The Stanford rape case is heinous. There’s no other way to put it. In January 2015, Brock Allen Turner brutally raped an unconscious female student next to a dumpster. Fortunately, two other students who happened to be nearby saw what was happening, and tackled Turner, holding him until the cops got there.
No one thinks this was okay. No one denies that rape occurs. No one promotes rape (except in the Middle East). But listening to liberal commentator Sally Kohn, you’d think that every single conservative was cheering on violent sexual assault.
Appearing on CNN, Kohn tried to place blame for Turner’s actions on conservatives, saying:
“This notion that we should sort of pity him is related to the ‘men’s rights,’ and by extension, the conservative movement in general–[which] for the last several years has attacked this notion that there is rape culture…This is what happens. George Will, in a Washington Post column, attacked this sort of ‘alleged crisis’ of sexual assault. This is what we’re talking about when we’re talking about sexual assault. It is wrong. It is far too prevalent…”
Wow. It’s wrong? I totally thought rape was not wrong. Thanks Sally! You sure educated me!
In concept, Kohn is correct. There are far too many incidents of rape on college campuses. Even one would be too many. However, Kohn–and the Left in general–like to use fake statistics instead of real ones in order to increase the frenzy around the crisis.
If you know a liberal, you’re likely familiar with the following sentence: “One in five women will be sexually assaulted during college.” #RapeCulture. If you challenge this number, it means that you support rape, or that you don’t care about women. That’s how the narrative goes.
The “one in five” number actually comes from a wildly misleading survey. In her “Factual Feminist” series on YouTube, Christina Hoff Sommers notes that out of the nearly 780,000 students to whom the survey was sent, only 150,000 participated. That’s just 19 percent, leading the authors to conclude that a “non-response bias” may have heavily skewed their results.
Sommers–who’s a liberal, by the way–notes:
“The authors caution in the study that the estimates may be too high because of a non-response bias. That is because students who have been sexually assaulted may be more likely to fill out the survey…”
She adds that the survey questions were much broader than “rape” and “sexual assault,” thus yielding higher results:
“Again, they warned it’s ‘over-simplistic,’ [and] ‘misleading’ to conclude that twenty to twenty-five percent of students are victims of sexual assault based on our findings.”
But the media ran with it, and now we have the “one in five” number.
Sommers goes on to cite actual data, which comes from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. According to their calculations, the number of college sexual assaults and rapes is one in fifty-three. She also notes that FBI data show that rape in the United States has been on the decline for decades.
Is one in fifty-three awful? You betcha. Is it one in five? Not even close.
The notion of “rape culture” as portrayed by the Left is outrageous. One look at the Duke Lacrosse nightmare, or the UVA rape story published by Rolling Stone dismantles the idea that we live in a culture in which rape is permissible.
Once the word “rape” hit the air, Duke Lacrosse became a national witch trial. Until it was discovered that the woman accusing the players of rape was a liar, everyone simply assumed these lacrosse players were scumbags. The falsely accused will be tied to this case for the rest of their lives. Google any of their names, and “rape” is the first thing you see.
UVA was worse in some ways. Rolling Stone took the story of Jackie Coakley’s alleged gang rape by members of fraternity Phi Kappa Psi at face value, publishing a piece called “A Rape on Campus” in 2014. It turned out that the story, written by Sabrina Erdely, was completely false.
According to The Washington Post:
“[Members of the fraternity said they] went into hiding for weeks after their home was vandalized with spray-painted messages calling them rapists, and with bricks thrown through windows. They booked hotel rooms to avoid the swarm of protesters on their front lawn.
They watched as their brotherhood was vilified, coming to symbolize the worst episode of collegiate sexual violence against women since the 2006 Duke University lacrosse team scandal — which also turned out to be false.”
There are many other stories in the same vein as Duke and UVA. In these cases, the press jumped at the chance to smear the accused without ever daring to question the accuser. To question the accuser is to be a part of “rape culture.”
Rape is vile. No sane individual needs to be told that. Yet those on the left, like Kohn, love to perpetuate the idea that conservatives are fostering a culture that permits rape. It’s insane. Conservatives can’t be blamed for seeking actual data, rather than racing to sensationalize campus rape. If anyone should be blamed, it’s those who rush to judgement and aggrandizement.
We live in a world in which heinous things occur, like the Stanford rape. However, we also live in a world of false accusations. These situations need to be treated delicately, but they also require due diligence and process.