Condemn College Professor’s Offensive Comments on Rape

Target: Steven Landsburg, University of Rochester Professor

Goal: Condemn Rochester Professor Steven Landsburg for speculating that rapists should be allowed to reap the “benefits” of incapacitated females and demand he apologize.

Professor Steven Landsburg teaches economics at the University of Rochester. In one of his recent blog posts, “Censorship, Environmentalism and Steubenville” he poses the question, “As long as I’m safely unconscious (sic) and therefore shielded from the costs of an assault, why shouldn’t the rest of the world (or more specifically my attackers) be allowed to reap the benefits?” Sign the petition to condemn his outrageously offensive and insensitive comments and ask that he apologize.

Landsburg’s full post reads: “Let’s suppose that you, or I, or someone we love, or someone we care about from afar, is raped while unconscious in a way that causes no direct physical harm—no injury, no pregnancy, no disease transmission. (Note: The Steubenville rape victim, according to all the accounts I’ve read, was not even aware that she’d been sexually assaulted until she learned about it from the Internet some days later.) Despite the lack of physical damage, we are shocked, appalled and horrified at the thought of being treated in this way, and suffer deep trauma as a result. Ought the law discourage such acts of rape? Should they be illegal?”

He then goes on to make a comparison for the penetration involved in rape being similar to that of light photons, “It is, I think, a red herring to say that there’s something peculiarly sacred about the boundaries of our bodies. Every time someone on my street turns on a porch light, trillions of photons penetrate my body. They cause me no physical harm and therefore the law does nothing to restrain them.”
This is not the first time Landsburg has expressed such misogynistic sentiments. He agreed with Rush Limbaugh that Sandra Fluke was a “slut” or as he put it, “A far better word might have been “prostitute” (or a five-letter synonym therefor)…” One of his Slate articles, also notably included the question of whether daughters (rather than sons), cause divorce.

While Professor Landsburg is rightly entitled to academic freedom and free speech, he should not be given a free pass to make absurd and offensive comparisons. His behavior and misogynist comments are not suitable for a professor. Sign the petition to condemn the statements and demand he apologize.


Dear Professor Landsburg,

I am a social activist writing to condemn comments you made on in your blog post, “Censorship, Environmentalism and Steubenville”. While the University of Rochester spokesman is correct that you are entitled to academic freedom and free speech, I am disturbed by many of your blog posts. The issue of rape is not something can be analyzed by a dispassionate libertarian economic analysis. Passed out women are not benefits that can be “reaped.”

You blog post, combined with articles in which you said that Sandra Fluke could be rightly called a “prostitute” and in which you questioned if daughters rather than sons caused divorce, indicate a deep seated misogyny and desire to offend masquerading as academia.

I urge you to reconsider your comments and apologize.


[Your Name Here]

photo credit: M J M via Flickr

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  1. J Davidson says:

    Rape is a serious crime, no excuses.

  2. Christine Stewart says:

    The Professor should be covered in human excrement, and be photographed, with a huge billboard made of the picture. He should be in no way disgusted or harmed by this, as sh*t washes off. Maybe if he experiences something that makes him feel dirty and ashamed he will have a tiny bit more empathy for rape victims.

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