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If you don’t care whether a rape really happened, you don’t care about rape

So, Rolling Stone magazine has rolled back on Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s University of Virginia gang rape story.

A typical reaction when that story first came out came from CNN Political commentator Sally Kohn: “Stop shaming victims in college rapes”. I quote:

Will Drew and UVA get off easily while Jackie’s life — and other college women like her — is shattered?

If UVA has any sense of moral rightness and wishes to remain a great university, it should conduct a thorough investigation into these and similar allegations and mete out appropriate punishment for the perpetuators [sic].

A more senior colleague might like to take Ms Kohn aside and teach her the proper meaning of two words, “allegations” and “perpetrators”. The spelling correction alone does not put right what is wrong with the way both of them combine in that last sentence.

A typical reaction now that the story has been semi-retracted came from Guardian columnist and Feministing founder Jessica Valenti. “I trust women,” she tweets. She disavows the idea that her choice to trust a person is made on the basis of any assessment of individual trustworthiness; she simply trusts the 50% of the human species who belong to the same group as she does. It is group loyalty. On the same grounds, given that she is white, she might as well say, “I trust white people.”

Kohn, Valenti and their like present themselves as the friends of rape victims. There is such a thing as toxic friendship. Before the retraction of the story, I read this account by Liz Seccuro in Time magazine. Ms Seccuro was raped, at the University of Virginia, at the same Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, thirty years ago in 1984. “Do you believe me?” she asks. The answer to that is yes. A man was convicted and jailed for her rape, though she says that there were others who escaped any punishment. But observe that I had to make it very clear that she really was raped. Because after the Duke University lacrosse team affair and this recent one, “rape at frat house” stories (including that of Jackie as described by Erdely, which will now be entirely dismissed by most even though some of it could still be true) provoke an involuntary twitch of doubt even in observers wishing to remain impartial.

Not that the feminists I’ve read on this story ever had any such wish. They said, very clearly, that unquestioning partiality was exactly what they wanted. “I trust women.” They said, as they have been saying for years now, that even the attempt to judge any rape claim on the evidence was to be a “rape apologist”, as Rachel Sklar was quoted as saying here, or was an instance of “rape denialism”, as Amanda Marcotte tweeted here, adding for good measure that it was equivalent to Holocaust denialism.

It is they who are the rape denialists. Or perhaps “deniers that rape matters” would put it better. If you don’t care whether or not a rape actually occurred, then you don’t care about rape. It is a tautology, and a separate point to the one about the trauma faced by real rape victims who seek justice being intensified by the additional scepticism with which their account will now be met. If you think that the moral force of a claim of rape cannot be diminished by evidence that it is false, then in the same act you believe that it cannot be added to by evidence that it is true.

46 comments to If you don’t care whether a rape really happened, you don’t care about rape

  • jdgalt

    That’s not a misspelling, it’s a new word!

    Perpetuator, n. Someone who perpetuates a falsehood.

    Maybe we should even make it a hashtag, and tweet it in response to every reappearance of the lie that “rape culture” exists.

  • I believe it was the glass table that was shattered. Or not. Depending on who you believe.


    Of course rape culture exists. I rape pretty women with my eyes when I see them. I take off their clothes the same way. Then I imagine having sex with them. It happens so fast that there is no chance she got satisfied even if she was into it.

    What should women do? Dress in formless sacks and cover their faces. Islam! Avoid attracting attention or get a minder.

  • Combine the two words? Allegatuators.

  • And speaking of denialists.

    The Prohibitionists are involved in mass murder. The Reagan – Bush administration tried to suppress the finding that cannabis is effective against cancer. You can look it up. Of course the Democrats did nothing when they had a chance.

    Cannabis cures cancer. Cancer kills 586,000 Americans every year. Every Prohibitionist is complicit in mass murder.


    Now that is some real denial. And real mass murder. In the “enlightened” west no less. And they did/do it for political gain.

  • And of course the pogrom against the poor by Nixon.

    “Look, we understood we couldn’t make it illegal to be young or poor or black in the United States, but we could criminalize their common pleasure. We understood that drugs were not the health problem we were making them out to be, but it was such a perfect issue…that we couldn’t resist it.” – John Ehrlichman, White House counsel to President Nixon on the rationale of the War on Drugs.

  • Bogdan from Aussie

    Dear M Simon, I’m as much as you are for the decriminalisation of drugs, understanding that it is the very prohibition that drives the mainly young and irresponsible IDIOT, MORON, CRETIN towards the drugs as that pathetic individual thinks of himself or herself as “toughie” and mature for breaking the ban.
    And of course, CRETINIST approach of the so called “Christian conservatives” is mainly responsible for creating and maintaining that horrible social pathology.
    Yet, your rabid attack on the American conservatives while avoiding the mentioning that those are the Leftist sector of the so called “Western civilisation” that are responsible for million times more social pathologies reeks addiction to “socialism” or perhaps any other equally insane leftist ideology.
    With regards – Bogdan

  • Bogdan from Aussie
    December 6, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    Well Bogdan,

    Which is worse for society. Addiction or mass murder?

    And the only people standing in the way of ending mass murder are the “conservatives” you are so proud of. Now I have to admit that on general policy they are quite good. But when it comes to mass murder they have far too many apologists.

    Now if they came around on just legalization for medical use I would be quite happy with that. But as you and I both know it will not stop there. And I’m OK with that. YMMV.

    As to your other points – well alcohol addles the brain, causes fetal damage (FAS), kills a 1,000 Americans every year from overdose and 20,000 in traffic accidents. It is legal.

    In medical cannabis states alcoholics switching to cannabis lowered traffic deaths 9%. There was a study. You can look it up.

    At 500,000 deaths a year for 30 or 40 years conservatives have a lot to answer for. And the left will no doubt use it against them. The “conservatives” should repent of Prohibition unlike what they did in America in 1932. The left got control of America for about 60 years over that one. And the alcohol policy was only killing 1,000 a year from denaturing. I’d hate to see the political swing happen again.

    OTOH it is a great opportunity for libertarians to take control of the right. I intend to make “I was always a libertarian” the answer to the mass murder accusation. You know – socially liberal, fiscally conservative. In favor of small government. I never did care much for “small government except for…” conservatives. Every law needs enforcers. And pretty soon you have a police state.

  • Bogdan,

    In a round about way I think you are saying Prohibition does the opposite of what it claims (spreads drug use rather than curbs it). So why don’t “conservatives give up adherence to that policy?

    I have asked that question to numerous social conservatives and it either gets dismissed or ignored.

  • patriarchal landmine

    it’s been years since I’ve heard a credible story about a woman being raped.


    so basically, I don’t care about rape anymore, either. I just have a different (more legitimate) reason.

  • James Waterton

    M Simon, do you think it might be possible for you NOT to try your hardest to derail every thread you contribute in and attempt to have everyone focus on your pet concern, instead of what was written above the fold?

    *Not that I don’t necessarily agree with you – or at least I don’t know enough about what you’re putting forward to offer opinion that the War On Drugs has been an unmitigated disaster. What I do know is that the prohibition of cannibis has a – and I’m being extremely charitable here – tangential relationship which what Natalie’s written about.

    In short, stop hijacking threads.

  • James Waterton

    So what I meamt to write was…

    Not that I don’t necessarily disagree with you – or at least I don’t know enough about what you’re putting forward to offer opinion beyond a belief that the War On Drugs has been an unmitigated disaster.

  • James Waterton

    Oh for goodnes sake I don’t even know what I should have said. Is that a double negative? Brain hurts. Second child born last night, and am (barely) operating on extremely low sleep levels. Right, I’m turning in my posting badge until I’ve hibernated through the Australian summer. Or until a nappy needs changing; whichever comes sooner.

  • Mary Contrary

    Never mind James, and congratulations on the birth of your new child.

    We know what you meant anyway: “In short, stop hijacking threads”. It’s what everyone else reading this page thought when they read M. Simon’s comments.

  • Julie near Chicago

    What Mary Mary *g* said.

  • Mr Ed

    James, congratulations on your happy news, but one cannot ‘hibernate’ through summer, but rather one may ‘aestivate’, like a lung fish.

    I find M Simon’s diversions rather fascinating, not for the content, but as a glimpse at the workings of how one mind might crowbar in something entirely OT.

    As for the Marxoid obession of the thread, one sees the working of obsessive fanatics, reciting their mantras and ignoring the tensions in their purported belief in equality, the fight against reason itself being their aim.

    I have to say that American college life sounds dreadfully dull.

  • Barry Sheridan

    It would appear Natalie that feminists are intent on extending their institutionalised form of bigotry until they get what they deserve. The contempt of anyone with the capacity to evaluate argument for themselves. Given that most females are well capable of this approach this might explain the growing indifference to the shrill demands of these man hating fanatics.

  • Bruce

    “Jessica Valenti. “I trust women,””

    So did Adam…………

    (Ducks for cover and beverage……)

  • The Wobbly Guy

    A great deal of credit has to go to Steve Sailer.

    This victory for the Dark Enlightenment tells us two things. One, Steve Sailer is widely followed, and clandestinely, by a number of key figures in online media, even if he is often vilified for his race-realist views. Two, if he’s right about issues like this, what else could he be correct on?

    On his comment threads, quite a number of commenters noted similar rape cases which were virtually ignored by the media, due to the racial demographics involved. As usual, it’s all about sticking it to the white men.

    As an Asian male myself, I find the lack of pushback from white males to be hilariously pathetic.

  • Siha Sapa

    Of course they don’t care about rape, that’s why they so frequently chant ‘it doesn’t matter what really happened’. What they care about is advancing a narrative in the service of an anti-male agenda. The modern feminist detest male spaces in the same way they detest masculinity and it’s virtues. A quick glance and you realize that behind every tubby, hirsute, hectoring Sally Kohn or Lena Dunham there lurks a primal fear that somewhere some man or, worse yet, some group of men is having an unrepentant good time.

  • Anthony Ratliffe

    M.Simon. The link you reference after your “cannabis cures cancer” claim, does not say what you imply it says. THere is simply no evidence (anywhere) that cannabis use could or would “cure” 500,000 cases of cancer in the US each year. If there is, please produce it.


  • Alsadius

    Anyone who thinks pot can eliminate cancer really needs to look up what Bob Marley died from.

  • I got the distinct impression that the feminists didn’t really believe rape had occurred as described, but wished that it had in order to suit their agenda. Anti-rape they ain’t

  • Long-Lost Cousin

    I find M Simon’s diversions rather fascinating, not for the content, but as a glimpse at the workings of how one mind might crowbar in something entirely OT.

    We don’t need him for that. The Georgist asshats own that but of ground already.

  • Dom

    WaPo was the first major newspaper to unravel Jackie’s story, but they then changed the on-line version of their story in fairly significant ways, and they did so without noting the fact. I once thought the story was just a hoax from top to bottom (Jackie and the seven dwarves), but now I think something did happen to her — perhaps forced oral sex (why don’t women learn to BITE), and the story later grew in the telling.

  • Very retired

    None of these endless “outrages” has much to do with the purported cause, that’s just the hook upon which to hang the stream of posturing and posing used to verify the offended’ s membership in the group-think being advanced according to the accepted narrative.

    Whether the story provoking the outrage is true or not doesn’t matter one bit. All that matters is that the bad guys are in the right demographic, and the victim(s) are approved as suitable members of a sanctioned victim group, and then all right-thinking types can vent all the correct thoughts, and, with great self-satisfaction and righteousness, condemn all those who are so unenlightened that they can’t comprehend why incident “x” is the most terrible thing ever, until “y”occurs.

    This is the world of subjective truth, in which reality is whatever the anointed say it is, and clinging to outmoded concepts like evidence and facts is a waste of time.

    What happened isn’t important, only the story that can be woven from the travails of the poor victim, and fitted into the larger narrative of oppression and victimology, really matters.

    Refuse the narrative. Don’t bother endlessly quibbling about this element or that aspect. Just reject the premise in its entirety—the collective virtue, the collective guilt, the legitimacy of the self-anointed arbiters of everything, their competency, their moral validity, everything and anything that works to advance the collective narrative.

    There are real rapists, real murderers, real people who commit atrocious crimes every day. Save your wrath, and energy, for them, and don’t waste time arguing about fantasies wth the intellectually and morally bankrupt.

    The narrative is all falsehood and deception. Those who attempt to advance it are liars at worst, or deluded fools at best. Treat them with the contempt they deserve, and the ridicule they constantly open themselves up to receive.

  • Dom

    Erdely also wrote the Rolling Stone article about Billy Doe, another pseudonym. This time, it was a young boy who was gang-raped for 5 hours by three men –three priests, in fact. Once again, the agenda and biases excused sloppy journalism. Billy told his story three times, each time making it more detailed and lurid. Erdely took the last story as truth, and never reported the rest of it.

    I keep hearing that she is an excellent honest reporter with high standards. Maybe the real story behind the story is that she isn’t.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    What they care about is advancing a narrative in the service of an anti-male agenda.

    Wrong. If that was the case, they would be publicising black-man-on-white-women rape cases just as loudly.

    Your statement would be more accurate if you changed it to ‘service of an anti-white-male agenda’.

  • Travis

    If there were seven (or nine, depending on the most recent version) college aged men in a room with a woman, then AT LEAST ONE of them had their cell phone out recording it. And no way the room was “completely dark” (men who rape women as a group do NOT like the idea of accidentally coming into contact with another man’s hard dick in the dark). And if it was an “initiation ritual” it wouldn’t have been completely dark anyway. How would the older members know if the pledge actually did anything? This story is coming apart faster than a George Bush national guard memo.

  • Phil B

    The UVA and Rolling Stone have history on this:


    And if you know a bit about the Amirican College initiations etc. they don’t take place at the time the alleged rape took place …


    Methinks it is a case of buyers regret.

  • Watchman

    The Wobbly Guy,

    It is not an anti-white male agenda. It is simply an agenda of gaining power through coercion, which requires you to force those you identify as having power into doing as your wish, and even reasonable feminists, of whom there are plenty, tend to see this as white males in western society (technically they are right, although I think that is an artefact rather than a function of a system where those in power are selected from a pool assembled many years earlier).

    All politicised identity group activists tend to do this – try and challenge what in their groupthink mentality is the dominant group. So yes, there will be a focus on supposed crimes the dominant group has got away with, and not on other marginalised groups, because the agenda is simply one of coercing the dominant group through guilt (never likely to work if their own models hold true, but that’s by the by). It is not actually an attack on white males and to identify it that way is to buy into their tribal group think. It is there attempt to manipulate their way to power. And it works, because enough people who class themselves as white male first and an individual human second buy into the guilt that is apparently there’s by association.

    So rather than playing their game of identity politics and guilt by association, just stand up to feminists waving their ‘rape culture’* banner and ask are they accusing you of something? Because then it becomes not about their generalities and the actions of men as a group, but about you as an individual, and if they try and bring in the actions of others you can dismiss those as not being your actions. Never let the identity group fanatics force you to adopt a label, as this will just reinforce their case. Stand as you, and be clear that you are an individual not simply a conveneient label.

    *Note that rape-culture has, I have noticed in reading around this case, apparently produced ‘Sexual Assualt Advocates’ on campus at the University of Virginia. I am not convinced that is actually what they should be calling themselves…

  • Mr Ed

    Tsk, tsk, Watchman really needs to check his privilege…. :-0

  • The Wobbly Guy

    I see a whole lot of rationalising, but why not call a spade a spade, rather than a-device-that-can-dig?

    It’s exactly this sort of pathetic logical handwringing and defensive posture that has brought the US to its current state. If the white males in the US don’t get their act together, get ready for more Fergusons and Detroits. White males as a coherent group have greatly contributed to the success of the US (and things like the space program). Ditto for the UK. Denying it in favor of something more nebulous and kumbaya like individualism and everybody-is-equal is nice and idealistic, but ultimately defeating as it logically leads to policies like unchecked immigration and multicultural diversity.

    Because then it becomes not about their generalities and the actions of men as a group, but about you as an individual, and if they try and bring in the actions of others you can dismiss those as not being your actions.

    Effectiveness: Zero. You are trying to argue using logic when they aren’t. They will just find some other way to accuse you of something, even if it’s as silly as maintaining that you support the white patriarchy by just existing. Try standing as an individual against a dozen harridans screaming illogical nonsense at you. I’m sure you will be firm and steadfast in your stance.

    Good luck!

  • The Wobbly Guy

    Tsk, tsk, Watchman really needs to check his privilege…. :-0

    Good call, and sums up the argument better than anything I wrote.

    This accusation is tough to defend against. My take if somebody accused me to check my privilege is to say, “My ancestors earned this privilege, your’s didn’t. Big whoop. Go and earn it for your descendants. Now f**k off.”

  • Travis

    Jackie’s decision to talk to RS two years after “the event” is a classic example of “building an alibi” to explain the events of sept. 28th 2012.
    Has anybody else wondered why only 3% (or whatever) of rape accusations lead to an arrest and conviction? Maybe, just maybe, men and women have different definitions of rape.
    It’s NOT rape just because he doesn’t call you the next day.
    It’s NOT rape just because he tells all his buddies on campus that he slept with you.
    It’s NOT rape just because he doesn’t want to drive you home.
    It’s NOT rape just because he never wants to see you again after he’s done.
    It’s NOT rape just because you regret it.
    The “campus rape epidemic” is nothing more than a temper tantrum thrown by angry, jilted feminists in the only arena where THEY have all the power.
    IF Jackie willingly decided (for whatever reason) it would be fun to explore her new found sexual freedom by setting some sort of record for the most Phi Psi’s blown in one night, and afterwards realized it was a horrible mistake, yeah, she might get depressed, might fail some courses, might put on 25 pounds, and MIGHT even try to explain the video of the event (that undoubtably exists)as a rape instead of just a horrible decision. Her alibi is just too vague. (PTSD memory problems, yeah sure). She doesn’t want any of the men involved to go to jail (because she knows they aren’t really rapists) so she keeps the names secret. But, she wants them to know she COULD make their lives hell IF they don’t stop telling everybody about that night, or IF they ever show anybody the video (and if Jackie had sex with more than one guy in a room in a frat, a video of it DOES exist)

  • Watchman

    Wobbly Guy,

    If you are saying ‘check your privilege’ is a tough argument to defend against, you are playing their game. It is not an argument, it is a pointless simplification of a not particularly relevant debating point because nothing becomes more or less true just because a different person says it. Call it out as an attempt to shut down debate – it works for me. And you can always ask why are men not allowed to talk about rape for example – it happens to men as well, even if much less often, but even a single case is enough.

    And as for the white males united thing you propose, as someone who would probably fit your definition (albeit on the wrong side of the Atlantic) can I point out that I have a priori no more in common with you and your hypothetical coherent group of white males than I do with feminists, or the (legendary?) one-legged black lesbians, other than a passing physical similarity perhaps. If you want to do everything in terms of identity politics, that’s up to you. But why should I or anyone else take you any more seriously than the feminists who think calling rape is different from calling wolf? You’re pushing the agenda of people who subscribe to your views, and also excluding those who by no choice of their own are not white or male (OK, they could technically become male, but I doubt you’re any better inclined to people who use their freedom to change their gender). What you are suggesting is not opposing feminism in a sensible way, but rather mirroring it in a particularly unproductive way (if there is a characteristic of white males in the USA and UK it is hardly working together…).

    And I am in no doubt we are not all equal. I just happen to believe that it is not the colour of our skin or our gender (or our height or our hair colour or the length of our noses) that makes us unequal – it is what we can do or cannot do. Even if a woman is likely to be slower than me, I cannot be certain of that until I have raced against her, and I am not stupid enough therefore to make the assumption that she is. I personally want to be more than another white male – and I want other people, whatever their appearance, to have the same opportunity. And I am not sure how seeing everyone as individuals leads to multiculturism though – that depends on seeing cultures as things people belong to, sort of like having a white male culture… If there is no recognition of cultures, then there is no money to be taken by those promoting extreme Islam in our schools (for Islam does not get money) and no justifiable defence of female genital mutiliation.

    For the sake of honesty, yes I do believe in open borders though – I am not a great fan of nationalism, as it is generally a tool of those controlling the government or those who want to do so. But it is interesting that you characterise me in these ways – like the feminists, you see what you want to see. Me, I see you as someone who seems to be espousing group identities as reality, and I am suggesting you are wrong.

  • Phil B

    Regarding false rape claims, this article discusses it rationally and provides links to the primary sources instead of the flat statements unsupported by any evidence.


    Some interesting observations from lawyers and Police prosecutors.

  • Mr Ed

    Watchman, by ‘check your privilege‘, I meant, in short, that the Leftist means:

    Consider what you are saying, reject reason, truth and logic, and adopt an expressly ad hominem position against what you are saying or thinking. Reject your own thoughts on the basis of them being the product of your class/race/gender/status. If you think that what I am saying is untrue, wrong-headed or evil, then reject your natural reaction in favour of conforming. It is insufficient to engage in Doublethink, holding two contradictory views on a matter, those being the truth and what we call the truth. Outwardly confirming by engaging in self-criticism and checking your privilege shows that you are merely partially on our side, and you must reject your own thoughts, truth and reason to be one of us.

    The terrible truth is that in Mao’s China, this sort of thinking was the basis of murder on a colossal scale.

  • Phil B

    Oops! I meant THIS link …


    Though my original does have other articles on the same theme.

  • Travis

    Phil B. Thank you for the link. This should be a part of men’s freshman orientation at every university in the US.

  • TDK


    This is definitely not a misspelling of ‘perpetrators’. This is a common usage in the context of ‘rape culture’. Rape is not a series of isolated incidents – it is part of culture – the duty of those who care is to challenge the culture. Those who diverge from the approved line are accused of being ‘perpetuators’. Worse than the perpetrator.

    Same thing is happening with Ferguson. The approved line is in – those who ask questions are perpetuating racism.

  • thefrollickingmole

    Valenti brings home the stupid in a follow up article…
    Which comes down to the whole “vibe” of the thing rather than the stated facts.

  • Paul Marks

    Mr Ed (and the others) are correct.

    What I have found most interesting is that comments from college types (things have gone full circle – “academics” are now lying collectivists just as they were in the time of Plato) that the facts do not matter – just the cause matters.

    That is moral bankruptcy – total and absolute.

    That is what the P.C. people, now known as the “Critical Theory” people, are really about.

  • Mr Ed

    The (often excellent) Daily Mash has a helpful guide to checking your privilege.

  • James Waterton
    December 7, 2014 at 4:09 am

    I apologize. Mass murder bothers me.

    Cannabis cures cancer. Cancer kills 586,000 Americans every year. Every Prohibitionist is complicit in mass murder.