crowds right. Why attack every male at this college?

  5. I as a woman of Gordon College have not been demeaned, harassed, or assaulted by a man of Gordon College. Though I realize that my experience is not equivalent to that of every woman at this college it is a stark difference to how I have been treated by men outside of the environment that we are all privileged enough to be currently living in. I have more respect for the men that I have had the privilege of getting to know here than I have for the totality of the men I have gotten to know anywhere else. Though I am not blind to the few that do not live up to the bar set by many Gordon men I believe that as Christians we should be working to guide these few in the direction of who God wants them to be instead of accusing them of crimes far beyond what they have committed. Also boi ya just mansplained women’s issues to us

  6. I went to Gordon a few years ago and I heard first-hand accounts from women about two rapes, and many other cases of sexual harassment, that went virtually unpunished by both Gordon administration and law enforcement.

    I don’t know what’s going on now, but I doubt it’s entirely cleaned up, especially given the administration’s anemic response to accusations. I think Joe Padulla and Trey should maybe take a step back and wonder why they’re fighting so hard to defend all the men at Gordon when they don’t know everything that goes on.

    • That’s TWO. TWO rapes when Alec is accusing all men of Gordon College of sexually harassing women. Coming from a woman, I also agree to Hannah Hansen that not once have I been cat called or mistreated by a man at this college. I personally feel attacked because my guy friend was accused of sexual harassment which led to his departure from my high school. This resulted in him not being able to go the college he wanted to go to, despite his acceptance. So I do not think Joe or Trey should step back because they are speaking for all the men who do not fit with this nasty assumption.

  7. Sexual harassment is indeed a problem. There have indeed been men at Gordon who have taken advantage of women, and while I’m not aware of any “outright rape” during my time here, I admit that it is possible that such horrible acts may have occurred.

    However, this article is claiming that sexual assault by men against women is a rampant problem at Gordon. This is not the case. The anti-men trend I’ve seen this year at Gordon is actually scary. It started with the convocation series last semester. One speaker claimed that all women sitting in the chapel had at one point been abused by a man. That is false. Having talked with my female friends after that talk, I learned that many of them had never been treated poorly by a man. You make the claim in your article that all men have “scarred” the women in their life, and that men are inherently sexist. Is that really the case? Are all men, particularly men at Gordon really sexist by default? I would say no. The vast majority of men I know here at Gordon are godly men, who respect women and men alike.

    “I cannot understand how you still believe that you are not complicit in the destruction of women’s dignity.” Well, to put it simply, I am not complicit. I treat women with respect, dignity, and love everywhere I go. I treat men with the same respect, dignity, and love, as I think everyone should. I think I can speak on behalf of the majority of men at Gordon when I say this.

    “How can you deny the rampant and apparent abuse that permeates the campus, the office, the church and the home?”
    If this abuse was “rampant and apparent” you would think we would all know about it. In fact, this makes it sound like there’s a huge conspiracy by the men of Gordon College to rape and abuse women and keep it under wraps. As a man, a Christian, and a student at Gordon, I can say that this idea of rampant abuse of women in the Church, at this school, and in the home is outrageous. If it were factual, of course something ought to be done about it. However, there is no rampant or apparent abuse here. Abusive men are by far the exception, not the rule.

    “How can you believe that women are lying, when they have nothing to gain but embarrassment?”
    First of all, they have a lot more to gain than embarrassment. Take the case of Brian Banks, a young high school football star who was falsely accused and convicted of rape. His accuser gained a settlement of 1.5 million dollars from the school district. That’s a lot more than embarrassment gained. Almost ten years later, after he had spent over five years in prison and registered as a sex offender, his accuser was found to have falsely accused him, and he eventually went on to play in the NFL. But his accuser lied about him assaulting her, and he was wrongly convicted of rape, which resulted in over five years of prison time and a stressful parole period.

    “Why do you try to isolate a girl who you like so that you can hang out alone?”
    Ummmm. So I can talk to her privately? Get to know her on a personal level instead of only getting to know her ONLY in a large group setting. They used to call it “courting,” “dating,” or “asking a girl out,” but I guess now having any one-on-one time with a girl is sexual assault? No. Even girls I have no romantic or sexual interest in, I will still spend one on one time with if we were close friends. Don’t most friends spend one on one time with each other? No, I would not pressure a girl to hang out with me if she didn’t want to or wasn’t comfortable. But even if I did, that is NOT sexual assault, or any kind of assault.

    “Do you still believe that you are not part of the problem?”
    Yes. I am quite confident that I am not a part of the problem. Do you really believe you are part of the solution? Alienating men like this is only making the problem bigger. There is no rape culture, especially not at Gordon. Rape culture implies that rape is a normal part of the culture and society, and that it is generally accepted. This is most certainly not the case. I do not know anyone on this campus that will say or even imply that rape is normal or acceptable. I, along with the majority of men on campus, am a God-fearing man who respects women. By respecting women, we are being a part of the solution. You, my friend, are perpetuating the problem by exaggerating it, riling up the emotions of men and women across campus, and causing division.

    “the man who believes that his actions do not have consequences.”
    Who do you know that believes his actions don’t have consequences? I don’t think any of the men who read this “letter” believe that.

    “Yes, I am writing to you, the brother who argues that toxic masculinity is a myth.”
    Toxic Masculinity is only as real as “Toxic Femininity.” Masculinity and femininity are both beautiful things created by God. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. . . . . . God Saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” (Genesis 1:27, 31a.)

    All in all, this article saddened me because it continues the trend of divisive rhetoric typical of the neo-feminist movement that we saw in last semester’s convocation series. The amount of man-bashing I have seen at this college is too damn high. Feminism used to be about equality for women, about equal rights. Now it’s about putting women in a position to subjugate men; it’s about “toppling the patriarchy” which really just means wherever there is a man in authority, we need to replace him with a woman. I wish people would start realizing that the equality they have been fighting for has been achieved, and there is no reason to keep fighting against men as a whole. Let those who commit horrible acts of violence be imprisoned, but let not the men of the world be put on trial for the crimes of a few. I wish you would have more respect for men, Alec.

    Sincerely,
    Tryston Kwong

    • *note* I tried to put my words in italics so it’s easier to follow, but I couldn’t get the formatting to copy into this text box, so I apologize for a struggle in trying to figure out where my responses are.

      “Sexual harassment is indeed a problem. There have indeed been men at Gordon who have taken advantage of women, and while I’m not aware of any “outright rape” during my time here, I admit that it is possible that such horrible acts may have occurred. However, this article is claiming that sexual assault by men against women is a rampant problem at Gordon.”
      SH/A is a BIG problem EVERYWHERE. You may not be aware or even a witness to or a perpetrator of any “outright rape” but you can’t say that your thoughts, actions, and motivations (even in writing this response) have not added to the harmful rape culture that is indeed prevalent on this campus. You have not been involved in a conversation that was degrading to women? You have not looked at a woman’s body inappropriately? You haven’t seen or heard anyone doing something inappropriate to a woman? I don’t think that, in today’s time, that is very possible. The point Alec is mainly getting at is that even “good Christian” men on a “good Christian” campus indeed play a role in rape culture by their talk, actions, and silence. If you’re admitting that it is possible, then you cannot later say that “this is not true.” You should be well researched in order to make such claims.
      “This is not the case. The anti-men trend I’ve seen this year at Gordon is actually scary. It started with the convocation series last semester. One speaker claimed that all women sitting in the chapel had at one point been abused by a man. That is false. Having talked with my female friends after that talk, I learned that many of them had never been treated poorly by a man.”
      You’re a man…you can’t say that it’s not a problem if you’re not a woman. He also doesn’t claim that just rape is rampant, he claims that the degradation and abuse of women is rampant…which it IS. Your attitude isn’t helping the unfortunate situation, either.

      In reference to your earlier comment on the supposed “anti-men” trend, I will say that I have not seen such a thing occurring, although I will not deny it happening. Two things I’d like to say in response to this. 1) When a woman is hurt by a man (which we have already discussed is the common ground), a fear, and thus potential hatred, for men can ensue. This is a simple psychological process of overgeneralization. Similar to how a person who has been attacked by a dog, learns to fear all dogs. 2) I don’t necessarily agree with this “anti-men” trend. I understand that this trend, and obviously this article, has upset you, but I think you’ve taken so much out of context. You went from saying there’s a problem with this “anti-men” trend to the convocation speaker. This whole SA article and rape culture and the big problem we’re facing here is, in essence, causing the “man hating” you’re experiencing. Back to my point (1), The rape culture being perpetuated in man’s actions and non-actions leads to women growing generally fearful and distrustful of men. So, again, I’ll say, your attitude towards this whole topic, is to blame for the very thing you’re complaining about.

      You’re a man, once again, you can’t say that this is false.

      Maybe your female friends aren’t comfortable talking to you about their scars. It’s painful and traumatic and many women aren’t comfortable sharing painful things especially if you have an attitude that is so high and mighty and has no compassion for the victims of the actual abuse. And, you know maybe your friends are the lucky ones, or maybe the future holds their abuse stories. Keeping up with your “I’m not the problem” mentality increases their risk.

      I have been scarred by many important people in my life, women included, whether it was from a comment a person made toward me or an action done to me. Just as not ALL women have been raped or abused, not ALL men have left scars on the women they are close to. It is the general population of women who have been hurt by a man, or is LIKELY TO BE hurt by a man. (Statistics, bro) But, again, not being a member of the group being referenced, means you may not say that this is neither true nor false. That’s disrespectful and ignorant.
      “You make the claim in your article that all men have “scarred” the women in their life, and
      that men are inherently sexist. Is that really the case? Are all men, particularly men at Gordon really sexist by default?”
      While, not all men are inherently sexist, the culture that MANY men are raised in lead them to become sexist. You can’t deny we live in a patriarchal society, it’s essentially run by men and favors men unquestionably. The celebration of men in today’s culture leads to women being put down by men, whether anyone is aware of it or not. The sexism appears in implicit and explicit ways and can be an unconscious act too. So, while I can say that there are SOME men who are not sexist, it is common of the general population to favor men.
      “I would say no. The vast majority of men I know here at Gordon are godly men, who respect women and men alike.”
      While Gordon does have a population of Christian men, who in most cases are morally straight, this means nothing about the amount of men who fall outside of this category. Hell, even men inside the Church have been found to abuse and SA women. Yes, Gordon does have a specific demographic of students, this does not mean that all Gordon students fit the same description of white christian republicans. So, there may be a few statistics that are skewed, but the numbers CANNOT be wildly different. Studies have been done that have shown that, while in most cases of SA, a Christian campus is safer, BUT a study has been done that showed that a Christian campus only reduced a women’s likelihood of SA by less than 3%.
      You’re a freshman and from what I know, in a circle of people who are similar to you in faith, political views, and education. You’d be shocked to understand what happens in the lives of people you don’t know well. You don’t know everything. You don’t know what happens behind closed doors. You don’t know what happens off campus, at night, in the backseat of someone’s car. Also, it’s the people you’d least expect. 8 out of 10 SA are committed by someone known to the victim. You won’t ever hear your friends (or really anyone for that matter) say outright, “oh yeah, I’ve raped a girl” or anything along those lines. Now, I’m not insinuating that one of your friends is a rapist and is lying to you about it, but you never know who it could be and you can’t just trust that the vast majority of people that you know who are decent humans can’t have a slip up. Even good people can “make a mistake.” The statistics clearly show that a larger percentage than what you believe or what you want to believe is the truth. 1 in 5 female college students will have been SA and 90% of perpetrators are male. Even when all genders are combined and women perpetrators of abuse are included, men still make up 78 percent of the perpetrators. So maybe there’s only a few men on campus who have actually carried out a SA act, that still means that it’s happening, and one SA incident is too many. The point of Alec’s article however, is to make you (and everyone) aware that SA and rape are not the only way that women are being threatened on this campus.

      ““I cannot understand how you still believe that you are not complicit in the destruction of
      women’s dignity.” Well, to put it simply, I am not complicit. I treat women with respect, dignity, and love everywhere I go. I treat men with the same respect, dignity, and love, as I think
      everyone should.”
      This attitude you have of “I am not the problem” is exactly the point of Alec’s call to action. In paragraph 2 of his article he asks you to put aside your own feelings of pride and “but I’m innocent” for just one minute to consider his point of the argument. Later in paragraphs 10-18 he notes that the harmful ideas that provoke rape culture include thoughts of lust, crude jokes, and “harmless locker room talk” etc. We know that in the Bible, Jesus commands men to not even look at a woman with lust as it is a sin. In the same vein, thinking or looking lustfully is a form of sexual harassment and further encourages rape culture to exist. Even if one was to deny that he has been guilty of SA or even looking lustfully at a woman, I’d find it hard to believe that you’ve never witnessed a friend or another male looking at or talking about a woman in an inappropriate manner such that it could have been shut down. Silence is just as harmful as the abuse itself. Defending the men of Gordon College as a whole is about as ridiculous and contradictory as denying that all men of Gordon College have not at one point in their lives been complicit in the abuse and degradation of women in some way, shape, or form. (I’m talking abuse as in, using power over a woman, verbal abuse, “harmless” jokes, physical, or any type of abuse.)
      “I think I can speak on behalf of the majority of men at Gordon when I say this.”
      If Alec cannot speak on behalf of the men at Gordon, neither can you. I think what you’re looking for is “proof” and statistics, like Joe. And, with that, I need to say, you are owed nothing. Women do not owe you their stories for you to believe them. Here is an anecdote for free: There was a period of time that I was mocked for my grades and how much I studied by a guy in my class. While that’s not sexual harassment, it was still harassment by a male peer. I was not treated with dignity, love, or respect when this was going on. And it tore down my confidence. This is the type of thing that makes one complicit in the degradation of women. And it was by someone I respected, who I thought was a wonderful, nice guy. (And don’t miss my point by getting caught up in the fact that I’m only mentioning women. I acknowledge that this type of harassment and “bullying” happens to every group.) And that’s just one situation. I can name a few more, with more graphic details. It all adds up. Alec is calling abusers and non-abusers, catcallers and non-catcallers, athletes and non-athletes, and everyone in between, etc. to all stand up, do something, and make changes. You can have whatever opinion you wish, but you have to interpret his words and his argument carefully (i.e. correctly). He did not call the men who felt so offended and uncomfortable by the article to defend themselves and the whole rest of the male population at Gordon. Alec demanded positive change in how the men on campus view their words, thoughts, actions, and inactions.
      “How can you deny the rampant and apparent abuse that permeates the campus, the office, the church and the home?”
      “If this abuse was “rampant and apparent” you would think we would all know about it.”
      You’d think so, right? But Gordon is SO concerned with it’s image, that the reports of SA are put off. In fact, for some cases, including my own, the Title IX coordinator, tried to convince me to do nothing. She was not worried about the victim (me) or even further damage done by the perpetrator, she was trying to keep another SA account off Gordon’s record. So, yes, you’d think we would all know about it, but it’s kept under wraps for administration’s sake. Not to mention SA is also underreported, it’s shameful (for the victim, no doubt, but also for the perpetrators, too, I’d assume), and the ones who commit SA acts hide and get away with their CRIMES because they often go unreported, uninvestigated, and of the few that do get reported and investigated, typically result in no more than a slap on the wrist for the perpetrator. (This lack of consequence for the assailant also further discourages the reporting of future incidents).
      “In fact, this makes it sound like there’s a huge conspiracy by the men of Gordon College to rape and abuse women and keep it under wraps.”
      Again, that’s pretty much exactly what happens. You, being a freshman male who doesn’t know that many people, cannot say that it doesn’t happen and that you’re not part of the problem. But again, this isn’t even the point that Alec was trying to make. He didn’t’ say that all the men of Gordon college are known serial rapists (although there have been such cases!!) or anything of that nature, he was calling out all men who, although, may have never inappropriately touched a girl or made crude remarks, have in some way or another in their lives added to the desensitization of SA and rape culture.
      “As a man, a Christian, and a student at Gordon, I can say that this idea of rampant abuse of women in the Church, at this school, and in the home is outrageous.”
      First off, I still have to point out that you’re not a female and therefore cannot say that abuse in their demographic doesn’t exist. But also, I’d really like for you to do your research. Look into the #ChurchToo movement. Women in the church have been raped, abused, and the abuser (who is sometimes a priest, youth minister, or man of high position within the Church) has been let off the hook. This exists everywhere and it’s scary and disturbing. There are multiple SA crimes that have happened on campus THIS year. You can actually see all the reported incidents of SA that have happened to Gordon students on the Campus Crime Log. (go.gordon.edu Departments>Police>Campus Crime Log). There have been 13 reported accounts (including my own) on this campus since I have been here. Adding from the fact that only around 10% of SA is actually reported, I can assure you that this number is actually a lot higher. And that’s not even counting the types of harassment that women go through more often, including but not limited to, rude remarks, sexual comments, lusting looks, unwanted touching, and catcalling.
      “If it were factual, of course something ought to be done about it. However, there is no rampant or apparent abuse here.”
      Again, I unfortunately must say, that the reporting system is so flawed and broken that even the small percentage of SA cases that are reported are often overlooked, not investigated, and/or result in little to no punishment for the assailant. In regards to my case, I was the one who had to take action in getting justice. Part of this problem rests on GoPo, but this is not what I am currently addressing. The thing that “ought to be done about it” involves YOU and your peers not letting a single thing go without second thought. It’s up to you to shut down every situation that could be disastrous for another person, including “mere” situations of advancing the ever-growing rape culture on campus.
      “Abusive men are by far the exception, not the rule.”
      Say what you want, but do your research. It depends on how you spin things, but either way. ONE abusive man is too many. YOU have the chance to change how things work. YOU have the opportunity to eradicate that “exception.” and THIS is the point that Alec was after.
      “How can you believe that women are lying, when they have nothing to gain but embarrassment?”
      “First of all, they have a lot more to gain than embarrassment. Take the case of Brian Banks, a young high school football star who was falsely accused and convicted of rape. His accuser gained a settlement of 1.5 million dollars from the school district. That’s a lot more than embarrassment gained. Almost ten years later, after he had spent over five years in prison and registered as a sex offender, his accuser was found to have falsely accused him, and he eventually went on to play in the NFL. But his accuser lied about him assaulting her, and he was wrongly convicted of rape, which resulted in over five years of prison time and a stressful parole period.”
      This point is basically invalid. Studies have shown that the occurence of false rape accusations are little to none. One report said 0.5%. I’m not denying that this happens, but I’m saying that 1) false rape accusations are extremely rare and 2) even in the event of a false accusation, such monetary gains are UNHEARD of. Alec was saying that when a woman comes forward with her story, she isn’t maliciously trying to win a lawsuit and “take what she can get”. Hell, even in actual rape cases with concrete evidence, there is little women gain in reporting. Less than ONE percent of reported rapes lead to a felony conviction.
      “Why do you try to isolate a girl who you like so that you can hang out alone?”
      “Ummmm. So I can talk to her privately? Get to know her on a personal level instead of only getting to know her ONLY in a large group setting. They used to call it “courting,” “dating,” or “asking a girl out,” but I guess now having any one-on-one time with a girl is sexual assault? No. Even girls I have no romantic or sexual interest in, I will still spend one on one time with if we were close friends. Don’t most friends spend one on one time with each other? No, I would not pressure a girl to hang out with me if she didn’t want to or wasn’t comfortable. But even if I did, that is NOT sexual assault, or any kind of assault.”
      If you really can’t understand what Alec meant by this, I don’t really know how to help you. Did he say that being alone with a girl was SA? No, you implied that. His point was to say that trying to get a girl alone with you is threatening and uncomfortable and COULD lead to SA or temptations of SA. While your intentions might be pure, being alone with a girl can lead to questions being asked, can make the girl in question uncomfortable, and for some guys could lead to a temptation to do something inappropriate. It is best for a Christian to be held accountable and to be above reproach. Living above reproach is living a life that no one can even begin to question what you believe and what you stand for. Don’t even let anyone THINK that you might have done something wrong. Don’t give them an opportunity to question how far you’ve gone with a girl. THIS is Alec’s point in paragraph 15.
      “Do you still believe that you are not part of the problem?”
      “Yes. I am quite confident that I am not a part of the problem.”
      The fact that you’re so confident that you’re not part of the problem is a THE problem. Alec’s whole point is that men (on this campus and everywhere) play a part in advancing rape culture. Again, even if you have not said or done any of the things that Alec has called out, the kind of response that shows that one is ACTUALLY part of the solution includes realizing that there is a change to be made and that even oneself has a role in that change. Realizing that degradation of women does occur on this campus and can be shut down, is the type of change Alec was looking for. Maybe Alec was a little harsh in his words, but I think that his righteous anger and passion towards the subject fueled his writing. I don’t see a problem with it, but I can understand how it may have upset you.
      “Do you really believe you are part of the solution? Alienating men like this is only making the problem bigger.”
      I don’t think you fully understand what the “problem” is here. Calling out peers to make a change does not make any (real) problem bigger. Alec was not alienating men either. If I must say it again, Alec’s point was simply that there are day-to-day injustices toward women and men not taking a stand is A PROBLEM that can be helped by recognizing the problem exists and taking steps to minimize the SH and actions that can lead toward SH (or desensitization of the harsh reality of SA).
      “There is no rape culture, especially not at Gordon. Rape culture implies that rape is a normal part of the culture and society, and that it is generally accepted. This is most certainly not the case. I do not know anyone on this campus that will say or even imply that rape is normal or acceptable.”
      I’m responding to each comment one by one so forgive me for sounding like I’m going off on the same thing repeatedly. OH BOY! Let me begin by defining rape culture for you. A google search returns: ”a society or environment whose prevailing social attitudes have the effect of normalizing or trivializing sexual assault and abuse.”
      So, no. That is not what “rape culture” implies. It means that rape and SA has become so normalized to our society that a man groping a woman or catcalling her on the street isn’t seen or treated as a huge problem. Little things here and there to belittle women, objectify women, destroy a woman’s confidence, etc. are all encapsulated in what rape culture is. This does NOT mean that anyone in this society approves of rape or any type of SH. It just means that the actions of most people within the culture are in promotion of advancing the desensitization of SH rather than actively trying to end it. (If you don’t want to hear it form Alec and you don’t want to hear it from me: https://www.denimdayinfo.org/blog/2018/4/11/patriarchy-rape-culture -the-role-of-men-supporting-survivors , http://www.dayofthegirl.org/rape_culture , https:// http://www.thenation.com/article/ten-things-end-rape-culture/ )
      I, along with the majority of men on campus, am a God-fearing man who respects women. By respecting women, we are being a part of the solution.
      Good for you, but that’s not all you can do. You can do more, starting with acknowledging that such things DO exist and that men DO play a part in it. Once more, that YOU can have an impact, no matter how small. Preventing one person from abusing another is enough to start a chain reaction. THIS is what Alec is hoping for. This is what I’m hoping for.
      You, my friend, are perpetuating the problem by exaggerating it, riling up the emotions of men and women across campus, and causing division.
      Like I said before, Alec may have gotten a little worked up and expressed his frustration strongly, but he did not exaggerate. I think, if anything, you overgeneralized. Riling up the emotions of the men and women on campus was pretty much his goal. You just got riled up in the wrong way. His goal was to promote unity. To spark discussion. To bring about a positive change. To get men thinking more clearly about their thoughts and actions. I think what he did was acceptable. And you voicing your opinion, while, totally acceptable, is unreasonable in that you presented false statements (which proved some of his points).
      “the man who believes that his actions do not have consequences.”
      “Who do you know that believes his actions don’t have consequences? I don’t think any of the men who read this “letter” believe that.”
      You’re still missing Alec’s point it seems. I should say, though, that most abusers, while they may know full-well that they have done wrong, still get away with their actions and are left with no consequences. In my situation, I pushed for consequences because I hadn’t seen my assailant face any. I believe that all actions have consequences and I believe I made the right decision in making sure that my perpetrator had not gotten off without tangible consequences. I hope he learned something from said consequences, even though the consequences he was given were grossly lenient.
      “Yes, I am writing to you, the brother who argues that toxic masculinity is a myth.”
      “Toxic Masculinity is only as real as “Toxic Femininity.” Masculinity and femininity are both beautiful things created by God. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. . . . . . God Saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” (Genesis 1:27, 31a.)”
      I have to grab a definition for this one too: “adherence to traditional male gender roles that expect boys and men to show few emotions and assert their dominance.” From this, do you still think that toxic masculinity is a myth? The point is that enforcing gender stereotypes leads to problems for men and women, which has the possibility of leading toward violence. Your Biblical reference proves no point, neither one you have made nor one of Alec’s you’ve been arguing. (https://www.bustle.com/articles/143644-6-harmful-effects-of-toxic-masculinity , https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/what-we-mean-when-we-say-toxic-masculinity , http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Toxic_femininity)
      “All in all, this article saddened me because it continues the trend of divisive rhetoric typical of the neo-feminist movement that we saw in last semester’s convocation series. The amount of man-bashing I have seen at this college is too damn high.”
      I think you’re issues are rooted elsewhere. Alec’s article was not man-bashing, nor was last semester’s convocation series. I think you have been upset about these issues for quite some time and now that you have an opportunity to speak out, you’re letting everything go at once. I ask that you keep your focus narrowed on Alec’s article which was not man-bashing, nor “typical of the neo-feminist movement.”
      Feminism used to be about equality for women, about equal rights. Now it’s about putting women in a position to subjugate men; it’s about “toppling the patriarchy” which really just means wherever there is a man in authority, we need to replace him with a woman. I wish people would start realizing that the equality they have been fighting for has been achieved, and there is no reason to keep fighting against men as a whole.
      I can agree with you that the idea and motivations of feminism have changed, but you’re still incredibly misinformed. Feminism is viewing women as equals to men and giving women an opportunity to be empowered and feel what it feels like to be in a position of power. As stated earlier, this is a society that favors men and gives little attention to women. Feminism is the goal that women are trying to reach to prove to others and themselves that they are competent, they are smart, and they can do just about anything that a man can do and therefore deserve to experience the same benefits of men. This is at least what I, and most people I surround myself with, believe. I do not think that “topping the patriarchy” is an essential part of the feminist movement, although I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. I do believe that man and woman are created equally and that, although, a few physical differences exist, men and women are equals and can be capable of the same things, and most importantly, I believe that women deserve the same benefits of men. You say that the fight for feminism is over? Again, I hate to keep being redundant, but do your research! Look at the wage gap. Women are STILL being paid less than their male counterparts. My mother for example, is still fighting for equality in her workplace. She is on the board and her chairman openly and blatantly told her that her younger, less experienced, and less qualified male coworker would be receiving a higher salary than her simply because he is a male and she is a female.
      The fight is not over. I agree that fighting men as a whole is unreasonable, but I cannot understand how you think that equality has been achieved. There’s still quite a ways to go.
      Let those who commit horrible acts of violence be imprisoned, but let not the men of the world be put on trial for the crimes of a few.
      Yes, let those SA assailants be punished rightfully, but the men of the world are responsible for making the change that Alec is seeking in his plea. He’s not asking the men of the world to “go on trial”, he’s asking for each and every person to take responsibility, humble themselves, and realize that a BIG problem exists that can be helped by men taking action, making a change, and not letting anyone stand idle. It is your responsibility too. We all have a role in it, and we can all hold each other accountable to make this world and campus a safer place for men and women.
      “I wish you would have more respect for men, Alec.”
      I wish you would have some respect for me in that you take these considerations to heart and think about how you can make a change in your own actions and help put an end to the negative actions/words of others.
      Sincerely,
      Tryston Kwong

      Trystan, I hope that you have read and considered my words. I hope that by posting your comment beneath Alec’s article that you understand and are accepting of feedback that may arise from such critique. I apologize for anything that I may have said that was harsh or abrasive. I ask that you understand that I, like Alec, am passionate about this topic. I am very open and willing to meet with you to talk about this if you’d like. Please take this and use this, not as an “attack”, but as a way to self-evaluate. I want to see this campus thrive and I would personally LOVE to see the type of blameless behavior you’ve mentioned in your response. Sadly, that is not what I, or others, have experienced. If you’d like to see some of the resources from which I pulled my statistics and resources, I have a few that were not hyperlinked in the response, and I am willing to send them your way. It’s also as easy as a quick google search for most of the stats I’ve mentioned. I’m not trying to mislead you or berate you in any way. It truly hurts my heart that some people, especially women, are not educated on this topic. I didn’t know much about the SA statistics, until I was one. I’m the one in five that you read about. This is why it’s so sensitive to me and why I sometimes might get a little too passionate in my responses. I really hope you understand where I’m coming from. My intent is not malicious, it’s to remind everyone of the realities of this world. Ultimately, I understand that SA and SH cannot be fully eradicated, hard as we try. Sin still exists in this world and people are still evil, but my hope (and I think Alec’s too) is that with awareness and everyone taking initiative in trying to do the right thing and keep everyone accountable, the prevalence of SA will be dramatically reduced. It can’t be helped if nobody takes a step forward. It’s a group effort, but it begins with one person.

      • Firstly I just wanna say that if you’re gonna write a book in response to someone’s comment. You should at least 1) support it with actual facts and 2) put your name on it. Just saying

        • This is an open discussion, and while not everyone will agree with each other, we owe it to each other to read and respond with respect and open minds. They’re both clearly passionate about the subject, and both tried to be respectful when speaking their minds. If the writer isn’t comfortable sharing their identity, that’s 100% up to them.

        • Natalie,
          1. Throughout my article, I have made several links available to you that provide facts. I also stated in my closing paragraph that there are some statistics that I have not left a reference for, but I am happy to make them available if you’d like.
          2. As previous commenter stated, I have a choice in maintaining anonymity. I actually debated posting my name, but there are two reasons that I felt that I needed to remain anonymous. The first reason is that there are certain certain people who do not know about my assault and releasing that information could be risky for me. The second reason is that my assailant is still on this campus and I feel that putting my name and story out in the open is not safe for me at this time.
          I am owning up to my words and I stand by them. I have stated that I am willing to meet up with Tryston if he so desires. Please understand that I am remaining nameless because of the public nature of the internet and not because I do not want to own up to my words.

  8. I am of the belief that every single person on this campus agrees that there is never an excuse to sexually harass, emotionally abuse, assault, or rape anyone, ever. We as Christians know this, as moral human beings know this, and, many of us, as victims of one or more of these heinous acts know this.

    The issue is not that men are evil, misogynistic, abusers of women. The issue that exists is men who abuse men, men who abuse women, women who abuse women, and women who abuse men. The issue is abusers of all sexes, races, identifications, and sexual preferences.

    In this article, Alec speaks only of men abusing women, providing a scapegoat to all other abusers of people, which I do see as a problem. Historically, however, men sexually assaulting women is indeed the largest statistical fact compared to the other above mentioned subpopulations. In fact, 91% of the victims of rape and assault are female, leaving the other 9% male. Indeed, I understand why he chose to direct his article to a male audience since they seem to be the largest population of perpetrators.

    However, I am not letting women off the hook by any means, although it seems that Alec has. With the uproar of the #MeToo movement, some women have been able to hide behind and gain power from this much-needed reform. They abuse this power to wrongfully and incorrectly claim assault occurred when no such thing happened. I have seen some of the effects of this myself. One of my good male friends was threatened falsely, and in order to protect himself and his future, transferred colleges in order to avoid any possible ramifications.

    Alec does indeed take a very harsh, biting tone towards the men of the college, and chooses to address the Gordon male population as a whole. I, as several others do, think this is both overkill and overgeneralization. However, in doing so, he is not trying to throw every male on campus under the bus, saying that they all are rapists and horrible people, but he is trying to make a point. Our country, and generation specifically, repeatedly make wrong decisions and pose sinful mindsets that need to be addressed and changed.

    To think that these sorts of assaults do not happen on our campus, or in Christian facilities in general, is grossly ignorant and shows an incredible lack of education on current events. For our college specifically, there is a police crime log that is open for all students to see. (Go.gordon.edu -> departments -> police -> campus crime log). There are dozens of logs showing reports of inappropriate touching and even rape. I can personally say I know 1 girl who has been raped on campus, and two girls who have been fondled off-campus by Gordon College male students. Yes, statistically, we are a relatively safe campus due to our strict dry campus policies, visitation hours, and high moral caliber. But also yes, lots of things go unreported and lots of situations do not get handled well by the authorities. Rape is a horrifying subject that leaves many victims with permanent PTSD. It’s not easy to admit something so personal, so awful happened. It’s hard to raise a hand in a chapel service about who has been abused. As for the Church itself- you obviously haven’t seen the news lately if you think rape and sexual assault in the Church is not a problem. Just google the Catholic Church and sexual assault to find it all.

    Furthermore, to say that Alec himself, as a male student at the college, claims himself a rapist in this article is a major misinterpretation of the point of his article.

    There needs to be a balance somewhere here. I do not think that in any way Gordon, or this article, is trying to advocate for an anti-men trend. However, I think it’s Neo-feminist qualities perhaps push a bit further than is necessary. As a whole, I think we need to advocate for safe spaces for victims to talk about mistreatment and actually take action in these cases and teach both women and men alike how to treat the opposite gender with respect.

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