Letter to the Editor: R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

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    Karen Redmon

    Memphis

    As I walked down University Parkway with two friends a few days ago, a horn shattered the relative quiet of our surroundings and startled my roommate so badly that she jumped about a foot.

    We laughed the nervous laugh of relief as the car sped past us down the street. The first time this occurred it was surprising, the second experience was annoying and the third was just plain aggravating. By the end of our walk, we had become desensitized to the loud screaming of horns and the lewd faces through the windows.

    Though some may consider this type of thing a compliment, I came to college to get away from the immaturity of elementary school.

    Not that elementary school was a bad thing — I still miss nap time and recess — but the days when it was expected — maybe even accepted — for boys to push the girl they liked to the concrete on the playground have passed.

    Honking a car horn, like pulling the braids of the girl who sat in front of you in first grade, may be an effective attention-getter, but what kind of attention is it really getting?

    Car honking is just one example of the regressive behavior exhibited on campus. Another incident occurred as several of my friends strolled back to the dorms after bowling on a Monday night only to be pegged by a group of college-age boys with water balloons and shaving cream.

    What of those girls who shout cat calls at attractive guys, or the guys who hold up signs saying “10” or “I know that milk does a body good, but how much have you been drinking?” to the girls who pass by their dorm windows?

    Don’t get me wrong, everyone that I know, including myself, likes to get compliments; however, what is the line between friendly compliments and harassment?

    With the recent rapes and attempted rapes that have occurred by campus, we must all be more careful of exactly what message we are trying to relay.

    I am from Memphis, and after my senior prom, I went with my date and two of our friends downtown.

    Downtown Memphis is not a pretty sight at two in the morning. Shouts of drunken men — “Fifty dollars!”– came toward us, and needless to say, my friend and I walked very closely to our dates as we hurried back to the car.

    I remember the complete and utter fear that pulsated through my heart. “What do these drunk men have to do with anything?” you may be asking.

    The same kind of fear can be inflicted by the comments or actions, which many consider harmless. They may be joking or making a feeble attempt at a compliment, but such comments and actions do not always come from someone with such good intent.

    So, the next time you run into a “hot” guy or girl, take the words of Aretha Franklin to heart: “All I’m asking is for a little respect.”

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