This guy proudly embraces rape culture and isn’t afraid to show it

Courtesy Arizona Daily Wildcat/University of Arizona student  Dean Saxton shows his callous feelings on rape.
Courtesy Arizona Daily Wildcat/University of Arizona student Dean Saxton shows his callous feelings on rape.

Don’t we all just love these college-aged, usually white cis ultra-conservative males who feel the need to fully display their stupidity by declaring how edgy and anti-mainstream they are?

Yeah, I don’t either. Anyway, some dude at the University of Arizona thought it would be cool to show up to an anti-rape rally earlier this week with a sign saying “You Deserved Rape.” Dean Saxton, a junior majoring in religious studies, apparently preached a message to onlookers of his one-man show.

Saxton, a junior studying classics and religious studies, said his sermon was meant to convey that “if you dress like a whore, act like a whore, you’re probably going to get raped.”

“I think that girls that dress and act like it,” Saxton said, “they should realize that they do have partial responsibility, because I believe that they’re pretty much asking for it.”

How cute. Yet another privileged college-aged cis straight white guy is utilizing his privilege and claiming to be the ultimate authority on everything taking it upon himself to tell women how they can and should avoid rape. Yet another tool who hides behind the “Just don’t dress like a whore and guys will leave you alone” line that rapists have proven time and again to have no impact on men who rape.

It should be noted that Saxton is reveling in his new found fame and glory. He is proud of the fact that he would rather blame rape victims — as opposed to, you know, actual rapists who commit rape — than to take on the larger problem of society condoning and tolerating men who rape and the rape culture that backs them.

Saxton is yet another rape culture apologist who hides behind his religion and Bible to repeat a blame-the-victim message that shifts the attention away from the anti-social behavior of rape and rape culture. Rather than offer up real solutions to tackle rape  — such as teaching men to respect women’s boundaries and, most of all, not to commit rape — he’d rather resort to rape culture’s favorite fall back mechanism: blaming and shaming.

Said blaming and shaming latently promotes the notion that boys will be boys and men will be men, and women should just deal with the probability that they will be raped. Said acceptance harkens back to society’s acceptance that masculinity somehow goes hand-in-hand with violence towards women. As if masculinity, manhood, boyhood and male heterosexuality is not legitimate without some form of degradation towards women.

So, instead of challenging the subconscious acceptance that men and boys’ primal desires lie in acting out violence towards women, we instead place the burden of preventing and warding off rape on women and girls. This deflecting of the issue allows rape culture to flourish and even go undetected as men and women like Saxton will continue to perpetuate the myths that women have the sole power to stop rape.

There were some folks who criticized the college newspaper for reporting on Saxton’s antics, as this Buzzfeed article noted. The newspaper explained its decision here. I personally think the newspaper did the right thing by exposing bigots such as Saxton; while said exposure does give pro-rape culture backers like Saxton more publicity, they also have a greater chance to eventually take full responsibility for the hate they spew. It’s stories like this — and blog posts such as these — that take these people to task and make them accountable for the racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, misogynistic, sexist messages they broadcast to the public.

It would be hard for Saxton to explain this photo ten years down the road once he goes job hunting. It would be hard for him to explain to his daughter why he believed women and girls are responsible for their rape and not the rapist who raped her. Shit like this just don’t go away once he graduates college, so he’ll be left holding his bag and left trying to explain why he readily embraced such misogynistic bullshit.