All Sex is Rape
All Men are Rapists
Patriarchy = Rape Culture
These are the myths at the core of the modern Feminist movement.
“Rape culture” is a term tossed about with abandon by many, if not most, of the well-meaning rape victim support organizations and their spokespeople, to suggest that rape is too common and not treated with sufficient seriousness, and that this is because there are powerful cultural habits that support male aggression as well as institutional structures which overlook it and which hold women accountable for their own victimization.
It is true to state that America has a gun culture, given that our nation was carved out of Indian lands by firepower and wrested from the British Empire by force of arms, and that the US is the only democracy with a constitutional right to bear arms (though this right is generally misunderstood and abused – see The Real Second Amendment).
But there is no analogy, either in American history or US jurisprudence, to a culturally- or legally-recognized “right” to rape women (with, perhaps, the sole exception of slavery, in which both female and male slaves were legal property).
Yet few likely understand the origin and meaning of the term “rape culture”, emanating as it did from the most misandrist (male-hating) wing of the 2nd wave feminist movement of the 1970s – a wing which was also the most influential in changing society’s perceptions and laws.
In the 1970’s, a theoretical groundwork was laid that placed rape at the very heart of our culture. Rape became an expression of how the average man viewed the average woman. By the 1980’s, rape had become thoroughly politicized; it was viewed as a major weapon (perhaps the major weapon) by which patriarchy kept women in their place.
Sex is Rape
The opening paragraph of the New York Radical Feminists Manifesto reads:
“The act of rape is the logical expression of the essential relationship now existing between men and women.” (as quoted in Rape: The First Sourcebook for Feminists)
“Man’s discovery that his genitalia could serve as a weapon to generate fear must rank as one of the most important discoveries of prehistoric times, along with the use of fire, and the first crude stone ax. From prehistoric times to the present, I believe, rape has played a critical function. It is nothing more or less than a conscious process of intimidation by which all men keep all women in a state of fear.”
– Susan Brownmiller, Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape (1975), identified by the New York Public Library as one of 100 most important books of the Twentieth Century
In Against Our Will, Susan Brownmiller charts the history of rape from Neanderthal times through to modern man, and makes three basic and interconnected claims (as described in “The New Mythology Of Rape: Politicizing Women’s Pain“, by Wendy McElroy):
- rape is a part of patriarchy
- men have created a ‘mass psychology’ of rape
- rape is a part of ‘normal’ life
“Once we accept as basic truth that rape is not a crime of irrational, impulsive, uncontrollable lust, but is a deliberate, hostile, violent act of degradation and possession on the part of a would-be conqueror, designed to intimidate and inspire fear, we must look toward those elements in our culture that promote and propagandize these attitudes, which offer men…the ideology and psychological encouragement to commit their acts of aggression without awareness, for the most part, that they have committed a punishable crime, let alone a moral wrong.” – Brownmiller, p 391
“And if the professional rapist is to be separated from the average dominant heterosexual (male), it may be mainly a quantitative difference.” – Susan Griffin, “Rape: The All-American Crime”, Ramparts Magazine, September 1971
Andrea Rita Dworkin (1946 – 2005) was an American radical feminist and writer best known for her book Pornography: Men Possessing Women (1981), and one of the most influential proponents of the notion that patriarchy = rape culture.
“Marriage is an institution developed from rape as a practice… The penis must embody the violence of the male in order for him to be male. Violence is male; the male is the penis; violence is the penis.” – Andrea Dworkin, Pornography
In Andrea Dworkin’s 1987 book Intercourse, she argued that all heterosexual sex in our patriarchal society is coercive and degrading to women, and sexual penetration may by its very nature doom women to inferiority and submission, as it is a form of violent occupation of women’s bodies by men.
Dworkin was sexually abused at age 9, then again in jail for an antiwar protest, followed by a physically abusive marriage, which she left to become a prostitute before becoming an anti-pornography crusader. Her experience of men and sex is quite limited and quite biased, and yet her ideas have had considerable influence.
“The social requirements of heterosexuality… institutionalizes male sexual dominance and female sexual submission… For women it is difficult to distinguish [sex and rape] under conditions of male dominance.” – Catherine MacKinnon, Feminism, Marxism, Method, and the State: Toward Feminist Jurisprudence (1983)
“Satan-like, men possess women, making their wicked fantasies and desires women’s own. A woman who has sex with a man, therefore, does so against her will, even if she does not feel forced… I feel what they feel: man-hating, that volatile admixture of pity, contempt, disgust, envy, alienation, fear, and rage at men.” – Judith Levine, My Enemy, My Love: Man-Hating and Ambivalence in Women’s Lives (1992)
Dating as Rape
In their 1975 essay, “The Case of the Legitimate Victim”, Kurt Weis and Sandra S. Borges present the concept of dating as a form of male sexual exploitation over women:
“The dating system is a mutually exploitative arrangement of sex-role expectations which limit and direct behavior of both parties and determine the character of the relationship. Built into the concept of dating is the notion that the woman is an object which may be purchased.”
In their 1989 book The Female Fear, Margaret T. Gordon and Stephanie Riger do not recognize the possibility of consent within dating:
“The American dating system, which constitutes a primary source of heterosexual contacts, legitimizes the consensual ‘purchase’ of women as sexual objects and obliterates the crucial distinction between consent and nonconsent.”
Patriarchy & Rape – The Reality
In Deuteronomy 22:25-27, the punishment the Mosaic Law commanded for a man who raped a woman was to be killed by stoning while the woman was considered innocent.
Raptus ad stuprum, “abduction for the purpose of committing a sex crime”, was a crime in the late Roman Republic, arguably the pinnacle of patriarchy (in the anthropological sense). The Lex Julia de vi publica, recorded in the early 3rd century AD but dating probably from the time of Julius Caesar, defined rape as forced sex against “boy, woman, or anyone”.
The official position under the emperor Diocletian (reigned 284–305 AD) held that:
“The laws punish the foul wickedness of those who prostitute their modesty to the lusts of others, but they do not attach blame to those who are compelled to stuprum by force, since it has, moreover, been quite properly decided that their reputations are unharmed and that they are not prohibited from marriage to others.”
There was no Roman statute of limitations for rape, as there was for other violent crime. The rape of a freeborn male or a female virgin was among the worst crimes that could be committed in Rome, along with parricide (killing a parent) and robbing a temple. Rape was a capital crime, and the rapist was subject to execution, a rare penalty in Roman law.
While the Romans had viewed rape as a crime against the citizen’s body and liberty, the first Christian emperor, Constantine, redefined rape as a public offense rather than as a private wrong. Since under Roman law raptus could also mean cases of abduction or elopement without the head of household’s permission, Constantine ordered that if the girl had consented, she should be punished along with the male “abductor” by being burnt alive. If she had not consented, she was still considered an accomplice, “on the grounds that she could have saved herself by screaming for help”. As a participant to the rape, she was punished under law by being disinherited, regardless of the wishes of her family.
In Islamic law, the punishment for committing rape is death, there is no sin on the victim, nor is there any worldly punishment ascribed to her.
Even in warfare, rape of civilians was often outlawed or discouraged. According to the Roman jus gentium (“law of nations” or international law), inhabitants of a conquered town were spared personal violence if the war or siege ended through diplomatic negotiations. Rape, as an adjunct to warfare, was prohibited by the military codices of Richard II and Henry V (1385 and 1419 respectively). These laws formed the basis for convicting and executing rapists during the Hundred Years’ War (1337–1453).
Napoleon Bonaparte found rape committed by soldiers particularly distasteful. During his Egyptian Expedition, he declared that “everywhere, the rapist is a monster” and ordered that “anyone guilty of rape would be shot”.
Thus, the crime of rape was well-defined and strictly punished at the start of Hebrew monotheism (often associated with the rise of Patriarchy), in the supremely patriarchal Roman empire, and in Islamic law which is oft-condemned for institutionalized sexism. It was the rise of Christian political power which shifted the blame for rape to the woman, as an aberration within classical patriarchal cultures.
Rape Culture Meme
A meme is a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices that are the cultural analogues to biological genes in that they self-replicate, mutate, and respond to selective pressures, with their origins often disguised or forgotten. It is our cultural DNA.
“In the last few years, there has been an unfortunate trend towards blaming ‘rape culture’ for the extensive problem of sexual violence on campuses,” wrote the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), in a letter offering recommendations to the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. “While it is helpful to point out the systemic barriers to addressing the problem, it is important to not lose sight of a simple fact: Rape is caused not by cultural factors but by the conscious decisions of a small percentage of the community to commit a violent crime.”
RAINN expressed concern that emphasizing ‘rape culture’ makes “it harder to stop sexual violence, since it removes the focus from the individual at fault, and seemingly mitigates personal responsibility for his or her own actions”.
Feminists pushed back, pointing out that it shouldn’t be difficult to hold accountable the individuals who commit acts legally defined as rape, while we also discuss how prosecuting rapists is made difficult by those who blame victims and make excuses for men’s violence, all of which is related to the way our culture routinely glorifies other types of men’s violence (war, sports and action movies) and routinely presents objectified female bodies to men for sexual pleasure (pornography, Hollywood movies and strip clubs).
This illustrates the two competing extremes within the rape victim advocacy community. On one side are those who would lay all blame on the individual perpetrator (which necessarily eliminates any responsibility on the part of the woman – “It’s never her fault.”) and who militate for stricter laws, better enforcement, and educating men to re-socialize them toward a more respectful relationship with women. On the other side are the hardcore feminists who insist that the core of the problem is cultural, rooted in an ancient and continuous history of male domination of women by force, and that cultural revolution is the only real solution.
Neither side, however, recognizes that women play a role, either individually in their choices and actions or as part of a broader culture which turns sexual liaisons into a competitive sport with extremely confusing and ambiguous rules. It is either the man’s fault or the fault of an uninterrupted history of male domination (or both). Ironically, for both extremes, women have no personal agency beyond the power to say “NO”. Neither perspective recognizes a social context which makes confused, ambiguous and regretted sexual liaisons almost inevitable.
To illustrate the reality of “rape culture”, many advocacy groups point to the lifetime rate of sexual assault: 14.8% completed rape and another 2.8% attempted rape (Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences of Violence Against Women Survey, National Institute of Justice and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1998). This seems like a high rate of lifetime victimization, but it is never put in context of victimization by other crimes.
A recent New York Times article, “How Rare Is Crime?” (August 22, 2013), referred to the last study by the DOJ of lifetime rates of violent victimization (odd that there has not been a more recent such study).
In the 1980s, the Bureau of Justice Statistics tried to quantify the “lifetime likelihood of victimization,” by assuming that the American crime rate over that hypothetical lifetime averaged what it averaged from 1975 to 1984. (Those were, of course, high crime years.) The study calculated that at those rates, 83% of Americans could expect to be victims of an attempted robbery, rape or assault at least once as an adult; 40% could expect to be injured in a robbery or assault; 72% of households could expect to be burglarized and 20% could expect to have a car stolen, and 99% of the population (that is, everybody) could expect to experience some kind of personal theft.
These numbers don’t suggest that crime is a regular occurrence in law-abiding lives; it is not. But they suggest that it can be a normal occurrence, in the sense of being something that you have to be prepared for, something that you can reasonably expect to have to deal with at some point, and something that will definitely affect somebody you care about even if it doesn’t touch you directly.
In that study, “Lifetime Likelihood of Victimization” by Herbert Koppel, March 1, 1987, these were some of the calculated rates:
· all violent crime: 83% (men 89%, women 73%)
· assault 74% (men 82%, women 62%)
· robbery 30% (men 37%, women 22%)
· robbery or assault resulting in injury 40%
· personal theft 99%
· rape (female only) 8%
Given that the rates of all violent crime – including rape – have declined by about 50% since that era, and even acknowledging that rape may have been under-reported then, not only is rape victimization one of the least likely lifetime crime events but in all of the more common such crimes, men are more often victimized than are women. (And, if prison rape is included, men are more often the victims of rape than are women in the US – see Men are Twice Raped).
In fact, until 2013, the FBI definition of rape was “The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will” – rape of men was entirely ignored.
“Pity, wrath, heroism, filled them, but the power of putting two and two together was annihilated.”
These words are from E.M. Forster’s 1924 novel A Passage to India. He is describing the panic among “good citizens” following a highly dubious rape accusation. But he could have been talking about the current hysteria over the campus “rape culture”, based as it is on the myth that “1-in-5” women will be raped in their college career. (I’ve addressed the origin of that myth in both Yellow Journalism and the Meme of “Rape Culture” and New Puritanism – New Paternalism.)
While the “rape culture” meme was lingering in the core of feminist thought and on the fringes of popular perception for nearly half a century, in 2010, reporters at National Public Radio (NPR) teamed up with the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) to produce and promote a 104-page “investigative reporting series” entitled “Sexual Assault on Campus: A Frustrating Search for Justice”. This was not a scientific study, but a series of vignettes focused on a few notable stories. (In much the same fashion, the “documentary” The Hunting Ground presents a highly biased anecdotal view of the campus rape issue.)
The executive director of CPI, Bill Buzenberg, summed up the plight of millions of young women on campus in a single word: “Nightmare”. According to the report, serial predators were roaming free on college campuses, the occasional victim who finds the courage to report her attack is unlikely to secure justice, and more often than not she will be “re-victimized” by invasive, humiliating, and futile proceedings.
Should she turn to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the US Department of Education, the federal agency responsible for monitoring the Title IX education equity law, she is likely to be thwarted once again. The report depicts the OCR as a lazy, feckless watchdog that “leaves students at risk”.
The CPI report, “Sexual Assault On Campus: A Frustrating Search for Justice“, popularized the notion that “a culture of secrecy surrounds higher education’s handling of sexual assault cases”.
“The US Department of Education has failed to aggressively monitor and regulate campus response to sexual assault. The department has the authority to fine schools that fail to report crime on campus. In 20 years, the department has used that power just six times. And the department can also find that a school has violated a law that prevents discrimination against women. But between 1998 and 2008, the department ruled against just five universities out of 24 resolved complaints… even when men at those schools were found responsible for sexual assault, only 10% to 25% of them were expelled.”
The NPR/CPI report created a sensation. There had been news stories about campus rape before, but never by such a distinguished team of investigators. The findings were widely and uncritically reported and won multiple journalism prizes, including a Peabody Award (known as the Pulitzer Prize for radio), as well as the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Justice and Human Rights Reporting and the Dart Award for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma. But the greatest triumph was that the US Department of Education paid attention.
Russlynn Ali, a little-known Education Department official, was galvanized by the NPR/CPI findings. As the newly appointed assistant secretary for civil rights and head of the OCR, she was in charge of enforcing Title IX. When the NPR/CPI team presented her with their findings, Ali promised action: “We will use all of the tools at our disposal including… withholding federal funds… to ensure that women are free from sexual violence.”
Secretary Ali made good on her word. On April 4, 2011, she sent her now-famous Dear Colleague letter to colleges across the nation providing detailed guidelines on the draconian steps colleges should take to fight what she called a “plague” of sexual violence. Ali’s letter advised schools to determine guilt by the lowest standard – a preponderance of evidence. And it instructed them to take measures to minimize the burdens on complainants, but didn’t say a word about the rights of the accused. (from “The Media Is Making College Rape Culture Worse“, Christina Hoff Sommers, January 23, 2015).
“There is no evidence of a rape culture on the American campus,” said Christina Hoff Sommers, a self-described “equity feminist”. “The panic seems to be driven by a toxic combination of 1980s-style conspiracy feminism, along with the often-repeated but misleading ‘one in five women’ factoid”.
[The “rape culture” movement] is a movement that has capitalized on laudable sympathy for victims of sexual assault to promote gender warfare, misinformation and moral panic (“The Crusade Against ‘Rape Culture’ Stumbles“, By Cathy Young – December 23, 2014).
“…but the power of putting two and two together was annihilated.”
However, almost all the arguments being put forward by advocates – from student “survivor” groups to DOE/OCR policy-makers to state and US congresspeople who are proposing and passing new laws, all the way to the White House which has organized task forces to make this issue a national priority – are based on fictitious or misused and misleading “data”, just as the origin of the “rape culture” meme lies in the falsely-presented history of patriarchy, offered by self-described man-hating feminists to a gullible public of both women and sympathetic men.
In The ‘Rape Culture’ Lie (February 2, 2015), Heather Wilhelm, also addresses the origins and mythological quality of the notion of “rape culture”.
Heather Wilhelm is a weekly columnist for RealClearPolitics.com and a senior contributor at The Federalist. Her syndicated column appears in the Chicago Tribune, the Dallas Morning News, the Kansas City Star, and additional outlets nationwide. She is a regular contributor to Commentary magazine, and her work has also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Examiner, and National Review Online. Heather sits on the board of governors for Opportunity International, a Chicago-based microfinance group providing small business loans to impoverished entrepreneurs around the world. Previously, she served as a senior fellow at the Illinois Policy Institute, as a corporate communications associate at ABC Television, and as a writer at Fox News Online. In 2005, Heather received a Robert Novak Fellowship for her written work promoting constitutional principles, a democratic society, and a vibrant free enterprise system. Heather holds an MA in social sciences from the University of Chicago and graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a BA in English from Northwestern University.
Here is a summary version of her article:
“Rape culture” is a culture that normalizes, trivializes, and quietly condones male sexual assault against women, blaming female victims while subtly celebrating male predators.
The idea that one in five college women has or will be sexually assaulted is mind-boggling and horrifying. It’s also not true. As Slate’s Emily Yoffe pointed out in December 2014, the statistic…would “mean that young American college women are raped at a rate similar to women in Congo, where rape has been used as a weapon of war.”
Speaking of culture, what does it say about ours when such clearly preposterous statistics are so easily believed?
“Feminism”, as legal theorist Catherine MacKinnon wrote in a 1988 book, is “built on believing women’s accounts of sexual use and abuse by men”.
In 1968, a self-described “striver”, civil rights activist and journalist in New York City named Susan Brownmiller was a pot on the verge of a boil. Employed by the American Broadcasting Corporation on a freelance basis, Brownmiller “seethed in silence” (as she would later recall in a memoir) over her seemingly dead-end, gender-restricted career options, particularly her failure to reach the status of on-air television correspondent. ABC, she was informed, “already had a woman” in that capacity, and that was more than enough. “I was a woman,” Brownmiller wrote, “in a defiantly male preserve.”
One night she shuffled into a meeting of the New York Radical Women, a “consciousness-raising” crew peppered with socialists, antiwar activists, and feminists. Two weeks earlier, the group had gained notoriety by ambushing the Miss America pageant (the nation’s most “degrading mindless-boob-girlie symbol”) and inaugurating the concept of “bra-burning”.
That first meeting with the New York Radical Women, Brownmiller later wrote, was “my feminist baptism, my swift immersion in the power of sisterhood”. It also sowed the seed for the hugely successful and influential book she would write just seven years later. Released in 1975, Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape became a national bestseller, gaining critical acclaim – the New York Times Book Review labeled it “monumental” and “chilling” – and standing as a classic in feminist circles for years to come. Brownmiller didn’t invent the term “rape culture” – that credit is largely given to Rape: The First Sourcebook for Women, a compendium published in 1974 – but she certainly paved the way for the concept’s impressive growth and emerging power over the next 40 years.
Brownmiller’s historical observations include the claim that gang rape “must have been” one of “the earliest forms of male bonding”, the declaration that “Little Red Riding Hood” is a “parable of rape”, and, as she famously put it: “From prehistoric times to the present, I believe, rape has played a critical function. It is nothing more or less than a conscious process of intimidation by which all men keep all women in a state of fear” [emphasis added].
In a speech to…the regional meeting of the “anti-sexist” National Organization for Changing Men, the radical feminist Andrea Dworkin would take this idea to its logical endpoint: “We are very close to death. All women are. And we are very close to rape….Men are doing it, because of the kind of power men have over women.” Dworkin’s conclusion: “Men are very dangerous.”
Decades after Brownmiller’s 407-page opus and Dworkin’s damning speech, buoyed by dozens upon dozens of “rape culture” essays… according to a database compiled by A Voice for Male Students, there are at least 57 pending legal cases filed by accused young men who claim they were railroaded by a false rape charge, their due-process rights thrown out the door. This number will, no doubt, continue to grow.
“We’ve been around for 15 years,” says Joe Cohn, the legislative and policy director at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), “and we started seeing this issue as a priority in 2011” – the same year that “rape culture” began to trend in Internet searches. This was when the Department of Education, as President Obama later put it, “clarified” the “legal obligations” of universities “to prevent and respond to sexual assault”.
Most of these contested rape cases share a few common threads: alcohol, texting, a consensual hookup gone awry – and, most notably, “empowered” young women who are apparently too weak, too afraid, or too emotionally torn to know what they want. “Research shows that women engage in sex they don’t want for a variety of reasons,” writes Robin Wilson in the Chronicle of Higher Education, describing the struggle colleges face to define rape properly, “including to avoid conflict, because they don’t want to be labeled a tease, and because they feel obligated.”
Conduct a thorough reading of questionable college rape reports, and you’ll begin to see a pattern: A legion of confused young women, long coached that sex means nothing – casual sex is just something that empowered women do, after all – who quickly and traumatically realize, either consciously or not, that something feels dreadfully wrong.
When you have a large, mysterious, and oppressive culture to blame for your dysfunction, it removes a great deal of psychological pressure. As a concept, rape culture also offers a highly useful mechanism for shooing away troublesome, sexually laden emotional issues – as well as any sense of responsibility – and sending them off into the wilderness.
On November 19, 2014, Rolling Stone published “A Rape on Campus”, detailing a horrific gang rape that allegedly took place at a University of Virginia fraternity. The story was based on the testimony of a student named Jackie, who claimed, among other things, that she had been raped on a bed of broken glass by a posse of savage pledges who, echoing the serial killer in The Silence of the Lambs, referred to her as “it”. The magazine’s account quickly set the media, the nation, and the campus aflame.
It took 16 days for the story to completely unravel. Jackie, it appears, concocted the entire gang-rape tale – including a handsome and fabricated suitor with the soap-opera name of “Haven Monahan”, to whom she wrote fake emails, lifting passages of dialogue from the now-defunct teen show Dawson’s Creek – in order to win the affection, or at least the concern, of her unrequited campus love.
I would say that you can’t make this stuff up, but, apparently, you can. The UVA story is remarkable on a number of levels, but two in particular stand out. The first, of course, is Jackie. Why did she think such an over-the-top tale, pieced together with conflicting and inconsistent facts, would be believed?
The obvious answer would chalk things up to some sort of mental or emotional imbalance, which is fair enough. But that approach would also ignore the cold, hard truth: For two straight weeks – and for a number of feminist activists, professors, and journalists, even longer – Jackie was believed, no questions asked. As a matter of fact, she was celebrated. Jackie, while potentially unhinged, was clearly on to something: namely, that the power of the rape-culture concept, together with its widespread, quasi-religious following, ensured she would be taken at her word, no matter how outlandish it was.
Which brings us to the second striking by-product of the Jackie saga: Despite much weeping and gnashing of teeth, no one seemed all that interested in catching a band of violent and evil rapists, apparently still at large after committing the equivalent of a war crime just down the street. Instead, student leaders organized a “Slut Walk”, designed to fight “slut-shaming, victim-blaming” rape culture. The faculty, not to be outdone, dedicated their own anti-gang-rape rally to “Taking Back the Party”.
This is curious, is it not? When there’s a crime spree going on, isn’t the first goal of the response to catch the criminals? When it came to seeking justice, did people just not want to bother? Was it because, deep down, they knew Jackie’s story strained credulity?
Or was it – and this, all evidence considered, seems the most likely scenario – because they wanted to believe in the rape-culture theory, which removes responsibility and accountability from just about everyone? (Well, everyone, that is, except for a few stereotypical, “privileged” frat boys, but such are the wages of original sin.)
“I choose to believe Jackie,” wrote feminist Jessica Valenti in the Guardian, even as the UVA story unraveled. The National Alliance to End Sexual Violence took to Twitter with “#IBelieveJackie”. Zerlina Maxwell, a frequent speaker on rape culture, argued in the Washington Post that “we should believe, as a matter of default, what an accuser says”. This, she added, is a “moral”, not a practical, imperative. Moreover, “to let fact-checking define the narrative,” as UVA student Julia Horowitz wrote in Politico, Jackie’s story long in shambles, “would be a huge mistake”.
Slate’s Amanda Hess was one of the few to catch the mystical subtext of this unending chorus of belief. “It suggests,” she wrote on December 11, 2014, “faith in something that lies outside the bounds of human knowledge”. Indeed it does.
At this very moment, at a university near you, a complicated moral code – the new rules of “sexual consent” – is feverishly under construction. These rules, which require “clear”, “affirmative”, and “unambiguous” consent for every step of sexual activity, appear to contain the ingredients for disaster. At root level, they are the clear and logical outgrowth of the resilient cult of rape culture.
The theoretical existence of “rape culture”, in many ways, cleanses young women of unrighteousness. It is a purification ritual of sorts, rivaling those from ancient civilizations around the world. Through the scourging of others – hapless young men, expelled into the wilderness, bearing the sins of others away – countless young women attempt to find peace. Their hope appears to be this: With the right rules, the right consent forms, the right controls, and the right scapegoats, they might just be able to navigate our nihilistic, norm-free sexual landscape without angst or guilt.
Bathed in the sexual revolution and its culture of sexual freedom, many young Americans, male and female, now have no idea how – or why – to impose even the flimsiest moral framework around the most intimate, exposing, literally naked act in which two human beings can engage. Having been told that sex is easy, meaningless, and always pleasurable, many young people are shocked to discover that’s not invariably the case – that sex is often anything but casual, that it triggers deep and powerful emotions and needs they cannot integrate with the cultural insistence that sex is no big deal. They do not have the vocabulary or the clarity to grasp why. What has happened to them feels wrong, not right. It is disturbing, not ecstatic. And for these feelings, they believe they deserve redress.
It is easy to understand the hunger to reduce this moral crisis to a simple moral trope: a dastardly villain, a blameless victim. And perhaps, in the end, that victimhood is real. But the perpetrator, ironically, isn’t a massive, oppressive “rape culture”. It’s the “sex means nothing” culture, together with the ready embrace of a radical feminist worldview that holds women always blameless – even when they’re self-destructive – and men always guilty, simply because they are men.
by Robert Riversong: may be reproduced only with attribution for non-commercial purposes and a link to this page.
Misandric Feminism vs. Progressive Gender Equality (excerpt of above)
Male Victims of Sexual Violence (also an excerpt of the first essay)
Yellow Journalism and the Meme of “Rape Culture” – Rolling Stone and U-VA Gang Rape
Dear President Sullivan – letter from 17 attorneys involved with campus sexual assault claims throughout America, detailing specific reasons why they “are concerned that the University’s Proposed Student Sexual Misconduct Policy is both vastly over inclusive in attempting to define prohibited conduct and ill equipped to guarantee a procedure for resolving allegations that is fair and impartial”.
It’s Time for a U-VA Apology – Op-Ed from a 25-year U-VA professor and his U-VA junior son
Journalistic Fabulism and Ideological Agendas – the Sabrina Rubin Erdely Story
New Puritanism – New Paternalism – The “Rape Culture” Narrative Demeans Women, Demonizes Men, and Turns Universities into Witch Hunt Tribunals
Dear Senators – letter from 20 attorneys critical of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act (S. 2692)
Sexual Assault and Justice: Can we reconcile the belated attention to rape on campus with due process? by Nancy Gertner, feminist lawyer, retired federal judge and Harvard Law professor
The Pendulum Reverses – Again – The Betrayal of Liberty on America’s Campuses & Men Strike Back against Title IX Tribunals
HELP for DOE Regulatory Excess – A Senate Task Force Report Recommends Scaling Back the Mountain of Regulations Strangling Higher Education Institutions
Men are Twice-Raped – Domestically and Globally, Men and Boys are Victims of Sexual Violence at rates Equal to those of Women, and are Assumed to be Villains whenever a Woman Accuses
A Model of Campus Gender-Based Harassment – The Columbia University “Mattress” Story
A Case Study in “Politically-Correct” Reactionary Response – The Duke Lacrosse Team Stripper Rape Hoax
When the Megaphone becomes the Gavel – Two legal experts on sex discrimination law and procedure argue that the current Title IX mandates for America’s colleges and universities are legally unsupportable and both practically and ethically indefensible.
Two Over-Privileged Millennials Engage in Sex and Get F-cked – The Stanford “Model” Student and her Silicon Valley Mentor
The Rape Culture Meme – It’s to authentic human culture what genetically modified corn is to maize.