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
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?