We have strict laws

Uh oh, did somebody somewhere disturb the conventional wisdom? Quick! Hurry! Get someone to repeat the consoling fictions, before there’s a tear in the space-time continuum and everything falls off.

To the rescue: Caroline Kitchens in Time, with all the clichés piled up next to her keyboard ready to go.

There is no rape culture, there is only rape culture hysteria.

There we go; everyone can go home now.

Recently, rape culture theory has migrated from the lonely corners of the feminist blogosphere into the mainstream. In January, the White House asserted that we need to combat campus rape by “[changing] a culture of passivity and tolerance in this country, which too often allows this type of violence to persist.”

Tolerance for rape? Rape is a horrific crime and rapists are despised. We have strict laws that Americans want to see enforced. Though rape is certainly a serious problem, there’s no evidence that it’s considered a cultural norm. Twenty-first century America does not have a rape culture; what we have is an out-of-control lobby leading the public and our educational and political leaders down the wrong path.

Really? So the Steubenville case never happened? All rape cases are prosecuted? High school and college athletes never get away with sexual assault defined away as consensual sex regretted the next day? There’s never any questioning what the woman was wearing, where she was, how much she’d had to drink?

But now, rape culturalists are confronting a formidable critic that even they will find hard to dismiss.

RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is America’s largest and most influential anti-sexual violence organization. It’s the leading voice for sexual assault victim advocacy. Indeed, rape culture activists routinely cite the authority of RAINN to make their case. But in RAINN’s recent recommendations to the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, it repudiates the rhetoric of the anti “rape culture” movement…

We know it does.

Good job, RAINN. Thanks a lot.

H/t Courtney


  1. Blanche Quizno says

    “There we go; everyone can go home now.”

    Just make sure you stay in a group…and stay in well-lit areas…and carry Mace…and make sure your cell phone is charge…and make sure someone knows exactly what time to expect you home…and watch out for strangers lurking in shadows…and make sure the group you have selected isn’t composed of rapists you didn’t realize were rapists…and make sure you aren’t dressed in any way that can be described as “provocative”, even by a mullah from Iran…and don’t stop for a drink on the way home lest some skeevster slip you a mickey…which will still be your fault, of course, since you stopped for a drink – who do you think you are?? A man??

  2. chigau (違う) says

    We have a metric fucktonne of “strict laws”.
    Strict enforcement, not so much.
    and how does punishment afterwards prevent anything?

  3. karmacat says

    Ed Brayton had a piece today or yesterday about the thousands of unexamined rape kits

  4. Pteryxx says

    So I guess according to Kitchens, this didn’t happen yesterday.


    A military judge Thursday acquitted former Naval Academy football player Joshua Tate on charges of sexually assaulting a female midshipman who says she was too intoxicated to consent; both the defense team and prosecutors have called the case a product of a “badly broken” military justice system.

    Two other men were implicated but weren’t charged after a hearing in which the victim was grilled for days:

    During the Article 32 hearing, the alleged victim was questioned for 20 hours by 12 attorneys, and was forced to answer questions about her sexual history, whether or not she wore a bra, how wide she opened her mouth during oral sex, and if she considered herself a “ho” after the alleged assault occurred. After five days of invasive questioning, lawyers for the woman requested a day off from testimony, a request that was mocked by the defense. “What was she going to be doing anyway?” asked Ronald “Chip” Herrington, one of the defense attorneys for one of the football players who was accused but never charged in the case. “Something more strenuous than sitting in a chair? We don’t concede there’s been any stress involved.”

    Sure. Everyone takes rape so very very very veryveryvery seeeriously in this culture.

  5. Francisco Bacopa says

    WTF? After Steubenville they’re saying rape culture talk is overblown? Classic case of rape culture exposed in all its horror?

    Tori Amos has been a longtime supporter of RAINN. I hope she no longer supports them. I’m going to do some research to see whether she has denounced them.

  6. mudpuddles says

    I find it terribly sad and frustrating that the RAINN recommendations seem to dismiss the significance of “rape culture” (sic), while at the same time decrying the “culture of impunity for rapists”. WTF? Seems to me that the people who wrote that list do not understand what rape culture actually entails.

  7. chrislawson says

    Presumably the logic is that we don’t have rape culture because we don’t build coliseums to hold televised rape circuses.

  8. mildlymagnificent says

    I’m terribly sorry Blanche, but if you are raped it will be All Your Own Fault.

    You’re not carrying your keys in an appropriately aggressive manner. It might be an oversight just this once, but that won’t help now, will it. Eternal vigilance is not only eternal, it’s hour by hour, minute by minute, step by step.

    And they’ll never let us forget it.

    PS What has happened at RAINN? I always thought they were pretty good.

  9. zenlike says

    I see she has posted similar droppings all over the web.

    Caroline Kitchens is a research assistant at the American Enterprise Institute.

    Assistant to Jonah Goldberg, Charles Murray, Christina Hoff Sommers, and Leon Kass

    Nothing more than another right-wing anti-feminist hack.

    And I see Steven Pinker favourably tweeted her ‘article’. Fuck you Caroline and fuck you Steven.

  10. says

    Rapists are despised. Ergo, anyone who isn’t despised must not be a rapist, never mind the accusations some obviously unhinged, vengeful, regret-filled person might have lobbed at them.

    It’s almost like there’s some kind of … cultural force creating a space for people to get away with rape.

  11. theoreticalgrrrl says

    But they mean rape rape, like with bruises and broken bones. You know, Legitimate Rape. Everyone’s against that. But if you know the person or smiled at them once or let them in your house, it’s not Legitimate Rape rape.

  12. Francisco Bacopa says

    I should have known Leon Kass was involved. He is the biggest idiot who was ever considered an ethicist. Everything he touches is poison.

  13. smrnda says

    Rapists are despised, but only insofar as they fit the stereotype of a pervert (preferably a Black or Brown pervert) leaping out of a dark alley wearing a ski mask; pretty much anything short of that gets dismissed as not *rape rape*.


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