Letters to the Editor

Atheists: Come out

Dear Editor:

Regarding guest columnist, Lally Gartell, in the Sept. 5 Stater on misunderstood atheists: Just as we have seen gays and lesbians come out of the closet ever more in recent times and even gaining a bit of acceptance — perhaps because they have come out — isn’t it time for the many doubters of supernatural religion to leave the closet as well? The university setting should be the ideal place for young people to explore and test the margins of knowable science. It’s long been a highly respectable intellectual exercise. Imagine! Reflect! Learn! And all that!

Al Edgell

Adjunct Professor

Honors and Political Science

Rape victims should never be blamed

Dear Editor:

While rape is a serious concern for any community, and tips for students to protect themselves remain an important strategy for dealing with any dangerous situation, Steve Bushong’s article (page 1, Sept. 8, 2006) does a harmful disservice to the Kent State community.

To begin with, the title, “Students can protect selves against rape,” suggests that, if someone does suffer a sexual assault, that person shares the blame with the attacker because she or he failed to ‘protect’ her or his self. This is one of the most serious issues facing sexual assault survivors – the belief that they are somehow at fault for what happened to them. This remains the top reason why victims of rape do not report the crimes against them.

By perpetuating this belief, it allows perpetrators not to accept complete responsibility for their violence and shifts attention to the actions of the victims. Even if the victim of sexual assault is drinking, wearing ‘provocative’ clothing or out with people he or she doesn’t know well, the rapist is still solely to blame.

Until all men (and women) believe and act as if rape is wrong, it will continue to be a problem. The problem, though, lies with the actions of the rapists, not the actions of the victims. While all people can learn to better protect themselves against violent crime, it is inappropriate to suggest that, by employing the strategies from ETR Associates, as Bushong summarizes, all “innocent(s) will stay out of harm’s way.”

Focusing on the actions of victims is a Band-Aid approach to a gaping wound. Finding and eliminating the cause of the wound is a more effective and appropriate strategy for preventing further damage.

Theresa Walton

Assistant Professor

School of Exercise, Leisure and Sport