Rape and self-defense on campus

Women should have the right to responsibly use weapons to defend themselves.

As I prepare to leave the University, a number of idiocies I have been subject to are becoming more apparent.

Among them is Section III, paragraph eight of the University’s Student Conduct Code. It reads, “Possession or use of weapons on campus means possessing or using on campus weapons or articles or substances usable as weapons, including, but not limited to, firearms, incendiary devices, explosives, and dangerous biological or chemical agents, except Ö when expressly authorized by an appropriate University authority Ö “

This sounds great, in theory. No weapons should correlate to less violence and a peaceful utopia for all students. Nothing could be further from the truth, especially for women.

As I was recently reminded by the Revolutionary Art Thing, put on by the Women’s Student Activist Collective, sexual assaults are a real worry for women on campus. The group believes rape is an offshoot of patriarchy and sexism. Actually, rape’s etiology is more of a mental disease and disorder, and you can’t outlaw those, nor will eliminating sexism eliminate sexual assault. What does work is self-defense.

Recently, Ted Nugent said, “To show you how radical I am, I want carjackers dead. I want rapists dead. I want burglars dead. I want child molesters dead. I want the bad guys dead. No court case. No parole. No early release Ö And when they attack you, shoot ’em.” His statement is incendiary and seemingly trigger-happy, but his point is people have the right to defend themselves, even with deadly force, against criminals. In that, I agree wholeheartedly.

Women (and everyone else) should be allowed to carry items such as pepper spray, tasers and firearms for self-defense. Obviously, anyone who carries a concealed weapon should go through the proper training and get the permit. But people on campus should have the same right as anyone else in this state. They do not. Not on this campus. Even nonlethal forms of self-defense such as pepper spray are violations of the Student Conduct Code. The University’s powers that be have arrogantly decided what levels of protection one can use on campus: none. As far as I’m concerned, the Board of Regents is an accessory to rape.

If you didn’t know, according to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, 84 percent of all rapes and sexual assaults are committed without weapons. Rapists don’t use weapons; they don’t need them. They choose targets weaker than themselves. Of course, it sucks to be weaker if you are on campus.

Many are resistant to these ideas. I can understand this, as most people have no experience with firearms. But again, the numbers show this a baseless fear. John Lott, of American Enterprise Institute, did a broad survey while at the Yale University School of Law of all available data dealing with gun laws and crime. In the 10 states that adopted right-to-carry gun laws between 1977-92, Lott found those states experienced a 5 percent decrease in rapes, a 7 percent decrease in aggravated assaults and an 8 percent decline in murders. All that gain is weighted against a .5 percent increase in accidental gun deaths and no increase in suicide rates.

In real numbers, those 10 states traded one accidental gun death per year for 316 fewer murders and 939 fewer rapes. His methods aren’t flawless. They are based on correlations and not on actual experiments. But the correlations are so strong they can’t be ignored. Well, I guess they can be ignored. The same way the University ignores the safety of thousands of students. The Student Conduct Code isn’t helpful when you’re walking home alone at night.

Marty Andrade welcomes comments at [email protected].