Here we go again!
The Other Charlotte and I have been reporting on Katie Hnida, the University of Colorado dropout who spent a single semester–the fall of 1999–as a placekicker for the otherwise all-male football team. (See my Tight End, Feb. 19, and TOC’s The Real Skinny on Violence Against Women, Feb. 26). Now, five years later, Hnida claims that she was, among other things raped by a teammate during that brief placekicking stint. Rape is a felony (as it should be) in Colorado as elsewhere, but Hnida didn’t report the alleged crime She didn’t go to the police, school authorities (which had sexual harassment procedures in place), etc., because she was too “frightened,” as CNN reported.
The upshot? CU football coach Gary Barnett was put on administrative leave a couple of weeks ago for chancing to remark that Hnida, during her brief stint on the team, had been a lousy player who “couldn’t kick the ball through the uprights,” which is a placekicker’s main duty. Oh, and he called Hnida a “girl,” which is a no-no under the strict rules of feminista correctness.
Then several other young women suddenly came forward to say that they were raped back when–in 2001, three years ago–at or after a “sex party,” as it has been described, with the guys on the CU football team. Again, they were too scared to go to the authorities, etc. etc.–as though it were 1901, not 2001.
Now these gals didn’t wait quite as long as Naomi Wolf did when she held off for 21 years before announcing that Yale literature professor Howard Bloom had touched her thigh one boozy evening in 1983. Naomi seems to have set the record. But I’m automatically suspicious of charges of sexual misconduct brought years after the alleged misconduct occurred. There’s no way to collect physical evidence, witnesses are hard to find, and such charges typically become a matter of he said/she said–impossible to prove or disprove but likely to stain the alleged perpetrator’s reputation forever. That’s why university administrators and governments have statutes of limitations.
Furthermore, the wrongdoing was supposed to have occurred at a sex party–that is, a party that people attend specifically in order to have sex, presumably with a wide range of fun-loving partners. It wasn’t a beer party, a tea party, or a children’s birthday party. (I hadn’t even known that there were such things as sex parties until I read about this incident–such events were called “orgies” in my day.) So I wrote in this blog:
“Perhaps they were indeed molested against their will–but why go to a sex party if you don’t want sex?”
I stand by my words. When you show up for a sex party, what do you think the other attendees think is on your mind?
“No sex, please–this is a sex party.”
“I’m just here for the chips ‘n’ dips.”
“Could someone help me find my contact lens?”
But naturally I’m being pilloried for my flip attitude by the Feminist Powers That Be. Here’s blogger Ampersand, editor of Amptoons, who is most definitely not a fan of the Independent Women’s Forum:
“[W]henever I think the IWF has reached rock bottom, they bring in the big Caterpillar earthmoving machines and dig themselves an even deeper hole to sleaze in.”
And Ms. Magazine’s Christine Cupaiuolo, editor of the mag’s Ms. Musings weblog, has also jumped in to berate me, calling my statement “ridiculous” and adding: “[E]arth to Allen: sex does not equal rape.”
But back to Ampersand, who writes:
“(If a man was mugged at a charity dinner, presumably Charlotte would say ‘why go to a charity event if you don’t want to give away money?’)”
Actually, people who attend charity dinners regularly get mugged–into paying thousands of dollars for a plate of rubber chicken that costs $50 to prepare and serve. But even given that, Ampersand’s analogy is silly. Mugging–hitting someone over the head and robbing him–is of a completely different order than writing out a charity check.
That wasn’t the case, from what I’ve read about the CU sex party in 2001. Violence wasn’t alleged. Instead, the young ladies in question went to the party expecting to have sex with some guys–and then some more guys wanted to have sex with them, too. Or maybe the gals had sex with some guys, and the guys wanted to have more sex. I’m not saying that this was right. No gentleman ever forces his sexual attentions upon anyone. And perhaps forcible rape of a criminal nature occurred. But at an affair in which group sex, group nudity, and, undoubtedly, group sloshing in alcohol are the norm, the line between voluntary and involuntary sexual intercourse can get mighty blurred, and people–perhaps the young footballers in question–can make mistakes about where it has been drawn. That’s why the misconduct, if any, should have been promptly reported, because at this late date, long after most of the alleged malfeasants have graduated, we’ll never know what happened. Better yet, why encourage the likelihood of sexual wrongdoing by attending such an event in the first place? Surely there are better and safer ways than group sex parties for young women who respect themselves and their bodies to satisfy their sexual desires.
The only bright spot in the Amptoons conniption fit is that it has drawn some sane comments from Amptoons readers who can distinguish between sane feminism and its radical/hysterical evil twin ensconsed at Ms. magazine and elsewhere. Reader Quadratic, for example, writes:
“Hey cool. Thanks for the link to the IWF; I had no idea they existed. I can finally read women that think with their brains, not their vaginas!”
Finally, Ampersand accuses the IWF of being funded by the conservative mastermind/billionaire Richard Scaife. We’re not–but oh, would that we were! Or rather, would that I were. Hey Richard, if you’re reading this, send me an e-mail and I’ll send you my bank account number.