I had a daughter make it through college without getting raped. Not even sexually assaulted or harassed. She might have heard a dirty joke or two that would count as a microaggression or marginalize the vulnerable, but she laughed instead. Because it was funny and she wasn’t searching for excuses to be traumatized. Amazing, given that the rep being spread is that colleges are rape factories. And my daughter is very pretty, even if I’m her father.
I had a son make it through college without being charged with rape, or even compelled to have a sit down with the Title IX administrator. There was one time when it might have happened. His best friend was in a suite with an ex-girlfriend, and he would visit his friend regularly. His ex would see him, and complained to an RA that my son’s presence in the suite made her feel “uncomfortable.” The RA, knowing both of them, told her to grow up. She survived and both graduated.
That taps out my children.
I was asked by a deeply emotional activist why I wrote about Title IX, what happened in my life to make me a misogynistic rape apologist who didn’t care about the traumatic harm done to “survivors”? The assumption was that I had to have a horse in the race, an agenda to promote, a cause, just like her. After all, there could be no other reason for me to give a damn, and certainly no other reason for me to be on the “wrong side of history.”
The question of eradicating sex offenses under Title IX has hit the big time, with Betsy DeVos reconsidering the unlawful “Dear Colleague” letters issued by Obama administration bureaucrats. There are suddenly new voices being heard. Jesse Singal wrote a good piece for NY Magazine, David French did the same for National Review.
They’re written in non-lawyer words for non-lawyer audiences, and may lack the depth and support that a lawyer would want, but they’re sound pieces that make valuable points. It’s nice to see them hop aboard the Title IX train, even if they do so without noting the foundation built up over years by the scholars and lawyers who did the heavy lifting. But star fuckers fuck stars.* At least they appear to have learned something about the issue, most notably that it’s broken and there’s no one-size-fits-all cure.
When an issue hits the front burner and finds its way onto the pages of widely read publications, no one assumes that the writer has a horse in the race. It’s a story of public importance, as all the media says so, and therefore they come by it honestly. And the flip side is the activists come out of the woodwork to pitch and spin, as they’re not about to see their gains get flushed down the toilet without a fight.
The difference between the two is pretty easy to spot: one argues from a firm foundation of full-sourced law while the other proffers unsourced or falsely sourced** platitudes and lies, plus anecdotes calculated to appeal to emotions. It’s an unfair fight, as one side is constrained by facts and reason while the other can shamelessly assert anything that serves the cause. The Cause. Isn’t the cause of ending rape worth it?
To the extent I can remember how this came on my radar, it was when some profs wrote about the shifting definition of rape, from the offense prohibited by law to whatever anyone felt it was. I take the crime very seriously, but that meant it was a crime, not some vagary made up after the fact from sad feelings of regret or mutual intoxication. This was no joke. Rape is a horrific crime, provided it is a crime, not an irrational powerplay in the gender wars. This idiocy compelled me to look further and deeper, and I did. It was bad, and continued to get uglier, nastier and more dangerous.
So does that mean I have horse in the race? If by horse, you mean concern that the bane of facts and reason, often characterized as third-wave feminism and social justice, which deactivates cognitive dissonance and cares nothing about the lives it ruins in furtherance of its mission, then sure, I have a horse in the race. I placed my bet on facts and reason. That’s my horse. But if you mean a survivor or rapist, a personal agenda that I’m trying to vindicate from behind a wall of law to conceal an outcome I want to achieve at all costs, I got nothing.
*Since Marcy Wheeler of EmptyWheel called Ed Butasky a “ratfucker,” I feel empowered. Marcy is such a badass. By “star fucker,” writers try to reference “up” to sources more important than they are, stars if you will, rather than the best source which may not be as impressive or add to their importance. Sourcing material to a non-celebrity adds nothing to their panache and doesn’t impress their readers, even if it might make them more informed.
**The 1 in 5 (or 4, or twice a day, based on who you read) claim that women are sexually assaulted in college has been debunked over and over, yet is repeated by erstwhile “credible” media outlets. It’s not true, for a shocking variety of reasons, and yet it’s unshakeable dogma repeated constantly for the purpose of outraging readers into believing that American colleges are drowning in “rape culture” and co-eds are thrown into bushes and raped constantly.