The Sexual Assault Task Force at the University of Kansas has some very strange (and by “very strange” of course I mean, typical feminist) ideas about what “sexual assault” involves:
Under “Recommendations for Policy and Process Improvement,” the task force recommends clarifying the definition of “incapacitation” in order to differentiate between “wrongful” and “permissible” conduct.
A university spokeswoman told The College Fix by email that the school defines incapacitation as an “inability to make informed, rational judgments.”
When substances are involved, “incapacitation” refers to how “alcohol or drugs consumed” can affect decision-making, including consequences and judgments, the spokeswoman said, responding on behalf of the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access. . . .
(Fact: Young people commonly get drunk or high for the specific purpose of lowering their inhibitions, thus to facilitate or enhance sexual activity that they would be too afraid or embarrassed to initiate or enjoy if they were sober. This is what was meant by the old joke in which the “mating call of the Southern sorority girl” was described as, “Woo-hoo! I am SO drunk, y’all!”)
The Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access uses “incapacitation” as part of its multifaceted definition of sexual violence: “Taking sexual advantage of another person without consent, including causing or attempting to cause the incapacitation of another person.” . . .
(Fact: The legal drinking age is 21. If university officials are worried that “incapacitation” due to drunkenness is a contributing factor in sexual assault cases — as it obviously often is — the most obvious expedient would be to crack down on underage drinking by students. Yet because administrators at almost every university tolerate illegal underage drinking by freshmen and sophomores, we are told there is a “rape crisis” on campus when it usually seems more like a “drunk teenage sex crisis” on campus.)
The Kansas task force also acknowledges the vagueness in defining coercion as “unreasonable pressure for sexual access” because it does not distinguish between “coercive” versus “non-coercive sexual conduct.” . . .
The Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access uses the word “unwelcome” several times to describe prohibited behavior: One of those is “unwelcome efforts to develop a romantic or sexual relationship” or “unwelcome physical touching or closeness.”
Here, in the effort to add “coercion” to the definition of sexual assault, we see the real agenda behind feminism’s “rape culture” discourse. To put it bluntly, it is an attempt to criminalize male heterosexuality.
If you have studied feminist writing about sexuality, you know that they stretch the word “coercion” beyond recognition, so that male behavior which is entirely normal, customary and lawful is depicted as part of a“continuum of sexual aggression.” A presentation called “Understanding the Continuum of Sexual Violence” describes it this way:
Sexual violence is supported by the attitude or viewpoint that women are sex objects, and often takes the form of suggestive looks or actions, sexist comments, and sexual exploitation. All too often our society treats objectification of women as a cultural norm that does no real harm. Men whistling at and calling out to women on the street is tolerated, jokes or rude comments are the daily fare of talk shows and other media venues, and sexually pornographic material proliferates under the guise of freedom of speech and expression. All too often, none of this is considered “criminal” but is part of a largely accepted societal attitude towards women.
The level to which our society accepts sexual objectification creates a foundation where this becomes the absolute value of women.
What is involved in this, you see, is the creation of a connect-the-dots theory about “rape culture” in which anything that is deemed offensive, from “suggestive looks” to “jokes or rude comments,” is construed as part of a “societal attitude” that contributes to sexual assault. By this means, every double-entendre in an old Marx Brothers comedy becomes part of “rape culture,” while every vintage pin-up is also implicated in this “continuum” because it involves “sexual objectification.”
So now, in attempting to codify “coercion” and “harassment” as part of university policy, we find ambiguous phrases like “unreasonable pressure for sexual access” — how much “pressure” is “reasonable”? — as well as the use of the word “unwelcome” to describe “efforts to develop a romantic or sexual relationship” or “physical touching or closeness.”
Stipulate that some guys have deficient social skills, and are not good at “reading signals,” as we used to say, while other guys simply don’t know how to deal with rejection. Especially when we are talking about young guys (teenage boys, really, 18 or 19 years old, and away from home for the first time) it is inevitable that many of them will make awkward (“unwelcome”) attempts to “develop a romantic or sexual relationship.” This is inevitable, as I say, and unless you are engaged in a War Against Human Nature, you expect young women to be prepared to deal with male attention that is “unwelcome,” as well as “pressure” that is “unreasonable.”
Feminist ideology, however, demonizes male sexuality in such a way as to relieve women of all responsibility in negotiating the ordinary difficulties of normal sex life. Any attempt to advise females about avoiding sexual danger is condemned by feminists as “blaming the victim.” When confronted with the typical “he-said/she-said” cases that are cited as evidence of a campus “rape epidemic” — which usually involve what seems to be an unhappy misunderstanding between two drunk teenagers — your effort to discuss the ambiguities without presuming the guilt of the accused male could result in you being branded a “rape apologist.”
An 18-year-old college freshman starts knocking back tequila shots at a party, grinding on the dance floor with any guy who strikes her fancy and — surprise! surprise! — wakes up naked the next morning beside a complete stranger, with only the vaguest recollection of how she got there or why she’s feeling so sore and sticky. It’s impossible under the circumstances to prove she was raped, but her predicament (alas, too common in the binge-drinking “hookup culture” that prevails on many campuses) can be interpreted by a school disciplinary tribunal as sexual misconduct by the guy who “got lucky” with the drunk freshman and he may face expulsion as a penalty.
Is there a problem with sexual behavior on university and college campuses? Yes. It involves porn. It involves booze. It involves a decline of Judeo-Christian morality among youth. Even if you’re an atheist, even if you think illegal underage drinking is acceptable, even if you approve the Internet-driven flood of pornographic filth into the impressionable minds of adolescents — even granting all those caveats and exemptions for liberalism’s see-no-evil attitudes about such things, can’t we agree that this convergence of harmful influences creates a potentially dangerous sexual climate?
Although I know “Jackie” at UVA lied about being gang-raped at Phi Kappa Psi, I would never want my daughter to set foot in a frat party, or any other situation where college boys are getting drunk. Whether or not any of them could be trusted sober, they damned sure can’t be trusted when they’re drunk, and any college girl foolish enough to think otherwise is likely to wake up sore and sticky the next morning. You can go chant slogans at a “Take Back the Night” rally if you want, but you’re never going to win a War Against Human Nature.
Meanwhile, the attempt to criminalize male heterosexuality — which is what feminism’s “rape culture” discourse is really about — is likely to have consequences that neither the feminists nor their opponents can anticipate. Culture shifts often operate like Newton’s Third Law of Motion, where there is an equal and opposite effect. The degrading influence of pornography has inspired truly disgusting behavior among some young people (see paragraphs 16, 18 and 26 in the Nungesser v. Columbia lawsuit). Yet if that is the “equal” effect of the Newtonian equation, we can also perceive an opposite effect in the noticeable increase of women preferring lesbian relationships to such painful degradation in the contemporary “hookup culture.” We may observe that Emma Dawson, who was an ardent advocate of “sex-positive” feminism at Wesleyan University, thought it was a “good opportunity to remind everyone I’m queer” after she gained notoriety by making a public issue of her herpes infection.
The word “queer” has been popularized to include a wide range of sexual behaviors, so that a “queer feminist” is not necessarily a lesbian. Because she recounts various heterosexual exploits in her herpes narrative, we may presume that “queer” for Dawson signifies she’s a sort of bisexual Ado Annie. So, she’s a herpes-infected 22-year-old queer who paid $47,972 a year to get a bachelor of arts in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Probably a Democrat, too.
Gotta be pretty bad out there, if any guy would resort to “unreasonable pressure for sexual access” to girls like that.