A political science student from the University of Washington sparked outrage when the Badger Herald published his letter to the editor on Monday declaring that ‘rape culture’ doesn’t exist.
“The United States of America doesn’t have a culture of rape any more than it has a culture of murder,” wrote UW junior David Hookstead. “This term aggressively paints men as dangerous and as the root of evil.”
He argued that men get raped, too, but most sexual assaults are reported by women because “some women feel the need to exploit anything that may be rape for publicity.”
He asked “why aren’t we teaching our daughters not rape? [sic]"
He asked why culturally prevalent attitudes condoning or promoting rape are frowned upon, but rap music "about shooting people, selling drugs or the degradation of the black community" is not.
“It is unfortunate that some women feel the need to exploit anything that may be rape for publicity,” he wrote. “Not everything that is claimed to be rape is actually rape, and false accusations only take away from the credibility of real victims.”
He concluded with the question, "Why are women so desperate to demonize men that they’ll lie about being raped?”
His letter to Badge Herald has nearly 700, mostly derogatory, comments.
"I mean he's almost literally begging at one point for people to respond to him in an outraged manner. If only we didn't have such an 'attention whore' culture!" wrote one commenter.
Before the letter’s conclusion, Hookstead wrote, “This last part is likely going to blow up my Twitter feed with hate tweets.”
“Was this letter really written by a UW student?” asked another. “If so, my opinion of the eduction you receive there just dropped dramatically. This is written at about a 5th grade level.”
A “disgusted” UW student who claimed to be a victim of sexual abuse wrote: “Shame on Badger Herald for publishing this! As the victim of sexual abuse I am ashamed to go to a school where these opinions are worthy of being published. I am even more ashamed that I and the UW Campus am/are being ‘represented’ by a newspaper that would think that this is acceptable journalism.”
Another user who calls himself “I’d rather read the Cardinal” wrote: “Stop publishing his sh*t, Badger Herald. Jesus Christ.”
“When I was consulting with our managing editor and our opinion editors about whether or not to publish it, we knew there would be a pretty strong response from the campus,” Badger Herald editor Katherine Krueger told WISC-TV. “I think it’s important to stare something ugly in the face every once in a while to be reminded that there’s still a lot of work to do.”
Two days after the letter was published, Kruegler wrote an op-ed Wednesday distancing herself from Hookstead's views.
"As a woman and a feminist, I find Hookstead’s views morally repugnant, patriarchal and offensive," she wrote. "His letter is the embodiment of rape culture."