It’s a lonely job, working the phones at a college rape crisis center. Day after day, you wait for the casualties to show up from the alleged campus rape epidemic — but no one calls. Could this mean that the crisis is overblown? No. It means, according to campus sexual-assault organizations, that the abuse of coeds is worse than anyone had ever imagined. It means that consultants and counselors need more funding to persuade student rape victims to break the silence of their suffering.
It is a central claim of these organizations that between a fifth and a quarter of all college women will be raped or will be the targets of attempted rape by the end of their college years. Harvard’s Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response uses the 20% to 25% statistic. Websites at New York University, Syracuse University, Penn State and the University of Virginia, among many other places, use the figures as well.
And who will be the assailants of these women? Not terrifying strangers who will grab them in dark alleys, but the guys sitting next to them in class or at the cafeteria.
If the one-in-four statistic is correct, campus rape represents a crime wave of unprecedented proportions. No felony, much less one as serious as rape, has a victimization rate remotely approaching 20% or 25%, even over many years. The 2006 violent crime rate in Detroit, one of the most violent cities in the U.S., was 2,400 murders, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults per 100,000 inhabitants — a rate of 2.4%.
Such a crime wave — in which millions of young women would graduate having suffered the most terrifying assault, short of murder, that a woman can experience — would require nothing less than a state of emergency. Admissions policies, which if the numbers are true are allowing in tens of thousands of vicious criminals, would require a complete revision, perhaps banning male students entirely. The nation’s nearly 10 million female undergraduates would need to take the most stringent safety precautions.
None of this crisis response occurs, of course — because the crisis doesn’t exist.
I’m shocked that such an intelligent piece was published in the LA Times. It must have been a mistake.
My favorite part of the article was at the end:
In a November column in the University of Virginia’s student newspaper, a third-year student gave the real scoop on frat parties: They’re filled with men hoping to have sex. Rather than calling these men "rapists," columnist Katelyn Kiley offered some practical wisdom to the women trooping off to Virginia’s fraternity row:
"It’s probably a good idea to keep your clothes on, and at the end of the night, to go home to your own bed. Interestingly enough, that’s how you get [the guys] to keep asking you back."
Maybe such young iconoclasts can take up another discredited idea: College is for learning. Fighting male dominance or catering to the libidinal impulses released in the 1960s are sorry substitutes for the pursuit of knowledge.