Volume II, Number 4 Front Page
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April 29, 2005

Why Conservatives Are Still Wrong about Rape

John Hellman

      After three waves of feminist activism, countless victories (and defeats) in political and legal reform, and the continuing transformation of social attitudes towards all women, the state of women should be looking pretty good, right?

      This could not be further from the truth. In a society in which feminism is demonized as being anti-family, pro-abortion, radically unacceptable, and obsolete (since women "already have equal rights"), one of the most important issues continues to be overlooked and trivialized: violence against women. The most confusing and misleading aspect of this seems to revolve around the complex issue of date rape. Some conservatives contend that "date rape" is just feminist rhetoric; instead, they say, it should be defined as what it really is—regret. However, because of draconian rape laws, innocent, helpless men have had to go through the traumatizing, brutal process of getting arrested, going to court, and, possibly, going to prison for a couple of years. Due to the "trampling effects" of rape statues and laws concerning men's rights, men are now on the defensive; who knows whether or not a man will be accused of date rape, if the woman wakes up in an awful mood, or perhaps during her period or PMS?

      Let's not kid ourselves. Men are losing rights? What: the right to assume that women want to have sex whenever the man wants? Give me a break! Rather than basing information upon loose, social misunderstandings or perhaps a few too many Law & Order: SVU episodes, it's time to get our facts straight.

      According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the rate of false reports of rape is approximately 2-3%, which is no different than that for any other crime. Like many other hyperbolic misrepresentations that conservatives try to politicize (like "partial birth" abortions, the effects of gay parenting, etc.), all forms of rape are now being trivialized. Increasing amounts of skepticism have already plagued women who have been raped, so these misunderstandings only add to the burden that women face in an intolerant society. In fact, only 16% of ALL rapes are reported to the police, and only 1%—that's right, 1%—of convicted rapists serve a prison sentence of more than one year.

      Maybe it's time that conservatives do some research on one of the most wide-spread examples of hegemonic masculinity gone too far. The days of chivalry and chauvinism are over.

      Conservatives say that the so-called "pendulum" has swung too far and is now harming men. I hate to break it to you all, but the pendulum has NEVER been on the side of women.

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