What these responses share in common is a desire to draw attention back to the alleged real stuff: female students not being believed; a warped campus culture that needs intervention; the need to turn campuses from alleged sites of violence back into “environments of security.”
They’re still buying the core misconception of Ederly’s article, the really rotten part: the idea of a culture of rape, a culture of evil. According to Columbia’s report, Ederly wanted to find a “single, emblematic college rape case” that would show, in Ederly’s own words, “what it’s like to be on campus now… where not only is rape so prevalent but also that there’s this pervasive culture of sexual harassment / rape culture.” And much of the response to Columbia’s report is basically saying: Her emblematic case was hooey, yes, but she’s right about the pervasive-culture thing.
Only she isn’t. And if we correct Rolling Stone without challenging the rape-culture myth, then we leave the colossal problems here untouched.
Media feminists have been even more explicit in their demand that we swiftly turn our eyes away from Rolling Stone’s failings and back to the alleged tsunami of sexual assault on campus.
You know, “hysteria” is exactly the right word.