Julius Kairey has written a piece for the Cornell Daily Sun which examines the issue of rape culture on campus.

THROWDOWN THURSDAY: The Truth About “Rape Culture”

We hear a lot about “rape culture” on college campuses nowadays. The basic idea behind the concept is that there is a widespread tolerance of rape at Cornell and other universities, largely because society teaches men to disregard the importance of the consent of women in sexual encounters.

To those who believe in “rape culture,” rape is not the result of a few bad actors, but is tolerated, even encouraged, in our college culture. Few people seem willing to challenge this narrative for fear of being called insensitive to the suffering of those who have experienced sexual violence.

But a respect for the truth requires that the following question be asked: Is rape so widespread on campuses as to be an epidemic? The oft-cited figure that one-in-four women will been sexually assaulted at least once over the course of her time at college is of dubious accuracy. In fact, more reliable statistics from the Bureau of Justice Statistics show that one-in-forty women will be raped over four years of college.

Even these lower statistics indicate that there is still much work to be done in reducing sexual violence on campus, and all decent people share the goal of a campus free of sexual violence. But the truth is that the overwhelming majority of people on this and other campuses do not condone or engage in rape.

I would be less concerned about the exaggerated statistics about “rape culture,” and thus less inclined to criticize it, if it were not causing concrete harm to students. But the belief that rape must be prevented by “any means necessary” has been used to justify the elimination of key protections for students accused of rape in campus judicial systems.