Saturday, March 01, 2008

Feminist Blather About Rape

We’ve blogged about how politically correct types at Marquette discuss rape in their dissent-free “critical thinking forbidden” events.

Theresa Tobin, for example, proclaimed that all men are are implicated as rapists. As we described it:
Tobin rejected the notion that rapes should be seen as “acts of morally corrupt individuals.” Yes, guys, the fact that you have never raped any women and would never rape any woman doesn’t let you off the hook. You are still part of the “deep social and political causes” of rape.

Why? Because you are part of a system that involves the “use of violence to keep systems of oppression in place.”

In fact, according to Tobin, you are part of a “protection racket.” Because of the threat of rape, a woman “needs to be protected by men against other men.”

And what is wrong with men protecting women against rape? For Tobin, the system “forces compliance with traditional norms.” And further, “the penalty for being protected is to conform.”
At that same event, R. Clifton Spargo, representing another hyper-politically correct department (English) said some equally silly things.
While he didn’t exactly accuse all men of being rapists, like Tobin he got pretty close.

He rejected the notion that rape is “merely aberrant, deviant behavior,” and told the male members of the audience “you are living in the rape culture.” Where? “On Campus. In the bars.”
Happily, not everybody in the world buys into the rape hysteria. An interesting column in the Los Angeles Times challenged some of the blather.
It’s a lonely job, working the phones at a college rape crisis center. Day after day, you wait for the casualties to show up from the alleged campus rape epidemic -- but no one calls. Could this mean that the crisis is overblown? No. It means, according to campus sexual-assault organizations, that the abuse of coeds is worse than anyone had ever imagined. It means that consultants and counselors need more funding to persuade student rape victims to break the silence of their suffering.

It is a central claim of these organizations that between a fifth and a quarter of all college women will be raped or will be the targets of attempted rape by the end of their college years. Harvard’s Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response uses the 20% to 25% statistic. Websites at New York University, Syracuse University, Penn State and the University of Virginia, among many other places, use the figures as well.

If the one-in-four statistic is correct, campus rape represents a crime wave of unprecedented proportions. No felony, much less one as serious as rape, has a victimization rate remotely approaching 20% or 25%, even over many years. The 2006 violent crime rate in Detroit, one of the most violent cities in the U.S., was 2,400 murders, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults per 100,000 inhabitants -- a rate of 2.4%.

Such a crime wave -- in which millions of young women would graduate having suffered the most terrifying assault, short of murder, that a woman can experience -- would require nothing less than a state of emergency. Admissions policies, which if the numbers are true are allowing in tens of thousands of vicious criminals, would require a complete revision, perhaps banning male students entirely. The nation’s nearly 10 million female undergraduates would need to take the most stringent safety precautions.

None of this crisis response occurs, of course -- because the crisis doesn’t exist.

So where do the numbers come from? During the 1980s, feminist researchers committed to the rape-culture theory discovered that asking women directly if they had been raped yielded disappointing results -- very few women said that they had been. So Ms. magazine commissioned University of Arizona public health professor Mary Koss to develop a different way to measure the prevalence of rape.

Rather than asking female students about rape per se, Koss asked them if they had ever experienced actions that she then classified as rape. One question, for example, asked, “Have you had sexual intercourse when you didn’t want to because a man gave you alcohol or drugs?” -- a question that is ambiguous on several fronts, including the woman’s degree of incapacitation, the causal relation between being given a drink and having sexual intercourse, and the man’s intentions. Koss’ method produced the 25% rate, which Ms. then published.

It was a flawed study on a number of levels, but the most powerful refutation came from her own subjects: 73% of the women whom the study characterized as rape victims told the researchers that they hadn’t been raped. Further, 42% of the study’s supposed victims said they had had intercourse again with their alleged assailants -- though it is highly unlikely that a raped woman would have sex again with the fiend who attacked her.

Despite all this, the numbers have stuck. Today, John Foubert, an education professor at William and Mary College (and founder of a group called One-in-Four, which works on sexual assault issues and has chapters on 17 campuses), says, “The one-in-four statistic has been replicated in several studies for several decades. To the extent that social science can prove anything, which I believe it can, the one-in-four statistic has been proven beyond all reasonable doubt. My instincts tell me that the statistic is actually much higher.”

Yet subsequent campus rape studies keep turning up the pesky divergence between the victims’ and the researchers’ point of view.

A 2006 survey of sorority women at the University of Virginia, for example, found that only 23% of the subjects whom the survey characterized as rape victims felt that they had been raped -- a result that the university’s director of sexual and domestic violence services calls “discouraging.” Equally damning was a 2000 campus rape study conducted under the aegis of the Department of Justice. Sixty-five percent of those whom the researchers called “completed rape” victims and three-quarters of “attempted rape” victims said that they did not think that their experiences were “serious enough to report.”

Believing in the campus rape epidemic, it turns out, requires ignoring women’s own interpretations of their experiences.
There is a simple principle here: if a feminist political activist has to explain to you that what happened was rape, it wasn’t.

What is really behind all this campus sex, if not rape. The answer is politically incorrect.
So what reality does lie behind the rape hype? I believe that it’s the booze-fueled hookup culture of one-night, or sometimes just partial-night, stands. Students in the ‘60s demanded that college administrators stop setting rules for fraternization. The colleges meekly complied and opened a Pandora’s box of boorish, promiscuous behavior that gets cruder each year.

This culture has been written about widely. College women -- as well as men -- reportedly drink heavily before and during parties. For the women, that drinking is often goal-oriented, suggests Karin Agness, a recent University of Virginia graduate and founder of NeW, a club for conservative university women: It frees the drinker from responsibility and “provides an excuse for engaging in behavior that she ordinarily wouldn’t.” Nights can include a meaningless sexual encounter with a guy whom the girl may not even know.

In all these drunken couplings, there may be some deplorable instances of forced and truly non-consensual sex. But most campus “rape” cases exist in the gray area of seeming cooperation and tacit consent, which is why they are almost never prosecuted criminally.

“Ninety-nine percent of all college rape cases would be thrown out of court in a twinkling,” observes University of Pennsylvania history professor Alan Kors.
Feminists, knowing that something is wrong, but being unwilling to condemn sexual promiscuity or ever admit that women can be at fault for the bad things that happen to them, have to avoid the issue, and fuss and fume about a “culture of rape.”

“Culture of promiscuity” just isn’t politically acceptable to them.

The LA Times article was, not surprising, met with a rather hysterical response. Marquette feminist blog “Word Warrior” fumed “This just makes me livid. I am so pissed right now, that words right order in the can’t put I.”

It went on:
MacDonald’s primary argument is that women are as much of a participant in alcohol-fueled rapes as men, and that these assaults thus take place in the “gray area” of rape. First of all, there is no “gray area” of rape. Consent is consent, and lack of consent is lack of consent. If a woman is too drunk to consent, then that is rape.
Our students, when faced with this argument, are more sensible. We ask about a situation in which a guy and gal go out and drink too much. They then go back to his apartment and both voluntarily get into bed and have sex.

Feminist doctrine says he raped her.

My students ask, “why? Wasn’t it mutual? Why can’t we say that she raped him?”

The feminist answer, and this is degrading to women, is that a woman is always be assumed to be the victim. The man can be held responsible for his actions, but the woman can’t.

“Word Warrior” goes on:
Second of all, to argue that a woman is complicit in rape will merely exacerbate the rape crisis.
Of course, this begs the question of whether what happened is “rape.”

But telling women that if they get drunk and go to bed with some schlub they don’t know and don’t particularly like they will get little sympathy sounds to us like a dandy response to the “rape crisis.” But the fundamental argument from the feminists is the typical politically correct one: “if we talk honestly about this, it will hurt our political agenda.” This is the same sort of mentality that doesn’t want to talk about the fact that blacks commit more crimes than whites (which causes disproportonate incarceration) or that child abuse typically comes from a mom’s live-in boyfriend, and happens very seldom when mom is married to and living with the child’s biological father.

The Feminist Agenda

The campus blather about the “rape crisis” reflects two very important things about academic feminists.

First, it crystallizes the feminist notion that women are the victims of evil, brutal males.

But perhaps more important is that it can be used as a tool to increase the feminist infrastructure on campus.

“Word Warrior” is adamant that Marquette needs a whole office, a Women’s and/or Gender Relations Resource Center on campus.

More jobs for feminists. And a source of activism not only “against rape” but in favor of abortion, gay marriage and pretty much every other politically correct piece of the feminist agenda.

In fact, such “centers” get little business.
Needless to say, those facilities don’t appear to get a tremendous amount of use. For example, Hillary Wing-Richards, the associate director of sexual-assault prevention at James Madison University, said the school’s campus rape “help line” gets a varying number of calls, some of which are “request-for-information calls” -- where to go, who to talk to and the like.

“Some months there are 10 and others, one or two,” she said.

Referring to rape hotlines, risk management consultant Brett Sokolow laments: “The problem is, on so many of our campuses, very few people ever call. And mostly we’ve resigned ourselves to the underutilization of these resources.”
Real rape, something vastly rarer than the feminist notion of “rape,” should be dealt with as a law enforcement issue. And not by feminist bureaucrats, but rather by tough cops, who may be women, but are unlikely to be feminists.

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23 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The title itself is enough to show where your true stances lie--even though they're not that much off from what you present in writing. You seem to want to go so far as to say that rape doesn't exist, but you'll just stick with "it's overstated" for now.

"Feminists Blather About Rape"--yeah, we're gonna "blather" about rape cus it's a big fucking problem. And even if it was a little fucking problem... IT WOULD STILL BE A PROBLEM. Why can't you see that? You spend so much time "debunking political correctness"-- why don't you spend some time listening to rape victims or any other woman out there who will tell you what it's like to live in a patriarchal society. Any woman who will tell you what it's like to walk down the street and be referred to as an object, to walk home at night and have to feel unsafe, to feel pressured to have sex and not have sex at the same time by conflicting images from the media, to feel silenced by her outspoken male cohorts in class, I could continue, but I'll stop, because I'm wasting my time on this blog. Sorry I even opened my mouth. Good women keep quiet.

7:36 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...

The biggest tragedy stemming from the type of activism this study reports on is that real rape, which feminists should be focusing on like a laser beam, continues to go unnoticed or under-reported amidst all the hype about quasi- or completely non-rape situations.

It extends from campus rape to dozens of other situations of safety for women. How many feminist campus or otherwise organizations provide seminars on abuse of women within Islam? How many feminist organizations spoke out about Terry Schiavo's ex husband cashing in on her vegetative body?

As far as Marquette, I don't know how many times I need to hear about women being harrassed by homeless people or assaulted by random thugs with ZERO response from the typical annointed leftists about the pathetic safety situation on campus (largely a symptom of a city-wide problem).

Real rape is a real tragedy. The women faced with it go unnoticed as long as radical leftist feminists chose to focus on politically oportune activism of the like that you've mentioned.

8:43 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

You seem to want to go so far as to say that rape doesn't exist, but you'll just stick with "it's overstated" for now.

Where the hell did you get this? Is it some random slur you throw at anybody who disagrees with you?

it's a big fucking problem. And even if it was a little fucking problem... IT WOULD STILL BE A PROBLEM. Why can't you see that?

OIC. If something is a "problem" then it's OK to lie about the extent of the problem.

First principle for anybody who wants to deal with any social problem: tell the truth!

why don't you spend some time listening to rape victims or any other woman out there who will tell you what it's like to live in a patriarchal society.

Politically correct blather about "patriachal society" isn't going to convince anybody not already convinced.

Any woman who will tell you what it's like to walk down the street and be referred to as an object, to walk home at night and have to feel unsafe, to feel pressured to have sex and not have sex at the same time by conflicting images from the media, to feel silenced by her outspoken male cohorts in class,

Why are you bringing every grudge you have against men into this discussion of rape?

To take your points:

1. I favor tough law enforcement. Then any woman (or man) can feel safer. But let me bet: you don't believe in locking people up.

2. I think women should "feel pressured" not to have sex until the are married. I don't like the conflicting pressures any better than you do.

3. If you "feel silenced in class" either you need to be more assertive, or maybe the professor needs to be more assertive in seeing that everybody gets to have their say. However, you have no right to have viewpoints with which you disagree silenced. Any male student should have the right to say the things I said in this post in class.

But I don't see what that has to do with rape.

9:39 PM  
Anonymous femmemeister said...

Whoof--okay. I think I'll handle some of issues one at a time.

First, Brian:

1) I assume that what you mean by "real rape" is rape by a stranger using physical force. I strongly disagree that this is a neglected issue by the feminist movement. Feminists support services to help all survivors of rape, and seek to provide a safe network so that women feel more comfortable reporting the crime. You are right that this kind of rape (like all rapes) are underreported, but this is not a product of feminism--this is a product of shame, fear, and a hostile justice system that thinks that victims who were wearing short skirts or who are not virgins are somehow not "real" victims.

Now, as for what you call "quasi-" or "non-rape" situations: I object strongly to those terms. In acquaintance rape situations, 75% of the men involved have been under the influence of alcohol and 55% of the women involved have been under the influence (these are DoJ stats). This means that almost half of the victims of date-rape have been completely sober. This is in no way meant to diminish the trauma of those who have been raped under the influence of alcohol, but rather to debunk the idea that all victims of date-rape are just drunk women who "changed their minds" later. Furthermore, 86% of all rapes (not just campus rapes--again, I am using DoJ stats) are by an acquaintance, and only a small proportion of rapes were committed using a weapon. Please do not confuse the reality of the rape with whether or not it can be proven in court. Why would these women lie on these surveys? They would have nothing to gain.

I am no statistician, and so I cannot vouch for the one-in-four statistic. However, even the more conservative statistics indicate that at LEAST one-in-six women have been the victims of completed or attempted rape, and even more women have been the victims of stalking, fondling, or domestic violence. However, only 16% of the women who were victims (and I believe who self-identified as victims) reported the crime to the authorities. Thus, it is quite legitimate to consider rape an underreported crime, and so it is important to find statistical methodologies that account for the underreporting phenomenon.

2) As for your other points, about Islam and the Schiavo case: where do I begin? Feminists have long spoken out about certain cultural and religious practices of other nations that are harmful to women, including Female Genital Cutting, forced seclusion, and legalized domestic violence. However, what is important to understand is that these problems will NOT be solved by having America enter into other nations, guns a-blazin'. (Just look at what happened to countries in which there was compulsory de-veiling: it was a disaster and totally backfired, leaving women worse off.)

For international issues, there are a lot of things that need to be taken into account. Feminism encourages discussion of these issues (in fact, there was an organized talk just last semester about it, I think--perhaps you missed it). But in terms of finding solutions, we have to take things slowly, so that we don't end up making even more women into pariahs.

As for the Terry Schiavo case--there is a lot of evidence that her husband was not "cashing in" on her body but actually spent most of that money on her home care and on going to nursing school so that he could take care of her better. That situation was awful for everyone involved, but to think that he is some evil bastard, when he took care of his brain-dead wife for years upon years is rather one-sided. That is more an end-of-life issue than a feminist issue in any case!

Now, Dr. McAdams:

You are right that "telling the truth" is important. However, there are numerous types of statistics that get numerous results. "Truth" is largely a matter of interpretation and methodology. But if you survey a wide variety of statistics, you find everything ranging from one-in-four, to one-in-six, to one-in-eight. (Most of the differences depend on whether attempted rape is included or whether finger penetration is included.)

But, even if the one-in-four stat is not entirely accurate (and I am not going to concede that point based on the data provided--competing data do not invalidate each other, they just encourage some more investigation--but as a poli sci professor you should know that!), then rape is still a big problem. And the fact is that on campuses, due to the amount of alcohol, the lack of sexual health education, and the existence of all-male housing/frat houses, women are very vulnerable. (This is not to say that other women are not equally vulnerable--particularly women in poorer neighborhoods w/ less police protection.)

Why is it so offensive to you that those who want to fight rape (including us feminists!) want to find ways to make women more comfortable reporting these crimes? If you have read some of the stories about how women who have been raped were treated by their college campuses (including at Ohio State, UVA, Catholic U., and numerous others), you would see that advocates are necessary to protect student interests. Men who rape women on campuses are less likely to be expelled than those who cheat on an exam. THAT is scary to me.

As for your comments about law enforcement: that is an important part of the issue. However, I think it is more important to prevent these attacks from happening in the first place, esp. since many rapes are hard to prove in court. What does it matter what the sentence lengths are if the assailant will not be convicted?

Also, as for our hesitance to lock people up: feminists are not all against jail sentences. However, we think that prison should be an opportunity to reeducate prisoners about what they have done, force them to confront the fact that they have done REAL harm to REAL people, and encourage them to change. Some people are beyond rehabilitation, but to just give up is both sad and dangerous. (After all, most prisoners will be released--might as well release them as better people, right?)

Also, the fact that there are thousands upon thousands of prison rapes each year also make those who are against rape hesitant to just throw ppl in jail without first making sure that they will not themselves be raped. No one deserves to be raped--even rapists.

Finally, about your somewhat snippy comments to anon.--I think she (I presume she is a she) is perfectly legit in bringing up patriarchal structures here. If women are silenced in general on college campuses, then aren't they less likely not to speak up when they are threatened or attacked? Crimes are not only reduced to individuals, but are individuals acting within a set of cultural constraints. I think examining these constraints is entirely called for, especially since we know that certain things make it more likely for rapes to occur (the presence of frat houses, for example).

Sorry for the length here, but this is an important topic to talk about, and should not be dismissed with a wave of a blogger's hand.

10:50 PM  
Anonymous Jess said...

Dr. McAdams,

Your opinion of feminism is so off-base, so skewed, and so incredibly generalized and negative that it's clear that you've made no attempt whatsoever to educate yourself on what feminism actually is. If I had a nickel for every time a campus conservative condemned something without having any idea what they're talking about...

There is no such thing as a female police officer who isn't a feminist, even if she doesn't identify herself that way. Non-feminists think women should shut up and get back in the kitchen, stay out of universities, and relinquish their right to vote. Just because there is one leg of feminism that involves radical bra-burning, man-hating lesbians doesn't mean that ALL feminists are that way or even subscribe to that radical viewpoint. I know I don't.

Feminism gives women a shot at being equal, simple as that. Go ahead and try to argue that feminism is a bad thing. I hope you are comfortable losing your Condoleeza Rices and Ann Coulters because without feminism they wouldn't be able to open their mouths.

12:50 PM  
Blogger James Pawlak said...

Feminism gives women a shot at being equal, simple as that. Go ahead and try to argue that feminism is a bad thing. I hope you are comfortable losing your Condoleeza Rices and Ann Coulters because without feminism they wouldn't be able to open their mouths.

As a woman, a conservative, and a Catholic - 95% of the feminists I've dealt with today are NOT about being equal.

They are about making women do what they want. From work to abortion to views on men, if you disagree with a feminist you'll be attacked, ridiculed, demonized.

They mock stay-at-home mothers, or women who choose not to use artificial birth control. They abuse men. They work to make little boys feel guilty for acting like little boys.

As for Condoleeza Rice and Ann Coulter - ha! Modern feminists hate them more than men because they are conservative women who dared to leave the liberal plantation. Feminists don't treat them - or Michelle Malkin, or Phyllis Schlafly - with any respect. So nice try, but that argument's a non-starter.

The ORIGINAL feminists are the true role models.

It's posts like yours, anon's, and femmeisters that make me not want to have anything to do with today's feminists.

Rape is bad and those who actually commit rape should be in jail. Period. But to imply that because my husband is a rapist simply because he's male is a load of bulls***. To inflate statistics or skew data or twist words to support the ludicrous argument that "the system" encourages rape and oppression of women is bunk.

And that's why it's impossible to take feminists seriously. They are the boy (whoops, sorry - WOMEN) who cried wolf.

5:08 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

femmemeister said...

However, there are numerous types of statistics that get numerous results. "Truth" is largely a matter of interpretation and methodology.

But, even if the one-in-four stat is not entirely accurate (and I am not going to concede that point based on the data provided--competing data do not invalidate each other, they just encourage some more investigation--but as a poli sci professor you should know that!). . .


The point of my post was to encourage some more investigation.

But you feminists don't like that, since it undermines your talking point.

Just what is the incidence of real rape? That is, women who were physically forced to have sex, or did so under the threat of violence?

It's impossible to talk honestly about the problem as long as you feminists refuse to deal with that.

For example, you say:

Men who rape women on campuses are less likely to be expelled than those who cheat on an exam. THAT is scary to me.

It's only scary if we are talking about real rape.

If we are talking about some guy who had sex with his skank date who got drunk and didn't at all object or seem to mind, it's not scary at all.

If you refuse to talk honestly, you won't be taken seriously by anybody not already part of the politically correct culture.

If women are silenced in general on college campuses, then aren't they less likely not to speak up when they are threatened or attacked?

Do you mean "women" or do you mean "feminists?"

They aren't the same, you know.

You feminists are the pets of politically correct faculty and politically correct administrators.

You aren't "shut up," unless you interpret any disagreement with your position as "shutting you up."

But I'm afraid you have to tolerate free speech. Even in places as intolerant as college campuses.

7:30 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

Jess said...

There is no such thing as a female police officer who isn't a feminist, even if she doesn't identify herself that way. Non-feminists think women should shut up and get back in the kitchen, stay out of universities, and relinquish their right to vote.

Thank you for giving an example of how elitist, dismissive and demeaning you feminists are toward women who don't share your worldview.

You are saying that any woman who achieves anything -- and maintaining a home for a family is not an achievement in your view -- must be a "feminist."

But a lot of very proud, independent and intelligent women are not feminists, loathe feminists, and insist they aren't feminists.

You simply refuse to respect their views.

Women are important, indeed dominant so far as I can see, in the pro-life movement. The are the activist backbone of many churches and home schooling associations.

But you have no respect for these women because they don't share your political views.

As for the Condoleeza Rices and Ann Coulters, strong women were very outspoken and were listened to long before the feminist movement. Learn some history that isn't infected by political correctness.

And just generally: get the chip off your shoulder.

7:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The following is emotion as a form of reason: Fuck you, John McAdams.

8:21 PM  
Anonymous femmemeister said...

Hmmm--Dr. McAdams, I tried to deal with your arguments politely and responsibly. I don't see your replies as giving me the same courtesy. But I'll still go through your points one by one:

1) It is illogical for you to say that feminists discourage investigation when I, a feminist, am all for investigation! In fact, many feminists have called for more research into campus rape frequency (including many on this very campus, mind you). However, those surveys cost money and take time, and many universities are unwilling to sponsor such surveys because of the fear that having rape statistics will discourage students from applying. Thus, this issue needs to be further investigated--and those who want to sponsor those investigations are feminists and others who want to stop sexual violence.

However, I do not see your post as calling for further investigation--it was only insulting those who have done the initial investigations. However, those initial investigations have not been wholly contradicted--as I said before, there is merely competing data. What we need are MORE surveys with clearly-outlined parameters. Then we can evaluate from there.

Also, the LA Times piece was calling into question the stats b/c not everyone who was surveyed would call themselves a "rape victim." However, those stats were based off of the legal definitions of rape in several states. Rape laws are complicated, and not all students are aware of the legal nuances, and might not realize that attempted rape counts as "sexual assault" under the law. They might not realize that forced oral intercourse counts as rape either. Or that forced penetration with an object or a finger counts as sexual assault. There are thousands of cases of these kinds, which are "real" rapes/"real" attempted rapes, but which also increase the statistical frequency.

In short: yay for investigation! But, investigation does NOT mean castigating the original researchers--perhaps that research needs to be fine-tuned, but for you to throw out data that might still be legitimate is irresponsible.

And you also never accounted for the fact that even the conservative stats say that one-in-eight students are victims of rape and attempted rape. That's 12.5%. That is a HUGE number. There are thousands of campus rapes reported every year, and probably a great deal more that are not reported. Why do you think that this is not a crisis? (One might also say that even if "only" 1% of women were raped on college campuses, that is still a huge number--I wonder, what is an acceptable number of rapes in your opinion? When should we stop devoting resources to crisis centers? At 10,000 rapes per year? 5,000?)

2) About the men who have committed rape who are not expelled:

Those incidences which I cited were "real" rapes. In fact, the UVA case involved three women unknown to each other who each separately accused the same man of raping them. An additional 2 other women made complaints about attempted sexual assault committed by this same man. What happened to him? He was transferred the following year, without a mark on his record. None of their claims could be proven in a court setting, and so these women were forced to attend the same university as their rapist, who was a repeat offender.

But, because they did not have bruises, because there was no DNA evidence, because there was alcohol involved, these were not looked on as "real" rapes.

That is scary.

What is also scary is that many universities do not have separate student conduct policies for sexual assault cases, so they are handled in the exact same way as an academic dishonesty case. (Academic dishonesty is serious, but it is not as serious as interpersonal violence.) Thus, students who are rape victims might still have to live in the same dorm as their attacker, might even live on the same floor. These are things that universities must deal with. Would you disagree?

What I also want to try to get through to you (although I am confident by this point that I won't *sigh*) is that the majority of rapes are not by strangers. Boyfriends do rape girlfriends. Husbands do rape wives. (Not all husbands, James, but some.) Sometimes they use alcohol to do so. These are "real" rapes. If a woman is too drunk to function, then she is just as unable to provide consent as someone who has been slipped a rufie.

3)Whoa, nelly. I seem to detect some bitterness through your words here. "Skank date"--yikes! I like how the woman is the "skank" here and not the man. (You could have at least thrown us a bone and called him a "man skank"--I mean, really!)

But, let's address your point. The thing with alcohol is that it can make people appear passive/submissive when they are actually unable to function. Similar to statutory rape cases in which the law determines that, under a certain age, people are not capable of legal consent, those who have had a great deal of alcohol are also not capable of consent. Consent is NOT the absence of a negative, but it must be a POSITIVE action. If someone is practically passed out, they are not capable of a POSITIVE consent--so, even if they cannot say "no," unless they are capable of saying "yes," having sex with them is rape.

Think about it this way: People can donate money freely, right? But, if someone is asleep and someone takes their money, that is theft. If someone is passed out drunk and a friend/boyfriend takes their money, that is theft. If someone had said they would give money earlier that night but then changed his/her mind and someone else took the money anyway, that is theft. If someone gives away money every day, all day, but then someone else takes money without asking, that is theft. If someone is about to hand over the money, but then withdraws the offer, and their friend takes the money, that is theft. Theft is not just by a stranger in a dark alley with the threat of force.

Giving away money requires a POSITIVE action--not simply the absence of a negative. To say that a "skank date didn't object" means nothing--it is only consensual if she CONSENTED. To think that an absence of an objection means that rape didn't occur is a cruel point of view and is rather ignorant of rape laws.

However, you are right in that it is very difficult to prove lack of consent beyond a reasonable doubt in court. How would a jury know whether or not she consented? This is WHY we need to have rape counseling services on campuses and in neighborhoods! Women who know that they have been raped, but who have not been able to prove it, have a place to go where people understand and believe them.

What's the harm in having counseling services for them? If they were not in fact raped, why would they seek counseling? That would be a waste of their time, right? It is not like there is a rash of improper convictions going on here--fewer than half of those formally charged with rape are convicted anyway (46%, as compared w/ the murder conviction rate of 69%), and the majority of those have the physical/DNA evidence to back it up. Date rape convictions are even more rare, and usually have some sort of outside witness/photographic evidence. Those who are not so lucky as to have the evidence to back up their case require treatment and care too--would you deny it to them?

4) Your final point does not strike me as either pertinent or logical. But, I'll respond anyway. (Can you tell that I was a Debate geek in high school? Anywho . . .)

I said nothing about stopping free speech. Yay free speech! This is why I read your blog--I disagree w/ much of it, but I find it productive to hear other points of view so as to refine and perfect my own. (One would hope that you would feel the same!)

What anon. and I were talking about, however, is the fact that women are sometimes afraid to be vocal in class. You say it is because they are not "assertive" enough--however, "assertive" women tend to be labeled as bitches, as suffering from PMS, or as unwilling to listen to other people's perspectives even if they are willing to do so. (*cough cough*)

Vocal men do not face the same stigma.

It is this environment that makes it hard for rape victims to come forward. (This is how it has to do with sexual assault, btw.)

You, for example, used the term "skank date" in your post. Let's say a woman was raped--"really" raped, by a male friend. But, because she cannot prove that she did not consent, because she had had a couple of drinks, because the rapist is considered to be a "good guy" on campus, and because she has no bruises, she is afraid to accuse her rapist, for fear of being called a "skank date" who is "crying wolf." Now, did the rape really happen? Yes. But will anything happen because of it? No. The victim, without being able to avail herself of counseling services or of legal protection will have to just grin and bear it, in silence. Alone.

Are feminists arguing that an accusation alone is enough to convict someone? Of course not. That is a dangerous proposition. We are trying to set up alternative forms of campus services so that ALL people (men included) who are raped will be helped during this time of trauma, even if the court system cannot help them.

Are you really against that? That would make me very sad indeed.

9:57 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

Anonymous said...

The following is emotion as a form of reason: Fuck you, John McAdams.


Since I moderate posts, I normally would not have passed this one.

But I thought it would be instructive to see the kind of emotions that feminists reveal when one disagrees with them.

10:26 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

femmemeister said...

However, I do not see your post as calling for further investigation--it was only insulting those who have done the initial investigations.

The people who did the initial investigations were biased pro-feminist researchers who wanted to jack up the number of "rapes" as high as possible to serve a political agenda.

That's a critique of research.

That's what serious social science does.

That's what activism does not like.

On Consent

You make a big deal of the fact that a women may not "consent" to have sex.

But suppose the guy is drunk too, and he doesn't consent either.

Where do you get the idea that she was raped? Why wasn't he raped?

Further, consent can be implicit. If she takes off her clothes and gets in bed with him, she's consented.

You want research? Find out how many real rapes there are. I mean real use of force or threat of force.

You object to the use of "skank," which I think says something about feminism. You won't condemn promiscuity. But a lot of what you call "rape" is in fact promiscuity, and not a woman who was forced to have sex, or was threatened with force.

You don't really deal with this from my original post:

73% of the women whom the study characterized as rape victims told the researchers that they hadn’t been raped. Further, 42% of the study’s supposed victims said they had had intercourse again with their alleged assailants -- though it is highly unlikely that a raped woman would have sex again with the fiend who attacked her.

You quibble about the "definition" of rape. But if a woman has been a victim of attempted rape, she hasn't been raped. If I'm the victim of attempted murder, I haven't been killed.

By all means let's put both attempted rapists and attempted murderers into jail. But "attempted" isn't actual.

Then there is this:

Those incidences which I cited were "real" rapes. In fact, the UVA case involved three women unknown to each other who each separately accused the same man of raping them. An additional 2 other women made complaints about attempted sexual assault committed by this same man. What happened to him? He was transferred the following year, without a mark on his record. None of their claims could be proven in a court setting, and so these women were forced to attend the same university as their rapist, who was a repeat offender.

But, because they did not have bruises, because there was no DNA evidence, because there was alcohol involved, these were not looked on as "real" rapes.


Frankly, this sounds fishy.

Three women independently willing to testify that a man raped them sounds sufficient for a conviction.

I also have to wonder why there were no bruises or DNA evidence. Was he the careful rapist -- always using a condom?

The bottom line: if you feminists inflate the number of rapes, your characterization of particular cases is suspect too.

11:02 PM  
Anonymous femmemeister said...

James, I would also like to reply specifically to your post:

Feminism is not about making women more powerful than men, or about debunking religion, or about accusing all men of being rapists. In fact, various meetings have been taking place in which women and men are working together in order to curb sexual violence. After all, accusing all men of being rapists does not solve the problem.

I think you might be confused here. The fact is that the majority of rapists are men. But, the majority of men are not rapists. (This confuses a lot of people--don't worry about it.) So, the feminist movement has sought lately to include men in battles against sexual violence: teaching them what the laws are, teaching them how to ensure that their parties will be safe, showing them that it is much manlier for a man to wait for a woman to consent before engaging in intercourse. What is really cool is how many male students are getting into the cause--the men of O'Donnell, for example, who raise money to fight sexual violence. This is not a matter of men vs. women: this is a matter of non-violence vs. violence.

However, there are some criticisms that we have against certain notions of masculinity (NOT MEN, but skewed notions of masculinity). So, we try to teach men that violence is not manly; sexual objectification of women is not manly; that domination of women is not manly. We live in a culture in which men are sometimes encouraged to be violent in order to be considered strong or a "real man," and I think that should be changed. I am not saying that men should all wear pink or have long hair (although men who choose to do so should not be ridiculed for it), but that men should be taught that violence is bad. What is wrong with that?

Now, I don't think you disagree with this, James. Apparently, however, you do disagree with the general feminist position on reproductive issues such as contraception and abortion. That is your right, and you should not be ridiculed for that. However, you should also not take offense when people disagree with you.

Also, you should not let your particular stance on one individual issue color your view of an entire movement that is meant to empower everyone--women, men, straights, homosexuals, children, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, non-Americans, Caucasians. This is what is known as Third-Wave Feminism.

In general, we Third-Wavers (feminists from the mid-'90s on are generally considered 3rd-wavers) are not against women who decide to stay at home, as long as it is THEIR choice and that they do not feel that working women are worse mothers. After all, my mom is a feminist and a stay-at-home mom--there is nothing mutually exclusive there. It is true that some feminists of the '60s criticized women who did not work, but that stage has passed us by, and the movement has sophisticated a great deal.

I agree with you that those who commit rape should be in jail. However, what happens to the women who cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they were raped? Shouldn't there be some non-judicial alternatives for them so that they can feel safe on campus and get the counseling they need? Only half of rapes reported to the police see trial; fewer than half of rapists on trial are convicted; fewer still actually face prison time. When you take into account rapes that are reported to a counselor but not to the police, only 1/16 rapists ever sees prison.

Don't you think that we need to find other ways to stop the violence?

Let's not allow violence to continue simply because you find certain aspects of feminism distasteful.

(Also, nobody on this blog said that your husband is a rapist b/c he is a man. If he is not a rapist, then he is a potential ally to fight rape. And we feminists approve of male allies! :) )

11:25 PM  
Anonymous femmemeister said...

Dr. McAdams,

About the UVA story being "fishy"--I did accidentally mess up a bit there. (This was a news article about Ohio State and UVA, and I mixed up the two in my comment--entirely my fault, and I apologize for that.)

The person who committed the multiple sexual assaults (at Ohio, not UVA) and attempted assaults was eventually convicted--not of rape but of a misdemeanor "sexual imposition" charge and was sentenced to two years of probation and counseling. No jail time. (Sorry that I wasn't clearer--I meant that he was not convicted of "rape" and saw no jail time--he was indicted, but nothing substantial came of that, and he's not no permanent marks on his record b/c it was a misdemeanor charge and not a felony.)

However, at the university, he was only switched to another dorm building--where he committed another sexual assault.

So sorry about that mix-up again. I hope that clears up everything for you regarding that case!

11:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just out of curiosity, what would you call this: I once was out with a group of friends and an ex-boyfriend "happened" to show up (I put it in quotes, since I'm pretty sure it wasn't coincidence, seeing as how he lived on the other side of town and had no reason to be there).

Yes, I was drinking, but not excessively. As the crowd dwindled, he decided that we should have sex--you know, for old time's sake. I said "no." He continued pressuring me verbally and physically. I said "no" each time.

He ended up picking me up, tossing me on a bed, and forcibly removing my clothing. Again, I told him in no uncertain terms that I did not consent. I tried to get away, but he's about twice my size, so it was no easy feat.

Luckily, someone came into the room accidentally, he freaked and jumped off me, and I ran out of the room and away from the party.

So, no rape occurred, but it was a damn close call. Since I was probably legally intoxicated at the time, and he was a former flame, I'm just curious as to what the reaction would've been had he gone through with his plans. Would that have been real rape? Would you have called me a "skank date"? Having had all of 2 sexual partners, "skank" seems rather severe. But, you know, I was drinking and I am not a virgin, so maybe it fits your definition. I sure as hell call it attempted rape, but, you know, I'm just a female, and obviously my emotions get in the way of my understanding what "real rape" is. So, please, enlighten me so that I know whether or not my feelings of violation are justified or not.

P.S. I don't think it's your insistence on more investigation that is seen as callous. It's the assumptions that sing loud and clear through your choice of adjectives and tone. Also, if some victims or almost-victims seem emotional and react strongly, please understand that being a victim of this violence is deeply scarring. It's easy to talk about these things from a non-emotional perspective when you nor anyone you deeply care about has been victimized, but it isn't so easy on the other side.

3:16 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

Anonymous said...

He ended up picking me up, tossing me on a bed, and forcibly removing my clothing. Again, I told him in no uncertain terms that I did not consent. I tried to get away, but he's about twice my size, so it was no easy feat.

Fair question. You were a victim of attempted rape.

Had he been able to consumate the attack, you would have been a victim of real rape.

if some victims or almost-victims seem emotional and react strongly, please understand that being a victim of this violence is deeply scarring. It's easy to talk about these things from a non-emotional perspective when you nor anyone you deeply care about has been victimized, but it isn't so easy on the other side.

But while being emotional may be understandable, cold clean arguments supported by facts should be the basis of policy.

Being willing and able to make arguments that way is a necessary condition for participating in serious police debates.

8:22 PM  
Anonymous threwupinmymouthalittle said...

"...cold clean arguments supported by facts should be the basis of policy."--says old, rich, white man

"Being willing and able to make arguments that way is a necessary condition for participating in serious police debates."

Change "serious" to "manly" and I think you'd be golden. You might want to beat your chest a little, too.

12:30 AM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

"...cold clean arguments supported by facts should be the basis of policy."--says old, rich, white man

Thanks for demeaning the old, white, the rich and men.

Nice to know you are racist, sexist and ageist. As well as promoting class envy.

But it gets worse.

Change "serious" to "manly" and I think you'd be golden. You might want to beat your chest a little, too.

My, my.

If you think cold, clean arguments that take evidence seriously are "manly," that's a very demeaning way to view women.

I regularly get such sound arguments from my women students. But then, most of them aren't feminists, and they haven't been indoctrinated with the notion that righteous, politically correct emotion can substitute for sound evidence and syllogistic logic.

You really need to apologize to all women for calling sound logic "manly."

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to point out that "actual rape," or forced sexual intercourse through the use or threat of violence isn't the whole of sexual violence law. There's also sexual assault, which includes sexual contact without consent, and in Wisconsin, this includes touching through clothing. Just because it isn't "actual rape" doesn't mean it isn't prosecutable.

1:38 PM  
Anonymous femmemeister said...

Hi Dr. McAdams, it's me again!

Anywho, I think that tuimmal is bringing up a valid point about what is "truth" and how we should evaluate policy. It is true that it is wrong to think that women are inherently illogical--it is that claim that has kept women from being elected into public office and outside of high-powered business positions.

However, I think we need to draw a line between what is logical and what is "cold hard factual." If a woman is assaulted, then I think that her personal experience counts as logical evidence for social change just as much as a statistical analysis. This is particularly important in rape and sexual assault cases, when there are cases of both statistical under- and over-reporting--with an issue this sensitive, it is hard to get "cold hard facts." Why not listen to autobiographical data and take it into account as well?

This is particularly important given the raging debate (as evidenced on this blog, for example) about how to determine what is or is not rape. The "cold hard facts" as seen by an outsider might not give a clear picture: however, to the victim of the assault, that picture can be crystal clear. Anon's own case, for example, is clearly one of attempted rape. But would the "cold hard facts" support her in court? Probably not. Listening to personal experience is a perfectly valid way of determining what is or is not just--such tactics were used in South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, for example, or in determining sentencing in the American justice system.

Why do people listen to personal accounts instead of just "cold hard facts"? Because they are important too--they give insight into the real harms that lie behind some issues that are easy to write off with nameless and faceless numbers and statistics.

However, to get back to tuimmal's other point, about your own perspective as a white male--I don't think you should just write it off. Those people who control most of the world's economic and political capital tend to be middle-class, middle-aged, white men. (Both statistics and autobiographical accounts would back this up, so I am sure you would agree too.) Because of this position of power, men have been able to determine historically what should or should not count as truth.

Thus, throughout time, it is scientific data and "cold hard facts" that have been seen as counting for something--and they should. However, it is when alternative forms of knowledge--autobiographical accounts, for example--get denigrated that this reductionistic rationalism becomes problematic, and often sexist as well. Thus, women who express their feelings are seen as "illogical"--on the same token, feelings and emotions (because they are "feminine") become looked at as something less powerful, less important, and less "true" than statistics.

Also, I do appreciate the fact that you state that women can be logical--I would agree, as a more logic-based person myself. However, because the emotional is SO OFTEN connected to the feminine (think about the phrase "feminine intuition" for example), what ends up happening is that, if you insult emotional forms of knowledge and experience, you end up insulting what is seen as "feminine" and thus women in general. Feminism is seeking to disalign this binary (men: logical; women: illogical)--but to do so w/o subtracting feelings, emotions, and autobiographical data from the equation: if we do that, then we lose a lot more than we gain. (Particularly since a lot of "cold hard facts" are themselves determined by perspective a lot of the time--you know that b/c you have criticized data collected by feminists. However, would data collected by anti-feminists be any more "cold" or "hard"? But I digress . . .)

Stats are important, but they only provide part of the story. Personal accounts are important too.

3:40 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

There's also sexual assault, which includes sexual contact without consent, and in Wisconsin, this includes touching through clothing. Just because it isn't "actual rape" doesn't mean it isn't prosecutable.

Right. But don't call it "rape."

4:26 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

femmemeister said...

In your last post, you danced around the issue of getting solid data. You seem to be saying that a woman's emotional response can somehow replace solid information.

How traumatized women are by rape is an important datum. After all, we evaluate costs and benefits, and are willing to spend more to (for example) prevent a real rape than to prevent a case of attempted fondling.

But it really won't cut it to claim that 25% of college women have been victims of rape when that's simply not true.

Tell the truth.

All the stories in the world about women who have been traumatized can't substitute for an honest assessment of the scope of the problem.

The incidence of real rape is far below 25%. It does no good to trade in phony numbers. It might get you a grant, but it doesn't help solve the problem.

4:36 PM  
Blogger John T. said...

Suffice it to say that after reading the feminist's responses to your blog that I feel justified in continuing to put all things said by "Womyn" on mute.

I'm thinking forcible rape by a stranger calls for the death penalty since the men who commit crimes of a psycho-sexual nature are prone to recividism. But then again I'm just a product of the "patriarchal society" who feels that the death penalty is highly under utilized.

9:26 AM  

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