Opinions

Women’s group decries frat party

Imagine you are a 17-year-old woman and it is your first day in the dorms at Cal State Long Beach.

You exit your room and cannot help but notice a cute guy plastering fliers on the bulletin boards in the common room that read “CHERRY BUST 2008: Friday, September 5th: SAE House.”

The guy turns around and you notice his shirt reads, “We’re not pulling out until the Cherry Busts! Fall 2008 Sigma Alpha Epsilon.”

“Hey,” he says and smiles. “You new?”

“Yeah,” you reply, nervously.

“You should come to the welcoming party this Friday. It’s going to be the best party of the year,” he tells you.

That Friday, you find yourself at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house with your new roommate. Someone hands each of you a cocktail in red cups and you are quickly making a lot of new friends.

The alcohol is making you much more social than usual and all of the guys from SAE are so nice that they keep handing you more drinks. At some point, you and your roommate get separated and she is nowhere to be found.

The next day you wake up in a room you’ve never seen before and you don’t remember anything from the night before.

This hypothetical scenario helps to demonstrate just how dangerous this party can be. Mind you, this situation could be any college party. So what sets the Cherry Bust apart from the others?

Well, what does it mean to “bust a cherry,” or “hit it,” “tap it,” or “bang her” for that matter? Even the idea of “doing a chick” implies that the woman involved is being somehow conquered, is not participating, and in many cases, is being violently “screwed.”

In thinking about language, the idea of “busting” a piece of a woman’s body just does not sound mutual or consensual.

It definitely does not sound enjoyable for the human person that has been “busted.” We at the Women’s Studies Student Association have initiated an educational campaign to inform both women and men of the potential consequences of this party.

Surely, the party could just be a harmless and fun way to welcome new students to CSULB. We are not condemning the act of drinking, nor of having sex; these two acts can be enjoyable in a non-threatening social environment.

But this party is hostile toward women and is thrown with the intent to rape. Allow us to clarify: the legal definition of rape as per the California penal code prohibits sexual intercourse “when the person is incapable of giving consent because s/he is incapacitated from alcohol and/or drugs.”

In other words, you are a rapist if you get a girl — or any person — drunk and have sex with her/him. Sure, it’s possible that no one will be raped.

But if everyone is informed of the possible danger, and armed with the legal definition of rape, hopefully some illegal acts will be prevented — that would mean our campaign was successful.

The WSSA is affiliated with the Long Beach Sexual Assault Crisis Agency (SACA) and three members are state certified rape crisis counselors. If you have been sexually assaulted, please call the 24-hour sexual assault crisis hotline at 562-989-5900.

7 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Marina Wood

    Dear Michael Yee,

    Thank you for your interest in preventing rape. I urge you though Michael, imagine you are a 17 year old young woman. And yes, at 17 you are no longer a “girl.” I know, it is difficult to put yourself in a female’s position, but really, try. If you really still can’t, just picture your sister or your female friend as soon as she graduated high school. Ok. Now, do us all a favor and look up the statistics for rape. To help you out, they have been estimated at 1 in 3 to 1 in 4 women are raped in their lifetime. Now, the number one date rape drug is NOT ghb, it’s alcohol. This article is to inform both men and women that if someone is intoxicated then they cannot legally consent, something I think everyone who attends parties at all should know. If you would like any more information on how men can prevent gender violence please see our website at http://www.csulb.edu/org/college/wssa/. There you will find a top ten list of ways to help as written by anti-sexist educator Jackson Katz as well as a link to a video of a workshop on violence against women. I hope this is helpful to you.

  2. Avatar

    Read the article closer, Michael, and you’ll see Marina Wood and Erin Hale (I use their full names to be respectful, something you don’t seem to feel they are worthy of) write, “…have initiated an educational campaign to inform both women and men of the potential consequences of this party” and include a number to call at the bottom. Try calling it.

  3. Avatar
    Michael Yee

    I’ve been challenged, so let me go on a tl;dr rant for why I don’t like this article. Not heavy enough. Shock me. Make me scared. How many cherry bust parties are held every semester, what is % of rapes reported while at parties? What do the experts think about the percentages of this reportage? Is it higher than usual or way lower? Is there a distinction? Can the number of “cherry bust rapes” be ascertained, or are there too many party-related rapes? Is the number not reported separately? Maybe Hale and Wood can do some calculations for us and explain how many rapes they think are done. Whip me. Make me frenzied. Make me want to pick up my pitchfork and scream and yell and start setting fire to those frat houses where they host these parties. In fact, now that I’m on the topic, some history would make me even more interested. Because nothing happens in a vacuum. Nothing. Are these cherry bust parties a more official sanctioning of the old practice of putting gamma-hydroxybutyrate in drinks when young men order drinks for young women or when that young woman puts her drink down? Who knows? I’d like to know. I wouldn’t do the research on my own, but now that the Daily 49er has put it on the table, I want to read a short but effective article on the history, action to take, etc. And then, what do we do about it? This opinion promotes no action. Just contact WSSA. An educational mission? Are their seminars? Do you raid parties to tell women to get out and men to stop raping? How can I help? Should I talk to my male friends and ask them not to attend these parties? This comes off as bitterly sarcastic, but I am not very moved by this. Like I said, make me frenzied into taking some action, because I imagine this is an epidemic (or I cannot because no stats were presented). In fact, maybe my perception of cherry bust parties is completely wrong. I’m talking completely off-the-wall here, but maybe these so-called cherry bust parties are simply promoting good, clean fun. You seriously cannot let me think that the organizers of these parties would completely support and condone rape. I just don’t. As Godot from Phoenix Wright put it, once you’ve eliminated the impossible, what must remain is the truth. I can’t eliminate this as impossible because the Wood and Hale don’t present their viewpoint. I WANT you to debunk it. Prove me wrong. Say that I’m full of shit. Until then, let me present my antithesis. Maybe the promoters of the party don’t have alcohol at all, or if they do, there’s so little that all the people still have sound judgment. Maybe they want both parties to equally lose virginity. No? Is this wrong? Do they in fact promote rape? Tell me, how is the party hostile to women? Do the men ration the beer and give the women twice as much as the men? Do they institute quotas and make sure there are more women than men at the party? Please. I want to know. I know nothing, and as you can see, I’m making shit up because I am otherwise not informed. Finally, the article takes me right out. The article even STARTS by alienating the male audience. “Imagine you’re a 17-year-old girl.” I’m sorry, I can’t. (On an unrelated note, it would be statutory rape if that cute guy raped that girl, and if you’re 17 you’re not a woman, but a girl.) But on the topic, that takes me right out. For one, only gay guys would approach me to invite me to a party, and if the guy is gay, I don’t think that he’s going to be invited to a cherry bust party – or is he? At this point I’m losing interest and my eyes start fluttering, escaping, less interested in it. I think that ill-thought start just alienated half of the audience – making the less enthusiastic men even less interested in finishing the article and even the most concerned men puzzled and wondering when the article is going to pick up.

  4. Avatar
    Michael Yee

    I don’t have anything against women’s commentaries. I know this isn’t a news article, but I’m hardly convinced if the writer does not say what other people feel and then say why that view is wrong/incorrect/misguided. I think a good opinion does that – not only advance the writer’s viewpoint but also convinces me WHY that viewpoint is right. I’m writing from the perspective of someone who doesn’t have a clue of what kind of party that is or how the party hosters view it. Finally, I dislike it when people use the old “Well why can’t YOU do a better job of doing it if you don’t like it that much?!”

  5. Avatar

    Perhaps you need to read more commentary pages in a wider scope of publications to find that visiting articles are more singularly focused, Michael, much like letters to the editor and public service announcements. It almost seems like you have something against women’s magazines by the intonation of your commentary. Op-ed rarely requires quotes and responses from the other side because opinion is based on the writer’s perception, and by nature tends to be “one-sided.” Do use a huge and write some opinion pieces so we might be able to scrutinize your interpretations, rather than criticizing from the sidelines about what others believe.
    -Peace

  6. Avatar
    This IS an opinion piece.

    This IS an opinion piece. That is what Op Ed means. An Opinion Editorial.

  7. Avatar
    Michael Yee

    Did I read a PR piece from the WSSA? This is waht the Daily 49er publishes? I have no problems reading an article about why cherry bust parties are bad, but this reads like something I’d find in a women’s magazine, written in a first-person fashion, without any quotes or responses from the people who host these parties. That’s an opinion piece. This is just a one-sided piece promoting SACA and WSSA.

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