Right-wing media have launched a campaign of mockery, victim-blaming, and denial to dismiss the sexual assault epidemic, particularly on college campuses, and the Obama administration’s efforts to curtail the growing problem.
While Approximately One In Five Women Experiences Sexual Assault In College
One In Five Women Is Sexually Assaulted While In College. On April 28, the White House released a 20-page report detailing the Obama administration’s strategy to combat sexual assault on college campuses, noting that currently one in five women is sexually assaulted while in college:
One in five women is sexually assaulted while in college. Most often, it happens her freshman or sophomore year. In the great majority of cases, it’s by someone she knows - and also most often, she does not report what happened. And though fewer, men, too, are victimized.
The Administration is committed to putting an end to this violence. That’s why the President established the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault on January 22, 2014, with a mandate to strengthen federal enforcement efforts and provide schools with additional tools to combat sexual assault on their campuses.[WhiteHouse.gov, FACT SHEET: Not Alone - Protecting Students from Sexual Assault, 4/29/14]
Congress Exploring Proposals To Combat Sex Assault At Colleges. The Washington Post reported that Congress is working in conjunction with the Obama administration to explore proposals to combat sexual assault on campus:
Congress is exploring proposals to combat sex assault at colleges, months after taking action to overhaul how the military responds to sexual violence.
"This is an issue that has for far too long been swept under the rug," Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said Thursday at a hearing on campus sex assault.
Ideas include requiring colleges to survey students about sex assaults and other safety issues, giving the government more options to penalize schools that mishandle assault reports and simplifying the jumble of laws, regulations and federal guidance that colleges must follow. [Washington Post, 6/26/14]
Right-Wing Media Mock Sexual Assault …
Glenn Beck’s The Blaze Mocked Prevalence Of Sexual Assault With Skit Performances Labeled “Rape.”The May 27 edition of Beck’s program The BlazeTV acted out sexual propositions and labeled each skit “RAPE!” in an attempt to mock the prevalence of reported sexual assault, purporting that the epidemic is “completely untrue.” [The Blaze, The Glenn Beck Program, 5/27/14]
Fox’s Jesse Watters: Statutory Rape Of 16-Year Old Boy Isn’t As Bad If Female Perpetrator Is Attractive. During an Outnumbered discussion of a Florida woman convicted of having sex with a 16-year-old boy, Fox News producer Jesse Watters mocked the assault saying, “If you’re a 16-year-old kid and you have sex with your best friend’s mom, you usually get high fives.” Watters further dismissed the gravity of the crime by implying statutory rape isn’t as bad if the female perpetrator is attractive. [Fox News, Outnumbered, 6/11/14]
Fox’s Tucker Carlson: Men Understand That Getting Sexually Harassed By A Female Teacher Is ”The Greatest Thing That Ever Happened.” On the May 5 edition of Fox News’ Outnumbered, co-host Tucker Carlson mocked a student who was sexually harassed by his female teacher, asserting that men understand that such sexual harassment is the “greatest thing ever.” [Fox News, Outnumbered, 5/5/14]
Carlson Responding To A Teacher Sexually Assaulting A Male Student: “Lighten Up, America, Come On.” During an earlier discussion of a teacher accused of sexually assaulting her male student, Fox’s Tucker Carlson insisted “it is not a crime,” and “there is no victim here.” [Fox News, Outnumbered, 4/28/14]
Blame Victims For The Violence …
Washington Post's George Will: Sexual Assault Victim Is A “Coveted Status.” In a June 7 syndicated column, Washington Post's George Will dismissed the epidemic of sexual assault on campuses in the U.S., implying individuals were pretending to be victims because colleges have made victimhood a “coveted status.” [Washington Post, 6/7/14, via Media Matters]
The Weekly Standard Blamed Feminism For Sexual Assault. In a June 30 article, The Weekly Standard downplayed the seriousness of sexual assault by attributing the blame to women and feminism. Author and Hoover Institute fellow Harvey Mansfield claimed that feminism is to blame for sexual assault, writing that the movement caused sexual assault victims to abandon ”feminine modesty” which provided women “protection while they considered whether they wanted to consent.” Mansfield concluded that sexual assault is merely the result of feminism causing women to “drink themselves into drunken consent—in order to overcome their natural modesty.” [The Weekly Standard, 6/30/14]
Fox’s Tantaros Suggested Feminism Encouraged Statutory Rape Of Student. On the January 22 edition of Fox News’ The Five, co-host Andrea Tantaros blamed feminism for a statutory rape crime, claiming “There’s something about feminism that lets them know that ‘I can do everything a man does, I can even go after that young boy.’” [Fox News, The Five, 1/22/14]
Tucker Carlson: Reporting Statutory Rape Is “Whiny.” On the June 5 edition of Fox News’Outnumbered,Tucker Carlson criticized a student for reporting a statutory rape as “whiny,” diminishing the victim’s report, saying, “He went and tattled to the police.” [Fox News, Outnumbered, 6/5/14]
NRO: Rape Is ‘Instinctive’ Among Some Young Men, So Feminists Are To Blame For Sexual Assault Increase. National Review Online's Mona Charen theorized that feminists are to blame for creating a collegiate climate of “sexual insensitivity and sometimes even brutality” where sexual assaults occur:
The young women who find themselves in a rough world of sexual insensitivity and sometimes even brutality are looking in all the wrong places to lay blame. They should look left; to the cultural left, that is, including the feminists.
The modern campus is a little hothouse of leftist ideas about human nature and the ideal human society. The universities are devout propagators of false nostrums about sex differences and sexuality. The world that the Left (very much including the feminist Left) has created is one that could have been designed by a poorly civilized teenaged boy. Far from teaching that women are more sensitive and vulnerable than men, the Left encourages a sexual free-for-all.
The current climate has encouraged the worst instincts among some young men and doubtless confused many others. Some may find themselves accused of sexual assault when they got mixed signals. Others are predators who pick off easy prey in a world without guardrails. Women have been brainwashed into thinking that this sexual sewer is empowering. [National Review Online, 5/9/14]
NRO: Sexual Assaults Usually Involve ”A Large Degree Of Voluntary Behavior” From Women. In a May 8 article, National Review Online's Heather Mac Donald accused the White House of “parroting over 20 years worth of feminist propagandizing” by releasing a sexual assault report echoing the fact that one and four women face sexual assault, and added that campus-rape could be “stopped overnight” if women stopped getting drunk:
But the main reason “survivors” don’t demand to bring their cases to criminal court is that they know that what they have experienced is something far more complex and compromised than criminal sexual assault, almost invariably involving mixed signals, ambiguity, and a large degree of voluntary behavior on their part.
Girls often drink themselves blotto both before and during parties precisely to lower their sexual inhibitions.
The alleged campus-rape epidemic could be stopped overnight if women’s advocates sent a simple message to girls: Don’t get drunk and get into bed with a guy whom you barely know. Keep your clothes on and go home to your own bed at night. And most controversially: Demand that any boy court you long enough to reveal his character and his respect for yours before you even think about having sex with him. [National Review Online, 5/8/14]
NRO: Efforts To Investigate Sexual Assault On Campuses “Poison The Atmosphere On Campus And Diminish American Life In General.” National Review Online's Thomas Sowell attacked the administration's investigations as “threatening colleges that don't handle rape issues the politically correct way — that is, by presuming the accused to be guilty.” Sowell characterized policies aimed at curbing sexual assault as institutionalized “lynch-mob mentality”:
Why are rapists not reported to the police and prosecuted in a court of law?
Apparently this is because of some college women who say that they were raped and are dissatisfied with a legal system that does not automatically take their word for it against the word of someone who has been accused and denies the charge.
There seem to be a dangerously large number of people who think that the law exists to give them whatever they want — even when that means denying other people the same rights that they claim for themselves.
Nowhere is this self-centered attitude more common than on college campuses. And nowhere are such attitudes more encouraged than by the Obama administration’s Justice Department, which is threatening colleges that don’t handle rape issues the politically correct way — that is, by presuming the accused to be guilty and not letting constitutional safeguards get in the way.
But those who are whipping up the lynch-mob mentality have shown far less interest in stopping rape than in politicizing it. Many of the politically correct crusaders are the same people who have pushed for unisex living arrangements on campus, including unisex bathrooms, and who have put condom machines in dormitories and turned freshman orientation programs into a venue for sexual “liberation” propaganda. [National Review Online,5/13/14]
WSJ Editor: Intoxicated Sexual Assault Victims Are Just As Guilty As Their Attackers.In a February 10 column, Wall Street Journal editor James Taranto claimed that cases of “‘sexual assault’ on campus” that involve alcohol are really victimless crimes in which both parties are equally guilty. [Wall Street Journal,2/10/14]
And Deny Reality Of Sexual Assault Prevalence
Daily Caller Downplayed Government Sexual Assault Statistic As “Bizarre And Wholly False.” The Daily Caller attacked the Center for Disease Control’s findings that one in five women are sexually assaulted while in college, arguing that sexual assaults are often falsely reported. [Daily Caller, 4/30/14]
Washington Examiner: One In Five Women Being Sexually Assaulted In College Is A “Ridiculous Statistic.” In an April 29 post, the Washington Examiner claimed that the CDC’s one in five statistic was “ridiculous” and claimed that it perpetuated “a culture of presuming that a man is guilty.” [The Washington Examiner, 4/29/14]
New York Post Dismissed Campus Sexual Assault Epidemic As “Regrettable Sex.” In a May 6 op-ed,New York Post columnist Naomi Schaeffer Riley denied the existence of a sexual assault epidemic, dismissing campus sexual assault as “sexual encounters fueled by bad judgment and free-flowing alcohol.” Schaeffer went on to blame the assault victims for “bad judgment,” describing assaults as “regrettable sex.” [New York Post,5/6/14]
NRO: Women Are Just “Being Taught To Believe They Were Raped.” In a May 19 piece, National Review Online contributor A.J. Delgado claimed that women are being “brainwash[ed] into believing they were raped,” adding that “for every legitimate, actual rape claim there may be another that was not: a girl who cried rape.” [National Review Online, 5/19/14]