Posted on | March 7, 2016 | 28 Comments
Marc Patrick O’Leary is a serial rapist, a sexual predator who in 2011 was sentenced to more than 300 years in prison. He was convicted of four rapes in Colorado and two in Washington State. O’Leary’s modus operandi involved systematic surveillance of his targets, usually breaking into homes or apartments through unlocked sliding-glass doors and taking measures to prevent leaving behind DNA or other trace evidence. His criminal career was recently detailed at length in an article by Pro Publica that focused on one of O’Leary’s victims, an 18-year-old named Marie whose story was disbelieved by police detectives. Marie was charged with filing a false report, and the Pro Publica article is intended to lend weight to the common feminist argument that, because false rape accusations are rare, no one should ever doubt such an accusation.
The problem, however, is that this “believe the survivors” rhetoric usually arises in connection with claims about sexual assault on university campuses, and especially in regard to dubious cases where regret about a drunken hook-up, or a desire for revenge against an ex-boyfriend, appear as plausible motives for a false accusation. In the current climate, where activists have incited a “campus rape epidemic” hysteria, cases like this seem to proliferate. More than 100 male students have sued their universities saying they were falsely accused of sexual assault and denied due process in campus disciplinary tribunals. While research shows that only about 5 percent of rape charges reported to police are false, what about these campus cases, most of which are never reported to law enforcement? The lower threshold of evidence required in campus disciplinary hearings, and the fact that university administrators impose no penalty for false accusations, means that liars like University of Virginia hoaxer Jackie Coakley can get away with inventing crimes that never happened. It is one thing to say “believe the survivors” when dealing with the victims of a violent menace like Marc O’Leary, but another thing entirely when confronted with the case of a student at elite Brown University who says he was expelled merely for making out with a girl he met at a party. The bungled police investigation in the case of O’Leary’s victim Marie, whose lawsuit against the city of Lynwood was settled for $150,000, does not justify the persecution of Paul Nungesser at Columbia University by fanatical feminists who insist that Emma Sulkowicz is both sane and honest, despite all evidence to the contrary.
The public-radio show “This American Life” did a story based on the Pro Publica article about Marie’s case and this radio broadcast was deemed “problematic” by feminist Nikki Gloudemann:
As listeners, we’re left to believe that rape victims like Marie have a responsibility to prove their case to others, because doubt is the natural byproduct of “how people think.” There is virtually no explicit mention of a rape culture that unfairly places this burden on victims, and nary any implicit references either. The show, for instance, touches on the nature of trauma, but never really explains how and why rape victims, due to biological changes in the brain, may respond in ways that seem unusual—and as such, why it’s deeply problematic to expect that they behave in a certain way. It never notes how extremely rare false rape accusations are. It never discusses a culture of shame and stigma that helps explain why 68% of rapes are never reported to police in the first place. . . .
As an influential media force . . . This American Life has a responsibility to report on something as serious as rape with appropriate depth, context, and framing. In failing to do that, it not only ignored rape culture; it actively helped to perpetuate it.
Here you see the difference between rape — a violent crime — and feminist “rape culture” rhetoric, which is a dishonest propaganda tactic, a way of generalizing guilt to implicate all males in crimes they deplore. Feminists are always looking for an excuse to demonize men, and “rape culture” has become a way of making ordinary heterosexual male behavior and attitudes seem monstrous. A guy makes an innocuous joke, or compliments a woman’s appearance, and suddenly he is condemned as a misogynist perpetuating “rape culture.” Amanda Marcotte has called men who disagree with her “rape apologists,” accused her critics of “supporting rape because you hate women,” and smeared skeptics of the Rolling Stone UVA hoax as “rape truthers.”
False choice + straw man. Because nobody has said either. Perhaps rejoining reality would help. @AmandaMarcotte
— WitCoHE (@E__Strobel) December 11, 2014
Skepticism about the false “1-in-5” statistic — a feminist myth about campus rape produced by “Statistical Voodoo and Elastic Definitions” — does not mean that one is “denying that rape is real.” No matter how often Amanda Marcotte smears skeptics as “rape apologists,” what is actually at issue is a matter of public policy. Marcotte and her feminist allies are deliberately exaggerating the prevalence of sexual assault at colleges and universities in order to argue for policies that have the effect of criminalizing all sexual activity on campus. The policies advocated by feminists like Jessica Valenti, Jaclyn Friedman, Jill Filipovic and Alexandra Brodsky shift the burden of proof in such a way that an accusation of rape is tantamount to proof of guilt, and accused students say they are denied the opportunity to present evidence of their innocence in the campus kangaroo court tribunals mandated by the Obama administration’s infamous 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter.
When the captain of the Yale University basketball team is expelled and his teammates are accused of “supporting a rapist” because they believe his expulsion was unjust, skepticism seems entirely warranted.
Nikki Gloudemann’s phrase “extremely rare false rape accusations” is misleading. If 5% of the accused are innocent, is that “extremely rare”? Well, according to federal statistics, gay and bisexual people are 2.3% of the U.S. population, and are thus even more “extremely rare.” Furthermore, is it in any way fair or responsible to suggest that the typical sort of he-said/she-said campus date-rape scenario involving two drunk teenagers is comparable to the brutal crimes of a violent predator like Marc O’Leary? Whatever the Yale Women’s Center says about Jack Montague, I’m pretty sure he’s not a knife-wielding sadist. When feminists like Jessica Valenti declare their intention to “redefine rape,” shouldn’t we become suspicious of such a project?