Today in some of the worst news for intersectional feminism ever, a new study found that white female college students are less likely to help their Black peers who are at risk of rape.
The study was recently published in The Psychology Of Women Quarterly, and it involved a group of white undergraduate women. According to psychology news site PsyPost, 160 white female undergraduates were given a story about a potential rape scenario — a sober male escorting an obviously drunk woman into a bedroom at a party.
The only difference in the way the stories were related each time was the woman character's name: Sometimes it was Laura, and sometimes it was LaToya.
The verdict? When the intoxicated woman in the study story was presented as having a supposedly Black-sounding name, the white women participants said they would be less likely to intervene and help. This may be the worst of all the many blatant racial inequalities to which the phrase "disappointed but not surprised" still, appallingly, applies.
"We found that although white students correctly perceived that Black women were at risk in a pre-assault situation, they tended not to feel as personally involved in the situation," explained the study authors Christine Merrilees and Jennifer Katz of SUNY Geneseo.
The authors told PsyPost that because "many colleges rely on bystander education as a primary method for preventing sexual assault, in order to encourage more prosocial inclinations, we need to know when and why students aren’t inclined to intervene."
Both Merrilees and Katz said there was a caveat to their study: The "participants were responding to scenarios rather than actual events in which they witnessed risk for sexual assault." Even still, the main conclusion her, they explained, was that colleges need to "explicitly address the role of race and ethnicity in bystander intervention because a failure to do so disadvantages students of color on predominantly white campuses."
Do we even need to say it? It's time to shape up and speak out. With Title IX potentially on the line, bystander intervention in cases of potential sexual assault is more important now than ever before.