Phi Beta Cons

The Right take on higher education.

Rape Prevention Is Not a Liberal Issue


SUNY Geneseo professor Theodore Everett stirred up a high-octane campus protest and a 1,600 signature-strong online petition condemning him for a lecture he delivered last night entitled “Against Sexual Assault Awareness.”

“Sexual assault is receiving too much attention relative to other serious college problems, like alcohol abuse, which has claimed a human life here at Geneseo every other year,” Everett said.

Everett says while sexual assault is a serious problem, it has been exaggerated to a point where women see themselves as vulnerable, and have become afraid of “ordinary. decent men.”

The professor may be contradicting himself in a roundabout way. What he may or may not realize is that alcohol abuse is a major contributing factor to on-campus sexual assault. The formula is obvious: You get two people together, one or both with lowered inhibitions, impaired judgment, reduced awareness and motor faculty (i.e. near passing-out drunk) — it’s a recipe for rape, plain and simple. Doesn’t excuse the perpetrator one bit, but let’s not ignore the role alcohol abuse plays in so many of these cases.

Sexual assault is an epidemic on our college campuses — just as it is in our culture at large. I wince when I hear conservatives dismissing the issue as so much feminist noise. I admit, statistics about campus sexual assault are sometimes exaggerated for political purposes, and there is a dangerous presumption of guilt on many campuses today — but rape is a real problem. Let’s not act as if it isn’t. And let’s not reduce the discussion to a debate over statistics.

A recent government survey found that nearly 1 in 5 American women reported having been victims of rape or attempted rape. Whatever the exact number is, it’s far too high.

It bothers me to think that rape is so common. Actually, it enrages me.

Reducing sex crime should never be considered a “liberal” issue. On the contrary, secular liberals have done more than anyone else to undermine the sexual morals of our culture, to break down the natural protections for women that stable, two-parent families provide, and to discredit the religious values that are designed to restrain the base, selfish, and destructive instincts and urges of man.

Our colleges and universities, with their disciplinary committees and student “consent” workshops, have no solution for the problem of sexual assault. That’s because most of them ignore the moral sickness that lies beneath the epidemic. More often that not, they are busy actively corrupting the young people in their charge. They teach moral relativism. They encourage young people to cast off all moral restraint, with only one exception–consent. Then they are surprised when that last exception gets quickly cast aside as well.

Bottom line, sexual assault is not a made-up problem. It’s real. Furthermore, it should not be dismissed as a mere political issue. It’s an issue of tremendous moral importance in our day and time. Anyone with a college-aged sister or daughter can appreciate that.


Subscribe to National Review