An Open Letter To The DePauw Men Whose Podcast Promoted Rape Culture
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Politics and Activism

An Open Letter To The DePauw Men Whose Podcast Promoted Rape Culture

You do not have to be a rapist to contribute to rape culture.

An Open Letter To The DePauw Men Whose Podcast Promoted Rape Culture
Johnny Silvercloud / Flickr

For details on the whole situation, follow these links:

Dear John (and all your other friends who helped make this show possible),

When the whole campus was made aware of your "House of Scaife" podcast, most of us, especially women and rape survivors, were sick to our stomachs to hear what kind of show you guys were making. But we also thought that maybe, with any bit of hope, you and your friends would realize that your podcast was directly contributing to rape culture. Knowing that you met with Professor Harms and were "sincerely apologetic" gave a lot of us some sense of relief, if only slight.

But clearly, you didn't mean any of it. Your opinion article defending your predatory behaviors and attacking Professor Harms, an ally to sexual assault survivors, not only shows how deeply engrained these ideologies are with you and your friends, but also shows you have learned nothing. Are you not convinced that you and your friends were helping to perpetuate the culture that normalizes rape and assault? Let me see if I can make it more clear to you.

Even though scaife is a clear euphemism for women and sex, you claim that "[Harms] was unaware that there are counter interpretations of the word “scaife,” which ultimately discredits connecting this podcast to rape culture." But hold on! The definition of rape culture is "a society or environment whose prevailing social attitudes have the effect of normalizing or trivializing sexual assault and abuse." Let's also look at the ways you were using "scaife:"

Your friend John Vitale said, “There’s a group of women who just need to get in there and then once they’re in the door they’re just like ‘Hey I got invited to this date party’ I’m just here to be scaife."

Another friend said, “If you don’t remember any of it then what’s the point of scaifing, if you don’t remember?” When you asked if there is a moral code for scaifing, he replied, "To be honest with you, no.”

You also talk about recruiting "scaife hounds" (other fraternity men) to, quite literally, go on the hunt for women for you to "scaife." It seems quite clear what kind of interpretation of the word "scaife" you guys were using.

The way you view women on your show is juvenile, disrespectful, and deplorable. Your opinions about your actions clearly illustrate how you show no regard for women's autonomy, with no indication that you and your buddies even consider consent when it comes to sex. Here's a news flash for you: any type of sexual encounter without consent IS assault. And your show's tone encouraged that very behavior.

I can't say that I'm surprised about your lack of remorse or understanding - like I mentioned, these are mindsets that have been embedded into our culture for centuries. But, I am disappointed that you haven't learned anything, and quite frankly, I am terrified. As a sexual assault survivor, I see your podcast as fuel to the misogynistic ideologies that so many people on our campus already have, ideologies that normalize and stigmatize rape. Did anyone call you and your friends rapists? Certainly not. But you don't have to be a rapist to contribute to rape culture.

I would, however, like to thank you and your friends. Your blatant display of predatory conquest towards sex shines a bright light on the toxic mentalities that already exist among DePauw students as well as in society. You are the reason survivors and allies continue to fight for our safety. You are an embarrassing representation of the good, supportive men who care about ending rape culture. You are a disgraceful image of what DePauw University should represent. You apparently believe that rape is horrible? Then realize that your behavior is wrong and fix it. Maybe from this point on, you'll learn.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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