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U.Va. student likely kidnapped by actual rapist–but U.Va fixated on “rape culture”

October 7, 2014

The difference between rape and “rape culture.”

Here’s an actual likely rape of an 18-year-old sophomore at the University of Virginia:

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr. was the kind of guy who would bust your lip, then regretfully drive you to the hospital.

***

The former college football lineman and sometime cab driver is in jail on a charge of “abduction with intent to defile” in the Sept. 13 disappearance of University of Virginia sophomore Hannah Graham. Police say forensic evidence also connects the 32-year-old Charlottesville man to the 2009 murder of another college student, which in turn is linked by DNA to a 2005 sexual assault in northern Virginia.

***

Graham was last seen disappearing into the early morning darkness of Sept. 13, when a jewelry store’s surveillance camera captured Matthew walking off with his arm around her.

And here’s how the University of Virginia treats rape: Let’s make a “bystander awareness” video about intervening in what your friends do at campus parties! Let’s hashtag it #HoosGotYourBack! Cute!

Because “rape culture” is far worse than actual rape:

In a small cafe near the university’s famous Lawn, Sara Surface explains the ways students are taught to intervene on behalf of their friends. The co-chair of the university’s Sexual Violence Prevention Coalition wears a “Not On Our Grounds” T-shirt, having just come from a campus-safety event.

“It’s not just a perpetrator and a victim,” she says. “Everyone has more of a responsibility to get involved.”

Ms. Graham’s disappearance has captured media attention, but Ms. Surface and other student leaders are reluctant to discuss it in the context of #HoosGotYourBack. First, they point out, her case is still open, and few facts are known.

Second, the attention might obscure the point those students are trying to drive home: Most sexual assaults are committed by people the victims know, rather than, Mr. Ross says, “people lurking and preying on the university.” An assault is more likely to be, say, a dorm-room encounter begun at a party than an abduction by a stranger.

In fact, “abduction by a stranger”–someone “lurking and preying on the university”–is exactly what police suspect happened to Hannah Graham.

But who cares about the facts when they get in the way of the narrative? Who cares about a young woman who was allegedly placed in actual danger–and probably murdered–when we can wring our hands about college students getting drunk at parties and having sex in their dorm rooms that they later regret?

Posted by Charlotte Allen

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