The Horse Assumption

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.

14 comments on “The Horse Assumption

  1. Beth Clarkson

    When I was a freshman in college, our campus was plagued by a rapist who was abducting young women at gunpoint for his rapes. The college responded with classes in the dorms about how to keep from being a victim and any woman who had to go on campus alone after dark could call and ask for an escort.

    Looking back, it still seems an appropriate response to a serious threat. I wonder how a college would respond to such a situation now. Classes on how to avoid being a victim are categorized as part of the problem these days. They are ‘blaming the victim’. Security for walking across campus to night classes? How would that play with today’s feminists.

    1. SHG Post author

      While your comment is off-topic, let’s try to put it to some good use anyway. One of the most dangerous by-products of myths created for one purpose (in this instance, to relieve women from responsibility for their own actions) is that it precludes use of effective deterrents to the core problem (in this instance, rape). The “don’t blame the victim” trope is inane; while it’s true that wearing “sexy” clothing isn’t by any stretch an invitation to sex, it’s also true that only a moron leaves his car keys in the ignition and door unlocked in a bad neighborhood.

      How would that play with today’s feminists? Given that they characterize themselves as bold, brave and fierce, all the while demanding special treatment because they’re too fragile and emotional to be expected to react intelligently or behave responsibly, I would expect they would demand it, except if it was forced upon them by males at campus security, would denounce it as patriarchy. Patriarchy is evil. White knighting upon their demand by their male allies is mandatory.

      1. Wayne

        I’d say that for most, they’re looking for a plausible, yet unverifiable, incident, so they can run with the herd, proudly bearing the ‘scars’ of the incident, rather than coming up with meaningful ways of reducing risk and holding offenders accountable. A badge of victimhood to join the sisters of the perpetually offended.

        Even if they have to invent it out of thin air, as Lumpy Dunham did.

        I’m convinced that it’s not a problem they *want* to solve, given the absolute refusal to reduce their vulnerability, or accept any amount of personal accountability. There’s too much money and attention to be had perpetuating the myth. That it ultimately undermines actual victims might actually be a feature, rather than a bug.

          1. Ross

            And now, we have the “Cult of the Victim”, where it is noble to be a victim, glorified to all, and held up as a symbol of how great it is to suffer. The nasty side of the cult is that it is evil to try to protect yourself, only society can protect victims, and if you try to protect yourself, you take away the reason for being of those who worship in the cult.

      2. Shadow of a Doubt

        Although there isn’t demand for it in the smaller town I’ve moved too, I used to offer basic self defense classes at schools and the local YMCAs and gyms. As it is impossible to teach the breadth and width of Muay Thai and Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu over a six week program, the majority of the course was spent on a few cheap shots and hold escapes, as well as situational awareness and de-escalation.

        Some of the girls (not to be sexist, the classes were 98% young women) found it eye opening when I talked about how to avoid some situations and also debunking some myths (IE the odds of a rapist hiding in the bush along a public thoroughfare), and thanked me greatly for helping them stay out of trouble and a few of them privately told me afterwards about having been in said situations and how happy they were that I had given them the tools to make a safe exit.

        Now on twitter I have been accused repeatedly of blaming the victims in order to further my own business, never mind that I have never turned a profit from those classes, they were always offered at my own expense or at a nominal fee which never even covered the cost of renting the space. I’ve even been accused of cultural appropriation (as white north Americans are apparently not allowed to use a martial art which was brought to Brazil by a Japanese man who learned it from another Japanese man who created his martial art by consolidation of two martial arts which originated in India and over millennia made it through to Japan through China), to which I responded that I had appropriated nothing as my coaches (A Thai and 3 Brazilians) were perfectly happy to sell me their martial arts culture, and remain friends to this day, years later. I’ve yet to receive a response to that.

        TL:DR Personal responsibility is dead on the far left, but people who actually “have a dog in the fight” are usually happy to do whatever they can to avoid putting themselves in crappy situations, and you don’t need a dog in the fight to want to help the people who do.

        1. B. McLeod

          One of my instructors used to say, “It’s not the dog in the fight, but the fight in the dog.”

  2. B. McLeod

    SJW defense/deflection mechanism. Because their sacred mission to repeal due process and presume male guilt JUST CAN’T BE batshit crazy. Hence, critics are necessarily either rapists or rape apologists.

  3. Sane Left Libertarian

    Meanwhile the Harvard men’s soccer team gets their season cancelled for posting “hotness ratings” of members of the women’s team, and the Golden Gophers get to continue playing even though 10 of them actually did gang rape a drunken coed. All of these incidents should be handled by law enforcement instead of campus diversity officials. Make them legal matters and see them through at that level.

    1. SHG Post author

      I appreciate that you’re new here, and have no clue what matters and issues have been discussed before you arrived, or to what extent. You would do well to read and learn before commenting.

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