Monday, March 03, 2008

The Campus Rape Myth

Heather Mac Donald in the City Journal on The Campus Rape Myth.

It's a good read that basically echoes my own college experience. I still remember my student orientation special seminar on rape and sexual assault. We watched this video where a young college girl went to a frat party, got drunk, and went upstairs with some frat guy to his room where he raped her. It was stupid and cliche and I remember thinking at the time that I had seen better movies on the Lifetime network. When the presenter asked for thoughts and opinions on what we had seen, I raised my hand and suggested it wasn't a good idea for the girl to go upstairs with that guy. Apparently that was the wrong answer, and the woman running the seminar told me so. We weren't supposed to blame the victim.

It was my first venture into the p.c. world of college anti-rape culture, the first of many experiences that led me to abandon the more liberal ideas of my youth. What's so fascinating about the anti-rape political movement (and it is a political movement, although I'm not sure that the movement actually understands itself) are the kernels of troublesome truths amid the p.c. laden "1 in 4 college women will be raped" manual. That 1 in 4 number may be compelling, but as the story points out, it's not accurate. The majority of woman in the 1 in 4 stat don't even consider themselves to have been raped- the definition of rape is so broad that it includes drunken one-night stands that seem to be after-the-fact mistakes. Rape is a real issue, one that I think is trivialized by faulty statistics and university sexual assault boards. Rape is a criminal offense and should be handled as such- grouping girls who made poor choices with actual victims of sexual assault seems to marginalize real victims more than anything else.

Additionally, there's a startling lack of concern with personal responsibility. The anti-rape groups seems to take any mention of personal responsibility as an affront to their mission, rather than a means of educating young people about safe and responsible behavior. You don't have to be a wacko conservative to point out the dangers of intimate encounters with people you don't know and trust. As the article points out, the anti-rape movement exists at the weird intersection of women's empowerment and sexual liberation.

I remember being at that orientation- when I was only 18 years old- and realizing the flaws of what they were trying to indoctrinate in me. I didn't need a lecture to know rape and sexual assault were wrong and I didn't need a lecturer to tell me that personal responsibility was part and parcel of being a college student (or at least a female college student). Somehow, this nonsense still thrives today, and I wonder whether it's done anyone a bit of good.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The hysterical, screeching reaction among radical gender feminists to the news that college campuses are not being overrun with evil male predators is breathtaking. One would think that they would take this as GOOD news, but alas, they can't be happy unless an entire gender is being disparaged as rapists-in-waiting. Just like they were crushed when it turned out three lacrosse players did NOT rape a woman at Duke University.

I've got news for them. Men don't like being generally characterized in a way they know is not true. And students on campus ain't buying it.

With no authority beyond hysterical ipse dixits, radical feminists resort to personal attacks on Ms. MacDonald and screech and moan that “there MUST be a crisis!” Why? Well, rape is the most underreported of all crimes. We know it's underreported because no one is reporting all these rapes that must be occurring. Which proves, of course, that rape is rampant on campus.

Get it?

As Ms. MacDonald points out, the radical feminist mantra that a sizable percentage of college men are rapists is premised on a discredited study finding that a fifth to a quarter of all college women will be raped or will be the targets of attempted rape by the end of their college years. Not only is this conclusion absurd on its face, but it was based on a study where the vast majority of the women who were supposedly raped admitted that even they didn’t think they’d been raped. One wonders how the purported assailants could have known they were committing rape if their “victims” didn’t even realize it. Oh, I get it: this is one of those "secret" crimes that no one knows about, except the radical gender feminist. Moreover, the study that radicals rely on to support their conclusion is so flawed one could write a book about it. Let's just say its math is based on this premise: if you roll a die six times you are guaranteed to get a six. Anyone who has studied the "study" knows what I'm talking about.

And what, pray tell, does that one-in-four stat say about males? That we belong to a terribly flawed, in fact evil gender. What other class of persons would tolerate being depicted in this way?

No fair-minded person believes this nonsense, and we've got news for you -- a lot of people who never took women's studies classes in college are now, for the first time ever, becoming aware of the lies through the magic of the Internet -- and they aren't putting up with it.

1:13 PM  
Blogger lonely libertarian said...

Strong words, but I can't say I disagree. It's actually a smaller part of a larger problem in today's political discourse. How do you oppose this politicalization of rape without coming across as a jerk?

It's really no different than when "the children" are invoked as the reason for some political position- I mean, how can anyone be against the children?

When people position themselves as being opposed to rape and being all for "taking back the night"

10:28 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home