As UVA Rape Story Falls Apart; Feminists Try to Save ‘Rape Culture’ Narrative

Barb Wire

Reporting by the Washington Post and ABC News is steadilly ripping to shreds the gang-rape story “Jackie” told Rolling Stone‘s Sabrina Rubin Erdely. Ed Morrissey at Hot Air has a good summary of how the story is unraveling. It seems clear that editors at Rolling Stone did not adequately vet the story and, as Eric Wemple says, “Erdely’s mission appears to have been to present as sensational and damaging an account of fraternity excesses as she could gather.”

Ah, but if the story is not true, this doesn’t mean that feminists are prepared to abandon their precious narrative about how college girls live under a regime of sexual terror caused by savage males who brutally impose their phallocratic supremacy on helpless victims. At, Amanda Hess coins the phrase “rape truthers” to describe “social media misogynists” she uses in a straw-man argument:

There are people on the fringe who believe that any rape story with any discrepancies is evidence of a vast feminist conspiracy aimed at inventing rapes and vilifying innocent men, but these rape truthers are not reasonable people, nor are they most people, and it is unwise to mold the conversation around their fantasies. I am, however, concerned with how some feminists and progressives have responded to the ever-expanding holes in Rolling Stone’s story.

At this point, it is clear that Rolling Stone failed to meet its basic journalistic requirements many times over. There is also compelling evidence that Jackie herself fabricated all or parts of her story. Neither of these scenarios serves to dismantle the anti-rape movement. Journalists have messed up reporting on rape since they began reporting on rape. In addition, there have been false rape allegations in the past, and there will be false allegations in the future. Any successful anti-rape activist or movement must be willing to accept that false accusations are not a “myth” and grapple with how to handle them appropriately. Whatever really happened at UVA one Saturday night in 2012 cannot possibly undermine a social justice movement because any understanding of justice must accommodate the truth. . . .

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You can read the rest, but notice what Hess has done here:

  1. Imputed irrational paranoia to those of us “people on the fringe” who see evidence of “a vast feminist conspiracy” in the interminable campaign against “rape culture” that has, among other things, imposed a weird “affirmative consent” law on California campuses. To say that feminists engage in propaganda campaigns, and that they do this in an organized manner with the assistance of politicians and journalists, is merely to state a fact. Feminist rhetoric routinely vilifies innocent men, as the whole point of the “rape culture” meme is to say that any word or deed that offends feminists — from caustic sarcasm to “the male gaze” — makes men complicit in rape. And, as far as this Rolling Stone UVA story is concerned, whether or not a rape was fictionalized out of whole cloth, feminists did manage to turn an egregious example of biased agenda-driven “reporting” into a hysteria that caused the university to shut down fraternity life on campus. Like the old joke says, it’s not paranoia if they really are out to get you.
  2. Accepted as valid the need for an “anti-rape movement” organized around the concept of “social justice,” which is exactly how we get episodes like this UVA fraternity witch-hunt.

Could somebody ask Amanda Hess to identify the pro-rape forces in society which necessitates this kind of anti-rape movement?

Pardon me if I sound like a “rape truther” in asking such a question, but rape has been a crime under Anglo-American common law since time immemorial, and this crime is punishable by very long prison terms. All law-abiding citizens support rigorous enforcement of our nation’s laws against rape, and so the question of how “social justice” requires an “anti-rape movement” ought to be asked.

Nobody is denying that rape happens, nor is anyone denying that college girls are sometimes the victims of these crimes. The problem is that the prevalence of rape on campus has been deliberately exaggerated by feminist ideologues who claim 1-out-5 college females will be sexually assaulted during their undergraduate careers.

Critics have repeatedly exposed the problem with this bogus statistic, yet it keeps being repeated as gospel, while feminists denounce as “rape apologists” anyone who points out the actual facts.

In a report this week, the Justice Department made clear that rape is less common on college campuses than elsewhere in society.

According to the report, the actual number of rapes of college-age females is 6.1 per 1,000, a drastically smaller number than 1-in-5. Meanwhile, non-college-attending females in the same 18-to-24 age group had about a 20% higher rate of rape (7.6 per 1,000).

To put it quite bluntly, there is zero evidence to support feminist claims of a “rape epidemic” on U.S. college campuses.

To put it even more bluntly, feminists are lying about rape.

Whether these feminist lies are evidence of a conspiracy, or merely a common habit among feminists, I’ll leave for my fellow misogynistic “rape truthers” to debate amongst themselves if they’re not too busy. Oppressing women is a full-time job, y’know.

First published at

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Robert Stacy McCain
Robert Stacy McCain is an award-winning journalist with more than 25 years of experience in the news business. He is a correspondent for The American Spectator, editor-in-chief at Viral Read and blogs at

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