Letter to the Editor

    ‘Most Tritons’ Campaign Raises Awareness

    Dear Editor,

    In regard to Hadley Mendoza’s Feb. 20 column, “”Rest Assured: Only One in 10 UCSD Men May Rape You,”” I thank you for the issues raised. The premise of the article is uncertainty about of the intentions of the “”Most Tritons”” campaign, yet the article itself answers its own question: discussion. While the Web site may be more information-oriented, it is doubtful that the Web site’s wording replicated on posters would be nearly as effective in raising discussion as the issues that have recently been discussed in the Guardian.

    A clarification of the message being most critiqued in the article is needed. The exact message reads, “”9 out of 10 always stops sexual activity when their date says ‘no.'”” The term “”always”” is omitted in the Guardian’s description of the message, which limits the “”one out of 10″” to comprise the “”never”” category as opposed to the “”sometimes”” and “”often”” categories. The message appropriately stated thus brings in the tricky question of consent and how this comes to be defined.

    Both male and female students have experienced mixed messages about how far their partner wanted to go, expressing uncertainty regarding how to handle certain situations. There is an enormous misperception between most students’ attitudes toward sexual assault and their perceptions of what the “”normal”” student’s attitudes are – namely, only 15 percent of those surveyed thought the “”normal”” student would always stop sexual activity when their date says “”no,”” whereas the reality is expressed in the “”9 out of 10″” message on the poster.

    Thus exists our social norms campaign, aimed at eliminating these misperceptions and reinforcing the positive behaviors of the majority. The major problem that accompanies this misperception is the notion that those who engage in positive behaviors believe themselves to be the only ones doing it. This “”I’m the only one”” mentality can potentially deter those on the fence from following through with the right course of action.

    The column references the messages as being “”alarming”” as the number of reported rapes at UCSD is low, yet it is not taken into account that only 14 percent of rapes are reported (Bureau of Justice, 2003). The column’s tone also implies that occurring rapes are violent “”stranger”” rapes, as opposed to acquaintance rapes, which actually comprise the majority: roughly 90 percent, according to the 2000 Fisher Study.

    Without spawning discussion through actual sociological data, these “”gray line”” topics will remain a mystery to most, furthering stigmas and misperceptions about sexual assault, as highlighted in the column’s title, as the poster’s actual message reads “”Tritons,”” not “”men.””

    ­- Julian Ross

    Sexual Assault Resource Center Peer Educator

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