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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Hookstead's 'rape culture' letter shows some still hold gross world views

The Badger Herald’s recent letter-to-the-editor “'Rape culture' does not exist” further proves the University of Wisconsin- Madison’s preeminent ego-inflamed, aggressively misogynistic, notorious “semi celebrity” David Hookstead unsurprisingly doesn’t harbor the capacity to understand the concept “rape culture.” There has already been an onslaught of backlash in response to his column—appalled voices furiously speaking against what is clearly a gross rhetorical misrepresentation of the truth on a core level. All anger toward this abomination is totally warranted. But my response here is not intended to insult or belittle Hookstead as a person (social media can take care of that). All I’m going to do is explain why his claim is wrong.

Had Hookstead done the absolute minimum in terms of researching rape culture (reading the first sentence of the “Rape culture,” according to Wikipedia page), he would have discovered his murky definition to be completely unfounded and incorrect. “Rape culture,” according to The Free Encyclopedia, "is a concept which links rape and sexual violence to the culture of society, and in which prevalent attitudes and practices normalize, excuse, tolerate, and even condone rape.”

So if this isn’t a real thing, as Hookstead so vehemently believes, why did he find it necessary to share this on his personal Twitter account on Aug. 3, 2013? “Worst/Funniest pick up line I’ve ever heard: ‘How do I know we’re having sex later tonight? I’m stronger than you.’”

If making a joke out of something that has ruined countless lives isn’t the outright definition of rape culture, I’m not sure what is.

So, maybe saying “rape culture doesn’t exist” wasn’t precisely Hookstead’s point, since he doesn’t understand its true meaning. I think what he was actually trying to say was that regurgitating and being insensitive toward archaic actions such as sexual assault doesn’t actually cause rape. This is why he makes the statement, “Anybody who’s ever watched the news knows that rape is illegal, and yet the above paints the picture that our society is failing to educate young men on rape. Secondly, it implies that education can prevent true acts of evil … Once again, you can’t always stop criminals.” To me, it seems pretty obvious that continually tolerating a certain behavior—in this case, one’s ability to trivialize rape and sexual assault—will only cause that habit to continue. So, whatever he was trying to say, it’s wrong.

The terms privileged and ignorant have been thrown around before to describe Hookstead’s warped world views (which are unfortunately still being published in a college newspaper all too willing to generate website hits at the expense of the one in four college women who will be subjected to rape). I think this is why he finds it so difficult to identify as a part of rape culture, and also why he seems to think people don’t get worked up about topics such as drugs or murder in disenfranchised neighborhoods, which they most certainly do.

He mentions how men are also victims of rape and sexual assault. But instead of realizing this fact entirely deflates his thesis, Hookstead for some reason latches on to this fact as another reason to demonize women. He goes so far as to ask “Why aren’t we teaching our daughters not to rape?” Hookstead is, simply, afraid of empowering the opposite sex, or even treating women with fairness, in any way. Every argument of his somehow has to come back to males being better than females. And I think that’s why he felt so compelled to write this monstrosity in the first place.

Oh, and then there’s this quote: “A woman drugged a close friend of mine, who was a superstar athlete, so that she could assault him. There was little outrage, but you could imagine if a superstar athlete drugged a random woman and raped her? It’d be on the national news by morning.” Apparently someone hasn’t heard of Stuebenville, Ohio, where members of a football team were involved in a rape that didn’t receive national attention until a hacker leaked information found on social media about the case. The story was covered up by people in the town and the victim was intimidated by those around her. There is no basis to this claim.

It’s disturbing someone would find it acceptable to submit or publish such a poorly thought-out article on such a sensitive subject. But I’m glad Hookstead wrote this column—I really am—because it serves a reminder to us all that there are people outside of our immediate circle of influence who believe truly horrendous and erroneous things. It should make you angry. Be angry we are allowing this person to speak for us as a student body. I know I am.

Do you agree with Andy? What do you think of David Hookstead’s tweets? Please send all feedback to opinion@dailycardinal.com.

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