Sex, Genes, Love and Rape

Rape protest at UVa

Rape protest at UVa

by James A. Bacon

Emotions are running high in the discussion of the “epidemic of rape” at the University of Virginia. I get the sense that we’re wandering in a fog.  Not only are there wildly conflicting numbers regarding the incidence  of rape (a worthy topic for another blog post), making it difficult to gauge how extensive the problem is, people are talking past one another. There is considerable conceptual confusion about what is happening on college campuses and why.

As I see it, there are three broad frameworks for approaching the issue of sexual relations and sexual assaults at UVa. The first reflects the perspective of traditional morality, which recognizes the flawed nature of mankind and applies traditional norms for regulating sexual behavior. The second, the Darwinian outlook, seeks to understand the relationship between the sexes from the perspective of evolutionary biology. In this view, the male and female sexes have evolved different reproductive and mating strategies to maximize their genetic fitness, and often want different different things from sexual encounters. The third, the deconstructionist view, strips God and biology out of the equation and asserts that gender and sexual norms are purely social constructs.

In the United States, I would argue, we have transitioned from a set of institutional arrangements based upon traditional morality (pre-marital sex on campus is to be stifled) to institutional arrangements based upon the deconstructionist philosophy (anything goes… except for violence against women) without paying much heed to the biological basis of human behavior.

Traditional morality recognizes the power of the sexual impulse, generally framing it as a temptation to be resisted outside of marriage. The emphasis on chastity, especially female chastity, made sense in the era preceding the sexual revolution when sex was inextricably joined with procreation. Chaste women did not get pregnant, they did not bear children out of wedlock and they were not saddled with the financial and psychological obligation of raising a child (or children) alone. Traditional sexual morality was entwined with the traditional view of the family: that children are best raised in the same household as their biological parents. Traditional morality extended to the campus as well. Men did not always act behave like chivalrous “gentlemen” towards ladies, but society expected them to and condemned them when they didn’t. While rapes did occur on campus, they were relatively rare and they were regarded as scandalous. As a consequence, there was no “epidemic of rape.”

The sexual revolution of the 1960s brought an end to traditional morality on campus. Once upon a time, men and women lived in segregated dorms, colleges restricted men’s access to women’s dormitory rooms, fraternities had house mothers and parties were chaperoned. All of those restrictions and inhibitions have been cast away. Much to the delight of students, colleges got out of the business of enforcing traditional sexual morality. The attitude of college administrators became one of moral laissez-faire: What the students did was their own business.

Reinforcing the relaxation of traditional standards were pervasive changes in society at large. Divorce became common. Out-of-wedlock births were de-stigmatized. Acceptance of gay sexuality spread. Perhaps most important, many proponents of traditional morality updated their values for the age of birth control. When men and women frequently delay marriage until their 30s, it is unrealistic to expect them to remain chaste for 15 years or more. Most Baby Boomer parents of college-bound children are comfortable with channeling sexual relations channeled into loving monogamous relationships outside marriage. These neo-traditional relationships need not be life-long but they are underpinned by a strong conviction that committed partners do not cheat on one another. Promiscuity is frowned upon. Among families of college-bound men and women today, the ideal of serial monogamy is arguably the dominant ethos. Thus, serial monogamy is the default moral setting for most college-bound kids when they arrive on campus.

But college culture is very different from the culture of broader society. For one, colleges are jam-packed with 18- to 22-year-olds at the peak of physical attractiveness and desire. They have more freedom and less responsibility than at any time of their lives, and many have every intention of taking full advantage of the fact. They are ready to party and have fun. They are also much more precocious about sex than their Baby Boomer parents. While Boomers learned about sex by sneaking peeks at “dirty magazines,” young people today are exposed to ubiquitous online pornography. To a significant degree, relations between the sexes has been pornofied. Because the dominant market for pornography is sex-obsessed young males, the id-driven fantasies of sex-obsessed young males has become the template for modern-day sexual coupling. Women are treated as objects whose purpose is to provide sexual gratification to men.

Concurrent with the revolution of ubiquitous pornography has been the feminist revolution, asserting female rights and prerogatives in a male-dominated society. In society at large, feminism was associated mainly with such workforce issues as equal pay, sexual harassment and the glass ceiling. Many women deemed themselves feminists even while adhering to neo-traditional norms of serial monogamy. But colleges and universities have become a petri dish for all manner of radical offshoots. Rejecting traditional morality associated with an oppressive male patriarchy, one strand of strand of feminism insisted that women should be free to explore their sexuality as freely as men supposedly do — seeking a variety of partners in expectation-free, guilt-free encounters. This strand of thought is underpinned by the conviction that traditional gender roles and sexual preferences are purely social constructs. There is no “human nature.” Men and women should be free to define their own sexuality however they please, whether they are straight, gay, bisexual or transgender. (I would hasten to add that some feminists abhor pornography for its objectification of women. The feminist movement is hardly monolithic.)

So, three broad cultural trends have intersected in college campuses: the laissez-faire approach of college administrations; the pornofication of sexuality, especially though not exclusively among young men; and the spread of feminist views of sexuality among young women. This would be a combustible mix under any circumstances. But colleges add two more ingredients: binge drinking and a fraternity sub-culture that celebrates male bonding and solidarity, which at its best can lead to long-lasting ties of brotherhood but at its worst can descend into misogyny.

The least influential of the philosophical frameworks for viewing sexuality happens to be the one that I embrace. I view sexuality from the perspective of evolutionary biology. At the risk of oversimplifying, evolutionary biologists have learned that the male and female sexes across species adopt different strategies for maximizing reproductive success. The difference stems from an irrefutable fact of biology. Males can spread their seed; females cannot. From the perspective of reproductive success, males are incented to spread their seed as widely as possible. There are few genetic penalties for promiscuity. Conversely, women are far more invested biologically in their children than men. From the perspective of reproductive success, women are incented to be more selective in their mates.

Those rules apply across the animal kingdom but express themselves differently in each species. The argument I would advance — and others have done so far more eloquently than I can in a short space here — is that females of the human species have evolved a set of emotional imperatives that incline them toward committed, monogamous relationships in which their mate becomes invested emotionally in them and in their offspring. As a rule, and there are always exceptions, women tend to have more deeply satisfying sex with men in monogamous relationships than in random encounters. For women, there is more to sex than the orgasm. For men, the orgasm reigns supreme, although many males also derive emotional gratification from sex in a committed relationship.

The missing element from the conversation about sex and rape on campus, folks, is romantic love. The emotions accompanying the sexual courtship of a man and woman are the most sublime and celebrated of all human feelings. Tragically, the college hook-up culture has severed sex from love and emotional commitment. Hook-up sex provides physical gratification, not emotional gratification. The greatest losers from the rise of emotionless, hook-up sex, I would argue, are women. Many men are happy to engage in sex however they can get it. If women offer it for “free” — without emotional strings — that’s fine with them. But in the end, both genders are losers because sex in a loving relationship is the most rewarding of all — even for men. (At least those men who are capable of loving relationships. Some aren’t.)

Speaking as a geezer who hasn’t set foot in a frat house for nearly 40 years, here’s what I suspect is going on in college campuses. Many young woman come to college with the expectation of sex within the context of serially monogamous relationships. Many encounter culture shock. College men have come to expect easy, commitment-free sex, and women face peer pressure from men and women alike to be sexually assertive. Now, put those young women in an alcohol-fueled fraternity party environment that increases peer pressure and reduces inhibitions to engage in random sex. You will end up with a lot of sexual encounters that unhappy women call “rape.” In some instances, drunken men may in fact use physical coercion. In others, they may fail to respect the dictum that “no means no.” In yet others, young women may regret behavior they felt “forced” into by peer pressure. Thanks to the alcohol, it’s often difficult to tell which was the case.

As a society, we may choose to classify all of these outcomes as “rape,” but equating all of them to instances in which, say, a strange man breaks into a woman’s bedroom and sexually assaults her at gunpoint, is not terribly useful. Indeed, laws proposed by a number of Virginia legislators to compel universities to report all reported “rapes” to law enforcement authorities would be harmful. The reason most college women do not report their “rapes” to the authorities is that they are uncertain and/or conflicted about what happened. They would rather heal than get caught up in the ugly, public and adversarial spectacle of a rape trial — and who can blame them?

Bacon’s bottom line: It’s fine to talk about the “culture of rape” and the “epidemic of rape,” but it’s important to understand that we’re talking about a wide spectrum of sexual encounters, some of which are horrific and some of which are simply cause for regret. By conflating unalike things together, such labels cause confusion and discord. The one thing that most observers of the college scene do agree upon is that what’s happening on campus is a bad thing. But we need to understand that nature of that bad thing — including the many complex cultural influences that come together to create it — before we define remedies for it.

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24 responses to “Sex, Genes, Love and Rape

  1. I am truly speechless … and I’m quite sure there are a number of folks here including Bacon that are thankful.

  2. You are so high up over that shark you’d have to look down and squint to see its dorsal fin!

    You are a few years older than I am but not many. UVA had quite the hook up culture when I went to school there. There were plenty of men and women who filled the gaps between boyfriends and girlfriends with a steady diet of sleeping around.

    The first challenge in confronting the so-called culture of rape on campus is reconciling sexual misconduct and rape, two very different things. Rape is a felony described in criminal statutes. Sexual misconduct includes rape but can also include things like non-consensual sexual touching and sexual harassment. Patting a woman’s derrière as she walks past a man in a dorm hall is oafish, inappropriate and deserves to have potential punishment. However, it is not rape. If you want a broad definition of sexual misconduct and you want the colleges to adjudicate cases of sexual misconduct you have to allow for the colleges to vary the punishment with the severity of the offense.

    Dartmouth has what seems to be a reasonable definition of the behavior that merits automatic expulsion – “Dartmouth College in New Hampshire revised its policy to require expulsion in certain cases, including those involving sexual penetration in which a person has used physical force or threats, or has intentionally caused the incapacitation of a victim. The mandatory sanction is thought to be rare among colleges.”

    I am not sure why that kind of mandatory sanction is rare. Not only should the perpetrator be expelled he (or she) should be arrested.

    As for the pornography angle – I don’t buy it. Coincident with the rise of internet pornography there has been a rise of graphically violent video games. However, the incidence of violent crime has fallen in America. Just because you see something on the internet, in a movie or on a video screen doesn’t mean you go out and do it.

    • Don, That’s a hasty and superficial reading of what I wrote. I said that traditional moral values upheld the regime of sexually segregated dorms, visitation, house mothers and chaperoned parties. The demise of traditional values swept all that away and colleges took a laissez-faire approach to student sexuality.

      Are you with me so far?

      From that, you somehow deduced that I believe there was no “hook-up culture” at UVa during the mid-1970s. As evidence, you posited the fact that there was a lot of “sleeping around” in your fraternity in between boyfriend-girlfriends. I never suggested that there wasn’t a lot of sleeping around. I never characterized the 1970s as a virtuous era. Indeed, UVa was well advanced into the sexual revolution by then.

      If you want to, we can argue whether the 1970s “sleeping around” is comparable to the hook-up culture of today. Look, “one-night stands” are nothing new. But I think there’s a difference. Let me ask you this question: Did anyone think there was a “culture of rape” back in your day? I don’t think so. Something has changed.

      • First, I never wrote anything about my fraternity. Your comment in that regard is a figment of your imagination.

        Second, there is no rape culture on campus. The Rolling Stone article was a croc. Today’s campus is no different than the campus of your day or mine. There may be problems, there may be too many problems but this is nothing new.

        The “campus rape culture” meme is designed to inflame people to a cause. The extremists on the left do this as a marketing technique.
        The extremists on the right do the same thing. If you inflame people with hyperbolic narrative then they will come out and vote on Election Day.

      • Ack! You’re right, you did not refer to your fraternity. I’m as guilty of hasty and superficial reading as you are!

        • My Dad used to rant at me about the many problems with my generation (which he liked to call the “Me Generation”). My Grandfather would listen and remind me the he said many of the same things to my Dad back in the day.

          I miss them both.

          Bacon is like a old guy in checkered Bermuda shorts, a striped shirt , black socks and tennis shoes standing in his back yard shaking his milk white fist at passing cars while yelling, “Teenagers!”.

          It’s OK Jim. They’re just like you were. Ok – well the nerds are anyway. The rest are like the rest of us. Except LarryG – he is a one in a millennium kind if guy!

          • hey! I TOO , Shake my fist at traffic – while I am in it.

            I’m sick and tired of watching folks veer over the dividing line while fiddling with their phones these days…! It’s an epidemic!

            and it’s not just teens.. it’s geezers and moms with kids in child seats,etc.

            but no… I think all you guys that got sent to college by your parents have a LOT to be thankful for – and I think all the folks going into debt up to their eyeballs to get a degree – because the govt subsidizes it – while ranting about subsidies to others .. for health care… is pretty petty.

  3. I’m going to recommend McMegan’s piece on ‘no means no’: http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2014-12-15/no-is-a-womans-most-powerful-word and then say, Jim, I think your post is very sensible. It feeds into the advice I want my boys and my girl to hear as they go to college. The attempt to pretend that women and men are different only because of social constructs has been very damaging to both. Evolutionary biology is hugely helpful in thinking about why people do what they do.
    I’m of two minds about the isolation of 18-30-year-olds from other people as practiced in colleges. It does lead to a stew of sexual and romantic stuff having immense priority for the students, isolates them from the larger community and from longer term concerns and realistic earning-a-living, fixing-the-car day-to-day. Kids surrounded by others of the same age can get very unbalanced and obsessed – as it seems Jackie did at UVa, and as many frat boys have. On the other hand, for me, late-night bull sessions in college residences were hugely helpful in forming a successful adult identity.

  4. Well, Jim has gone the extra mile on this article, and Don’s comments help refine the enormous change that took place starting 1st semester 1967. Here are a few of my general recollections that focus on the norm back then.

    Before the latter half of 1967 women ruled the roost on UVA’s fraternity row. Those women came in three broad categories. The elderly ladies (typically widows) who served housemothers on big party weekends. Nobody crossed these ladies, they were respected too much. And one call from them to Dean Runk could bring down God’s Wrath.

    The second category were elderly ladies (typically widows) who ran Approved Housing for the third category of women who ruled our roost, the young ladies we invited to our big UVA party weekends, these young ladies were quaintly referred then to as “Week-End Dates.”

    So we didn’t mess with our Approved Housing elderly women either. Our failure to get our Week-End Dates back into their custody by the stipulated time after the parties closed down brought severe approbation down upon our Week-end Dates. This in turn reflected very poorly on us, and this obligation extended to our “brothers” who would always come to our ladies rescue for transport should her date be too drunk to drive her back to approved housing. And that gets us to the drinking part.

    Yes, we drank too much, way to much. Fortunately however our real chaperons hour by hour during party week-ends were our Week-End Dates. They looked after us. Indeed many still do 47+ years later. That is because we married so many of them during college or after college, often several years after college, and indeed many whose marriages did not work out remain friends.

    Thus it was very easy for me to check recollections with several of these Week-end Dates this past week. “Why’d you drink little?” I asked. “Well, we had to look after you,” they’d say. These young women also knew that a drunken woman is quite unattractive to men worth having. (Young women today still know it, it’s a reason why Hooking Up does so much harm.)

    Well those are the broad outlines before the fall of 1967. More details will come later.

  5. Let’s talk about sex at UVA before the fall of 1967. There was surprisingly little of it back then. That is why our week-end dates on Fraternity Row had so much power over us. Their restraint forced us to behave. The more their restraint, the better we behaved. And the more we respected them.

    Take for example what went on, or did not go on, in the upstairs bedrooms of the fraternity houses. This was off limits to young women in those days, and the housemother at parties kept a sharp eye out. Some young ladies however did from time to time manage to slip through under the radar, not a very wise thing to do. Most all of them lost power.

    Why the loss of power? Because most often they were then painted with an altogether different brush than the rest of the week-end dates, and most of them became legends of a different sort. It’s interesting to note the under the hook up culture, the same general rules apply although the standards are more liberal, and the same judgments on a young woman’s reputation remain whether the judge be young women (sisters of “the accused”) or men.

    Back before 1968, however, rules became more liberal to a degree as male undergraduates passed though his years of college at UVA. Juniors and seniors often lived outside the fraternity houses, some in places “out in the country” others in apartments within walking distance of Mad Bowl.

    Sometimes there ‘out in the country” week-end dates from far away schools that did not impose approved housing requirements, these ladies would sleep over for the week-end with their dates. To a surprising degree most of these “couples” were in committed relationships, and most of those I knew got married after college. And in all such cases their week-end trysts were closely held secrets among a private group of upper class brothers – after all the reputation of a brother’s lady was at stake.

    To be continued

  6. I lived in thick of the Fraternity culture around Mad Bowl at UVA from the early fall of 1963 though the early summer of 1967. Not once (never) did I see or hear about any event that could fairly be characterized as a rape. That does not mean they did not happen, but it does mean that rapes most likely had to be quite rare.

    The few instances of looming inappropriate behavior I saw involved women who had had far too much to drink. Most all these were short circuited by the safeguards in place, the present of housemothers or weekend dates who took the drunk women under their care. Most of these cases involved women who’d shown up alone and uninvited, and socially unprepared for the scene they encountered. In short people back then looked out for another, including strangers. (I am aware of one case of group oral sex. It involved a stranger who showed up from out of town to began her week-end long adventures with the football and lacrosse teams at a bar. It was deemed to be consensual by Dean Runk, and it did not begin within a fraternity.)

    Within the past week I have asked several women who were heavily involved as week-end dates at fraternities around Mad Bowl during this period whether they ever felt threatened sexually. They laughed at question. Not in the least, they said. Indeed they said the scene was rather typical of the several other colleges where they also dated at the time. Again this is not to say that bad things did not happen. Surely they did occasionally. But in my experience and that of my friends there at the time, those I still know, sexual assault likely was rare.

    To be continued.

  7. So I not believe that the fraternity system is the root cause of UVA’s hysteria over sexual relations between male and female students there. Rather I believe that the hook up culture has high-jacked the social culture at UVA, and that this includes the high-jacking of portions of its fraternity system.

    I also believe that the failure here lies at the feet of those who run the University, not the students who attend it. After all the only adults in the undergraduate college at the university are its faculty and administrators. Everyone else is an adolescent struggling to become an adult under the guidance of the faculty and administrators. So it is very unfair of the latter –faculty and administrators – to blame their own students here.

    • Note my comment above that “… I believe that the hook up culture has high-jacked the social culture at UVA, and that this includes the high-jacking of portions of its fraternity system.”

      It is important to remember that the hook-up culture impacts All aspects of the student social scene at UVA, not just its fraternities.

      Thus the tragic case of Hannah Graham did not involve fraternities, yet it arose directly out of the social scene at UVA. However painful, this reality must be directly confronted and vigorous dealt with, rather than pursuing scapegoats in an effort to shift responsibility away from those responsible and the finding of real solutions.

  8. For further insight on what is happening at UVA now see “The Flight of Reason on Campus (and the madness of crowds) found at:

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/flight-reason-campus_821205.html

    The article is written by James W. Ceaser, professor of politics a UVA

  9. For perspective on where this sex hysteria over alleged “rape culture” on college campuses, and the validity of its charges, see also:

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/factual-feminist-takes-rolling-stone-rape-scandal_821755.html

    Note: this is quite different from harmful affects of Hook-up Culture, which would appear to be a very real and obvious problem.

  10. A very impressive and thoughtful piece of work on this complex and volatile issue. It should be read and absorbed by University administrators and faculty, not to mention our elected officials. Before jumping on a bandwagon and responding like knee jerks, we need to catch our breath, look around, and carefully reflect on the past and present. An excellent missive which is worth the read,

    • there are lots of moving parts to this. One is – how has the reporting of this changed (or not) over the last 40 years?

      Two is what do we still not have uniform reporting standards for higher ED

      three – is have our societal Mores evolved over time?

      four – is sexuality – “different” in college – or for that matter in the military and should it be?

      I don’t have the personal experience that Reed, Don, Peter and Bacon have … I never attended a 4-year school on campus.. I got my degree literally going to night school for a few years (after work) and then my final year as a day student… where if there really is a “hook-up” culture – it often struck me as not really a big part of the day student / night school scene.

      so.. it’s not really JUST the high ed culture … it’s specific to a particular kind of school culture. I always got the impression the big deal of it was being free to do what you wanted without mom/dad around to frown…. or remind you to behave… then again – I hear folks talk about how the military will bring “discipline” into some kids lives – that need it – but the the military issues with sexuality are even worse than colleges it seems…

  11. Now we will talk about the hook-up culture at UVa. We’ll tell about how it started in 1968. And howit evolved over the years largely unattended to by UVA officials. And why it is doing such damage now to UVA students.

    The Hook-up Culture is the key to the current crisis, the central driver behind the hysteria raging unchecked across the Grounds. This is because the Hook-Up culture does enormous damage to UVA’s students. Most particularly it does great harm to the psychological health of its women undergraduates at UVA.

    Indeed, the activities and practices of the UVA Hook-up Culture is so unsettling to many young women at UVA that it forces them into a state of drunkenness if they are to “play” its game. It’s a game that is going on everywhere around the Grounds and it spills off the grounds into other less safe places nearby, including downtown Charlottesville. It’s also a game that far too many young women can escape from only after graduating from UVA.

    Paradoxically, the Hook-up Culture can only be practiced by young single women who are able to live, work and play in very safe places that protect them physically such as the Grounds. Here at UVA they can walk to and fro all day and night without fear of physical attack. This is unusual in America. Most American places are too dangerous for young women to play the Hook-Up game after graduation. This includes most typical urban areas of big American cities. So woman then, rather than being able to roam the Grounds in packs, hooking up with college guys they often hardly know after drinking in bars, begin in these less safe places to date men again. Only the dating ritual there gives them the physical safety they require and the emotional satisfaction of a chance at the meaningful sexual and social relationships they crave. By then however many carry permanent scars to their health from hooking up experiences they’ve left behind at UVA. And the hysteria remains with those young women students they have left behind at UVA.

  12. Could this Hook Up culture really have been going on for so long, and been doing so much damage to UVA students, without its being challenged and addressed by someone there in a position of responsibility?

    I suspect it has, but will never know for sure. The only people who know for sure are the undergraduate students and their faculty and administrators at UVA. Unfortunately these people appear to be having a great difficulty in grappling with the truth of what’s likely been happening in their community for years now. The truth may be too hard. There may be too many vested interests under challenge. These interests and issues may run too deep. The emotions they generate may be too raw. The introspection required may be too painful. For it would place a whole set of accepted lifestyles and ethics under severe challenge, given that recent awful events may be the consequence of these lifestyles and ethical choices. And then those terrible events would demand an accounting. Likely this makes the questioning of the Hook-Up culture difficult for some people to accept, even frightening.

    Perhaps these possibilities also help to explain much else. They may explain the mad scramble to believe that terrible story and incredible tale attributed to Jackie by the Rolling Stone article. And why a crime that every one at UVA should have questioned, and that others should have known to be untrue, nevertheless caused those people to start pointing fingers, blaming whole groups of other people in their community. And why they did so without pause, reflection, or judgments based on fact, and still do so despite the fact that those allegations appear to have fallen apart.

    And likely it’s why all these people avoid considering the Hook Up culture as a possible cause at all and engage so vociferously in scapegoating others instead, alleging a few with a rape culture and proposing elaborate protocol’s to prevent it in one of the safest universities in America. Likely it is also why others so vocal before fall silent now, after Rolling Stone’s story has fallen apart.

    Perhaps this also may help to explain Hannah Graham’s death as well as the total shock and deafening silence that has followed that tragedy, all in stark contrast to Jackie’s story.

    I also suspect that much of the profound shock and struggle going on now at UVA reflects the conscience of a very carrying and responsible group of people at UVA, historically one of the finest institutions in the country. People without such conscience would not care less about what’s happened to their institution or others within it, save only to the degree that it impacted their own selfish interests. And that is really too bad, because this plague of the Hook Up culture infects many of the nation’s colleges and universities, and perhaps all of our elite colleges and universities.

    So what’s wrong with the Hook Up culture? Why does it do such harm? And how do we know that it does?

    To be continued.

  13. ‘The sexual revolution of the 1960s brought an end to traditional morality on campus…….. All of those restrictions and inhibitions have been cast away. …’

    No doubt about that. However, what you fail to mention was how all that came about. It wasn’t just a smooth transition. Greek life became quite politically incorrect at many campuses across the country for roughly 10 years – from the late 60s until the late 70s. Students at that time saw them as part of the establishment, which most didn’t want any part of. They were too busy demonstrating against the Vietnam war, ROTC recruitment on campus, not to mention in favor of women’s rights.

    The end result was that many chapters closed and even more went into a period of hibernation until they became socially ‘acceptable’ again in the early 80s. Ask anyone who was a student during this ‘bubble’ of about 10+ yrs and many have an entirely different attitude re greek life – mostly because it wasn’t popular.

    ‘But colleges add two more ingredients: binge drinking and a fraternity sub-culture that celebrates male bonding and solidarity, which at its best can lead to long-lasting ties of brotherhood but at its worst can descend into misogyny.’

    One tipping point during the 70s was the legal drinking age of 18 (for beer & wine only in most states). However that changed in 1984 with the Minimum Drinking Age Act. As a result two things happened: 1) an increase in fake IDs and 2) the frat house now became an even more important venue for imbibing at colleges (at least for greek students & their friends) and now of course without any chaperones, with disastrous results.

    ‘The reason most college women do not report their “rapes” to the authorities is that they are uncertain and/or conflicted about what happened. They would rather heal than get caught up in the ugly, public and adversarial spectacle of a rape trial — and who can blame them?’

    1. FYI – the vast majority of women know their assailants – 90%
    2. It is presumptuous to claim that most college women don’t report rapes because they are uncertain of what happened. Most know what happened, but in fact are often ashamed, embarrassed, feel guilty or angry, and only in some instances, regretful (esp. if it was the result of a ‘drunken coupling’.)
    3. It’s also presumptuous to infer that an increase of alleged assaults are mostly the result of regret.
    4. An increase if the number of alleged ‘rapes’ is more about women feeling more comfortable coming forward, and less about feeling ‘regretful’ .
    5. Having non-consensual sex with a person who is intoxicated is rape. Period.

    • an observation from a perch a little further away since I was never part of college dorm life but also because I am a service brat who is familiar with how the military went through their own version of this.

      and my observation is – I don’t think I have ever seen an issue that so strongly effects people who lived in a dorm (or frat) during college and especially so with the group here that went to UVA.

      second – there clearly is some generational differences… also…

      finally – unstated so far but to me a cousin of the “if you were drunk, gal” idea is the older variant of ” well, if you dress that way….then… maybe you were asking for it”… idea

      so the biggest difference by far – is how men and women vary in their perspectives about this – and yes, I’m a little skeptical of the “guy” perspective in much the same way I am suspicious of a white guy pontificating about racism…

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