Why it is wrong to apply the wisdom of the morning to the lunancy of the night
. . . . The very term “date rape” sounds frivolous. It was created in America 15 years ago after a psychologist called Mary Ross wrote an article in Ms magazine arguing that unwanted sexual advances from someone you knew should be treated as seriously as those from a stranger. Ms Ross encouraged women who had suffered in such situations to see themselves as victims of crime. Her ideas were taken up by the women’s movement and resulted in the extraordinary scenes on many American university campuses in the early 1990s, when female students marched to “Take Back The Night”.
One such demonstration at Princeton University — where students routinely stood on platforms and talked about their experiences with an almost religious fervour — resulted in a woman falsely accusing a fellow student of brutally raping her. She got so carried away that she wrote about her “experience” to the student paper and named the student, whom she later admitted she had never met or spoken to.
As time went on she escalated the story rather than retracting it, accusing the whole university hierarchy of a cover-up, until the student in question was forced to bring a complaint of sexual harassment against her and she was obliged to settle. Her defence, also written in the student newspaper, was that “I was overcome by emotion”. Her false accusations were disturbingly reminiscent of the “recovered memories” of children who accuse parents and teachers of the most grotesque sexual abuses.
The goal of the women’s groups who encouraged this kind of hysteria was to reveal such women as “lenses of oppression through which the crimes of the patriarch can be exposed”.
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