By Paul Bremmer
Feminists are distraught now that Rolling Stone has retracted the sensational University of Virginia rape story published last month. Many are continuing to defend “Jackie,” the UVA student whose tale of a horrific gang rape was found to contain numerous holes.
Jessica Valenti, columnist for London’s Guardian newspaper, wrote: “I choose to believe Jackie. I lose nothing by doing so, even if I’m later proven wrong.”
Liberal blogger Melissa McEwan tweeted: “I can’t state this more emphatically: If Jackie’s story is partially or wholly untrue, it doesn’t validate the reasons for disbelieving her.”
Conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly believes feminists are so vehemently defending Jackie and her partially discredited allegations because they don’t want to lose out on an anti-male narrative.
“The reason they bought into the story and didn’t have any suspicions about the flakiness of it is antagonism toward men in general,” Schlafly said. “Their cry is they want to abolish the patriarchy, and anything that hurts men is something that pleases the feminists.”
Rolling Stone reporter Sabrina Erdeley used Jackie’s tale as the centerpiece of a larger story alleging a widespread “culture of rape” on college campuses. However, Schlafly doesn’t believe rape qualifies as a “culture.”
“There isn’t any rape culture,” she said. “There’s nothing ‘culture’ about rape. Rape is a crime and ought to be punished. But people who make false accusations about a dangerous crime like that also ought to be punished, and I hope everybody connected with this false story will suffer the consequences.”
Schlafly, whose recently published book “Who Killed the American Family?” came out just days before she turned 90, sees a national media landscape dominated by feminists and those who are afraid to anger the feminists.
“They really are a vicious group,” she said. “They don’t like men, and they want anything to discredit and destroy men. I think it’s very helpful that the [UVA rape] story has been exposed as a fraud, and anybody who heard it in the first place should have suspected it was a fraud.”
Schlafly has spent the better part of her long career battling feminists, and she even goes so far as to say there is a war on men in the U.S., not a war on women.
“There is a war on men, and [feminists] are very open about it,” she said. “They don’t conceal it; they brag about it. You read all of their material – they’re always saying they want to abolish the patriarchy. They said that husbands are not necessary in a marriage, they’re not necessary in raising children.”
Noting the harm done to men falsely accused of rape, she pointed to the three Duke lacrosse players whose reputations were smeared in 2006.
“It’s really dangerous for a guy to go to college these days. He’s better off if he doesn’t talk to any women when he gets there,” Schlafly said. “The feminists are perfectly glad to make false accusations and then claim all men are capable of some dastardly deed like rape.”
Writing about the UVA case, New York Times writer Jennifer Steinhauer noted “liberal commentators, as well as various advocates for women, argued that a flawed magazine article about an individual assault ought not to obscure the broad issue of sexual assault on campus.”
The article quoted Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., who said, “We don’t know the facts of what did or did not happen in this case. But these facts have not changed. UVA has admitted they have allowed students who have confessed to sexually assaulting another student to remain on campus. That is and remains shocking.”
But Steinhauer said many conservatives “bristle at the concept of a rape culture that permeates the discussion of sexual assault on campuses.”
She quoted Christina Hoff Sommers of the American Enterprise Institute, who said there is “no evidence of a rape culture on the American campus.”