Stories of sexual assault on college campuses have been all over the news lately, especially with regards to college athletes who sexually assault women being given a kind of pass because, you know, football … or basketball … money. But, Robert Jennings, president of Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, says we cannot blame the rapists, but we should sometimes blame the women because they ask for it.
"Men treat you — treat women — the way women allow us to treat them. When it comes time to make that final decision, we’re going to go down the hall and marry that girl with the long dress on. And let me tell you why I know I’m right about it. I’m right about it because we had on this campus last semester, three cases of young women, who after having done whatever they did with the young men, and then it didn’t turn out the way they wanted it to turn out, guess what they did? They then went to Public Safety and said, ‘He raped me.’” — Robert Jennings at, of all places, at Lincoln's All Women's Convocation in September
“When you allege that somebody did something of that nature to you, you go to jail. I don’t care how close they are to finishing the degree, their whole life changes overnight. Why am I saying all this, ladies? I’m saying this because, first and foremost, don’t put yourself in a situation that would cause you to be trying to explain something that really needs no explanation had you not put yourself in that situation.”
All of Jennings’s comments were caught on videotape during the conference, but now, of course, he’s claiming that they were edited and taken out of context:
“No one would ever discourage a young woman on this campus from reporting a sexual assault. In fact, I emphasize to them how serious that allegation is and that the university takes it very seriously and so does the federal government and so does the court.”
And if they dress like that, and if they are raped, then it is their fault, and they shouldn’t press charges because they might ruin the life of a college male who’s close to graduating.
For its part, Lincoln University said that the point of the convocation was to help female students make "informed decisions about dating, in an effort to protect them from some males who may mislead them," and noted President Jennings "holds the same kind of conversation with male students in their convocation."
Bully for him that he talks to male students about the subject, but you know he also tells those students that just because a woman looks like she wants to be raped, and goes to a place where she’s likely to be raped, doesn’t mean they should rape her.
Now, to be fair, I’m sure there are cases of women who cry rape when it wasn’t rape, but that is not the norm, and that does not ever mean you blame any woman who says she was raped. You investigate, fully, and then you punish the perpetrator, either the rapist, or the woman who lied about being raped. You do not simply lump every rape allegation into the “She Asked For It” or “She’s Just Pissed Because He Never Called Back” category.
And Jennings should be ashamed of himself for suggesting that, and he should step down immediately. It’s a disgusting tale he’s telling.
Now, of course, Jennings is no longer playing the “out of context” game and has issued an apology … of sorts:
"My message was intended to emphasize personal responsibility and mutual respect. I apologize for my choice of words. I certainly did not intend to hurt or offend anyone."
He didn’t intend to offend anyone.
Note to Robert Jennings: It should have gone like this:
“I’m sorry I offended anyone with my remarks. I’m sorry I hurt anyone. I.Was.Wrong.”
That’s an apology.