An Open Letter to the Diane Rehm Show

32If I’m in the car and Tiny isn’t with me, the radio is tuned to NPR – specifically my local affiliate, KERA. This morning, in the middle of running errands, it was the Diane Rehm show.

Now, I don’t always agree with every single panelist, but I’ve always found the show informative – until today. CNN’s David Gregory was the guest host, and the guests were Terry O’Neill from the National Organization for Women, author Stuart Taylor, and Wall Street Journal reporter Melissa Korn.

Now, this is the link to the whole show, where you can listen or read the transcript. I feel like I should tell anyone who has been raped they should use their own best judgment when listening – it’s going to be very hard to hear some of the rape apology that goes on with the Gregory and Taylor.

At one point, O’Neill called Taylor on some of his more egregious misrepresentations and outright falsehoods (that rape is the crime with the most false reports), but his response was to say, “I’m holding in my hand the manuscript of a book that my co-author Casey Johnson and I have written on this issue.”

Well buddy, I’m holding a Dr Pepper and I’m still more right than you.

I tried to get through to give Taylor, in particular, an earful, but the lines were always busy. So tonight I wrote this and sent it. I don’t know if it’ll get read, but I plan on tagging the hell out of this post as well, and I’m asking you to share this post (something I rarely directly do).

The email is as follows:

I spent all day thinking about what I would say in this email, because I wanted to make sure my words were correct and measured, even though the males involved in today’s discussion regarding campus rape didn’t employ the same restraint. Please note that I am a journalist as well.
I found myself dismayed at the lack of knowledge by both David Gregory and Stuart Taylor. Taylor was allowed to speak fallacy virtually unchecked. I was in my car, driving, so I couldn’t take notes, but here are a few things he misrepresented or even outright lied about.
There is no epidemic of campus rape. This is a misrepresentation. The fact of the matter is, most schools underreport their Clery reports until caught, and then return to underreporting after they are no longer under observation. In fact, in a piece I wrote about rape at Kansas University, I caught the school lying about its Clery report.
This, combined with the fact that rape is one of the most underreported crimes means that there is no true way to know if there is an epidemic or not.
It’s not rape if it’s “just fingers.” The FBI changed its definition of rape in 2011 to “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”
Rape has the most false reports. Rape is a crime with a 2 percent to 9 percent rate of false report, making it one of the crimes with the least amounts of false reports.
Those are just three examples. I was also disgusted to hear David Gregory say that the natural progression of posting provocative selfies online is being raped behind a dumpster. Then Taylor proceeded to first say that schools were “indoctrinating” students to think everything was rape, but then spoke out of the other side of his mouth to say that he felt schools did enough to explain consent to students.

I don’t know how you decided that Stuart Taylor was a good panelist, when Dan Solomon and Jessica Luther (the journalists who broke the Baylor story) are on this earth, but he was absolutely the most inaccurate and horrific rape apologist you could’ve put on a panel. Your show owes rape victims and people with brains and ears an apology for today’s hot mess.

Sincerely,

Bethany Erickson

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