Campus Free Speech

Blame Media, Government for Campus Rape Overreach

'Pity, wrath, heroism, filled them, but the power of putting two and two together was annihilated'


Christina Hoff Sommers
AEI Youtube

The American Enterprise Institute's Christina Hoff Sommers has penned an essential entry in the debate over the scope of campus rape. With painstaking attention to detail, Sommers shows how the 1-in-5 statistic—now believed to be false by a growing chorus of experts—came into existence, and pushes back against the rape accusations made by Laura Dunn* a decade ago, which precipitated the federal intervention that has so irked civil libertarians.

Sommers examines the facts of the Dunn case and finds that they don't square with the narrative:

To wit: When Dunn first spoke to the dean (15 months after the alleged rape), she said that "a portion of the sexual encounter was consensual." (p.5) A few days later when she spoke to a campus police detective, Dunn said twice that she did not remember being raped by one of the men (the one still on campus). She found out about it only when the men told her what happened the next day (p.6). She also told the detective that in the months after the alleged rape that she went—twice—to one of the men's residence, where they engaged in consensual "physical contact."

On one of these occasions both of the alleged assailants were at the apartment and they all watched television together.

The anomalies continue. The NPR/CPI team fault the University of Wisconsin staff for dragging the case out for nine months—enough time for an "enraged encounter" (as related above) between the accuser and one of the accused men. According to the CPI team, when Dunn ran into the young man at a fraternity party, he stalked and threatened her. But Dunn told the police detective that she had initiated the encounter and when he walked away, she followed him into another room because she "knew he wanted to talk to her." She also admitted she had hugged him. No mention of threats. (p. 7).

The young man's version comports with the police report, but he adds that when Dunn approached him, he was alarmed, pulled away, and told her he was afraid she would fabricate more lies. When Dunn started to scream and cry, he fled.

Dunn has become an advocate for sexual assault victims, and was quoted in the infamous Rolling Stone article about a gang rape at the University of Virginia. While the discrepancies in Dunn's account don't rise to the level of UVA's Jackie, there is more than enough evidence to suggest that the central case at the heart of the Office for Civil Rights' anti-due-process crusade was much more complicated than the narrative suggested.

Sommers' bomb-throwing videos for AEI's "Factual Feminist" have made her a favorite punching bag of leftist-feminists who accuse her of rape denial. But honest critics will have a difficult time arguing with her impeccably researched Daily Beast piece. She even works in a quote from E.M. Forster's 1924 novel A Passage to India, which concerns a false allegation of rape and its effect on an Indian community run by British colonials: "Pity, wrath, heroism, filled them, but the power of putting two and two together was annihilated."

Edit: I previously identified Dunn as a Harvard University student. This is incorrect: She was at the University of Wisconsin when she made the allegations. I apologize for the error.

NEXT: House Leadership Should Thank GOP Women for Thwarting Anti-Abortion Bill

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Hold on there, hoss. I think it’s an open question whether the rape in A Passage to India was a false allegation. Most likely it was, but I seem to recall some ambiguity about that.

    1. well, it was false because it was fiction… unless we’re confused about that book now.

      1. I rather suspect that wasn’t where he was going, you who I will also deem, hoss.

        1. I’d rather be Adam- because he got to leave that prison of a ranch.

            1. yes, and he was friends with hawkeye.. wait… man tv is confusing.

              1. Why didn’t they ever do a crossover episode with Hawkeye (old Hawkeye, that is)?

                1. don’t know. I was6 when that show went off the air. As it is not in perpetual reruns like mash or bonanza, I’m left to assume it sucked, and that’s why.

                  1. Maybe it did. I don’t know. It did have TV Logan, as well as Adam Cartwright.

                  2. Coincidentally, last night on TV we watched “Million Dollar Arm,” in which one of the guys from India says, “Spencer is a funny name.”

                    I’d sue Disney if I were you, Spencer.

                    1. yes, the thought crossed my mind when watching it too…

                      I would rather get money from Spencer’s gifts though…

                    2. I’d sick Hawk on Disney if I were Spencer.

                    3. i think when i took the family there over new years I probably signed something that said I couldn’t sue them over making fun of my name.

    2. And what is Atonement, chopped liver?

      1. That was a great movie until it started in with the whole ‘genetically altered’ human aspect. Just let her kill everyone and be awesome without superpowers already. It was unnecessary.

        1. Lol, what?

  2. “That darn media!” said the media, shaking its fist dramatically.

  3. Just as only Nixon could go to China, only women can write about rape hysteria. Good for Ms. Sommers.

    1. maybe the best non sequitur ever?

    2. That’s a terrible analogy. If you wanted to do it right it would be something like “Just as only Nixon could go to China, only Ted Bundy can write about rape hysteria.”

      1. No, no, no. Nixon hated commies, so he had credibility engaging them. Women hate reason and critical thinking, so one writing an article using those things is remarkable. See?

        Wait. You’re not a woman, are you?

        1. That sounds like a GREAT pickup line.





  5. Some people say a lie is just a lie, but I say the cross is in the ballpark.

    1. +1 Son we called “Sonny”

  6. “Sommers’ bomb-throwing videos for AEI’s “Factual Feminist” have made her a favorite punching bag of leftist-feminists who accuse her of rape denial.”

    Do they really call it “rape denial”? That would be nice to know.

    That term makes it sound like “holocaust denial”, and equating standard legal procedures in rape cases on campus with the holocaust is wrong and, I dare say, offensive to Jews. I mean, if some black civil rights activists are taken aback by gay marriage proponents equating being denied the right to marry with living under Jim Crow and the Klan, then why wouldn’t some Jews, at very least, be offended by equating Constitutional procedures in campus date rape cases with the holocaust?

    Is anybody who contests the guilt of any accused rapist a “rape denialist”, or is that term just reserved for people who question the 1 in 5 statistic?

    1. If you think there’s a man with a penis who hasn’t raped a woman you are a rape denialist.

      1. Does that only apply to men with penis’ and not men with cocks?

        On their wedding night a Lena asked Ole what a penis was.

        Ole was so proud he had married a virgin. He pulled out his junk and showed it to her and said, “Lena this is a penis.”

        “Oh, it is like a cock only smaller,” said Lena

    2. “Is anybody who contests the guilt of any accused rapist a “rape denialist”, or is that term just reserved for people who question the 1 in 5 statistic?”

      “reserved”? LOL

      You get to be a ‘rape denialist/apologist/excuse-making protector’ if you simply talk out of turn. You can be 100% on board with the feminist crusade to label everything Sexual Violence! but you’ll get called it anyway because the entire scheme is to endlessly up the ante, threatening everyone with cries of “HERETIC!! APOSTATE!!” until there is no need for the Thought-Police= you do it to yourself.

      1. Case-Study =

        “So here’s this crazy teenager who stabbed some people… =

        What His Insanity Tell Us About All Men?

        “At the root of all this is male sexual entitlement and the desire to control female sexuality. That has been going on since the dawn of time and it continues today in all sorts of sickly ingenious ways ? from blaming women for their own sexual assaults to restricting access to birth control and abortion. It’s no surprise that as women have gained greater sexual autonomy, a certain kind of man has gotten much, much angrier. By “a certain kind of man,” I mean any man who has been poisoned by our culture’s toxic masculinity, and who doesn’t get that to which he feels so entitled (read: any woman he wants).”

        Or, you know = maybe the kid was crazy. Either/or. Pool, pond. Pond would be good for you.

        1. Vile collectivism…from a Salon writer?!? It’s un-possible!

          1. Yeah, Salon is basically a tabloid for progressives now.

            1. I think there needs to be a term more derogatory than “Tabloid” to encompass their full Derpitude

        2. from blaming women for their own sexual assaults to restricting access to birth control and abortion.

          Blaming the victim of a violent act is exactly the same as Hobby Lobby not wanting to pay for certain types of birth control or thinking a fetus might have some rights before it shoots down the birth canal.

    3. That term makes it sound like “holocaust denial”

      Yes, Ken, yes it does. Which is the point of the thing.

      1. I see your point.

        I’m trying to see their point, too, but I’m having a hard time getting around their callous attempt to leverage their cause on the backs of six million holocaust victims.

        If their point can’t be made without devaluing the lives of 6 million holocaust victims, then it probably isn’t a point worth making.

      2. See also, Climate Change denial.

        1. I’ve got a comeback: Climate change defiance. We contrarians are defiers.

    4. Peter Hitchens spoke at a British university and literally just said that you must be sure not to remove the presumption of innocence because it is a bedrock liberty on which our system is founded.

      A crazy fat girl called him a rape apologist.

      As you can tell, their definition is a bit malleable.

      1. I weep for the future.

        1. nothing but fatties and rapists.

          1. nothing but fatties and rapists.

            That should finally end teh rape culture

      2. I urge everyone to watch this video. What a bunch of bitches, bullies drunk on sanctimony with closed minds.

      3. Well, I think the fat cow is a witch. Granted, I don’t have any evidence to prove or support that claim. But, hey, I’m not a witch apologist. Clearly she needs to be burned alive at the stake.

    5. Is anybody who contests the guilt of any accused rapist a “rape denialist”, or is that term just reserved for people who question the 1 in 5 statistic?

      More importantly, if I want to use the term ‘rapophobe’ is it justified?

    6. See also people being called denialists for blasphemy against Gaia.

  7. I read the OCR report, and some respects, the story seems similar to that of “Jackie’s.”

    Multiple men, contact after the alleged assault (in this case, “consensual physical” contact), the accuser seems to have a crush on the accused, and a lengthy amount of time between the event and the charge. Oh, and when pressed for details, the accuser refused to offer more and instead broke down.

    I am wary of confirmation bias, so I’d like to see how others interpret the OCR report, but it sounds like this girl had a crush on one or both of the guys, they weren’t interested in a relationship, and she lashed out in revenge.

    1. With how she made the investigator be changed out because the investigator reminded her of her mother I think it’s less a Jackie scenario and more of a regret sex situation.

      It sounds like she got wasted had sex with multiple guys, then regretted it. She kept beating herself up about her stupid decision right up until a feminist professor gave her a way out. The professors speech gave her a way to say the drunken hookup wasn’t the fault of her poor judgment and instead the fault of the boys.

      The investigator is what really makes me think this is what happened. Its hard to lay the blame where it doesn’t belong if you are looking at a face that reminds you of someone that would be disappointed in your actions.

      Anyways, now I think it’s just attention seeking. She gets a lot of positive attention from being a famous rape survivor, and to give up all those atta girls for what would be a shark pit of all her feminist friends turning on her is hard to do.

      1. Could be. But the story of what prompted her to come forward changed, too.

        Her sudden realization that she had been a raped no longer took place in a class with a feminist professor talking about rape as a weapon of war, but rather in an “amazing educational program on campus that talked about alcohol-facilitated sexual assault.”

        As reported in the OCR report, she first reported the incident shortly after a party at which she saw “Student B.” Later in the report, she tried to get Student B to admit that Student C, the one she had a crush on, had raped her.

        I also found the thing with the second on-campus counselor odd, too. She claims there was “transitive tension” because the counselor was Hispanic, and her mom was half Hispanic. In addition to being odd (and RACIST?!), this occurred right when the second counselor started asking her pointed questions.

        1. Ah, okay, yeah, your version sounds more plausible now.

  8. But honest critics will have a difficult time arguing with her impeccably researched Daily Beast piece.

    Robby- Dunn complained on her facebook page that CHS didn’t contact her directly. I am not sure whether this is a legitimate complaint. On the one hand, skeptics rightly questioned Erdley’s failure to contact the accused in that case, so it would seem hypocritical to not contact Dunn. On the other, unlike the UVA situation, the facts here are public and were subject to thorough investigations by the university, university PD and OCR.

    1. Hell read the comments to her articles. Tons of people are just calling her an anti-feminist or right winger and leaving it at that. No attempt to deny anything she says.

    2. Dunn complained on her facebook page that CHS didn’t contact her directly.

      A quick scan of the article doesn’t seem to show that Sommers contacted any of the “participants” directly, but wrote the article right off of public reports, documents, etc.

      Which is legit, IMO. What isn’t legit is talking to one side only (like Erdely did).

      1. She contacted the reporters involved and most of them played dumb.

          1. Some of these retards are quite clever.

      2. Which is legit, IMO. What isn’t legit is talking to one side only (like Erdely did).

        I am inclined to agree. And it seems like the guy who wrote the NPR story in 2010 did exactly what Erdley did- just talked to one side, didn’t examine the public record (or intentionally omitted) details that were available.

  9. The more details that come out of these high-profile alleged rapes, the more it just underlines how both genders need to be really, really careful about who they get involved with emotionally and sexually. But I suppose that’s always been true.

    Don’t have sex with crazy. You will almost assuredly regret it. And that means you too, Paul.

    1. It’s all going to be solved soon, anyway, when they mandate that cameras be embedded into our foreheads.

      1. Then they’ll just make affirmative consent laws on the books for all of us, and the video evidence will be used as evidence of ‘subtle rape.’ Didn’t get explicit consent before each thrust? That tape may not help much in the feminist utopia.

      2. No way, the sex robots will eliminate this problem, until the man comes along and wrecks that fun too!!!!

    2. It’s good advice for both sexes, but only one of those sexes gets punished. And that’s by design.

      1. That may be the case, and if so, it’s pretty shitty and unfair, but the forward-looking person can avoid even having to worry about that if they’re just careful about who they sleep with.

        First rule of thumb is avoid trouble so that you don’t have to worry about unfair punishments and the like in the first place.

        1. Epi, the problem is you can’t see everything coming. My little brother and his friends just nearly got nailed by a vindictive teen who was pissed at them and knew everyone would believe her.

          My brother and his friends group Skype while gaming. They have generally foul language but they enforce and age rule so it doesn’t fall afoul of the protective parent problem. One girl got on there and wanted to bring her cousin who way to young for them to allow on. They said no. The girl then ran to her mother and claimed that the boys in the chat where making lewd comments to her. Things like they wanted to fuck her and such.

          Big hubabaloo ensued as the mother got the owner of the chat banned from certain group events. Worst part is that they recorded the chat. They showed it to the mother and proved that her daughter was lying, but even after completely discrediting the girl, the bans are still in place because the event showed that there was too much liability in letting the older boys go to the group events.

          Don’t stick it in crazy is great advice, but crazy isn’t against just making shit up and in the current environment people believe crazy unquestioningly. Also, the consequences don’t magically disappear once you prove innocence.

          1. Of course you can’t see everything coming, but you learn from what you don’t see and try and see things coming better. They’ll learn behavioral warning signs from the girl who tattled and in the future won’t include people who act like her.

            I mean, it’s all you can do. Even if things were more rational, fucked shit is still going to happen. The best thing you can do is protect yourself by being smart, because you can’t rely on the system.

          2. “even after completely discrediting the girl, the bans are still in place”

            Yes, but that would never happen in real life

            Your example provides a nice microcosm-view of how ‘crying victim’ works for people = even if the underlying crime turns out to be ‘fake’, it still serves the purpose of forcing people to take the faux-moralistic posture which asserts ‘this behavior is *still* unacceptable!‘ and result in the Nanny culture circumscribing politically-incorrect behavior even though it fails to rise to the level of ‘crime’

            Either way, there is no penalty for ‘flopping’ and pretending to be abused in order to force officials-attention on the people you disagree with.

            1. FYI, the two frats who initially refused to sign the new agreement caved and signed.

              1. Liability outweighs right and wrong or true and false. Until men have groups threatening to sue universities or companies into bankruptcy for wronging them like women’s groups do, or have a president who will cut off funding for violating a man’s rights, then those rights are not worth enforcing, because they have little monetary value to the ones who are supposed to enforce them.

      2. Women are already being punished by the patriarchy, so why are evil avatars of toxic masculinity like yourself arguing that they should also be punished by the justice system?

      3. “but only one of those sexes gets punished.”
        I don’t know, sometimes crazy is it’s own punishment

    3. Don’t have sex with crazy. You will almost assuredly regret it. And that means you too, Paul.

      The Hot/Crazy Matrix should already be a part of public (sex) education.

      1. The hot/crazy matrix only exists for some guys *cough* Paul *cough*. I learned early on that crazy of any kind just led to drama and nuttiness. I do not find it attractive at all.

        1. The problem is that at some level Don’t stick it in crazy means Don’t have sex with any women because seemingly rational level headed women can very quickly become “crazy” over the slightest provocations whether real or imagined.

    4. Both genders? At last count, there seem to be at least a baker’s dozen.

  10. Since the media and government (with added emphasis on the word government) can be blamed for about 90% of everything bad, I just blame them by default every time something happens.

  11. “a portion of the sexual encounter was consensual.”


    1. Does that mean she said yes a few times, but didn’t say it repeatedly in perpetuity for the duration of the act?

  12. there is more than enough evidence to suggest that the central case at the heart of the Office for Civil Rights’ anti-due-process crusade was much more complicated than the narrative suggested.

    Just as with “Jackie”, there’s more than enough evidence to suggest that this “rape” was also a hoax.

    Its not “more complicated”. She’s a goddam liar, so call her one, call this a hoax, and for God’s sake quite treating these fanatics like reasonable people who have a point to make.

  13. I apologize for the error.

    Too late.


  14. she followed him into another room because she “knew he wanted to talk to her.”

    You know you want it, bitch!

    1. I found that a bit, uh, humorous, as well.

    2. she knew he wanted to talk to her, but he just didn’t know it YET.

  15. Sommers may be all right or all wrong, but how does working a quote from A Passage to India, or any other work of fiction, add to the accuracy of a factual piece? If the charge of rape in Passage had been accurate, would that prove that Dunn was telling the truth? Just sayin’

    1. Vanneman, first you, again, have misspelled your name.

      Secondly, the passage in beautiful language describes a process that is repeating itself here, you know as in “people who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it?”

    2. AV.are you seriously that stupid? It’s a way to illustrate the point, for god’s sake!!

  16. my roomate’s aunt makes $82 /hour on the laptop . She has been fired from work for eight months but last month her income was $21833 just working on the laptop for a few hours. view it……

  17. SukeMadiq 41 minutes ago
    There are rapes every weekend on just about every college in the USA.

    Any frat guy knows, girls come for a party drink the spiked punch and they will get raped. I even knew a guy that got raped when he passed out at a Frat.

    One frat used to rape women and toss them out thew 2nd story window so people would not see them leaving upset. They raped my friend’s sister, he was a 25 year old marine and we broke 1 of the guys arms…

    A current comment, roughly as believable as the Rolling Stone story.

    irisiri 1 hour ago
    Translation…. not talking about rape is best.

    How could anyone ever have a conversation who interprets CHS’ article thusly instead of “not lying about rape is best”? These people are crazy, yet government, academia and media treat them as if they’re the only sane people. I feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone.

    1. SukeMadiq, what a credible name. Obviously mentally insane. I live on a large, and fairly rowdy, college campus. Rape is about as real a concern as terrorist attacks: by that I mean, almost never happens, but somehow we still flip our shit over the thought that it could happen, even though everyone clearly knows it really does almost never happen.

  18. God damn it why did I even read this article.

    I need to remind myself i am getting old. The small number of women i will be sleeping with in the future is a small number and they are very unlikely to be bat shit insane early 20s SJW’s who will accuse me of rape after the fact.

    I just really need to stop caring about this shit. There is no rational reason for me to care.

  19. I recommend Christina Hoff Sommer’s article as one of the best researched and most comprehensive on the issue of campus rape and the hysteria fostered by “rape culture” propagandists.

    For the complete story of the now infamous Rolling Stone article on the alleged U-VA gang rape, its fallout, the media firestorm of criticism, the apology, and the demagoguery of those radical feminists who refuse to apologize for propagating the myth of “rape culture” and the meme of “victim culture”, see: Yellow Journalism and the Meme of “Rape Culture” – Rolling Stone and U-VA Gang Rape

  20. For the history of the shift of the Women’s Rights Movement from an egalitarian to a totalitarian one, see: When Progressive Social Change Becomes Regressive Ideology: From Women’s Liberation to Cultural Misandry

    For an in-depth expose of the evolution of universities from institutions of higher learning into witch-hunt tribunals for the “rape culture” advocates, see: New Puritanism ? New Paternalism: The “Rape Culture” Narrative Demeans Women, Demonizes Men, and Turns Universities into Witch Hunt Tribunals

  21. The deprivation of basic constitutional rights for men and their attempts to fight back are addressed in: The Pendulum Reverses ? Again: The Betrayal of Liberty on America’s Campuses & Men Strike Back against Title IX Tribunals

    Domestically and globally, men and boys are victims of sexual violence at rates equal to those of women, and are assumed to be villains whenever a woman accuses: Men are Twice-Raped

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.