Author: Rika Christensen September 18, 2013 9:02 am
Misogyny knows no bounds when it comes to some people, and that seems to apply to Professor Stephen Baskerville at Patrick Henry College too. In a mandatory lecture, he issued what amounted to apologies for everything from rape to child and domestic abuse, but not in the manner one might think. Rather, he blamed the U.S.’s high incarceration rate on the feminist agenda to criminalize and punish these actions.
He cited Marie Gottschalk, a professor from the University of Pennsylvania who studied the possible effects of such criminalization in the ’60s and ’70s, and who concluded that it would “contribute to a more punitive culture,” as support for his position.
The first issue with his lecture is his attribution of our massive incarceration rate to the “feminist agenda.” In fact, our massive incarceration rate is far more due to our failed war on drugs than it is to imprisoning people for sex crimes and abuse. Another truth that might be difficult for him to face is that only about 3% of all the rapists out there ever actually serve jail time. Of 46% of cases that get reported, that same number jumps to a whopping 7% that will serve jail time.
The stats for imprisonment for abuse are far higher; more than 60% of people convicted of domestic violence in state courts will see some jail or prison time.
The private prison industry contributes to our incarceration rate as well, given that some states actually promised specific occupancy rates to entice these companies to take prisons off their hands.
Baskerville also implies that most rape accusations are women who change their minds after the fact (and says that this type of thing is especially common on college campuses), that child abuse is often nothing more than normal discipline, that accusations of domestic violence occur when no actual violence, or threat of violence, occurred, that sexual harassment is usually no more than harmless flirting or someone expressing an opinion, and that labeling certain behaviors as “bullying” is meant to suppress disagreement and freedom of expression. However, he doesn’t explain how he knows that any of this is really what’s happening.
While it’s true that there are false reports of all of these crimes, statistically, at least for rape, it’s a fairly small percentage of all complaints formally filed. His implication that false reports are common is not only false, it further hurts those who are true victims, whether they’re women or men. Since people know it’s difficult to prove rape and sexual harassment, they’re often afraid to come forward because they don’t want to be laughed out of the room or ignored. The fact of false allegations is damaging enough, and this is made that much more damaging by people who imply or claim outright that such allegations are very common.
In general, Baskerville appears to be extremely ignorant of pretty much every part of the issues of rape, harassment, and abuse, and seems to come from the blame-the-victim camp. For instance, when it comes to sexual harassment in the workplace and the military, for instance, he says,
“Demands for access to workplaces, universities, the military, and other previously male venues (accompanied with equally strident demands to engage there in female-only activities, such as pregnancy and breastfeeding) invite accusations of sexual “harassment” against the men when relations inevitably develop (and often turn sour), regardless of who initiates them.”In other words, he’s saying, “Women, if you’d stay in the kitchen where you belong, instead of going to school, work, or enlisting in the military, you wouldn’t have these problems.” It’s not the fault of the men who commit these acts, it’s the fault of the women who are audacious enough to be there.
Worse, he later discusses government awareness campaigns on these issues as doing nothing more than drawing attention to “unnamed nonviolent malefactors said to be guilty of undefined new crimes and vilify groups en masse by reducing individuals to categories – ‘abusers,’ ‘rapists,’ ‘batterers,’ ‘harassers,’ ‘deadbeats,’ ‘bullies,’ ‘stalkers,’ ‘pedophiles,’ ‘traffickers,’ (all reminiscent of Communist campaigns against ‘counter-revolutionaries’ and ‘anti-social elements’).”
Abuse, rape, child rape and molestation, and battery are nonviolent, undefined crimes? Since when? Bullies, harassers, traffickers, and stalkers can also be violent.
At best, this is a long, complicated, and pseudo-intellectual speech that does nothing more than show a severe lack of understanding of every one of the issues he mentions, as well as the laws that apply to them. At worst, it’s a willful misunderstanding intended accomplish the very thing of which he accuses feminists, Islamists, and even the LGBT community: Furthering a specific agenda at the expense of society at large.