Planet Princeton

University Alums Speak Out Against`Princeton Mom’ for Comments About Date Rape

Patton
Patton

More than 100 member of Princeton University’s class of 1978 have written an open letter  to the Daily Princetonian, the student newspaper, criticizing “Princeton Mom” Susan Patton for her recent comments about date rape.

Patton, a graduate of the class of 1977 who was the president of her class at Princeton, lives in New York and has published a book called “Marry Smart: Advice for Finding the One.” In a December interview on CNN, she said acquaintance rape isn’t rape and called it  a “learning experience.”

The alumni said they felt it was necessary to speak up about sexual assault and rape in response to the undue repeated attention the media has given to the self-proclaimed Princeton Mom.

“We believe we speak for the great majority of Princeton moms and dads, as well as alumni who do not have children, in saying rape in general — and date rape in particular — is inexcusable, rape survivors deserve our help and support and anyone who sexually assaults another person should be prosecuted legally,” reads the letter.

“Unfortunately, the Princeton name continues to be associated with the Princeton Mom’s views. In a recent CNN interview, she belittled accusations of rape as merely the aftermath of a `clumsy hookup’ and called sexual assault a `learning experience’ for young women who drink too much alcohol or who don’t fend off their attackers by explicitly telling them to `stop and leave’,”  reads the letter. “To fail to challenge such views damages decades of efforts to help women come forward after being sexually assaulted. It suggests to college women — indeed to all women — that it is really their fault that they were raped.”

The alumni say that while all rapes are violent crimes, rapes are particularly disturbing when college students violate the trust of people they know.

“The mix of social pressure, alcohol and drugs, misguided beliefs about entitlement and power, and unclear messages from peers about what constitutes appropriate approval for sex all contribute to this phenomenon. Rape survivors may have years of post-traumatic stress disorder, lack of trust in others, depression and anxiety; long-term effects can be exacerbated when the rape is committed by a date or an acquaintance,” reads the letter.

“We know this first-hand — some of us from personal experience at Princeton and elsewhere and others from the experiences of our children and friends,” reads the letter. “And while we know that Princeton, like many other colleges and universities, has been struggling to find the right balance between the rights of the accused and protections for the victims, we believe that for far too long the attitudes of the so-called `Princeton Mom’ have pervaded many campuses, even if not spoken as loudly.”

In March 2014, the Daily Princetonian quoted the Princeton Mom as comparing a woman who gets raped to someone who doesn’t look both ways before crossing the street and gets hit by a car. More than 200 faculty members signed an open letter to the paper deriding her comments and expressing their support for survivors of sexual assault on campus. Numerous groups, including the University’s Men Against Violence Resources and Intervention Project and the editorial board of the Daily Princetonian, spoke out. In response to Patton’s December comments about date rape, U.S. News & World Report asked why CNN allowed the Princeton Mom to air her insulting views.

“Yet the wider world continues to see this woman dressed in orange and black associating her out-of-touch personal beliefs with our alma mater,” reads the letter. “We — along with many other alumni — see these views as outrageous and unworthy of being associated with Princeton.”

The letter asks the Princeton administration to continue its efforts to create a campus climate where all accusations of sexual assault are treated with the seriousness they deserve, and invites everyone who shares the letter signers’ views to raise their voices and join with them.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

  • Martha Bartha

    I wanna learn. Are you available?

Events Calendar

« August 2017 » loading...
M T W T F S S
31
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
1
2
3

Instagram

  • The book sale at the Princeton Public Library is in full swing. So crowded it's hard to move around. Sale today and tomorrow.#princeton #books

Follow Us

Events Calendar

« August 2017 » loading...
M T W T F S S
31
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
1
2
3
%d bloggers like this: