By Joy Pullmann
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
The Trump administration is reconsidering Obama-era sexual assault regulations that have forced campus tribunals to put their finger on the scale for accusers, resulting in students using tribunals for score-settling instead of justice. Predictably, the victimhood brigade is calling concerns for equality, accuracy, and equal treatment under the laws “rape apology,” polarizing any reality-based discussion of these endemic problems. They even got acting Office of Civil Rights head Candice Jackson to issue an apology for making an accurate generalization.
Jackson, the acting head of the civil rights office, told The New York Times that 90 percent of cases ‘fall into the category of ‘we were both drunk,’ ‘we broke up, and six months later I found myself under a Title IX investigation because she just decided that our last sleeping together was not quite right.’
Later, in a written apology, Jackson said that what she said was ‘flippant, and I am sorry.’
‘As a survivor of rape myself, I would never seek to diminish anyone’s experience,’ the apology said. ‘My words in the New York Times poorly characterized the conversations I’ve had with countless groups of advocates … All sexual harassment and sexual assault must be taken seriously — which has always been my position and will always be the position of this Department.’
Monday, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington), a bitter foe of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, used the occasion to call for Jackson’s head.
Immediately Believing All Accusers Is Not Justice
If you, like me, are wondering how it can be “insensitive” and “egregious” to give some perspective on the massively hyped sexual atmosphere on college campuses, let’s recall the imprudent rhetoric that fuels this system that eviscerates “innocent until proven guilty” and due process as key fundamentals to the American system of law. We are literally told that wanting accused rapists to be proven guilty before being punished is making apologies for rapists. Hillary Clinton infamously tweeted this party line:
The question, of course, is how do we know a person is actually a survivor of sexual assault, not someone who during an encounter consented and participated, then later faced regrets? Well, it turns out we have a justice system precisely to sort the answers to questions like this concerning a wide variety of objectionable human encounters. I know from firsthand experience that our justice system often does not deliver justice. But it is far better-suited to investigating and prosecuting felonies than a bunch of college students and administrators.
For one thing, as Jackson pointed out in her NYT interview, “We have a justice system where nobody demands that the system itself be weighted in favor of a plaintiff. In principle, there is no reason to depart from setting up a Title IX discipline process on campus that is anything other than fairly balanced and doesn’t prejudge and weight the system in favor of a finding. We don’t do that in our court system, our criminal justice system, and I see no reason why we would want to do it in a campus system either.”
In the U.S. justice system, people are innocent until proven guilty, allowed to present evidence supporting their case, allowed to defend themselves and hire defense help, allowed to face their accusers and question their testimony, not allowed to be prosecuted twice for the same crime, and can only be convicted on clear and convincing evidence being provided of their crime. These are all civil rights bundled into the concept of “due process,” and none is available to those on campus accused of one of the most serious crimes a person can perpetrate.
“[T]ypically the accusee doesn’t know the precise charges, doesn’t know what the evidence is, and can’t confront witnesses,” writes Northwestern professor (and card-carrying feminist) Laura Kipnis in her recent book, “Unwanted Advances.” This is a violation of their rights as U.S. citizens. There can be no excuse or argument for abrogating Americans’ rights in order to give feminist hatemongers excuses to exploit victims of sex crimes for fundraising and political power. Ensuring due process for all those assaulted and charged of assault is key to prosecuting rapists, not an obstacle to that righteous pursuit.
What Is Rape? The Definitions Matter
Let’s be very clear. Rape is a heinous crime. I would countenance the death penalty for convicted rapists, as well as castration. But forcible penetration is simply not the same thing as, say, “He kissed me and I didn’t want him to,” or “I thought I wanted to have sex at the time, but I was drunk then and after I was sober knew that had been a terrible decision.” Primarily, that’s because neither of these scenarios includes forced sex, which is the definition of rape. Secondarily, there are further reasons.
Sexual interaction is largely nonverbal. Very often consent is requested and given without any words used or needed, and that means the person who initiates may make an unwelcome advance. An initial unwelcome advance is not assault, it’s a request for consent — unless the person doing it refuses to take no for a response or ignored verbal or nonverbal rejection in making the advance. Bypassing rejection is when it becomes assault, and there are levels to assault. Every sane person realizes that an unwanted kiss, while unpleasant and objectionable, is simply not the same as a man holding you down while forcing himself inside you.
When both parties are drunk, it’s also unfair to blame either one for a sexual encounter that later one or both decide was a poor decision. At the time, they agreed, or thought they both agreed, and you simply can’t erase history. It’s not fair to consent to an interaction then, once that interaction is completed, attempt to change its terms. What’s done is done. The person who attempts to change the terms after the fact is attempting to cheat the other. “Please note that this makes anyone who’s ever had sex a potential rapist,” Kipnis also notes.
Definitions matter because a rapist deserves to face serious and lifelong consequences for his or her crime. But it is horribly unjust to give these same serious, lifelong consequences to someone who has not committed this crime. Expanding the definition necessarily dilutes the punishments applied to those who fit in this category, because it is obviously unjust (to all but moral knuckle-draggers) to apply the same punishment to a groper and to a rapist. The more people are called and judged as rapists whose offenses do not fit that term, the less rape victims will be able to secure justice.
This is precisely what we see in campus tribunals. The worst a college can do to an offending student is expel him with a black mark on his record. Is that really a just punishment for a rapist? Hell, no! What kind of misogynist thinks such a degrading, trivializing thing about a woman’s virtue? A rapist deserves far worse than having to now get through community college to move on with his life. Campus courts simply cannot provide justice for victims, and it’s utterly insulting to say that getting one’s attacker expelled is a fitting consequence for a crime of this magnitude.
Regret Over Bad Decisions Doesn’t Prove Rape
Now, let’s get into some data about campus sexual assault, because it shows that most of what is happening on campuses is simply not rape, which reinforces Jackson’s characterization. Really what’s mostly going on is “teenagers doing horribly stupid things while drunk,” not “a pandemic of sicko male predators holding women down while they scream and kick.”
A 2015 Kaiser Family Foundation/Washington Post poll found, for example, that 67 percent of college students who said they had been sexually assaulted also said they had been drinking before the incident. Kipnis’s book notes that many of the statistics used to promote campus kangaroo courts are unreliable, such as the “only 2 percent of accusations are false,” claim, which is based on 40-year-old data from one police department. While Jackson’s “90 percent” is a generalization, a significant majority of campus assault cases involve alcohol abuse, and the connection is well-known. One study even found 80 percent of campus sexual assaults to involve alcohol.
People know this, which is why we’re not seeing the moral panic that the assault hypers want hitched to their power play. This, again, is detrimental to real victims, who must plead their legitimate cases alongside punks who use campus courts to get back at a guy for having sex with them then refusing to be their boyfriends.
“[W]e seem to be breeding a generation of students, mostly female students, deploying Title IX to remedy sexual ambivalences or awkward sexual experiences, and to adjudicate relationship disputes post-breakup—and campus administrators are allowing it,” Kipnis writes.
They May Not Have Been Raped, But They Were Violated
As crazy as this campus situation is, and as legally unactionable as it is for a woman to signal that she will have a sexual encounter, have it, then retroactively decide she was raped, I actually think there is legitimacy to that feeling so many women obviously can’t shake and which they tell us haunts them for life. People can actually consent to an encounter thinking it will be one thing, during or after the encounter find out they were robbed, then be left to deal with the consequences they didn’t foresee or were told didn’t exist.
This is what happens when you tell young people that sex with someone you aren’t comitted to for life is perfectly good and normal, that they can act callously about sex, that sex is just a bodily function, a physical release we all need, that they’re dirty or dysfunctional if they have qualms or concerns about intimate encounters with strangers. We end up with young males (not men, certainly) who like a porn performer won’t kiss a woman they’ve just screwed, so she doesn’t “get the wrong idea” that putting their penis inside her, you know, actually meant anything.
The link between drinking and perceptions of assault on campus isn’t random. Young women openly acknowledge they get drunk precisely to lower their inhibitions so they are as sexually promiscuous as our culture insists they should be. Later, when they’re sober, they regret it.
It’s not crazy. It’s perhaps the most sensible thing going on in this whole scenario. They have no other way to express their deep feelings of violation besides accusing their partner of “rape.” It wasn’t rape, as in forcible penetration. But it was a violation of something sacred, a transgression. These young people are essentially “raping each other,” as one assault victim told the Washington Post. But how can a relativist legal system punish them justly for assaulting each other? It can’t. So the least callous participant loses, and the more callous participant walks — unless his tender counterpart starts looking for revenge inside Title IX courts.
This is all called “sex positivity” by people with no brains, souls, or hearts. I call it “rape culture.” It’s unfair to slap men with rape charges for doing what our culture tells them women want, and the women themselves are participating in. But, if not legally then morally, the women are definitely victims, and so are the men. Victims of lies and the moral cretins who tell them that the only thing you should consider before sex is whether the other person isn’t resisting.