Tag Archives: Barbara Kay

The end of rape culture

BY Jim Byset

A CURIOUS thing is happening at the National Post right now. Over the past two weeks, the National Post has printed four articles on rape culture. Rape culture, for those of you who don’t know, is the idea that we live in a society whereby rape is an accepted reality. Evidence that we are living in such a culture comes from our apparent comfort with sexualizing and objectifying women, the prevalence of prostitution and pornography, victim blaming, slut shaming, and trivializing rape.

Quite often, statistics and facts accompany the theory – with feminists and activists quoting numbers that are, on the face of it, pretty terrifying.  While there doesn’t seem to be a consensus as to exactly how many women are being raped or sexually assaulted (advocates of the theory never include data on male victims,) what is clear is that the numbers are absolutely huge. Indeed, they’re so big that they’re simply not credible. Many noted academics, critics, and commentators such as Christina Hoff Sommers have repeatedly argued this point but to little avail. While critics of feminism have been effective in ripping the theory to shreds, gender feminists plow on regardless – safe in the knowledge that neither politicians nor the mainstream media have any interest in confronting their claims.

That comfortable status quo, however, might be about to change.

Over the past fortnight, The National Post has aggressively challenged the concept of rape culture. Barbara Kay, long noted for her rejection of feminist thought, wrote two articles in which she critiqued the spurious tenets of rape culture theory. Brian Hutchinson penned a piece in which he investigated the origins and veracity of foundational ‘statistics’ that underpin rape culture and, just two days ago, The National Post Editorial Board threw their considerable weight behind the push to openly scrutinize the idea of rape culture.

Kay sees the recent coverage as part of a greater awareness, and skepticism about the claims made by feminists.

I am very pleased to see the Post’s editorial board taking a definite stand on this issue[.] I think perhaps it is a sign that there is only so much fear-mongering you can generate without adducing evidence for it before public skepticism takes hold. According to rape culture claims, the risks to campus women of sexual assault are higher than the risk of any other crime on earth. And yet women walk around the campus seemingly blithely unaware of the terrible fate in store for them or their girlfriends (based on the one in four/five figure). There is a cognitive disconnect here, and ordinary Canadians are puzzled by it.

As well they should be – the idea that we live in a rape culture clashes spectacularly not only with official crime stats, but also with the dim view that society in general takes of sexual assault and rape – a point that Margaret Wente of The Globe and Mail recently explored, saying that,“[the] manufacture of “rape culture” is a triumph of ideology over substance. It has inflated a serious but uncommon threat into a crime wave.”

The key word here is inflated. Feminists routinely buttress their theories with statistics that are not congruent with reality; they use definitions and methodologies that result in a hopelessly skewed picture. No reasonable person – even for a moment – would believe the ‘statistic’ that one-in-four women are raped on university campuses, yet that is the conclusion that Mary P. Koss came to in her now infamous (and repeatedly debunked) survey in 1987.

Amazingly, 73% of the women that Koss characterized as rape victims, did not share that view – they did not think that they were victims of rape. 43% of these supposed rape victims went on to date their ‘rapists.’

Clearly Koss’ definition of rape is just plain wrong and an honest scholar would address that. Koss chose not to address the problem, however, and so have the countless feminist academics who’ve since mimicked her methodology. What exists as a consequence is a strange form of hysteria across college campuses, and, to a lesser degree – across society. Kay believes that the success of the feminist propaganda machine, in popularizing the myth of a ‘war on women’ is directly responsible for promulgation of rape culture.

Once you accept… that the urge to violence against women is a chronic and unabating evil, situated in the hearts of men, and ready to spring out at any opportune moment, you have created a moral panic with no basis in evidence, just a theory that violence against women is a continuum from a child’s stolen playground kiss on the cheek to the calculated rapes of women in Bosnia-Herzogovina. No amount of vigilance, therefore, is too much, and no woman is therefore really safe. In fact, a very tiny percentage of women are at actual risk of violence from men in our society, and of those who are, much of it is avoidable.

The recent debacle at Wellesley College in is a perfect example of this hysteria. American artist Tony Matelli’s temporary art installation – a statue of a fairly ordinary looking man sleepwalking in his underwear was deemed by students as an “inappropriate and potentially harmful addition to our community.” Admittedly – the statue is unusual – and at a stretch unsettling – but it’s a statue. It doesn’t possess agency and has nothing to do with rape. Yet, these staggeringly obvious facts did not deter Wellesley students from setting up a Change.org petition to have the ‘triggering’ statue removed from its location on campus grounds, which, depressingly, garnered some 988 signatories.

Somnambulist statue at Wellesley college
Somnambulist statue at Wellesley college

[T]hat is the point of it (rape culture) – to sow terror of men in order to convince authorities that women continue to need support, that the rape-crisis industry is not only necessary but in need of expansion, and therefore even more funding in this area is called for. The real beneficiaries are stakeholders in jobs created by the moral panic.

It is difficult to draw any other conclusion. Rape culture just doesn’t make any sense. It contradicts the general societal view of rape and sexual assault as a heinous crime; it contradicts how seriously the legal system views such crimes and relies on debunked, dishonest research. It also describes a picture that Kay says is completely at odds with crime statistics.

 “The fact is that instances of rape have gone down in the general population. If they have gone up on campuses, there have to be other factors at work. Why has there not been more emphasis on facts and statistics around the phenomenon? Because the case for rape culture collapses when you start looking into the stats. Even if you multiply reported rapes by 100, you still don’t get figures that add up to a “culture.”

It is vital, according to Kay, to continue to put pressure on those that perpetuate such theories by asking questions, and demanding answers.

“[We should ask] the same questions we should ask of someone who promotes the idea that there are packs of stray dogs roaming the city and we are in danger of getting rabies from their bites: Show me the evidence. How many police reports of bites? How many hospital admissions for rabies? How many stories of bites and rabies turned out to be urban myths? Why are the rabid dogs only roaming around in this city and not in the nearby ones? Is “rabies” a misnomer in most cases for “infection”? Has “rabies” been redefined in this city and not in others? How is it that so many of the self-reporting victims were so drunk when they were bitten that they can’t remember feeling the pain of the bite?”

These are questions that feminists need to answer. There should be no more talk of ‘triggering,’ no more ad hominem attacks or appeals to emotion – if feminists want their theories to be taken seriously then they should be made to publically defend them. If they are not willing to do that then financial support should be withdrawn from programs that support such spurious theories. It is high time for a critical audit of rape culture theory, and the industry it supports.

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Justice: Canadian Style

BY Jim Byset

THE TRAVESTY of justice that is the gynocentric Canadian legal system continues unabated with the news that Meredith Borowiec is to receive a paltry 18 month sentence for two counts of infanticide, with a suspended sentence on the charge of aggravated assault. Borowiec killed her newborn babies in 2008, 2009, and attempted to kill another in 2010. Judge Peter McIntyre handed down the sentence yesterday, noting in doing so that it was ‘a terrible case.’

No doubt McIntyre’s assessment is correct. He is correct insofar as two human beings, utterly dependent on the immediate care of their mother were brutally and callously killed – cast aside literally as garbage. It was only due to fortuitous circumstance that her third victim survived. Borowiec’s boyfriend, Ian Turnbull, discovered the baby in a dumpster when he overheard crying. In interviews with police Borowiec, who has given birth four times, admitted to hearing her new-born children cry as she disposed of them.

Mitigating factors in the sentencing were the defendant’s lack of a criminal record and her mental state at the time of giving birth. It was this supposed mental state that enabled the court to change the charges from 2nd degree murder to infanticide. Infanticide, in Canadian law, is treated differently from the crime of murder. It is, from a legal standpoint, a far lesser crime.

Canada implemented the law in 1948 and modelled it closely on the law then extant in Great Britain. The law was used in Britain as a stop gap measure, as the crime of murder was, at the time, a capital offence – meaning women found guilty of killing their newborns would hang. Judges and juries were consistently hesitant to hand down this sentence. It was deemed overly harsh and so the lesser crime of infanticide was introduced to punish the female-perpetrated murder of newborn babies – and to save women from the gallows. (It is perhaps needless to say, but men cannot be charged with the crime of infanticide – regardless of their mental state.)

However, this is Canada in the 21st Century – 66 years later. Women no longer have to worry about having children out of wedlock. There is no social stigma even remotely comparable to that of 1940′s Great Britain. It is simply not accurate or truthful to make that argument. Canadian women have abortion on demand – with no term limits. There are adoption agencies. As unpalatable as it may sound, there are churches, police and fire stations, hospitals – all institutions that would unquestioningly take in a newborn and make sure it is given care. There are countless options available – all of which makes Borowiec’s crimes even more despicable.

In sentencing, Judge McIntyre remarked that all three crimes were committed while the defendant’s ‘mind was disturbed while giving birth.’ If this is the case then why did Borowiec continually lie about her pregnancies to co-workers – passing off her growing torso as uterine cysts? Why didn’t she take precautions to ensure that after the first incident it never happened again? The truth of the matter here is that she knew what she was doing and simply did not care. Concocting a story whereby she underwent mental stress in childbirth, to the point that it led her to throw three babies into dumpsters, all in almost identical circumstances, is utterly ludicrous.

However, it is not surprising that it should work. Since 1977 there have been 86 such cases in Canada. The law was challenged in the Ontario Court of Appeal in 2011 by the Crown prosecution but was ultimately defeated. The Crown challenged the law in the case of a Guelph, ON woman who smothered her two infant sons. They lost the case and the woman known only as L.B. served just one year in prison. The stark reality is that Canadian law and legal institutions are heavily slanted in favour of any woman who stands before them and that crimes – even those as sickening as these can be waved away with nebulous references to mental duress.

As Barbara Kay put it, writing in yesterday’s National Post, it’s now ‘open season’ on unwanted infants. It’s hard to disagree with her assessment.  The bodies of Borowiec’s victims were never found and most likely ended up in landfills. It should be remembered – these were human beings. These were people – although we’ll never know their names. We’ll never know their gender; Boroweic never bothered to check before throwing them away.

Their deaths are a stain not just on Borowiec but on those who support her. Their deaths are a stain on the Canadian justice system. Their deaths are a stain on those who stand by, and do nothing.

It is a black day for Canada – and there are more on the horizon.