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Opinion

Fallout from campus sexual assault hysteria: College men now suspicious of women

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Ashe Schow,Higher Education,Sexual Harassment,Due Process,Campus Sexual Assault,Rape

Thanks to an increased focus on sexual assaults on college campuses – mostly due to an overblown statistic claiming 20 percent of college women have been sexually assaulted – young college men are starting to rethink how they talk to women.

At first glance that might seem like a good thing – men learning to be more respectful of women and not be so rapey – but that’s not what this is.

This is about men actually avoiding contact with women because they’re afraid a simple kiss or date could lead to a sexual assault accusation.

Bloomberg reporters John Lauerman and Jennifer Surane interviewed multiple men from colleges like Harvard and Stanford who expressed concern over what was once known as a "hook-up culture" but is now labeled by feminists as "rape culture." The change in terminology ensures that all responsibility is placed on men, just because of their gender.

Take Malik Gill of Harvard University, who said he wouldn’t even give a female classmate a beer.

“I don’t want to look like a predator,” Gill told Bloomberg. “It’s a little bit of a blurred line.”

Gone are the days of buying a woman a drink – even if it’s just to be nice.

Gill also told Lauerman and Surane that after he passed on the contact information of a woman who said she was interested in his fraternity brother, his friend was hesitant to call her.

“Even though she was interested, he didn’t want to pressure her,” Gill said. “He was worried about making her feel uncomfortable.”

William Pollack, a Harvard Medical School psychologist, told the Bloomberg reporters about a patient who was kissing a girl during a party and began thinking about what would happen if things went further.

“‘I want to go to law school or medical school after this,’” the student said, according to Pollack. “‘I said to her, it’s been nice seeing you.’”

Pollack also noted that the media attention to campus sexual assault has led to a “witch-hunt” mentality.

“Most males would never do anything to harm a young woman,” Pollack told the Bloomberg reporters. But the current focus is “starting to scare the heck out of the wrong people.”

Like Clark Coey, who will be a freshman at East Carolina University in North Carolina this year. He’s worried that the definition of consent might not be clear exactly what it means.

“I haven’t learned anything about consent since I was a freshman in a health class,” Coey told Bloomberg. “They have to give you a better understanding of what’s right and what’s wrong.”

Oscar Sandoval of Stanford University said a female friend asked if he wanted to hang out. His friend was drunk when she arrived, Sandoval told Bloomberg. She flirted, but he just walked her to her dorm.

“Among the people I hang out with, there’s more hesitancy to hook up with someone when there’s alcohol involved,” Sandoval said. “Something that you might have thought would be okay when you were drunk might not be okay later on.”

Joshua Handler of New York University’s comments brought up another interesting consequence of so much media attention: Having to talk to women in a very specific manner.

Handler told the Bloomberg reporters that he is now very clear about what he wants when he talks to women.

Because now, apparently, women can’t interpret conversations and need to be spoken to like children (my words, not his).

I would also remind readers of Kevin Parisi, who was accused of – but found not responsible for – raping a fellow student at Drew University. He certainly has reason to be wary of women, and he told the Washington Examiner that he’s afraid that what happened to him at Drew could happen at other schools.

“I don’t see any way that this — I don’t see how these — the laws at hand don’t protect me from this happening again,” he said.

We’re facing a cultural shift where soon men might be afraid to talk to women at all for fear of being labeled rapists. Without presumed innocence on college campuses, the only way this will be fixed is after universities have to start paying out millions of dollars to students after being sued for denying them due process.

And with the current landscape – that might not be too far in the future.

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