A preposterous new meme has been snowballing through the progressive blogosphere in recent months: the charge that America fosters a “rape culture” that normalizes, excuses, tolerates, and condones rape and violence against women. Don’t bother pointing out that rape and sexual assault are by all credible accounts way down in the United States – rape culture is stronger than ever, festering under the surface, the progressives will tell you. Not only that, something has to be done about it as a compelling public policy issue of our time.
While the false statistic often disseminated by women’s groups that 1 in 4 women survives rape or attempted rape has been widely debunked (it derives from a series of 1980’s surveys in which women were asked if they ever had sex when they didn’t want to, not if they had ever been “raped”), the White House has jumped in the wagon train recently with its own bold-faced lie that 1 in 5 women is sexual assaulted while in college.
Radix Journal has an excellent piece that sheds insight into what lies behind the “rape culture” accusation reaching a fever pitch in op-eds across national media. Besides the tried-and-true progressive strategy of pitting social-identity groups against each other with government set up as savior, the “rape culture” hypothesis operates on an even more fundamental level by totally subjugating the individual to collective judgment. Unsurprisingly, the campaign is about power and control:
When anti-rape activists tell men they simply want to “teach men not to rape,” that sounds reasonable enough. When they say that there is a “culture of rape” that perpetuates rape, men are hesitant to disagree because they don’t want to be regarded as forgiving of rape or accessories to rape. It is precisely because most men are already against rape that women are able to use rape as a kind of personal holocaust. Anti-“rape culture” advocates are exploiting male disgust for rape and using it as a tool to silence criticism of women and exert control over men’s sexual behavior and conceptions of their own masculinity.
Where have we seen this strategy employed before?
Rape culture is a lot like racism. Maybe they should just call it “rapism.” It’s an abstract “evil” that a certain group, in this case women, reserves the right to identify and use to manipulate another group, in this case men, into increasingly defensive and impotent positions. As long as they can keep men apologizing, they can keep controlling them.
While the idea of a “rape culture” in the United States may seem laughable to any sane man (or woman), it would be a disastrous mistake to dismiss this latest attack as naive alarmism. If nothing else, progressives have demonstrated that they are extremely skilled at spreading propaganda and turning demographics against each other for political gain. How to fight this pandemic is yet unclear: the facts don’t seem to be effective medicine.