September 8, 2014

LAW PROFESSOR JOHN BANZHAF EMAILS THIS INTERESTING PRESS RELEASE:

How Govt Helps Get Students Drunk and Raped
Letting Feminist PC Waste Millions and Ruin Lives

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Sept. 8, 2014): Taxpayers would be outraged to learn that the federal government spends tens of millions of their tax dollars telling people how to avoid automobile accidents, but never once warns against driving while drunk – so as not to embarrass drivers who injure themselves in accidents after they drank to excess.

Well, the government doesn’t actually do something quite that stupid, but it does do something almost as foolish: spending tens of millions of taxpayer dollars on programs telling students how to reduce campus date rapes, but never even mentioning alcohol, even though excessive drinking is a leading factor in such rapes. More specifically, the guide for obtaining government funds to reduce sexual violence on campus says that campus anti-rape projects which focus primarily on alcohol abuse are considered “out of scope,” notes public interest law professor John Banzhaf, an expert in the field.

And the Office of Violence Against Women [OVW] even goes so far as to censor those who want to speak out about the connection. As one victim of this censorship reported, “This starts to censor how we can talk about the issue,” . . . “I don’t think you are doing young women any favors by saying, We’re not going to tell you that this happens – and be careful about it.” The reason given for the censorship, she says, were “focusing on how much students drink . . . leads to blaming victims.”

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the reason why colleges are so reluctant to warn women about drinking to excess, and about how it greatly magnifies their chances of being raped – what it called a “taboo” subject – is that women who become drunk and are raped may blame themselves.

“While statistics show that alcohol and sex can be a dangerous combination – at least half of students involved in alleged sexual assaults were drinking – campus officials are reluctant to put the two in the same sentence. ‘The discussion of alcohol and sexual violence is the third rail of discourse,'” the Chronicle reports.

But the link between drinking and campus rape is even worse. A recent study by an insurance organization shows, in 92 percent of the claims with losses, the accuser was under the influence of alcohol, and “more than 60 percent of accusers were so intoxicated that they had no clear memory of the assault.”

It’s obvious that being drunk affects a woman’s judgment about whether to have sex, as well as about getting into situations in which being raped is far more probable, says Banzhaf. Furthermore, not being able to testify about what happened can make it difficult if not impossible to prosecute such cases.

And, notes Banzhaf, the idea that most women were plied with alcohol without their knowledge is apparently a myth. An article in the Journal of American College Health reports that “most sexual assaults happen after women voluntarily consume alcohol; relatively few occur after they have been given alcohol or drugs without their knowledge . . . Yet sexual-assault-prevention programs, it says, “seldom emphasize the important link between women’s use of substances … and becoming a victim of sexual assault.”

“This is a striking example of how women’s lives are being ruined, and millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money are being wasted, all because of feminist political correctness run amok. You can’t rationally decide how to best spend grant money based upon abstract discussions concerned solely with slogans and sound bites about ‘responsibility’ and ‘blame’,” he suggests.

If a college is given a $50,000 educational grant, it will be far more likely that it will actually reduce the number of women being raped on campus if it aimed at persuading women not to drink to excess than if it’s aimed at telling men it’s not nice to rape, just as warning students to lock up their bicycles is much more effective than educational programs telling prospective bike thieves not to steal.

Some activists objected to this simple and logical analogy, saying “a woman is not a bicycle.”

If by that they mean that women shouldn’t be told to never go out drinking – the equivalent of being forced to keep a bicycle locked up at home – they obviously have a point.

But making practical suggestions that women take reasonable precautions (e.g., not to drink to excess, not to walk in strange dangerous neighborhoods at night, etc.) – the equivalent of not leaving a bicycle in a public area without any lock – is simply a suggestion that people should take reasonable and sensible precautions, nothing more.

Undoubtedly, a parent who leaves a child locked in a car during a hot summer day, only to find her dead upon his return from heat stroke, is not just embarrassed and “blamed” but also heartbroken, but that certainly doesn’t mean we should stop warning about the dangers of leaving a child alone in a car.

Similarly, parents of very small children who let them play outside with little or no supervision are devastated if they are snatched by a stranger, and clearly it is the abductor – not the parent – who is at fault, culpable, and to blame.

Yet most logical people see this as all the more reason to have educational programs about the need to provide appropriate supervision for very young children, not to regard any such warnings as “taboo” and a “third rail” in favor of campaigns aimed at re-educating potential child abductors.

By the way, many feminists agree. “The real feminist message should be that when you lose the ability to be responsible for yourself, you drastically increase the chances that you will attract the kinds of people who, shall we say, don’t have your best interest at heart. That’s not blaming the victim; that’s trying to prevent more victims.,” wrote Emily Yoffe.

Similarly, Anne Coughlin, a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, worries that by hiding from them the importance of drinking only in moderation, we are “infantilizing women.”

Rather than simply declaring anti-rape educational programs aimed at women and drinking to excess as “out of scope,” at the very least OVW should conduct a simple test. It should be possible to compare anti-rape educational programs aimed at drinking to excess with those stressing other themes: e.g., that men should not rape women, that bystanders should try to intervene, etc. If rapes at colleges are really as prevalent as many activists claim, the numbers should be high enough to produce statistically significant results in a short period of time and show which program is the most effective.

“With this kind of clear, unambiguous evidence, decisions regarding spending taxpayers’ money can be made on a rational basis, not on the basis of PC slogans about ‘blame,’ and shear conjecture.”

Obviously, the one thing everyone can and should agree on is that we want to do whatever is most effective in reducing rapes among college women. If the government doesn’t use the most effective means available, it is not only wasting millions of dollars of taxpayer money – it is also the cause of traumatic rapes which could have been prevented with a little thought, says Banzhaf.

It’s almost as if these “anti-rape” programs are really about bureaucratic empire building and the demonization of men, rather than preventing rape.

Related: Should Universities Profit From Vodka Jell-O Shots Consumed by Their Students?

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