A Fox News co-host is facing a backlash for questioning the prevalence of rape on college campuses.
“What are you talking about?" co-host Eric Bolling responded. "It’s rampant."
“In particular, date rape on campus,” co-host Dana Perino added.
In 2010, the Department of Justice estimated that 25 percent of college women "will be victims of rape or attempted rape before they graduate within a four-year college period." It also noted that women "between the ages of 16 to 24 will experience rape at a rate that's four times higher than the assault rate of all women." And, it said, schools with more than 6,000 students "average one rape per day during the school year.”
According to New York University's "National Statistics about Sexual Violence on College Campuses," fewer than 5 percent of such cases are reported to law enforcement.
The Fox roundtable was discussing a proposal to ban concealed weapons on Colorado campuses. In his argument on the state House floor supporting the ban, Democratic Colorado Rep. Joe Salazar had said: “It’s why we have call boxes. It’s why we have safe zones. That’s why we have the whistles, because you just don’t know who you’re going to be shooting at. And you don't know if you feel like you're gonna be raped, or if you feel like someone's been following you around or if you feel like you're in trouble when you may actually not be, that you pop out that gun and you pop ... pop a round at somebody."
Salazar's comments drew the ire of conservatives, comparisons to failed Senate candidate Todd Akin and the mocking #LiberalTips2AvoidRape hashtag on Twitter. (The hashtag itself sparked a backlash among those who found its rape jokes offensive.)
"It is so enormously inappropriate to assume that a woman that is trained and has a concealed-carry permit will just pop off," Republican Colorado Rep. Lori Saine had responded on the House floor. Salazar, a freshman lawmaker, later apologized.
Beckel's comments were met with similar criticism. Twitchy.com, the website operated by conservative blogger Michelle Malkin, called Beckel a "cretinous misogynist."
"Vomit," Malkin herself tweeted.
UPDATE: On Wednesday's show, Beckel apologized, too.
"It's a horrible, horrendous issue," he said. "Simply put, rape is rape--whether it's date rape or it's somebody coming in off the campus trying to rape somebody else. I very strongly feel that way. So, I just want to straighten the record out on that."