Krueger begins with the assumption that we are living in something that deserves to be called "rape culture":
The existence of ‘rape culture’ on college campuses — the social conditions that allow for the normalization of sexual assault and violence — leads to one in four college women being assaulted before they reach graduation. For evidence that rape culture is alive, well and thriving on the University of Wisconsin campus, look no further than David Hookstead’s letter to the editor.So Hookstead is not only a denialist; his denialism is proof of the existence of the culture. There should be a name for the culture where there are articles of faith so strong that if you say X is not true, you are viewed as reinforcing the proposition that X is true.
Krueger condemns her fellow student in language so strong that I had to go back and reread his letter to try to figure out what was so inflammatory. Krueger calls it "morally repugnant, patriarchal... offensive... the embodiment of rape culture... horrifically misguided... repellent... reprehensible... hateful... infuriating... ugly."
Isn't that a little over-the-top? Is no one allowed anymore to muse about the location of the line between bad sex and the crime of rape? Must one become a social pariah for questioning whether the activities of some criminals means their crime is our culture?
As ugly as Hookstead’s version of reality is, this is an actual view held by more than a few UW students."More than a few"... but is that enough to make it our culture? Anyway, Krueger says condemning Hookstead's views is not enough:
If you’re disgusted and angry, this is your starting point. It’s only by opening the dialogue and banishing topics like sexual assault from our list of cultural taboos that we can begin to affect [sic?] a lasting change on campus.So... does that mean students are supposed to talk about it or not talk about it? I suspect the message to those who have anything even mildly challenging to say is: Shut up or we will ruin you.
Krueger ends by expressing regret for her failure to put a "trigger warning" on Hookstead's letter. Now, there's: "Editor’s Note: trigger warning for sexual assault."
ADDED: I see Hookstead got attention in Jezebel last August, here.
AND: As MadisonMan in the comments tells me, I actually did blog that at the time.
ALSO: I'd just like to say there are so many issues here: 1. I'm not sure who, if anyone, I feel sorry for, but I know I don't feel sorry for any members of my own generation that may have made Ms. Krueger feel she had to talk like that. 2. Young people: Break loose, be free, say new things, dare! 3. What is the meaning of "culture"? How do you define that term? If you use it loosely, but someone else wants to use it narrowly, why are you — especially in a university — fighting instead of having an intellectual conversation about what "culture" is? 4. Who is being repressed and who is repressive, and why doesn't everyone care? 5. In what might be called a "culture of repression," is it any surprise that people are drinking too much and having bad sex? 6. Can we talk about whether we have a "culture of bad sex"? If so, why? 7. Isn't the real rape question: What should be reported to the police for prosecution? And if we put that in a separate category, would we be able to talk about what bad sex is and why we're having it? 8. What about love?