It's a bad time to be Lincoln University President Robert R. Jennings, who was caught on video this week giving a sexist, conspiratorial lecture on false rape accusations to an auditorium of female students. Jennings told an auditorium full of female students that men will "use you up," lecturing them not to file false rape claims as a form of revenge.
"We have, we had, on this campus last semester three cases of young women who after having done whatever they did with the young men, and then it didn't turn out the way they wanted it to turn out -- guess what they did?" he said. "They went to [the university's Department of] Public Safety and said, 'He raped me.'
"So then we have to do an investigation. We have to start pulling back the layers and asking all kinds of questions, and when we start trying to collect the data and ask the questions -- and why do we do that? Because we know that possibly somebody's life is getting ready to change for the rest of their life," Jennings said.
As a result of the incident, Jennings is getting lambasted in the national media.
True to form, the internet is already going into full rage mode, and it's really totally deserved. Someone in charge of student safety and ensuring victims are taken seriously has no business peddling myths about rape, let alone such viciously woman-blaming ones. In reality, the most reliable statistics show that at most 2-8% of rape claims are false. Jennings is perpetuating the kind of vile lies that have led to college students estimating the rate is actually 50%. Meanwhile, reliable studies have concluded 80% of rapes go unreported.
But Jennings is far from the only "campus rape truther" today. The notion that legions of spurned jezebels are entrapping men with false accusations of rape is quite widespread. In fact, it's basically unstated GOP dogma. Here's just a few of the many right-wingers parroting Jennings' concerns about fake rape allegations:
Virtually every Republican in the House
This year, Republicans in Congress have been pushing the controversial No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act (HR 7), which would prevent Medicaid funds from being used for abortions and force employers to pay additional taxes if they cover abortion via employee health plans. HR 7 also eliminates medical-expense deductions for abortions except in the case of rape, incest and danger to the mother's health, which Think Progresspointed out could end up tasking the IRS with investigating whether women claiming they were raped actually were. (The original legislation in 2010, co-sponsored by Todd Akin and Paul Ryan, further demanded that abortion expenses could only be deducted if the rape was "forcible.")
The new GOP Senate will probably collaborate with right-wingers in the House to push further pro-life restrictions on abortion.We'll just have to wait and see how crazy they can get.
In May, Beck's TheBlazeTV ran a satirical skit in which virtually every interaction between a man and a "woman" (a dude in a blonde wig) was met with cries of "RAPE!" The point, according to contributor Stu Burguiere, was to call out how feminists "massively inflate" the number of victims for political purposes.
In June, influential Republican pundit George Will wrote a vile column positing that rape victims are seeking a "coveted status that confers privilege," adding that "attempts to create victim-free campuses" are "making everyone hypersensitive, even delusional, about victimizations." Will even included a first-hand account of an alleged rape he didn't think was forcible enough to qualify as a crime as evidence.
The Independent Women's Forum
In June, the conservative Independent Women's Forum ran a panel called "An Honest Conversation about ‘Rape Culture’ and Sexual Violence" ostensibly about finding a Republican solution to sexual assault on campus. Instead, as The New Republicdocumented, it was mainly about debunking the "1 in 5" college women are sexually assaulted statistic -- an estimate backed up by most reasonable assessments. Just one out of four panelists actually proposed conservatives recognize the fact that campus sexual assault is widespread and do something about it.
The Men's Rights Movement
So-called "men's rights" activists deliberately flooded Occidental College with more than 400 false rape reports last December as some kind of misguided protest against the school's proposed anonymous rape-reporting system. At the time, the college was one of many facing severe national criticism for its lackluster response to alleged sexual assaults on campus, including its misreporting of the number of assaults and accusations that college administrators retaliated against anti-rape activists on campus.
Men's rights activists continually insist that false allegations of rape are common, and possibly more common than actual rapes themselves. A Voice For Men news director Robert O'Hara insists that "this whole rape things has been used by feminists to garner political power, lots of it, and money. The whole thing has been used as a scam." RADAR, which claims to "respect accuracy in domestic abuse reporting," insists that 50% of all rape accusations are made up, jailing 47,000 men a year for no reason. This is an incredible claim that ultimately relied on discredited research.
One central leader of the men's rights movement, Paul Elam, wrote that women who go clubbing and end up raped "freaking begging for it. Damn near demanding it" and once insisted that men who end up on rape trial juries vote to acquit by default. In January, he organized a rape "accuse-a-thon" to harass the director of the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton. If you Google search "false rape accusations," one of the first results is a collection of outright lies from openly sexist blog Return of Kings that concludes "men with options don't date feminists" and that "smart men send an ‘I didn’t rape you’ text." Gag.
The American Enterprise Institute
One of America's most powerful conservative think tanks, the AEI is also horrible when it comes to dealing with campus rape. The institute's Christinia Hoff Sommers has accused feminists of creating an atmosphere where "paranoia, censorship and false accusations flourish," including an awful passage where she suggests the CDC uses leading questions and biased samples to inflate the rape rate. AEI analyst Caroline Kitchens wrote an article titled "It's time to end rape culture hysteria," arguing that feminists "poison the minds of young women and lead to hostile environments for innocent males." Finally, AEI's Ramesh Ponnuru had the gall to tie George Will's discredited arguments about rape to the Redskins' name, calling criticism of both evidence of liberal cultural intolerance.
When the Obama administration announced an initiative to fight campus rape in April, Hoff Sommers was enabled by Fox News host Laura Ingraham, who blamed sexual assault on college kids' "free-love, sex-without-consequences mentality." Hoff Sommers was also glowingly quoted in a Daily Caller article that alleged the CDC was making statistics up.
The American Family Association
The AFA is an awful hate group so extreme it backed up Todd Akin's comments on "legitimate rape," insisting that Akin was right when he said that a "real, genuine rape" couldn't end in conception. The implication, of course, is that the estimated 32,000 pregnancies that happen each year in the U.S. as a result of rape are lies invented by regretful or angry women.
Though Fischer is pretty far out there, he's nonetheless been pretty influential among the Christian right. He co-authored the 2004 Idaho ban on same-sex marriage, which is still being defended by Gov. Butch Otter in court.
The National Review
The National Review's website regularly runs commentary on rape and sexual assault, virtually all of it insisting that supposed high rates of campus sexual assault are a lie invented by vicious Feminazis. Take this October article by Mona Charen which literally blames rape on feminists for failing to recognize "immutable sex differences." Or this September piece by Kevin D. Williamson, which insists that campus rape rates are "wildly exaggerated" and claimed anti-rape activists use "the horrific crime of rape as a cultural and political cudgel." Or this May piece which is just titled "Crying Rape" and argues that women are "being taught to believe they were raped." Uh, okay.
Libertarian Reason editor Cathy Young has writtenoften claiming that rape rates are both overestimated and that feminists are promotin "'believe the victim' dogma." (This is the same Cathy Young that latched onto Gamergate as a "welcome pushback against left-wing cultural diktat.") Young also really likes blaming feminism for false rape accusations, insisting that "feminist orthodoxy on rape is radically hostile to basic principles of justice."
State Sen. Richard Black (R-Va.)
This Virginia congressional hopeful doesn't believe that spousal rape is a thing, because it would be pretty difficult to pursue charges "when they’re living together, sleeping in the same bed, she’s in a nightie, and so forth." Black also speculated that men live in "enormous fear" of false rape accusations.
State Rep. Eric Turner (R-Ind.)
After pushing some of the harshest anti-abortion laws in the country in Indiana, Turner shot down a bill proposing exemptions for the victims of rape or incest by claiming that it created a "giant loophole": "someone who is desirous of an abortion could simply say that they’ve been raped or there’s incest." Despite a rebuke from Democratic state Rep. Linda Lawson - who spent six years as a sexual assault investigator - the law was eventually passed without any exemptions.
Right-wing Forbes analyst and MIT frat alumni president Bill Frezza recently incurred the wrath of the entire internet by insisting that the real threat to fraternities isn't their own out-of-control behavior, but "drunk female guests." In particular, Frezza warned frat boys of "False accusation of rape months after the fact triggered by regrets over a drunken hook-up, or anger over a failed relationship."
The Washington Post
In August, The Washington Post ran this article about men "fighting back" against false accusations of campus rape, pointing to lower college standards for proving misconduct than required for a criminal conviction and rumors circulating about them online. As Media Matterspointed out, it contained no context for the extremely low rates of actual false accusations, which could be as low as 2%.