Al Sharpton took a page out of the old South’s playbook and brought us Tawana Brawley, who accused six white men of raping her. The story of white on black crime resonated, and it helped to promote a social justice agenda, but Tawana Brawley was no more a rape victim than two white women in Scottsboro, Alabama, who falsely accused nine black teenagers more than 80 years ago.
What do these stories have in common? Someone had an agenda, and they knew that a rape story would put it on a rocket powered toboggan.
And, therein lies the origin of today’s “rape culture” frenzy. This is not to say that there are not unreported and unprosecuted sexual assaults. I have dear friends who suffered such injustice, and I believe their stories with every drop of blood in my body. I’ll bet that nearly everyone knows someone who has a verifiably true story. But, is that really “rape culture?” What does that silly phrase mean? It means the same thing as Jim Crow stories of rape meant. It means the same thing that Tawana Brawley meant. It means that someone has an agenda, and they want to harness the emotional power of rape to promote it.
Which brings us to the University of Virginia.