“Culture” Wars – Update

Only in the mind of the modern feminist can an orthodox Rabbi advocate for pre-marital sexual abstinence and be deemed a rape apologist. Such was the peculiar response in some precincts to my “A Novel Idea”

       Arguing over statistics and studies is a futile exercise, as the studies conflict, methodologies differ and even definitions are often imprecise. For those intellectually capable of an open mind, I urge you to read the esteemed social scientist Heather Mac Donald’s cover story in the Weekly Standard (November 2, 2015) subtitled “The Phony Campus Rape Crisis,” which will function as a devastating rebuttal to the criticism that has been directed here, and written in a much stronger manner than was my essay although our objectives were different.

To mention but two “statistics”: one blogger presumed that 23% of my congregants have “likely personally experienced sexual assault.” But “sexual assault,” as some studies, including that of the Justice Department, define it, includes even an unwanted peck on the cheek, an execrable practice still seen in some liberal Orthodox precincts but hardly synonymous with rape except to a certain subset of fanatical activists. Or, “95%” of college rapes go unreported to the police, but they are, apparently, reported to researchers. 95%? And perhaps it is 395%, or 45%?  Perhaps some of these assaults are more akin to the circumstances I explored in my essay (as have others, see George F. Will’s column on a related subject).

To those who persist in citing the “1 in 5 women on campus raped” canard, I refer you to this new Prager University video released this week (as if to come to my rescue!) that debunks this datum. If nothing else, all of the above should allow for a calmer discussion of this matter.

What did I write in my essay, whose every word I stand by? Here’s a synopsis.  The reality is that rape is an abominable crime that is an unimaginable nightmare and deserves to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. To be falsely accused of rape is also an abominable crime that is an unimaginable nightmare for which the lying complainant deserves to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Both are life-altering events and in both cases the victims deserve our fullest support and the victimizers our unmitigated opprobrium. Obviously, instances of rape exceed false claims of rape, and as I noted, “even one is too many.”

That is the black (the former scenario) and the white (the latter scenario) of the matter. But the professional feminists see only the black. There is no white, no other side, the woman is always right, the man is always wrong. In that echo chamber, I am certain, that makes sense. In a world where truth, justice, decency and fairness matter, that contention is risible.

But I addressed both those scenarios only in passing. My focus was on the “gray” area, the “he said/she said” scenario, where the events are fueled by what I termed the culture of promiscuity and entitlement on campus, where the couple had a relationship and often a long term physical relationship, and where “feelings” – especially post facto feelings – matter more than legality or fairness. These are cases where the woman sometimes does not feel like a “victim” for weeks or months after the encounter (usually coincident with a breakup or a conversation with a feminist adviser who convinces her that she was assaulted without consent). These are cases in which there are no witnesses, no evidence, and no corroboration. They exist. They are troubling no matter who is right and who is wrong. But the feminist activists see no “gray.” The man is always guilty. Always.

Indeed, the “hookup culture” on campus has created a sense of male entitlement concomitant with some females’ pursuit of unlimited pleasure. It is in that culture that, invariably, women – who, as I noted, have a greater emotional investment in physical intimacy than do men – will over time feel used, abused, scorned and empty. And it is in that culture that, I submit, the problematic area of “he said/she said” is more likely to arise. It is for that scenario that I suggested a return to traditional moral practices, such that are already mandatory for Jews but would even benefit non-Jews. The bloggers who mock that suggestion are playing into the hands of lecherous young men and, ironically, endangering more women both physically and psychologically.

It was in this gray area that I urged a return to the virtues with which religious Jews are quite familiar – no affectionate physical contact between men and women outside the context of marriage. That won’t stop the “black” cases of rape (forcible assault) nor the “white” cases (false accusations), for the most part. But it would stop much of the “gray,” in which consent is unclear or ambiguously given, because the assumption would be, since males are an aggressive breed, that the male assaulted the virtue of the female.

But for the professional feminists, there never is a “gray” area. Men are always predators, women are always saints, and rabbis, always, deserve special calumny if they don’t toe a particular line.

What is most troubling, and quite typical of this genre, is the sheer inability of the feminist activists to tolerate another viewpoint. “On this, there can be no debate! There is only one opinion!” Feminist orthodoxy brooks no dissent (as opposed to Jewish Orthodoxy, whose every tenet, they feel, is negotiable). So their goal is to ensure that only one side of an issue is ever heard. They do this by denouncing any opposition as immoral, shrieking that any dissenter is evil, and trying to intimidate that dissenter into silence, penance and universal obloquy. This is what passes for discourse – forget civil discourse, just discourse – in that pathetic echo chamber of the young and coddled. How sad.

Typically, as they see it, for expressing views with which they disagree, I should be fired from the rabbinate, kicked out of any rabbinic organization to which I belong, tossed from any institution in which I am active, and, for Heaven’s sake, even thrown out of AAA (to which I just renewed my membership, and so will not go down without a fight).

What is even sadder is that, to these activists, men are irredeemable brutes, end of story. My objective, on the other hand, is to preserve the honor of both men and women. Their eager embrace of the “hookup culture” – as long as there is consent – exacerbates the problem, cheapens the nobility of women and undermines the sanctity of marriage.  Their contempt for women, and not just women’s virtues, is breathtaking.

The Talmud (bottom of Sanhedrin 21a) teaches us that after Amnon raped his half-sister Tamar, King David’s Sanhedrin decreed that an unmarried man and woman should not be secluded together (the prohibition of yichud). That was good advice then as it is now. It doesn’t mean that they “blamed” Tamar; rather that prudence and common sense dictate not putting oneself in a situation of potential danger. No one ever “deserves” to be raped, as some hideously perverted my words. But do not walk into a field clearly labeled “Danger: Mines!”  Even if the ones who planted the mines would be guilty of causing injury, surely the minefield pedestrian also bears some responsibility for his fate. The mature person takes responsibility for his own actions, a fundamental Jewish principle that I explored in my last book, “The Jewish Ethic of Personal Responsibility.”

Further irony: these critics are antagonized because they call me a “leader” who should not say these things that upset them;  yet, when I try to take the lead on this particular issue – elevating the moral level on campus so that no one, but especially our young people, is ensnared in that morass – they protest. It sounds like they want “leaders” whom they control and who just follow the script that they write. But those are not “leaders” but followers with a fancy title.

Heeding our moral laws can only benefit men, women, marriages, families and society itself. That was and is my point. The fruitless debate over statistics aside, I would hope that even the professional feminists can subscribe to that.

28 responses to ““Culture” Wars – Update

  1. Genius shines through. I agree. T’would be a perfect world if everyone did!

  2. Please go to www.google.com and then type in:
    feminists AND “false statistics” and then press they [ENTER] key.

    Or go to:

    Alternatively, go to www.google.com and then type in:
    “false rape statistics” and then press they [ENTER] key.

    42% of French Muslims between from age 18 to 29 believe that suicide bombings against civilians can be justified.

    35% of British Muslims between from age 18 to 29 believe that suicide bombings against civilians can be justified.

    26% of American Muslims between from age 18 to 29 believe that suicide bombings against civilians can be justified.

    SOURCE: By the Numbers, a video by Raheel Raza

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  3. Rabbi:
    I am a woman and am horrified and truly disgusted by the liars AND bullies who are attacking you based on words you did not say. The article below validates every single word you wrote. If these individuals had any sense of shame or decency, they would apologize. They don’t, so don’t expect it.


  4. I feel like a big part of the disagreement boils down to this: you limit the “black” area to cases of “forcible assault”. This implies that sex without consent isn’t rape, but rather some gray area, and women only regret this sex post facto. This is a claim that many see as deplorable, as they view any sex without clear consent as rape, and believe that in the vast, vast majority of cases, the lack of consent exists at the time of sex and is not just “invented” after. (If the woman regretted the sex only post facto, most people – even feminists – would call that a false accusation, and thus in the “white area” – a very rare case).

    I hope that you will both post this comment and respond to it, even though I have noticed in the past that you have not allowed comments that disagree with you.

    • I think you miss my point. “No consent” is forcible assault, but there are cases of ambiguous consent because of passions that have been inflamed or judgment impaired by alcohol, or other factors. Those are the cases that would not occur if the couple adhered to stricter moral standards. And there are cases where women are misled into relations with men who then end the relationship, and some of those cases have been cited in the studies I noted above.
      For the record, I only delete comments that contain rude and offensive remarks, which sadly, is quite common among the people who seem to disagree with me. Rudeness is unacceptable. I might disagree with some things that you wrote, but you wrote in a pointed and pleasant way despite the difficulty of the topic, so your comments deserved to be published.
      I believe in open and civil discourse. I wish others – especially liberals – did as well.
      Shabbat Shalom!

  5. Uh oh. I agree with Rabbi Pruzansky on something. In other news, there are pigs flying by my window.

    I’m not going to touch most of this argument with a 10-foot poll, but the Rabbi is correct to cast doubt on the statistic that says 1/5 women are raped in college. Libby Nelson at Vox has an excellent rundown of the statistic, where it originated, and why it became so frequently cited.

    For those who haven’t discovered Google, it dates back to a specific study in 2007 in which a researcher named Christopher Krebs conducted surveys at two (yes, just two!) public universities. The 1/5 statistic didn’t actually appear in that study, but the data was used later in an article by other authors to extrapolate out the likelihood that a random woman would get raped during 4 years of college. The extrapolation produced a likelihood of 19% which the authors rounded out to 1/5.

    But all that needed to assume that the 2 universities were representative of colleges in the first place. “I think sexual assault is a phenomenon that is potentially unique at each university.” Who said that? Christopher Krebs himself. He didn’t believe his own survey was good enough to create such sweeping generalities.

    The 1/5 statistic is not supported by any other tangible evidence. Rabbi Pruzansky is right to treat it with skepticism. I have no comment on anything else in this article.

  6. Rabbi, Kol HaKavod to you for speaking out on both the issue of personal choice and responsibility in “hookups” reported as rapes and on the political correctness of the JOFA and secular feminists.
    I’m curious to know if a frum(ish?) campus atmosphere like that at Yeshiva University has a rate of campus rape, date rape, hookup rape etc. that is any less than that of the “average” US university campus. I would hope that the rate would be lower at YU, to the extent that YU students are supposed to: 1) keep laws of yichud; 2) keep shemirat negiah; and 3) date only for getting married and not for “entertainment” or “fun”.
    If the incidence of campus rapes at YU, BYU, or other religious student bodies (pardon the body pun) is measurably lower, then it might help prove the role of personal responsibility in consequences of “hookup” culture to the JOFA crowd and their fellow feminist travelers.

    • I have no idea, but I would assume that having separate campuses for men and women affords more protection.
      – RSP

  7. Rabbi, keep fighting the good fight against these leftist attempting to infiltrate Orthodox Judaism and turn it into another vehicle for their feminist/lgbt agenda.

    Also, it sounds like you’ve already read this, but in case you haven’t you should check out the below link. Remember, whatever you do, the first rule when facing an SJW attack is NEVER apologize. They will just perceive it as weakness and go for more blood.

  8. Yael Ebenstein

    Rabbi Pruzansky,
    Did you know that there are incidents where husbands rape their wives? This happens when a man has sex with his wife without her consent. Shomer negiah will not solve that problem and it’s not due to casual sex on campus. It was once legal in most states in the US for a husband to rape his wife. You seem to underestimate the rate of sexual assault between people who know each other and have had consensual sex in the past. It’s very dangerous to risk dismissing those cases of rape. They tend to be the most complicated and difficult to prove, but they definitely occur. Why aren’t you concerned about discouraging those women from speaking out?
    Yael Ebenstein

    • That of course is a problem. But I did not address it at all in my essay, not because it’s not important or traumatic but only because it wasn’t relevant to my point. I was focusing on the culture of promiscuity. That has nothing to do with marital rape, which, when it occurs, requires more remediation than just “speaking out.”
      Thank you for sharing.

  9. Hi Rabbi,
    As someone unfamiliar with all the tenets of Judaism, I have a more general question.
    The traditional definition of a feminist is someone who believes in gender equality. In this sense of the word, shouldn’t all Jews be feminists? Or does Judaism not encourage women to be considered equal to men?
    Thanks for explaining,

    • Judaism believes that both men and women (and Jews and non-Jews) are all created in the image of
      G-d. In Judaism, overwhelmingly, most of the laws apply to both men and women, but there are some differences in the obligations incumbent upon men and women. Thus, men and women are not identical or interchangeable even if we are all created in G-d’s image and are equally valued spiritual beings.
      To the extent that feminism believes in absolute equality – that is, a sameness in everything – traditional Judaism will demur. G-d created males and female to be alike in many respects and different in some respects.
      Thanks for writing. I hope this answers your question, even in the brief way I presented it.

  10. Harav

    Thank you……

  11. Rabbi,

    I applaud you for your willingness to interject an unpopular opinion into a dialogue that, like any dialogue, would benefit from more thoughtful perspectives being shared and analyzed. Whether they’re conventional or unconventional. Orthodox (pun intended) or dissenting. Whether they’re ultimately right or wrong depends, first and foremost, on their being voiced. So thanks for that.

    I’d like to voice my agreement about the devastating consequences of false rape accusations. It’s a horror. The statistics do vary wildly, with regard to the differences between the low end and the high end.

    But to say that arguing statistics is an act of futility, I think, mischaracterizes the agreement in the data. Even if the incidence of false reporting is closer to the low end suggested in the data (2-5%) than the high end (20%), the data very strongly indicates that most reports of rape are not false. The vast majority of women who claim to have been raped have indeed been raped, at least according to their own definitions of what constitutes rape.

    Here is another point upon which you and I agree. The expressed and implied norms of sexual behavior vary significantly from individual to individual, demographic group to demographic group, legal regime to legal regime. At the least, the variance is probably significant enough to create unfortunate situations in which one well-meaning person feels victimized by another well-meaning person while the other perceives the contact as consensual. We should promote communication amongst potential partners. I think we should also attempt to create as much agreement as possible about what constitutes consensual sex, without reducing the act to clinical, contractual process or undermining the healthy diversity in human sexual expression.

    So I think maybe you’re right that chaste religious values may reduce the incidence of some sexual predation. But I think that’s because devout members of a religious community tend to share the same definitions of consent and are less likely to seek and find partners outside of the religious group, with whom definitions may be in conflict.

    But I don’t really think the reduction in sexual violence, if one exists, is attributable to the chaste religiosity of the values. I think more promiscuous and more secular definitions of consensual sex would be just susceptible to reductions in predation as long as those definitions were consistent amongst partners.

    And for what it’s worth, Heather Mac Donald’s article is not the “devastating rebuttal” you paint it as. Her primary argument is that it’s “inconceivable” that commonly reported rape statistics are accurate while reporting of the rapes and the victim’s own sense of the magnitude of the event is so low. This doesn’t even seem incongruent to me. It seems emblematic of exactly the opposite of what the article argues- there is indeed a rape culture. The reporting is low because rape is tolerated as part of the culture. The victim is blamed and shamed. The victim percieves the violence as a non-event not because the event never occurred but precisely because it occurs so frequently. It has become part of the culture. Nothing to write home, or go to the police, about.

    That’s my take. Thanks for the post.

    • I agree with almost everything you wrote. But read the Commentary article also cited above in one of the comments.

  12. Agree with sentiments. Brilliantly stated.

  13. “US rabbi says that there is no such thing as rape within marriage” – UK Independent News

    Rabbi, before I said that I wouldn’t touch this article with a 10-foot poll, but now I don’t think that would be principled of me. I’m just some guy nobody has ever heard of, but I have to say that the reaction by your critics is grossly unfair. I’ve now read both articles repeatedly and I simply can’t find (a) an attack on rape survivors in general, (b) a broad defense of rapists, (c) a denial of the existence of marital rape, or (d) a misuse of statistics.

    I do wish you didn’t go into a broadside attack on “professional feminists” in your follow-up. (We’re you deliberately trying to alienate people like me?) Nevertheless, I think that many are getting carried away in their attacks. I for one would welcome a sober conversation about crime, sexual assault, justice, personal responsibility, media coverage, etc. That can’t happen when The Independent plays a bad game of telephone and writes misleading headlines based on misleading blog posts based on misleading interpretations of things that you didn’t say in the first place.

    • It’s insane. And on some level, the critics must know it. And if they do, then what they are doing is pure evil.
      – RSP

  14. This was posted. I thank the author for understanding it when so many have willfully distorted my message.

    About Rabbi Pruzansky:

    In the many years I have known Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, I have witnessed ceaseless mob-like attacks against him for stating his opinion on various issues from Israeli politics to his current article on the supposed rape culture, titled A Novel Idea, (https://rabbipruzansky.com/2016/03/31/a-novel-idea/ ) in which he tackles the dilemma of “he said – she said” rape cases on campus where there are no witnesses.

    For some groups of people, trouncing on his words, or more accurately, misconstruing his words to fit their knee jerk polemic against him, has become a favorite pastime.

    In his article, Rabbi Pruzansky makes it unquestionably clear that no rapist under any circumstances should be exonerated in date rape cases that can be proven. Nor is Rabbi Pruzansky blaming the victim as many detractors are accusing him of.

    What he is saying in layman terms is for women to avoid situations that could lead to bad scenarios.

    Put it this way, yes, any woman has a right to go anywhere she wants and expect not to be attacked. But any woman should also know better that it’s unwise to walk in the dead of night alone and unarmed in a high crime neighborhood. Does she have the right to do so? Sure. But why the hell do it? And if she does indeed walk alone at night in a high crime neighborhood, and if she is attacked and raped, her being in that neighborhood does not exonerate the rapist. What Rabbi Pruzansky is saying, that for a woman’s own well being, it would be prudent not to walk alone at night in a bad neighborhood.

    Similarly, it would be unwise for a woman to go up to a man’s apartment, even if she is dating him, unless she is totally prepared for a non committed sexual relationship. Why? Because, fair or not, men are wired differently. Sex does not require emotional attachment for men. It does for women, in general. We are wired differently. Accept it. And going up to a man’s apartment is sending a message in the man’s head that the woman is interested in sex, even if she is not and truly believes that she was just going to look at his sketches. It is what it is. This is not blaming the victim. This is not excusing any man who refuses to listen when the woman says no. This is simply explaining how the male mind views certain things.

    Everything that Rabbi Pruzansky said in this article was for the purpose of protecting the woman. It was not an attack. It was not an exercise in blaming the victim. It was not misogynistic. It was not inconsiderate to women and it was not lacking in empathy for rape victims. Quite the contrary. His blog post was written in an effort to spare women from rape as well as from the unsavory “he said-she said” scenarios.

    So why is Rabbi Pruzansky in the midst of being brutally attacked?

    Because he has the guts to say what needs to be said in this insane world where right is wrong and wrong is right, and God forbid, one dares to call it out. Because he has the temerity to advocate for abstinence from sex until marriage. A novel idea which really isn’t so novel, right? (And no, he is not at all saying that leading a “traditional” life saves all women from all rape scenarios. To accuse him of that is ridiculous.)
    Rabbi Pruzansky is being attacked because he refuses to tow the line of a ship that’s sunk.

    And if any shrill voices among the pseudo feminists object to my opinion, let me just beat you to the punch and say that I have been sexually assaulted more times than I wish to count, and yes, raped, and there was not one word in Rabbi Pruzansky’s blog post that I found offensive, misogynist or disrespectful to rape victims.

    What I strongly suggest, is to reread Rabbi Pruzansky’s post. Breathe. And truly attempt to understand his message before jumping on the bandwagon to crucify him.

    For those who are interested in facts, for those who are interested in thinking for themselves rather than joining the “mob against Pruzansky” mentality, please read a further explanation to Rabbi Pruzansky’s original article.

    Zahava Englard

  15. Joseph Schwartz

    Dear Rabbi Pruzansky,

    FYI : Other earlier posts still lack the typical reply tab. I’m unsure if that is a setting change that can be corrected.

  16. Rabbi Simon,
    Though you may have demonstrated greater empathy if you’ve written an article on this subject, I disagree with your general dismissiveness of Rabbi Pruzansky’s sentiments.

    First of all, exaggerating the parameters of rape, takes a very serious crime and trivializes it. If the stop and frisk would be referred to as a holocaust, or even a micro holocaust, we Jews would be rightfully outraged and hurt. That’s what Rabbi Pruzansky’s point is. The trivializing of monsterous crime of Rape by including micro crimes into that column. That is totally inappropriate and causes deep pain to the women who experience a rape (as defined in 18th century dictionaries).

    Furthermore the pain of false accusation as a rapist is perhaps even more devastating to a man. How can you restore a reputation and a person’s dignity after it being so shattered? At least a rape victim gets empathy at every corner, whereas someone falsely accused gets torment and shame at every corner. Does their pain count? Perhaps Rabbi Pruzansky’s article seeks to alleviate their profound pain? I personally know someone who committed suicide after very vague sexual crime allegations. It was never established if it was true or not because he’s no longer living. He couldn’t take the shame. Imagine if it weren’t even true. That’s a likely possibility.

  17. Dear Sholom,
    You wrote the following on April 15, 2016 at 12:09 am on the blog regarding the minimum wage: “What you are missing is this: As a business owner, you’re already charging as much as your customers are willing to pay, so you can’t raise prices any higher than they already are if your labor costs go up. Your profitability simply goes down. When the price of doing business goes up, you make less profit (in the short run). But as long you are still making some profit on each employee, there’s no reason to fire anyone. Now, if your profit margins are so small that the only way you can make money is by paying your workers less than minimum wage, then you should find a new business.”

    Dear Shalom,
    There is so much here, it is hard to know where to start.
    Regarding the minimum wage, my guess is that you are not a business owner, but only study economics on a theoretical level.
    Business owners keep their charges lower for at least a dozen reasons some based purely on emotional arguments. These include factors such as the desire to keep overall customer base happier, to keep lower income clients who have been loyal (sometimes that could easily be replaced by wealthier ones), to bring in clients initially as a lead and then hopefully have them purchasing higher priced products and services, to be able to brag saying, “I haven’t raised my prices in X years.” etc. etc.
    Once again, as a small business owner, I can always increase my charges slowly and progressively once I hit a threshold or red line determined solely by me (and my accountant). It happens all of the time. The fact that you deny that as even a possibility proves to me that you are likely not a successful business owner. I don’t want to, but I clearly can do so.

    The example of tariffs is evidence enough that businesses will pass at least a part of the cost to consumers, close down, or avoid the tariff altogether by moving away. Try buying American made socks as just one of many examples that prove how extra costs, like the minimum wage or tariffs, are passed on to consumers. The national minimum wage is just another “tariff” or “tax” on American labor which, in part, pushes businesses to manufacture overseas or close down.
    By raising the minimum wage from the free-market appropriate rate of the basic sweeper or other limited skills worker, you also raise the wage of the technician who will not simply stand by as the sweeper is paid close to the same. The floor manager will not allow his salary to be the same as the technician, and on and on. That cost ripples through the entire economy, and the cost of unions, as well as general goods and services.

    The problem is that the minimum wage tends to raise everyone’s wages and the cost of many goods along with them. Eventually, businesses move away, close, or don’t start at all (a calamity for the American economy).
    You completely ignored the other possible ramifications of a minimum wage increase. If I close part or all of my business or send part of it overseas, jobs and economic growth here are potentially stunted and dislocated.

    To use your own argument against you, if I am “already charging as much as [my] customers are willing to pay,” then I am also already paying my staff as much as I can afford, as well. Forcing me to pay more is no different than forcing my customers to pay more, but it creates a significant incentive to fire staff that is simply not worth more (otherwise I would have paid them more according to your own logic) and an incentive to hire someone else instead who is worth the higher salary or alternatively pay other staff more to perform additional responsibilities. I have personal examples of this in my own business.

    Your admission that the minimum wage is at least an attack on profits reveals your silliness. Unless I put any net income in my mattress, I am likely reinvesting profits in the growth of my business or other businesses which only grows the economy and creates jobs.

    Also, you still have not provided any evidence of your statement that the extra cost of the minimum wage in my business would “increase consumer demand” for my goods and services.

    Economies grow based on the growth of goods and services that people want and can afford, not on spending. Everyone buying and selling the same fruitcake may sound wonderful, but it doesn’t grow the economy. This is another good reason why North Korea is an economic basket case, despite their minimum wage and their elimination of most income inequality.

  18. Statistics are like apples – you can pick which one you like best. Rape is, on the whole, under-reported and under-prosecuted. As a former attorney, you should know this and acknowledge this. Whether or not the 1/5 rule applies, there are many, many recent examples of colleges being sued for their inability to rid themselves of star sports players who behave badly, and throw women under the bus in the process. These are all documented and available for review by anyone willing to read. And they are real.

    Your evidence that somehow “rape culture” doesn’t exist is that women still attend college. Is that really your argument? And in a world in which men will use any pretext to exonerate themselves (she wore this. She said this. She looked at me like this), do you really think that your opinion in which women are to blame for sexual aggression because of their participation will help the situation?

    “Sunshine is the best disinfectant,” is a cultural meme at the moment, and it’s apt. Expose rape culture for what it is – and it goes far beyond the “women feeling bad after sex” – and you get change. Take Back The Night changed the conversation. Yes Means Yes changed the conversation. Little by little, women are taking back the expectation that they’re supposed to do everything in their power to avoid rape, and men are blameless and unaccountable when a pretty girl walks by.

    Be the one who stands up for the disenfranchised, not the one who stands mightily behind his own privilege. Abstinence is best, but second best is telling men not to rape. Not telling women not to get raped.

    • The 1/5 statistic has been long debunked but the logic itself is compelling. I’ll repeat it – would you go to a mall or movie theater where 1/5 women were raped? I would assume not.
      Other than that, I agree with almost every point except this: I would reverse the order in your last paragraph. First, men should not rape, obviously. There is nothing more despicable, except child molestation. Second, abstinence is best. There is a third, which of course today is a hard sell: take personal responsibility for your actions. Don’t put yourself in a compromising situation expecting the good will and decency of others, lest you be brutally disappointed. And of the compromising situations, getting drunk, drugged or into someone’s bed seems at the top of the list, even if what happens thereafter remains a crime. And when it is a crime, it should immediately be reported and help sought.
      And one more point: a fair, intelligent reading of what I wrote indicates that rather than let men off the hook, I’m actually quite critical of lecherous men, but also have low expectations of them.
      – RSP

  19. Another excellent piece by one of the most important voices in Judaism today. Rabbi Pruzansky is not only well written and well spoken but also well researched. Many of the points Rabbi Pruzansky has made in these two pieces is also raised by Ben Shapiro, another voice of Liberty. Unfortunately we live in a world of shekker and the loonies have been let loose to cause all kinds of damage. Even here in Teaneck, trees and turkeys seem to take priority over people and property. Thank you Rabbi Pruzansky for continuing to be a voice of reason in an unreasonable world, may you continue to use your voice and keyboard to enlighten the greater public, I look forward to reading your national columns.

  20. R' Dovid Kaye


    Shkoyach for putting across a valid and moral viewpoint, especially when it is not well received or popular.

    However I would suggest that the perhaps it is in fact our Holy Torah that puts the emphasis on the man to control his urges, hence the Seducer concept (mephateah) and consequences.

    Perhaps more traditional values in society in general would decrease rape However I have no access or knowledge of studies that would indicate this, do you? Islamic culture has a very strict moral code however there are (admittedly) rumors and speculation (also admittedly) mostly from anti immigration parties that Muslim immigrants are increasing instances of rape. I would argue that an increased exposure to “desires” repressed for a period is a recipe for potential internal conflict. This could easily cause frustration and bad judgement!

    Marriage is a beautiful concept that embodies the mutual respect that should be present between man and woman. It is far more likely in my humble opinion that a society that devalues marriage does so as it suffers a devaluing of the opposite gender and a rise in disrespectful attitudes and behaviors. Thus you are putting the cart before the horse, especially in a society where respect for others is at an all time low. Finally clearly self respect is needed for any of this which makes the issue totally one of controlling ones own thoughts, actions and emotions.

    Which brings us to the conclusion your propsal may reduce Grey Rape true as you remove the grey area but will that prevent violent and abhorrent rape? If we are going to use our knowledge prevent a problem let it be that type of rape please.

    Sincerely and With the Greatest Respect


  21. Thank you, Rabbi, for your excellent articles. You are absolutely correct and right. Do not be discouraged, keep up your good work. There are still a number who think and beleve as you do – still a remnant who have not given in to the degredation that is rapidly growing in this nation. Be blessed and strengthened.

    RSP adds: the far left group “Media Matters” indirectly confirms my argument at

    And for a look at the new fascism taking root in America, see this: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/415653/student-banned-class-pointing-out-false-rape-statistic-was-false-katherine-timpf
    Scary times.