Yesterday, University of Arizona junior Dean Saxton, who apparently calls himself Brother Dean Samuel, decided to attend Take Back The Night, a sexual assault awareness event, as a protester. But what was he outraged about? Was it the cruel and constant slut shaming of rape survivors? The incredible level of sexual violence women face all over the world? The lengths people go to excuse rape culture?
No, of course not. He was protesting rape awareness itself.
Unfortunately, despite being deeply offensive, the administration could not remove Saxton as he preached about the evils of women and how we somehow tempt men into sexually assaulting us. He says that his “sermon” was intended to raise its own type of awareness: “If you dress like a whore, act like a whore, you’re probably going to get raped.”
“I think that girls that dress and act like it. They should realize that they do have partial responsibility, because I believe that they’re pretty much asking for it.”
Hear that, ladies? If you wear a crop top, men become powerless to stop themselves from forcing you into having sex! Obviously, any rational human being is aware that this insinuation is absolutely revolting and without any base in truth whatsoever, but it still exemplifies the horribly pervasive nature of rape forgiveness and victim-blaming that still exists in our culture, particularly on college campuses.
Kendal Washington White, interim dean of students, stated that numerous calls, emails and written complaints were filed against Saxton but the administration was powerless, according to Daily Wildcat, UA’s online publication:
Saxton has never directly threatened anyone in particular, and his language has been general enough that he isn’t targeting a particular person, White said. However, a university attorney was contacted to discuss the situation.
“We find it to be vulgar and vile,” White said. “However, it is protected speech. He has yet to, at this point, violate the student code of conduct.”
Megan McKendry, a violence prevention specialist wit a rape awareness program called Oasis, said:
“[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… His message is an awful one that we condemn. No one deserves to be raped.”
On the bright side, two smiling counter-protesters named Josh Solomon, a computer science sophomore, as well as Gregor Orbino, a political science major. Hopefully, both of them will go on to have fruitful careers that influence others positively. Meanwhile Saxton will remain in the Dark Ages, maintaining his status as metaphorical shit on the underside of humanity’s shoe.
When Ashley sent this to me to write about today, I began to shake. Rage, frustration and sadness boiled inside my veins and I was so livid, I had to walk out of the room to wash my hands (my brain responds well to analogous relief). I would never, ever wish rape on anybody — rapists included. That said, I wish that this excremental “brother” could somehow gain both a conscience and the ability to empathize. We must still remind ourselves that people like Saxton exist and their words, while free speech, perpetuate harmful attitudes that limit sexual assault victims’ ability to speak openly and honestly about our experiences.
Photo via the DailyWildcat.