In its effort to present a balanced portrayal of the presumed sexual assault epidemic on American college campuses, a weird thing happened.
There is an epidemic of sexual violence on America’s college campuses, according to some researchers. Sky News travelled to Ohio, home to several large universities and a huge student population, to find out more.
Notably, the opening graf begins with the conclusion that there is, there must be, an epidemic. Like too many “deep dives” and empirical studies, the question begins not with whether the phenomenon is true, but begs the question. This is one of the reasons this article is interesting.
It’s a notoriously hard thing to measure but one estimate suggests that as many as one in four students will be subjected to a serious sexual assault before they graduate.
This is inaccurate on every level. There are no studies to support this at all, not even from the most ardent believers. But she doesn’t say there are studies, just “one estimate.” Don’t be critical of Sky News US correspondent, Hannah Thomas-Peter, however, as she’s trying her best and facts are hard.
I was expecting it to be quite hard to get students to talk to me about such a sensitive subject.
But I was taken aback at how candid they were, particularly about how the mix of alcohol and risk-taking makes them vulnerable, and why consent is nowhere near as straightforward as it should be.
This may have been unexpected to Thomas-Peter, but not to anyone remotely familiar with the subject. There are few things women want to talk about more than themselves and their victimhood. It’s all the rage. And what they said is what makes this article inadvertently interesting.
Student Shelby Ebert said: “I think the biggest problem we have on campus is drinking too much and having sex, and then you’re like ‘oh, I probably shouldn’t have done that’, you know? And then you’re like ‘do you consent when you’re drunk’? Is that consent?”
This is what passes for sexual assault, rape, in the minds of some. It’s as if they weren’t there, had nothing to do with it. They didn’t choose to drink. They didn’t agree to have sex. It all just happened to them, and the next day they got a Mulligan on personal responsibility, and a second chance to decide whether the consent of the night before was still consent in the light of day.
In a bar near one campus we are told over and over again that the #metoo movement has not had enough impact on attitudes and behaviour among the student population.
Student Dani Ouro said: “In my experience when I go out, men are touching your ass, they’re trying to grab you, they are trying to take you home.”
So all men are touching her “ass”? Seems a bit exaggerated, but even so, no one should touch another person’s body uninvited. So do something about it. Scream at him to stop. Smack the guy. As for “trying to take you home,” that’s not an offense. One can try. One can say no. Or one can go, whether male or female. But the conflation of these notions, one, the butt-touching, is an assault while the other is no more a wrong than a woman asking a guy out on a date. Yet in the minds of co-eds, it’s all the same.
Then she revealed that last year she had also been assaulted, couldn’t bring herself to report it, and as with so many survivors, still wonders if it might have been her fault.
I asked her why she had not come forward.
She said: “At the time, I feel like the stigma caused me not to.
“The whole, like ‘what were you wearing’ thing, and that particular night I was wearing a lower-cut shirt; I had been drinking, not an excessive amount but I was for sure drunk on the night that it happened.
“I only remember bits and pieces, so then you start to question it – maybe I did consent initially? And maybe it was lost in translation… It’s their word verses yours at that point.”
She had been drinking, “not an excessive amount but I was for sure drunk.” Yet she could “only remember bits and pieces”? Is there an epidemic of memory loss from otherwise healthy young people, that they suffer from this inconvenient gap whenever they have sex? To claim to have suffered a blackout is bad enough, but to claim you didn’t drink to excess yet still can’t remember little details like whether you consented to have sex or were raped is rather troubling.
And the stigma? Of what, ten thousand “likes” on her Facebook page?
“People get raped because there’s a rapist, is what I usually say.
“We don’t ask people who have been mugged, ‘why were you at the ATM? You got out money so you must have been asking for it’, but we do say to victims of sexual assault ‘why was your skirt so short? Why were you out at night walking alone?’
And, indeed, this may be true, but entirely irrelevant when the “rape” consists of consensual sex that only morphs into some ephemeral offense afterward. Rape and sexual assaults are serious offenses, crimes, but the epidemic on campus has nothing to do with rape or sexual assault. It has to do with women asserting their agency to go out and have a good time, and then revisit it the next day where they can choose to absolve themselves from all responsibility for their active choices and turn their good time into the victimhood.
There is an epidemic on campus. An epidemic of absurdity with regard to social interaction, personal responsibility, and passive victimhood, as if women have become mere bystanders to their own lives and have nothing to do with the choices they make, the conduct in which they willingly, and consensually, engage. You can call yourself strong, but then you can’t excuse yourself for your frailty. And you can call your affirmative choices rape or sexual assault, but that doesn’t make them so.
There is nothing wrong with a woman choosing to have sex. But if you decide the next day (or year) it wasn’t your best choice, that doesn’t make the guy a rapist. If he forced himself upon you, then go to the police as a crime has been committed. If you willingly participated, you made your choice.
These aren’t the words of evil men or rape apologists exposing the nonsensical underbelly of what constitutes rape in the minds of college women, the ones who respond to the surveys about their horrifying and exhausting victimhood. These are the words of the women, and they are more than happy to say so. There is no epidemic of rape and sexual assault on campus. There’s a epidemic of absurdity.