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Jessica Ensley - Columnist

Lean In Further: KC Johnson is not an expert, but a rape apologist

FRC protested the lecture Tuesday night in Baker.

On Monday, the George Washington Forum at Ohio University allowed a rape apologist presenter to speak, where he was met with protests from members of F--kRapeCulture. Robert Ingram, an associate professor of history at OU, started the Forum in 2009. According to its website, the group is a participant in The Jack Miller Center-Veritas Fund for Higher Education Initiative, which is funded by the Koch brothers. The Koch brothers own one of the world’s largest fortunes and use it to fund their insane Tea Party political ideals.

The forum brought KC Johnson to OU, portraying him as some expert of sexual assault on college campuses. Johnson co-authored the book “Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case,” where he exaggerates and profits off the Duke rape case. In his book, he frames Duke law professor James Coleman as the hero who stood up for the accused — even Coleman is critical of Johnson’s work. By bringing him to OU to spew his ultra-conservative rhetoric, the Forum is helping to strengthen the rape culture that already exists on this campus. The Forum is sending the message to the one in four female students who are survivors on this campus that their stories don’t matter.

Johnson portrayed his presentation as attempting to defend due process for public courts, but he did not research how the courts fail survivors just like university proceedings. He instead made light of intimate partner violence and said victim blaming doesn’t exist. He expressed the all too common narrative that rape victims are women (presumably white) who have been severely beaten while sober. This leaves out male and queer survivors of sexual assault or rape, as well as those who were coerced, too intoxicated or too afraid to fight back. He did not like universities’ rules against sexual relationships where power is at play (which references student-teacher relationships). Through his logic, that rule could be applied to male student athletes in relationships with female students. His points were ridiculous and his definition of consent misconstrued.

The protesters outnumbered the rest of the audience, which included an OU visiting professor who was critical of Johnson during the Q and A. When FRC’s members made comments, Johnson had no real reply except to jump around the statement and never address the issues we brought up. OU student Sasha Gough, the first woman of color to speak, gave statistics on how rare false rape claims are and he questioned her findings. He asked her to repeat where she got her information and asked her to break down her statement more. He did not do that to the white protesters who said similar things.

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How is it that someone who specializes on the Cold War gets to have such a prominent voice about what is and is not rape culture? He is not respected by those in the academic world. He is a joke. Professor Ingram, who brought him here, should be embarrassed.

The administration said nothing and did nothing to either stop or move this event off campus. It has stated before that they want students to feel safe, so how is allowing a victim-blaming, rape apologist to speak on campus helping students feel safe? While this wasn’t a university-funded event, it still took place on campus, at a university where sexual assault and rape are rampant. Johnson tried to deny rape culture exists but he actually helped prove the necessity of FRC and other similar groups who are trying to create a safe space for survivors.

Jessica Ensley is a senior studying journalism and an active member of F--kRapeCulture. Email her at

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