My professor called a student’s rape “hanky-panky”

Recently, on campus, a young woman was abducted, raped off-campus, and returned to campus by the rapist. She was then transported to the hospital and administered a rape kit.

My math teacher, paving the road to hell with good intentions, decided to give all the girls in class a lecture about how to avoid being raped. His tips included not walking to our cars after dark and staying in well-lit areas. It is interesting to note that the dormitory the young woman was abducted outside of has lighting in the parking lot. The woman in question was apparently just standing outside of her dorm building, as every student has a right to do. Anyway, I won’t go into all the reasons why “avoid being raped” tips are useless and offensive, because if you’re on this website, chances are you already know.

Then things got really, really awkward.

He sort of mumbled on in his Southern drawl, saying, “Yeah, you got to be careful, girls. We don’t know who the guy is yet, hadn’t found him, but he’s after some hanky-panky…”

Several students laughed.

It was sickening. They had put such a mental, emotional distance between themselves and the victim that they could not even give her the respect she deserved. What if she had been there, in that classroom, and heard her rape referred to as “hanky-panky” and then heard all the students laughing? 

If the teacher had really wanted to talk about this problem in a respectful manner, he should have said something more along the lines of, “As you all know, a young woman was abducted on campus and raped off campus this past Friday. Ladies, please be aware of your surroundings.” If only. Instead, I was subjected to having to listen to him drone on about preventative measures and tiptoe around using the actual word “rape” even though that was exactly the crime that he was talking about.

Has anyone else had problems with a general attitude of disrespect towards rape survivors on their campuses?

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