The Forum


Monday, Oct. 12, 2009 11:16 a.m.

Editorial: A shared responsibility for safety

The Hatchet’s editorial board looks at the lessons learned form two crimes committed within 24 hours or each other.

Last week, two serious crimes were committed within a 24-hour period. On Friday, an aggravated assault occurred in Duques Hall, when a man attacked another individual with a hammer. Only the night before, a male unaffiliated with the University was apprehended in Thurston Hall after allegedly entering five different rooms in an attempt to initiate sexual encounters. Both of these incidents exemplify ways that GW can improve security on its campus.

  • Rapedattufts

    “On Friday morning, in a case reminiscent of the “Georgetown Cuddler,” a man entered five rooms in Thurston Hall with the intent to initiate unwanted sexual encounters. This incident shows that students have a responsibility to keep themselves safe. The person apprehended in the case was signed into Thurston Hall, one of the only residence halls with around-the-clock security. He was then able to enter unlocked rooms, where the assaults took place. This is a valuable reminder of the necessity for students to lock their doors at all times and to take responsibility for guests you bring into residence halls.”

    Pretty crappy victim-blaming, there. These poor girls getting SEXUALLY ASSAULTS is a reminder that SEXUAL ASSAULTERS should be held accountable for their actions. Why should we use someone else’s trauma that was not their fault (they did not force him to assault them) as a “valuable reminder” ?

    Newsflash: When you talk about someone’s sexual assault or rape and then post “reminders” that insinuate that they could have avoided the assault, you are VICTIM BLAMING.

    How deplorable that we still live in a society where many think its okay to blame women for their sexual assaults.

  • Erin Shea

    Agreed. It’s always a wise idea to lock your door at night but an unlocked door is not an invitation to be sexually assaulted. Poor choice of words, guys.

  • Jim Hadstate

    That is MUCH worse than a ‘poor choice of words.” I thought all of the neanderthals had died out. I can see that they are alive and well at GW. You folks take victim blaming to a whole new level.
    Did you even read your own story? “…One of the only residence halls with round-the-clock security…” If this place had “round-the-clock security”, why in the Hell should thee students be responsible for locking their doors? It seems to me that GW has done a pretty abysmal job of providing “around-the-clock security”.
    And The Hatchet editorial staff has a pretty abysmal intellectual ability to reason these things out before they make total asses of themselves.

  • Liz

    The editors of this paper need to take a serious look at their use of language. The victim blaming is unacceptable.

    And calling the incident “unwanted sexual advances,” is also completely misleading and dismissive. “Unwanted sexual advances” are when a person at the bar makes an unwelcome pass. Breaking into a dorm room (and it IS breaking in, even if the door is unlocked) and forcibly kissing and woman and attempting to put hands down a her pants is sexual assault and nothing less.

    Watch your words. Writing like this, whether intentional or not, creates a culture where this behavior seems acceptable. When you preach about taking responsibility, look in the mirror first.

  • Cleaver

    This is truly offensive, irresponsible journalism. I am outraged at both the victim-blaming and the use of inappropriate language that obscures what happened. Someone trying to shove their hands down your pants is not an “unwanted sexual encounter” — it’s SEXUAL ASSAULT. Plain and simple.

  • Appalled

    Seriously? This is disgusting! And Jim has a good point – if the building was under “round-the-clock security” – doesn’t that make these assaults GW’s fault??? Or, I don’t know, the man who assaulted people?

  • Rach

    Ah for feck’s sake.

    “Sexual advances”?

    The writer clearly needs some journalists’ sensitivity training. I can’t believe anyone would interpret these events in this way. It’s surreal.

  • AnnoyedAlum

    Last year, the GW Hatchet angered students (including me at the time) by publishing a column blaming a woman’s date rape on her drinking and using it as “a reminder”. I had hoped that maybe they learned a lesson, although there was no indication of it at the time.
    I was right to be skeptical, as the Hatchet yet again resorts to victim-blaming. So, one more time- THERE IS NOTHING AT ALL that is an invitation to rape.
    The Hatchet has the opportunity to actually make a difference on GW’s campus, but with this they again showed they are only worth the Sudoku puzzle.

  • Josh

    There’s a huge difference between victim-blaming, and saying, “Hey, there are some things you could do/not do to avoid certain situations”