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After saying ‘rape culture isn’t real,’ newly elected student senator shamed into resigning

Saying anything on the internet these days is already a minefield.

Running for student government as a fraternity brother while trying not to awaken a self-righteous digital mob might as well be walking on lava.

Just three days after he was elected to the Student Senate at Michigan’s Grand Valley State University, Patrick Borum resigned his position. What provoked the mob?

A fully debatable claim, one that was made into an entire book by feminist author Wendy McElroy: “Rape culture isn’t real.”

And what provoked Borum to write his terse post?

An “informed consent” survey distributed to GVSU fraternity members, created by college consulting firm Dyad Strategies, that suggests male Greek life is obsessed with dominating women, excusing rape and not being called gay.

No, America does not tolerate rape ‘on a widespread scale’

The Lanthorn reports that Borum’s four-word Facebook post Tuesday was immediately disavowed by Senate President Ella Fritzemeier.

She said his “individual” perspective did not represent the entire body, which supports “prevention, education, and awareness surrounding the issue of sexual assault,” and she claimed that Borum had “voluntarily resigned.”

Also a member of Kappa Sigma, Borum told the paper he was simply saying it’s “false” that American culture tolerates rape “on a widespread scale,” which is the central idea of rape culture:

There will always be exceptions, but I believe that we do not live in a society where rape is encouraged.

He said he was indignant at a survey the university recently forced on fraternity members, full of “leading questions.” The survey, which The College Fix took from start to finish, suggests the administration sees male Greeks as little better than brutish prisoners.

Though he refuses to “recant my post,” Borum’s post is not visible on his public Facebook page. He has, however, been arguing with people on his Twitter account since his post went viral.

“[S]aying rape culture doesn’t exist does not mean i support rape you freaking idiots,” he tweeted Tuesday afternoon, sparking several critical responses.

“So… people are just making rape, as well as the history of rape, up? I’m confused,” another student responded.

One person tweeted to the university, asking if it was “gonna do something about Patrick Borum and his whole ‘rape culture isn’t real’ thing or nah?”

Borum’s fraternity president rebuked him as well, saying he acted alone:

As an individual, Pat did something very wrong. And I hope that you don’t blame our organization; any Greek organization, or for that matter any institution that this campus decides to have.

The fraternity suggested Borum will be internally disciplined for his “gross, pitiful and downright disrespectful” claim that Americans by and large do not encourage rape.

An indictment of fraternities

Fox 17 put Borum’s post in context:

It was made a day before the student senate hosted a meeting about “sexual assault awareness following a string of reported attacks on and near the Allendale campus at the beginning of the school year.”

The Grand Rapids Press reported that Borum’s post “dominate[d]” the next day’s sexual assault forum, which drew about 100 students, faculty and staff.

It was a decidedly one-sided discussion with Senate President Fritzemeier joined on stage by the “victim advocate” from the Women’s Center, as well as representatives from Greeks Against Sexual Assault and Eyes Wide Open, a group of “peer educators” that sells “Consent is Sexy” t-shirts.

The forum had an anti-Greek bent. One student asked if there was “mandatory training” for fraternities and demanded Borum’s removal from the Senate, “but Fritzemeier said he resigned earlier in the day and it was not requested by their organization,” the Press reported.

Another student accused fraternity members of making “jokes” about the survey, which included questions about sexual assault, and said Kappa Sigma initially defended Borum in a since-deleted post that said his denial of rape culture “was far from showing support” for it.

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