Cathy Young seziert feministische Reaktionen auf aufgeflogene Falschmeldung im Rolling Stone
In The Guardian, Jessica Valenti goes so far as to declare, "I choose to believe Jackie." This is feminism as a religious cult, embracing the principle of early Church father Tertullian: "Credo quia absurdum" — I believe because it’s absurd.
Some other feminists are quite openly suggesting that we shouldn’t let facts get in the way. "So what if this instance was more fictional than fact and didn't actually happen to Jackie? Do we actually want anyone to have gone through this? This story was a shock and awe campaign that forced even the most ardent of rape culture deniers to stand up in horror and demand action," writes Katie Racine, the founder of the online women’s magazine Literally, Darling, in an essay reprinted in The Huffington Post. (A mostly fictional story is beneficial because it proved to "rape culture deniers" that rape culture exists? Literally, darling, this may be the dumbest thing anyone has said about the UVA story.) And in Politico, UVA student journalist Julia Horowitz opines that "to let fact checking define the narrative would be a huge mistake," since Jackie’s likely fabrication points to a bigger truth. That is not journalism; it’s agitprop.
And what is that bigger truth? Horowitz quotes a first-year student who says, "These events undoubtedly do occur here." What events? Premeditated ambush gang rapes and beatings that are dismissed as trivial "bad experiences" by other students despite leaving the victims bloodied and battered, and are brushed aside by complacent administrators? That’s extremely doubtful.
Horowitz asserts that one in five women are sexually assaulted during their college years. Mother Jones invokes the same one-in-five statistic as the deeper truth behind the Rolling Stone story. Yet the surveys from which this number is derived routinely conflate regretted drunk sex with sexual assault, and most of the women labeled as victims do not believe they were raped. As Mother Jones’ own infographics show, the primary reasons these women don’t report their purported assaults to the police or other authorities is that they don’t think it was a serious enough matter to report, or believe that they were at least partly responsible for the unwanted sex, or don’t think what happened was a crime.
Yes, rape happens — on campuses and elsewhere. Methodologically sound surveys by the Bureau of Justice Statistics have found that from 1995 to 2002, an average of about six per 1,000 female college students a year became victims of sexual assault. Assuming that a woman’s risk of being assaulted is the same in every year of college, that means two to three percent of female students become victims over the course of their school years. That’s nothing to be dismissive about. But it is hardly an epidemic, or a pervasive "culture of rape."
Let us by all means have victim advocacy — fact-based, and capable of supporting women or men who report sexual assaults without trying to destroy the presumption of innocence. But let’s say no to the witch-hunts. If the UVA debacle brings back some sanity on the subject of rape, the hoax will have actually served a good cause — just not the one its promoters intended.
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