Fox News co-host Bob Beckel is apologizing for comments that critics said marginalized date rape as a less-serious form of sexual assault.
An afternoon regular on "The Five,"
Beckel was taken to task for implying that rape on college campuses was not as serious as some were making it.
On Tuesday's program, the liberal commentator had asked, "When was the last time you heard about a rape on campus?"
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"What are you talking about? It's rampant," co-host Eric Bolling shot back, with co-host Dana Perino adding, "In particular, date rape on campus."
“Well, date rape, yeah, that’s one thing,” Beckel responded, appearing to brush the issue off.
After being lambasted on social media, Beckel took to the air on Wednesday to apologize for the distinction he had made.
"Yesterday, a number of people responded to what I said about date rape as if I didn't think it was a serious issue," Beckel said.
"Of course I think it's a serious issue. It's a horrible, horrendous issue. And it's simply put, this, rape is rape," Beckel continued. "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. And so, I just want to straighten the record out on that. I simply was trying to make -- there was not a distinction to make here. It simply was that date rape is rape. And that is, by any other definition, rape is rape."
Federal statistics from 2010 estimated that 25 percent of college women "will be victims of rape or attempted rape before they graduate within a four-year period" and that schools of more than 6,000 "average one rape per day during the school year."
"The Five" conversation stemmed from comments made by a Democratic Colorado state representative, Joe Salazar, who was speaking on the floor of the Colorado House on a proposal to ban firearms from the state's campuses.
Salazar suggested that women shouldn't be trusted with guns when they are under emotional duress
, saying they wouldn't be as rationally capable of knowing when they are about to be sexually assaulted and that may lead to accidental shootings.
"It’s why we have call boxes; it’s why we have safe zones; it’s why we have the whistles — because you just don’t know who you’re gonna be shooting at," said Salazar. "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."
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