This is how nutty it's gotten on the campuses of our vaunted institutions of higher learning: Jessica Valenti debated Wendy McElroy at Brown University on “How Should Colleges Handle Sexual Assault?” and the Brown student newspaper called McElroy controversial.
Why is McElroy "controversial"? Because, the newspaper says, McElroy believes that “sexual assault is the work of small numbers of predatory individuals whose behaviors are impervious to the culture and values of their communities.”
The school's president, a woman named Christina Paxson, chimed in by saying "she disagrees with arguments made by people like McElroy that 'sexual assault is the work of small numbers of predatory individuals whose behaviors are impervious to the culture and values of their communities.'”
Excuse me while I bang my head against the wall.
McElroy's position is, in fact, consistent with the one touted by Dr. David Lisak, arguably the most respected authority on rape in the feminist community. Dr. Lisak says that over 90 percent of all rapes are committed by serial rapists. Their crimes are purposeful and planned, and only a small percentage of young men would ever cross the line. If Paxson et al. have facts to refute Dr. Lisak, they would do well to advance them. Otherwise, they would do well to shut the hell up.
McElroy's position is also consistent with the one touted by RAINN, the nation's leading anti-rape organization. Earlier this year, RAINN debunked the "rape culture" meme: "Rape is caused not by cultural factors but by the conscious decisions, of a small percentage of the community, to commit a violent crime." RAINN decried the "inclination to focus on particular . . . traits that are common in many millions of law-abiding Americans (e.g., 'masculinity'), rather than on the subpopulation at fault: those who choose to commit rape." RAINN cited the work of Dr. David Lisak. Natually, Valenti had a conniption.
You see, McElroy is "controversial" because she won't blame maleness for the heinous crimes committed by a small percentage of men. McElroy is "controversial" because she refuses to tout memes that are purposefully gender-divisive (not to mention incorrect) and that actually set back the cause of survivors by turning off potential allies in the war on rape.
So you tell me: how extreme is Brown University's president, Ms. Paxson, when she parrots Jessica Valenti and goes against a position touted by Dr. David Lisak and RAINN?
Brown student Dana Schwartz who helped organize the debate, said this: “We have to be aware that people outside of Brown have opinions that we might find highly unpalatable, and I think instead of silencing opinions, by listening and understanding how to deconstruct and debate them effectively, that’s the best thing a Brown student can do.” (Apparently, by attending the debate, the young feminists honed their skills at "deconstructing" positions accepted by well-respected people but that aren't sufficiently extreme and divisive.) Before the event, Brown student Katherine Byron said that attending the event and listening to the debate might be "triggering" or "really hurtful to me.’”
As for the actual debate, Robby Soave has a typically brilliant piece, and I won't repeat what he wrote. A short summary: McElroy explained: “I was raped and brutally so … I did not blame society. I did not blame the culture. I blamed the man who raped me.” For her part, Valenti chuckled at the notion that alcohol is the problem and addressed how students might move forward in eliminating rape and sexual assault on campus. “Stopping someone from telling a rape joke or saying they got ‘raped’ by a test” would be a start, Valenti said. (Got it: Women drinking themselves to oblivion: perfectly okay; men telling "rape jokes": that somehow falls on a rape continuum.
Valenti also weighed in on the Columbia and Barnard College students who have recently written the names of accused student rapists on the walls of their schools’ buildings, Valenti said: “While I can’t officially suggest that you vandalize school property, I’m not against radical action.” Of course not, Valenti.
This position is entirely consistent with the gender get-evenism that is at the heart of extreme feminism: it's perfectly acceptable to fight injustice with more injustice.