The Mythical Rape Culture
Right now there is a lot of hullabaloo about a rape culture, which we are told by people purporting to know better is rampant on college campuses. During a panel on the topic at Brown University, one woman remarked that she was tired of even having to debate its existence.
The key thing about those who claim it exists is – surprise – the government needs to pass more laws. Whenever someone says government is the solution to a problem, I get suspicious.
I recently graduated from college, the vice president of a fraternity no less, and can therefore speak with some authority based on my own experience. Sexual assaults do happen, but I never saw it. Contrary to public perception, fraternity parties are far safer than ones held in dorms or apartments. When assaults occur in fraternities, the chapter gets shut down. When cops arrest students in the dorms or residential halls, they stay in business.
If colleges were epicenters of a rape culture, why are more and more women attending colleges than ever before, more women in fact than men? If fraternities were hotbeds of sexual assault, why do women still attend their parties and associate with men who are supposedly eager to rape them?
The discussion is also inextricably connected to excessive drinking. Notice the intense, raving outrage at the slightest suggestion that women not imbibe too much, or at least do so in a safe setting. Such advice no more blames the victim than police telling college students to secure their lockers outside the workout center to prevent theft.
What such advice does do – and what causes people to screech – is highlight the fatal flaw in the rape culture argument.
The Truth Behind the Myth
Permit me to perhaps elucidate what I observed enough times to notice a pattern.
Meet Susan. Susan is a freshman college student. Regardless of what she might have been at her high school, she is terribly nervous. She is living outside of her home and away from her parents for the first time. All her friends went to other schools, and thus her social status has been reset. She is eager to meet new people and make new friends.
College parties are seemingly effective ways of doing this. There is drinking, which she may or may not have done in high school. When she arrives, she might intend to party hard or obey the rules. Either way, peer pressure convinces her to drink. There is no one to help her limit her intake. Over time, she goes from buzzed to tipsy.
While drinking, a guy introduces himself to her.
Meet Joe. Joe is also a college student. Regardless of his physical appearance, he has a refined indifference to her. If she ignores him, there are plenty of other girls there for him to choose. Susan is enraptured by what she mistakes for his self-confidence. The alcohol has had its effect.
The evening continues. Eventually, she gets completely drunk, as does Joe. All moral restraint has been eroded away, so when Joe takes her to his bedroom or his apartment or wherever, she is more than willing to join him.
They sleep together.
This is where things go downhill. When Susan wakes up, she takes one look at Joe and suffers from immediate regret. If she remembers, that is. If she blacked out, she won’t remember who he is, how she got there, or what she did with him.
Susan and Joe are now on totally separate pages. Attempting to rationalize her actions, she convinces herself that he is in love with her, and she with him, and from that one night stand a beautiful courtship will be birthed and take wings.
Except it doesn’t. Joe isn’t interested in a relationship. He wants sex. He is baffled when she attempts to coax him into a committed relationship and ultimately moves on to other women who are willing to put out with no strings attached.
Which devastates Susan. She obviously doesn’t tell anyone except close friends about it. Gentlemen don’t tell secrets, either, but Joe is no gentlemen. Word spreads, and within a week complete strangers are privy to intimate details of her sexual encounter.
Depending on the odds, Susan and Joe didn’t use protection. Drunk people don’t walk around with condoms handy, and if they do they’re often too incompetent to use them properly. Few experiences terrorize a young woman more than the trip to the store to get a pregnancy test, the results of which could alter her life forever.
Joe revels. Susan, on the other hand, is humiliated and confused. And, quietly, burning with anger.
Was she taken advantage of? Yes. But rape, it was not.
Enter the requisite college classes, Women’s Studies 101 and freshman English. There, Susan is introduced to a whole class of political writers seething with hatred for all men. Normally, she would be rebuffed by their radical ideas, but her experience with Joe has made her susceptible.
She is not responsible for what she did, her professor tells her, because all heterosexual sex is rape. She learns about the evil Patriarchy controlling the country, which has such a fierce grip on society that no woman can actually consent to sexual relations with men. Yet, the same professor goes on to say that women must seek their “sexual liberation” by sleeping with as many men as possible. Anyone who looks down on her for it is “slut-shaming.”
Susan drinks up the beliefs, no matter how contradictory they are, all in the hope it can restore her self-dignity and regain control over her life. Just as she confused indifference with self-confidence, she mistakes her anger with righteous indignation. Emotional reasoning at its worse.
Joe is no longer just a mistake. He’s now a rapist.
Hook-up Culture, Not Rape Culture
We don’t have a rape culture in colleges, but a hook-up culture designed to destroy meaningful relationships between young men and women. All heterosexual sex is rape, but notice the people who make this claim don’t recommend chastity as a solution; rather they encourage women to sleep with men in an effort to treat them as objects to be used and then disposed of.
The trouble is, the plan backfired. Generally speaking, men who engage in such behavior have no shame. When they sleep with unappealing girls, they laugh, give each other a hard time, and then move on. They also don’t get pregnant. For a certain statist ideology, the differences in consequences are intolerable.
This is why rape culture “awareness advocates” do not consider it “rape” when Susan seduces Joe by getting him drunk, nor is Susan ever capable of “raping” Joe. Joe must also obtain “affirmative consent” from Susan, but his consent is not necessary. These “affirmative consent” rules only apply on college campuses, because no such policies would be tolerated anywhere else.
Observe that this entire focus is on college campuses and not on places where actual rape is rampant, like Hollywood. Notice that people who actually care about the wellbeing of young women and look for ways to protect them physically, sexually, and emotionally get lambasted for “victim blaming” by ideologues whose socio-political beliefs have brought nothing but harm to women.
The real irony is that people perpetuating this rape culture myth and legislating what must be said verbally during amorous encounters, are the same individuals who tell us to “keep the government out of their bedrooms.”
Physician, heal thyself.