“You Deserve Rape” sign draws controversy

Milla Impola

If your goal is to challenge rape culture on your campus and start conversations around mental and sexual health, one thing you ought to avoid is holding a sign that says “You Deserve Rape” and yelling at fellow students.

Yet this is exactly what Dean Saxton — also known as Brother Dean Samuel — decided would be the best way to preach to fellow students at The University of Arizona about rape.

According to the Arizona Daily Wildcat, Saxton is known for preaching on campus against people who are gay, have pre-marital sex, masturbate or have lustful thoughts, telling them they belong in hell. 

Most recently, Saxton preached before the event “Take Back the Night,” a march by students to protest sexual violence against women for April’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month. 

“If you dress like a whore, act like a whore, you’re probably going to get raped,” Saxton said in an Arizona Daily Wildcat interview. “I think that girls that dress and act like it, they should realize that they do have partial responsibility, because I believe that they’re pretty much asking for it.”

In a YouTube video posted online, Saxton held up his “You Deserve Rape” sign and literally yelled at women passing by. 

“Those shorts are degrading you slut,” Saxton yelled, saying that a female walking by “deserved rape” because of the length of her shorts. 

Saxton also told female students walking by that “no dad would let their daughter dress like a whore” because “U of A is full of rapists.” 

Although Saxton’s rants are almost unbearable to watch, the multitude of students, including men, who spoke out against Saxton’s bullying and sexist rants shows the willingness of students to stand up against those who perpetuate rape culture.

After phone calls and multiple complaints to the school, University of Arizona spokeswoman Jennifer Fitzenberger released a statement to The Huffington Post, which said, “The University of Arizona does not endorse or condone the message of the campus speaker — in fact, it considers it to be vile and repugnant. However, because universities in particular are bastions for free speech, even when it is offensive, The University of Arizona will uphold the right of this speaker and all others to engage in constitutionally protected speech on its campus. Should the University receive complaints or otherwise become aware of allegations of misconduct that fall outside the realm of constitutionally protected speech, it will investigate and deal with them as appropriate.”

Yet, when his sign was so offensive and sexist and helped perpetuate rape culture and gender-based stereotypes, it is unbelievable that Saxton’s bullying of other students was allowed to continue. 

And despite the myriad of negative reactions he sparked on campus that day and the continued criticism on his Twitter page, Saxton is planning to continue his ranting. On Monday night, he tweeted, “U of A beware you deserve bad things,” and that he plans to continue his preaching on campus Tuesday because his fellow students “deserve judgment.”

Wrong, Saxton. No one deserves to get raped.