April 23, 2011

Why did Caitlin Flanagan write such a poorly supported article on fraternities and rape?

And why did the Wall Street Journal publish it? Was there a whole lot more material in the original article, which was then edited down to make Flanagan look utterly ridiculous?

It begins with the description of one horrible crime.
It ends with Flanagan describing her own fear of men. It's lurid and emotional to tell us about one woman's victimization and another woman's feelings, but where's the support for Flanagan's proposition that fraternities should be shut so that women can achieve equality on campus? Here's the middle of the article, where the substance should be:
The Greek system is dedicated to quelling young men's anxiety about submitting themselves to four years of sissy-pants book learning by providing them with a variety of he-man activities: drinking, drugging, ESPN watching and the sexual mistreatment of women.
So... guys in college seek fun in addition to study. That's unremarkable. So do females. Characterizing study as inherently feminine — "sissy-pants book learning" — doesn't make the assertion any less shallow. It seems to me that many young males and females indulge in substances, sports, and sex. Those activities maybe be great fun or horrible (or something in between).
A 2007 National Institute of Justice study found that about one in five women are victims of sexual assault in college; almost all of those incidents go unreported.
How did they find it if it was unreported? Much of life is ugly but not criminal. If it's a crime report it. If it's not a crime, what was it? What are these statistics that get thrown at us constantly? I've been seeing them since 1988 when "I Never Called It Rape: The Ms. Report on Recognizing, Fighting, and Surviving Date and Acquaintance Rape" was published. Over the years, college women have learned to call it rape, but why haven't they learned to report it, if it is rape or some other crime?  You can chose to think of something bad that happened as a crime but are you willing to hold your opinion up to the judgment of officials who have the obligation to treat the accused man fairly? Almost all of those incidents go unreported. Exactly why?
It also noted that fraternity men—who tend to drink more heavily and frequently than nonmembers — are more likely to perpetrate sexual assault than nonfraternity men, according to previous studies. Over a quarter of sexual-assault victims who were incapacitated reported that the assailant was a fraternity member.
Over a quarter?! Is this limited to the college situation? What are we learning from this flabby factual material? Young people drink too much.
It is against this boorish cartel...
Cartel? What cartel?
... that 16 Yale students and recent alumni asserted themselves in a Title IX complaint brought against the institution last month — a complaint that could cost the university $500 million in federal funds.

The claim concerns both the ways that sexual assaults are handled by the university and also the effect that various fraternity "pranks" have had on its female students. The last straw for the complainants seems to have been a Delta Kappa Epsilon initiation last fall in which a mob of pledges chanted "No Means Yes! Yes Means Anal!" and other enlightening slogans....
That was the last straw? A stupid chant? Why don't women use their immense power of being able to laugh at men? Give them the finger? Wasn't the idea of the chant to humiliate the pledges by making them say things that would make them look bad to women? Why don't women claim the power they have instead of running to Daddy (i.e., the government)?

The Yale complaint is a pathetic step backward for feminism. It is not empowerment.


Here's a book I read a while back: "Fraternity Gang Rape: Sex, Brotherhood, and Privilege on Campus." By the way, for a few years in the early 90s, I taught law school course on rape and wrote articles on the subject.


Big Mike said...

How did they find it if it was unreported?

Maybe it's unreported because it wasn't legally rape. Based on everything I've seen or heard about college life that 1/5 consists mostly of women who got drunk, woke up the next morning in a strange bed, and asked herself how on earth she came to let a guy like the guy she's lying next to inside her.

The 4/5 smart enough to try to stay more sober or go to bars or parties with friends who'll look out for them.

Michael said...

These "statistics" are made up by fat girls.

Cedarford said...

Young girl -

"Math is soooo hard! I hate statistics and numbers and things!"

Liberal teacher -

"Don't worry dearie! If you grow up and choose to be a feminist you can make up all the math and statistics you want in service of the feminist narrative and agenda!!"

rhhardin said...

It's displaced nagging, which itself is displaced quest-sending.

Anonymous said...

Pretty fair and balanced reply, Althouse.

You might be interested in a letter in this week's Woodstock Times from the Program Director of Family Domestic Violence Services in Kingston, NY.

See the letter titled Someone Knows at the bottom of the page.

The writer rails against men in a general way in this letter. No excuses for domestic violence.

The most lurid and recent example of domestic violence in our region is the case of a woman driving her car into the Hudson River, killing herself and her two children.

You'll notice that the article I've linked to manages to find a whole range of excuses for the mother's actions.

Anonymous said...

"What are these statistics that get thrown at us constantly?"

In layman's terms this is known as "bullshit" or "feminist claptrap."

Look ... these people live in an echo chamber of their own creation, where men are subhumans to be exploited for their (ick) semen and only when absolutely necessary.

They have no idea how they sound and when you take them out of their Women's Studies departments and expose them to the light of day you just have to shake your head at how fucking moronic they sound.

This is why we need to stop spending money on education.

It's being wasted supporting these fucking buffoons.

Anonymous said...

I would object, however, to your statement that the controversy is not about empowerment.

There's a lot of money to be made bitching at and about men.

Yale is talking about taking power and money away from male fraternities and handing it over to campus feminists. That's certainly empowering for the feminists, isn't it.

And that domestic violence program director is lobbying for more money and more policing power for her institution. That's certainly empowering for her, isn't it?

Lucien said...

What counts as "sexual assault" when a survey is taken? If you ask women "Has anyone ever kissed you or stuck their hand down your pants, etc. after you had told them not to?" then it wouldn't be surprising if at lest 20% answer yes. And it wouldn't be surprising if most of those incidents go "unreported".

For many, if not most, college students, they have moved to a strange place to live on their own for the first time in their lives. Not surprising that many would seek and thrive in the quasi-familial environment of a fraternity or sorority. Likewise, for some, the experience is frightening and alienating, and something they look back on with disdain, and a low regard for college students.

Professor Althouse has, by profession, chosen to be around college students as a profession, so their is a good chance that she actually likes them, on the whole, and is charitably disposed when viewing them, warts & all.

Anonymous said...

"Maybe it's unreported because it wasn't legally rape."

Yeah ... in Democrat Party circles there's rape (the Roman Polanski anal fucking of a 13-year-old child) and then there's rape-rape - the real kind of rape ... when a girl gets a few beers in her and drops her inhibitions and fucks the entire frat house in one night.

According to Democrats, fucking the 13-year-old children up their asses isn't rape-rape.

But since the girl was under the influence, obviously she got raped.

The Gang of 88 had no comment and Chrystal Mangum is too busy to comment seeing as how she's in the slammer for hacking her boyfriend to death.

Unknown said...

During a Human Sexuality course a speaker was brought in. Amongst the other bits of poop she spat was "children will never lie about sex" and "only one tenth of rapes are reported.

She said, erroneously, that there were 80 rapes on campus the prior year (not even 80 in the city). I pointed out there were only 1100 women enrolled, so virtually every woman had to have been raped.


Anonymous said...

"For many, if not most, college students, they have moved to a strange place to live on their own for the first time in their lives."

Yea, they have an internet site.

It's called "College Fuck Fest." Thousands of videos of girls being so-called "raped" (e.g. fucking every guy in site at parties on video for money).

What they used to call "whoring."

Cedarford said...

"Wimmens never lie 'bout rape! I knows! I suffered!"

Victim Nubian Princess and NC Prisoner #10087, Crystal Mangum.

pst314 said...

Who needs evidence when you have feminism?

There is science, which is based on evidence and reason, and then there is feminist science, which is, of course, bullshit ideology. Just assemble whatever facts, half-facts, and broken statistics you want, mix them up with a big helping of unwarranted assertions, and voila!

Anonymous said...

If 20% of women are being raped in college why aren't we shutting down these fucking rape factories we call "colleges and universities?"

Why should we allow these rape centers to continue to exist? Just so some stuffy professors can "teach." We all know the teaching is only a pretext to trick the girls into coming to the rape center to be assaulted.

What father would send their daughter to college to be raped?

Where the real rapes are occurring is in the middle schools and the high schools and it's the female teachers doing the raping of the children.

Here's a list the media is keeping of all the NEA teacher-rapists assaulting our nation's children:


traditionalguy said...

It's a routine shakedown. Jessie Jackson has his copy cats continuing his legacy.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure, Althouse, that you've been reading KC Johnson's Durham in Wonderland throughout the Crystal Mangum hysteria.

Once again, I'd question whether these hysterias, correctly called shakedowns by traditional guy, don't empower somebody.

The careers of the Gang of 88 at Duke are thriving.

Freeman Hunt said...

Why did Caitlin Flanagan write such a poorly supported article on fraternities and rape?

Some women hate it when men hang out with other men. Fraternities are this type of hanging out institutionalized.

Cedarford said...

Going to reviews of HBO's "Game of Thrones" I noticed a large number of female posters with rape on their brains.

Hysterical feminist female after female, with the occasional male gay feminist fan saying:

Ciersi being done doggy style by her Lannister brother was OBVIOUSLY being raped by him because no woman would consent to incest. Or she was being screwed because her "brother had all the power and was forcing it" (Ciersi is the frikking Queen!!)

Wedding night nuputials bewteen the alibino princess and Kahl Drogo, barbarian called a "near unwatchable rape" (and you know these same women replayed it many times to drink in Drogo's hulking, dangerous body).
On the theory that the Princess did not want to get married but was FORCED TO - ergo, all the sex in marriage henceforth is RAPE, RAPE RAPE!! (Silly females ignorant that most marriages in the past and in many regions of the world today are essentially "trades" between families and done for advantage and procreation, not love).

It would be laughable if not for the impact these infantile feminist minds, if you have to call these female cattle enamored so of rape politics having minds, have had on the workplace, schools, and legal systems.

virgil xenophon said...

Heather MacDonald of the Manhattan Institute has ABSOLUTELY DEMOLISHED feminista claims of an "epidemic" of date-rape on college campuses in a
study she published a while back at City Journal. Don't have the link right now, but everyone should go there, root around and become, as they say, "enlightened."

traditionalguy said...

Let me get this straight. At all women's schools the lesbian assaults are just called girl's being girls. Puritans of the world arise...there is sexual fun going on somewhere!

ndmike said...

The part of the complaint about how the university handles reported sexual assaults may have merit. Schools have an incentive to protect their reputations by sweeping such unpleasant things under the rug.

It is unfortunate that these obnoxious (but 1st Amendment-protected) frat pranks were lumped in with the issue of actual sexual assault. It makes the complaint as a whole seem much less serious. And note that the frat prank part is the part everyone seems to be talking about (most people are talking about how ridiculous it is to try to punish the university for not punishing speech the complainants don't like).

No one would be making fun of a complaint alleging that the university actively discourages rape victims from going to the real police, pressuring them to just let campus authorities handle it instead (very quietly, of course).

Whoever drafted the complaint miscalculated. Sometimes less is more.

MayBee said...

Wasn't the idea of the chant to humiliate the pledges by making them say things that would make them look bad to women? Why don't women claim the power they have instead of running to Daddy (i.e., the government)?

They were made to say something unacceptable to embarrass them. It bothers me that the Fainting Friedas can't see this.

ricpic said...

The Yale Women's Center where this supposed outrage took place recently housed an art exhibit conisting of pictures of female genitalia. Courses taught at the YWC include getting the most out of sex toys and workshops on drag. In other words the YWC has been at the forefront of aggressively sexualizing the campus.

Unknown said...

Cedar makes an interesting point.

After Duke, we know at least some cries of "rape" are fraudulent.

Given that the feminist narrative makes even looking at a woman an offense, the stats are suspect.

That said, some guys - first time away from Mommy with no real supervision - will act in accordance with how they've been brought up. In some cases, that means spoiled little pigs with no real respect for women as women, as opposed to womyn.

PatCA said...

I think current feminism and PC-think give college girls a very false sense of security. They are kids, really, and can't handle that much booze and freedom. Getting drunk with a bunch of boys, and girls, that you barely knew was just as dangerous when I was in college as it is now, but we knew better.

MadisonMan said...

Why did the WSJ publish it? Maybe she is sleeping with the Editor. That would be one explanation.

Anonymous said...

So they're going after fraternities more publicly now and Flanagan is just riding the waves of public sentiment into book sales.

Much like politics needs to stay above the rewards and base parts of our nature (corruption) as much as possible...perhaps fraternities are designed to aim young men into at least a semblance of socially useful goals and civility...

These gender equity feminists and opportunists won't give up however, they stick around, eat up resources, eat up political capital by dividing the world according to their ideology if you let them.

ErisGuy said...

Typical feminist article. Been written before will be written again. Nothing to see here.

DADvocate said...

ne in five women are victims of sexual assault in college;

As Lucien touched on, the definition of sexual assault they use sometimes includes strictly verbal utterances, such as, "I'd like to get into your pants." (Which all men know means the guy is a cross dresser.) Attempted kiss? Sexual assualt!!! Ass grab? Sexual assault!!!

Flanagan needs therapy to learn to deal with the trauma of having been sexually assaulted rather than spreading hate of half of humanity based on rare incidents. What if the guy who raped her had been black and she ranted against black men? Think the WSJ or any other major newspaper would have printed the article then?

P.S. While I did my share of drinking, partying, etc, I never considered those manly activities. My manly activities were sports, cycling 100 miles in a day, whitewater kayaking, backpacking, riding a motorcycle across the country and back, nearly shitting in my pants when coming face to face with a bear 10 miles into the mountains and such.

joethefatman said...

you only need one name to summarize this foolishness : andrea dworkin.
her complaints that all sex is rape still resonate in today's feminist attitudes,

Ann Althouse said...

"Professor Althouse has, by profession, chosen to be around college students as a profession..."

Law students are not college students. They are older and very focused on obtaining training for a specific type of career.

That doesn't mean I don't like college students. I just don't work with them.

William said...

Kinsey's statistics regarding human sexuality were based on his sampling of a prison population. They are not to be trusted. I think any findings on human sexuality based on the experiences of a woman's study group are apt to be similarly skewered....That said, it should be noted that young men are stupendous jerks and that when they congregate together in the presence of liquor and perceived privilege their jerkiness intensifies. Drunk frat boys. Grudge seeking feminists. A pox on both their houses.

Conserve Liberty said...

I attended the University of Virgina (cited in the article) in the '70s. I lived in dorms, am a member of a fraternity, and lived in the fraternity house. I also lived in private rental property.

First, the fraternities didn't do anything. The dorms didn't do anything. Private rental property didn't do anything.

If there was horrible behavior, people behaved horribly. At least whern I was in college people behaved badly whether they were fraternity or sorority members or independents.

Second, at U.Va. fraternities own their own buildings and are off-campus. The University has some control over them, but not what most people from the outside would expect.

When I was there the University of Virginia did not have enough dorm rooms to house students after freshman year. We didn't really have a choice - either join a fraternity and live there or rent a house and live there, but dorm rooms were only available by lottery.

Third, sororities have some pretty obnoxious behaviors as well - but men are never aggrieved by them.

FWIW, my grandmother taught me how to treat a woman - in fact how to treat everyone - as a gentleman should - and I did.

I resent the implication that since I am a fraternity member my behavior is assumed to be boorish.

Cedarford said...

Ed - "That said, some guys - first time away from Mommy with no real supervision - will act in accordance with how they've been brought up. In some cases, that means spoiled little pigs with no real respect for women as women, as opposed to womyn."

And those spoiled little male pigs will find no shortage of eager spoiled little female pigs, finally away from mommy and daddy - just as eager to root through the mud and do stupid, but fun things.

Like it or not, we have all sort of instructed young people in their peak hormone years not to commit to early marriage between 13 and 25, as we used to. For college bound, we magically expect them to "defer" their sexual needs for at least a decade and be "good" young people.

For inner city hispanics and blacks, and certain white trash cultures the solution has been to reject marriage but not sex and starting a family.

It is a ridiculous and unachievable system of morality and expectations. Not just on collegiates - but on ghetto mammas the feckless biodaddies, and the taxpayers picking up their bill and the bills of their likely high crime, low IQ low skills, and parasitic spawn.

And the feminist foray into this present state of affairs makes it even more dissonant from natural reality.

bagoh20 said...

A lot of women just hate men. They talk about it, read about it, write about and activate about it. It's a an entire wing of the culture very visible in TV and movies - even more widespread than what you would call a genre.

Of course there are plenty of men who hate women too, but it does not seem to be acceptable, let alone a well worn story line in the culture, except as a further indictment of men.

Women who constantly tell each other, and the rest of us, that their feelings, including hatred, are justified, and to be treasured and fully experienced as their authentic womanhood. Like everyone else, modern men do not consider hatred of women to be cool in any way.

This is much worse than just a step backyard for feminism. Try to look beyond just how it affects women and their power. That's not the worst part of it.

Anonymous said...

Same reason you see so many stories about rape in the military. Especially recently. If I didn't know better I would think there is a coordinated effort to make any woman who doesn't claim to be a victim of rape as some sort of freak.

Clayton Cramer said...

The stories my son-in-law tells me about what was going on in the other fraternities at the University of Idaho sicken me. (He was a member of a Christian fraternity, where at least this behavior would have been grounds for expulsion, not high fives.) What was going on was not technically rape, but there was certainly a widely held view that women were scoring devices--with white boards in many fraternities where the "brothers" exchanged phone numbers and sexual characteristics of various girls. The goal was to see how many guys could get the same girl into bed. Not surprisingly about 40% of the females at University of Idaho were HPV positive.

Yes, I know, we're being narrow-minded about all this, but when men are encouraged by the culture to regard women as holes to use, it is no surprise that some decide that a woman has no right to say no, and if she is passed out (either because she was drugged, or had too much to drink).

This country is in deep, deep trouble.

Michael said...

A lot of this seems to be "retroactive rape" - I wish that hadn't happened, therefore I must not have wanted it to happen, therefore I must not have consented to it happening, therefore I was raped. People recognize that this is a little shaky for a court of law, but think it is fine for some survey.

Patrick said...

I read that column, and it seems truly bizarre. Certainly, the gang rape of the woman she describes is awful. But the writer left college because of the "sinister" buildings that housed the fraternities, not because she was attacked, or even threatened, or even because some guy behaved boorishly. She was warned not to go into the frat house's upstairs. Well, that is probably sound advice, I wouldn't recommend any young woman go alone into the bedroom of a guy she doesn't know well, especially late at night. Seems like common sense.

And assuming the other friend was raped (after the writer left college), it seems just wrong to compare her experience of feeling threatened by these sinister Jeffersonian era buildings, but not by any individual or group, with the experience of being raped.

If this is what feminism has come to, it's pretty much done. Seems to me a feminist, i.e. someone who would advocate that women can have the power to act for themselves would have stuck around, instead of being frightened off by these old buildings.

David said...

I attended Wesleyan University when it was all male. Fraternities were central to campus life then. Indeed, without fraternities, there was not enough dormitory space, nor did the college have a central dining hall.

The school depended on the eating clubs of all 13 fraternities to feed students. Non fraternity members, about 10% of the student body, were allowed to join any eating club they chose, and I could (and sometimes did) eat at fraternities other than my own.

Wesleyan went coed in the early 1970's. A good thing. At the same time, it took steps progressively more hostile to fraternities. Now there are 2 or three fraternities left, and they are a minor force in college life.

If you believe the feministas at Wesleyan these days, now the school is a morass of rape and sexual assault. They quote alarming statistics, report anonymous tales and (very occasionally) bring an actual complaint against someone.

One young woman recently wrote a lurid article in the college newspaper detailing her rape by a supposed friend. (She did not name him, but you can bet everyone knew who he was supposed to be.) Having written about it, she never brought a formal complaint. The hearing process would be "too stressful."

So at Wesleyan, the problem apparently was not fraternities. It is all those randy men, taking advantage of those innocent and defenseless girls (many of whom publicly celebrate their own sexuality and can discourse on the finer points of hooking up.)

In this strange world, some women believe they can meet a man at a party, get a little drunk together, take him to her dorm room, undress, give him the beginnings of a blow job, lie on her back humping at him and then say no when he goes to penetrate her. If he does not stop right then and there, it's rape in their book.

An extreme example to be sure, but not a fictitious one.

The worst part is that there don't seem to be any adults willing to tell them how nuts this all is.

DADvocate said...

sororities have some pretty obnoxious behaviors as well

As evidenced by two sororities at Miami University (Ohio).

Miami University President David Hodge has called for changes in policies and standards of Greek organizations after two sorority formals turned into drunken puke fests.


Miami University President David Hodge has called for changes in policies and standards of Greek organizations after two sorority formals turned into drunken puke fests.


After a sorority member vomited at the dinner table about a half hour into the 7 p.m. event, Miller said "we realized that seemingly every single sorority sister had illegally brought alcohol into the building in plastic juice or soda bottles and flasks."

The staff collected and dumped 50 to 60 plastic bottles of alcohol and no less than eight flasks throughout the evening,

virgil xenophon said...

BTW, while we're on the subj of "aren't fraternities horrible?" it might interest one and all to know the following:

1) Since 1945, for colleges in which fraternity men are not over 50% of the student body,year in, year out, the fraternity GPA average is HIGHER by a wide margin than the "ALL_MEN"S" avg (and the spread would be even greater if fraternity men were backed out of the "all-men's" avg) on 95% of the nations institutions.

2) The same spread as above applies to Community Service"--whether measured by total money raised/donated; man-hours of direct service, or "in-kind" donations made/raised. And again, the spread would be greater were fraternity men backed-out of all other campus service organizations, clubs, dorm-sponsored events/drives, etc.

Jeff said...

Very little of this worthy discussion has addressed Ann's second question: why did the WSJ publish this story. I have a growing sense of unease about some of the articles I'm seeing there. Scott Adams, for example, has had two prominent pieces in the last few months. If they keep this up I'm going to have a problem.

MayBee said...

The "empowered" feminists want the law/government to take the place of the Dorm Matron. The one that made sure women checked in and out at the front desk, and all male visitors were registered. The feminists didn't want college women to be treated like little girls, so colleges did away with all that. But those women didn't really want to give up the protection from men.

I also noticed that the idea of book learning being "sissy pants" seems to conflict with the idea that women are at some disadvantage to learning in college. If learning is feminine, why isn't that a big advantage to women?

William Teach said...

Hmm. I was at East Carolina U from 1985-1993 (undergrad and grad school), a party school that Penthouse refused to tank because the "don't rank professionals." I was in Theta Chi, and sat on the schools fraternity board as the fraternities rep for 4 years. I knew tons of folks at the other frats, and all the inside scoop. Yet, not once was a member accused of rape.

Matter of fact, despite the heavy partying at that school (Mondays were a day of rest), there were very few rapes at the school.

If Little Mz condemn them all is so concerned, then perhaps we should do away with all coed education

Stephen A. Meigs said...

When I was at University, the idea of joining a fraternity was repellent to me, but maybe it was good that they existed so that the males who wanted to join them would be encouraged to live in the fraternity houses and thus farther from me. Not that dormitories were bastions of moral purity, nor that there might not have been a few OK fraternities, but still.

David R. Graham said...

A step backward for feminism should be accounted an auspicious development, should it not? The ladies I have been blessed to know, and there are some, never needed "feminism." They have looked askance at the breed, considering them impotent, and have stood on their own I am glad to say. Feminists are mulish, ladies delightfully breezy. I feel safe around ladies but not around feminists. I have heard ladies say the same regarding gentlemen vice males.

bagoh20 said...

"1) Since 1945, for colleges in which fraternity men are not over 50% of the student body,year in, year out, the fraternity GPA average is HIGHER by a wide margin than the "ALL_MEN"S" avg..."

Another proof that intelligence is highly overrated.

Quilly_Mammoth said...

The most important part of the article, the one that is most telling about the reason for it is this paragraph:

My fourth night at school, I went with some friends to Rugby Road, where the fraternity houses are located. They are built of the same Jeffersonian architecture as the rest of the campus. At once august and moldering, they seemed sinister, to stand for male power at its most malevolent and institutionally condoned. I remember standing there thinking I'd made a terrible mistake. It wasn't worth it, I decided. The next day I withdrew from the university.

The woman withdrew from the university of her dreams because some other girls warned her not to go upstairs. The mere presence of fraternities on campus was enough to make her so fearful that she had to drop out. This woman has serious issues with masculinity. Whic is why she mentioned "sissy-pants" early on.

This isn't a true call to close fraternities...it's clearly a cry for help.

Jeff said...

Flanagan did not write an article about rape. Rape was the excuse.

The article was entirely about Flanagan, 30 years ago, mentally and emotionally collapsing within 1 block of any UVa fraternity house, as if every one were the Marsten House in Salem's Lot. She had never actually been inside one -- she had just heard bad things about them.

Back then, she nearly threw away an elite education because of the mere presence of off-campus institutions. Today, she's willing to discard the First and 21st Amendments because of a 30-year-old prejudice.

Sometimes it's easy to play Spot the Idiot.

Anonymous said...


Well...if you read the Game of Thrones books, there is an awful amount of rape, threatened rape, beheadings, torture and rape in the books. I enjoy the series, as it's one of the first fantasy series I've read in a while where it has a medieval setting and the characters have a medieval morality.

Back on topic, I suggest men on college campus have an "end date rape" week. They simply take a week where they don't have sex, don't buy alcohol, don't hold any parties for the women on campus. The men shouldn't buy dinners, lunches, snacks or any sort of item that can be considered "coercive". They should limit their conversations to schoolwork and important social issues. Any other sort of conversation could be considered "flirting" or "aural rape". And certainly, they shouldn't do anything chivalrous, such as holding open doors, as that's just enforcing the patriarchal privilege.

John said...

"Why did Caitlin Flanagan write such a poorly supported article on fraternities and rape?"

Why Ann? Because Flanagan is one of the most flagerantly stupid women on earth. That is why. Have you read any of her other work?

There was her piece last year in the Atlantic about the coed at Duke who had slept with all of the athletes. In it, she gave us this nugget, "female sexual desire is deeply enmeshed in the desire to be seduced, taken, treated….with a measure of aggression,” WTF?

Look honey, if you like your husband to get a little rough with you in the sack, that is your business. But can you at least keep it off the pages of the Atlantic?

Then there is her magnum opus "To Hell With All That". In it, Flanagan, a woman with a millionaire husband, a Bel Air mansion, a full time nanny, a cook, a gardner and a maid, tells American women that they are bad wives and mothers if they don't quit working and stay home with their kids. And it also goes on to tell how hard it is raising kids as a millionaire housewife. Yes, this woman really is that unselfaware.

Then there was her rant against school gardens last year. Apparently school should lift children up from getting their hands dirty. That is for the hired help.

The woman is just an idiot. She is one of those rare women who grew up wealthy and married a wealthy husband so that she has always been taken care of. She has no clue how real people live and behave.

MayBee said...

The house next to my sorority house had a character called "Gorilla Man" who made an appearance at all of our important events. For Mom's Day one year, he was simply out raking the lawn as our moms arrived. Gorilla Man was a guy wearing a gorilla mask and absolutely nothing else.

We thought it was hilarious. Guess we missed an opportunity to feel assaulted (without reporting it).

Robert said...

And why is Yale getting $500 million from the feds?

John said...


That is awesome. What a great story. I laughed out loud.

TWM said...

Well in the liberal mind guns kill people so naturally frat houses rape women.

It's science!

Dave said...

College women could quickly put an end to fraternities simply by refusing to have sex with their members, or even set foot in a frat house (to prevent "rape"). Yet millions of women much younger and prettier than Ms. Flanagan continue to support the Greek system with unforced sex.

John said...

If you juxtapose this

"female sexual desire is deeply enmeshed in the desire to be seduced, taken, treated….with a measure of aggression,”

with this

"My fourth night at school, I went with some friends to Rugby Road, where the fraternity houses are located. They are built of the same Jeffersonian architecture as the rest of the campus. At once august and moldering, they seemed sinister, to stand for male power at its most malevolent and institutionally condoned."

You quickly realize that this article is not about fraternaties or that poor woman who was raped back in the 1980s. The whole article is about Flanagan's neurosis about her sexuality.

madAsHell said...

Ms. Flanagan thinks "Sex is icky" and "Boys are stinky".

Quaestor said...

The Yale complaint is a pathetic step backward for feminism.

A step backward for feminism is two steps backward from rational thinking.

JohnBoy said...

I remember one time in 1981 there was this sorority girl who liked one of my fraternity brothers more than she liked me.

I was traumatized. I the pink and green clothes, the add-a-beads as symbols of a cruel matriarchy. It was 3 or 4 days before I could ask another girl out.

Therefore, we should abolish all sororities.

Automatic_Wing said...

Feminism is basically a bunch of overprivileged white women clutching their pearls and collapsing with the vapours.

It's very Victorian.

PatCA said...

Bring back in loco parentis! Seriously. Or educate the underage students on the effects of alcohol. Give them a strategy for going out and getting home safe.

BoboFromTexas said...

Born and raised in Berkeley, California, Flanagan holds a B.A. and an M.A. in Art History from the University of Virginia.

I think that that pretty much sums it up.

hombre said...

By the way, for a few years in the early 90s, I taught law school course on rape and wrote articles on the subject.

I prosecuted sex crimes very successfully for 4 years and wrote manuals for the police and local hospitals without taking a course on rape in law school.

What would have been the point of such a course for prospective lawyers?

Ralph L said...

why did the WSJ publish this story. I have a growing sense of unease about some of the articles I'm seeing there
Why? To inform their readers about dangerous idiots on the left. They used to publish regularly the communist Alexander Cockburn and liberal fool Anthony Lewis.

MayBee said...

r educate the underage students on the effects of alcohol. Give them a strategy for going out and getting home safe.

That exists. The students I've known in the past few years have had to take an alcohol education course as they enter freshman year in college. Everybody knows a strategy for going out and getting home safe. It's easy. It's just that you actually have to do it, and that's where it sometimes falls apart.

Many colleges also teach that a female who is drunk cannot give consent for sex. That is, if she is drunk and says yes, the sex isn't consensual.
Men, on the other hand, are apparently responsible for their own behavior, drunken or otherwise. it's the same line of thinking that tells us men have a choice on whether they want to be a parent at the time they choose to have sex, where women have the choice much later- when they choose to have an abortion, give the baby up for adoption, or keep it and get child support for the next 18 years.

It's pathetic.

Sixty Bricks said...

Bizarre article. The author is a nut.

Ernst Stavro Blofeld said...

Flanagan writes:

My fourth night at school, I went with some friends to Rugby Road, where the fraternity houses are located. They are built of the same Jeffersonian architecture as the rest of the campus. At once august and moldering, they seemed sinister, to stand for male power at its most malevolent and institutionally condoned. I remember standing there thinking I'd made a terrible mistake. It wasn't worth it, I decided. The next day I withdrew from the university.

That's...just nutty. She punched out of school because some architecture scared her? Maybe we can outlaw stately buildings for being phallocentric and mandate Thomas Kincaide-style cottages for everyone.

Conserve Liberty said...

Again, in response to the many posts and comments and to the assertions in the article: fraternities and sororities didn't do anything. People did all the horrible things alleged in the article.

Unless those people are judged unable to control themselves in the presence of whatever evil magic descends from the frat house lintel when a man or woman steps through, we shouldn't call for the abolition of fraternities or other social groups. We should call for the restoration of society!! For gentility!!

The article may describe behavior I saw when I was in college and my children saw when they were.

My GIRLS were astute enough to stay away, as was my wife. I was astute enough to be a fraternity member without being a pig or rapist, as was my son.

So should there be an article about us? And should it feature the fact that we were all fraternity and sorority members?

Michael said...

I can see several arguments against fraternities, which really are a privileged relic of the 19th century collegiate system and were out of date by WWII. Some of them would even have to do with their culture of excessive drinking and the sexual free-for-all that's been know to result.

But the idea that there was a gang rape 30 years ago, therefore the women who dominate modern campuses are cringing in fear all day long is too absurd to be one of them.

Man up, feminists...

PWS said...

I've provided training to explain and discuss the 2006 Adam Walsh Act which includes standardizing sex offender registries around the U.S.

Often there are many victim advocates and law enforcement individuals in the trainings.

I don't know about the stats in the post, but reasons I've heard for sexual assault not being reported to law enforcement include:
* shame
* fear of not being believed
* fear of nothing happening (ie, law enforcement not responding)
* fear of retaliation
* desire to take revenge on the perp
* wanting to put the entire episode in the past
* fear of family learning of circumstances

I'm a little surprised by the coarse comments here; yes there are times when victims lie or mislead; there are also many real instances of physical and emotional trauma; let's not paint all with one brush either way.

Anonymous said...

There is a small percentage of men who are incredibly boorish pigs and they aren't limited to frats. The Yale feminists' anxiety-ridden response to boorishness is as effective as hysterical fainting. A strong woman handles the situation herself, instead of running in circles crying.

Use common sense. Get your own, don't drink drinks that others offer you. Don't accept cans or bottles that have already been opened. Don't go to anyone's room or isolated area. Don't drink to the point of incapacitation. Leave if the party is getting out of hand. The dangerous places-- whether dorm, apartment, bar or frat house-- usually have reputations; avoid them. Arrive and leave as a group and look out for each other. Trust your instincts.

Boorishness is a show conducted for the benefit of other men and ignoring or avoiding the pigs is usually sufficient. Sometimes verbal castration is necessary and can usually be easily handled through humor or sarcasm, particularly if done in front of the pig's male audience. The procedure need not be done surgically.

In rare instances there is some level of physical threat and the situation may require a fist or a knee to the groin; take him by surprise and leave quickly while he's stunned.

Why young women aren't taught these things is beyond me, the techniques are far more effective than crying to the administration.

Ralph L said...

I'm a little surprised by the coarse comments here;
New to the internet?

Anonymous said...

Oh, Lord, why does anyone publish anything that ridiculous female writes? She's always had unhealthy attitudes about men, women and sexuality. Can't help but think there's something gone all wrong there.

Dave Greene said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
virgil xenophon said...

PS: The article I referenced by Heather MacDonald may be found in the 2008 Winter issue of City Journal..

Dave Greene said...

Listen to Amanda Marcotte's tone as she describes on BloggingheadsTV the 80% decline in rape since the early 70s. There are an awful lot of mixed messages about women & men on campus, rape, etc. these days. Are women victims or the new dominators?

jfxgillis said...


The obvious answer to your headline question is that Flanagan always writes such poorly-supported articles. You just never noticed it before.

Baby Seal said...


...I'm sorry I couldn't resist

Chip S. said...

Apparently the WSJ has a real taste for poorly supported articles. Did you know that Americans have way more income than they can spend as wisely as the government could?

Me neither.

Anonymous said...

It's Virginia Postrel's fault:


Brian Brown said...

"Why did Caitlin Flanagan write such a poorly supported article on fraternities and rape?"

Um, because she is obviously not that bright and easily misled?

Brian Brown said...

She punched out of school because some architecture scared her?

It would be quite rich if it were discovered that the building was designed by a lesbian...

The Crack Emcee said...

Hey, Girlfriend: I've Got Dick On My Face!!!!

Michael K said...

really are a privileged relic of the 19th century collegiate system and were out of date by WWII.

It might interest you to know that the post war influx of GI Bill students revived the fraternities. They provided a different setting from dorm rooms, which were in very short supply in 1956 when I started. The volume of students had gone up and dorms were reserved for women. The fraternities provided a cheap room and board, much cheaper than the dorms, and an instant social life.

The changes since then in college life have been an example of the harm that the 60s did to youth. In the late 50s, sororities had a housemother and strict standards for conduct that would sound medieval to todays students with their coed dorms and where a freshman girl is ridiculed because she objects to her room mate having her boyfriend sleep over.

I was a fraternity member and learned a lot about how to dress and make the step from high school to college. Some of the older brothers were great sources of advice. One, who had graduated but came around once in a while taught me one of the most important lessons about studying.

Drinking is out of hand at colleges now and girls are stumbling into trouble, mostly because they are responding to pressures from other girls. I have a beautiful 20 year old daughter who came home from the university when she realized she was wasting time and needed to grow up a bit. She went to community college and got a job as a waitress. That job has been the best education she could ever have received.

Now she is going back to the university as a junior.

Her older sister was wise enough to go to community college until she had all her required courses, then transferred to UCLA. She is now about to start her PhD program on a full scholarship with a stipend. Along the way she spent a year in Spain and now speaks four languages.

My older kids went before the colleges had deteriorated so much. I have watched this for 29 years as I have five kids and they range in age from 46 to 20. It is sickening to see what college is like now.

Freeman Hunt said...

One, who had graduated but came around once in a while taught me one of the most important lessons about studying.

Which was... ?

Chip S. said...

Fraternities are, to a large extent, alcohol-delivery systems for underage drinkers. I don't think it's purely coincidental that fraternity membership reversed its downward trend around the time that states (ultimately prodded by the feds) started raising the minimum drinking age to 21.

Because the penalties are not proportional to the amount of alcohol consumed, underage drinkers will tend either not to drink at all or else drink heavily. This is a reliable recipe for all sorts of alcohol-fueled bad conduct.

Chip S. said...

One, who had graduated but came around once in a while taught me one of the most important lessons about studying.

Which was... ?

Had to be either

Study a little bit every day instead of cramming at the last minute, or

Join a fraternity with a good stash of old tests.

Unknown said...

"Why did Caitlin Flanagan write such a poorly supported article on fraternities and rape?"

Got Attention. Got Paid.

Radish said...

fear of not being believed

Yeah. All those simpering gits who insist they were raped because when they sobered up they realized they don't like the guy they boffed--they contribute to a climate where women who were actually raped are less likely to be believed.

SGT Ted said...

Most of what the feminazis want categorized as rape is merely regretting having had consensual sex the next day, which is why such "rapes" go unreported. A recent addition to this witch hunt advocacy is the military commision on women reporting a vast amount of "estimated" sexual assaults, which are, once again, "unreported".

Tina Trent said...

Yes, that is a terrible article. But despite the anti-male (well, certain males) and otherwise ideologically dishonest behavior of campus rape activists, who blame all men for crimes committed by some men and promote wildly unlikely stats, there are violent gang rapes and individual date rapists on college campuses too.

The problem is that schools try to do anything about such crimes in the first place. Their involvement should begin with dialing 911. And end with it.

Granted, that's not what the activists want, They want to make all men submit to sensitivity trainings, run by well-paid campus rape activists, of course. But, curiously, these same activists never lobby for real measures that would really address rape, such as recidivist sentencing, minimum mandatories, lwop, and restrictions on pleading to lesser crimes.

They even oppose these measures, in many cases, because they are reflexively leftist, anti-incarceration, and more or less besotted with other causes that sympathize with men behind bars.

In other words, their movement isn't about rape, it's about performing a politically correct ritual of assigning mass blame to some types of people while pardoning even the most violent behavior of other types of people. Guilt by identity. Only.

That said, as someone who has counseled many real rape victims, let me suggest that the people here who feel comfortable lashing out at any rape victim should think hard about some of the types of facts that don't make it into blog threads or criminal justice classrooms or the pages of either the WSJ or the Atlantic Monthly: child molesters are still getting probation for child rape. Rapists are still walking with ankle bracelets after extremely violent, serial assaults. The powerful, well-orchestrated, new anti-incarceration movement will soon bring us back to the bad old days when predators cycled through three or four rape convictions before occasionally being popped for life. And now lwp is going the way of the death penalty, thanks to activists, so that guy who fist-fucked your elderly neighbor half to death may soon be tooling around the neighborhood again. Thanks, criminologists and law professors!

So, forget about Caitlin Flanagan's personal problems. Tell your alma mater to grow up and stop playing cop, and fight like hell to exclude your sons from the required ten minute male-hate. But, meanwhile, could anyone, ever, talk about the real issues involving all those real rapes that still go unpunished, instead of lashing out at any woman who gets raped because of the mere existence of buffoonish campus activists? I'm 100% with you on the "sensitivity training" racket, but they don't speak for the rest of us, and I'm sick of listening to lies about the non-existence of millions of real predators who still far too frequently walk out grinning.

vbspurs said...

Hey, Girlfriend: I've Got Dick On My Face!!!!

So this is why she keeps Steadman around -- for his foreskin. Gayle must get sloppy seconds.

vbspurs said...

BTW, don't anyone post one more post in the Volokh vibrator thread!!! We're at 69, on the nose.

Luke Lea said...

Here in Chattanooga a few years back a freshman co-ed was carried out drunk from a fraternity party and taken to an athletic dorm where, if I recall the number correctly, six varsity athletes had sexual intercourse with her in one of the bathrooms. These were the uncontested facts, which neither side disputed.

The athletes were charged with rape (can't remember how the trial turned out, it was so long thereafter) but meanwhile the college president refused to kick the students out of school because "he didn't want to prejudge the case."

What would Ann think of that? (For the record I thought the president's decision was outrageous and gave him hell for it in the local press.)

Anonymous said...

A 2007 National Institute of Justice study found that about one in five women are victims of sexual assault in college; almost all of those incidents go unreported.

Turns out that this study was a web-based survey, and that the authors complained about the relatively low response rate. That suggests that victims may have been grossly overrepresented in the sample. I had thought that web-based surveys were not longer used due to selection bias. I guess that's not as true as it should be.

Sandeep said...

@Luke Lea : Why don't you also tell the rest of the story, for instance as in here, where those athletes were acquitted for lack of evidence of non-consensuality :
She testified Wednesday that she attended a football game and cheered for the players the day after the alleged Oct. 21 rape and then had consensual sex with another player hours before going to police Oct. 23.
The woman said she was never threatened or treated violently in a session of sexual intercourse and oral sex at a player's apartment and tried to resist by saying no to some of them, although she couldn't remember who.

There you go. And it seems like you knew this when you commented, for you have carefully used the word "sexual intercourse" as opposed to "rape", hoping that an unsuspecting reader of your comment will read it as rape. And you wanted the university to take action against the players before anything like a proof of rape was established!

With people like you around, it is no surprise that people view rape allegations with a lot of suspicion.

Unknown said...

You guys are so right.

Date rape doesn't happen. Feminists just made it all up. And frat boys are model citizen of our society.

The kneejerk anti-feminist reaction in this thread is pretty funny. Especially the "feminists are fat and ugly" jibe.

Althouse, you're a jackass. You definite the word kneejerk.

Should fraternities be banned? No. Is date rape a problem? Yes.

Unknown said...

*define the word

shana said...

I also went to the University of Virginia and was a member of a sorority. I got kicked out of the sorority because I an Jewish. When I talked with the Dean of Greek Life about it, I was told it wasn't UVa's problem and I should go away.
When is UVa going to shut down its racist sororities? Approximately never.

Unknown said...

"Edward" should read Flanagan's Atlantic article about the Duke undergrad Ms Owens [?] and her epicene efforts at seduction of Duke's entire lacrosse, swimming, rugby and other athletic teams if he thinks that Ann's article is "knee-jerk."

I submit that "Edward" is a mere-jerk and probably undergoing a transgender operation. That, or he's simply unable to recognize that a lot of "date-rape" is morning-after shame & remorse for letting oneself be a Ms. Owens after a few drinks with a horny date.

At any rate, he merits the "stupidest-comment award" among a good hundred or so responses to the post. Flanagan is an all-out man-hating biyotch, and her WSJ & Atlantic articles reek of feminist wrong-headed bitchitude.

Locomotive Breath said...

Speaking of Crystal Mangum, a black resident of Durham, and her 2006 false charge of rape against three white Duke students, about one year later, a black Durham resident, Michael Jermaine Burch, DID rape a white Duke frosh at an off-campus party.

Didn't hear about it? Predictably, the officialdom that rushed to condemn the former were totally silent about the later. It's my understanding that the woman involved left the university.

Locomotive Breath said...

"When is UVa going to shut down its racist sororities?"

I suggest you try these...

Guide to Black Fraternities and Sororities

Unknown said...

I went to UVA in the mid-90s, and I couldn't really tell you what Rugby Rd is like because I never had the slightest desire to go over there. I find the idea of fraternities repugnant, myself, but hey, what do I care what other people do? I went out and lived my own life because how other people spend their time is none of my concern. Yes, a lot of fraternity types are rich assholes, but who cares? Those people are going to be assholes in or out of a fraternity.

Aggie95 said...

I read the story off a link at Hot Air ....went so far as to join to post a comment ....its turns out she is from Berkley which explains why she could write something like this. * SHRUG * being from Berkley she could have just as easily found herself sitting in a tree for 2 years or bashing Marines at their offices there....she chose this method

Chris said...

I am so glad I am not the only one that, upon reading Flanagan's article, found it utterly unsubstantiated and ridiculous. I am a current fraternity member at an SEC school with a roughly 20% Greek population. The girls that want nothing to do with "frat guys" stay away, while many sorority members and other girls come to our events, etc. It's simple choice, no one forces girls to go to fraternity house parties or events. If such terrible things constantly occurred, and the mere existence of fraternity's represented everything that feminism rejects, I believe the girls that did go would soon stop. I feel much better now that someone, especially a well-educated WOMAN like yourself, finds her article to be just as absurd as I do.

Roux said...

On my local radio station they used to run a PSA that said.... 186,000 women in the Baton Rouge area have been raped or sexually assaulted....at the time BR had a population of about 400,000. That means that over 90% of women in the BR area had been raped or sexually assaulted.

I seriously doubt it.

jdgalt said...

Rape law, like domestic violence law, has become so one-sided that a woman's accusation is just about an automatic conviction. This failure of the justice system is much more of a threat to our country than any "rape epidemic", if it occurred, could ever be. It's an unlimited extortion license for women to use against any man they're angry at, and it has destroyed the presumption of innocence that America is supposed to be about.

Now they want to take away men's freedom of association too? Leftism pretends to be all about liberating every person to express his/her identity, but apparently if you're a man, you don't qualify.

I want our constitutional form of government back.

Anonymous said...

"I submit that "Edward" is a mere-jerk and probably undergoing a transgender operation"

Now that's the spirit. It was strange seeing a thread at Althouse's blog with this many comments without running into a homophobic remark.

Good job, kid.

John said...

As you stated, "1 in 5" women are sexually assaulted ... yet many of those "1 in 5" are never reported? The lack of logic is agonizingly painful.

This article discusses the statistic:


Another often cited statistic is that 1 in 4 women will be raped in college. A closer look reveals it to be an extreme exaggeration that is never questioned, even though doing the math, that would mean tens of thousands of women being raped at Yale, Harvard, and any other huge university.

A closer guess, even multiplying the number of reported rapes by 4, leads to a number of 1 in 1,877. Nothing close to 1 in 4.


The problem is that if you dare to question these false statistics, you are labeled a mysoginst rapist, by people like the author of that WSJ article.

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