TRIGGER WARNING: This article contains potentially sensitive references to sexual assault and rape. Inter:mission is a writer's collective that aims to publish a diverse range of articles. There will be a response to follow, we would also like to say that this article does not represent Inter:Mission's views in any way.
In 2016, it seems almost blasphemous to criticise university campus activism, but my experiences in the first week of university proved it is more than deserving of criticism. It was after the third of five hectoring monologues about sexual conduct that I realised the sex-obsessed wing of third-wave feminism was more likely harmful to gender relations than beneficial, and I doubt it was just the crippling hangover I had throughout that week which made the discussion hard to listen to. The hysterical and statistically wanting speeches to which we were subjected seemed to suggest that any form of virility and male sexual compulsion was a cancer in urgent need of excision, while simultaneously painting every girl in the room as a defenceless weakling of Doris Day proportions. This infantilising depiction of women is, to me, not feminism.
More than taking offence at the vilifying attitude many universities seem to take towards sexual exploration (and men in general), it concerns me to no end that a generation of sheltered bourgeois students are being taught as soon as they leave home that grown-up sexual contact is an inherently threatening and destructive power struggle. How are millennials to approach relationships when all they are told is how narrow the parameters are for acceptable romantic conduct? Worse still is the deeply misinformed approach to victimhood campus-brand feminism propitiates, in which a girl can cry wolf over something as simple as a regrettable drunken fumble months after the fact. I only needed a cursory Google search to uncover dozens of cases of wretched young men whose reputations have been irrevocably tarnished (and many more who had been erroneously imprisoned) by specious accusations from ignorant women who perceive themselves to be victims of Dragon Tattoo levels of sexual violence.
What university administrative teams need to understand is that men are predisposed to respect women. No rational human has any innate desire to harm another person, in much the same way that a maniac will not be deterred from enacting horrific abuse on people by being coerced into sitting through five support sessions in as many days. Camille Paglia’s assertion that ‘rape is a terrible crime that cannot be tolerated by a civilised society’ bears repeating, but in my submission the wave of fainting-couch hysteria sweeping universities has done less than nothing to aid the prevention of sexual assault, or indeed the recovery of genuine victims.