Monday, May 02, 2011

Protesting Against Something That Everybody’s Against

[Updated to correct identity of organizers.]

Yes, just a couple of hours ago, we walked across campus and found a demonstration against rape. It was organized by students. On the scene: Prof. Nancy Snow, the lesbian philosopher with the bullhorn very much in view a year ago, protesting Marquette’s refusal to hire lesbian Arts & Science Dean candidate Jodi O’Brien.

A few photos (not our best work, since we were using a cell phone):





Why protest against something that everybody is against?

It’s a kind of superstition on the politically-correct left: all problems can be solved by “raising awareness.” If any social problems persist, it’s just because not enough people have had their “awareness” raised.

Of course, sometimes the simple fact is that there are evil people who will do evil things, and the way to deal with them is to deter them with the threat of punishment if possible, and if that doesn’t work lock them up for an extended period.

There is another reality that campus leftists don’t want to face, but before we get to that we need a reality check about the supposed 25% of college women who have been raped.
During the 1980s, feminist researchers committed to the rape-culture theory had 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 of measuring the prevalence of rape. Rather than asking female students about rape per se, Koss asked them if they had experienced actions that she then classified as rape. Koss’s method produced the 25 percent rate, which Ms. then published.

Koss’s study had serious flaws. Her survey instrument was highly ambiguous, as University of California at Berkeley social-welfare professor Neil Gilbert has pointed out. But the most powerful refutation of Koss’s research came from her own subjects: 73 percent of the women whom she characterized as rape victims said that they hadn’t been raped. Further—though it is inconceivable that a raped woman would voluntarily have sex again with the fiend who attacked her—42 percent of Koss’s supposed victims had intercourse again with their alleged assailants.

All subsequent feminist rape studies have resulted in this discrepancy between the researchers’ conclusions and the subjects’ own views. A survey of sorority girls at the University of Virginia found that only 23 percent 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 what the feminist 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.” The “victims” in the study, moreover, “generally did not state that their victimization resulted in physical or emotional injuries,” report the researchers.
So what is going on here? Why the discrepancy between what the feminists consider rape and real, clear cases of rape? According to Heather McDonald of the Urban Institute:
So what reality does lie behind the campus rape industry? A booze-fueled hookup culture of one-night, or sometimes just partial-night, stands. Students in the sixties demanded that college administrators stop setting rules for fraternization. “We’re adults,” the students shouted. “We can manage our own lives. If we want to have members of the opposite sex in our rooms at any hour of the day or night, that’s our right.” The colleges meekly complied and opened a Pandora’s box of boorish, sluttish behavior that gets cruder each year. Do the boys, riding the testosterone wave, act thuggishly toward the girls? You bet! Do the girls try to match their insensitivity? Indisputably.
But of course, one is not supposed to pass judgment on any sexual behavior. Unless you call it “rape.” Saying that one should exercise some sexual restraint is just so old-fashioned. But that attitude doesn’t help women who were not raped, but did things they were profoundly unhappy about in the morning.

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9 Comments:

Blogger Erin said...

Among the many things you have gotten wrong in this post, the first is that this event was not faculty or Nancy Snow-driven. The event was initiated and planned by students, headed by Murphy Roshcer, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Snow played no more of a role in implementation than to show up and share word of the event with her colleagues.

10:25 PM  
Anonymous MarquetteSanity said...

So let me get this straight, your justification for your anti awarness-raising stance stems from a survey which chose to define rape as something not limited to (lets say) unwanted penetration? I hope to God that you as a professor at a Jesuit institute do not believe rape is limited to such distinctions. I truly hope this blog post is not a result of you actually feeling this way, but rather just another perverted attempt to use any organized function as a way of squeezing political implications from what is certainly a non-poltical issue. It's twisted how far one will sink just to stay within a political ideology.

The evidence you cite in your arguement against the usefulness of raising awarness for sexual violence reveals this ideology. You attempt to minimize the seriousness of unwanted sexual contact by citing a study which concluded that three-quarters of “attempted rape” victims said they did not think their experiences were “serious enough to report.” If victims of unwanted sexual contact do not think their experiences warrant reporting, wouldn't this suggest that a startling number of incidents of unwanted sexual contact have gone and continue to go unreported? Certainly our "hookup" culture might have some moral deficiences, but wouldn't a good way to combat this be by raising awarness of sexual violence so that victims will be more willing to admit their experience was unwanted, thereby discouraging would-be perpetrators? All your arguement does is suggest that victims have it coming to them.

In my opinion, ideologues like you do more to tarnish the moral fabric of our society than anything our "hookup" culture contributes. Knowing Marquette hired such a person as yourself makes me less proud to be apart of the Marquette community.

Well, at least you don't teach philosophy of ethics.

11:35 PM  
Anonymous Informed Reader said...

Dear Dr. McAdams,
My name is M. Murphy Roscher, and as one of the people who did in fact organize this demonstration (not protest) and having spent countless hours preparing, researching, and spreading the word, I feel personally slighted that you would claim Dr. Snow organized this event. We the students organized this event. Dr. Snow simply showed up to support a worthy cause in response to an open invitation we, as students, offered to the entire MU community. I did, in fact, realize that inviting faculty to a student led event might lead ignorant people to think that the faculty organized said event. I was sure that a tenured professor, and avid blogger like yourself, who actually made the effort to show up to the event, would have enough integrity to research what you publish. Next time, I will be sure to put my signature clearly on my work, my apologies.
Secondly, obviously we were not protesting because there is nothing to protest against, of course everyone is against rape as you narrowly define it. We were demonstrating because, as blogs like yours today illustrate, there is a lack of knowledge and empathy around issues of date rape and sexual assault.
Here is the citation for our statistics you haphazardly reported on. Note it is from the US Department of Justice and not Ms. Magazine. I believe the point speaks for itself.

Fisher BS, Cullen FT, Turner MG. 2000. The sexual victimization of college women. Washington: Department of Justice (US), National Institute of Justice; Publication No. NCJ 182369.
But just to make my stance abundantly clear, here is what I believe to be lacking from your analysis of the data. Statistics cited in our demonstration also involved women not answering the question "were you ever raped," but instead reporting on whether or not they had experience specific events of actions perpetrated against them, each of which make up the legal definition of rape and/or sexual assault. To me this seems like an impeccable research method. It is well know that research subjects do not always report accurately their own experience, so detailed questioning is key. Furthermore, when responding to stigmatized issues like rape, people shy away from using the term to describe what is reality. By way of analogy, no one would answer affirmatively on a survey asking, "are you racist," but if you were to ask, "on certain activities, is one race better than another?" people who believed this to be true would be more likely to answer affirmatively, which might indicate that a person has racists beliefs, even if he or she is aware enough not to self-identify as a racists.

11:45 PM  
Anonymous Informed Reader Cont. said...

Continued….
In regards to raising awareness, the following was our goal. The current discourse around sexual assault focuses on the victim and what she or he can do to prevent sexual assault and heal from that terrible occurrence. This is good and sounds like a stance you may have as well. However, the focus of our demonstration was to take a harder stance on perpetration of sexual assault. We believe that to combat sexual assault we need to focus on changing the culture of perpetration and holding people (mostly men) accountable for their actions. You claim that there are evil people who will do evil things. This is true for stranger rape, which is extremely rare but still important. What we are talking about and your blog marvelously compliments our point illustrating the need for further awareness is date/acquaintance rape. This, on college campuses, looks a lot more like two friends drinking at a party and they go back to one person's room, and one person coerces, manipulates, pressures, or uses physical force to go further sexually than the other person desires. This often goes unreported because the perpetrator is known to the victim, and culturally we tend to blame the victim meaning it is not safe to report sexual assault. To combat this we need to focus on educating men about what truly constitutes consent, how to respect the wishes of women, and how to engage in sexual activity respectfully.
Colleges did not open a box of sluttish behavior, but allowed for horny men to be in a position to use coercion or use force to fulfill their sexual desires. We are allowing young men to get away with crimes, without teaching them how to control their urges and to respect their partner’s wishes as a whole.
You argue that it is currently not ok to pass judgment on any sexual activity that is not considered rape. I disagree, respectfully of course. One of the main issues we face in this effort to make MU safer for both women and men is a narrow definition of rape. Rape is not simply forced vaginal sexual intercourse. Rape, in order to grasp the seriousness of all forms of sexual assault, can be thought of as any unwanted, or not fully consenting sexual contact, which we condemn. This is why it is important to remember that sexual assault is a beast outside of regular conceptions of sexuality, it can occur between strangers, friends, and even happily married couples. The most important thing is that consent and safety are the most important things.
Finally you bring up sexual restraint as though that was not one of our main points. We focused heavily promoting sexual restraint, as that is one of the key factors in avoiding date rape. People, especially men who, through emotional pressure, coercion, of physical strength, find themselves in a position where they can get their partner to do something that they do not fully consent to, need to practice restraint more than anyone.
As always, I would love further dialogue on this issue, so feel free to contact me at michael.roscher@mu.edu
And I appreciate the opportunity to more fully explain what we are trying to accomplish.
M. Murphy Roscher

11:46 PM  
Anonymous Informed Reader Cont. said...

To amend my own statements, Dr. McAdams did correct the organizers of the event. Thank you for that. He also took 32 words to mention the presence of one person at the event among over 50 others throughout the course of the day, who were all students but hand full of faculty.
Also present was Senior Conor Berigan, who has been pivotal in almost every MU ultimate Frisbee victory over the past 4 years.
Shelia Otto, President of MARDI GRAS and winner of an OSD award from community service, was in attendance. She also spends her free time canning her own jams
Bill Malloy came straight to the demonstration from the classroom, where he excels. He once bench pressed 250 pounds.

12:19 AM  
Anonymous Claire said...

As one of the students participating in this demonstration (and pictured) I wanted to thank Murphy for organizing this event and bringing together concerned students and faculty. He has left nothing for me to say in addition to his above comments except to express my agreement.

10:33 AM  
Anonymous James Pawlak said...

Mr. Spice requires a remedial course in vocabulary development. If a MU graduate or student, he has apparently missed out on that facet of a complete education.

10:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Besides your clear avid support for the REAL victims of sexual assault, namely, the guys who perpetrate the assaults, I am sure the political science department is extremely proud to have a tenured faculty member who says things like this:

"It’s a kind of superstitution [sic] on the politically-correct left: all problems can be solved by “raising awareness.” If any social problems persist, it’s just because not enough people have had their “awareness” raised."

Really?? You, as a political scientist, actually believe this?

If not, then maybe you should think before you write. If so, then I don't know why anyone should take you seriously as a political scientist. Seriously.

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Nancy Snow said...

Once again, John McAdams is inaccurate. Without asking me about my role in the demonstration, he unwarrantedly assumed that I organized it. That mistake, as well as his poor argumentation and skewed statistics, have been corrected. I was proud to participate in this student-organized and student-driven event to raise awareness of an important social justice issue at MU and other college campuses.

2:56 PM  

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