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False reporting is almost non-existent: men are 32 times more likely to be struck by lightning than to be falsely accused of rape.In other words, given low rates of false reporting, reporting in general, findings of responsibility, and meaningful sanctions, fewer than 2 percent of campus rapists are held responsible for their actions. The backlash will not be as effective this time around due to the rise of social media, the feminist blogosphere and support from the White House.Below, we outline the ways in which conservative backlashers are attempting to undermine the work of anti-rape activists—and, thankfully, how they’re failing.Rape Truthers The most popular backlash tactic is to challenge the data.In the spring, A Voice for Men, a website affiliated with original backlasher Warren Farrell, published an illegally obtained copy of a Title IX complaint against Emerson College that includes deeply private details about several sexual assaults/rapes.The website included the names of the survivors but redacted the names of all of the alleged rapists, effectively scaring future survivors from filing complaints.
All 50 states [pdf] have laws that say an incapacitated party cannot consent to sex, with some variations on the definition of “incapacitation.” For example, “incapacitation” in Colorado is defined as being “physically helpless,” “unconscious, asleep, or otherwise unable to indicate willingness to act,” or “substantially impaired from any drug or intoxicant.” Florida defines “incapacitation” as “mentally incapacitated” or “temporarily incapable of appraising or controlling a person’s own conduct due to the influence of a narcotic, anesthetic, or intoxicating substance administered without his or her consent or due to any other act committed upon that person without his or her consent.” Victim Blamers There are many outspoken conservatives we’d consider “victim blamers”—including Slate advice columnist Emily Yoffe— who place the onus on young women to prevent rape in ways that are both damaging and distracting.
Perpetuating the misconception that raping a drunk woman isn’t “real rape” simply emboldens college rapists to continue to use their weapon of choice—alcohol—with full license and impunity.
Victim blamers also tend to ignore the overwhelming evidence that shows rapists rape sober women, too.
In the past two years, anti-rape activists have put campus sexual assault on the national policy agenda—but in recent months, the backlash against these efforts has intensified.
A band of political conservatives are now openly challenging the existence of the campus rape epidemic and denigrating survivors, including talk show hosts Glenn Beck and Laura Ingraham, columnists George Will, Jay Ambrose, Cathy Young and Naomi Schaefer Riley, representatives from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and the American Enterprise Institute, and many others.