In 1988, Jodie Foster won the Academy Award for Best Actress, for the movie The Accused, portraying a young woman of loose morals who was raped by several men she had befriended in a bar. While the story centered on how three bystanders just watched the rape happen, a sub-theme of the story dealt with her culpability in the rape. There she was, immodestly dressed, late at night, in a bar, drunk, flirting with the men who ultimately raped her. The movie posed an interesting question: Did she somehow encourage her rape through her own misbehavior?
The liberal feminist narrative answers that question no – no woman, no person, deserves to be raped. There is no circumstance in which a woman encourages rape. There is no bad behavior any woman could pursue that justifies rape. Nearly everyone stipulates to that view. I certainly do. But sometimes that view is stretched beyond the bounds of credibility.
Case in point: The female BYU student who recently came forward to tell of her alleged rape only to be “punished,” her word not mine, by the university for Honor Code violations associated with the circumstances of her alleged rape.
This female BYU student claims that after reporting her rape to university officials, explaining the circumstances of the rape, university officials wondered why she would have a young man alone in her apartment. That circumstance is a violation of the school’s Honor Code. The victim argues that her treatment by the school adds insult to injury and she is asking immunity from the school’s Honor Code for all female students reporting a rape. She argues that the Honor Code has a chilling effect on reporting rape.
In characteristic fashion, The Salt Lake Tribune has jumped on her bandwagon. Here is what the Tribune editorial page had to say about this incident:
“Women do not have a responsibility to keep men from assaulting them. There are decisions some women make in the interest of reducing their risk, but women who make different decisions are not inviting rapists to rape. If a man forces a woman to have non-consensual sex, it’s rape, and it is the assailant, not the victim, who is to blame.
“If the woman wore a sleeveless or strapless top, it’s still the rapist’s fault. If she had been drinking, it’s still the rapist’s fault. If they were in her bedroom, it’s still the rapist’s fault. If she previously had sex with him, it’s still the rapist’s fault.
“At Brigham Young University, that is not quite the whole story. If the victim is a BYU student, then any of the above conditions would put her in violation of BYU’s honor code, and she could face punishment up to and including expulsion.”
The Tribune concludes, “Without intending to, BYU has given rapists an advantage. If a woman has crossed any of these lines, she faces a different dynamic with a potential assailant, who can essentially say, ‘I’m doing this, and if you tell anybody, we’re both going down.’”
Again, everyone will stipulate that no person should force themselves sexually on another person, regardless of circumstances. But the Tribune takes this obvious point to the lunatic fringe. It’s saying that not only didn’t the female BYU student encourage rape through her violation of the school’s Honor Code, the Honor Code actually encourages rape. As they say, the Honor Code gives “rapists an advantage.”
Now think about this for a second. Folks, if the young woman in question categorically cannot possibly misbehave in any way to encourage her rape, how in the world can BYU’s Honor Code encourage her rape? If only the rapist is culpable, how can BYU’s Honor Code encourage rape? As an actual matter of encouragement, the Honor Code serves to protect women from rape in this context.
It’s a gross liberal fiction that all laws create criminals out of innocent people. Of course, some laws can. But progressives, like Tribune editorial writers, take particular umbrage at laws and rules that reflect conservative or traditional values. It’s the old complaint about “Victorian morality” – that such morality criminalizes normal human behavior (meaning, in liberal speak, any consensual human behavior). Certainly BYU and other authorities need to investigate the claims of this student. But that’s a far cry from saying BYU ought to dump its Honor Code that, if adhered to, actually helps to protect its students from spiritual and physical harm.
Previously posted at KVNU for the people. Reposted with permission.