Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Is Marquette Finally Going to Tell the Truth About Campus Date Rape?

Sent out last fall by Marquette: a “Teal Poster” about sexual violence.

It touts the following statistics:
“1 in 5 women and 1 in 70 men will experience rape in their lifetime.”
(National Crime Victims Survey, 2007)
“7 out of 10 rape survivors knew their attacker.”
(National Crime Victims Survey, 2007)
“People between the ages of 18 to 24 experience the highest prevalence of stalking, sexual assault an dating violence.”
U.S. Department of Justice (Revised, 2012)
“1 in 4 Stalking victims are cyberstalked”
U.S. Bureau of Justice, 2009
What is missing? Bogus statistics about the incidence of campus date rape.

We have found that our students have been told that 20% of college women are victims of date rape. And indeed, one “training” module that was mandated for all University employees last fall used a somewhat scarier statistic, claiming that 25% of college women are victims of “some sort of sexual assault.”

Click on Image to Enlarge
We called Susannah Bartlow, director of the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center, which was responsible for the poster. We wanted to ask her whether Marquette is backing off inflated claims about date rape.  We left voice mail, but she never got back to us.

Instead, Brian Dorrington, head public relations guy at Marquette, responded.

(It’s significant that nobody in the Provost’s office will talk to us, but rather gives Dorrington the task of framing an evasive response.)

Dorrington said:
Hi John,

Susannah Bartlow shared your inquiry with me and I’m writing to provide context. This year’s sexual violence prevention poster offers new information and statistics to expand the knowledge base of our university community on this important topic. The information from both posters is accurate and includes widely accepted statistics. We have worked diligently to educate our entire campus community about preventing sexual misconduct. This includes sexual violence prevention and bystander intervention during the past four years and mandatory training for all first-year students.
Dorrington, of course, has completely and entirely avoided our query, which was whether Marquette is backing off of the bogus statistics it has been giving students.  Perhaps he did not understand our query, or perhaps he simply was unwilling to admit that Marquette is backing off something it has been (falsely) telling students.

That colleges (following feminist activists) have been trafficking in bogus, grossly inflated statistics about date rape is not new information.

The first widely noticed article questioning inflated date rape statistics appeared in 1991, written by Berkeley professor Neil Gilbert.

And of course, we have repeatedly blogged on the issue.

Why Inflate the Problem?

The chronic inflation of the problem of sexual assault on campus is the result of the confluence of two forces.

The first is feminism, which casts men as the evil oppressor class. What better metaphor for male evil than the notion that lots of men are raping women. Indeed, why not go beyond that and say that all men are responsible for the prevalence of rape, or that a “rape culture” encompasses all men?

Thus, a certain R. Clifton Spargo from the English Department, in a campus program on sexual violence. . .
. . . 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.”
The other force is the interests of campus bureaucrats. Hyping “sexual violence” is a justification for programs, and initiatives, workshops, and indoctrination sessions. All which have the effect of inflating the budgets and staffs of campus bureaucrats.

There are a few things that students should be told about rape. The “Teal Poster” is pretty good in this regard. Women should be told that, if a victim of rape, they should not shower, not change their clothes, but go immediately to an Emergency Room. Women should be told to be careful about ever taking a drink if it might possibly contain a date rape drug.

And women ought to be strongly encouraged to report rape. The entire student body should encourage women to report rape and support those who do. This is more likely to happen if Marquette can (honestly) tell students that reports of rape will be dealt with in a sensitive and professional manner.

But it doesn’t help when Marquette makes stupid statements about rape.

This page, for example, says that a women has not consented to sex if she is “Giving in or going along with someone to gain approval.” A lot of women have sex to gain approval. A guy who makes his “approval” continent on getting sex is not a gentleman, but he’s not a rapist either (at least if that’s all he does).

Another stupid statement coming from Marquette was in the “training” module required of all employees and faculty. It flatly asserts that rape is “not about sex, it’s about power.” If that’s true, why is it “sexual assault” rather than “power assault?”

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Another stupid statement is found in the “Teal Poster.” It tells students:
Consent. If you want to have sexual contact with someone, it is your responsibility to make sure they consent...enthusiastically!
No, grudging consent will do. A guy who gets only grudging consent from his date really ought to back off. But he’s not rapist if he fails to.

Making stupid statements about rape encourages students to blow off the “training” that Marquette offers as politically correct indoctrination, rather than good advice and information.

Marquette Compromised

Then there is the fact that Marquette is badly compromised in dealing with campus rape, having covered up two serious cases of sexual assault during the 2011 school year. Both were reported by the Chicago Tribune. Here is one report. And here is the other.


If Marquette is backing off of bogus claims about campus date rape, good. But it would be better if the University admitted that the numbers it has been giving students are badly inflated, and that a sober view of the situation requires good data.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. I had heard a story coming out of the skeptic community about a man asking a woman for coffee and that having made her feel 'sexualized.' We very much live in a day-in-age where even gentlemanliness can be measured sexual harassment.

2. Your best recourse is to a manly estate. A true courtship. Now many might argue that, "Hey, I'm entitled to drink till I throw up, and hook up with whom I choose." I won't deny you that. But remember that that is never like how it's portrayed in the movie Dude Where's My Car the story of two losers whose hangover is a great memoriam to just how wasted they were the night before. Life is not like that. To borrow a phrase from Thomas Wolfe, the greatest of American writers, the truth is that after "party nights," "hookup nights" that issue forth from the American party culture, people are afflicted with what Wolfe calls, "The quivering shame of dim remembrance." This is the most pervasive, least talked about phenomena in the culture, I find. Snooky, any reality star, can be seen amidst fear and trembling, utter trepidation after punishing herself with drink, same goes for any reality star, the experience of my life, and, I'm sure, the experience in your own life. So, proper courtship, I find, is sound advice. Especially because, in this day, the college party must be just an absolute phantasmagoria of false accusers. Terrifying. So, again, proper courtship--it's what you call "A manly estate."

3. Be sure to consider just what is atheism. The famous atheist Daniel Dennett mentions, "Not a lot of people believe in God. A lot of people believe in belief in God." You need to figure for yourself, where you stand, and, in so doing, keep in mind, the remarks of the great theologian Bonhoeffer, who was executed by the Nazis, "Only the believing obey, only the obedient believe." So think about believing, and whether or not you do in fact believe, even unto obedience.

This is more a little guidebook for young men who have to go through what could only be a scary experience as a young man--the plaintiff culture being afforded a terrifying and absolute reign. God Bless.

12:06 PM  

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