A New Perspective on Sexual Assault

Katherine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart in ‘The Philadelphia Story’

I picked up a copy of Time magazine in the sauna the other day, and I nearly fell off the bench when I read the following passage:

“To understand why a campus can be a dangerous place for a young woman, it helps to watch something called the Frank video. It is a re-enactment of a conversation between a University of Massachusetts researcher and an actor portraying a study respondent.

“Here’s what a young college woman is up against:

“‘We’d be on the lookout for the good-looking girls, especially the freshmen,’ says the study participant.

“‘They were easy prey, and they wouldn’t know anything about drinking or how much alcohol they could handle, so you know they wouldn’t know anything about our techniques.’

“The young man goes on to explain those techniques:

“‘We’d invite them to the party … We’d get them drinking right away. We’d have kegs [of beer], but we always had some kind of punch also, you know, our own home brew. We’d make it with a real sweet juice and just pour in all kinds of alcohol.’

“The man goes on to describe removing the woman’s clothes. She tries pushing him off; he pushes her back down and uses his arm across her chest to pin her down while having intercourse.”

The Frank video was made by Dr. David Lisak, Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of the Men’s Sexual Trauma Research Center at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

The video is not available on the web, because it might be seen as a manual for rape, and it is intended to be shown only in an instructional context with a qualified discussion leader.

You can order it through Legal Momentum, the website of the Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund.

According to the Legal Momentum website, “In one sample of 1,882 men… results revealed that 120 men had committed 483 rapes against women they knew. None of these rapes were ever reported.”

“Of these 120 rapists, 44 men committed a single act of rape and 76 were serial rapists who committed 439 rapes, an average of nearly six rapes per rapist.”

Since many rapists would never admit what they had done, even in an anonymous survey, we can only assume that these figures are on the conservative side.

I think every student going off to college, male or female, should see this video with their parents and teachers and discuss the morality of deliberate, premeditated rape.

As Jimmy Stewart declared in the Philadelphia Story, after seeing home an intoxicated Katherine Hepburn, “There are rules about these things.” And there are laws, and then there’s something called honor.

As for Frank himself, the rules of the research study prevented researchers from even telling him he was a rapist. If it were up to me, he would be in the state pentitentiary at Cedar Junction, getting a new perspective on sexual assault.