Our Readers Respond

Tuesday, April 6, 2004

Letters to the Pilot

No skirting the issue


My short skirt is not an invitation, a provocation, an indication, that I want it, or give it, or that I hook. My short skirt is not begging for it, it does not want you to rip it off me or pull it down. My short skirt is not a legal reason for raping me; although it has been before, it will not hold up in the new court. - (Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler)

These brilliant words were written by Eve Ensler and are part of a short monologue called "My Short Skirt" which is included in the play, The Vagina Monologues. I have come to find that these words are as true now as they were the day they were written.

I would like to know just what it is about a skirt that seems to give certain men the idea that they can have whatever is underneath it, without even asking permission. Case in point: on Saturday, March 13, 2004, I, a woman, attended a birthday party of sorts at a local bar here in Storm Lake. I, along with the rest of the women in my party wore skirts.

In all of the time that I have spent in that bar dancing and enjoying my weekends, I have never been inappropriately groped so much or heard so many coarse jokes and cat-calls directed at me as I did that night. I had my derriere groped and pinched, I was whistled at like a dog, and was even heard a man calling across the room a few inappropriate propositions. The only difference on the night of March 13 in comparison to all the other nights was that I was wearing a skirt.

I want it to be made known that women in skirts are not, I repeat not sex toys for the pleasure of men around them. Women are people and we deserve to be treated with respect, no matter what the circumstances are. Being drunk is not an excuse for poor decision-making... as a human, you are not an animal and are not unable to control your sexual function. You can control yourself. So keep your hands to yourself, unless otherwise asked.

There is one last argument that I have heard given as an excuse for this inappropriate behavior that I would like to address. "Well, if she's dressed like that, she's asking for it." WRONG! To ask for something, one has to explicitly request this "something" is wanted. Choice in clothing does not reflect on verbal statements. It is a free country and with this freedom is included the freedom to wear what one chooses. A woman may wear a short skirt as a declaration of confidence, and power. A woman may wear a short skirt as part of a group party ensemble, as was the case of the party on March 13. A woman may wear a short skirt just simply because she feels like it. A woman may wear a skirt because she enjoys a polite complement on her beauty. But it is illogical to believe in the unlikelihood that a woman would wear a short skirt as a way of asking to be sexually harassed.

Everyone, especially men who feel tempted to engage in disrespectful behavior towards women need to remember this: women are people. So please start treating us like it. ...And women, if you notice these sorts of inappropriate actions taking place around you, especially if it makes you feel uncomfortable, stand up for yourself...

- Danielle Payne, BVU, Storm Lake

Hospital alcohol may be good for business


I have been confused about all the recent controversy regarding alcohol being served in the Buena Vista Regional Christian Medical Center. Many people in this society do not know how to celebrate special occasions without drinking alcohol, so why shouldn't the hospital be part of this popular trend? Perhaps supporting and encouraging the consumption of alcoholic beverages somehow fits into the hospital's overall mission of promoting education, healthy lifestyles, and setting a good example for our youth.

Because increased alcohol usage leads to rising numbers of accidents and injuries, as well as other serious health problems, advocating more alcohol use could bring in more hospital patients. This would be very beneficial to hospital revenues, which the accounting department could view as a positive financial situation.

Nicotine and methamphetamine are also very popular vices nowadays, and maybe the hospital should further increase business by considering handing out cigarettes at the door and setting up a convenient meth lab somewhere in their facility, as well.

- A.Y. Wickstrom, Storm Lake

Backs tobacco tax hike


As a volunteer of the American Cancer Society, I'm writing you to encourage support for a $1 tobacco tax increase.

An increase in Iowa's tobacco tax by this amount is estimated to help 28,000 Iowa adults quit. To think a tax increase will help that many people quit this terrible addiction should be a great motivator for our community.

I think that if most people know what an impact this type of increase could have in the lives of their fellow community members, they would support this increase. A recent poll says the majority of Iowa's do support such as increase.

Please help save lives in Iowa by not only favoring a tobacco tax increase by $1 but also talking about the increase as a way to help Iowa's realize the impact it will have on the lives of 28,000 people saved by its passage.

- Joy Johnson, Storm Lake