Free Minds & Free Markets

Is There a 'Rape Culture' on College Campuses? Watch the Debate.

Journalist Cathy Young faces off against sociologist Michael Kimmel—with opening standup from comedian Dave Smith.

"There is a rape culture on college campuses that creates an unsafe environment for female students."

That was the resolution for the Reason-Soho Forum debate at the Subculture Theater in New York's East Village.

Arguing in the affirmative was Michael Kimmel, the SUNY distinguished professor of sociology and gender studies at Stony Brook University and author of multiple books, including the best-selling Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men (2009).

Taking the negative position was Cathy Young, a contributing editor at Reason magazine, a weekly columnist at Newsday, and a regular contributor to the Jewish Daily Forward and The Weekly Standard. She's also the author of two books: Growing Up in Moscow: Memories of a Soviet Girlhood (1989), and Ceasefire: Why Women and Men Must Join Forces to Achieve True Equality (1999).

It was an Oxford-style debate, which means that the audience votes before and after the proceedings. The participant who moves the most people to his or her side is declared the winner. In this debate, the negative side argued by Cathy Young picked up 13.4 percent to win the contest.

The event opened with a standup routine from comedian Dave Smith.

The Soho Forum is a monthly debate series that's sponsored by the Reason Foundation, featuring topics of special interest to libertarians. The series aims to enhance social and professional ties within the NYC libertarian community. The next debate, held on April 16, will be "Fractional reserve banking poses a threat to market economies," featuring Robert Murphy arguing the affirmative and George Selgin for the negative. Buy your tickets here.

Oxygen Garden by Chris Zabriskie is used under a Creative Commons Attribution license:

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  • nicmart||

    "New Justice Department study reveals that about 1 in 52 college women have been victims of rape/sexual assault"

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    I wonder how many of those fall under the sexual assault category and not rape.

    But it would not surprise me that some people think they are the same thing and using that to call it a rape culture.

  • Mark22||

    To put this in context:

    - the rate is lower for students than for college-age non-students
    - the rate has been falling for years
    - this includes not just rape and sexual assaults but also attempted acts and verbal threats
    - in 80% of the cases the victim knew the perpetrator
    - this is based on a survey and self-reports, not actual forensic data

  • Brandybuck||

    Wat? Everyone keeps telling me it's one in four. One. In. Four. Which is a crazy silly statistic, but it's what they tell me.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Those are old statistics. Crusty has since graduated.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    I think you mean Hihn.

    Since he graduated the "Jamming up their ass" incidents have greatly decreased.

  • Mark22||

    With Hihn, it's all wishful thinking; he hasn't been able to jam his thingy for years.

  • Social Justice is neither||

    So that's where they get the 1 in 5. They only count 77% of the characters from 1:52

  • damikesc||

    What nobody can explain:

    Campuses are majority women. Basically ALL of them.

    How can the minority on campus (men) pull off a "rape culture" in the first place?

  • nicmart||

    Harder still would be for sex discrimination in hiring to occur when HR departments are dominated by women.

  • Mark22||

    Progressives have an explanation for that: it's "internalized sexism". That is, men have been confusing, hurting, and gaslighting these women so much that they themselves discriminate!

  • ||

    How can the minority on campus (men) pull off a "rape culture" in the first place?

    Even if men are the majority, attendance/participation isn't mandatory. Plenty of men (and women) get plenty of high-paying jobs and and careers without a college education/four-year-degree. There is no rape standard enforced across college campuses to ensure that women don't slip through the cracks unraped at a less rapey school. Is it a rape culture if the "victim" knows the facts going in and decides the benefits outweigh the risks and costs, and proceeds/behaves accordingly?

  • The Last American Hero||

    Men are larger, stronger, better and more experienced at fighting, and most colleges are gun free zones.

    Oh, and a drunken ass grab and buyer's remorse is now considered rape.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Thank you for reducing your carbon footprint by recycling, Reason.

  • Sevo||

    Wasn't this "NEW!" about two or three weeks ago?
    Does Krainin get residuals?

  • ||

    Only when they rerun EdTV on cable.

  • Jerryskids||

    I'd have given Cathy Young a hundred bucks if at some point she'd accused Kimmel of mansplaining, and explain to him that mansplaining is a form of male dominance display that's literally rape.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Basically rape, They say "basically" a lot I've noticed.

  • damikesc||

    Basically, that seems accurate

  • colorblindkid||

    Cathy's too good for that, unfortunately.

  • Mickey Rat||

    If by "rape" you mean violent assaults, then no.

    If by "rape" you mean mutually drunken hookups, then yes.

  • nicmart||

    If a "rape culture" prevails, why has the national incidence of rape declined by something like 85% since the 1970s? Are MORE women denying being raped now than before the ascendence of feminism?

    "Statistics Show Drop In U.S. Rape Cases"

    "The Startling Decline in Rape"

    "Female Victims of Sexual Violence, 1994-2010" (Dept of Justice report)

  • ||

    If a "rape culture" prevails, why has the national incidence of rape declined by something like 85% since the 1970s? Are MORE women denying being raped now than before the ascendence of feminism?

    Cynically? Yes. Even into the 80s if you needed an abortion and didn't want to be a pariah, rape was an out. Now that you can walk into an abortion clinic and socially/legally punish men for not giving you enough free birth control options equally there's no need to futz with police reports, investigations, and DNA tests.

  • Yellow Tony||

    Dave Smith is always good for a laugh.

  • ||

    "Imagine if 20% of all Jewish college students had Swastikas drawn on their dunken bodies

  • Rich||


    Nice Freudian slip!

  • ||


    "Imagine if 20% of all Jewish students on college campuses had swastikas painted on their drunken bodies during drunken parties."

    Holy Shit would that be hilarious! Could you imagine walking around campus and every fifth bleery-eyed Jewish student had little Hitler moustaches and swastika armbands drawn on in permanent marker? I'm fairly certain that, if you offered every Jewish student an unbelievably fun night of drunken debauchery with the explicit understanding that if they fell asleep, they'd wake up with a swastika armband and Hitler moustache drawn on them, you'd get more than 1 in 5 takers. I freely admit that I'm wholly biased by a different, older college zeitgeist and a Jewish former-roommate who actually did do this sort of thing to a passed out drunk.

    Can you imagine how much better the Holocaust would've turned out if the Nazis got everybody drunk, waited until they passed out, let you out of the prison camp after 4 yrs. with $20K in debt to work a $65K job, and your prison camp number came off with rubbing alcohol? Oh, man!

  • Rich||

    The event opened with a standup routine from comedian Dave Smith.

    He stood up, opened his zipper, and didn't do anything else?

  • Dan S.||

    Sororities are prohibited from serving alcohol at parties, but fraternities are permitted to do so? By law? What law? What about sexual equality?

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Come on, chicks never have to buy drinks.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    I would argue that there us a 'Rape Fantasy' culture. Trendy Lefties on campus (and elsewhere) are obsessed with rape, human trafficking, and similar sexual subjects. They project such scenarios into the most unlikely settings, often in direct opposition to demonstrable facts.

    I don't know exactly what it says about the Left that they spend so much time indulging in degrading sexual fantasies, but it isn't good.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    At least half of women ADMIT to fantasizing about being raped. A majority of those, fantasize about AVERSIVE rape. Not Fabio ravishing them because he's overcome with their lust-inspiring beauty, but real, hard-core ugly, smelly drunk homeless bum behind the dumpster rape. 50 Shades of Bad Writing wasn't the fastest, biggest selling fiction for niothing.

  • MaleMatters||

    If one in four college women were raped, four in four women would be scared out of their wits. Three out of four women would drop out of college and never come back.

    And parents would not let their daughters attend. "I'm not going to shell out thousands of hard-earned dollars, only to see you get raped."

    So no doubt women must be avoiding these cauldrons of rapaciousness at all costs.

    But lo! No! Women for the first time dominate college populations at over 60 percent. Over the years, it seems, the more the "rape culture" is "authenticated," the more women go to college. If I were a cynic, I'd ask, "Do women go to college to get raped?"

    Feminist Michael Kimmel proves that men can be just as tuned out to the male experience as the worst feminists, say, Catharine MacKinnon or Gloria Steinem -- so tuned out, he'd never read this:

    "In-depth: How We Waded Into The Sexual Harassment Quagmire -- Taking the Long, Hard Path Out: One Man's View" http://malemattersusa.wordpres.....-quagmire/

    Though you may view this commentary as rather shocking, it's probably the most thorough analysis you can find of what I think has for many decades been the sexes' most alienating and destructive behavioral difference.

    I believe this difference, supported by both sexes, results not only in most of the ordinary sexual harassment we hear of, but also in much of the sexual coercion of women.

  • Mark22||

    How We Waded Into The Sexual Harassment Quagmire

    Who is this "we"? I'm a conservative, small government gay male. What does any of this crap have to do with me?

  • gush||

    The government is still fucking with you, so even if the conservative part means you are a little quiet in your sex life.
    lol! But seriously, gay men have been fucked over because of this kind of shit.

  • DamnDirtyApe||

    Ad Hominem much, Dr. Epstein?

  • ||

    There's a hook up culture on campus, that's 100%, this "rape culture" hysteria is from the feminists trying to subvert the mutual responsibility of a hook up culture.

  • TTanin||

    I heard the 1/4 statistic back in the late 80s when I was in college. And told myself if it was that common, i would have heard about any incident through the female grapevine.

  • prediksi singapore||

    Setidaknya separuh dari wanita ADMIT berfantasi tentang diperkosa. Sebagian besar dari mereka, berfantasi tentang perkosaan AVERSIVE. Bukan Fabio yang menggairahkan mereka karena dia dikuasai oleh kecantikan mereka yang menginspirasi, tapi nyata, hard-core jelek, bau gelandangan gelandangan mabuk di belakang perkosaan sampah. 50 Shades of Bad Writing bukanlah fiksi penjualan terbesar dan tercepat untuk niothing.

  • prediksifajar||



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