Wendy McElroy’s Latest Books Strikes a Blow Against Rape Culture HysteriaWritten by Robert Franklin
Robert Franklin is a licensed attorney in Texas. He’s a journalist who has published essays and op-eds in a wide variety of online and print media including the Toledo Blade, Houston Chronicle, Seattle Times and World Net Daily. He is the Former Executive Editor, of the Houston Law Review where his legal writing has appeared. He is a ‘featured columnist’ and a member of the National Parents Organization, a national non-profit organization. Robert has published poetry in several journals including the Concho River Review and an anthology of Texas poets
Wendy McElroy’s latest book, Rape Culture Hysteria: Fixing the Damage Done to Men and Women should be required reading for anyone wanting to understand “rape culture,” the claim by radical feminists that Western culture encourages the sexual violation of women and girls.
Such a patently false narrative would be easily laughed off as the fevered imaginings of zealots, were it not taken so seriously by those in high places, including the President and Vice President of the United States. They and others have picked up the “rape culture” ball and run with it, joining with extremists whose admitted goals include the destruction of families, alienating men from women and the diminution of due process of law.
To her everlasting credit, McElroy devastates the notion of “rape culture.”
And who better? McElroy’s a woman, a feminist and a person who, as a teenager, experienced forcible rape. Now a happily married adult, McElroy’s perspective on sexual assault is grounded in reality and therefore all too rare. She’s the hardest person imaginable for the feminists promoting “rape culture” to attack. Her book is an indispensable primer, a thoroughgoing takedown of those feminists, their goals and their assumptions.
Do we live in a “rape culture?” We do not. McElroy calls the notion the Big Lie of PC feminism. “Rape culture is not a real crisis, but a manufactured one,” she writes. Are there too many sex crimes committed in this country? There are, because even one is one too many. But the fact is that, along with all other violent crime, incidents of rape and sexual assault have plummeted by almost 70% over the past 20 + years.
That should be the best of news, but to “rape culture” zealots it’s a threat to their worldview, the narrative they’re peddling and their funding. Their response? Not to rethink their position, but to vastly expand their “definition” of sexual assault to inflate the statistics that would otherwise give the lie to their claims.
Who are these people? For the most part, they’re white, female and college educated. That’s made uncomfortably clear in one of the phrases that’s a cornerstone of their radical ideology – “believe the woman.” According to them, authorities investigating allegations of sexual assault are to believe the female complainant irrespective of all else. Aside from setting due process of law back 500 years, that claim by white women puts them at odds with African-Americans who remember all too well iconic images of “strange fruit” - black men hanging from trees surrounded by mobs of whites who “believed the woman.”
As crazy as “believe the woman” is as a guide to the proper investigation of allegations of sex crimes, it doesn’t hold a candle to the intellectual underpinnings of the “rape culture” movement. For that, we must turn to McElroy’s Chapter Two where the madness comes on strong. Truly, this is Bedlam.
Radical feminism relies on the teachings of French philosopher Michel Foucault. According to him and his feminist followers, gender and sexuality, like virtually everything else, are cultural constructs. That’s because knowledge is entirely subjective and, as such, influenced by the power structure that dictates what is and what isn’t “male” and “female.” The goal of radical feminism, then, is to destroy that power structure and, in the process, gender. One result: on Facebook, one can now select one’s gender from a whopping 50 different alternatives.
This is not sensible. Amazingly, these radical feminists never see human beings as simply another species of social mammal. If gender and gender roles are exclusively the product of culture, how do they explain the fact that all social mammals have gender roles despite having no culture? They don’t. They’re too busy claiming that sex and gender are entirely divorced from biology. That a wealth of science demonstrates much of human behavior to be grounded in biology is “explained” by attacking science itself, along with other inconvenient truths, as a patriarchal power play.
McElroy’s Chapter Four is an indispensable look at existing datasets that reflect the incidence of rape and sexual assault in the United States. The discourse on sexual assault is freighted with statistics, some fanciful and some reliable. Telling which is which is necessary to defeating the false narrative on offer by radical feminists and McElroy does a good job of sorting out the data. When President Obama repeats the widely debunked claim that one woman in four will be sexually assaulted during her years in college, readers of Rape Culture Hysteria will know better.
Because of differing definitions and methodologies, the usually-cited surveys come to different conclusions about what is truly the incidence of rape and sexual assault in our society. But in the end, McElroy concludes that the National Crime Victimization Survey, published in 2014, best – if still imperfectly - captures the reality of the situation. It finds that, when attempted rape, completed rape and all forms of sexual assault are taken together, women have about a 0.61% chance of experiencing one of the three in any given year, a far cry from the preferred 1-in-4 claim.
McElroy’s writing style is the perfect foil for the nonsense purveyed by “rape culture” feminists. It’s clean, spare and straightforward. Where radical feminists shriek, McElroy is calm; where they make up facts to fit their claims, McElroy relies strictly on established data. She is direct without being blunt. Where the extremists stoop to character assassination, McElroy eschews the personal.
The only shortcoming I found in Rape Culture Hysteria was that it never asks “how?” That is, since the radical feminist take on “rape culture” is so frankly loony, how has it gotten such traction, not only in academia, but in wider society? After all, it’s not as if our culture lacks other crazy claims. So why does academia embrace the notion of “rape culture,” but not that UFOs landed at Roswell, New Mexico in the 1950s? If rape culture zealots are so at odds with reality, why is their movement growing among so many smart people?
Those are legitimate questions that McElroy should have answered.
Doing so is easy enough. First, radical feminism makes common cause with the state and vice versa; each derives benefits from the other. Radical feminism couldn’t survive without the money and power of the state. “Rape culture” by itself is just a phrase, but when the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights issued its “Dear Colleague” letter in 2011, all of a sudden, every college and university receiving federal funding had to accept many tenets of “rape culture” in order to continue the flow of federal largess.
Meanwhile, state power rejoices in a radical feminism that demands ever greater governmental intrusion into what was once considered private life. Our Founding Fathers understood the tendency of government to aggregate power to itself and radical feminism begs for it to do exactly that.
For example, what’s true of “rape culture” is also true of the feminist take on domestic violence. There too patently false claims are tied to demands for state redress that government is happy to accommodate. For decades now we’ve seen (mostly) men removed from their houses by police and separated from their children without probable cause, notice of the claim against them or a hearing in which to defend themselves. That’s a development once thought to violate constitutional promises of due process of law. It’s a dream come true for feminists and the state police power that often see individual rights as little more than valueless obstacles to the enforcement of criminal law.
Second, legislative bodies are mostly made up of men and men are legendary for their readiness to come to the aid of Little Nell in distress. As long as the survival of the species was in question, it made sense for men to sacrifice themselves to protect women and children. The basic facts of human reproduction require that males must protect females in order to optimize the chance of survival. A human male can impregnate many females, but females still tend to conceive but a single offspring who takes years to come to sexual maturity and even longer to contribute more than his/her share to the group’s food supply. Accordingly, women are to be protected and men are to do the protecting.
It is perhaps ironic that radical feminists, who claim to want to overturn the “patriarchy,” actually use one of its oldest traditions to gain power. Indeed, without the intervention of men on their behalf, where would feminists be? But whatever the case, feminists long ago figured out that the easiest way to get men to act on their behalf was to claim victimhood. When feminists cry “rape,” men in power leap to their aid.
I wish McElroy had explored the “how?” of “rape culture” in addition to the “what?”
Still, hers is a necessary book. Radical feminists make no secret of their desire to tear down the institutions of society and remake them according to their own fantasies. That’s a threat to everything sane people hold dear. Wendy McElroy’s book does what feminists most fear; it takes a hard, dispassionate look at “rape culture” and calls it what it is – hysteria.
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