An Epidemic of Campus Rape Hysteria
Topic: Liberal Fascism
The collapse of Rolling Stone magazine’s University of Virginia rape expose provides an occasion to comment one of the great and glaring myths of our time. There’s a word—several words, come to think of it—for the claim that one in five female college students are sexually assaulted on campus: balderdash, malarkey, rubbish, stuff and nonsense, twaddle. Like the fantasies of anti-Semites and 9/11 truthers, this one has been conjured out of thin air and is buoyed up by a kind of postmodern hysteria. The studies (there are always studies) that support this alarming claim engage in all sorts of chicanery— conflating rape with sexual assault and defining the latter down to includes such minor annoyances as an unwanted touch on the arm, an annoyingly persistent come-on, etc. And the traditional standards of evidence associated with such a serious charge as rape have simply been thrown out the window.
We saw this happen at Duke University, where all the right people seized upon a charge of gang rape to convict in the court of campus opinion a group of male students who had the audacity to be white, the sons of well-to-do-families and members of the lacrosse team. What need was there for a trial? The team’s remaining schedule was cancelled, the coach was fired and the accused were viciously denounced by fellow students and, shamefully, many faculty members. Then it turned out that the charge (made in this instance by a hooker who’d been hired to dance at a team party) was utterly false. The legal case against the students collapsed and the ambitious prosecutor who’d pursued it was fired and later disbarred. But on campus, apologies were grudging and tardy—because, you see, sexual assault is a real problem even if the charge in this case was utterly false.
If the Duke case were an isolate incident it could be shrugged off as just one of those things. Justice did prevail in the end, after all. But it was anything but an isolated case. And it did nothing to deter the purveyors of the one-in-five myth or the bearers of false witness. The real epidemic on campus today isn’t sexual assault. It’s a moral cancer. It’s the self-righteous conviction that the cause is more important than the facts, that the demand for proof is a tactic of the patriarchy, that every accusation of rape by a female student not only can but must be unquestioningly accepted.
The mechanisms put in place by university administrations to deal with this made-up crisis faithfully reflect the mind-set descried above. Unencumbered by the checks and balances that constrain the criminal justice system, university panels dealing with sexual assault cases follow two basic principles: (1) women never lie about rape, (2) the accused male student is presumed guilty. And things are arranged in such a way that the accused has very little hope of proving his innocence. Usually he is denied legal representation, denied the opportunity to be confront his accuser, denied the opportunity to present evidence and testimony.
Denunciations, purges, show trials—people familiar with the Stalinist show trials of the 1930s will recognize the technique.
The body of law—if one can so characterize it—that regulates this system of injustice is that characteristic product of contemporary higher education, the university code of sexual conduct. These revealing documents vary from school to school but typically they spell out with bureaucratic pedantry the dos and don’ts of relations between the sexes—or perhaps I should say among the genders. But its main target is of course the white male student, who is more or less openly characterized as a potential rapist.
Given this background it’s easy to see how the Rolling Stone fiasco happened. Every assumption supporting the claim of a campus rape crisis was present. One-in-five: check. Women never lie about rape: check. Accuser’s story uncritically accepted: check. Accused presumed guilty: check. Bonus factor: Accused not only white males but members of a fraternity. Very probably the writer had the outline of her story in hand before she ever set foot on the University of Virginia campus. All she needed was some local color.
When it began to appear that the magazine’s story might be doubtful, people wrung their hands. Would not the blowback from a false charge of rape deter other women from coming forward? These anxieties intensified as piece by piece the story fell apart. No one that I know of suggested that deterring false charges of rape might be a good thing. And very little thought was spared for the real victims in the case: the group of young men whose names were dragged through the mud. (Yes, I know, those names didn’t appear in the story but everyone on campus came to know who they were.) Just one of those things, you know!
Now of course rape is a serious crime, on or off campus. As defined by law rather than by Orwellian university sexual conduct policies, however, campus rape and sexual assault are uncommon crimes. In fact, women on campus are less likely to fall victim to them than women in general. But the facts do not deter the monster-shouters nor moderate the orgies of hate and hysteria that arise on campus with every charge of rape. And you will not be surprised to learn that the US Department of Justice is egging the whole business on, threatening universities with legal action if they don’t take action to eliminate higher education’s (fictional) “rape culture.”
So there’s your real campus crisis: an epidemic of false accusations that derail the academic careers, blacken the reputations and blight the lives of dozens of students, almost all of the male and white, year after year. Usually the accusers in these cases decline to involve the authorities, thus the accused have no hope that an appeals process will exonerate them. The injustice is galling and it’s depressing to reflect that even a debacle like the Rolling Stone meltdown won’t stop the destructive progress of this neo-Stalinist terror. After all, the victims aren’t females, gays, blacks, Muslims, illegal immigrants or any combination thereof. They’re just a bunch of privileged heterosexual white boys…
Posted by tmg110
at 12:41 PM EDT