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It’s no surprise that someone who labels herself a “dissident feminist” would sometimes draw the ire of those who do our best to live inside a feminist framework.
Writer and social critic Camille Paglia has long claimed that feminists are man-hating, head-in-the-cloud idealists, but her rhetoric has intensified, specifically on the topic of rape culture, in the last year.
Wildly overblown claims about an epidemic of sexual assaults on American campuses are obscuring the true danger to young women, too often distracted by cellphones or i Pods in public places: the ancient sex crime of abduction and murder.
Paglia then implies that women could somehow prevent being sexually assaulted by just not doing things that will purportedly get them raped, like looking at their i Pods or cell phones instead of vigilantly policing the perimeter as they walk to biology. Here, Paglia joins a chorus of men’s rights activists and Fox News hosts that would suggest women are at fault for their rapes.
We all know how woefully underreported rape is, especially when it involves friends or family members, so these numbers are undoubtedly skewed.
Rapists don’t all lurk in the shadows, they aren’t all “sexual stalkers.” Sometimes they sit beside you in class, play on the football team, and sometimes, they’re your really close friends.
Last year, a University of North Carolina student was threatened with expulsion after reporting her assault.
Paglia also points to the “fragility of civilization,” and positions rape as an issue of human nature.
Beyond that, harmful statements like these make it even more difficult for victims who are already blaming themselves, or who are attacked by people other than these mythical “sexual stalkers,” to find closure and achieve justice.
These types of claims have real world implications, especially in a culture that already refuses to address the fact that a third of women will experience sexual assault in their lives.