November 5, 2013

"The Badger Herald printed a letter from a political science junior titled, 'Rape Culture Does Not Exist.'"

And we're told, it's gone viral.
“When I was consulting with our managing editor and our opinion editors about whether or not to publish it, we knew there would be a pretty strong response from the campus,” said [the newspaper’s editor, Katherine Krueger]. “I think it’s important to stare something ugly in the face every once in a while to be reminded that there’s still a lot of work to do.”
Okay. Stare at "something ugly" and do some "work."

ADDED: Here's the student's letter, with comments. Please read it and try to understand why it is stirring people up so much.

ALSO: Here's the full text of Krueger's response. 

122 comments:

Shouting Thomas said...

Refusing to knuckle under to the allegations of "rape culture" is the proof that it exists.

Pretty much the same strategy Althouse employed with gay marriage. The proof that opposition to gay marriage was "homophobia" was that you didn't buy the gay marriage argument. Also morphed into the "proof" that persecution of gays was rampant.

Whenever you doubt that some sort of bias of discrimination exists, that is the proof that it does exist... because, only bigots would doubt such things!

betamax3000 said...

Time for the Obligatory Whoopi Goldberg Reference about What Distinguishes "Rape Culture" from "Rape-Rape Culture."

Give it a Few More Comments Until Roman Polanski is Put Into Play: Proper Form is for this to Occur a Comment or Two after a Remark about "Slut-Shaming."

The Post then Winds Down to the Bonus Round "Splooge Stooge" Comment.

I Doubt Your Commitment to Sparkle Motion.

Big Mike said...

"If people taught their sons not to rape women then we wouldn’t have a problem."

Among social conservatives it was, and still is, the case that sons are taught to respect women. But social conversatives are e-e-e-vil, didn't you know?

We also need to have more serious consequences for false accusations of rape.

Tank said...

Splooge.

That is a great word.

Ms. Tank and I also like "F***wit. Hard to beat that one for its intended use.

And I already got beat to my rape rape comment. Whoopie where are you?

EDH said...

Decrying the pervasive rape culture is a sure-fire way to get laid!

PB Reader said...

A better argument is that "rape culture" (forcing yourself and your ideas/desires on the unwilling) is the core nature of leftism. They work hard to build reinforcing mechanism to convince the victims that they actually like what is being done to them.

Ultimately it fails, but the loss of dignity and life along the way is incalculable.

Sorun said...

There's a rape culture in the humanities departments but not in STEM departments.

The Drill SGT said...

can somebody translate this?

Editor’s Note: trigger warning for sexual assault.

jacksonjay said...


I think a rape culture does exist and it is directly associated with the abortion mills (Planned Parenthood) that enable it! It is a particularly heinous rape culture, statutory rape!

Ctmom4 said...

@Drill Sgt- I think they meant sexual assault victims, but given the venue, it's possible they meant that all male readers would be moved to run out and assault someone.

SJL said...

Soron-Are you serious about STEM? I tend to agree. I have two sons, one in Robotics grad school, and one a Tech Ed teacher. I will bet my life they would never mistreat a woman.

Ctmom4 said...

By the way Professor- O'Reilly did a segment last night about the most "sexually libertine" college campus, which happened to be Wisconsin! ( not sure who did the ranking). It was funny, and many of the students were exceptionally good looking.

traditionalguy said...

The Rape culture is any culture that does not sentence sex attackers of women and girls to serious jail time, our noble Supreme Court having discovered the death penalty is "cruel and unusual punishment' for rape attacks.

A story appeared this morning with the headlined, "Rape on Emory Campus." But it boiled down to a report by a female student attending an on campus Frat House Party with male student friends and going up to their bedroom at 2:30 AM and suddenly discovering she was raped.

Bob Boyd said...

What does the Editors Note: "trigger warning for sexual assault" mean?

Big Mike said...

@traditionalguy, was she raped or is it merely the case that she woke up the next morning in bed with a guy she wouldn't have had sex with if she was sober?

Xmas said...

Bob,

"Trigger Warning" is a way of saying that some people, who may be delicate-flower survivors of sexual assault or rape, will suffer severe mental trauma reading an article where the word "rape" is mentioned by in way that doesn't decry the awful nature of men.

It's a thing nowdays.

David-2 said...

Big Mike said...
"was she raped or is it merely the case that she woke up the next morning in bed with a guy she wouldn't have had sex with if she was sober?"

There you go, Big Mike, contributing to the rape culture. That you can even ask the question ... sheesh ...

Balfegor said...

A remarkably sensible and level-headed letter. Almost sacrilegious for a campus news-paper.

dbp said...

It is shameful that it is "amazing" for a campus newspaper to print a letter whose main thesis is obviously true.

Henry said...

That's a pretty lame analysis. "Anecdote" is not "data".

Henry said...

OTOH, rape culture is problematic. Noun modifiers aren't data either.

Ann Althouse said...

Here's the student's letter, with comments. Please read it before commenting. I'd rather not have generic discussion of the term "rape culture" and what it might mean to you. Why did the student use it, what exactly was he denying, and why is it bothering people so much?

It's not the same as saying rape doesn't matter or rape is not occurring, which would obviously be rejected. And it's not about fussing over the line between what should be called rape and what is bad sex but not rape. It's about "rape culture."

William said...

I think the rape culture in America will persist so long as sexual criminals like Bill Clinton and Ted Kennedy are not held accountable for their crimes. I think militant feminists should follow Bill Clinton around and hurl pig offal at him every time he attempts to speak in public.

Big Mike said...

@David, a woman who consents to sex has not been raped. That she was drunk is on her. Women have always gotten drunk at parties, and back in the 60's when I was a college student I had drunken ladies drape themselves all over me and stroke my crotch. Does that not happen today, a half century later?

(Ah, the good old days. Possibly aided by a selective memory.)

Note that I'm asking whether she consented and is attempting to withdraw her consent retrospectively. By contrast a woman who is passed out, whether from alcohol or being slipped a date rape drug, has not consented. My second-hand impression of the 21st century campus is that the case of the woman who gets drunk, accepts or even initiates sex, and attempts to retrospectively withdraw her consent the next morning is conflated with the case of the passed out drunken female. And that is a mistake.

Matthew Sablan said...

I have yet to get a definition of what, exactly, rape culture is. Some people tell me Hooters supports rape culture, for example. At that point, it has kind of lost all meaning.

Henry said...

Has anyone coined the term "idiot culture"? The letter is juvenile and the comments are worse.

Matthew Sablan said...

"How come none of the latter is attributed to any sort of culture, but the former is a sign of a rape culture?"

-- Gangster rap actually DID get a bad, uh, rap. I think there's stories of some guys who went to cleaner lyrics after having kids.

"Not everything that is claimed to be rape is actually rape, and false accusations only take away from the credibility of real victims."

-- This is true, and why we have courts of law and investigative professionals like police. Provided they do their job, Duke Lacrosse cases don't get very far.

pduggie said...

It's stirring people because assaults on religious beliefs often are stirring.

Sorun said...

I think the letter is a successful troll. The reaction to it are insane. Kudos to the author.

Matthew Sablan said...

Here's a definition of rape culture from the comments: "Rape culture refers to a culture that condones and minimizes rape."

... Yeah, no. If that's the case, then no. America does not suffer from having a rape culture. Next question.

dbp said...

The student points out an example of misogynistic and possibly pro-rape music and notes that rapes are still committed: So, he is not denying that bad people exist.

What he denies is that there is rape culture--a widespread view that rape is okay sometimes. This would seem impossible to prove, one way or the other since even people who think rape is okay are presumably clever enough to keep this to themselves. The only notable exception being rap impresarios who even insulate themselves by claiming the songs portray a fictional personality that they only portray and do not share.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Although it doesn't address all the factors, everything that the letter says is valid.

Diamondhead said...

I would guess people are angry about it (whether or not they realize it) because it calls into question the efficacy of education to change behavior in those persons disposed to rape. That raises questions about human nature that are too terrible for the left to contemplate.

For people bemoaning the "fake rape" culture, there is a very easy way to avoid this trouble: don't have sex with women who will regret it the next morning and who are not mature enough to deal with their mistake in a reflective way. Get pre-emptive revenge on them by denying them what they want in that moment. Ah, but who can tell the difference? If you can't gauge the character of the woman you are about to sleep with, go home and sleep with yourself.

Sorun said...

"Rape culture refers to a culture that condones and minimizes rape."

America has subcultures.

jacksonjay said...

Why did the newspaper use the term "gone viral"? What does gone viral mean? How gone viral is gone viral? Does gone viral matter? Should we discuss gone viral?

Drago said...

Mathew Sablan: "I have yet to get a definition of what, exactly, rape culture is."

"Rape Culture" means whatever the left needs it to mean today or at this hour, regardless of what it meant last year, last month, yesterday, this morning, etc.

Words/definitions are meaningless when it comes to conversing with or dissecting the comments of the lefties.

See "the meaning of "is"" and obama's latest hilarity regarding what he said regarding health plans.

We had Rob Reiner talking the other day about similar obama is to Reagan.

Yes, they actually say stuff like that.

It's pointless to spend even a moment trying to locate anything intellectually consistent or logical in the mutterings of the other side.

There simply isn't any.

Kylos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Henry said...

As I read it, rape culture is primarily a rhetorical strategy. As a rhetorical strategy it clearly does exists. Our letter writer, with his haphazard anecdotes and harrumphing assertions, has no idea what he's talking about.

The rhetorical strategy is to magnify the misogynistic aspects of pop culture (which are undeniable) with an extreme modifier, a metaphorical abstraction of a horrible crime. But what results is a seemingly plastic term whose ease-of-application degrades its own shock value.

Long ago, Florence King pointed out that radical feminism, in its determination to see the worst in human culture, was profoundly misanthropic. She wrote this in a book in which she praised misanthropy, so her critique was not of feminist misanthropy per se; rather it was the foggy thinking that surrounded it. What she pointed out was that extreme rhetorical strategies require follow-up: once you use up rape as a metaphor, you have to come up with something worse. Like necrophilia. She provides examples.

paul a'barge said...

When a man wakes up in the morning, looks over and realizes that he has just spent the night with a tramp, he gnaws off his arm rather than wake her and calls it "Coyote".

When a woman wakes up int the morning, looks over and realizes that she just spent the night with someone she now would prefer not to have spent the night with, she calls is RAPE.

tim maguire said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
heyboom said...

Has anyone coined the term "idiot culture"? The letter is juvenile and the comments are worse.

Hey Henry, how about educating us lessers on why this letter is idiotic instead of attacking it at face value. Remember, we're not all as enlightened as you are.

My take is that the student is decrying the application of the term "rape culture" because it intentionally manages to put the onus of accountability on the male. This has inevitably led to the absolute abuse of this power, as seen in the numerous cases of false rape accusations.

heyboom said...

@Henry

I see that you did expound on your comments while I was posting mine. Apologies for my premature judgment.

jacksonjay said...

Don't the most feminist of feminist call traditional marriage rape?

Kylos said...

To respond to the professor's question, I would say that student is partly correct in that we don't have a rape culture so much as a over-sexualized culture. This includes degraded representations of both male sexual desire (what is commonly described as "rape culture") and female sexual desire (often framed as "empowerment").

I think the student is wrong in minimizing the effects of culture, but is correct in noticing a double standard that is applied in feminist circles toward male and female sexuality. He's correct in noting that the common understanding of the term "rape culture" is not literally a "rape culture" but describes a cultural view that encourages promiscuous sexual behaviors. Trying to clarify a loaded term is a difficult task.

tim maguire said...

"I’ll be the first to admit"

That's the part that bothers me. Nobody who uses that phrase would really be the first to admit. And what does he mean by it anyway? The statement is always made in assertion of a non-controversial opinion yet is asserted as a sort-of boast. I'm sure he has no expectation that he will be the first to be asked.

rcocean said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rcocean said...

Looking at the comments, its good to see people are using the phrase "White Knights" to describe self-hating men. We used to call them "Uncle Phil's" but WK is a better phrase.

Henry said...

@heyboom -- The letter is a mess of assertions and anecdotes with no logical sequence. If the author wished to dismiss rape culture on rhetorical grounds, he needed to address its rhetorical use. If he wanted to dismiss rape culture on sociological grounds he needed to get beyond anecdotes and present data. If he had any political or moral theory to apply, he needed to apply it.

I'm not saying the author is wrong or right, or wrong in parts and right in parts. I'm saying he doesn't say much at all worth arguing about. The angry pushback in the comments to the letter is of the same caliber of thought.

rcocean said...

Other than that, I have nothing. I suppose people are upset at an obviously true statement, because they define rape in the "Rebecca Watson" way. If you believe asking someone out for coffee at 4am if one step away from "rape", then maybe every country in the world has a "Rape Culture".

Bob Boyd said...

What we need is some common sense penis control legislation, starting with a ban on these scary looking assault penises and high capacity scrotums.

David-2 said...

Big Mike: I would have though a smiley or "sarc." tag unnecessary on my comment, but YNK. Next time I'll minimize the confusion and add one. Sorry for misleading you.

David said...

It's stirring people up because his statements are in conflict with sacrosanct beliefs. The stirring is enhanced by the fact that the writer is a white male. The fact that he does only a B- job of making the case doesn't help either.

But mainly people go crazy when a sacrosanct received idea is challenged.

The writer was, with a few exceptions, respectful in his tone. (Calling a group "uneducated" could have been deleted.) Many of the replys are hateful and angry.

It's a fearful reaction. For the collective dissent and difference is fear inducing. The main emotion underlying the German assent to the holocaust was fear of the Jews. They were dangerous because they were different.

Same impulse here, though the recommended solution is to shame and ostracize the dissident other, not death camps.

heyboom said...

@Henry

Looking at the crux of your comments on different issues, I have to apologize again for jumping to conclusions. I appreciate your viewpoints.

Henry said...

@heyboom - Thanks for the response. Given that my first comments were just sarcastic asides, I kind of set myself up for misinterpretation. My fault too.

dbp said...

I see a parallel between progressive's outrage at hearing "rape culture doesn't exist" and conservative Christian's at hearing "Jesus was just a man".

1. Nobody likes to have their beliefs challenged. Belief in god is no more or less faith based than belief in rape culture.

2. Even in the absence of either of the above beliefs being true, they serve a useful function. For Christians, even if the faith is untrue, it has the function of encouraging good behavior. For progressives, rape culture serves as a tool for attacking society as it is and helps to move it in a direction they prefer.

Skyler said...

Is "rape culture" the new bugaboo on campuses? It sounds absurd, but the virulent attacks on the man questioning its existence are pretty awful.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death the socially just duty of the Badger Herald to throttle it? Could PC be formulated any better than that?

pduggie said...

The similarity of leftists analysis to power dynamics and 'cultures' is surprisingly similar to evangelical christian analysis of demonic forces.

Balfegor said...

Re: Diamondhead:

I would guess people are angry about it (whether or not they realize it) because it calls into question the efficacy of education to change behavior in those persons disposed to rape. That raises questions about human nature that are too terrible for the left to contemplate.

I think this gets at the real problem. The people who accuse the US (and everywhere else) of having a "rape culture" prescribe as the remedy for rape -- the primary remedy -- teaching boys not to rape girls. Well, and punishing rapists, as we already do. It's part of the whole saccharine yet sinister missionary worldview that sees ever tragedy as a "teaching moment" and seeks to manufacture "teaching moments" when reality does not oblige.

But that worldview is fundamentally unrealistic. Education and punishment won't reduce the rape rate to zero any more than education and punishment reduced recreational drug use to zero. And people who point out that the risk will never be zero and warn, accordingly, that young women need to be on their guard and avoid situations in which they are exposed to a risk of getting raped are subject to hysterical attack. Pointing out that there isn't really a "rape culture" at all threatens this worldview at the opposite end -- not only is more "education" on this point less than 100% effective, there is no rape culture for the missionaries to destroy through "education" in the first place.

Marshal said...

Rape Culture defined (link from some commenter to the letter):

http://www.marshall.edu/wcenter/sexual-assault/rape-culture/

Why did the student use it, what exactly was he denying, and why is it bothering people so much?

First, understand the list is just things self-described feminists don't like. There's no linkage from music lyrics or sexually explicit jokes to rape.

We reject the framing because it implies anyone not fighting against "rape culture" is tolerating rape, which is simply untrue and offensive.

Further proponents seem to believe circumstances far beyond what is described are evidence of rape culture, including availability of the legal protections we offer even accused murderers. Or evaluating the facts of a case before reaching a conclusion. Or common sense measures like not walking alone at night or not getting passed out drunk in public.

The activists have constructed a model which obscures the true facts and fosters their effort to attach the taint of rape to much less serious issues like telling sexual jokes.

YoungHegelian said...

@balfegor,

@12:37 Well said there, buddy!

Marshal said...

Matthew Sablan said...
I have yet to get a definition of what, exactly, rape culture is. Some people tell me Hooters supports rape culture, for example. At that point, it has kind of lost all meaning.

Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies,

That would seem to cover Hooters.

Big Mike said...

@David, it did cross my mind that you might be being sarcastic, but your text was such a perfect mimicry of the earnest young campus liberal explaining with wide-open eyes how the world is supposed to be that I came to the wrong conclusion.

Well played, sir!

David said...

Althouse asks what the writer is specifically saying that gets people so upset. It's hard to summarize the writer's thesis in a nutshell, as he bounces about. However, the main message seems to be that women are touting the idea of a rape culture either to gain personal advantage or to avoid personal responsibility for their own sexual decisions. He's saying that women pushing the rape culture idea are manipulative and irresponsible. Them's fighting' words.

damikesc said...

Who feels rape is "OK"? The bigger issue, for me, is the pure bastardization of the word "rape". When "verbal coercion" is "rape", then the word has no meaning.

Nobody holds women in lower regard than a radical feminist.

damikesc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom said...

He makes a statement that is effectively, "why don't we also blame the women." I think a lot of people thought this may mean, why don't we blame the victims of rape. But then he goes on to explain that women sexually assault men and gives an example of the double standard. But when he made his initial statement, I had a visceral reaction. Then I kept reading and it made sense.

Now, if some people would simply keep reading and not stop at the visceral reaction, it may be clearer that he's condemning a double standard that is ugly and where there is much work left to do.

30yearProf said...

To put on the other shoe.

If parents taught their daughters not to get plastered and open their legs to the passing dude, there would be no problem. Actions, saying "yes", can indeed speak louder than words. Morning after regret is not the same as "no" firmly expressed at the time of the act.

30yearProf said...

To put on the other shoe.

If parents taught their daughters not to get plastered and open their legs to the passing dude, there would be no problem. Actions, saying "yes", can indeed speak louder than words. Morning after regret is not the same as "no" firmly expressed at the time of the act.

B said...

Well there certainly is a lot of outrage about a culture of violence, culture of drugs, exploitation and glamorization of negative black stereotypes. So his argument that a double standard exists is off the mark.

Are their uniform standards and do activists in each camp show the appropriate outrage for people in the other? No, but that's true of almost anything.

Inga said...

The term "rape culture" to me, generally means that rape is pervasive in a particular area, such as college campuses in the US. In countries such as India and Muslim countries the rape culture goes beyond certain geographical areas to encompass an entire society. Rape culture also tends to blame the victim and makes unequal comparisons of rape by women toward men and by men toward women. The rape culture in Muslim countries is so agregious that it actually punishes the victim for being a victim. We may not have the degree of rape culture in this country as in less civilized places, but I think we need to be cognizant of the fact that it does exist to some degree.

Inga said...

Additionally, I think that the outrage toward the writer of the letter may be because they feel he dismisses the pervasiveness of rape. I'm not certain he does, he seems to not like describing it as being part of our culture, sadly it is.

damikesc said...

But IS rape prevalent on campuses? Or is it a bunch of idiots making terrible decisions?

A rape claim out of regret isn't unheard of. And the kangaroo courts colleges have set up to deal with them are hardly exemplars of justice.

Marshal said...

"What is the “Rape Culture?”

Rape Culture is an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture. Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies, and the glamorization of sexual violence, thereby creating a society that disregards women’s rights and safety.

Rape Culture affects every woman. The rape of one woman is a degradation, terror, and limitation to all women. Most women and girls limit their behavior because of the existence of rape. Most women and girls live in fear of rape. Men, in general, do not. That’s how rape functions as a powerful means by which the whole female population is held in a subordinate position to the whole male population, even though many men don’t rape, and many women are never victims of rape. This cycle of fear is the legacy of Rape Culture."

Rape culture theorists believe men tolerate of rape because the fear of it keeps women subjugated.

Matthew Sablan said...

"The term "rape culture" to me, generally means that rape is pervasive in a particular area, such as college campuses in the US."

-- Define pervasive. I was an RA on a small campus, and rape and sexual assaults were not nearly as common as people are lead to believe.

Marshal said...

"I was an RA on a small campus", "Via Newark"

UD?

Matthew Sablan said...

"Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies."

-- That's way too broad a definition, and does not define *rape culture.* It just tells me a thing that perpetuates *rape culture.* It's like if I told you how to make a Smorgarange without telling you WHAT it is. I get a better idea now, calling a woman hot buns perpetuates rape culture.

But... isn't lumping general misogyny in with rape a bad idea? It would be like putting someone who is generally unpleasant in with someone genuinely evil.

Matthew Sablan said...

Oh, no. I went to college at Marymount University in Virginia, so again, it was a small campus, but even from what I've heard in larger campuses, the 1 in 4 women will be raped or sexually assaulted in college is in no way close to true.

damikesc said...

Inga, define "prevalent". Rape is clearly not common or else it wouldn't be news when it happens.

Marshal said...

Matthew Sablan said...
But... isn't lumping general misogyny in with rape a bad idea?


I suppose it depends on what your goal is. Accusing people of perpetuating rape culture is going to draw more attention than saying crude sexual comments are inappropriate.

Jody said...

Re Inga "he seems to not like describing [rape] as being part of our culture, sadly [rape] is."

Why, yes. I remember popping into Starbucks just this morning for my grande macchiato rape. And over lunch this afternoon, my co-workers and I were planning our rape hunt in the mountains this weekend.

Balfegor said...

Re: David:

However, the main message seems to be that women are touting the idea of a rape culture either to gain personal advantage or to avoid personal responsibility for their own sexual decisions. He's saying that women pushing the rape culture idea are manipulative and irresponsible. .

I'm not sure how you come to the view that this is his "main" message. I think is main message is that "bad people exist" and commit crimes, like rape and arson and murder, and telling people these things are naughty is not going to eliminate them.

His second point appears to be that outrage against misogynistic lyrics is selective since there's a lot of glamourisation of (criminal) violence in there too.

The third point he makes is that pushing education of males in order to eliminate rape ignores the fact that rape isn't exclusively a male on female crime.

And the last point he makes -- the point he knows is inflammatory but makes anyhow -- is that some women undermine societal condemnation of rape by accusing men of rape when it's really just regrettable sex (the point is not well made, but I think this is what he is getting at).

Jody said...

Can't stop myself from touching the fire...

Conviction rates per population for various crimes in the US and UK.
http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/html/cjusew96/cpp.cfm

In the US, the rape conviction rate is 0.212 / thousand males.

The burglary conviction rate is about 1 / thousand people.

The auto theft conviction rate is about 0.2 / thousand people.

(I think the rape conviction rate should be divided by 2 for an apples/apples comparison as it's overwhelmingly males in all the crimes, not just rape).

So, if there is a rape culture in the US, there is an even more pervasive auto-theft culture and burglary culture.

Ban GTA V!!!

Related: Do you know who disproportionately plays GTA? College age males!!! Truly, the auto-theft culture is rampant on American campuses!!!

Balfegor said...

Re: Inga:

The rape culture in Muslim countries is so agregious that it actually punishes the victim for being a victim.

I think this is a misleading imposition of Western semantic categories on a non-Western culture. My understanding is that women are punished for having been involved in sexual contact outside of marriage -- whether the contact is consensual or nonconsensual is not as salient as in American culture. They're not punished because they have been raped, but because they have been defiled. Using "rape culture" as a kind of shorthand for that particular foreign culture is just lazy, even if we want to go all Charles Napier on them:

Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.

Seeing Red said...

I haven't read the letter, but from the comments here it sounds like a salvo in the War Against Men and this kid is fed up. I don't blame him, he needs Dr. Helen's book.

It's vile to teach college students that their fathers may be rapists because they exist. That they're a product of rape.

David said...

"'m not sure how you come to the view that this is his "main" message. I think is main message is that "bad people exist" and commit crimes, like rape and arson and murder, and telling people these things are naughty is not going to eliminate them."

I think he's saying that the women pushing the rape culture idea are ignoring this fact. I view this as a supporting fact for his main thesis. I agree it's not clear partly because he seems to write without points of emphasis. Everything is presented as equally weighted. Which is why either of us might be wrong in determining his intent.

mishu said...

I found this handy graph. Comparatively, it looks like the U.S. doesn't have much of a "rape culture" relative to France and Germany.

Wade Calvert said...

The implied message behind the term "rape culture" is that all men bear some responsibility for rapes somehow directly or indirectly because of the stereotype that all men objectify women to some extent. It also serves to place all women in the victim category whether raped or not.

I flatly reject that I bear any responsibility for any woman being raped unless I'm the one raping or in a position to stop a woman from being raped by someone else, and fail to do so.

Yes, many men objectify women. Many women objectify men. And many people seek to become objects of attention for various reasons. Those aren't good things, but they also don't categorically assign blame to either gender for rape.

rhhardin said...

The rape culture came from turnip growers.

30yearProf said...

Re Mishu's graph.

The US rate is 1/3 that of Australia.

The 1 - 2 position of France and Germany is surprising since both nations allow sex workers freedom to operate their businesses.

jr565 said...

As far as rap and rape culture is concerned, a lot of people don't actually criticize rap because it would then require them to criticize black culture (as defined by the rappers).
It's not about a salary, it's all about reality, is one of the lines from a song that also echoes the defense of rap.
It's just the reality of the inner city is the argument.
But then, only a Cosby can actually criticize the culture directly because he's black.
If a white person did it then, it's a black thing and you wouldn't understand. And/or it' America's fault for creating the black underclass due to racism.

RecChief said...

interesting to note all of the people calling for censoring the writer. I thought college campuses were places where free speech was tolerated, if not cherished. At least that was what I was told when the speaker from the CPUSA came to my alma mater.

I have one anecdote where I somewhat agree with the writer regarding false rape claims. it's long, but the bottom line is that two female soldiers accused a squad leader of unwelcome sexual advances. I happened to be on duty that night. it took three weeks of making the trek to the Provost Marshall's office every day before they would take my statement. based on that statement, they questioned the female soldier and she admitted she fabricated the incident, and her roommate backed her up.

jr565 said...

if there is a rape culture, it's not spread by conservatives, that's for sure.
Repubs are the prudes saying girls should wait till they're married. The left is saying we should teach kids about anal sex when they're still in 3rd grade.
Having all women be sexual libertines probably increases the amount of rape. As well as the notion that it's ok to treat women like porn stars, since, after all calling women sluts is "slut shaming".

jr565 said...

Recchief wrote:
interesting to note all of the people calling for censoring the writer. I thought college campuses were places where free speech was tolerated, if not cherished. At least that was what I was told when the speaker from the CPUSA came to my alma mater.

Oh, no. That's where you're mistaken. That's the last place you'll find free speech.

jr565 said...

"Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies."

Many women seem perfectly willing to objectify their own bodies for either profit or self gratification.
No one told Miley she had to twerk at the Music Awards.

Marshal said...

30yearProf said...
Re Mishu's graph.

The US rate is 1/3 that of Australia.

The 1 - 2 position of France and Germany is surprising since both nations allow sex workers freedom to operate their businesses.


That graph is literally unbelievable. The rate is 10,277 in France and 30.2 in the US? The graph is measuring different events or the data is just wrong, either way it's meaningless.

Conserve Liberty said...

What we have is a confused, double-standard sex culture.

Men who expect sex expect sex are men. Women who expect sex are sluts. Women who are coy are women.

In the evening men are men and women are sluts. In the morning men are men and women are women.

It isn't women's fault and it isn't mens fault. They're both doing what the culture demands.

SOJO said...

America is well-known for its "murder culture", so that's bullshit.

Gee, now why would feminists be more interested in rape than murder?

And just who is his friend? Talk about "privileged problems" - the sex issues of a "superstar athlete"? Are you kidding me?

Next.



buwaya said...

Wrong data.
Try this - http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_rap_vic-crime-rape-victims

Sigivald said...

It'll stir things up because "rape culture" is an axiom, not an observation or a deductive product.

"Rape culture" never described "our culture" in general, and barely attempted to describe any culture that it was applied to.

But it's a very useful term to some people, and many more take it on faith or with as little critical analysis as possible.

(You see "rape culture" and "trigger warnings" and all the associated verbal paraphernalia in various corners of Tumblr. I'm sure there are Gender Studies programs where it abounds, but I'm not in them so I can't say.

They're a subculture that half doesn't realize it's really a subculture, not The Enlightened Ones.

And they don't seem to comprehend that it's possible to criticize their assumptions without actually approving of rape or hating women or "being the patriarchy".

Which makes it not worth any effort, sadly, to mention any of it, most of the time - far less trouble to avoid the subject and hope they get over it on their own.)

Sigivald said...

Oh, also - there is one segment of opinion where I've occasionally seen flashes of "rape culture".

It's approval of prison rape as an extrajudicial punishment for offenders.

But that doesn't fit the broader narrative of "rape culture", since the victims are pretty much uniformly male.

(Much as we see with statutory rape cases of teenagers in high school - male teacher, female student? Decried as rape.

Female teacher, male student? Nobody seems to care.

That's "rape culture", maybe (maybe because "statutory" isn't "rape rape", as Oprah so memorably put it.) ... but again, it's not helpful for the general narrative utility of "rape culture" as something Men use to oppress Women.)

Sigivald said...

(Oprah? Or was it Whoopi?

Like I can be bothered to remember which First-Name-Basis Black Woman Famous Mostly For Being Famous An In Media it was?

I don't care, and it really doesn't matter.)

rcocean said...

"STOP PUBLISHING HIS SHIT, BADGER HERALD. JESUS CHRIST."

This comment has 416 upvotes. Its by far the most praised comment on the thread.

UW - is it just their commentators or are all their students this dumb?

rcocean said...

Anyway, thanks Althouse for this glimpse into the crazy lefty-land called the UW.

hombre said...

Other than the last four paragraphs which were unnecessary, his arguments were certainly defensible.

The vitriolic reactions in the comments illustrate the inability of defenders of the "rape culture" dogma to think critically. But then they are recipients of a modern university education.

Chris said...

After reading the letter and some of the comments in the Badger Herald, I am convinced of one thing - schools and universities are doing a poor job of teaching young people to reason well. "Idiot!" is not an argument.

Marshal said...

Chris said...
After reading the letter and some of the comments in the Badger Herald, I am convinced of one thing - schools and universities are doing a poor job of teaching young people to reason well.


Keep in mind the intelligent students laugh at this nonsense. You're reading the Womens Studies majors.

virgil xenophon said...

**"...Womyns Studies Majors..."

FIFY..

Balfegor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Balfegor said...

Worth remembering, when we think about so-called "rape culture" that what Whoopi Goldberg considered not quite real rape was a man getting a girl drunk, giving her a sedative, and then penetrating her while she cries and tells him to stop. Even if we weren't talking about a 13 year old girl, that's pretty rapey.

If we had people like Whoopi dismissing incidents like this as not "rape rape" on a regular basis, you could say there really is something of a rape culture. But people like Whoopi are -- regardless of her influence -- very, very rare.

Big Mike said...

This comment has 416 upvotes. Its by far the most praised comment on the thread.

Coincidentally, perhaps, 416 is precisely the number of full time students at Wisconsin Law.

_______________
Just joking, Prof. Althouse! Accordint to US News you have 690. Please don't delete me!

Tarrou said...

"Rape Culture" is what the feminists started whining about when people realized all that "rape" they'd been complaining about was mostly made up. It's a shocking betrayal of real rape victims to lump every single less-than-optimal sexual act, joke, implication or unwanted glance in with a violent sex crime.

Kirk Parker said...

Sigivald,

"Female teacher, male student? Nobody seems to care."


Well, we* did put Mary Kay Latearneau in jail for about 7 years, doesn't that seem "caring" to you?

----------------------------------------------
*Be "we" I mean the fabulous State of Washington, but then we've been far ahead of that other W-state (WI) for quite some time.

Kirk Parker said...

Drill Sgt,

"can somebody translate this?"

Sorry, not me: I only know English.



Inga,

"they feel he dismisses the pervasiveness of rape"

We all dismiss the "pervasiveness of rape", if by that is meant the idea that rape is endemic.

Scott said...

"agregious" isn't a word. I think Inga meant "egrigious".

Remember the Pixar feature "The Incredibles"? The evil superhero-wannabe Syndrome proclaimed, "When everyone's super, no one is!"

And when everything is rape, nothing is.

When the progressive left actively trivializes the concept of rape merely to create a hostile environment for discussing sexuality, and thus stake out the thought leadership on the issue, it's just a kind of bullying anti-intellectualism that passes for sophistication. That this kind of progressive thuggishness is so pervasive at the University of Wisconsin ought to give any parent second thoughts about sending their kid there for an education.

Captain Curt said...

Matthew Sablan said: "from what I've heard in larger campuses, the 1 in 4 women will be raped or sexually assaulted in college is in no way close to true."

I've looked into some of those studies claiming these kinds of numbers on college campuses, and to get those kinds of numbers, they have to include all the women who report some sexual incident that they didn't plan on going in, or came to regret later (or both).

Many of those studies include any incident of a boyfriend pressuring a female student to "go further" sexually as attempted rape.

When you include things like that, I'm surprised the numbers aren't higher.

One thing I've seen a couple of times on college campuses following the release of studies like these: activist feminist students without any sense convince themselves that rape is really epidemic and set up and staff campus rape hotlines, and literally get no calls, because rape as most people would define it is very rare on college campuses.

Connie said...

I remember walking home from the Memorial Union in the late 80's, overcoming a "Take Back the Night Rally." A fairly large throng shuffling along beating drums and chanting "Stop Rape." My first thought was "where is the parade FOR rape?" 20+ years later and I have yet to see anyone glorify or promote rape, which is the author's point. As the father of a daughter getting ready to leave home for college I am all for opposing rape. I just have yet to see a culture endorsing it. (My second thought was that only the lesbians in that crowd were getting laid that night.)

RonF said...

Ann, why the student found it necessary to write this letter about the term "rape culture" is unknown to me. But what he seems to be saying is that there is a subculture of feminists who seem to think that rape is in general (to quote a cite in the comments) "... unavoidable. This leads people to believe that rape and sexual assault are unstoppable phenomena, and often even acceptable." and that rapists don't rape because they are bad people but because society in general holds rape as acceptable.

My viewpoint is that the letter writer is correct and the feminist subculture is ridiculously wrong.

handworn said...

I've seen this sort of debate before. What it amounts to, mainly, is whether a man should be held to a higher degree of responsibility than a woman, given equal levels of drunkenness, or (since BALs are rarely equal) both being past a certain level of it.

What I say (and what I think the letter-writer said) is this: if she said no, then it was rape. If she was unconscious, it was rape. If she did not say no, or if she can't remember whether she did or not, then regardless of whether it was or not, it can't be prosecuted.

Of course, this may tempt some few women to lie and say that they said no when they actually can't remember. But I think most women would not lie about that.

RonF said...

I'm not impressed with Krueger's response. From it:

"He peddles the horrifically misguided beliefs that sexual assault victims were asking for it with their clothing or behavior, were drunk or are flat-out lying about being raped. "

He does not such thing. This is a flat-out self-serving lie (kind of like what the current liberal hero Pres. Obama likes to peddle about healthcare). He does say that SOME people who were NOT victims of sexual assault have lied and said they were, but that's a) true and b) not the same thing at all.

"We don’t spend enough time as a campus community getting righteously angry about why assaults are still happening on our campus."

It's not a good thing that sexual assault happens on the UW campus. It's also not a good thing that theft and other crimes occur on campus. But that's not because people in general think those crimes are a good thing or that there's a "theft culture" on campus.

"The overwhelming response from the greater campus community also makes it clear that people who know rape culture is a real problem are not on the “fringe[s] of reality,” as the writer states."

From what I've read on this blog the fact that a particular view is held by a majority of the people on the UW campus is pretty much a guarantee that it's on the "fringe(s) of reality".

"the most repellent ideas should be buried as the strong, well-reasoned arguments prevail."

In order for that to happen, strong and well-reasoned arguments have to be presented.

"We hoped this piece would be torn limb from limb in the ensuing fray,"

Leftists sure do love the violent metaphors, don't they? As long as they are not directed against THEIR people or candidates or causes. Then we have huge outcries and claims that they are the cause of violence. But not lefties. No.

"and we haven’t been disappointed by the quality of the campus’ impassioned debate in response to the letter."

Which, having read through some of those comments myself, is a sad commentary on what the writer considers "well-reasoned".

RonF said...

Ann, what do you think of Krueger's response? Here's a statement from it:

"He peddles the horrifically misguided beliefs that sexual assault victims were asking for it with their clothing or behavior, were drunk or are flat-out lying about being raped."

Can you cite anything from Hookstead's letter that supports this? Because I read his letter and to me this looks like a flat-out lie.

Michael K said...

I wonder how many of the letter writers outraged by him were standing in line to see Obama after the debate and agreed he should be able to use a TelePrompTer in the next debate.