Why I don’t believe in rape culture

In the comments to the last post, I wrote

How can we know how common real rape vs. false rape are? Everybody seems to accept that there is a big sexual assault problem on college campuses, but I don’t buy it for several reasons.

1) As Jim points out, for a ubiquitous problem, they seem to have a lot of trouble finding genuine cases to highlight. Part of that may be that the hoaxes are more lurid, involve more PC perpetrators, and are otherwise more attractive to journalists. There may also be a feedback mechanism involved similar to the one I suggested for racist cop stories: journalists are looking for cases where the university administration isn’t taking action, and this will draw them toward shady cases. So the fact that poster rapes nearly always end up being hoaxes doesn’t prove campus rape isn’t common, but it’s certainly a data point in that direction.

2) Folk wisdom doesn’t back it up. Women aren’t afraid of college campuses, fraternity houses, or fraternity students like they would be if there were a real rape epidemic there. Women are afraid to go walking alone in the ghetto, despite all they’ve learned about angelic blacks. Now, one could say that when folk wisdom and elite opinion conflict, I should choose the latter because it’s scientific while the former is just blind prejudice. However, prejudice being a more diffusely acquired and transmitted form of knowledge is harder to manipulate in a top-down way. Which brings me to my main reason

3) I don’t trust the people making these claims. I expect there’s a lot of inflation of sexual assault numbers from creatively broad definitions of “sexual assault”, but I think it goes beyond even that. There have been a lot of statistical claims made by feminists that we know are not only exaggerations or questionable readings of data, but are outright fabrications. Consider the claims about domestic abuse spiking during the superbowl, about domestic abuse being a main cause of female mortality, about hundreds of millions of witches being burned at the stake during the middle ages, about hundreds of thousands (or whatever it was) of women dying per year from illegal abortions right before it was legalized. These people deserve absolutely no presumption of trust. Anything claimed by a feminist controlled organization should be dismissed until corroborated by an independent outside group, and as we know there are no outside groups–the feminists have their apparatchiks installed everywhere.

Finally, a weak reason, but I’ll throw it out nonetheless.

4) Only about a quarter of Americans go to college, by-and-large the more academically gifted quarter. Think about the nerdiest quarter of your high school class. Yeah, I know, it doesn’t take all or even most of them to make a “rape culture”, but still…

Jim Donald argues that the vast majority of rape accusations are false.

Chateau Heartiste presents evidence that it’s about half of rape accusations.

And the idea that the general culture condones and encourages rape is pure feminist fantasy (or perhaps I should say pure feminist deliberate defamation, because it’s never clear how much of this nonsense they actually believe).

9 Responses

  1. I once had to prosecute a case of rape, involving two students waking up in bed together, neither of them having any recollection of how they got there.

    The complainer insisted in her complaint of rape, as was her right. There was medical evidence of intercourse, there was corroborated evidence of absence of consent (for the principle of our law, in criminal cases, is “testis unus, testis nullus – one witness is no witness), in that (1) witnesses had seen her consume an astonishing amount of alcohol the previous evening (2) the cab driver, who brought them back from a club, where they had met for the first time, testified he had had to help both of them up the front steps, one at a time (How they made it up to the apartment on the second floor is a mystery, never mind the sequel) and (3) her flat-mate could speak to “de recenti” distress, when the complainer ran into her room in the morning.

    So, I drew the indictment, “you did assault (the complainer), residing there, and while she was asleep or unconscious under the influence of alcohol and incapable of giving or withholding consent, did lie on top of her and did rape her” Our case was that she was bereft of her faculties and the pannel must have known it.

    The defence was somewhat hampered by the pannel claiming, plausibly enough, that he had a complete blackout from the time they were in the cab, so that he, personally, could contribute very little to the proceedings. Their friends at the club and the cab driver said they had appeared happy together, kissing and cuddling.

    The jury returned a verdict of “not proven.” They probably got it right.

  2. I think the scenario described by MPS is very common, and it points to the real “rape culture” at universities. This is not a culture that condones rape, but a culture that affirms an absolute right to sexual autonomy, so that nothing stands in the way of a drunken and/or libidinous couple stumbling away to a private room. The university can certainly have no rules that might inconvenience would-be fornicators because fornication is, after all, a constitutional right. Or maybe it’s in that poem at the foot of the Statue of Liberty:

    Give me your chaste, your pure,
    Your repressed masses yearning to rut free,
    The uptight refuse of your puritan shore.
    Send these, the virgins, hormone-tost to me,
    I pass out condoms at the dorm-room door.

    The sexual revolution gave us the Ambiguous Sexual Situation, so the sexual revolution is to blame for those retrospective “rapes” that come into being when an Ambiguous Sexual Situation disambiguates.

  3. Oh there is definitely real rape culture. Just not among populations we are allowed to criticize.

  4. Football- and Basketball-Americans are gods on campus. How could they do any wrong??

  5. JMSmith hit the nail on the head. The culture of sexual promiscuity is what creates most of these situations.

  6. While I do not like the ideologically charged phrase “rape culture” I don’t have a hard time believing that there exists on among some men on campuses a tendency to view women as objects of sexual gratification. Simply put, there’s a lot of pornography being viewed. Exposure to porn is simply bad for the soul. Those now in university are the first wave of those exposed to Internet porn since pubescence. If porn has been a major facture in how you think about sexuality and male/female dynamics, even if you intellectually reject those ideas, I could see it as problematic. I have no real interest in the “rape culture” debate. It’s obviously not as bad as feminist make it out to be, or we would be seeing the return of things like all girls universities. No decent mother or father are going to send their daughter to a place where they think she will likely be raped. What I think conservatives need to get more serious about is the effect that porn exposure has on kids. I have heard statistics that the average age at which a boy is exposed to hardcore porn is 10. If that’s even close to being true then the university aged population’s attitude to women is surely off – kilter, “rape culture” rhetoric aside.

  7. The folk wisdom point always gets me. The various “one in x” statistics have been around for over twenty years, yet young women still attend coed colleges in droves and parents still pay to send them. Feminists would have us believe that walking onto a college campus is a game of rape roulette, yet women-only institutions are dying off left and right. Follow the money!

  8. […] Narratives: Why the media keeps highlighting dubious racist police murder stories and a followup Why I don’t believe in rape culture. He also notes, helpfully, that Catholics are allowed to notice how bad things really are. Perhaps […]

  9. […] quite what she was expecting?  Well, she didn’t consent to that, you rapist.  I’ve said before that I don’t believe there really is a rape epidemic on college campuses–real rape, I […]

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