'Date Rape' on Campus

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First
published in the February 1991 Rothbard-Rockwell
Report
.

A
lot of strange things are happening on college campuses these
days, and one of them is a great deal of kvetching about the alleged
epidemic of “date rape.” William Celis 3rd’s special report to
the New York Times on the subject (Jan. 1) is best summed
up by its subtitle: “Agony on Campus: What is Rape?” To a libertarian,
or indeed to any sensible person, there is no problem: if the
sex was coercive, and took place against the will of one of the
parties, then it was rape and if not, not. If it was, you call
in the gendarmes, and if it wasn’t, you don’t. So what’s the big
problem?

But
to the current generation of college students, things are very
different. One says; “it’s such a fuzzy topic,” and another adds,
“it’s easy to look at sex and second-guess.” There follows a lot
of guff about how the feminist movement has succeeded in alerting
countless coeds about this terrible problem. But why should it
take feminist theoreticians to inform a girl that she has been
raped? Why is this topic “fuzzy,” when to this reactionary it
appears clear-cut? What’s going on here?

Reading
on, we find that many men are confused about these rising protests
by college females. The guys charge that “women with whom they
have had sex did not say ‘no’ and did not physically resist, yet
later complained of date rape.” Other “angrier” men claim that
“in some cases women have encouraged their advances.” But the
feminists lash back that these are “after-the-fact excuses.” Instead,
“sexual intercourse, they argue, should proceed from clear mutual
consent.”

Now
we’re getting somewhere. For whether or not “encouragement” took
place, it strikes me as crystal-clear that if the girl did not
say no and did not physically resist, then sex did indeed take
place by “clear mutual consent.” What do the feminists want? Will
they only be satisfied if (a) the two parties sign an express
consent form before the act, and then (b) sign another one immediately
after? And have them both notarized on the spot, with forms sent
in triplicate to their respective attorneys and to the county
clerk? If so, the notary publics in college towns are in for a
thriving business, plus some Peeping Tom (or Tomasina) opportunities
on the side.

The
point is that, as in so many other aspects of human “relationships,”
the feminists are setting out to destroy romance (if that word
is not yet obsolete), which thrives on spontaneity, and on implicit,
non-verbal mutual understanding. Which is also the problem with
the current mania for condoms and other elaborate birth-control
machinations.

A
clue to the peculiar fuzziness of the current analysis of rape
can be found in the assumptions of the famed Koss study, headed
by the shrink Mary Koss, now of the University of Arizona. In
trying to find out the extent of rape on the college campuses,
Koss defined sexual assault as the use of force or “intercourse
as a result of intentionally getting the woman intoxicated.” And
we find various references to women being reluctant to report
the “rape” because one or usually both parties were “drunk” at
the time.

Well,
now, drinking indeed! Are we now to include in rape any sex taking
place after liquor is imbibed? Isn’t everyone familiar with the
old poem and the social reality it reported: “Candy is dandy,
but liquor is quicker?” Everyone is responsible for whatever he
or she imbibes, unless the guy spiked the girl’s drink without
her knowledge (not mentioned in any of these cases) and everyone
is responsible for their own actions, liquor or not. Come off
it, ladies; “date rape” my foot!

Ah,
now we see what is going on here. For generations now, girls,
while consenting implicitly to sex, have wanted to assuage their
guilt by being able to tell themselves afterward that they had
not planned the action, and that they were merely “swept off their
feet” by the charm of the guy and/or the magic of the moment.
Hence, as all implicitly consenting parties have been long aware,
the use of liquor is a marvelous catalyst of this feet-sweeping.
Now, along comes our baneful feminist theoreticians who have been
able to use their besotted theories to (a) free girls, once and
for all, from guilt for their actions, and (b) to load that guilt
onto the poor, hapless male population.

The
New York Times article details one of the cases. During
a brainwashing re-education dorm lecture on date rape at Lehigh
University recently, a male student was asked by a dorm official
if he had ever committed rape. First saying “hell, no,” the student
was later talked by the lecturer into “realizing” that he had,
and that “not saying no” was not sufficient to establish consent.
(There was no notarized agreement!) Later, the poor guy, admitting
that he was “very confused,” wrote a self-criticism article to
the student paper confessing his sins: “I was uninformed and incorrect
in my actions,” he groveled. Yeah, and I bet he now loves Big
Brother (oops sorry, Big Sister). Poor Orwell never knew the full
depths of Political Correctness when he fashioned his dystopia.

There
are several ways by which this terrible crisis on the campus can
be solved. One, we can go back to the prohibition of alcohol, which
our culture is almost ready for in any case. Two, we can go back
to the good old days of campuses before the 1950s, especially in
the South: not only the banning of coed dorms, and abolishing coeducation
altogether, but insisting on official chaperons for girls on every
date, on dance-cards filled out in advance and cleared with the
chaperon, on boys being barred from the entire girls’ campus except
the official room, etc. And finally, why not go the whole hog toward
Left Puritanism and define all sex as per se coercive? That
would clear up all the fuzziness and sex, or at least hetero-sex,
could be outlawed completely. Or is that the point, after all?

Murray
N. Rothbard
(1926–1995) was the author of Man,
Economy, and State
, Conceived
in Liberty
, What
Has Government Done to Our Money
, For
a New Liberty
, The
Case Against the Fed
, and many
other books and articles
. He
was also the editor – with Lew Rockwell – of The
Rothbard-Rockwell Report
.

Murray
Rothbard Archives

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