The myth of "rape hype"

Few are buying the argument that the rape crisis on college campuses is overblown.

Published February 27, 2008 9:30PM (EST)

I nearly burst a blood vessel earlier this week responding to a fact-befuddled Op-Ed that argued the campus rape crisis is all hype. Writer Heather Mac Donald concluded that the real crisis isn't that college girls are being "raped," but that they're acting like lost little sluts. Well, hallelujah, today the Los Angeles Times allowed Nora Niedzielski-Eichner of Students Active for Ending Rape to respond in its pages. This excerpt from her sharp sermon is worthy of some fist pumping and dancing in the aisles:

To refute MacDonald's claims, I could dwell on her right-wing think tank credentials and the ideological biases that come with such funding sources. I could cite peer-reviewed academic sources, anecdotal student survivor sources or Department of Justice statistics, [pdf] all of which demonstrate that sexual assault is a common occurrence on college campuses. I could link to dozens of articles from the last month alone detailing students raped by friends, Resident assistants and ex-boyfriends. But MacDonald clearly does not care about such evidence …

Along with MacDonald's deep distrust of female sexuality, her lack of respect for men [pdf] is evident in her obsession with women's actions, because the only excuse for focusing on the victim and not the perpetrator would be a belief that men are unable to control their behavior. But is that really a tenable position on which to base school policies or our lives? Most men are not rapists, and I believe that all men are capable of being responsible for their actions. I also believe fewer men would be rapists with better guidance on the definition of consensual sex and a decrease in the kind of victim-blaming in which people like MacDonald engage.

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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