Features Australia

Rape culture frenzy

15 July 2017

9:00 AM

15 July 2017

9:00 AM

The knives are out and sights set on a mighty big scalp. Moves are afoot to fell St Paul’s College, the bastion of male privilege which has been launching manly specimens into glittering careers for over 160 years. Two Prime Ministers, a Governor of NSW, three High Court justices, innumerable politicians, an endless string of influential figures. All men, of course. And that is enough to set feminist activists’ teeth on edge.

In recent weeks the Sydney University Senate has been behaving very secretively having failed to release minutes of a recent meeting which was listed as ‘confidential’. The item under discussion was clear. Ever since St Paul’s resisted joining former Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick’s review of college culture at Sydney University, there have been moves afoot to take over the college.

St Paul’s opponents seized upon a Facebook comment posted by a ‘fresher’ in College which, amongst other offensive nonsense, likened having sex with fat women to harpooning a whale. St Paul’s suspended the young man, yet Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence threatened to use Parliament to close the college and NSW Education Minister Ron Stokes talked openly of repealing the 1854 Act of Parliament which allows St Paul’s to operate independently. The warden and chairman were forced to resign.

Sydney papers were suddenly full of stories of St Paul’s ‘forty years of sexism and abuse’, referring to incidents dating back to a 1977 rape and murder where the victim was found on the college oval – there’s been absolutely no evidence suggesting the crime was linked to college students.

Genuine examples of students posting foolish, sexist material on Facebook were interspersed with all sorts of allegations including gang rapes by college students. No charges have ever been laid in relation to these allegations.

It’s all very familiar territory, particularly for those who have seen the rape campus propaganda movie called The Hunting Ground which is replete with horrendous tales of sexual mayhem on US college campuses. But the film has been thoroughly discredited. The central thesis regarding the plague of serial rapists on campus stems from flawed research by psychologist David Lisak. The alleged serial rapists in Lisak’s research turned out not to be college students, nor were the rapes committed on campuses.


Investigative producer for the project, Amy Herdy, has admitted publicly that makers of the movie ‘do not operate in the same way as journalists — this is a film project that is very much in the corner of advocacy for victims, so there would be no insensitive questions or need to get the perpetrator’s side’.

 

Two of the young men presented as ‘rapists’ in the movie have since been exonerated in US criminal courts and the movie has been denounced by 19 Harvard Law professors as ‘biased propaganda’.

The statistics used in the film resulted from highly unusual research methods used in a Center for Disease Control and Prevention survey. As one example, respondents were told, ‘Please remember that even if someone uses alcohol or drugs what happens to them is not their fault’. Then they were asked the question, ‘When you were drunk, high, drugged or passed out and unable to consent, how many people ever had vaginal sex with you?’ The CDC counted all such incidents as rape — hence the inflated statistics.

What a surprise then to discover that Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence happens to have been involved in a campaign to promote The Hunting Ground on Australian university campuses – along with, surprise, surprise, Elizabeth Broderick. The Hunting Ground Australia website boasts the pair took part in the ‘Good Pitch’ event planning to use the movie as a catalyst for a campaign around sexual violence in Australian universities.

The plot thickens. The Hunting Ground Project donated $150,000 to the Human Rights Commission to support a survey being conducted by the Commission aimed at providing ‘data’ exposing the rape culture in our universities. It’s a forgone conclusion that this self-selected survey will give the Commission just the results the activists are seeking. Only students with an axe to grind will bother responding and the unwanted sexual behaviour used as evidence of this ‘rape’ culture will include unwanted leers, jokes, sexy comments, etc. The numbers are bound to stack up to impressive totals and the push will be on for our universities to introduce the American ‘yes means yes’ regulations and the tribunal system which has seen so many young men falsely accused of sex crimes.

Just as this highly orchestrated campaign is gearing up in this country, America is facing up to its dangerous results. Donald Trump has started overhauling this ‘sex bureaucracy’, taking the first steps to reverse Obama’s campus sexual assault policies. A recently published book, The Campus Rape Frenzy: The Attack on Due Process at America’s Universities, shows how this perverse system of tribunals is denying basic legal rights to (mostly) male students accused of sexual assault.

The author, Stuart Taylor, points out that these policies were based on the false assumption that sexual assault is widespread on university campuses and that accusers fail to have their allegations properly investigated. His research reveals dozens of cases where the failing American system is now actively discriminating against the accused, ruining the lives of many young men, particularly African Americans.

So, OK all you powerful men. Surely it is time that the esteemed members of St Paul’s alumni came together and used your famed old boys network to stand up to this move to close the college down. You need to understand that the move against St Paul’s is simply part of a sinister campaign to bully universities into strengthening the growing anti-male culture developing on Australian campuses. Witness recent moves against male students singing bawdy songs – but that’s just the beginning.

With universities becoming an increasingly unwelcoming climate for young men, is it any wonder that sixty per cent of graduates are now female?

Your sons deserve better.

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