The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Feminism’s New Enemy: ‘Rape Truthers’

Posted on | December 20, 2014 | 73 Comments

Speak of @AmandaMarcotte, and madness doth appear:

No, the real reason [the Rolling Stone UVA rape story] is turning into such a big deal is there are a surprising number of people who want to deny that rape is a serious social problem and who want to push the idea that many rape cases are just a matter of women lying because they are crazy or vindictive. For these folks — call ‘em rape truthers — this whole incident is like a second Christmas, an opportunity to take an extremely rare and strange case and pretend it should be reason to dismiss the reality that rape is a crime that happens with some frequency.

“Rape truthers.” Where shall we begin dismantling this straw man?

Let’s start by noticing how Amanda Marcotte obscures the sequence of events in how this became “such a big deal.” She begins her column by saying there has been “a shocking media feeding frenzy over the discovery that one of the young women claiming to be a rape victim in Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s recent Rolling Stone piece might be exaggerating about her experience or even lying about it.” Yet this was not the original “media feeding frenzy,” which was caused when Erdely’s story “A Rape On Campus” was published online Nov. 19. And we now know, as we did not know on Nov. 19, the motives and purposes behind Erdely’s story. She had shopped around looking for the perfect rape:

Magazine writer Sabrina Rubin Erdely knew she wanted to write about sexual assaults at an elite university. What she didn’t know was which university.
So, for six weeks starting in June, Erdely interviewed students from across the country. She talked to people at Harvard, Yale, Princeton and her alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania. None of those schools felt quite right. But one did: the University of Virginia, a public school, Southern and genteel, brimming with what Erdely calls “super-smart kids” and steeped in the legacy of its founder, Thomas Jefferson.

As Tim Graham of Newsbusters pointed out, Erdley mocked the lack of radical feminist activism at UVA, and said female students there were “sickened by the university’s culture of hidden sexual violence.”

The quest that led Erdely to Charlottesville was part of a campaign by feminists to exaggerate the prevalence of rape on campuses, a campaign in which officials of the Obama administration were actively involved.

“It is estimated that 1 in 5 women on college campuses has been sexually assaulted during their time there — 1 in 5.”
Barack Obama, Jan. 22, 2014

“We know the numbers: one in five of every one of those young women who is dropped off for that first day of school, before they finish school, will be assaulted, will be assaulted in her college years.”
Joe Biden, April 29, 2014

Having re-elected President Obama in a campaign that claimed Republicans were waging a “War on Women,” Democrats were clearly exploiting this “rape epidemic” narrative for political purposes. Feminist activists, Democrat politicians and liberal journalists strove to promote this message which, among other things, resulted in Title IX investigations by the Department of Education and California enacting an “affirmative consent” law that applies only to college students.

Even as this politicized “rape epidemic” campaign rolled forward, however, critics pointed to clear evidence that this narrative was false. Federal data show that the incidence of rape has declined significantly in the past 15 years, and there are obvious problems with the survey from which the “1-in-5” statistic is derived (see “Statistical Voodoo and Elastic Definitions,” June 15). Yet those who called attention to facts that contradicted the “rape epidemic” myth were excoriated for telling the truth, with one MSNBC commentator saying victims were “re-raped” and “re-traumatized” by a George Will column.

Facts are rape. Truth is trauma. And what is obviously at work here is a totalitarian effort to suppress truth, so that the truth is whatever feminists say it is, and anyone who questions feminist rhetoric is a thought criminal. “Shut up, because rape.”

It was amidst this bizarre Orwellian climate that Sabrina Rubin Erdely told the tale of Jackie’s alleged gang rape, a tale that specifically implicated members of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity at the University of Virginia, and accused UVA officials of indifference to pervasive sexual violence on campus. Megan McArdle explains why the factuality of Jackie’s gang-rape tale is crucial to what Erdely was attempting to do:

[Defender’s of the Rolling Stone story] have argued that focusing on Jackie’s story is getting us “sidetracked” from “the real story,” which is about the rape culture at UVA and the slothful institutional reaction to Jackie’s story. The story was headlined “A Rape on Campus.” The first thousand words are devoted to Jackie’s horrifying story, and much of the rest of the story is devoted to Jackie’s descent into depression and her interactions with the deans. If the story is so irrelevant to the real point of the article, then it should have been pulled out when the victim refused to provide details that would have permitted the author to contact the accused for comment.
But of course, if Jackie’s story had been pulled out, the article wouldn’t have received anything like the attention it got. The story was so electric precisely because it was about the premeditated gang rape of an innocent girl, in a way that suggested that such callous and criminal treatment of women was commonly viewed by the university community as not really worthy of comment, much less punishment — and that this view afflicted even the administrators charged with protecting students from rape. Without that element, this would have been a dull-but-worthy chin-stroker about institutional bureaucratic processes that probably wouldn’t have been shared 170,000 times on Facebook.

In other words, Erdely told the horrifying story of what allegedly happened to Jackie — an 18-year-old freshman gang-raped by seven fraternity members — in order to dramatize “rape culture” which feminists insist is responsible for a “rape epidemic” on America’s college and university campuses. Yet when doubts arose about the truth of this dramatic narrative, feminists claimed that the truth didn’t matter.

Facts were irrelevant, feminists said, because the narrative about campus rape was true, and those who want facts risk being “sidetracked” from that political narrative. Now we have Amanda Marcotte smearing as “rape truthers” those who insist that facts matter:

[M]any people stand behind the myth that women routinely lie about being raped, which justifies preserving a status quo where men’s word is considered more authoritative and trustworthy just because they are male.

Well, then, who are these “many people” who say “women routinely lie about being raped”? Marcotte names Rich Lowry, Chuck C. Johnson, Kevin Williamson, George Will, Tammy Bruce, Patrick Howley and Susan Patton as promoters of a “misogynist fairy tale about false rape accusations.” Readers are invited to examine the evidence and determine whether Marcotte is telling the truth about these “rape truthers.”

We must be clear about what is happening and why it is happening. Feminists are determined to silence their critics, and they are exploiting victims of rape for that purpose. Neither I nor anyone I know of wishes to “deny that rape is a serious social problem,” nor do we dismiss “the reality that rape is a crime that happens with some frequency.” Yet anti-male hate-mongering by feminists like Amanda Marcotte is also “a serious social problem,” and deliberate dishonesty by Democrats promoting political propaganda also “happens with some frequency.”

Amanda Marcotte does not merely hate men, she hates truth. She is such a hater, she hates Christmas because she hates Baby Jesus.

You may think Amanda Marcotte’s atheism is irrelevant to her hateful dishonesty, but me and Baby Jesus think otherwise.



73 Responses to “Feminism’s New Enemy: ‘Rape Truthers’”

  1. JS
    December 21st, 2014 @ 12:43 pm

    After the Duke Lacrosse fiasco, where Marcotte essentially played the role of Rubin Erderly, how does she have either the credibility or nerve to even speak on this? This unconscionable blight should have been driven out of public life a long time ago.

  2. robertstacymccain
    December 21st, 2014 @ 2:19 pm

    However, their interest is not is rape qua rape, but in the “right kind” of rape, i.e. one with the political implications they want.

    This is exactly their problem. To fit the feminist narrative, perpetrators of the ideal rape must be white males from an upper socioeconomic class, the crime itself must be especially brutal, and the official response to the crime must suggest an attempt by established authority to protect the privileged rapists.

    It appears, however, that finding this rape — the “right kind” of rape — is more difficult than feminist ideology would suggest. Common sense would explain this by saying feminist ideology is false, however, feminists reject common sense as oppressive.

  3. Fail Burton
    December 21st, 2014 @ 2:23 pm

    These people have no interest in law as applied to individuals. What they want are laws that are applied to groups en masse, meaning men.

    Aside from that, when they DO want rules – not laws – against individuals, they want a thing that acts in parallel but outside the law and is far harsher, ending up ending NFL or college careers.

  4. Fail Burton
    December 21st, 2014 @ 2:46 pm

    If we single out groups based on what they were the day they were born and treat them like a single bad person, or assign rank motivations or an ideology to them, that is hate speech.

  5. ping
    December 21st, 2014 @ 2:50 pm

    If we’re going to compare ‘rape truthers’ to conspiracy theorists then we may as well just go the other way with a more sensible comparison. Should we believe 1980s scare stories about Satanic rape cults, and accuse doubters of being misogynistic rape apologists?

  6. Art Deco
    December 21st, 2014 @ 3:16 pm

    Actually, she grew up in west Texas, and lived in Austin from ages 18 to 30.

    KC Johnson wrote a critique of some of her writings seven years ago (which, like those under discussion, indicated she did not do minimal research before commenting on something or simply did not care whether anything she said was factually true or not) and the comment board was visited by a woman who claimed to have known her ca. 1994 when she was a high school student (supposedly the woman’s son was best buds with Marcotte’s boyfriend). The woman offered an assessment of the adolescent Marcotte as someone who felt herself superior to her environment and at the same time miffed that her taste and pop-cultural knowledge were not recognized and valued by those around her.

    You never know who people are in these boards, but that woman’s offering was temperately stated, precise as to biographical context, and plausible.

    I suspect it’s all true and, in a way, sad. The woman has very little to show for 19 years of late adolescent and post-adolescent life. She has no real trade skills, the one thing she does professionally she’s awful at, and she has no domestic life bar what the gap-toothed IT tech at Planned Parenthood is willing to concede to her.

  7. Art Deco
    December 21st, 2014 @ 3:23 pm

    No, she only commented on the case in passing as it was imploding. She was then stomped flat by KC Johnson. She either had done no research into the course of the case on which she was commenting or she did not care what the story was. It’s her signature to behave in ways that you conclude she’s not minimally prudent, an inveterate liar, or stupid.

    This incident happened around the time the John Edwards campaign hired her. The attention it brought her led her to scrub some of her posts on various subjects but to no avail. The campaign bosses concluded she was a liability and tossed her. I think it was around that time she left Texas.

  8. Art Deco
    December 21st, 2014 @ 3:32 pm

    She probably thinks that she’s smart,

    She has a baccalaureate degree from an unremarkable private college. There’s no reason to believe she’s any smarter than 35 million other Americans over the age of 25. She cannot fix your car, cannot fix your furnace, cannot fix your plumbing, cannot fix your personal computer, cannot prepare your tax returns, cannot keep the books in your business, has never taught school, has never sold insurance, has never sold real estate, and has never reported on a local sporting event. She’s also an awful writer. The woman needs a real trade, a better attitude, and some conduit to salvage what she can of a young adulthood missspent.

  9. Art Deco
    December 21st, 2014 @ 3:38 pm

    I think you mean Richard Dawkins. Richard Dawson was supposedly something of a roue in his mundane life, but he did not make much of a public point of it (and was aghast at how decadent Bob Crane got as he aged).

  10. Art Deco
    December 21st, 2014 @ 3:45 pm

    They’ve all watched too many episodes of Law & Order and CSI: Miami.

    Dateline and 48 Hours have adequate material for a season of episodes because in a country with 309 million people in it and 16,000 homicides each year, you can if you rummage for it find a two-digit quantum of haut bourgeois husbands who have dispatched their wives in a given year. People like Marcotte are verbalizers who do not do something as vulgar as long division.

  11. Fail Burton
    December 21st, 2014 @ 4:26 pm

    It’s not a useful comparison. People like Marcotte start with layers of straw man arguments: that all men benefit from rape and condone it, that men actively contribute to a “rape culture,” that men have a vested interest in not prosecuting rape or are indifferent to that, that men think is rape is exaggerated, that men need to teach their sons not to rape, that men view women as only good for sex and are entitled to that sex, that the solutions men offer shame rape victims. It is at all times treated like a male ideology, not a crime by bad people.

    In this sort of feminism, there are no bad men, only men who do and do not confess. It is crime on a societal level, which is true of all hate cults whether it’s about Jews or black folks. The solution for feminists therefore is a societal one, not one that can be addressed by the criminal justice system. People once took this to its ultimate extension and arrested all Jews. Some have expelled them or made them convert. Men are being demonized and treated as if they are an unwanted ethnic group, religion or ideology.

    Women like Marcotte want men to convert and they will expand extra-legal remedies to cause as many men to be the equivalent of arrested and then punished in kangaroo courts in corporations, sports franchises and colleges as necessary. Why for example is the U of VA frat still shut down? The implication is that was a legalistic remedy but it is extra-legal and illegal not to mention immoral.

    Anyone who thinks modern feminism is about diversity or equal rights is crazy.

  12. Dianna Deeley
    December 21st, 2014 @ 5:42 pm

    No, in the end, the person most at fault here is Jackie.

    I do not doubt that there are extenuating circumstances, but she chose to start this ball rolling. Her reasons are both hilarious and pathetic. I would not be surprised if she’s bi-polar. None of which excuses Erdely’s exploitation, but does keep the focus on where the truth lies.

    It’s deadly to be swayed from the facts.

  13. Daniel Freeman
    December 21st, 2014 @ 6:06 pm

    I’m a proud “rape culture” denier. Of course rape happens; but it takes a special kind of situation to provide evidence for a culture of rape, and those are the stories that keep on turning out to be questionable. The reason for that is simple: because the theory is false.

  14. Fail Burton
    December 21st, 2014 @ 7:16 pm

    Like all radical feminists, Marcotte has shown that despite her obviously false contention she is an intellectual equal, she cannot even maintain a thing like our Constitution let alone create it. She has centuries to go to even get to Hammurabi’s Code. If all women were Marcotte, I’d take away their right to vote in one second. They would be too dangerous to entrust with such an obligation.

  15. theoldsargesays
    December 21st, 2014 @ 8:29 pm

    No, no, no….. rape occurs prior to conception even.
    Have you heard? PIV is rape!

  16. theoldsargesays
    December 21st, 2014 @ 8:34 pm

    For whom?
    She’s no one to make a sammich for.
    I’ll wager that she’s convinced herself that she is better off as a spinster though and later in life when old and all alone she’ll try to convince everyone else that she was proud to make the sacrifice.

  17. theoldsargesays
    December 21st, 2014 @ 9:58 pm

    Burger King is always hiring assistant managers.
    She might could slip into that career track if she could learn to keep her trap shut and just keep an eye on the fries.

  18. theoldsargesays
    December 21st, 2014 @ 10:00 pm

    Jesus she’s almost as offensive looking as you know who. (I won’t say the fat slob’s name lest he show up back here and I catch the blame for it.)

  19. Adjoran
    December 22nd, 2014 @ 3:37 am

    Jackie tried to deceive her own little circle and fell into a group-therapy in order to keep the ruse going, and it was apparently pressure in that group that led her to the administration. And tipped Erdely to her.

    Erdely was out to deceive the world, defame a university, and take fundamental rights away from male students everywhere.

    To me, there is no comparison in culpability. If there were no Jackie, Erdely would have come up with another phony story. If not at UVA, somewhere.

  20. Daniel Freeman
    December 23rd, 2014 @ 7:44 am

    Although it’s irrelevant because of RS’s actual point, I would like to point out that contradictory messages can peacefully coexist in people’s minds. The propagandist doesn’t need for you to simultaneously believe the “fear” meme of the dangerous threat posed by the Jews (or the Huns or the Yanks) — so crafty and scheming! — and the “disgust” meme that they’re also degenerate vermin, wastrels indulging vices you couldn’t imagine. As long as you’ve been exposed to both, they can produce the reaction that they want, when they want it.

    It may feel like we live in a Klein bottle of memecraft, since more and more are pointing out the damage that certain people (often of questionable moral character) are doing to our society by making and spreading threat narratives about the male sex. The laziest reporters just dismiss whatever contradicts the dominant narrative, making the ones that draw a false equivalence look conscientious by comparison, but one of these competing claims has more evidence than the other.

    The truth will out… eventually.

  21. Jim R
    December 23rd, 2014 @ 7:51 am

    Good point.

  22. Kain Yusanagi
    December 23rd, 2014 @ 11:52 am

    This is exactly the point I’m making. Thank you for being the first one in these comments to understand that.

  23. Jim R
    December 23rd, 2014 @ 4:56 pm

    As I say, I’m certainly a serial offender!