Mona Charen

"Two, four, six, eight. Stop the violence. Stop the rape," so chanted a group of Ohio University students calling themselves "f---rapeculture" at a protest a couple of years ago. Rape culture activists have become a fixture on campuses throughout the country, and now, 55 colleges -- including Harvard, Princeton and Berkeley -- are under federal investigation for mishandling sexual assault complaints.

Some of my conservative/libertarian sisters have pointed out that the statistics on sexual assault are wildly inflated. Christina Hoff Sommers notes that the "one in five women are victims of rape" statistic that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention popularized (and that has been cited as justification for drastically diminishing the due process rights of those accused) is wildly at odds with Department of Justice crime victimization surveys, and is based on poorly worded questions and unrepresentative samples. Heather Mac Donald asks whether we are to believe that 20 percent of college women are rape victims when only 0.05 percent of Detroit residents report being raped. Cathy Young observes that "three quarters of the female students who were classified as victims of sexual assault by incapacitation did not believe they had been raped ... "

Let's stipulate that some of the hysteria about campus rape is based on poor statistics, but something is going on. A nontrivial number of young women are having a bad time of it on campus.

The "rape culture" advocates think they've found the problem: We haven't "taught men not to rape." Zerlina Maxwell, writing in Time magazine, argues that we live in a rape culture that blames the victim by asking whether she was drinking.

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.

Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
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