Addressing Rape Without Alienating Men

My latest article for the UNH school newspaper, The New Hampshire, has been printed. I must admit there was a bit of a struggle to get them to print this article, and it was assumed that my challenging of the "1 in 4" rape statistic was simply wrong, despite the fact that I included my source in the article. I ended up having to show up in person with photocopied sections of Who Stole Feminism? to demonstrate that I had the facts straight, and then they agreed to print the article. But that, of course, was after a week's delay. The on-line editor for the paper has left, so the article isn't on TNH's web site, but you can read it by clicking "Read More" below. Enjoy!

The following article appeared in the Friday, April 27, 2001 issue of The New Hampshire, the University of New Hampshire student-run newspaper:

Addressing Rape Without Alienating Men

by Scott Garman, TNH Columnist

The second part in a two part series about men and rape.

In part one of this series, I discussed how men are often considered "guilty until proven innocent" when accused of rape or sexual harassment, and the dangers of accepting this prejudice. As promised, this second part will focus on ways we can address the problem of rape without destroying men's rights or alienating men from participating in anti-rape groups. I came up with these four guidelines, which could serve as a basis for male-friendly activism campaigns to help spread awareness about the reality of rape and how to prevent it from happening in the first place.

1. Don't only portray men as powerful oppressors; most men aren't.

The radical feminist philosophy that men are sexual predators by nature pretty much kills all chances for men to participate in rape prevention, unless they're willing to continually grovel and apologize for their maleness. Today, no man has the right to tell a woman what to do, and it certainly is not culturally acceptable to do so. The idea of "male privilege" is a highly exaggerated concept, and one that doesn't recognize the many ways in which women have power over men.

2. Don't talk down to men. We really want to help.

I personally believe that if the condescending tone toward men were eliminated in rape awareness campaigns, participation by men would not decrease. It would increase. Many men naturally feel a strong sense of honor and dignity by participating in a social cause for the sake of the women they love. No one is ever going to argue against rape education programs if the programs are both pro-male and pro-female. If men and women could participate together and on the same terms in a rape awareness campaign, a lot of synergy would result.

3. Shock tactics trivialize rape and its effects.

SHARPP is not unlike many campus groups in that it uses the most shocking statistics in an attempt to motivate people to act. Many social activism groups know the power of statistics, and much "advocacy research" has been done. The famous Koss study by Ms. Magazine which came up with the "one in four" rape statistic stretched the meaning of rape in order to obtain this high number. In fact, of the rape "victims" in the Koss study, 42% subsequently had sex with their "rapist" one or more times after the "rape" had occurred! Koss herself now admits that her questionaire did not meet the legal definition of rape in the states for which the study was designed. A thorough investigation of the fallacies in this research was done by Christina Hoff Sommers in her book Who Stole Feminism? (available from the UNH library).

Now, does it make rape any less important an issue if it isn't happening to a quarter of all women? Of course not! In fact, one might argue that inflating rape numbers to such a degree actually desensitizes men and women to it, and generates suspicions and apathy when the truth is discovered. Six rape cases were handled by the UNH police in 1999. That's six too many for me.

4. Recognize men's rights and get the facts before assuming anything.

As I explained previously, bias against men accused of sex crimes is unfair and something we should identify and discourage. If a woman tells you she was raped, she needs support, and should be given it. If a man says he has been falsely accused, he also needs support, and should be given it. The two are not mutually exclusive. The prevalence of false accusations is irrelevant if this is the case where he was falsely accused. The presumption of innocence is in our judicial system for a reason. Defend it, or regret it one day when you find yourself falsely accused of something.

To treat all men as though they are honorable, decent human beings and not as potential rapists is all that I ask. Is that really such a radical idea?

I welcome any and all feedback at [campus e-mail address]. What do you think: Does rape awareness have to be anti-male?

NOTICE: This story was migrated from the old software that used to run Unfortunately, user comments did not get included in the migration. However, you may view a copy of the original story, with comments, at the following link:

Like0 Dislike0