A few days ago, a bro named Stu Burguiere took a good chunk of time on his show on TheBlaze, Glenn Beck's network, to debunk the widely reported, apparently "inflated," "crazy" statistic that one in five college-aged women has been the victim of completed or attempted sexual assault, as noted in the Campus Sexual Assault Study. Throughout the clip, unsurprisingly, Stu's tone of voice conveyed his monumental disdain for the sexual-assault conversation.
However, most sinister and disturbing is the extent to which he bends over backward to argue that, actually, way fewer women are being raped than Obama says. With the help of lackeys in drag, Stu acts out some scenarios laid out in the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, with the intent of pointing out how ridiculous it is that anyone could possibly call them "rape." Thing is, no one did — the NISVS described these scenarios as examples of coercion; anyone capable of reading will note that neither this survey nor the CSA study included these numbers in its sexual-assault statistics.
This being partisan media, complete distortion of demonstrable facts is pretty much par for the course. Still, it's difficult to get past the harmful implications of rants like these. Sure, this dude is trying to paint the Obama administration as inept and out of touch with reality. (That University of Phoenix crack was a nice try, though absolutely incorrect, according to page 42 of the CSA study.)
But, there's something deeper, a menace that underlies statements like this. Stu's tirade brings up a question that is all too relevant today: Why do some men go out of their way to define what "rape" means? What is the motivation for telling a whole group of women their experience doesn't count as sexual assault? Sure, "preserving the patriarchy" is an easy answer. But, especially considering that a staggering number of sexual assaults continue to go unreported, rants like this become even more frustrating, and more satisfying answers become necessary. Clearly, we haven't come very far since the days when anything other than "legitimate rape" doesn't "count."