The Georgia Tech student accused of encouraging his fraternity brothers to find “rapebait” at parties issued a public apology Thursday.
“I am deeply sorry for the pain and embarrassment my actions and lack of judgement have caused the students at Georgia Tech and my Phi Kappa Tau brotherhood, as well as those who otherwise came into contact with the email,” the student, identified only as Matthew, wrote in a letter sent via email to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“As hard as it may be to believe, it was written as a joke for a small audience that understood the context and that it is not my nor my fraternity’s actual beliefs on the subject,” the email said.
The apology, also posted on the campus newspaper’s website, came three days after the student’s email went viral online as it spread through social media, resulting in numerous media reports. The original email, sent to Phi Kappa Tau members, was written as a how-to guide for using alcohol to lure women for sex.
The writer warned “no raping,” but included the phrase “in luring the rapebait.” The university said it learned about the email Sept. 18 and continues to investigate the situation. The Phi Kappa Tau fraternity placed itself on probation and suspended the member accused of sending the email.
By then, the damage had been done. The email brought negative publicity to the school and angered some students and alumni.
In his apology, the writer said it was intended as a joke, albeit not a good one.
“Misogynistic behavior is everywhere online and unfortunately, my attempt to ridicule it in an immature and outrageous satire backfired terribly and in a manner I mistakenly underestimated,” the apology states. “I am both embarrassed and ashamed at this dialogue and realize now that any sexual statement that is demeaning to women is never a joke.”
Although the email to the Tech fraternity may appear to be an isolated event, attitudes presented in it likely speak to a larger problem among college-age people, said Jamie Utt, a consultant in sexual violence prevention.
“Whether or not he was serious or joking, it is reflective of a certain mindset,” said Utt, who frequently speaks to college students across the country. “We have some serious work to do with all men.”
Educating students in avoiding sexual violence is key to changing that mindset, Utt told The Atlanta Journal Constitution.