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“Believe the children,” said the ritual abuse experts during the day care scare.“Believe the survivors,” say today’s rape culturalists.
Presumed guilty is the new legal principle where sex is concerned.
Students at Boston University demanded that a Robin Thicke concert be cancelled: His hit song Blurred Lines is supposedly a rape anthem.
(It includes the words, “I know you want it.”) Professors at Oberlin, University of California, Santa Barbara, and Rutgers have been urged to place “trigger warnings” on class syllabi that include books like the Great Gatsby—too much misogynist violence.
When a few civil libertarian feminists—Carol Tavris, Wendy Kaminer, Ellen Willis, and Debbie Nathan—tried to blow the whistle on the witch-hunt, they were vilified by the conspiracy caucus as backlashers, child abuse apologists, and “obedient ‘daddies’ girls of male editors.” From the start of the scare in 1983 until its ending in the mid-1990s, untold numbers of children were subject to manipulative therapies and hundreds of innocent adults faced charges of ritual child abuse.
Several of the accused would spend years in prison for crimes that never happened.
A much-cited CDC study, for example, first tells respondents: “Please remember that even if someone uses alcohol or drugs, what happens to them is not their fault.” Then it asks: “When you were drunk, high, drugged, or passed out and unable to consent, how many people ever had vaginal sex with you.” (Emphasis mine.) The CDC counted all such sexual encounters as rapes.
Reputable studies suggest that approximately one-in-forty college women are victims of rape or sexual assault (assault includes verbal threats as well as unwanted sexual grabbing and fondling). But it hardly constitutes a “rape culture” requiring White House intervention.
Once again, conspiracy feminists are at the forefront of this movement.
Just as feminist psychologists persuaded children that they had been abused, so women’s activists have persuaded many young women that what they might have dismissed as a foolish drunken hookup was actually a felony rape.
To not believe an alleged victim is to risk being called a rape apologist.
Some will say that these moral panics, while overblown, do call attention to serious problems. The hysteria around daycare abuse and campus rape shed no light: rather they confuse and discredit genuine cases of abuse and violence.
A recent Slate article called it “one of the most damaging moral panics in America’s history,” which only began to abate when skeptical journalists got round to checking facts and asking questions.