by Heather MacDonald
February 11, 2014
In the last few weeks, the White House has created a new federal task force to “protect [college] students from sexual assault.” The initiative is based on the fiction that female college students are experiencing an unprecedented rape epidemic. Delusional or not, this directive will increase litigation, bloat already gigantic public and private bureaucracies even more, wrench colleges further from their educational mission, and harden the patently counterfactual ideology of victimization. Although Obama’s announcement did contain something new and noteworthy—a brief invocation of the chivalric ideal—the President’s invocation conflicts with the notion that the federal government can and should regulate intimate behavior as a substitute for personal responsibility. In a culture that relentlessly celebrates unconditional sexual availability, it’s going to take more than a presidential mention to persuade males not to take advantage of female sexual liberation.