Date rape on campus: Are the lines blurrier than we admit?

An American University college newspaper columnist has sparked a vigorous debate over a column in which he wrote: “Let’s get this straight: any woman who heads to an EI party as an anonymous onlooker, drinks five cups of the jungle juice, and walks back to a boy’s room with him is indicating that she wants sex, OK? To cry ‘date rape’ after you sober up the next morning and regret the incident is the equivalent of pulling a gun to someone’s head and then later claiming that you didn’t ever actually intend to pull the trigger.”

Columnist Alex Knepper also wrote:

“Date rape” is an incoherent concept. There’s rape and there’s not-rape, and we need a line of demarcation. It’s not clear enough to merely speak of consent, because the lines of consent in sex — especially anonymous sex — can become very blurry. If that bothers you, then stick with Pat Robertson and his brigade of anti-sex cavemen! Don’t jump into the sexual arena if you can’t handle the volatility of its practice!

Feminists don’t understand history, psychology, biology or sexuality. To repair this desperate situation, I have altruistically prepared a list of five favored books about sex and gender: “The Myth of Male Power” by Warren Farrell, “The Sexual Spectrum” by Olive Skene Johnson, “Vamps and Tramps” by Camille Paglia, “Philosophy In the Bedroom” by the divine Marquis de Sade, and “Who Stole Feminism?” by Christina Hoff Sommers. Put down the Andrea Dworkin and embrace the fires of sexuality!

The Washington Post Campus Overload wrote about the outraged response to Knepper’s piece:

Knepper, who is openly gay, often writes on topics that infuriate students and hopes to someday be a political commentator. In an interview Monday he said that “real rape,” which occurs when a stranger “thrusts sex into a non-sexual situation,” is a heinous crime and rapists should be severely punished.

Not surprisingly, the column has already received more than 175 comments and several letters to the editor. Early Monday morning an unknown person or persons collected hundreds of copies of the paper from around campus and piled them in front of the student newspaper office, under a sign reading: “No room for rape apologists.”

“I have a fun time stirring the pot,” Knepper said in an interview Monday. “I don’t mind being hated for my views.”

Knepper and his editors are standing behind the column. Editor in chief Jen Calantone said she decided to publish the column because it would “foster an interesting discussion.” The Eagle, which publishes twice a week, plans to print numerous letters to the editor and rebuttals to the column in its Thursday paper. Editors are also in the process of organizing a Thursday night forum so students can ask questions and share their opinions.

Calantone also wrote a letter to readers, which was posted on the newspaper’s Website Monday afternoon.

By publishing this piece, we were not trying to display our tacit support of Knepper’s views. However, as journalists, we are not in the business of censorship. As an editor, I would not feel right to fire or censor a writer who has offended people, because I believe that he has raised questions that warrant discussion.

In college, I saw too many friends and acquaintances getting drunk and doing things they regretted the next day.  But when both parties were drunk and engaged in sex, I never saw the male as more culpable than the female. Both of them made poor decisions. While I  believe that date rape occurs, I also think that young women and men act irresponsibly in tandem at times. There are times when sexual activity is coerced in dating situations and that’s clearly wrong. But there are cases where it’s not so clear and I think it’s fair to acknowledge that.

Take a look at these pieces and let’s discuss.

26 comments Add your comment

V for Vendetta

March 31st, 2010
2:57 pm

I think labeling some of the actions as “rape” is a dangrous road down which to travel. Rape is a VERY strong word. Though I don’t agree with Knepper’s style or delivery, I can see his point. It is very easy for someone to cry foul when they wake up the next morning and don’t feel too good about what they did–especially when alcohol is involved; however, that does not equate to rape. I think making poor sexual decisions is just that. To label it rape is to give one party an enormous amount of power over the other.

(To be honest, when I hear the term “date rape,” I think of someone who has been drugged with GHB or rohypnol–which is a completely different cup of tea. Again, I think applying the term to other scenarios is extremely dangerous and misleading.)

Make responsible decisions, and ask yourself if you might regret this later. When alcohol is involved, the buddy system is nearly bullet-proof.

Georgia Teacher

March 31st, 2010
3:11 pm

The AU columnist makes a very valid point: regret in the morning does not constitute rape. If you choose to consume alcohol and under the influence of said alcohol, you choose to go to someone’s room and have sex, it is not rape. It might be a poor decision on your part, but it is not rape.

If, on the other hand, you are given a drug against your will or without your knowledge, that is rape. If you are passed out, that is rape. If you say no, that is rape.

The school paper is dealing with an issue, on the editorial page, that is obviously important to students and doing a good job if they are garnering such a response.

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woodie

March 31st, 2010
5:18 pm

This is all BS. If the gal said ‘no’ then it’s rape plain and simple. All the mealy mouth misleading justification doesn’t work. If you are a guy and the gal is unsteady, you need to move on quickly, else you will find yourself in a cell. So be warned.

Dan

March 31st, 2010
5:39 pm

Interesting that for a woman being overly drunk legally yields her incapable of giving permission (in some cases) yet the guy who is probably equally drunk retains the same responsibility under the law. Not condoning rape of any kind, but seems a tad unbalanced

Jonesy

March 31st, 2010
5:43 pm

Regret is not rape.

James

March 31st, 2010
5:55 pm

Ditto on what Dan said. It’s also interesting that rape & sexual abuse are crimes for which absolutely no proof is needed other than the word of the victim to get a guy thrown into jail and charged with a felony. The man’s name will get reported and shows up in the papers while the female’s name is protected.

P F

March 31st, 2010
5:57 pm

Always ID. Never drink and have sex unless you two are in a committed relationship. One night stands are a no-no if one or both can’t stand up. And believe it or not, wait until the third date. Follow these rules and you are 99.999% unlikely to be accused of anything like rape. But of course there will always be those girls who get drunk on purpose so that they won’t remember and then there are the guys who are looking for them.

Claire

March 31st, 2010
6:05 pm

If you’re too drunk to say no, it’s rape. Plain and simple.

Paddy O

March 31st, 2010
6:19 pm

Claire – why does the male have a discriminatory unequitable standard, vis a vis the action taken if both are drunk?

Paddy O

March 31st, 2010
6:20 pm

The premise of Mr. Knepper is relatively fair – if you do the actions he describes, the female’s assertion that she was raped is disengenous.

Paddy O

March 31st, 2010
6:23 pm

Woodie – how would the drunk gal make a competent witness to the fact that she said no? Also, if the guy is also unsteady, do you hold him to a hire level of accountability than the gal?

Tony

March 31st, 2010
6:30 pm

Maybe I’m old…but what is an EI party?

DB

March 31st, 2010
7:03 pm

An “EI” party refers to a party thrown by “Epsilon Iota”, which is a “fraternity” that was formed at American University, but is not recognized by the University’s Inter Fraternity Council. It was form by a group of disgruntled Alpha Tau Omega members who broke off from ATO in 2001, and is generally recognized as the host of particularly raucous parties.

While the writer tends to enjoy hyperbole, I tend to agree with him, to one extent: It’s not rape if you are cooing, “Do me, baby!” and grinding on the dance floor, go up to his room to finish the “dance,” pass out, and then wake up wondering who the hell the guy is that’s throwing up in the bathroom. That’s just being stupid. It’s that sort of crying “wolf” that makes it doubly harder for the true rape victims, the ones that have been drugged or physically coerced. And I never understood why a drunk guy was more responsible for his actions than a drunk girl. I suspect that there are many a guy who wake up and can’t remember the name of the girl in his bed. And yet, he’s presumed to have had a good time, but the girl is presumed to have been raped? Huh?

bigguy

March 31st, 2010
7:08 pm

If they didn’t have severe regrets the next day, then I didn’t do a good job.

ScienceTeacher671

March 31st, 2010
8:58 pm

Way back in the day, our mothers told us there were some things that “nice girls” didn’t do — two of which would be getting drunk at a party and going home with a guy you didn’t know.

We later decided that our mothers were just too old fashioned, and that it wasn’t right for women and men to be held to different standards of behavior…so some of us decided not to live by mother’s rules, and we didn’t teach our daughters the rules our mothers taught us.

However, there are many days when I think the old fashioned rules and morals evolved over time for the protection of all involved, and we ignore them at our own peril.

DeKalb Conservative

April 1st, 2010
9:27 am

The stigma of rape is a very dangerous one. Innocent until proven guilty does not apply here to men, nor do any significant consequences occur to women when they falsely accuse.

Alex Knepper has a point. If a girl has 5 punch drinks, heck 3, and goes back to a guys room, she’s lying if she thinks she’s going back to check out his music collection. Girls are much more empowered today and open. How unrealistic is it for a girl to go from “no no, don’t” to “don’t stop, keep going?”

Gerald

April 1st, 2010
10:36 am

Why should we be listening to comments on this issue from an openly gay male in the first place? And who does this openly gay male recommend? A book by the equally gay Camille Paglia, who is just as bad as Andrea Dworkin and who has a seething hatred for heterosexuals. The only difference between Paglia and Dworkin is Paglia’s rejection of victimization. However, Paglia bases her rejection of female victimization because she believes that heterosexual women deserve whatever treatment they get from males as their punishment for being heterosexual in the first place.
And yes, it is relevant that this fellow chooses to reject the “Pat Robertson” view of sexuality, which by the way would end about 99% of rape cases if adopted. News flash: people who aren’t sexually active until they are married and attend dates that are chaperoned or in public places significantly reduce their exposure to date rape (and to STDs). I bet you that Robertson’s Regent University, Falwell’s Liberty University, and other places like Baylor don’t have anywhere near the date rape culture (and it is a culture) that exists at most universities.

And finally, let me say this as a conservative male … NO MEANS NO. Look, I have a DAUGHTER, OK? Maybe I ought to send her to Pat Robertson’s school to keep her away from you creeps. And how many of you MEN who keep being apologists for RAPISTS would feel the same way if you wound up IN JAIL? (You want to talk about a rape culture, there you go.) Guys are able to be so cavalier about RAPE because it is something that they pretty much never have to worry about (again unless they go to JAIL).

Also, enough with all this stuff about “men who are falsely accused of date rape.” Whatever happened to PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY? Any guy who has sex with a drunk girl that he doesn’t know or barely knows, especially on a college campus where radical feminism is taught and enforced, is putting himself at risk of going to jail. It is because of this hedonistic culture on college campuses where having as much sex as you can with as many girls as you can is more important than, I don’t know, not going to jail. It’s STUPID to throw your life away over a drunken random sexual encounter.

Also, how enjoyable are these drunken sex acts with girls that you don’t know anyway? How many of these guys even REMEMBER how much of what went on? How many even know what the girl looks like, is even physically attractive, OR ISN’T SOME GUY IN A DRESS when you’re that drunk? This nonsense isn’t even about sex anyway, or at least not the way that sex was intended. It is about bragging rights, conquest, power. So you can brag to all your friends about how many girls you’ve bedded. It is nothing but predatory behavior, plain and simple. The women are prey, and the alcohol (or date rape drugs) are the bait. Really, what is the bait are a bunch of young women who are lonely, homesick, have low self-esteem, identity crises, and just want to fit in or have someone to talk to. And these sexual predators (because that is what they are) prey on these girls like vultures – especially the freshmen – and then they get upset when one of them presses rape charges. Ha!

Sorry guys, but if you want to significantly reduce your chances of getting charged with rape (or getting an STD, or unwanted pregnancy that will result in your either having to pay child support for 18 years or intimidating some frightened young woman into murdering her child with an abortion) get out of the sexual predator culture. Sex is for married people, not for sexual predators and drunken teenage girls with low self-esteem. And yes, both Knepper and the bizarre Camille Paglia whose “scholarship” he has been reading would rabidly disagree with that comment.

Tran_P

April 2nd, 2010
6:43 pm

Is no one else aghast at Knepper’s inconceivable definition of rape?

“In an interview Monday he said that ‘real rape,’ which occurs when a stranger ‘thrusts sex into a non-sexual situation,’ is a heinous crime and rapists should be severely punished.”

So if you’re assaulted or coerced by someone you know, it’s not rape? I thought this guy was just immature and sensationalistic but now I think he may be truly deranged.

Tom Snark

April 2nd, 2010
7:51 pm

Thankyou, Gerald, for demonstrating exactly why conservatives are as much enemies of men as are feminists.

If a woman says no, and a man continues, then yes, that is rape. (And unlike Knepper, I do not believe this has to be ‘a stranger’).

But that is not ‘end of story’, as some would have you believe.

What about those instances when a woman says yes, or otherwise indicates her consent, and the man continues – is that rape?

If you are at all reasonable, you will conclude that it is not.

So what is this epidemic of women crying rape after precisely this kind of incident? And it most certainly is an epidemic – the following website updates daily with new cases of men falsely accused of rape, very often having their lives destroyed as a result, and sometimes subjected to atrocities including being subjected to the very crime they themselves DID NOT commit (but their names are nevertheless blackened by): http://falserapesociety.blogspot.com

My own take on the matter is that women experience greater regret after casual sex than do men, and in attempting to reconcile their self-image (or the image their friends have of them) with their actions, they cry rape, destroying a man’s life in the process.

But that’s not the whole story. Feminists have spent decades fomenting a culture in which false rape accusations can be made with impunity, and the woman’s word will be taken as truth, without the need for actual evidence. We often hear the ‘one in three’ or ‘one in four’ statistics, but no evidence bears these statistics out – which is precisely why the very concept of ‘rape’ is being so continually broadened, so that more men may be found ‘guilty’ of the only crime with perpetually shifting goalposts.

Of course, the result of this is that the concept of ‘rape’ has become somewhat cheapened. When we hear ‘rape’ now, it -might- be a horrific sexual attack, or it -might- be a simple case of regret. Since both now fall under the rape umbrella, the term, which once referred to the most heinous of crimes, now refers to a spectrum of acts ranging from the heinous to the trivial.

I do believe women need to learn that being upset does not entitle them to falsely allege rape.

I also believe that the gender-feminist discourse on rape needs to be broken, and those who profit from gender-feminist control of the rape discourse need to be exposed. This article itself is a sign of changing times. Innocent men will not put up with the kind of injustice and ill-treatment we are expected to, as collateral damage in some greater ‘war against rape’.

While I do think young men should heed Gerald’s advice, and not put themselves in compromising situations (e.g. having anonymous or casual sex), that’s simply a matter of survival – the suffering of a false rape allegation is worse than the momentary pleasure of getting laid.

Really though, men who have consensual sex (i.e. more than 99%) should never have to worry about being accused of rape, so this should -not- be an issue. The fact that avoiding sex with women altogether is actually good advice in this day and age, indicates that some very sick people have too much power and a target population they want to crush by any means necessary.

Some points

April 2nd, 2010
8:36 pm

The problem is that false rape accusations by females (every objective -verifiable study shows false rapes to be bewteen 25%-60% of accusations) lead to no convictions and usually name suppression. This makes it harder for juries to believe real rape victim and angers real rape victims. There should be massive jail penalties for one falsely accusing another of rape. A guys life is completely ruined even if found innocent, and a real rape victim may have their pepertrator walk free due to doubt. It’s unfortunate that females are brainwashed by feminist propaganda (funded by the rockefellers if you do the research) into hating men whether conscioulsy or sub-consciously. Lets put it into perspective – 2% of US males have a conviction, 47% of that 2% are drug convcitons, that leaves 53% of that 2% for fraud, burglary, sexual assualt, robbery, rape, murder etc. The scaremongering is a joke. The social engineers wanted to create a gender division and everyone took it hook, line and sinker…

Nicolas

April 2nd, 2010
8:50 pm

They will get into the business of censorship soon enough when they take jobs with the local chain newspaper or TV infotainment “news” show. In journalism conformity is required.

Nick S

April 3rd, 2010
9:06 am

As for the advice that men should avoid having sex with women in order to not be falsely accused of rape, step back for a moment and think about what message you are sending. Essentially you are teaching young men that women are a bunch of lying sluts and to stay the hell away from them. That’s a fine way of healing the gender divisions!

Okay Gerald, I’ll take your advice and not give women the time of day.

Ole Guy

April 4th, 2010
12:42 pm

I used to carry em back to the hooch, passed out, drooling and slung over my shoulder…

Before any of you fine readers get the idea that the Ole Guy was a pig in college…the responsibility goes both ways. Date rape, as defined back in the day of am radio and Wolf Man Jack, was when they guy slipped the gal a mickey, in the objectives of the gal lowering her defenses. Back in the good ole days, more than a few guys lost more than their dignities when such behavior was found to have occured, particularly involving a well-liked female.

As far as the simple act of “HEin and SHEin”…once again, we’re looking at the ages-old concept of casting Catholic guilt (or any religion, for that matter) upon what is a normal…albiet often-times life-altering…sequence in growing up. If the kids have attained at least their 18th birthdays, all the books in the world, written by all the “experts” in the world, won’t alter a thing. In the end, it all boils down to the parental influences throughout the previous 17 years.

The Ole Guy’s pulled a few scum bag deeds in his youth…fortunately, as we say in aviation circles, “any landing you can walk away from is a good landing…and no one was hurt. In those pre/early adult years, it’s all a combination of dumb luck and careful design as to whether the kid emerges intact. My personal code, difficult as it may have been at times, was the “WANNA” test…both partys had to “wanna” prior to ignition.

Zeta

April 4th, 2010
3:51 pm

ah, false rape accusations his method is uncanny but his points valid, i just blogged this (not particular story, but on the concept of date rape)

riseofthezetamale.blogspot.com

Alex

April 5th, 2010
10:28 am

Hey everyone, some interesting new stuff in this interview Alex Knepper did with The New Gay: http://thenewgay.net/2010/04/a-conversation-with-alex-knepper.html