Wisconsin student's victim-blaming "rape culture" column goes over as well as you'd think


David Hookstead, a junior majoring in political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, recently penned a letter to the UW-Madison Badger Herald student paper with this provocative headline: "'Rape culture' does not exist."

:::: UPDATE :::: Wisconsin rape culture denier defiant in face of criticism, says he saved woman from assault

As the title indicates, in his column, Hookstead makes a case that "rape culture" is a fiction that "aggressively paints men as dangerous and as the root of evil."

Note: Trigger warning -- a portion of Hookstead's letter has been re-printed.

While acknowledging he will be criticized for his views, Hookstead begins with the premise that evil and criminal behavior are features of every current and historical society. Rape, like murder, is a horrible thing that people have always done to one another, he argues, yet we don't blame murder on a "murder culture." Therefore, if we're to remain consistent in our judgments, we shouldn't blame rape on a "rape culture."

A glaring problem with Hookstead's argument is that we do, of course, often blame specific murders on a broader murder culture, so there's nothing intellectually or morally problematic about ascribing rape to certain societal norms that should be changed, as people do when they talk about how rape culture plays a role in specific sexual assaults.


But if the flimsiness of his argument isn't bad enough, Hookstead digs a deeper ditch for himself with the way he closes the piece:

A woman drugged a close male friend of mine, who was a superstar athlete, so that she could assault him. There was little outrage, but could you imagine if a superstar athlete drugged a random woman and raped her? It'd be on the national news by morning.

This last part is likely going to blow up my Twitter feed with hate tweets.

It is unfortunate that some women feel the need to exploit anything that may be rape for publicity. Not everything that is claimed to be rape is actually rape, and false accusations only take away from the credibility of real victims.

For example, I've heard many women tell me they regretted having sex with somebody, and that if anybody asked them they'd just lie and say they were too drunk to remember. It's people like them that are huge problems. Why are women so desperate to demonize men that they'll lie about being raped?

Let's focus on those that truly need our help, and let's stop evil people when we can.

As you'd imagine, Hookstead's victim-blaming column went over about as well as the Hindenburg over New Jersey. Here's a sampling of some of the reaction (for more, click the link above):

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at [email protected]