But the claim that massive numbers of women are sexually assaulted on college campuses is simply not true. And that false “one in four” figure is creating real anxiety in many college women:
What I’m talking about has a technical name: It’s rape anxiety. It’s the anxiety, the mundane, common anxiety — when you’re walking, when you’re going somewhere new, whatever — that there is a danger you could get raped. But more simply, what it feels like is fear. It feels like not being comfortable walking back to your own dorm, your home, and it feels like looking over your shoulder because it’s after 8 p.m. I keep telling myself that I’m overreacting, that really, the chances are so slim — but then I’m alone and walking to Toyon to do a p-set, and everything looks sinister in the orange street lights. It’s almost comical, except it’s not at all.
A lot has been said about the system, the culture, the beliefs that allow sexual assault to continue, and a lot has been written about the details about the assault itself. But this is smaller, and it’s less particular. It’s a general feeling of fear — it’s having to weigh the chance that you won’t be safe when deciding if you want to go to a meeting across campus at 9:30 p.m. And the more I talk about it with my friends, that more we kept coming back to the same ideas: It is so real to us, this fear. Whether you knew the term or not, we all knew the feeling — all feel it more often than would seem rational. And it’s not fair.
It is not fair. But that does not matter. These women are the foot soldiers to be sacrificed for the greater good. This greater good is all about power; power that these women can wield, power that women in general can wield. The campus is one of the easiest places to to attempt to shove this power play down society’s throat. Title IX provides the leverage to do so. Universities have effectively become Federalized. Even state universities — no dual sovereignty system there.
So we have a problem. Young women on campus are anxious. What can be done? Well, nothing can be done. For to admit that these stats are BS would be to give up the game. So here is a case where women will just have to grin and bear it.
Of course, if young women were really being raped at the rate that was claimed, it would be a dereliction of parental responsibility to send them to campus. But many parents understand the game. The young women who are so impressionable and so saturated by the propaganda are the victims here. Still, they allow themselves to uncritically consume the propaganda. It used to be that universities were about teaching young men and women to actually think.