I want to respond to one of Joe Malchow's recent posts—Pride, Prejudice, and Sexual Assault—because I think it's a great example of someone just not getting the whole deal with rape and sexual assault.
Joe takes umbrage at the developments highlighted in the The Dartmouth's recent reporting: "Over the past years, the College has tried to increase victims' comfort in reporting incidences of assault, an endeavor that would result in increased rape and other sexual assault statistics at Dartmouth." We're trying to increase rape statistics?! Ye gods! I thought those were supposed to go down!
Joe's concern seems to be with the justice of a system wherein the accused is not convinced of his own guilt (that's different from normal?) and where a third-party can intervene on behalf of a disempowered party (ever heard of amicus curiae? [edit: i'm not saying it's the same thing, just similar]). But I think this really comes from a mentality that says, if you're a woman and you're anywhere close to the "line," you've already crossed it enough for it not to be a criminal act on the part of the male. If you're "begging for it" and you get more of it than you want, well, tough luck, sista. Foreplay invariably means "I'm for play."
This type of thinking is obscene. This is the same attitude that believes marital rape is impossible, that the criterion of rape is (secretly) not lack of consent but the presence of physical force.
Let's look at the alternative to taking the kind of stand against rape advocated by SAAP. I will acknowledge that the following is dependent on taking the prevalence of campus sexual assault seriously, something which is absent from Malchow's analysis and from what usually comes from the Review. I don't think they believe that sexual assault occurs frequently enough to merit worry. I do. This isn't a bunch of girls going hysterical days later because she decides she doesn't want to see you anymore. This isn't sensibility. This is sense.
Anyway, the alternative to taking a firm stand against rape and sexual assault via the measures currently in place, or something approximating them, will simply result in an amplification of the pressures placed on women not to report. If you can save yourself a Parkhursting (or worse) by convincing a girl that when she said "no," she really meant "sure, go ahead" and that kind of behavior is successful fairly often because of a lack of third-party support, then such behavior will only become more successful because it will become more common. Rape itself will not necessarily increase, but the temptation to do something that lots of other guys get away with will be strong.
And certainly, the reporting of rape will plummet, which is the real mark of progress for Joe, I guess. So who's playing with the number of reported cases now?
Cheers to GDX and the football team for taking the problem of sexual assault seriously, btw.