I attend Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. You may know it as David Letterman’s alma mater – that’s our biggest “claim to fame.”
But Letterman has some competition for “most well-known sexist with Ball State connections” in the form of the Ball State Ass Slapper.
Yesterday, everyone on campus received the following public safety notice:
“University Police are reporting two complaints of assault following incidents at approximately 8:00 a.m. this morning, April 7, in the vicinity of Worthen Arena and the Student Health Center. According to Assistant Chief Robert Fey, two women walking in the area reported being slapped on their buttocks by a white male as he rode past them on a bicycle.”
One of the victims was a student, the other a faculty member. According to this article in the campus newspaper, the man didn’t just slap their asses, he groped them. Then, he assaulted one of them further by giving them the finger and turning back around and yelling, “I love you!”
What’s most revolting about the response to this, which includes a suddenly very popular Facebook fan page for the Ball State Ass Slapper (he currently has about 5,500 fans). The incident has become some huge joke, and even people who I expected more from are becoming fans.
Even worse, I saw some of the following comments regarding the Ass Slapper:
“I feel that if The Ass Slapper is ever caught, he will die. From high fiving.”
“He smacked a 33 year old? Extra points for him to bag a cougar.”
“I bet he didn’t give her the finger. She didn’t say anything about that until today lol.”
“not sure which is worse, the guy actually slapping their asses or the chicks calling the cops on him?? ass slapper, you can slap my ass any day brother.”
“The Ball State Ass Slapper is my idol. The two girls that told are the DEVIL. The one that didn’t deserves a really big cookie.”
“does anyone know how these girls were dressed?”
Also, the pictures are mostly of men spanking women. And I’ve heard tell that next week we will have a campus-wide ass slapping day, which I really hope does not happen.
Most people played it off like they weren’t teasing the slapper’s victims, or making him out to be a hero. They were just making fun of the fact that Ball State “overreacted” by sending out those public safety alerts. As far as I know, they are obligated to do that any time an incident is reported. Besides, many of the comments on the fan page made it clear that the majority were honestly supporting the perpetrator. Frankly, I’m glad that the campus police told me about it, so I don’t see anything humorous about any aspect of this situation.
In fact, I am sickened by it. It’s assault no matter which way you slice it. And apparently the story is going nationwide, and I’m afraid it’ll be played for laughs. I’m almost certain David Letterman will pick it up and make a mockery of the situation and of the school. It’s embarrassing and infuriating.
ETA: This is getting a lot of attention (and every time I say that about a post, it suddenly decreases in popularity, but that’s kind of what I’m hoping for).
The bottom line is yes, I know that it’s a bit upsetting that Ball State won’t alert us about some serious things that happen in places like the Village. That sucks, a lot. But that doesn’t make this situation, or their reporting it to us, any less serious. Where do you draw the line between “ass groping” and sexual assault, since according to most, this isn’t sexual assault? I don’t see a line between the two. He didn’t slap these women, he grabbed them, and those that reported it felt uncomfortable about it. I believe that they didn’t do it for attention. One was a 30-something year old faculty member, so I’d expect more than that from them. They probably didn’t know it would erupt into something like this. I doubt the perpetrator even knew this would happen.
But can’t we just admit that it’s a slippery slope? If we’re laughing off tush slapping, then next we’re going to laugh it off when some person walks down the street grabbing girls’ breasts. Then we’ll laugh it off when another person starts grabbing at guys’ crotches. Next, it’ll just be “funny” when someone is walking around flashing students. Before you can blink, someone will get raped and then they’ll be told it was just a joke. It’s dangerous. We have to seriously consider the dangers girls face every time they go outside. The sexual assault, rape, and abuse statistics for America are insane. Every minute of every day in the U.S., a woman is raped. I know there’s a considerable gap between butt smacking and rape, but it is sexual assault, by definition, and if that’s a joke, then where do you draw the line? Let’s use our brains here, and show some maturity.