Monday, December 30, 2013

Imaginary 'Rape Culture' and Free Speech          

Much has been said about the campus "war on rape" and the way it imperils students' due process rights, but there is another casualty as well: the free exchange of ideas on college campuses when it comes to the subject of sexual offenses.

A particularly revealing recent example comes from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.  On November 5, Katherine Krueger, editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, The Badger Herald, ran a long piece explaining why the previous day's edition had featured a letter to the editor from a student named David Hookstead questioning the existence of "rape culture." Krueger wrote that she had made the decision to run the letter "after careful deliberation and debate with our managing editor and opinion editors."

The fact that Krueger felt the need to justify the letter's publication is remarkable enough; but the reason she gave for publishing it was even more striking.  Hookstead's letter, you see, was an object lesson in "what rape culture looks like," since it expressed "morally repugnant, patriarchal and offensive" views that are "an embodiment of rape culture" itself.

And what exactly are those abhorrent views?  Krueger wrote that Hookstead "peddles the horrifically misguided beliefs that sexual assault victims were asking for it with their clothing or behavior, were drunk or are flat-out lying about being raped."  But in fact, the letter says nothing at all about victims "asking for it."  As for "drunk" and "flat-out lying," here's what Hookstead wrote:

"Not everything that is claimed to be rape is actually rape, and false accusations only take away from the credibility of real victims.

For example, I've heard many women tell me they regretted having sex with somebody, and that if anybody asked them they'd just lie and say they were too drunk to remember. It's people like them that are huge problems.  Why are women so desperate to demonize men that they'll lie about being raped?"

Here's Krueger again, explaining the letter's publication:

We hoped this piece would be torn limb from limb in the ensuing fray, and we haven't been disappointed by the quality of the campus' impassioned debate in response to the letter.

While many of the responses condemned Hookstead's reprehensible opinions, others came out of the woodwork in support of his ideas.

Ironically, Krueger's article unintentionally offers a rather damning picture of the ideological uniformity that exists on the UW-Madison campus on issues related to sexual assault.  Students, she writes, are often "lulled into complacency on these issues" because there is "an understanding that everyone's on the same page."  Needless to say, her idea of "debate" is one in which heretical ideas are "torn limb from limb" (one can only imagine how feminists would respond if a male writer used such violent imagery in calling for vehement criticism of a feminist piece) and ultimately stamped out of existence.



Anonymous said...

Political Correctness is rampant among Liberals, particularly on college campuses.

Anonymous said...

I one does not adopt the herd mentality one will pay dearly in the court of public opinion. Being right is no longer a defence.

Stan B said...

I once made the comment that everyone is ultimately responsible for their own self-defense. I was immediately torn apart by a woman who claimed I was "blaming the victims" of assault. This was in the context of having to "teach men" not to assault women.

Now I am in a quandary. Do I say women should be and must be able to take care of themselves, or do I say they are incapable of doing so and that they must rely on men for their protection?

Anonymous said...

Fact and logic is to a Leftist is what sunlight is to a vampire.