Monologue on rape generates mixed student reaction
By Lois E. Eaton
Students and administrators differed in their reactions to Wednesday night's repeat presentation of "Something About Sex" held in Lobdell Court in the Julius A. Stratton '23 Student Center.
The monologue, delivered by Arthur H. Roberts '93 and accompanied by a series of slides, touched on the issues of sex, rape, abstinence, sexually transmitted disease and alcohol. Following the event, handouts with rape information, statistics and support numbers were distributed.
The script was written by Glen D. Weinstein '92, and contained numerous jokes, as well as information on sex-related topics.
The presentation, formerly known as "How to Give a Woman an Orgasm," was sponsored by the Office of the Dean for Student Affairs, the MIT Medical Department and the Residence/Orientation Week Committee. It will be shown for the last time on Wednesday night.
Many students were disappointed with the discussion that followed the half-hour-long presentation. Students had expected more heated debate and felt that the discussion centered too much on one topic. Administrators, on the other hand, felt that the discussion was very focused and intense.
Roberts made several comments during the presentation that created controversy. Many of the audience members at the first performance found it offensive when he said, "Not all rapes happen in fraternities -- sometimes the guys leave the house."
There was far less controversy at the second performance, although it was unclear why this was so. A brother at Phi Kappa Sigma said that he was not offended by this comment, explaining that "The monologue jabbed at everyone."
Don C. Brunson G, one of the moderators of the discussion following the monologue, said there was not "as strong a response from fraternity men as [the show's organizers] expected." But administrators said they were happy that the audience did not single out the comment about fraternities in the discussion.
Many students felt that there was little new information in
the presentation. Anthony G. Falcone '93 called the discussion "frustrating" and full of "sleazy comments." He added that he would have preferred to have discussed the societal problems, including how men and women are raised and taught to react and think about sex and rape.
Christine M. Coffey '93 found the discussion "heterosexually oriented," and was disappointed that the rape examples were "one night stands," rather than rape on a third or fourth date. The discussion focused on sex, and not attitudes towards sex, she added.
Ryan A. Smith '93 felt that he learned nothing new from the presentation, but was surprised by the comment that women have the right to be as confused about sex as much as men are.
Many of the students interviewed said they attended the event because of the controversial topic and the popularity of last weeks showing.
pleased by discussion
One administrator thought that the discussion was "more sophisticated" and "thoughtful" than the other night. Others said they got the impression that there were fewer questions asked but that students left with a better idea of what it means when a woman says "no." They were happy that this discussion has started people thinking about the meaning of rape.
Advisor to Fraternities and Living Groups Neil H. Dorow, who attended the presentation, said that fraternity members need to be educated about the fact that rape happens in fraternities. He added that fraternity members must also become aware of the attitudes that exist toward fraternity rape.
The Residence/Orientation Week committee and the Office of the Dean for Student Affairs made the decision to repeat the monologue for the third time next Wednesday, said Associate Dean for Student Affairs Travis R. Merritt. "This is probably going to be the last fling of it for a while. We had a pretty full house [on Wednesday] -- not as many as the time before, but it was pretty good." he said.
Merritt said he "would like to turn this into a regular event," and would like to see new talent from the campus and a diversity of topics and points of view.
But the event still "needs funding and approval from higher in the administration," he added. He hoped that it would be the first in a series, as the advertisements stated.
whose idea it was
Administrators differed in their stories over how the idea for the script originated. One administrator said Weinstein had approached the administration with the script and asked if something could be done with it.
Merritt said it was "suggested to [the ODSA] by the administration that [the ODSA] do something on awareness of date or acquaintance rape" during R/O Week. They then contacted Weinstein, talked about different possibilities and formed the script.
Weinstein, who has written several plays for Dramashop, said he talked to Moya L. Verzhbinsky, formerly of the UASO, and expressed an interest in being on the R/O skit committee. The administration asked him to write a play and gave him a list of topics including the freshman book reading, academics and campus rape. He wrote the script and then took it to the administration.
The monologue was originally planned to be run during R/O week, but Weinstein said that the "administration was weary [about the script] and we weren't ready yet." Weinstein said the script was "funny but the discussion on the first night fell through. I wish we had done it before rush, since it was oriented towards the freshmen."