to the boys of yale

The reason for this letter. Chant.

Dear Men of Yale:

Well. I guess you all find yourselves in a heap of shit this morning don’t you. Another one of those bad decisions you wish you could take back? Who started that chant anyway? Can you even remember?

I doubt any of you actually meant a single word that was coming out of your mouth. Didn’t realize the magnitude of your words. I’d also bet, a lot of you didn’t want to be chanting it. You knew it was wrong, but what are you to do? It is a fraternity and you need to get in and fit in.

Oh. I get it.  I have three boys myself. You should know, they are all good kids. Every one of them. But? Sometimes they do things that make me wonder how I could have possibly raised them with morals or values. Just the other day, one of my boys said, “No means yes mom.”

I hastily responded, “Don’t ever say that again and NO it doesn’t. No means NO. And? What you just said is called RAPE.”

“Lighten up mom. I’m just kidding,” he responded. We had a conversation about humor and certain things not being funny. No. Matter. What. But? I don’t probably need to explain that to you. I am sure this morning you are painfully aware how NOT FUNNY your words were.

So you see. I know you aren’t bad kids, for the most part. Because I know mine are good and sometimes just misguided and need a kick in the ass. I also know they look up to you college boys. And? Look at the damage you just did to my message.

I am sure your mothers all cried themselves to sleep last night, horrified by your actions. “What did I do wrong?” They wondered.

They are probably all sorts of embarrassed by your behavior. Because let’s be clear, your actions are a direct reflection of us, your mothers.

It is, in fact, our job as mothers to teach you to respect women. Because, if not us? Who else? Not that your dad’s don’t remind you of it’s importance, I am sure most of your fathers have told you to respect women over the years. But. We mothers? We should make sure it is ingrained in you.

Which I must say is a bit of an uphill battle these days. With music calling us whores, talking about beating us and taking advantage of us while we sleep. And holy crap, the teenage girls all sexed out in the media and the overwhelming amount of celebrities and sports figures treating women like hell? The message has gotten quite grey.

So. Let me take the time to remind you of some things. I promise, I am almost finished. Stay with me a few more paragraphs. It’s the least you can do. Also? I hope that I have properly conveyed to you, that I am not judging you. I am, however, asking that you take this moment to grow. To gain an understanding of the words you used.

What you were actually saying, when you chanted your little ditty, “No means yes,” is that you support rape. Hell. You were calling for it. Each and every one of you stood there chanting over and over, RAPE IS GOOD, RAPE IS GOOD. Are we all clear on that now?

I ask you now to imagine looking your mother in the face and chanting those words with the same excitement and enthusiasm. How does that feel to you? Yelling it in her face?

Did those of you with sisters think about the message you were sending her? Imagine your sister with her boyfriend and as she is screaming, “NO,” over and over, her boyfriend is chanting your words in his head, “No means yes.” Still think no means yes?

What about your girlfriend? Each and every one of you that stood there chanting. Would you really rape her? Would you continue if she said, “NO?” Still think no means yes?

One day some of you will have daughters. And then? You will truly grasp what your words meant. Your sweet baby girl, out on a date with her boyfriend. When she comes home crying and destroyed because her boyfriend didn’t listen to her when she said, “NO.” You will remember those words you stupidly chanted in college that one fateful day.

You have a chance, all of you, to right the wrong. Apologize. Create a campaign that the boys of Yale know that “No means No.” Write papers on the topic.

You, intelligent men, of Yale. Make something good out of what you did. Not just because you got caught. Because you are genuinely sorry for your actions. Because you respect women. Because you would NEVER want a teenage boy to hear your words and act on them.

But mostly? Because you are men now. And real men? They respect women.

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