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Navigating TCU has been difficult since Monday. Survivors of sexual violence were greeted on University Drive that afternoon by a person known to the campus community, conservative internet personality Steven Crowder, a political commentator who hosts argument booths around North Texas to spark disputes with passersby. Crowder has visited campus before, specifically this spring when he set up a booth with a sign reading, “White privilege doesn’t exist. Change my mind.” The image received widespread notoriety and quickly became the subject for memes and joking online.

But this time Crowder’s subject was far more difficult for students to deal with. This time his sign said, “Rape culture doesn’t exist. Change my mind.” 

Anyone who lives in the modern world likely knows that when he or she sees such verbiage, its author is not interested in a new way of thought. This is especially true of Crowder, whose approach to debates with students is famously one of antagonism rather than philosophical insight. 

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Whatever his motivations, Crowder had a negative impact on campus life for many. Multiple students alerted administrative staff in several departments, expressing distress at Crowder’s presence and aggressive tactics. Staff and students say many female students were in tears during Crowder’s confrontations. 

The visit sparked a response from faculty in TCU’s Women and Gender Studies program, who sent an email urging people on campus to stand with survivors and to show support by sporting purple ribbons, female empowerment slogans, or teal colors, which designate sexual assault awareness month (which is in April). Some faculty were seen wearing purple ribbons the next day. 

On Tuesday, students received emails from the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Kathy Cavins-Tull, in which she explained that TCU did not host Crowder but that his speech was protected under the U.S. Constitution. She also confirmed that Crowder’s booth was set up on a public walkway, meaning the school could not escort him off the premises.

“Many watched and some participated as Steven Crowder, a self-proclaimed conservative political commentator, actor, and comedian, engaged passersby in the filming of his podcast,” Cavins-Tull said in the prepared email. “Mr. Crowder makes his living by posing a divisive statement to a group, often college students, and asking them to change his mind. His method of operation is to garner a reaction from individuals, which he, in turn, makes fun of while filming for his show.” 

The email also referred students to campus resources and counseling services.

Not all responses were supportive of students, however. Associate music professor Richard Estes expressed frustration with the public outrage by responding to one Facebook post with, “Toughen up a little, snowflakes.”

The timing was perfect for Crowder to gain attention. This issue has sparked heated discussions both online and in the “real world” in the wake of Dr. Christine Ford’s sexual assault allegations against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

But while the timing might be right for Crowder’s purpose, the timing was wrong with respect to decency. Every time we engage in discourse around sexual violence, there are survivors who can hear us.

Survivors of rape and sexual assault likely did not expect to run into Crowder on their way to classes Monday afternoon, but they still saw his sign. In a place where they are supposed to feel supported and safe, and where Title IX regulations are routinely stressed by administrators and staff, survivors had to work their way around a large throng of students, a camera crew, campus police, and several people who turned up to support Crowder.

It should be noted that survivors of sexual assault frequently relive their experiences when this topic is brought up publicly. Sexual violence should not be talked about lightly. When we engage in debates on topics relating to rape and sexual assault, we must exercise humanity and respect. Otherwise, we are further harming some of the most vulnerable in society.  Written by Erin Ratigan

17 COMMENTS

  1. The title should read “rape culture” denier. He never apologizes for rapists or tries to make better light of people who participate in rape. You can’t apologize for something you don’t even believe exists.

    • Respectfully, apologist means defender typically of an ideological position or set of actions. In other words the article’s Title could be read as “Rape Culture Defender”

    • Daniel. Watch the video, make a use of critical thought.then re read what you have posted. My next statement is to be taken as constructive criticism. You appear to by naive.

    • You honestly think these leftist would write an honest headline? I can’t believe my party has turned in to this. Never again!

  2. I thought his points were persuasive and insightful. It is a shame that some people steal, but it is ignorant to blame everyone for the actions of a few. Are all muslims terrorists? No, and not all men are rapists.

    However, some are. But that doesn’t mean there is a rape culture among men anymore than there is a terrorist culture among muslims.

    • I understand your point completely. But ‘rape culture’ isn’t the belief that all men are rapists or that it is ok to be a rapist. This is an understandable misconception. The term refers more to the “culture”; the societal setting. Think of a court where the rape victim is asked what she wore, how much she drank, what she said to “encourage” the man- focusing more on the implied wrongs of the victim rather than the criminal act of the perpetrator. Think of the father who asked why his son should suffer for “ten minutes of fun” after his son was caught in the act of raping a young woman near a dumpster. Think of the parents of the football players who carried an unconscious young woman from party to party where she was raped and photographed, voicing their outrage of their boys being so ill-treated. Think of the assumption that a woman is a “gold digger” if she accuses someone famous of rape. Is it any wonder that girls and women choose not to come forward in this type of culture? As a male you have every right to be disgusted – not by the term “rape culture”- but by the “boys will be boys” excuse people often use. Your voice needs to be heard that regardless of alcohol intake, skirt length, words spoken, that wrong is wrong, no means no and real men know it!

  3. My 9yr old daughter and I sat and listened to the raw Brett Kavanaugh testimony while we were waiting for her to go in to a doctors appointment. She kept saying to me “Mommy, why is this man so sad?” I explained to her what was happening and she was in tears. My little girl identified the truth in his pure emotion. Kids are so much more in tune to truth than we adults are. This entire allegation is a farce, I hope Dr. Ford is prosecuted for her misleading and unsubstantiated testimony.

    • Yes, I too was deeply moved by Kavanaugh’s memories of lifting weights at Tobin’s house, the long list of girls this self proclaimed high school virgin spoke to “almost every night”, and the heart wrenching memory of Dad reading from his calendar at Christmas (Dad, btw, is sitting right behind him). Perhaps it was your interpretation of “what was happening” that saddened her. An interpretation I hope and pray never comes back to haunt you. Being on the other end of parenthood I have experienced the karma you invite. No matter how many times you tell your daughter “I will love you, believe you, protect you – no matter what happens.” What she hears is every “You’re wearing THAT? I don’t think so.” “Is that beer I smell?” “Do you want people to think you’re a -?” Chances are, she will not come to you. She will internalize one of the most horrible events a young woman can experience. And she will do it alone. Why? She is learning from you that men deserve protection, to always be believed and women do not. She is learning guilt and shame. You have neatly demonstrated exactly what “rape culture” is; you are victim blaming. “I hope Dr. Ford is prosecuted for her misleading and unsubstantiated testimony.” A woman should be punished for having experienced a trauma? Or just for telling others and, possibly, ruining the chances of a petulant angry man who demonstrates behavior NOT AT ALL conducive for a SC justice to get a lifetime job? Who is around to substantiate an attempted rape? Onlookers are generally frowned upon as with all criminal acts. Of course, “3-Devil’s Triangle” printed in his yearbook indicating “junior year- threesome” couldn’t possibly be the boasting of spoiled rich kid who knows he can do whatever he wants and not be held accountable. It’s just a coincidence that the “alleged attack” occurred at that time and just happened to include 2 males and a female. Out of curiosity, was your daughter able to watch the lady being sad as well? Probably not.

    • This is a vile propaganda article indeed.

      He does not defend rape culture you lying, manipulative vermin. He does not believe it exists…..And he is absolutely correct.

      There is no such thing as rape culture in the west, hence why no one was able to refute him, and instead you had a bunch of whiney crying babies screaming about irrelevant garbage.

      Rape culture IS a myth and neither this pathetic hit-piece of an article, nor anyone in the original video itself has been able to prove otherwise. Defeated.

  4. A college campus should never be a “safe space” for anything other than one’s physical well being. Crowder was engaging the students and his audience in a manner that college professors stopped doing a long time ago; he employed the Socratic method to discuss and dissect ideas in a manner that is thought provoking and forces those in the conversation as well as the audience to examine and often abandon what they thought was the truth.

    Too often, the phrases “I’m offended” or the much bandied and ridiculed “I’m triggered” are used interchangeably as a means of silencing debate around things that make society uncomfortable. Such an attitude is dangerous for society and the height of hypocrisy for a college campus, where ideas and statements are supposed to be explored, debated and discussed.

    Crowder may have a bit of a court jester’s approach to debate but that doesn’t make his questions any less valid. The argument that he’s not being decent is laughable, considering many in the Gender and Women’s Studies community and the behavior displayed in the video, show that not one has any decency when it comes to respecting the rule of law or the notion of innocence until proven guilty when discussing Brett Kavanagh.

  5. I think you’re misunderstanding what rape culture is. It refers to the many different ways in which the severity of rape is undermined in our institutions. It’s a woman’s sexual history or choice of clothing being used in the defense of an alleged rapist. It’s someone saying “good for him!” when a high school boy is taken advantage of by a female teacher. It’s valuing Brock Turner’s swimming career over the justice his victim deserves. Rape culture is not the idea that all men are rapists. It’s distrust of victims when the stats don’t justify it, downplaying the act of rape itself, and not holding predators accountable for their actions. That stuff is deeply embedded into our society, our culture. No, not all of our culture is pro-rape, but aspects of it are — aspects that affect A LOT of people — and to deny that suggests we don’t have fixing to do.

  6. This whole article is all emotional response and zero effort to excersize critical thinking skills. None of the students up at the Marxist workshop formerly known as TCU were able to form a substantiated argument. Worse than that, they couldn’t even defend their accusations of a FUCKING RAPE CULTURE existing in our country. An excused and inforced and encouraged RAPE SOCIETY? Are YOU seriously entertaining this bullshit?
    Only in a country where the number one song on the radio is probably a Migos track instructing young people to fuck other people’s girlfriends and wives while simultaneously instructing them to sell addictive drugs to vulnerable people will you find college students at the most expensive universities in the country blaming their boy problems on old/middle age successful white men.
    Hey assholes up at FW weekly, or just the liberal shill who wrote this crap. When you make the delusional supposition that men fraternally support each other’s secret gang rape cartels THE FUCKING BURDEN OF PROOF IS ON YOU. Here’s the caveat- all the rapists are soy boys and progressive demagogues. All you people fucking suck.
    You don’t suck because you don’t like rape. You don’t suck because it made you sad to see 20 somethings get their minds spanked. You suck because you’re not mad at the 20 somethings for being fucking slow and vulnerable and easily assailed. Precociousness was never there for these kids. Vapid liberal homogeneous necessity has taken over in place of intellectual saturation or even pride in individual free thought and meritocracy.
    What’s the incentive for young men and women to even get together when they’re just liabilities for each other? The man fears totall uncorroborated claims of abuse and rape not to mention a lifetime of being told they aren’t good enough leading up to divorce that won’t end in his favor
    The women fears all the myths of toxic masculinity while also being wrapped up into conspiratorial themes of beauty and “trading up” for other men, never being able to fall into a trusting reciprocal mutual loving relationship.
    Children being born to single mothers across all demographics in our country are as high as ever. The dads aren’t around. The moms are looking for random fuck boys to pass the time and government pays the bill. Meanwhile our debt is looming and our enemies are sharpening their swords ready for the open border orgy.
    Nero plays violin while Rome burns.

  7. I’m not sure what’s more embarrassing for Fort Worth, the reaction of TCU or the fact that this outlet of so called journalism is somehow associated with our great city.

  8. Crowder is NOT a “rape culture apologist”.
    There is no such THING as a “rape culture” in the US.

    To say that there is, you have to imagine that there is a widespread, pervasive movement that condones rape, protects, and advances the cause of rape.

    This is, patently, not so. And YOU KNOW THIS.
    At no point in the history of the world has a culture been LESS tolerant of rape.
    What the culture is ALSO intolerant of, is attacks on the concept of assumption of innocence. Therefore, before prosecuting for rape, ACTUAL EVIDENCE is REQUIRED.
    So activists for rape victims act as if anything other than abject belief is “rape culture”.

    Because women would NEVER lie about rape!

    Just ask Emmett Till
    The Scottsboro Boys
    Paul Nungesser
    Brian Banks
    Sacred Heart University’s football team
    Duke Lacross Team
    University of Virginia’s Alpha chapter of Phi Kappa Psi
    Tawana Brawley’s 4 victims
    Treva Throneberry’s victims
    Jemma Beale’s victims
    A teen boy in Germantown, PA who was falsely accuse by 5 girls, then bullied by classmates and discriminated against by the school and district.

    Ask them about false rape accusations.

    NOBODY is saying “rape” doesn’t exist.
    But “rape culture” in the US and Canada is a MYTH.
    If you want evidence of a rape culture, go to the Middle East. Or the Congo. THOSE places have rape cultures.

    A college/university is supposed to be a place where students are challenged in all things. INCLUDING IDEAS.

    A university should never be a “safe space” from ideas.

    Mr. Crowder put forth a perfectly legitimate idea, then practically BEGGED people to prove him wrong. Hence the name “change my mind”.

    On top of this, TCU tweeted that they don’t hold with Mr. Crowder’s notions.
    MEANING THEY’RE SAYING “OUR CAMPUS IS A RAPE DEN! WE ADMIT IT!”

    These people are suffering a reaction from pathological altruism. They’ve lost the ability to think or reason. They can only react, based on dogma.

    And they’re infesting students with this too.

    Look at the first interview! She basically blathered on and on and on. All smug certitude.
    Then, when she realizes she’s cornered herself, rhetorically, she starts asking the campus police to get rid of him…

    Open marketplace of ideas. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.
    It’s where bad ideas come to die.
    Because when you deny people with bad ideas the right to express themselves, you simply help bad ideas grow.
    By exposing bad ideas, people can understand them, realize they’re bad, and the idea gets tossed in the trash where it belongs.

  9. Yes, the title is intentionally misleading. A “rape culture apologist” would be someone who agrees there’s a rape culture AND approves of it. Whoever created this title was either intellectually dishonest, or used words without knowing their meaning. Either way, it is a prime example of why many distrust the media.

    Several commenters say alleged rape victims are queried as to whether they wore revealing or sexy clothing, that is, whether they “enticed” the alleged rapist. That occurred 50 years ago; but such line of questioning would hardly be persuasive nowadays.

  10. Interesting that the term “rape culture” to most readers obviously implies that rape is common and somehow acceptable. Yet several responses on this thread have tried to change the meaning to something else relating to how victims are treated. This is confusing and it immediately puts people on the defensive. Words need to have consistent meanings or they lose all meaning.

    A different term needs to be chosen – Unless one is trying to be incendiary, but that intent immediately hinders meaningful communication.

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