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Anorak | Free Speech: The Hoya wants to censor debate on ‘rape culture’

Free Speech: The Hoya wants to censor debate on ‘rape culture’

by | 29th, April 2015

Free Speech is under threat at Georgetown University. The college’s student magazine, The Hoya , wants to no-platform a woman they don’t approve of.

The Georgetown University College Republicans hosted Christina Hoff Sommers, an author and philosophy professor known for her criticism of contemporary feminism and her disavowal of a so-called “rape myth,” last week.

By giving Sommers a platform, GUCR has knowingly endorsed a harmful conversation on the serious topic of sexual assault.

Giving voice to someone who argues that statistics on sexual assault exaggerate the problem and condemns reputable studies for engaging in “statistical hijinks” serves only to trigger obstructive dialogue and impede the progress of the university’s commitment to providing increased resources to survivors.

Arguing the statistics will not be tolerated! Surely, the students are sure-footed enough to be able to counter any naysayers? Demanding Sommers be made to shut up is lamentably weak.

The Hoya’s editorial board continues:

It is necessary and valuable to promote the free expression of a plurality of views, but

They had us right up until ‘but’.

Still, let’s stick with it.

…this back-and-forth about whether or not certain statistics are valid is not the conversation that students should be having.

Blimey. What happened to student rebels and free thinkers? What a bunch of fuddy-duddies.

Students should engage in a dialogue that focuses on establishing a safe space for survivors while at the same time tackling the root causes of sexual assault.

They should discuss whatever they want to discuss. The only good thing about a safe space is that pretty much everyone who choses to be in one is everyone you should avoid.

Inevitably, the discussion initiated by Sommers distracts from a focus on solutions. At its worst, such discourse encourages rape denialism.

This ploy to divert attention and resources from solutions and survivors has no place anywhere — especially not at Georgetown, where students are fortunate enough to participate in a community that emphasizes care for the whole person.

Can they think for themselves so long as they don’t say the unsayable aloud? And does the whole person include the men, who are portrayed as so thick that one word from Sommers and they will think it’s ok to go and commit a criminal act?

‘You see, judge, when living at home, John Boy was in-tune with the local no-rape culture, respectful of his parents no-rape policy. But once in college he wanted to blend in, so he took up raping with gusto. He just wanted to be one of the guys.’

Denying the lived experiences of survivors stands in sharp contradiction to this value.

Conversations that focus on whether or not the problem is “overstated,” rather than on how the problem can be solved, are an insult to Georgetown’s survivors and a recipe for inaction.

Rape culture is a system that thrives on silence. Students cannot allow Georgetown’s sexual assault discourse to be subdued by those who would downplay the problem at hand.

Instead, implement consent education, promote bystander intervention, criticize casual sexism, encourage reporting and agitate for prosecution —protect students and change the campus climate for the better.

Having read  The Hoya’s call for censorship, it’s an idea to hear from corruptor of young minds Christina Hoff Sommers. John Stossel writes :

“This idea of a rape culture was built on false statistics and twisted theories about toxic masculinity,” she says.

No one denies that some men, especially when drunk, get violent and abusive. I saw nasty behavior when I was in college, and I assume there are places worse than Princeton.

Sommers says, “I always make clear, rape is a very serious problem, (but) if you look at the best data … it is not an epidemic. And we do not have a rape culture…. Rape culture means everything in society is reinforcing (rape) and making it seem a legitimate thing to do. Of course that’s not true.”

But in  The Hoya is it a fact.

Wendy McElroy

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Posted: 29th, April 2015 | In: News Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink