There’s no doubt that campus rape is a problem. There has been a lot of reputable, peer-reviewed research into the prevalence of sexual violence inflicted upon and among students. Instead of treating the dignity of human beings as a non-political issue, conservatives have somehow turned rape and abuse—of youth, no less—into a partisan issue.
After the New York Times reported about likely changes around enforcement of how schools handle sexual violence, anti-violence advocates were unsurprisingly outraged at the obvious ploy to make it safer for schools to turn their backs on the safety of students rather than make it safer to get an education.
The right-wing was perfectly okay that one in four college women is sexually assaulted. They didn’t mind that 5.4 percent of college men are raped. Yet when survivors like myself started speaking up about the systemic institutional betrayal of young people, the backlash was strong and swift.
There’s a higher chance of a male college student being raped than of being accused of raping someone. However, if you listen to the people parroting Koch-funded talking points against Title IX from Fox News to Reason to the Atlantic, you’d think there is an epidemic of innocent young college men being yanked from college campuses merely on the murmurings of a bitter young woman.
The reality is much different. In fact, incidents of sexual assault by college students are still vastly underreported—and getting punished by your school for being a rapist is still pretty damn hard. However, that hasn’t stopped the lies to manufacture hysteria about overpunishment or overcorrection of innocent college men.
The Department of Education, led by Secretary Betsy DeVos, uses misconceptions about rape culture and fabrications about lying women to their benefit to push their extreme agenda.
Contrary to what the current Department of Education and Megyn Kelly tell you, DeVos’ rules to make it harder to punish baby rapists perfecting their technique for dehumanizing their peers are totally unnecessary.
Take this data from Stony Brook University, recently released by the New York State Education Department. Only 24 cases of sexual misconduct were reported last semester—at a school that has 16,583 undergraduate students. If all of them were enrolled last semester, that means only two of them were punished for sexual violence. That means .0121 percent of Stony Brook's undergraduates were punished for sexual misconduct.
In fact, a look at the statewide data at public institutions of higher education in New York made possible by the “Enough is Enough” initiative shows that this very low rate isn’t an outlier. In fact, it’s the norm.
The vast majority of college students will never have to face accusations of being a rapist. The real panic should come from the evidence showing that academic institutions are okay with letting students be traumatized under their watch, while letting rapists graduate with degrees emblazoned with their name.
Photo by Henrique Ferreira on Unsplash. Originally posted on Daily Kos.