Rape is among the most turbulent issues on college campuses these days. If social justice warriors–Progressives–are to be believed, the incidence of rape on campus has reached epidemic levels. They proclaim that 20-25% of college women will be raped during their time on campus, and some claim the numbers of victims are even higher.
This is, of course, nonsense, and no extensive, multi-year studies are required to prove it. If valid, reproducible research revealed that whenever a car was started, there was a 25% chance it would explode, who would dare drive? If anyone truly believed that 25% of all women attending college would be raped, what father would send his daughter to college? Which young woman would voluntarily set foot on a campus, particularly knowing that most are victim disarmament zones?
Even so, the battle rages, yet it is an old battle. It is not a battle for the prosecution of actual criminals, nor is it a battle for public safety. As always, it’s a battle of the culture wars; the ultimate prize: ultimate political power.
In this particular battle, conservatives fight for the rule of law–equal justice for all. This requires that people that actually commit rapes be prosecuted and convicted. It also requires that anyone accused of rape–or any crime–be afforded all of the protections of the Constitution, including the rights to counsel, and due process. For conservatives, it goes without saying that actual rape victims must be protected and given all reasonable aid and support. That’s just part of the rule of law, of common decency.
Progressives, however, have different objectives, particularly where alleged rape on campus is concerned. They fight for progressive outcomes, victim empowerment, and documenting large numbers of rapes, which gives them political power to agitate for other progressive goals. Their ideology, their narrative, requires every “victim” be absolutely believed in every particular, regardless of evidence. Evidence is very much beside the point; they have no intention of prosecuting rapists. They only need men to be proclaimed rapists and expelled from schools. This allows them to validate the narrative of 25% of college women being raped, which gives them more political power to persecute “rapists,” which continues the cycle, resulting in political power and control of others. The law and the Constitution are meaningless to them, actual impediments to their desired outcomes.
It is important to also keep in mind that a substantial, perhaps defining current in feminist theory as taught and practiced at universities is that all men are rapists. Some feminist professor/theorists and pundits go so far as to preach that even consensual intercourse is rape, and women that enjoy it simply aren’t sufficiently evolved to understand their oppression and degradation.
And speaking of degradation, the media are always delighted to support the social justice narrative, because it’s their narrative. Consider this from Mary Katherine Ham regarding the Duke Lacrosse case, where ridiculously false accusations of rape were ultimately exposed:
New York Times Public Editor Dan Okrent diagnosed the media coverage of the case in the documentary as journalists excited to find all their pet social-justice issues in one story.
‘It was white over black, it was male over female, it was rich over poor, educated over uneducated. All the things that we know happen in the world coming together in one place and journalists, they start to quiver with a thrill when something like this happens,’ Okrent said.
And it was all a lie, all of it; from the first moment, and to this day, the media have learned nothing. Few, if any, have actually apologized for or retracted their false Duke coverage, and after viewing a contemporary documentary that exposed the Duke hysteria for what it was:
Ten years later, despite a recent lesson in humility with the Rolling Stone UVA rape story, some of that grudging tone remains, as in Slate’s write-up on the documentary: “[I]t’s a bizarre experience to watch a documentary that expects the viewer to root for a bunch of accused rapists.
What’s bizarre is a refusal to admit that the accused Lacrosse players were so blameless, the state’s Attorney General took the unprecedented step of publically declaring them to be innocent. Not only was there insufficient evidence to link them to any rape, not only was there no such evidence, there was voluminous evidence to prove their innocence. For example, at the time of the supposed rape, one of the defendants was a mile away using an ATM, as time-stamped video footage proved. As for the rest, there was not a molecule of DNA evidence, a fact the prosecutor and DNA lab tried to hide.
In that case, the rule of law was vindicated, and innocent men were able, at horrific cost, to prove themselves innocent. Ultimately the right outcome, but not quite the way our system of justice is supposed to work. For social justice warriors, the outcome, and the fact that the Lacrosse players retained lawyers, was abhorrent. In one case, we see the stunning differences between the rule of law and social justice.
The invaluable Ashe Schow has done important work exposing the sordid motives of the social justice movement in persecuting young men. She reports on a new document that epitomizes the social justice perspective, The Blueprint For Campus Police: Responding to Sexual Assault, out of the School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin:
A new ‘victim-centered, trauma-informed’ approach to handling campus sexual assault appears at first glance to be an improvement on the current model of allowing campus administrators to play police, judge, jury and executioner. But look deeper into the new guidelines and one will see that this is far from an improvement and more an attempt to railroad accused students while looking impartial.
Actually, one need not look deeply at all. Those with particularly strong stomachs and up-to-date blood pressure medications should read at least some of the document. It’s an accurate representation of social justice thought, and of what kind of deranged education hundreds of thousands of dollars buys.
The new blueprint, produced for the University of Texas System, will be used to train campus law enforcement officers how to adequately respond to accusations of sexual assault. This would give the investigations an appearance of legitimacy. But as I’ll show, the training provided to these officers will make the investigations even less legitimate.
For starters, the blueprint identifies accusers as ‘victims’ throughout, pre-supposing the truthfulness of their claims. It also includes a section claiming unfounded and false allegations are rare (the implication being that accusers should automatically be believed). I’ve detailed before how the ‘rare’ statistics are faulty, but beyond that, fact finders are not to predetermine the outcome at the beginning of a case.
Other than predetermining that every accuser is absolutely pure and right in every way, and every young man is a rapist, regardless of evidence.
But the most egregious demand in the blueprint, noted by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s Samantha Harris, is the requirement that police officers — who are supposed to be ‘neutral fact finders’ — actively work to ‘anticipate’ and ‘counter’ defense strategies.
This is a dramatic indicator of social justice thinking. Police officers investigating rapes–or any crime–must always retain reasonable skepticism, and avoid developing an unchangeable conclusion and finding–or manufacturing–evidence to vindicate it. They must go where the evidence takes them. Most importantly, they must find evidence to fulfill the elements of the crime. It is this that guides their every step.
Sec. 22.011. SEXUAL ASSAULT.
(a) A person commits an offense if the person:
(1) intentionally or knowingly:
(A) causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of another person by any means, without that person’s consent;
(B) causes the penetration of the mouth of another person by the sexual organ of the actor, without that person’s consent; or…
I’ve included only the portion relevant to this discussion. Those interested in the entire statute can take the link.
In order to prove rape in Texas–and notice that the statute is reasonably gender neutral–the police must have evidence to prove these elements:
(1) The rape was done intentionally or knowingly;
(2) The sexual act(s) must be non-consensual;
(3) Penetration, by “the sexual organ of the actor,” or “any means.”
In Texas, and this is the case in many states, absent penetration, there is no rape. That doesn’t mean some other crime may not have occurred, it’s just not rape. If there was consent, it’s not rape. If it was not done intentionally or knowingly, it is not rape (that’s why intoxication is such a big issue in such cases). And this is why social justice warriors want nothing to do with the criminal justice system.
Take average college sexual encounter #1: Bob and Sue meet at a party, and both have been drinking heavily. Sue invites Bob to her dorm room, and they engage in sex. Months later, no longer seeing Bob, and convinced by her friends that he used her, she decides she was “raped.” None of them know the legal definition of rape, but it involved sex and Sue is retroactively upset, so it must be rape. Bob can produce multiple texts and emails from Sue in the days and weeks after the “rape,” demonstrating that not only was she satisfied, but wanted more of the same kind of “rape,” which he willingly provided.
Any competent police officer investigating this case would quickly determine that the sex was consensual. Let us assume there was penetration. Even so, the evidence would reveal that Sue invited it and enjoyed it, but not only that, she wanted more, as did Bob. The sex was intentional and knowing, but the very fact that the evidence indicates that it was consensual means it was not rape. Add in the fact that Sue and Bob were very drunk indeed, their memories are, at best, sketchy, and Sue made the report only months later after significant peer pressure, no police officer in his right mind would forward the case for charges, and no prosecutor would file it. This would be true even if Sue claimed, due to her intoxication, she couldn’t remember anything that happened. The remaining evidence would still prevent prosecution. This is as it should be in a nation dedicated to the rule of law and equal justice.
Take average college sexual encounter #2: Tim and Karen have been dating for several weeks, and one night, engage in sex without penetration. Tim touches and strokes Karen’s vulva, and her breasts, and she touches and strokes his penis. They eventually drift apart, but her social justice inclined friends report the encounter as a rape. Karen doesn’t want to report the incident, but doesn’t want to disappoint her friends, and the campus rape bureaucracy won’t let it go.
Analyze the elements: Was the sex knowing and consensual. Yes. Was there penetration? No. All of the elements must be proved, so no rape, and end of story in the criminal justice system.
This, of course, will not provide the appropriate social justice outcome on campus. To social justice warriors, any sexual situation that causes a woman to feel less than empowered must be rape. It’s feelings and social justice that matter, not niggling matters like words and laws.
And perhaps they’re right. Why shouldn’t unpleasing sex be rape? Don’t women deserve protection? Don’t their feelings matter? How can all women feel safe if a single woman doesn’t feel safe?
Feelings are irrelevant to the administration of justice. Laws exist so that all will know what is and isn’t criminal. If the average, reasonable person can’t know after reading a given law what is and is not a crime, that law is unconstitutional, void for vagueness. Therefore, words matter greatly; they describe and limit. Their precision is vital; certain, specifically construed actions constitute rape, and everything else does not. It’s not social justice, but no rational man or woman wants to live under a criminal code that is constantly morphing to suit political purposes.
Schow reports that one section of the Blueprint” requires officers to write short reports, and few of them, which amounts to recording only the allegations of the accuser. Police officers must accurately record all evidence. Their job is not only to determine whether crimes actually occurred, but to gather all relevant evidence, including that which might be helpful to the defense. If they do not, prosecutors can’t make competent charging decisions, and can easily be ambushed by surprise evidence in court.
This same section insists that ‘inconsistencies and vagueness can become the facts of the case that lend support to the case as they can be a sign of trauma.’ Get that? Even if the accuser’s story doesn’t add up, they’re telling the truth. In this way, there is no such thing as an innocent accused student.
This is further evidenced on page 97, when officers are told that an accused student who ‘appears to make more sense,’ should not be seen as credible.
Again we have social justice orthodoxy. Women never lie about rape, and all “victims” must be believed. Therefore, contrary evidence doesn’t matter and must be discounted, even actively suppressed. The most convincing witnesses must be ignored, particularly if they happen to be the male accused.
Unfortunately, women do lie about rape. In my final police assignment, I discovered that in our unremarkable town of about 50,000, about 50% of rape allegations were false. They were not false because we were sexist, evil, patriarchal males that wanted to disbelieve women. They were false because in every case, the evidence proved it, and the women eventually admitted it, and their reasons for lying. That’s what competent investigations do; reveal the truth. Does this mean 50% of rape complaints are false everywhere? Of course not, but during an eight-year period where I served, in one community, they were. Ask any experienced police officer whether any group of people never lie, but only if you want to know the truth.
Evidence matters a very great deal, because without it, all cases amount to he said/she said. In such cases, witness credibility is everything, and if prosecutors believe an accuser will be a poor witness, the case will seldom be filed.
But what if she was actually raped? Our system of justice is predicated on the principle that it is better that 100 guilty go free than one innocent man be imprisoned. Social justice would gladly imprison 100 innocent men, as long as they were on the wrong side of social justice ideology, which makes them prima facie guilty.
Return to the case of Bob and Sue. It would never make it to trial because Sue took months to report the “rape.” There would be no physical evidence, and most damaging, Bob would be able to introduce the text and e-mail evidence of not only Sue’s consent, but her affection, satisfaction, and multiple requests, over months, for more, which they willingly enjoyed.
Return to the case of Tim and Karen. It too would never make it to trial. Since there was no penetration, it was not rape. It might constitute another crime, but even then, it took too long to report, there would be no physical evidence, and the defense would be able to get Karen to admit that even she did not consider it rape or any other sort of crime, and didn’t want to report it.
Does this sound harsh? Anti-woman? Abusive to victims? It is not harsh, anti-woman or abusive to the rule of law, to the constitutional rights of us all, including women. If the Constitution doesn’t apply to us all, it applies to no one. Remember: if the police and prosecutors can’t fulfill each and every element of the crime, it’s not rape.
Back to Schow:
Even worse, the blueprint purports to include ‘science’ to inform police practices, but in this section includes a “study” claiming one-third of men would rape if they could. I already debunked this “study” twice, as it was conducted asking just 86 men if they would hypothetically commit a crime if they could get away with it. Ask a tiny sample of any population whether they would commit murder if they would get away with it, and see what the response is. It doesn’t mean they actually would commit the crime, because they likely would be caught.
All men are rapists, and social justice warriors are just sure that they all would commit rape if they could, but the best “study” they can get their hands on only goes as far as 1/3. That’s their story, and they’re stickin’ to it.
Social justice agitators commonly claim that it is not necessary to report on-campus rapes to the police. They defend refusing to allow the accused young men attorneys, an opportunity to present evidence in their defense, representation by an attorney, the opportunity to question their accuser and to have all of the evidence against them, in short, the most minimal due process, because it’s not a criminal matter. Feelings matter above all, but not the feelings of the accused, because they’re men, and all men are rapists.
Unfortunately the young men thrown out of college, their reputations destroyed for life, carrying enormous debt for a degree never earned, young men who may never be able to enroll in another college, differ from actual convicted rapists only in remaining free. True, they lack a felony record, but the damage done in the name of social justice is enormous, brutal, and lasting.
Pity the UT at A Campus Police. They will have to endure in-service training on this social justice propaganda, and if they wish to keep their jobs, will be required to betray best police practice and their professional honor. All police officers must endure brain cell destroying in-service training–here’s a prime example–but this is beyond the pale. The police have their problems, but the newest rookie is better qualified to investigate rape than any university professor or bureaucrat.
Social justice ideology not only fools the credulous into believing that consensual, willing sexual relations are rape, it not only damages relations between men and women, but it trivializes the genuine trauma and harm caused by real rapists, while ensuring that actual rapists go free. It ensures that the jobs of police officers become still more difficult, even as it denigrates them. Yet another great, forward-looking progressive accomplishment.