A liberal writer is comparing what she calls “rape denialism” to denial that six million Jews died in the Holocaust.
Amanda Marcotte, who writes mostly for Slate, made the claim in response to a tweet sent out by Bloomberg View reporter Dave Weigel, a Slate alum, who had linked to a report from Breitbart News which investigated a recent claim made by actress Lena Dunham in a recent memoir that she had been raped while she was a student at Oberlin College.
@daveweigel It’s really time for people to understand that rape denialism is like Holocaust denialism: Broad refusal to accept reality.
— Amanda Marcotte (@AmandaMarcotte) December 4, 2014
One striking aspect about Dunham’s claim was that she said her attacker was a campus Republican named Barry.
In its report, Breitbart went to Oberlin, in Ohio, and searched for anyone who matched Dunham’s description of Barry who might have also been a prominent Republican at the staunchly liberal school.
Breitbart did find a man named Barry who was in the College Republicans during the period when Dunham claims the rape occurred. Part of Breitbart’s justification for investigating Dunham’s claim was that she was implicating the man, who is easily found through a simple internet search.
The man, and many of his acquaintances, strongly denied that he was who Dunham described in her book.
That investigation comes as questions are being raised about another rape claim, this one involving a University of Virginia student who told Rolling Stone that she was viciously gang-raped by seven fraternity members in 2012. A number of media outlets, including The Washington Post, have raised questions over some aspects of Rolling Stone’s report.
In her columns for Slate, Marcotte focuses heavily on the issue of sexual assault — including campus rape. She generally strongly opposes commentators who raise questions over whether college campuses are currently in the midst of what has been called an epidemic of rape. She also generally rebuffs commentators who question the veracity of individual rape claims.
Perhaps the most high-profile occurrence of the latter came during the 2006 Duke lacrosse scandal in which a North Carolina stripper named Crystal Mangum accused three lacrosse players of raping her at a house party.
Marcotte wrote the following at a blog she operated at the time:
In the meantime, I’ve been sort of casually listening to CNN blaring throughout the waiting area and good fucking god is that channel pure evil. For awhile [sic?], I had to listen to how the poor dear lacrosse players at Duke are being persecuted just because they held someone down and fucked her against her will—not rape, of course, because the charges have been thrown out. Can’t a few white boys sexually assault a black woman anymore without people getting all wound up about it? So unfair.
The entry has since been scrubbed from the internet.