The “Rape Culture” Myth (George Will and Heather Mac Donald)

Lies of the Left

Dennis Prager reads from Heather Mac Donald’s article in from The City Journal about the “rape culture.” As usual, the left over-exaggerates… and what parent would put their daughter in AP classes to prepare them for the worse crime wave in human history, which is: one-in-five women are rapped at college. OBVIOUSLY the definition is the issue.

As society gets further away from Judeo-Christian norms… more-and-more regret will rear its head from drunken hook-ups.

For more clear thinking like this from Dennis Prager… I invite you to visit: http://www.dennisprager.com/

A great back-and-forth between George Will and some Democrat Senators who — as HotAir points out in George’s response to their asinine letter, these “Senators were likely faced with the difficult task of flipping back and forth to dictionary.com to translate Will’s writing, so we should probably have some sympathy.” HotAir continues:

  • For the entire time I have been writing I have cited George Will as one of the top five wordsmiths of our generation. Whether you agree with him or not… whether you think he leans too far in one philosophical direction or the other… there is no denying that Will is a master of the English language and flexes it like Mr. Olympia in the final pose-off. 

Here is more from HotAir on the fun tiff:

In case you missed the origins of this story earlier in the week, George Will took to his usual platform at the Washington Post with some words of caution regarding federal government intervention regarding sexual assaults on the nation’s college campuses. In it, he attempted to inject corrective remedies into some of the hyperbole currently engulfing the topic. Of course, in his usual fashion, Will led off with a paragraph which seemed designed to poke a stick in a few wasp nests.

Colleges and universities are being educated by Washington and are finding the experience excruciating. They are learning that when they say campus victimizations are ubiquitous (“micro-aggressions,” often not discernible to the untutored eye, are everywhere), and that when they make victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges, victims proliferate. And academia’s progressivism has rendered it intellectually defenseless now that progressivism’s achievement, the regulatory state, has decided it is academia’s turn to be broken to government’s saddle.

A careful reading of Will’s full editorial would show that he was essentially making two points. First, the “math” being cited to define the number of sexual assaults taking place was unfit for a 3rd grade Common Core tutorial. Second, Will noted that expanding and inflating the definition of sexual assaults to include micro-agressions – such as a boy staring for too long at a young coed with a low cut blouse – would tend to dilute the pool of actual assaults and diminish the seriousness of the real problem.

Such a stance brought the usual list of suspects up on their hind legs and into an immediate attack posture. This culminated in a coalition of Democratic Senators (Feinstein, Blumenthal, Tammy Baldwin and Robert Casey) penning a letter to the WaPo, chastising them for allowing Will to breath the same air as the rest of us.

After running their letter and litany of complaints, this weekend the Post ran a rare response from George Will….

Here is a larger portion of George Will’s response from the Washington Post:

The administration asserts that only 12 percent of college sexual assaults are reported. Note well: I did not question this statistic. Rather, I used it.

I cited one of the calculations based on it that Mark Perry of the American Enterprise Institute has performed {link}. So, I think your complaint is with the conclusion that arithmetic dictates, based on the administration’s statistic. The inescapable conclusion is that another administration statistic that one in five women is sexually assaulted while in college is insupportable and might call for tempering your rhetoric about “the scourge of sexual assault.”

As for what you call my “ancient beliefs,” which you think derive from an “antiquated” and “counterintuitive” culture, allow me to tell you something really counterintuitive: I think I take sexual assault much more seriously than you do. Which is why I worry about definitions of that category of crime that might, by their breadth, tend to trivialize it. And why I think sexual assault is a felony that should be dealt with by the criminal justice system, and not be adjudicated by improvised campus processes.

Read the senators’ letter here, and Will’s response in full here.

After laying out a detailed case of what by Julia Pollak experienced in the military as a woman, she goes on to compare this experinece to her experience at Harvard. A MUST read, great article! I pick up as she enters the comparison: 

…Compare all this to the model for sexual assault prevention and response at the institution I belonged to before the military—Harvard College. There, complaints of sexual assault are filed with the Administrative Board, or “Ad Board,” comprised of deans and faculty members. The written policies regarding sexual assault are far less favorable to victims, requiring non-consent to be expressed “verbally or physically” and requiring the Ad Board members to be “sufficiently persuaded” that an assault occurred.

In stark contrast to the stories I’ve heard about military perpetrators landing up in Leavenworth Prison, Harvard’s history of dealing with sexual assault cases might easily give more encouragement to perpetrators than victims.

During my time at Harvard College, between 2005 and 2009, I had one friend who was sexually assaulted by a fellow student, another who was beaten by her boyfriend (a fellow student), and another who was involved in a highly improper and abusive relationship with a professor. Not one of these incidents was ever reported.

In the five years from 2005 to 2010, according to the Harvard Crimson, eight cases of sexual misconduct were brought before Harvard’s Ad Board. Only three perpetrators were required to withdraw from Harvard College for at least six months, and none received a permanent expulsion.

So perhaps, instead of being a punching bag on Capitol Hill, the military should be studied as a model for sexual assault awareness, prevention, and response policy, especially among young people aged 18 to 24.

To place the military’s sexual assault problem in a wider context, here are some illustrative numbers. According to an anonymous survey, service members may have experienced as many as 26,000 instances of “unwanted sexual contact” in 2012. In other words, about 6.1% of female service members and 1.2% of male service members experienced unwanted sexual contact that year. Note that this number includes a substantial number of cases that occurred before the victim entered the military, as well as cases involving civilian perpetrators.

Although it is difficult to make direct comparisons due to differences in the way survey questions are asked, rates of sexual assault outside the military appear to be similar—if not higher. A 2010 study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that 6.7% of all women had experienced sexual violence, rape, or attempted rape in the 12-month period preceding the study. Since sexual assault rates are highest among the young, the CDC finding implies that the incidence of sexual assault is even higher than 6.7% among military-aged women. The CDC also found that between 20 and 25 percent of women, and approximately 6.1 percent of men, are victims of an attempted or completed sexual assault while they are in college.

And perhaps that model should be exported to the nation’s college campuses, where sexual assault is equally prevalent but far more hidden; where sexual assault policies and practices are outdated; and where the fear of litigation or falling rankings makes university administrations reluctant to expel offenders and eager to brush the problem under the carpet.

…read it all…

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