Readers have, I suspect, read about a recent Rolling Stone article by one Sabrina Rubin Erderly alleging a brutal gang rape of a female student at the University of Virginia. At Minding The Campus K.C. Johnson, author of the definitive book on the Duke Lacrosse rape hoax, has an article expressing concerns about that account. His article contains links to other articles that also express concerns about that article, and about the contemporary attempt to depict America’s college campuses as virtual cesspools of rape and degradation for female students.
As one might suspect, the Rolling Stone report has blown up in the faces of its editors, who have now been forced to apologize–twice in differing formats–for their complete lack of journalistic integrity in reporting on a case that surely did not happen as the supposed “victim” said. Even so, substantial damage has been done and the leftist rape narrative has not been discouraged despite the fact that violent crime of all kinds, including rape, has been dramatically declining for more than a decade.
If the proponents of colleges as rapist staking and training grounds are correct, we—society–find ourselves in the bizarre position of spending billions to encourage kids to prepare for and attend college, a place where some 50% of the population is virtually destined to be raped! And how do we address this scourge? By establishing, at the encouragement of the Obama/Holder Departments of Justice and Education, campus kangaroo courts empaneled and encouraged to use such weak standards of proof that any young man accused of a vaguely-worded sexual ‘crime” will almost surely be “convicted” and expelled. In such tribunals, there is no such thing as a prohibition on double jeopardy. There are no due process rights, no right to counsel, no right to confrontation of witnesses and the accuser, no right—in many cases/places—even for the accused to receive a definitive statement of the charges against him.
Most amazingly, there is no requirement in this brave new world of campus sex tribunals that the police be involved or even informed of what are, in the statues of the several states, felonies. There have been a number of cases where the police have refused to arrest or prosecute an accused young man, yet campus tribunals have rolled inexorably onward and expelled them. There have even been cases where the police discovered that the young women making accusations lied, and even one where a warrant was issued for a supposed “victim” for making a false report, but this didn’t stop the forces of political correctness in fulfilling a nonexistent narrative. Go here for an illuminating PDF relating to this case.
The standard imposed on colleges by the Federal Department of Education Civil Rights Nazis is a “preponderance of evidence,” which is the same, low, standard used in civil cases. In other words, if the evidence suggests a 50.01% probability that the accused did it, they’re convicted. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is out the window. This pitifully low standard was imposed not to ensure equal justice for all, but to ensure that the current leftist narrative of colleges as snake pits of rape and degradation for women will be upheld and maintained.
Who are in charge of these campus tribunals? Professional law enforcement agents, people with the training to identify, interview and arrest actual rapists? Of course not. Administrators all too willing to buy into the narrative and to ensure that pre-determined verdicts are handed down are in charge. Commonly, the only “training” such people receive amounts to nothing more than propaganda designed to convince them that all college age young men are rapists, and women don’t lie about rape.
Women Don’t Lie About Rape:
This is a rather old bit of feminist propaganda, and a particularly dangerous one. Necessary Disclaimer: Rape is a serious, vicious crime that must be investigated, in every instance, by competent, well-trained professionals–not well-meaning (or malicious) college administrators and professors. Rapists should be punished as severely as circumstances will allow. As a police officer, I investigated rapes, and was more than willing to believe women–if the evidence supported their story. I was also a leader in investigating and prosecuting stalking cases, an area of police work even more difficult than rape cases to investigate and prosecute, and this is not unreasonable in that stalking behaviors are often constitutionally protected actions that become criminal by their nature, intent and repetition. To catch and prosecute stalkers, officers have to be very persistent, determined, and sneakier than those they pursue.
The point, gentle readers, is that I was, and am, willing to believe that actual rapes occur. However, hard experience taught me that women lie–often–about rape, and for a variety of reasons.
Keep in mind that the supposed epidemic of campus rape has only recently been discovered. Perhaps it’s something recently added to the water, a sort of rape fluoride. Many of those cases are of a kind fiendishly difficult to prosecute, the “he said/she said” case.
In these cases, the young men and young women know each other, and often, initially agreed to sex. At some point during the encounter, the young woman had second thoughts, or at some point long after the encounter, she decided, for a variety of reasons, that she didn’t willingly participate. What the police end up with is a young man with no intention to rape anyone, and no real idea the young woman thought she was being raped, and a young woman who, after the fact, decided she was. Rational readers not caught up in utopian leftist narratives or social justice non-thinking can see the difficulty in taking such a case to court. I’ve actually seen testimony like this, and more than once:
Defense Attorney: Did you, at any point during the sexual encounter, tell my client that you wanted him to stop?
Victim: Well, not like that…
Defense Attorney: How did you tell him?
Victim: Well, I sort of told him I just wanted to kiss for awhile.
Defense Attorney: And what happened then?
Victim: We just kissed for awhile.
Defense Attorney: So my client did what you asked?
Victim: Well, yes…
Defense Attorney: Did my client, at any time, use force against you?
Victim: Well, no…
Defense Attorney: Isn’t it true that after that night, you called my client many times?
Defense Attorney: Isn’t it also true that after that, you had sexual relations with my client many times?
I’m sure, gentle readers, the difficulties of securing a conviction under circumstances like that are obvious. Strangers do not commit most potential rapes. Most take place in circumstances where alcohol, drugs and social situations conducive to intercourse are active elements. These elements lower inhibitions and undermine judgment. Particularly in cases where both parties agree that intercourse was undertaken voluntarily, proving rape is extraordinarily difficult.
How often do women lie? I don’t believe there are any hard statistics obtained by competent studies, and demographics and other factors have a significant influence, but some purport to have that information. Consider this from Roger Williams University:
Myth: Women often lie about sexual assault or falsely accuse someone of sexual assault.
Fact: Statistical studies indicate false reports make up two percent or less of the reported cases of sexual assault. This figure is approximately the same for other types of crimes. Only one out of 10 rapes are actually reported. Sexual Assault by someone the victim knows are the least likely to be reported.
Ms. Magazine is more honest, at least about their ideology:
That’s an easy question for feminists and allies to answer–in the vast majority of cases, absolutely not–but it’s one that gets asked every time a rape accusation is made public.
I’m sure that is an easy question for feminists and their allies to answer. It’s the truthfulness and accuracy part that is usually difficult. Falserape.net reports an interesting study:
Dr. Charles McDowell, formerly of the US Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations, discovered that 27% of Air Force women who claimed they had been raped later admitted making false accusations of rape. The admission usually came when they were asked to take a lie detector test. With these admitted false accusations he was able to develop 35 criteria distinguishing false accusations and those known to be genuine. Three independent judges then examined the remainder of the cases. Only if all three reviewers independently concluded the original rape allegations were false did they rank them as “false.” The total of false allegations became 65%.
The study was buried and Dr. Charles McDowell was ostracized and reassigned.
My experience at my last police assignment, a community of about 50,000 and a regional and tourist center servicing a population many times larger, may be of some interest. I worked for a professional and dedicated police agency. The investigators were experienced and capable, and fully investigated each and every rape case. I was involved in investigating many of them. Fully 50% of cases were found to be false reports. This finding was remarkably consistent across all ages, racial and demographic groups. It was not the result of lazy, misogynistic cops that didn’t believe women or wanted to go easy on men, but was based on hard evidence, and in almost all cases, the eventual confession of the “victim” when confronted with the evidence of their lying and the complete lack of evidence supporting their assertions.
Another remarkable factor was that many of those false reports were not based on men the women knew or could identify, but on supposed stranger rapists. I’m sure this was done, in part, because the women involved knew that naming their “rapist” could quickly unravel their story.
No case was categorized as a false report merely because there was insufficient evidence, or because the victim was a poor witness who no jury would believe, as was all too often the case. When a rape kit suggests intercourse took place, but everyone agrees it did, or no one was sober enough to remember, that’s likely not a case on its way to trial. Go here for a slightly fictionalized–names changed–true story of what I mean. Those cases were closed as rapes but with prosecution declined. We presented all of the evidence to the prosecutors, who, after reading it, understood without the slightest doubt, they’d never get a conviction. That’s genuine prosecutorial discretion.
The Real World:
All of these factors make the job of the police in investigating rapes thankless and difficult. In many ways, there’s no way to win–for anyone. So for the Obama Administration, the solution is the Kobayashi Maru scenario from Star Trek. Captain Kirk couldn’t win against the test, so he changed the parameters of the test.
If rape cases in the real world, particularly the hookup culture, booze and drug soaked world of many college kids don’t conform to easily construed narratives with predictable, ideological outcomes, change the rules. Make it possible not only to confirm that colleges are full of rapists, but make it possible to “convict” them all, evidence or not. Eliminate all of the police and that messy, narrative hampering equal justice, due process and rule of law garbage. College administrators and activists–fellow travelers with the Obama/progressive mindset– have been only too willing to go along.
The reality is, particularly in many college situations, the “offense” just doesn’t meet the elements of any state rape statute. In others, the victim and witnesses were so drunk or drugged their statements aren’t credible. In others still, there is no physical evidence because the victim only decided she was raped–not under the law but in a broader, less easily defined sense–many hours, days, even months after the event. And in some, the physical evidence is inconclusive or does not support the statements of the victim or of witnesses.
In the current campus climate, a young man need not even be charged with rape. Merely doing something–virtually anything–that made a young woman uncomfortable, acts that would seldom, if ever, be a crime, may be more than enough to invoke the full wrath of a campus tribunal. That’s the point of college tribunals. the Obamites and their ideological fellow travelers just know colleges are fetid fever swamps of rape, and they’re going to establish the means to keep the swamps boiling as long as possible.
Rape does happen on college campuses. College students are sometimes involved.
People lie. They lie about matters small and large. Men lie; women lie.
Actual rape is an ugly and violent crime and police officers love to arrest genuine rapists, just as they love to arrest child molesters.
The current campus rape craze is just another example of the moral vacuum of progressivism. It is a part of the culture wars that will determine for all time, and possibly within the next four years, whether America will survive as a force for democracy and good, or as a situationally, morally relative welfare state unable and unwilling to protect even its own borders and citizens.
The investigation and disposition of all rape cases is the business of the police and the justice system, never educational institutions. The justice system, when it works properly, takes time, and ensures due process for all. In that system, under the rule of law, the rights of everyone, suspect, victim and society are upheld. Unfortunately, this is seldom a rapid process, and desired outcomes are not certain, nor do they always serve social justice narratives.
The criminal justice system is not perfect. Mistakes are made; abuses occur. However, it is the most just and consistent system in the world, and the most generally transparent. When investigations are completed, police reports are usually, and in most states, public property.
Were I a young man considering entering college, I suspect I’d seriously consider other alternatives such as an on-line degree, or at the very least, follow the advice of Woody Allen who, in the classic Sleeper, observed that he was very good at sex because he practiced all the time when he was alone.
Consider the weird reality that where the property boundaries of some colleges begin, the rule of law, and the due process protections of the Constitution, end unless one has the will and the money to spend years clearing their name while their life and their education is put on indefinite hold and they are branded a rapist.
Already, more women than men attend and complete college. If this Obamite totalitarian initiative is allowed to continue, that disproportion can only be expected to grow, and trust in the rule of law and government will continue to erode. None of those outcomes are good for a free people and a healthy society. Worst of all, none do anything for actual victims of rape.