Rape has No Place in Political Arena

May 1, 2012

U.S. Sen. Robert Casey, D-Pa., took to the op-ed page of the Daily Times last week to warn the female population of the United States that there is a one in five chance they will be raped in their lifetime.

Casey gleaned this bit of knowledge, not from FBI crime statistics, but from something called the National Crime Victimization Survey, which, shall we say, is a lot more subjective in its definitions of sex crimes.

“Rape,” according to the surveyors, is any sexual act that the victim felt pressured into or occurred while the victim was drunk and therefore unable to give informed consent.

That’s a pretty elastic definition of one of the more gruesome and despicable crimes known to mankind. 

Fortunately, it happens quite a bit less than Casey and the survey suggest.

In Detroit for instance, one of the most violent cities in America, the reported rape rate for 2009 was 36.8 per 100,000 residents. That’s a rape rate of 0.037, significantly less than that suggested by the survey.

Casey cites survey statistics that suggest the female population that is at the greatest risk of being raped are college-age young women. But these questionable statistics have a lot more to do with the state of sexual politics on campus and alcohol abuse than with an increase in the number of dangerous predators lurking in the streets.

Recently, the U.S. Department of Education Civil Rights Division sent out a “Dear Colleague” letter to just about every accredited university in America requiring them to adopt a lower standard of proof when it comes to finding anyone accused of sexual misconduct guilty as charged.

This should be troubling to any parent who sends a son to college, for the vast majority of those accused are young men. More than a few have had their lives forever changed by an accusation later recanted or shown to have been false.

Americans should not soon forget the travesty of the Duke men’s lacrosse team, whose members were falsely accused of raping a local exotic dancer. An overzealous and gullible prosecutor brought charges against several members of the team that could have resulted in serious jail time. The charges were sketchy to begin with and later proved to be not only false, but ludicrous to boot.

Even worse were the actions of a large claque of Duke professors who publicly assumed the guilt of the accused based on nothing more than their own ideological predilections and anti-male biases.

The prosecutor, Michael Nifong, was sanctioned and ultimately disbarred for ignoring clear evidence the accused were innocent. But, thanks to tenure, the bulk of the professors escaped serious repercussions for their disgraceful actions and knee-jerk pronouncements.

Today, such people still inhabit academia in large numbers and the prevailing campus orthodoxy is that when accused of any sort of sexual misconduct men are basically guilty until proved innocent.

By unquestioningly citing statistics, such as the ones developed by the survey, Casey is allowing himself to be used by partisan ideologues who are more interested in seeing women as potential victims, especially of sexual assault, than the empowered and self-determining people that they are.

They do, after all, today make up almost 60 percent of the college-going population. No matter how much equality in the classroom or workplace that any identity group achieves, there will always be those who will pander to individuals of that group and their sense of vulnerability and/or grievance.

Generally speaking, such pandering efforts should be revealed for what they are and resisted, corrected and even, mocked. Derision is sometimes the best disinfectant against such divisive tactics.

Rape is too serious and awful a crime to be used in such an obvious political manner. Bob Casey is a decent man and he should know better.