But Jessica Valenti, who offered her opposing perspective in a 20-minute presentation after McElroy’s, expressed frustration that some continue to question rape culture’s existence, adding that the debate leaves her “exhausted.”Of course McElroy was the sensible one, arguing for fairness.
The contrast between the tones of the two speakers was striking. McElroy was defensive from the outset, commencing her talk by explaining that she has personally experienced sexual violence, identifies as a feminist and would not tolerate any claims that she belittles survivors. But Valenti seemed calmer, with her first statement affirmed by light applause from the crowd.
Valenti highlighted several recent cases as evidence that American culture “gives rapists a social license to operate.” In one case, a lawyer described an 11-year-old victim of gang rape as a “spider” who lured men into raping her. ...
“How many of you came tonight knowing exactly who I am and thinking you know exactly what I’m going to say?” asked Wendy McElroy, research fellow at the Independent Institute, kicking off her 20-minute talk and setting a tense tone for a highly anticipated Janus Forum debate on sexual assault that filled around three-quarters of Salomon 101.
McElroy’s impending arrival on College Hill spawned controversy across campus. President Christina Paxson sent out a community-wide email Friday publicizing her personal disagreement with McElroy’s widely reported assertion that rape culture does not exist in the United States and cannot be used to explain individual incidents of sexual assault.
Valenti's arguments were emotional and anecdotal, as if most women were being raped, when in fact the statistics
show a big decline.
She complained that a 2006 Nebraska judge did not allow the word "rape" by the accuser in a rape trial, because it is prejudicial. This is a revealing complaint. I have watched some trials, and from what I have seen, witnesses are not allowed to use the word "murder" in a murder trial, "robbery" in a robbery trial, etc. The jury is supposed to determine whether it was a murder or a robbery. Witnesses are just supposed to describe the facts, and not leap to conclusions about whether the facts made a crime. The witness might say "I saw the defendant stab him" or even "I saw the defendant kill him", but never "I saw the defendant murder him. Likewise, a witness should not be allowed to say "I saw a rape" if the legality of the sexual act is under dispute.
Her examples of the supposed "rape culture" are like this. Anecdotes that are completely stupid unless you believe in guilty-until-proven-innocent, and a woman should not be questioned or second-guessed.
Another anecdote was about the Steubenville High School rape case, and how not everyone recognized it as rape. Of course she did not explain what happened. A drunk girl allowed herself to be undressed and picked up, and some boy's fingertip entered her vagina. She did not realize it, but I guess a picture showed it. I think most of thw world would not call that rape (but perhaps some lesser offense).
Valenti also complained about people trivializing rape, such as "I got raped on my English exam." Huhh? She seems to be the one who is trivializing rape.