University event says men can prevent rape through taco runs

A student event at Arizona State University suggested that intoxicated men just grab tacos with friends in order to prevent rape.

The event, sponsored by the student group I Always Get Consent, made the claim that teaching women self-defense techniques perpetuates “rape culture” and advised men to tell their drunken buddies at the bar that a woman is ugly to prevent him from going home with her and raping her.

“How many of you guys have been at a party or been with friends, and might be under the influence and someone suggests food?” said Kat Hofland, who headlined the event. “If you are drunk and someone says, let’s go get tacos, everyone is up and moving to get the food, right?”

Alternatively, Hofland, an ASU student, said that people could try to persuade intoxicated male friends that the girl he is talking to is “ugly” and “not worth sleeping with.” She also suggested the audience just be that “annoying friend” and follow the intoxicated male around until he becomes frustrated and gives up his pursuit.

“You don’t want to have drunk blacked-out sex” said Hofland, “Just wait until the morning for some awesome morning sex.”

Hofland blamed the popular song, “ Blurred Lines” and rape jokes for perpetuating rape culture in everyday events and details. She also claimed that teaching women self-defense techniques such as fashioning a weapon out of keys by sticking them between knuckles, possessing pepper spray, fighting back against an attacker, and consistently being aware of one’s surroundings contributed to rape culture.

“We should be telling people not to rape people,” she said. “All these things we tell women to do...they don’t bring down the number of rapes that happen. They don’t.”

“We get a lot of messages about how to ‘protect yourself from rape’ when that’s an unrealistic expectation.” Hofland told Campus Reform in an interview. “Things that we hear all the time about protecting ourselves don’t help because they’re based off of a false idea of what sexual violence looks like.”

Other events throughout the week included a “consent lemonade stand,” a “consent fair,” and “consent swimming” held on each of ASU’s four campuses.

Laurie Latham, a certified “Fight Like a Girl” instructor in the Phoenix area, takes issue with some of Hofland’s statements. As a police officer for 15 years, she says that while education is vital in changing the attitude of rape and violence, it is unwise not to include self-defense strategies.

“To me, it makes absolutely no sense to say teaching self-defense perpetuates rape culture,” said Latham. “While men absolutely play a [sic] important role in terms of education and attitudes, we still need to train for the worst case scenario.”

“If we are a culture that is serious about stopping domestic abuse and rape, we need to stop it before it happens,” she continued.

Consent Week received funding both indirectly and directly from ASU. A source with knowledge of the organization’s funding confirmed to Campus Reform that the Educational Outreach and Student Services paid entirely for advertisements such as posters and flyers, costing $850 to supply only three of the four campuses.

The Residential Hall Association (RHA), an organization backed by residential student fees and focuses on event and community building for on-campus residents, paid for the catered meal, a source within the organization confirmed to Campus Reform.

Other fees were paid for by sponsors such as the Young Democrats, genderWHAT?!, and Vox: Voices for Planned Parenthood—all of which are eligible to receive club funding through ASU’s Associated Students of Arizona State University (ASASU) a campus organization funded by student activity fees.

ASASU told Campus Reform that club appropriations are private at this time.

According to ASU campus resources, I Always Get Consent’s purpose is “[t]o expand individual, group, and institutional capacity to openly address sexual violence and contribute to a safe and respectful campus environment.” The club also assists in lecturing and providing material for the fall semester freshmen class.

In 2012, ASU reported a total 19 sexual assaults in its most up-to-date crime report according to the Arizona Republic. A recent campus poll also revealed that 1,080 female students—around 3 percent—reported that they were victims of sexual assault within the past year.

In a recent school-wide email to students, President Michael Crow stated that sexual violence is a “national problem” that “has a profound impact on a victim’s academic, social, and personal life, and negatively affects the experiences of their friends and families, other students, and all members of the university community.”

Crow also announced in the e-mail that all enrolled at ASU are required to take a mandatory online class called “Consent and Respect.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @LaurenLouClark