Flyers around campus demand that women "speak out" and say "No more rape, No more sexual assault, No more violence against women". They promoted the annual feminist "Take Back the Night" event.
One question immediately stood out. To whom are women supposed to "speak out"? To whom are women supposed to say "No more rape"?
Is there a big pro-rape constituency on campus?
If long prison sentences don't deter rapists, it seems unlikely that a few flyers will do the trick.
Perhaps the goal of the event is "raising awareness". Isn't everyone aware of these issues?
Is there anything wrong with "raising awareness"? There is if it leads to hysteria.
Take Back the Night was promoted with highly dubious statistics, including one that claimed that one in four women will be raped in college.
There is a danger that such events may promote the idea that every claim of rape is true. In this case, the accused would not be able to obtain a fair trial.
A few days ago, the charges were dismissed in the Duke non-rape case. More than a year ago, a stripper accused members of the Duke university lacrosse team of raping her. District Attorney Michael Nifong, many members of the Duke University faculty, and assorted liberal do-gooders whipped the public into a frenzy. The accused were tried and convicted in the media.
But they were completely innocent. There was no DNA evidence where there should have been, the accuser repeatedly changed her story, and the accused had solid alibis. The DA covered up and withheld evidence and used improper procedure, such as letting the accuser pick from photos of the whole team rather than photos of the accused and other non-suspects.
It took several obscure but dedicated bloggers to uncover the facts and finally shatter the presumption of guilt. Only much later did the major media pick up the story.
An insightful column in the Herald examines the consequences of false rape allegations.
There's no clear policy proposal evident in the event's advertising. Rape is already illegal and severely punished. The fact that Take Back the Night is held every year indicates that it is a continuing problem.
Obviously, rape is a real and serious issue. In fact, there is a policy change that would make a significant impact in reducing rape on campus. What's more, it wouldn't cost any money or take away anyone's freedom. It would be easy to implement. And yet the feminists who promote events like Take Back the Night won't support it.