The real danger for women on campus

Focusing on women and drinking ignores a serious reality: The student perpetrator who is a sexual offender

by Anne Kingston

Jocelyn Bain Hogg / VII / Corbis

Last month, hundreds paraded through the campus of the University of British Columbia to protest sexual violence, specifically six unsolved late-night outdoor attacks on female students since April. A hooded predator prowling dark grounds in search of coeds is a familiar conceit, one that informs how we think of sexual violence on campuses. Recently it was given airing in a Toronto Life story that claimed increased safety measures at Toronto’s York University, where women receive “rape whistles” at orientation, haven’t prevented campus grounds from being “a hunting ground for sexual predators.” (The school has taken legal action, claiming the article “presents a wholly distorted picture of women’s safety on the campus.”) Yet the UBC march to “Take Back the Night”—a rallying cry since the ’70s—bristled with more nuanced references to the reality of campus sexual assault, the vast majority of which are never reported nor easily framed in black-and-white terms. Signs held high connected the current attacks with entrenched “rape culture”—sexual violence being ignored, condoned and normalized, witnessed in the “rape chant” on the UBC campus in September. Other placards decried the RCMP reporting some UBC victims were wearing short skirts: “My little black dress does not mean yes,” read one.

UBC administration responded to concerns and fear with predictable reassurances. President Stephen Toope described the university as “one of the safest campuses in North America” and announced “unprecedented police and security measures to make sure students feel safe.”

Yet if one area has proven that throwing money at a problem won’t solve it, it’s the thorny topic of sexual violence on campuses. Millions have been spent on catchy campaigns—“No means no,” “Consent is sexy,” and “Don’t be THAT guy”— aimed at men (one poster features a passed-out woman and the line: “Just because she’s drunk doesn’t mean she wants to f–k”). We’ve seen “white ribbon” campaigns to end violence against women, “blue phone” safety systems, “Green Dot” initiatives to promote bystander involvement. Yet those on the frontlines of sexual-violence education, a 40-year-old industry, say little has changed since the ’70s in terms of incidence or attitudes, save the arrival of “rape culture,” an elastic term that both defines and excuses. The focus remains on the victim, says psychologist Gail Hutchinson, director of the student development centre at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ont. “People still ask, ‘Where was she?’ ‘What was she wearing?’ ‘How much was she drinking?’ ”

A glimpse of the institutionalized thinking was seen in 2011 when a Toronto police officer told female students at York they’d protect themselves from assault if they didn’t dress “like sluts.” His comment incited “Slut-walk,” now an international event. “People still don’t get it,” says Hutchinson, pointing to a June 2013 Canadian Women’s Foundation study that showed almost one-fifth of respondents believed women provoke or encourage sexual assault when drunk. “There’s this sense that if a woman is drinking, it’s open season,” she says. “But it’s the opposite: There can be no consent if a woman is drunk.”

Others in the field point to increased violence within an increasingly desensitized culture. Irene Smith, director of Halifax’s Avalon Sexual Assault Centre, has observed a steady escalation in sexual violence over the past two decades, a trend she attributes to easy access to pornography and sexual violence being ingrained in popular culture—rape jokes on Family Guy; a parade of female violation on CSI; Grand Theft Auto V featuring one man holding a gun to a woman’s head while another readies to rape her. “We’re seeing multiple perpetrators—gang rape—more often,” says Smith. And now a second violation can occur if an assault is recorded, then posted online, as seen in the tragic example of Halifax teenager Rehtaeh Parsons, who committed suicide after reportedly being raped at age 14 by four boys and tormented when a photo of the alleged incident was circulated.

Exposing the scope of the problem is impossible. Only six per cent of sexual assaults in the general population are reported to police, according to Statistics Canada. Reporting on campuses is lower, a fact attributed to victims’ lack of confidence in the university authorities and the criminal justice system. But the closed-circuit of university life is also a factor: Women tend to assimilate blame for behaviour that occurs in a social context. One study quoted by Halifax’s Avalon reports four out of five women in university report unwanted sexual advances from a romantic partner. A snapshot of prevalence is provided by an October 2013 study in JAMA Pediatrics: nine per cent of 1,058 male respondents between 14 and 21 reported perpetrating coercive or forced sexual violence; most said they used guilt more often than threats or physical force. In most cases, the victim was someone with whom they were “romantically involved.”

Estimates from the American Association of University Women paint a bleaker picture: one-quarter of female university students are victims of rape or attempted rape. Other statistics suggest 20 per cent of women and three per cent of men experience sexual violence on campus. The upshot: a woman remains at greater risk of sexual violence, most likely from someone she knows, while attending university than in prison.

That statistic may sound shocking but it isn’t, says Maggie Crain, a counsellor at Fredericton Sexual Assault Crisis Centre and the coordinator of a program aimed at ending sexual violence on the city’s campuses: “Universities are petri dishes for both ‘rape culture’ and sexual assault,” Crain says. “They’re a microcosm of the way society teaches people how to party and treat women.”

And that über-frat-house mentality—Animal House meets The Accused—has been elevated to titillating spectacle itself, reflected in a litany of outrageous events that dull the capacity to shock. In 2011, a University of Vermont fraternity surveyed members, asking: “If you could rape someone, who would it be?” A lawsuit filed last year against Wesleyan University by a former student alleged she was assaulted during a party at a fraternity known as the “rape factory.” A flyer at Miami University of Ohio—the site of 27 reported sexual assaults between 2009 and 2011—titled “Top ten ways to get away with rape” ended: “If your [sic] afraid the girl might identify you slit her throat.” Even august Oxford University recently disciplined its rugby club for sending out a party invitation that told players to pick a “fresher of their choice” and spike her drinks. Joking about, even endorsing, rape is a badge of conformity on campuses, witnessed by first-year students at UBC and Saint Mary’s University in Halifax being welcomed by student leaders cheering for the sexual assault of minors. The scene at Saint Mary’s was caught on video: “SMU boys, we like them young,” men and women both chanted: “Y is for your sister, O is for oh-so-tight, U is for underage, N is for no consent, G is for grab that ass.”

Kathleen Lahey, a law professor at Queen’s University, views university students as “canaries in the coal mine” of societal attitudes to sexual violence. Conditions on campus are ripe for mob behaviour, she says: “You have young adults free of significant institutional supervision for the first time in their lives, which make some vulnerable to social suasion. It’s especially true at the beginning of university where everyone feels out of their depth and there’s a lot of subtle and not-so-subtle positioning for who’s cool, who’s a leader, who should be emulated.”

Even student leaders are vulnerable, says Patricia Bradshaw, dean of Saint Mary’s Sobey School of Business, who spoke with female students after the “rape chant.” They were “devastated” by the fallout, she says: “They were just going along; they didn’t reflect on the internalized sexism.” Others were uncomfortable, but were afraid to speak up.

Such a climate makes universities the perfect ecosystem for sexual assault—and its suppression, says David Lisak, a Boston-based psychologist. Lisak’s research detonates myths about campus assault, primarily that the guy lurking in shadows poses the greatest risk. An estimated 80 per cent of victims knows her or his attacker, Lisak says, a statistic true in the general population as well. Lisak speaks of “non-stranger rape,” rejecting the term “date rape” as sounding like “rape lite.”

Lisak waves away conventional wisdom that most campus assaults stem from “mixed signals” or “dates gone bad,” as police often term the crime. Most are premeditated, he says. Predators operate within the student population just as they do in society. Often student perpetrators are serial offenders who have raped nearly six times on average by their early 20s and will continue to do so after university if not caught. The message that a tiny percentage of students are predators is not one people want to hear, says Lisak, who teaches at the University of Massachusetts. He didn’t believe his findings at first, he says: “I harboured this naive schema that this may be true about crime in the community or crime in military but surely university students are different. Turns out they’re not. But it’s a mental step to understand that there are a small number of repeat sex offenders who enroll in universities just as there are sex offenders in the military.”

Universities offer fertile ground for subcultures—fraternities, sports teams—where you have a ringleader, says Lisak. Partying and a culture of binge drinking provide cover. “Predators target women they see as vulnerable; often they’re younger,” he says. They invite them to parties. Rooms are designated for the assault. “Consent” isn’t a factor.

The weapon of choice is alcohol, says Lisak, who has interviewed hundreds of rapists. The goal is to get victims into a twilight state, drifting in and out of consciousness. Research shows alcohol enables predators in other ways. In a 1991 study, Antonia Abbey, an associate professor of medicine at Wayne State University, notes men “consciously or unconsciously drink alcohol prior to committing sexual assault to have an excuse for their behaviour.”

“Rape chants” mirror serious problems in attitudes about rape and sexuality, says Lisak: “They provide camouflage for offenders who will not only join such chants, but will actually act on the implicit messages contained in them.” They also normalize deviancy: “To a narcissistic offender, knowing that a swath of his community will publicly say such things indicates to him that his distorted views of women and sexuality are within the norm.” Such acceptance can have another dire consequence, he says: People who ordinarily would not engage in predatory behaviours get sucked in and commit criminal acts.

The predator scenario isn’t yet part of sexual-violence education, says Smith, who invited Lisak to speak at Avalon in September: “Instead, we tend to focus on what women should be doing: covering their drink, watching out for a friend. And that makes them feel guilty if something does occur.” Hutchinson agrees: “We like to think we can pick out perpetrators. You cannot. As a result, most victims blame themselves— ‘He was my friend,’ ‘I should have seen it,’ whatever they want to tell themselves.” And that, in turn, can prevent women from reporting assault.

The community is in denial on the subject, says Smith: “We don’t want to believe the clean-cut kid is preying on first-year students away from home for the first time.” It’s easier to believe it’s the woman’s fault than to hold the offender accountable, she says.

The focus of traditional sexual-violence education fosters the misconception that sexual violence is a personal, not a societal, problem, says Smith: “We know people going to commit these crimes are going to target people. Which means messages to lock doors and windows or not drink too much are great. But he’ll just go on to the next one.” And there will always be the next one.

Just how distorted conversation surrounding college rape has become was evident in the recent furor over Emily Yoffe’s article for Slate, “College women: Stop getting drunk.” Yoffe advised women that binge drinking makes them more vulnerable to assault, a fact backed by research—and common sense. Yet she was pilloried for focusing on female behaviour, as if the problem was women letting themselves get raped, rather than on the assailant required for an assault to occur. Yoffe herself became the target of wrath rarely directed at accused rapists. The issue is complex, says Hutchinson: “Women should be able to drink as much as they want. The problem is, there are predators out there.” Cultural forces also govern, says Crain: “Kids are taught that you get drunk to hook up.”

“We’ve reached the point where reasoned conversation about sexual assault is rare,” says Melanie Randall, a law professor at the University of Western Ontario. Routine sexual violence in entertainment has dulled sensitivities to what constitutes sexual assault, she says: “People are less able to identify sexual assault or sexual violation.” The marginalization of feminism has also inhibited dialogue, she says, seen after the “rape chants.” “It wasn’t a big deal to me,” Saint Mary’s student Amanda Fougere told the CBC. “I’m not a feminist kind of person; it didn’t affect me personally.” In the ’70s and ’80s there was more vigorous discussion within feminism around the everyday practices of sexism and how they were connected to sexual violence, Randall says: “Now people find it passé; there’s even a virulent backlash against it.”

That backlash extends to sexual-violence prevention itself. Lahey, who teaches at Queen’s, points to students making a drinking game out of triggering or dismantling the school’s “blue light” safety alarm system for years, with no apparent academic censure or discipline. This fall, there also was backlash to the “Don’t be THAT guy” campaign in Edmonton, with “Don’t be THAT girl” posters plastered throughout the city that blamed women for making false accusations, which occur in eight per cent of cases, according to the FBI: “Just because you regret a one-night stand, doesn’t mean it wasn’t consensual,” read one.

Similar tensions exist at Saint Mary’s, says Lewis Rendell, a second-year student who sits on the board of the university’s women’s centre. “It’s a macho, jock culture; feminism is a dirty word,” she says, noting a lack of funding ended the centre’s annual “Consent-fest” workshop on sexual consent.

There will be no progress until men are brought into the conversation, says Lisak. He sees “bystander programs” like the MIT-based “Really?” as offering the most promising model by encouraging men to intervene in a threatening situation or to speak up when a derogatory comment is made: “That’s how you change social mores.” Psychologist Peter Jaffe, director of Western University’s centre for research and education on violence against women and children, agrees. But getting men to speak out is difficult, he says: “They feel they’re being disloyal to acknowledge the reality of this.”

In that void, we are seeing vigilante justice online, with the French website “Je connais un violeur” (“I know a rapist”), on which women describe their assailant to shame or locate him.

Expecting universities to solve the problem of sexual violence on campus is unrealistic, say legal experts, especially when they have to protect themselves legally. U.S. law requires strict accountability in reporting campus sexual assault for federally funded universities under the Clery Act, named for Jeanne Clery, a 19-year-old who was raped and murdered in 1986 in her dorm at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. Yet there’s ample evidence of resistance to dealing effectively with campus sexual assault involving students, says Randall. The institutional instinct is to close ranks, to protect one’s own, as seen in the military.

An investigation by the U.S. Center for Public Integrity found students deemed “responsible” for sexual assaults face light punishment such as social probation or academic penalties; they often graduate, while their victims drop out. This year Yale allowed six students found guilty of “non-consensual sex” to remain enrolled. (It was fined $165,000 for failing to report campus sexual violence). The University of Southern California is facing investigation for ignoring sexual assault allegations. It’s led by Tucker Reed, who says her claim that her ex-boyfriend raped her was dismissed, despite recordings of him admitting it. School officials told her they wanted to offer an “educative” process, not to “punish” the assailant, she says.

A similar mentality was evident after the rape chants. A few members of the Saint Mary’s students’ association stepped down; others were “disciplined” in camera and sent to “sensitivity training.” Saint Mary’s president Colin Dodds expressed concern the school’s “brand” had been “tarnished” by the “rape chant,” which could affect student recruitment.

Task forces, the great Canadian solution, have been formed to table recommendations. Dodds has high expectations: “I’m hoping that the report will be seminal not just for us but the rest of Canada,” he told Maclean’s. “We have to rebuild trust and confidence and that is going to take time.” Given a Dec. 15 deadline, that will be difficult, says task force chair Wayne MacKay, a law professor at Dalhousie University, who also chaired the “cyberbullying” task force looking at Rehtaeh Parsons death. (The UBC task force’s report is due early in 2014). MacKay doesn’t foresee a quick fix: “The university is not going to come up with a formula that’s going to solve all of this.” Yet MacKay speaks bluntly of the “illegality” of the chant: “When it comes to sex with someone underage, statutory rape, consent is irrelevant; second, they were advocating non-consent which is sexual assault no matter the age.”

“The first line of defence is proper administration of criminal law,” Lahey says. Smith concurs: “The message needs to be focused on the fact that sex without consent is a crime. It’s as simple as that. We need to flip it around: It needs to go out to perpetrators and potential perpetrators that you are going to be held accountable.”

For that to happen, of course, a sea change is required in the way we see —and prosecute—campus sexual assault, one that begins with the difficult lesson that the stranger in the shadows is less of a threat than the familiar student down the hall.




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The real danger for women on campus

  1. From what I understand work needs to be done on both sides male and female. As well as society

  2. It’s not impossible that all three problems have evolved independently, without any of them directly causing the other: blasé societal attitudes towards rape; rise in numbers of sexual predators; less caution by some female students.

    Personally I think it will be very hard to eliminate the sexual predators; how do you “teach” a psychopath not to be a psychopath? But the blasé attitude towards rape is in our collective hands to change, and as a short-term palliative it would be good to step up systems that a) educate the (small) minority of young women who are careless on security and b) encourage everyone, including young women, to avoid the oh-god-I-got-so-wasted-and-puked-it-was-totally-awesome culture that not only helps the psychopaths but, generally, steers people away from genuinely interesting social experiences and the far more interesting sexual experiences that those foster.

    • Another thought: hand in hand with crushing the blasé societal attitude towards rape should go the end of the culture of blaming or shaming the victim of this crime. (Of course the official, newspaper-editorial view is that the victim is blameless, but far too often it’s the reverse at street-level.) I’m not a woman and I’ve never been raped, but it seems to me that the crime is perpetuated even if there’s no Rehtaeh Parsons social media purgatory, so long the victim is unable to speak frankly and publicly about trauma. Plus it would help with the problem of under-reporting. For what other crime would society be apt to taunt or ridicule the victim? Not if you got beaten to a pulp or stabbed or shot. There’s a deep reserve of medieval sexism still lingering and it needs to be eliminated.

      • The thing is that slut-shaming is a deeply ingrained and mostly female-led activity. The following article describes research where participants were observed in terms of how they reacted to a scantily clad woman entering a room “by mistake” (participants were being interviewed, and thought the interview was the real experiment): http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/19/science/a-cold-war-fought-by-women.html?_r=1&amp

        And it is rational for women, collectively, to discourage promiscuous activity, so as to reduce the supply of sex (raising the bargaining position of all women). Men engage in similar activities, for instance, making homophobic comments toward a friend that is reading about fashion (thus preventing men, collectively, from having to compete with one another in a cold war of fancy clothes, etc).

        These activities are part of a larger structure that needs to be dismantled altogether.

    • You are making the wrong assumption–that all rapists are “psychopaths”. They aren’t. The repeat rapists are frequently narcissistic men lacking empathy, but studies have shown that most rapists are “regular guys”. Women are more likely to be raped by a friend or trusted acquaintance than a stranger jumping out of the bushes. THAT is what we are trying to describe when we talk about rape culture. And that is why rapists aren’t easily identified–because they are regular guys.

      So, tell me, why can’t a woman have a few drinks with people she knows and presumably trusts without fearing to get raped?

      • I wasn’t talking about strangers leaping out of bushes, I was talking about date rape — the narcissists lacking empathy — i.e. psychopaths. Somebody who can pose as a friend and gain trust only to exploit it certainly fits that definition, in my opinion. But you obviously understand the problem better than I do, and if you say the problem is that genuinely non-dangerous men, i.e. with no psychosis, can turn on a dime and become rapists, that certainly is a huge problem, and greater than I had perceived. As to why it is the way it is, what can I tell you?

        • Actually, what I am addressing is your assumption that all rapists are psychopaths. Because if we accept that assumption–then there a frighteningly large number of psychopaths running around out there. Many date rapists are just “regular” guys taking advantage of an opportunity. But you are right, that there are a small number of men that operate with impunity as repeat rapists–they use alcohol, pressure and societal acceptance of rape to continually commit rape. Those guys are your buddies, your friends, often “the popular guy”.

          Lisak and Miller did an excellent study of non-incarcerated rapists. It turns out that if you don’t use the “R” word, a surprising number of men admit to rape. It is summarized here: http://yesmeansyesblog.wordpress.com/2009/11/12/meet-the-predators/

          When we talk about “rape culture”, we aren’t talking just about calling women sluts and asking what they were wearing and how much they were drinking if they report a rape–we are talking about how society immediately starts questioning what the woman should have done to prevent the rape, or even if it was “rape-rape”. Very few rapes are reported, and only 6% of rapists *that are prosecuted* actually spend time in jail. Most women, knowing any trial is going to be about her and not about the assailant, hesitate to even report. I was date raped in high school–completely sober, not even a beer in sight and with other friends nearby–and it never even occurred to me to report it, because it would have been all about me, and not at all about him.

          Repeat rapists continue to operate because they get societal cues around them that tell them they are going to get away with it. We don’t want to think our friend or buddy is a predator, a rapist–and so we tend to believe him when it comes down to he said, she said. Read the link I provided, and the followup post on the same blog called “Predator Redux”. It’s really an eye opening read.

          • Now, I am thinking I didn’t really explain myself well for the second time. What I mean is that the danger of calling rapists “psychopaths”, is that it then allows us to say “Well, my friend X obviously isn’t a psychopath, so then he can’t be a rapist”. You might be right about the first half of that sentence (he’s probably not a psychopath), but still wrong about the second (he can still be a rapist). Not all rapists are psychopaths–some are just people who don’t see women as fully human, so justify putting their needs or desires above the will of their target.

            A blog posts on YesMeansYes called “Cockblocking Rapists is a Moral Obligation” explains it much better than I can.

          • I understand your point and we are in full agreement, save that I do think there are a large number of psychopaths out there. I think women, especially young women, are bearing the full brunt of the moral collapse — I can’t think what else to call it — of our society, the erosion of conscience and empathy. Anybody who doesn’t see women as fully human qualifies as a psychopath, in my opinion; but if that word is reserved (or perceived to be reserved) for cross-eyed mouth-breathing always-violent criminals, we need some other word that expresses it. Saying “ordinary guys are apt to be rapists” is just going to a) mystify and antagonize the majority of guys out there, who really are not rapists, and b) suggest that the problem is not solvable in the long term, making people throw up their hands in despair. But we really do need systems that replace the abandoned patriarchal protections (“Don’t mess with my sister or I’ll kill you”) and a new morality based on conscience and empathy instead of religion. Until then, seems to me we’re stuck, though I’d be glad to be convinced otherwise.

      • ‘The repeat rapists are frequently narcissistic men lacking empathy, but studies have shown that most rapists are “regular guys”.’

        Wrong. The vast majority of rapes (around 80-90%) are committed by a very small number of serial offenders. Your own link posted in another comment supports this.

        • Wrong. From the actual study (did you even read the page?):

          “Of the 120 rapists in the sample, 44 reported only one assault. The remaining 76 were repeat offenders. These 76 men, 63% of the rapists, committed 439 rapes or attempted rapes, an average of 5.8 each (median of 3, so there were some super-repeat offenders in this group).”

          6% of men surveyed admitted to rape, 37% (44) committed only one rape, 63% (76) committed multiple rapes. There is a significant number of men that rape only once. However, if we eliminated just the repeat rapists (4% of the male population), it would stop 28% of all violence against women (including other assaults and DV).

          Yes, there are predators–men that we can describe as sociopathic, that set out to find a woman to rape. (And 70% of them achieve their goal without any overt violence.) But there is also a significant number of men that rape once, and never again. Why? Is it because a full 6% of the male population is sociopathic? That’s rather high, don’t you think? Maybe these men thought that what they were doing wasn’t rape, that their behavior was acceptable. They were taught that by rape culture.

          • You are clearly incapable of comprehending the statistics that you are copying & pasting, and/or you can’t do basic math.

            44 rapes committed by one-time rapists + 439 committed by repeat offenders = 483 total rapes in the sample

            44 / 483 = 9% of rapes committed by one-timers
            439 / 483 = 91% of rapes committed by serial offenders

            And, perhaps anticipating that simple numbers wouldn’t be enough to make you understand, the author was nice enough to spell it out in plain English:

            “The vast majority of the offenses are being committed by a relatively small group of men, somewhere between 4% and 8% of the population, who do it again … and again … and again.
            [...]
            the notion that these predators are somehow confused good guys does not square with the data.
            [...]
            If we could get the one-in-twelve or one-in-25 repeat rapists out of the population … or find a way to stop them from hurting others, most sexual assault … would go away. Really.”

            The vast majority of rapes are not committed by regular guys corrupted by “rape culture.” They are committed by a small fraction of psychopaths who know that what they’re doing is rape, but choose to do it anyway.

            PS – The “6% of men have raped” figure comes from a sample of college students, meaning that the percentage of men overall would be significantly lower.

    • The zealots make two mistaken assumptions – firstly, that all contributing factors that need to be considered lie only with the assailant; secondly, that all human weaknesses are subject to positive control by those who experience them.

      A problem isn’t properly assessed if any factors are missed, and is wrongly assessed if factors are deliberately ignored. Sociopathy is one contributing factor, but another is impulse control.

      Impulse control is affected by packaging. I sympathize with those who would like women to be able to dress and behave in any fashion they please without consequence, but there isn’t really a way of presenting the “package” in public in such a way as to only target Mr Chivalrous N Right.

      There is a long spectrum between “consent” and “assault”. The advice to be modest, avoid drinking heavily, and to have designated “guides” (ie. non-drinking or abstaining friends) as well as drivers is probably the soundest on offer.

      • Yes, women should be careful. However, only the assailant, not the potential victim, can justly be demanded to pay the cost of eliminating contributing factors. So, if women have to endure any inconvenience as a result of taking precautions to avoid rape, society should compensate them for that inconvenience. Perhaps that’s another use for the victim fine surcharge.

  3. The ‘last stand’ of the patriarchy’

    We have several ‘last stands’ coming up….so things will get worse before they get better

    • Perhaps you should stick them all on an ice floe

    • Eventually a feminist matriarchy will take over and men will leave and create a new society.

      Camille Paglia — “If civilization had been left in female hands we would still be living in grass huts.”

      Don’t worry, we’ll do just fine without you! In fact, we’re better off because the confident and attractive women will leave with us. Basically, its a form of societal cleansing (e.g. societal douching.) The insecure and miserable women who call them feminists will be left behind ruminating in self pity while admiring their unshaven armpits.

      Humanity conquered Small Pox, The Spanish Flu, Polio, and The Bubonic Plague. I’m more than confident we can conquer the disease known as feminism.

      • The biggest challenge is conquering stupidity…..and no, we didn’t conquer those diseases.

        • As evidenced by your original posting, sweety.

        • We did conquer smallpox. However, recognizing that women are human beings – feminism – is not a ‘disease’.

          • You’re replying to the wrong person.

      • Societal douching?
        Oh my, you must be a million laughs a minute.

  4. If I had a 20-25 injury rate in my business I would be shut down either by fines or being hauled off under criminal charges for endangering my workers. Why are these places allowed to operate if they are that dangerous? Why do women go there, why do women or their parents pay so they can be there?

    Hutchinson is a blithering idiot. Anyone listening to her is setting themselves up to be hurt. The answer to the age old question of why is there evil is not to set yourself up to be a victim, but to take precautions. A predator is identified by his victims. Better not be a victim in the first place.

    A close friend was seriously injured in a workplace accident a number of years ago, losing limbs and almost losing his life. The magnitude what happened to him caused depression and all the gamut of feelings, including guilt. The helpful WCB folks showed quite detailed lists of things that he and others had done that day that possibly if had not been done would have avoided the injury. In his dark moments he was wracked with guilt over them. But the reality is that if he had done things differently, he may very well have not been injured. Work safety is about drilling into peoples minds the necessity of always being aware of hazards and avoiding them. Even then, things will go wrong, but individuals can lessen the chance of hurt by acting to avoid problems.

    It shouldn’t be like this. I should be able to count on someone not turning power on to the equipment I’m working on. I should be able to count on someone not knocking over the ladder I’m on, etc. I should be able to count on not being assaulted by an angry customer or co worker. If I ride a motorcycle I should be able to count on everyone else seeing me and following road rules. I can guarantee that someone thinking like this will be a victim.

    Yes, the predators should be stopped. It should be safe to get drunk. It should be safe to walk alone at night. It should be safe to not lock your door, to trust a stranger, to drink what is placed before you.

    It isn’t. So don’t. Act in a way where you have less chance of being a victim.

    If that is a controversial statement, if it is an unsayable thing in universities, then indeed they are dangerous places to be avoided.

    • Though the blame is on the perpetrator, that is cold comfort for the victim. Better to avoid being victimized.

    • Yes, well said Derek.
      Rape is vile & so are the perps but to purposefully present oneself in public because it SHOULD be OK is pure fallicy-a point which the ill conceived ‘slut-walk’ fails miserably at realizing.
      SOME of the victim’s have a roll in their own misfortunes & it is up to you as a person to conduct yourself appropriately & be aware of your surroundings/cognizant of what is happening.
      Consider the innate human response to the following:
      • Showing up to a job interview in a work jeans & a stained T shirt will get you how far? A person could argue long & loud that they are very smart & ready for the job-will that matter? Slut-walk adherents would say it shouldn’t but the fact is that it does.
      • What is a reputation? If a female consistently dresses provocatively when going out, what do you think develops in the mind of ALL persons? Slut-walk adherents claim it’s a moot point.
      • If that same female gets drunk, starts flirting with all her curves hanging out, what is the clear message she sends? Slut-walk adherents are trying to tell us there is no message or that the message should be able to be sent with zero response & zero consequences.

      What’s wrong with acting & dressing appropriately instead of always pushing the envelope?

      • I prefer to call it ‘tease-walk.’

        I met a SW organizer once. She was giving me f–k me eyes all night, even in front of her cuckold boyfriend. I took her number, but threw it out. If she cheats with you, she’ll cheat on you.

        No one deserves to be assaulted, sexual or otherwise. But no one deserves to have their home burgled. Unfortunately the SW crowd doesn’t take into account preds look for opportunity.

    • Solid common sense. Thank you.

  5. Great article. But university presidents can stop denying the problem and implement
    promising strategies like Green Dot.

    The statistics presented are well known to experts and even repeated by the US
    Attorney General. They call for action. The University of Toronto is one of the only
    universities in Canada to adopt a program for which there is evidence that it
    works – the Green Dot program. This happened last December 6th which is the day of remembrance for violence against women. Green Dot is not a straw program. It is proven to get both males and females engaged in intervening to stop events sliding into sexual assaults.

    Calling for greater use of the cops, courts and corrections system must be treated
    carefully. First we cannot arrest our way out of this problem. Secondly we
    need to change a lot to make that system sensitive to the needs of the victims.

    I have presented more information on proven ways to reduce sexual violence on campus in a recent blog on my website.

  6. CLAIM:

    A snapshot of prevalence is provided by an October 2013 study in JAMA Pediatrics: nine per cent of 1,058 male respondents between 14 and 21 reported perpetrating coercive or forced sexual violence;

    WHAT JAMA SAYS:

    Nearly 1 in 10 youths (9%) reported some type of sexual violence perpetration in their lifetime; 4% (10 females and 39 males) reported attempted or completed rape. Sixteen years old was the mode age of first sexual perpetration (n = 18 [40%]). Perpetrators reported greater exposure to violent X-rated content. Almost all perpetrators (98%) who reported age at first perpetration to be 15 years or younger were male, with similar but attenuated results among those who began at ages 16 or 17 years (90%). It is not until ages 18 or 19 years that males (52%) and females (48%) are relatively equally represented as perpetrators

    http://archpedi.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1748355&resultClick=3

    CONCLUSION:
    Author misrepresented and misquoted the actual research and deliberately neglected female perpetrators.

  7. CLAIM:
    Estimates from the American Association of University Women paint a bleaker picture: one-quarter of female university students are victims of rape or attempted rape. Other statistics suggest 20 per cent of women and three per cent of men experience sexual violence on campus.

    FACT CHECK:
    1/4 statistic is actually based on a questionaire which included low leve sexual assault including unwanted touching.
    http://www.leaderu.com/real/ri9502/sommers.html

    CONCLUSION:
    Author misrepresents statistics combining all forms of sexual assault including unwanted touching as “rape or attempted rape”

  8. “Psychologist Peter Jaffe, director of Western University’s centre for research and education on violence against women and children, agrees”

    The very same Peter Jaffe who defended Karla Homolka as an expert witness and portrayed her as merely a victim of Paul Bernardo. The very same Peter Jaffe who set up Ontario RUCS protocall for screening female only victims of sexual abuse. The very same Peter Jaffe who is a supposed expert on sexual abuse and knows very well that boys are also victims in significant numbers.

  9. From the article:

    “… that blamed women for making false accusations, which occur in eight per cent of cases, according to the FBI,”

    This is false. From the wikipedia page on the subject:

    “FBI reports from 1996 consistently put the number of “unfounded” rape accusations around 8%. In contrast, the average rate of unfounded reports for “Index crimes” tracked by the FBI is 2%.[14]

    However, “unfounded” is not synonymous with false allegation. Bruce Gross of the Forensic Examiner says that:

    ‘This statistic is almost meaningless, as many of the jurisdictions from which the FBI collects data on crime use different definitions of, or criteria for, “unfounded.” That is, a report of rape might be classified as unfounded (rather than as forcible rape) if the alleged victim did not try to fight off the suspect, if the alleged perpetrator did not use physical force or a weapon of some sort, if the alleged victim did not sustain any physical injuries, or if the alleged victim and the accused had a prior sexual relationship. Similarly, a report might be deemed unfounded if there is no physical evidence or too many inconsistencies between the accuser’s statement and what evidence does exist. As such, although some unfounded cases of rape may be false or fabricated, not all unfounded cases are false.[2]‘”

    Is it too much to ask reporters to at least look at wikipedia to get basic facts down?

  10. It works both ways,while there mauybe sexual predators, there also are many women who dress provocatively and who act pretty boldly when under the influence of alcohol. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. If some women wish to dress in a taunting manner, then they will elicit a response from men. Let us stop with female infantilizing.

    • It will likely be no surprise to you that I noticed a lot of SW people are also entitled urban cyclists who scream ‘share the road’ while burning stop signs.

  11. And yet if the women are not good looking enough they are criticized. Maybe the men should stay home since they are the ones doing the raping. I value my freedom as much as men do!

    • Do you value your self-induced victimization?

      • ??

  12. Universities, heck high schools, should be offering free women’s self-defence courses on an ongoing regular basis. These courses not only teach physical self-defence techniques, but also strategies for avoiding potential dangers.
    As far as “rape chants” are concerned, this amounts to inciting criminal activity and should carry a substantial financial fine of let’s say $5,000 and/or expulsion. After all, we already consider hate speech to be a crime.

    • Good ideas and comments.

  13. There is a complete lack of personal responsibility regardless of gender

  14. Predators, of all kinds, are everywhere.
    Would you go to an ATM drunk?
    Would you go for a walk downtown at night drunk?
    Why on Earth would you go to a university party to *get* drunk and assume you will make it home safe?

    I am not blaming the victim. But for heaven’s sake don’t make it easy for a predator.

    We have to quit sending young pollyannas to university.

  15. Sounds as though the woman is always in the right.
    Never possible for a drunken woman to consent, then think better of it in the morning. After all, no one will question her, right?
    And woe betide any man who dares speak out against the shrill, squalling feminists.

  16. I graduated from Yale in ’05 and, unfortunately, I have some some personal experience with these issues. Nothing as horrible as what happened to Ms. Brodsky, but still very unpleasant and certainly indicative of a problem with the culture at large.

    During my senior year, I went with my girlfriend at the time to a “foam” party thrown by my fraternity. Even though I was with her the entire night, three huge guys (not members of my fraternity) came up to her began smearing foam all over her, groping her in the process, and calling her “a random slut”. I know they weren’t drunk, because I went up to them to confront them (I forget what I even said, actually) they acted perfectly normal and casual about the incident–”sorry dude, no harm meant!” as if they had done nothing worse than spill a beer or bump into someone accidentally. They were not stumbling or reeking drunk or anything like that. I felt horrible for her as well as feeling ashamed of myself for not being able to help her or to get justice. I probably should have gone for help from my fraternity brothers, but I was actually worried that it might start a huge fight in the house and it would make it worse for everyone, including my girlfriend. I felt like a completely useless coward.

    I seriously wanted to go “Straw Dogs” on those guys and I’d like to think I would have received a light sentence from a sympathetic jury…but Walter Middy fantasizing aside, I would probably have been expelled, unlike people who cheat on tests or rape people (supposedly 0-tolerance for these things but we’ve seen how that works out).

    I’m sure she lost a lot of respect for me because of my inefficacy: see the Louis CK sketch where he is humiliated during a date at a donut shop by a buch of teenagers. It doesn’t matter how smart and rational and emotionally mature she was–even if she knew that not fighting was the “right” and “safe” thing to do, deep down in the primitive part of the brain I’m sure she perceived me as a “loser” and “useless person” who couldn’t do anything to help her. Or maybe even someone whose presence attracted MORE toruble for her.

    On the way out a guy, who happened to be gay, came up to my girlfriend and asked her “Why are you with this ugly loser?” and called me “an ugly woman” (a catchphrase he first used to humiliate me at a ROcky Horror Picture SHow screening–in all fairness, I was dressed in drag…but is that the way to treat someone who is trying to be an ally to the LGBTQRAAPIALEK community, trying to be tolerant and open-minded, celebrating its culture,etc.?). This was also a guy who was a COMPLETE teetotaler and would still say all sorts of horrible things–including yelling self-loathing homophobic slurs on a crowded train. He is now a lecturer in Yale’s computer science department. Maybe not “rape,” but certainly an example of how messed up Yale culture and its attitudes toward sexuality are.

    I also worked for Rumpus, the college tabloid. Although it was never the most enlightened institution (focused on gossip and boozing) there was definitely a sea change during my time there–the paper went from deflating pomposity and anonymous gossip about despicable characters (like the brown bomber) to hipster-racist articles about “Yellow Fever” and gossip that NAMED NAMES of innocent people–and named females disproportionately, particularly when it came to “slut shaming” types of accusations like “She boned the whole baseball team!” and the usual HIgh School-grade gossip. The editor-in-chief consistently made rude and suggestive remarks about me and my girlfriend’s relationship, all of course under the guise of “bonding” and “comedy” and “just kidding.” If I had complained to anyone i would have been laughed at by the administration and made a pariah by the students. The sickest thing is that my ex developed the idea like she HAD to put up with this to advance at the paper–sexual harassment was the cost of doing business. Of course, she did become EIC herself later on down the road, but was effectively steamrollered by the boys club contingent.

    Perhaps it was just a coincidence, but this sea change occurred under the watch of an EIC who was in DKE and continued under another DKE EIC.
    However, even DKE’s hazing and such seems to have changed from focusing on humiliating the pledges in public to things that involved more outwardly directed aggression. Of course having a bunch of huge dudes roaming around campus covered in rotting food and general filth is pretty disruptive as well, but it’s not quite the same thing as the rape chanting. There was another fraternity which included, in their pledge instructions, the note “Don’t rape anyone…at least not tonight!” at any rate, things seemed to get worse during my four years there.

    On top of that, there was the usual stuff like having people cat-call me for having long hair, yell “F++++t” at me even when I was with my girlfriend arm-in arm, yelling things about my girlfriend’s skirt as I’m walking with her, etc. IN all fairness, some of this came from townies, but most of it came from students.

    Overall, not the greatest experience, socially or academically or otherwise. And for the people who use alcohol as an excuse–how is it that I had a drinking problem for and NEVER seemed to wind up raping or attacking anyone or even doing anything that got me slapped by a woman? Same goes for a lot of men…how do these guys get wasted and not start raping everyone?

    Anyawy What about these dudes who are sober or only lightly buzzed and are still smearing foam on people? Good lord, no one assumes that ANY college party is going to be a rape gauntlet. The burden shouldn’t be on the woman to avoid dangerous situations–how do you know what might turn dangerous? There are obvious examples, of course–but if you go to a party with your boyfriend at your boyfriend’s fraternity, why would you assume anything would go wrong? But it did.

    Of course all the offenders detailed above probably got to go off and live normal, guilt-free lives.

    Also note: it’s not “love week” at Yale, it’s “sex week” at Yale.

  17. I graduated from Yale in ’05 and, unfortunately, I have some some personal experience with these issues. Nothing as horrible as what happened to Ms. Brodsky, but still very unpleasant and certainly indicative of a problem with the culture at large.

    During my senior year, I went with my girlfriend at the time to a “foam” party thrown by my fraternity. Even though I was with her the entire night, three huge guys (not members of my fraternity) came up to her began smearing foam all over her, groping her in the process, and calling her “a random slut”. I know they weren’t drunk, because I went up to them to confront them (I forget what I even said, actually) they acted perfectly normal and casual about the incident–”sorry dude, no harm meant!” as if they had done nothing worse than spill a beer or bump into someone accidentally. They were not stumbling or reeking drunk or anything like that. I felt horrible for her as well as feeling ashamed of myself for not being able to help her or to get justice. I probably should have gone for help from my fraternity brothers, but I was actually worried that it might start a huge fight in the house and it would make it worse for everyone, including my girlfriend. I felt like a completely useless coward.

    I seriously wanted to go “Straw Dogs” on those guys and I’d like to think I would have received a light sentence from a sympathetic jury…but Walter Middy fantasizing aside, I would probably have been expelled, unlike people who cheat on tests or rape people (supposedly 0-tolerance for these things but we’ve seen how that works out).

    I’m sure she lost a lot of respect for me because of my inefficacy: see the Louis CK sketch where he is humiliated during a date at a donut shop by a buch of teenagers. It doesn’t matter how smart and rational and emotionally mature she was–even if she knew that not fighting was the “right” and “safe” thing to do, deep down in the primitive part of the brain I’m sure she perceived me as a “loser” and “useless person” who couldn’t do anything to help her. Or maybe even someone whose presence attracted MORE toruble for her.

    On the way out a guy, who happened to be gay, came up to my girlfriend and asked her “Why are you with this ugly loser?” and called me “an ugly woman” (a catchphrase he first used to humiliate me at a ROcky Horror Picture SHow screening–in all fairness, I was dressed in drag…but is that the way to treat someone who is trying to be an ally to the LGBTQRAAPIALEK community, trying to be tolerant and open-minded, celebrating its culture,etc.?). This was also a guy who was a COMPLETE teetotaler and would still say all sorts of horrible things–including yelling self-loathing homophobic slurs on a crowded train. He is now a lecturer in Yale’s computer science department. Maybe not “rape,” but certainly an example of how messed up Yale culture and its attitudes toward sexuality are.

    I also worked for Rumpus, the college tabloid. Although it was never the most enlightened institution (focused on gossip and boozing) there was definitely a sea change during my time there–the paper went from deflating pomposity and anonymous gossip about despicable characters (like the brown bomber) to hipster-racist articles about “Yellow Fever” and gossip that NAMED NAMES of innocent people–and named females disproportionately, particularly when it came to “slut shaming” types of accusations like “She boned the whole baseball team!” and the usual HIgh School-grade gossip. The editor-in-chief consistently made rude and suggestive remarks about me and my girlfriend’s relationship, all of course under the guise of “bonding” and “comedy” and “just kidding.” If I had complained to anyone i would have been laughed at by the administration and made a pariah by the students. The sickest thing is that my ex developed the idea like she HAD to put up with this to advance at the paper–sexual harassment was the cost of doing business. Of course, she did become EIC herself later on down the road, but was effectively steamrollered by the boys club contingent.

    Perhaps it was just a coincidence, but this sea change occurred under the watch of an EIC who was in DKE and continued under another DKE EIC.
    However, even DKE’s hazing and such seems to have changed from focusing on humiliating the pledges in public to things that involved more outwardly directed aggression. Of course having a bunch of huge dudes roaming around campus covered in rotting food and general filth is pretty disruptive as well, but it’s not quite the same thing as the rape chanting. There was another fraternity which included, in their pledge instructions, the note “Don’t rape anyone…at least not tonight!” at any rate, things seemed to get worse during my four years there.

    On top of that, there was the usual stuff like having people cat-call me for having long hair, yell “F++++t” at me even when I was with my girlfriend arm-in arm, yelling things about my girlfriend’s skirt as I’m walking with her, etc. IN all fairness, some of this came from townies, but most of it came from students.

    Overall, not the greatest experience, socially or academically or otherwise. And for the people who use alcohol as an excuse–how is it that I had a drinking problem for and NEVER seemed to wind up raping or attacking anyone or even doing anything that got me slapped by a woman? Same goes for a lot of men…how do these guys get wasted and not start raping everyone?

    Anyawy What about these dudes who are sober or only lightly buzzed and are still smearing foam on people? Good lord, no one assumes that ANY college party is going to be a rape gauntlet. The burden shouldn’t be on the woman to avoid dangerous situations–how do you know what might turn dangerous? There are obvious examples, of course–but if you go to a party with your boyfriend at your boyfriend’s fraternity, why would you assume anything would go wrong? But it did.

    Of course all the offenders detailed above probably got to go off and live normal, guilt-free lives.

    Also note: it’s not “love week” at Yale, it’s “sex week” at Yale.

  18. We haven’t been able to eliminate theft from Canada. This is why money is still transported in armored cars, despite the fact that they use up more irreplaceable fossil fuels than normal trucks. Since we can’t stop sexual predators from coming into existence either, it’s not wrong to encourage women to take precautions. Yes, we have to be clear on the fact that the woman is not the one to blame – but to be clear on that and still encourage women to be careful requires nuance rather than ideology.

  19. Question; if a male and a female student are equally drunk and end up having sex, which one is the rapist?

  20. I recognize this culture of rape as a distort attitude held towards women as a result of the proliferation of violent sexual images. At a young age, instead of forming normal relationships ,these men have been exposed to excessive amount of Internet porn that dehumanizes women.

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