By ASHE SCHOW (@ASHESCHOW) • 1/6/16 2:34 PM
Two students expelled for campus sexual assault are suing their university, alleging racism played a role in their case.
The two accused students, identified in the lawsuit as Justin Browning and Alphonso Baity, II, are both African-American. They were accused by a white woman, identified in the lawsuit only as M.K., after an encounter at a party.
Browning and Baity were expelled despite the fact that every witness interviewed corroborated the accused students' story, and that witnesses came forward to say that M.K. bragged about the encounter as a consensual act. Not only were they expelled, but the expulsions came just two days after the accusation was filed, and campus procedures regarding sexual assault accusations were not followed.
The two students are suing the University of Findlay in Ohio, which has a student population of more than 5,000. Of that total, just 3 percent were African-American in the fall of 2014, when the case took place. This percentage is slightly higher than the surrounding city of Findlay, which has an African-American population of just 2 percent.
Every university employee who handled the accusation was white. In addition to the usual claims of gender discrimination, violation of due process and breach of contract that are common among accused students suing their schools, Browning and Baity's lawyers are including two counts of racial discrimination.
I've read and reported on numerous lawsuits by accused students — and every one has been stunning. So you'll have to believe me when I say this one is the most incredible I have ever seen.
In the fall of 2014, Browning and Baity were roommates at a campus-owned house, along with two other men. M.K., the accuser, became friends with all four, and frequented the home numerous times in the first months of the school year.
On Sept. 20, 2014, the roommates and some other friends, along with M.K., attended a house party together. The lawsuit alleges that M.K. appeared to drink from a Gatorade bottle, but did not appear intoxicated at all throughout the night.
Also from the Washington ExaminerAt the party, M.K. hugged Baity (who did not drink at this party) and asked where Browning was. When she found him, she took his phone and entered her number, then led him to the dance floor where the two danced and kissed. M.K. asked Browning to leave the party with her, and the two returned to Browning's residence along with two other friends.
The friends talked when they got back to the residence, but after a few minutes, M.K. and Browning went to Browning's room and engaged in sexual activity. The lawsuit makes sure to detail the activity and the consent provided by M.K. The lawsuit claims that "Browning never coerced, threatened, forced, or otherwise made or threatened M.K. to perform any sex act or engage in any type of sexual activity or physical contact." It also says M.K. never told Browning "no" or "stop" and gave no indication, whether directly, indirectly or implicitly, that she did not consent.
"To the contrary, M.K. affirmatively consented to the sexual activity(ies) by saying 'yes,'" the lawsuit says. "At all times, M.K. initiated all sexual activity and physical contact of a sexual or intimate nature with Browning, and physically and verbally encouraged and voluntarily consented to such contact and interaction."
These same descriptions are used to describe the sexual encounter M.K. had with Baity that evening.
When Baity returned to the house later that evening, he found M.K. and Browning engaged in sexual activity in his room. He entered to retrieve a phone charger. When she saw Baity, M.K. suggested he join in the activity, according to the lawsuit. Baity agreed and he and M.K. engaged in sexual activity while Browning remained on his own bed.
Baity left the room and joined his friends and roommates in the living room. Soon after, M.K. left the room without clothes on, and laughed about needing to vomit, though she didn't. She remained naked and sat on the couch to talk with everyone.
At some point M.K. returned to the bedroom with Browning and again engaged in sexual activity. Again, the lawsuit claims the acts were consensual and that M.K. initiated.
Throughout all of this, the roommates and friends heard sounds coming from the bedroom that indicated consensual sexual activity.
M.K. left in the morning and returned to her dorm, where she discussed the previous night with other women in the dorm, including the resident assistant. According to at least one of these women, M.K. bragged about the evening and her sexual activity with Browning and Baity. M.K. never suggested any sexual assault took place.
Around that same time, M.K. also told another of her friends about the sexual activity with Browning and Baity; again, she was bragging. She even interacted with Baity and his friends in the days following the encounter.
Yet 10 days later, M.K. would accuse Browning and Baity of sexual assault.
The university has a duty to investigate sexual assault accusations due to a reinterpretation of Title IX, the federal statute banning sex discrimination. The university claims to provide a "prompt, fair and impartial investigation and resolution to all alleged incidents of discrimination prohibited by Title IX." The school also says it will conduct its investigation within 60 days of receiving a complaint. Two days certainly falls under that timeframe, but given the seriousness of the charges (sexual assault by two men on the same night), two days seems an implausible timeframe to find two students responsible.
The university's investigation policy also mentions hearings, but none were ever held. The lawsuit also claims neither Browning nor Baity received specifics about the allegation against them.
The university didn't even interview M.K. about her report, nor did it follow up on any of the witnesses M.K. named in her report, according to the lawsuit. The university didn't seek video evidence alluded to by M.K. in her report.
The university did interview one of Browning and Baity's African-American roommates. They did not interview their other two African-American witnesses. The students believe this is due to the university believing that "because of their race, ethnicities, and/or gender" the statements of the other two African-American witnesses "would be biased in favor of Plaintiffs and contain no useful information."
The lawsuit claims this was racial discrimination against the two accused students as well as the two other African-American witnesses.
As evidence for this discrimination, the lawsuit notes that the school interviewed the two white women who were present at the house the night of the encounter. The accused students believed these women were chosen as witnesses because the school thought they would side with the white female accuser.
They didn't, however, as the two women corroborated the accused students' version of events. The lawsuit alleges that the women's refusal to side with the accuser led to retaliation against them by the university. One of the female witnesses was terminated from her work-study job and took another position with the university. The other female witness was threatened with expulsion. She was saved when her mother called the school.
Further, the university appeared to try and bring up Baity's past sexual history by interviewing a woman he previously dated (who was not present on the night in question). This, too, did not turn out well for the university, as the woman said that Baity was always respectful with her and never forced or coerced her into sex. She also said he was never violent or abusive.
Despite witnesses corroborating the accused students' side of the story, Browning and Baity were expelled two days later.
No recordings or transcriptions exist of any interviews conducted by the university. In a bizarre procedure, two administrators would interview a witness and take separate notes, then one of the two would create a "summary" statement and combine the notes. The original, separate notes would then be discarded.
On Oct. 3, 2014, two days after M.K. filed her complaint and 13 days after the sexual encounter, Browning and Baity received expulsion letters. Each student was allowed to appeal the decision within 72 hours, and even though they were forced to move back home (each lived outside of Ohio), they filed their appeals within the time allowed.
Yet before the 72-hour period ended, and before the appeals were heard and decided upon, the university sent out a campus-wide email naming Browning and Baity and announcing their expulsion for sexual assault.
One of the original women M.K. bragged to saw the email and was disgusted. She contacted her resident adviser (who had also heard the boasting) to discuss the false accusations. Her resident adviser told her to leave it alone because the matter was closed.
Browning and Baity's appeals were both denied (how could they not be, when the entire campus already believed they were guilty?). They each received the same letter about their finalized expulsion — only the names were changed.
Another friend of M.K. who had heard her boasting sent an email to the university after the final expulsion letters were sent. This friend told the university that M.K. had bragged about the consensual sexual activity. Two days later — and now a week after the accused students had first been expelled and forced off campus — the university interviewed this friend of M.K. The friend again said that M.K. had bragged about the evening and that everything had been consensual.
The same day this friend was interviewed, one of the other African-American roommates who had been present but not interviewed previously, was finally interviewed by the university. He, too, corroborated the accused students' version of events. He also mentioned to the university that videos of the night in question existed, but the university never attempted to locate these videos.
The accused students were led to believe that M.K. also went to the police with her accusation but that no charges were filed after a police investigation. Neither student has been charged with a crime.
The students allege racial discrimination in their lawsuit, and note that the only other students expelled from the university for sexual assault were other African-Americans, each accused by white women. The students also claim in their lawsuit that university officials have said the school's policy is to find in favor of female accusers.
In an email to the Washington Examiner, the University of Findlay defended itself against accusations that it conducted an unfair investigation.
"The university conducted this process with integrity and fairness," wrote Joy Shaw, the school's media relations coordinator. "We will vigorously defend the process and our decision."
By R.S. McCain
Sexual savagery on the streets of Germany:
Roving packs of men sexually assaulted dozens of women on New Year’s Eve in western Germany’s city of Cologne, officials said, describing the attacks as unprecedented.
The spree suggested a “new dimension of organized criminality,” German justice minister Heiko Maas told a press conference on Tuesday.
Police said the attackers — who struck in pairs and groups of up to 20 men — appeared to be part of a larger, 1,000-strong group that had gathered in one of the city’s main plazas for New Year’s celebrations.
Cologne’s police spokesman Thomas Held told NBC News that authorities had fielded around 90 complaints of pick-pocketing, groping and at least one of rape.
Eye witnesses described getting groped multiple times near the city’s train station and its famed cathedral.
“It was horror. Although we shouted and hit around us, the guys did not stop. I was desperate,” a 28-year-old woman identified as Katja L. told Cologne’s Express newspaper, saying she was groped about 100 times while walking 600 feet.
(It was almost as bad as a University of Virginia frat party.)
Another woman, who did not give her name, told Bild newspaper that several men attacked her and her friend. “They had circled us and started to grope us. They were everywhere with their hands,” she said. . . .
Police on Monday had said the suspects appeared to be of “Arab or North African descent,” sparking fears on social media they were among around 1 million asylum seekers who have flooded Germany this year.
American feminists, who have incited irrational hysteria over a non-existent “rape epidemic” on U.S. college campuses, will ignore this news. American feminists never said a word about the Rotherham Horror, in which English girls as young as 11 were pimped out by Muslim predators. American feminists don’t want to call attention to certain crimes committed by certain criminals, and it is not just Juanita Broaddrick’s rape accusation against Bill Clinton that feminists demand that we ignore. The feminist movement in the United States is controlled by the Democrat Party, and therefore rape is just a talking-point to them, an “issue” that feminists help Democrats exploit for partisan purposes. Because feminists are dishonest partisans, their agenda requires a lot of deliberate falsification — the phony “1-in-5” statistic, the UVA rape hoax, etc. — and it also requires feminists to ignore a lot of actual rapes which do not fit the Democrat Party-approved propaganda narrative.
Feminists have expended enormous effort to create the impression thatrape is a crime commonly committed by “privileged” college boys. This falsehood serves the interests of the Democrat Party in several ways, especially because demonizing “privileged” (i.e., white, middle-class, heterosexual) males is part of a message that helps Democrats mobilize female voters, minority voters and gay voters. This is a type of hate propaganda which masquerades as “progressivism.”
By an obverse principle, the Democrat Party propaganda machine (including feminists) ignore any news that would suggest either (a) mass immigration is harmful to American society, or (b) Islam is dangerous. No matter how many violent crimes against women in the U.S. are committed by illegal aliens, no America feminist will ever call attention to such a crime, because all immigrants are presumably part of the Democrat coalition, and it’s bad publicity to mention how much harm their party’s constituents inflict on innocent Americans. (This is why liberals ignorerampant crime in Chicago and other Democrat Party strongholds.) Similarly, because most Republicans believe that radical Islam poses an existential threat to American civilization, Democrats (including feminists) pretend that Muslims are less dangerous than Methodists, Mormons or Mennonites. For more than three decades, feminists have been shrieking about the theocratic menace posed by “the Religious Right” (i.e., any Christian who votes Republican) and yet at the same time, feminists demand that Americans believe Muslims are all harmless misunderstood victims of “Islamophobia.”
American feminists will tell any lie if it helps the Democrat Party, and you will be accused of “hate” if you dare to tell the truth about what unrestricted Muslim immigration will mean:
Just five arrests have been made by German police after central Cologne was transformed into a war-zone on New Year’s Eve, as an estimated 1,000 migrants celebrated by launching fireworks into crowds and sexually assaulting German women caught up in the chaos.
The sordid details of the horrifying sexual assaults and attacks made against ordinary Germans by large gangs of migrants in Cologne in the early hours of Friday morning are just now emerging. . . .
One woman had her tights and underwear torn off by the crowd, and a police source quoted said there had been “rapes” at the station that night.
So far, police have identified 80 victims of the gangs, 35 of which were subjected to sex attacks. Others were assaulted or robbed. Officers suspect there are many more as of yet unreported cases from the night, and are appealing for victims to come forward after their ordeals. . . .
In addition to the sex attacks, there were several brawls between migrant gangs at the railway station, and large numbers of fireworks were fired into the crowds and at the hapless police.
This violent mayhem is coming soon to an American city near you, thanks to the Democrat Party and their feminist propaganda squads.
By R.S. McCain
“But the hatred of women is a source of sexual pleasure for men in its own right. Intercourse appears to be the expression of that contempt in pure form, in the form of a sexed hierarchy; it requires no passion or heart because it is power without invention articulating the arrogance of those who do the f–king. Intercourse is the pure, sterile, formal expression of men’s contempt for women . . .”
— Andrea Dworkin, Intercourse, 1987
“Male power is systemic. Coercive, legitimated, and epistemic, it is the regime.”
— Catharine MacKinnon, Toward a Feminist Theory of the State (1989)
“There are politics in sexual relationships because they occur in the context of a society that assigns power based on gender and other systems of inequality and privilege. . . . [T]he interconnections of systems are reflected in the concept of heteropatriarchy, the dominance associated with a gender binary system that presumes heterosexuality as a social norm. . . .
“As many feminists have pointed out, heterosexuality is organized in such a way that the power men have in society gets carried into relationships and can encourage women’s subservience, sexually and emotionally.”
— Susan M. Shaw and Janet Lee, Women’s Voices, Feminist Visions (fifth edition, 2012)
“Ultimately, there was a disenchantment with the ‘No means no’ framework — by requiring women to say no, we reinforce the idea that sex is something women, by definition, have, which men are trying to get, and of which women must be the moral guardians.”
— Jill Filipovic, “America, pop culture and tackling sexual assault,” Oct. 10, 2015
You probably have to read a lot of feminist theory (and I’ve been immersed in it for months) to understand that feminist rhetoric about a “campus rape epidemic” isn’t actually about rape. There has been no such “epidemic” on America’s university and college campuses, or anywhere else for that matter. Statistics from the Justice Department show a remarkable decline in the incidence of sexual assault in recent decades, which may be explained by a number of factors, including legislation (e.g., sex-offender registries) and technological advances in law enforcement, including DNA testing and widespread video surveillance. Sexual predators are less likely to get away with their crimes, and more likely to be locked away for long sentences when apprehended, preventing them from becoming repeat offenders.
American women are now less at risk of rape than at any time in the past 40 years, and the emergence of a frantic hysteria about “rape culture” on college campuses therefore seems contradictory — unless you understand how feminist theory “problematizes” heterosexuality.
To those who have read my book Sex Trouble, or followed the continuing discussion here, it is unnecessary for me to explain that feminist theory views heterosexuality as practically synonymous with male supremacy. Andrea Dworkin’s 1979 declaration that “the essence of so-called romance . . . is rape embellished with meaningful looks” was perhaps the most vivid expression of this view, but radical theory has been so widely promulgated within academic feminism (particularly within university Women’s Studies programs) that it is taken for granted.
Anyone who has read Catharine MacKinnon’s Toward a Feminist Theory of the State recognizes that what Jill Filipovic is calling into question — “the idea that sex is something women, by definition, have, which men are trying to get” — is simply normal human heterosexual behavior. The dynamics inherent to the testosterone-fueled male sexual drive as a biological force of nature, and the social customs necessary to restraining this unruly force, are not really controversial, except in feminist theory, which emphatically denies that there is any such thing as “human nature.” Because social customs surrounding sexual behavior have traditionally required certain female responsibilities (i.e., placing women in the role of “moral guardians,” as Filipovic says), feminists have sought not merely to destroy these customs (thus to absolve themselves of responsibility, moral or otherwise) but have attacked as “sexist” our basic understanding of normal sexual behavior.
What Filipovic describes as feminist “disenchantment with the ‘No means no’ framework” amounts to an admission that the recent rhetorical fury about “rape culture” is actually an attempt to move the goalposts, in such a way as to criminalize normal male sexual behavior. The confusion created by so-called “affirmative consent” policies (also known as “yes means yes”) is understandable because most people would be shocked senseless if they stopped to consider what it actually means. Under the rules of “affirmative consent,” any attempt by a male to initiate sexual activity with a female, under any circumstances, is presumed to be sexual assault if she says it was. If a man and a woman have any sexual contact whatsoever — a kiss, a hug, anything — and she subsequently claims this contact was “unwanted,” “unwelcome” or “coerced,” then he is presumed guilty of sexual assault.
The ‘Regret Equals Rape’ StandardWe have seen this scenario made explicit by numerous recent lawsuits filed by male students protesting the denial of due-process rights in university “sexual misconduct” cases. An official at Washington and Lee University in Virginia, for example, reportedly told students that “regret equals rape,” which the plaintiff said led to his girlfriend claiming he had raped her. In other cases, notably the “Mattress Girl” episode at Columbia University, it appears that accusations of sexual assault were acts of revenge by women who felt spurned after a sexual hookup did not lead to a romantic relationship. Obviously, the kind of “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” situation outlined in the Nungesser v. Columbiacomplaint should alarm any parent who has a son attending college, or hoping to do so in the future. Any male student could be subjected to this kind of heinous treatment if he has any interaction with a female classmate which she subsequently regrets. Indeed, hysterical claims about a “campus rape epidemic” seem to have inspired some female students to invent sexual assaults by fictitious assailants, as in theinfamous Rolling Stone hoax at the University of Virginia. In the UVA case, evidence suggests that the student “Jackie” so desired to be accepted as a member of the sexual assault “survivor” community on campus that she created the character “Haven Monahan” from whole cloth, and made up a tale about a gang rape that never happened, an imaginative tale perhaps inspired by narratives of previous assaults she had heard about through her involvement in anti-rape activism.
Because “normal human interaction is now being redefined as sexual assault,” as Ashe Schow of the Washington Examiner has explained of the current climate on campus, male students “need to stop viewing sex merely as pleasure or as an expression of affection or love, and begin seeing it as a potentially life-ruining moment.” Stripped of due-process rights in Title IX procedures, so that he has no protection against false accusations, any male who is sexually active on campus exposes himself to destruction, as Schow writes:
The situation has gotten so bad that one parents’ group has begun distributing flyers on California campuses warning students of how easy it is to be accused and expelled.
The reality of it is this: There is little trust anymore between the sexes. Women are being told that men, especially men they believe are their friends, are waiting to get them drunk and rape them. This in turn is leading men to believe that women are going to accuse them of sexual assault for just about any reason, even for consensual sexual encounters.
How did we get here? The origins of feminism’s “rape culture” discourse can be traced back to the Women’s Liberation movement of the late 1960s and ’70s. Treatises like “Rape: The All-American Crime” (Susan Griffin, 1971) and Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape (Susan Brownmiller, 1975) depicted rape as an exercise of male power that was inherent in, and necessary to, the system of male supremacy. Brownmiller described rapists as “front-line masculine shock troops, terrorist guerrillas” who served to keep women captive and subjugated under a regime of pervasive sexual fear. This feminist concept of rape as an instrument of political power gained currency within a movement that was, at that time, beginning to call into question the legitimacy of heterosexuality. Radical feminists denied that heterosexual behavior was “natural.” There was no biological “urge” or “instinct” involved in the observable patterns of male and female sexual behavior, feminists insisted. Instead, all of this was “socially constructed” by an oppressive male-dominated system that proponents of feminist gender theory now call heteronormative patriarchy. Viewing sexual behavior in this political context of systemic and collective male power, it is impossible for feminists to view any sexual behavior as private or personal. No man or woman is merely an individual in feminist theory, but each is viewed as acting within a system where men (as a collective group) exercisepower to unjustly oppress women (as a collective group).
The most notorious expression of this view was arguably Andrea Dworkin’s 1987 book Intercourse — which condemned heterosexual intercourse as an expression of male “contempt” for women — but if Dworkin was more flamboyantly outspoken than some of her feminist comrades, she was not an isolated “extremist,” as some have claimed. Women’s Studies professors embraced this ideology.
At a 1980 meeting of the National Women’s Studies Association, Michigan State University Professor Marilyn Frye declared her belief “that most women have to be coerced into heterosexuality.” This idea of heterosexuality as “imposed” on women was incorporated into an all-encompassing theoretical analysis in Heterosexuality: A Feminism & Psychology Reader (edited by Sue Wilkinson and Celia Kitzinger, 1993) which cited Dworkin six times (pp. 76, 77, 78, 128, 208, 231-2) and Frye five times (pp. 20, 23, 175, 199, 211). Similarly, in Loving to Survive: Sexual Terror, Men’s Violence and Women’s Lives (Dee L.R. Graham, 1994) we find Dworkin cited nine times (pp. 87, 93, 116, 123, 162, 2000, 206, 275, 276) and Frye also cited nine times (pp. 100, 109, 110, 112, 113, 115, 209, 214, 243). In her book, Dee Graham, a professor of psychology and women’s studies at the University of Cincinnati, described female heterosexuality as resulting from emotional trauma similar to “Stockholm Syndrome.” In Chapter 4 of Loving to Survive, she argues that “women’s fear of male violence” inspires homophobia and is correlated with “support of heterosexism and male-female roles”:
Men’s violence against women encourages women to bond with “kind” men for protection against other men, setting the stage for men’s one-on-one oppression of women (Brownmiller 1975; Dworkin 1983) and the institutionalization of heterosexuality. This violence is mystified as normal under the guise of the masculine sex role. . . .
If love of men arises from terror brought on by male threat to female survival, women have to defend against any feelings that might challenge our love for men. Is this one of the reasons that most women vehemently deny their own lesbian feelings? . . .
Because of the coercive conditions under which heterosexual love arises, it has a regressive quality for women. . . . However, as a survival strategy, heterosexual love may be safer for women in the short run than any other alternative short of collective action (such as that offered by the feminist movement) by women against male violence and tyranny.
This idea of women’s heterosexuality as a pathology, symptomatic of a mental illness or the result of patriarchal indoctrination, is quite commonly accepted in academic feminism. A student in an “Introduction to Feminist Theory” class declares, “every time I walk out of this class I just become more sexually confused!” The student who reported this explains how, being in a university Gender Studies program, “the more I seem to learn, the more I question how the person I am today seems to be merely product of socialization.”
The ‘I-Didn’t-Think-It-Was-Rape’ ProblemIf there is nothing natural about sexual behavior — if biology is irrelevant and “socialization” is all-powerful — then it follows logically that “men’s one-on-one oppression of women” within the “coercive conditions” of heterosexuality, to quote Professor Graham, can be abolished by changing the “gender binary system that presumes heterosexuality as a social norm,” to quote Professors Lee and Shaw. Thus, after a long detour into feminist theory, we return to Jill Filipovic’s “disenchantment with the ‘No means no’ framework.” Filipovic describes how the Internet functioned as a sort of digital “consciousness-raising” session:
The early 2000s birthed the first generation of feminist blogs, and sexual violence was high on the To Blog About list. Blogs quickly developed their own rules of engagement and their own vernacular, with writers adding “trigger warnings” to content about sexual assault, commenters debating the utility of standard sexual-assault prevention tips, and women writing openly, if sometimes pseudonymously, about their own rapes and their I-didn’t-think-it-was-rape rapes and all the other assaults on women’s physical autonomy and right to bodily safety that add up to a bigger thing called “rape culture”.
That most women are raped by someone they know, often in their late teens or early twenties, was not news. Neither was the fact thatmany of them didn’t identify what happened as rape, exactly, since it didn’t fit that stranger-in-the-bushes scenario that so many women are raised to fear. But many women still carried anger and, sometimes, shame or sadness or confusion, and feminist spaces online offered women from many different backgrounds — although disproportionately college-educated and middle- or upper-middle class — the chance to talk about it or, at least, read about it, with a large like-minded audience. That connectivity and the domino “Aha!” moments the conversations sparked — moments of, “Why are we telling young women it’s their responsibility to drink less to avoid getting raped?” and “Why do we think acquaintance rape is some sort of misunderstanding?” and “Why should sexual consent focus on women assenting or refusing, rather than both parties wanting it?” — in such great numbers across so many of the barriers of race and class and age and location, that was new.
What we see Jill Filipovic developing here are two related ideas:
The normal way sex happens, where men are the pursuers whose interest initiates the encounter, with women either rejecting or acquiescing to the male’s advances, is unacceptable from the feminist perspective. Any male effort to persuade a woman to engage in sexual activity is offensive and degrading. Sexual activity should never occur except when the female “enthusiastically” solicits such activity. What is most disturbing to me in this is the way feminists have exploited the “campus rape epidemic” (a phony crisis manufactured by the use of Statistical Voodoo and Elastic Definitions) as an excuse to delegitimize the normal pattern of heterosexual behavior. Jill Filipovic writes:
Instead of the push-pull of sexual pressure and rebuff, feminists largely said sex should be entered into mutually, with both parties enthusiastically consenting. The question shouldn’t be whether a woman said no — and if she failed to appropriately lock her theoretical chastity belt, well, too bad — the question should be whether she wanted sex and therefore said yes to it. Anything less isn’t just crappy sex — it’s a violation. . . .
Today’s college freshmen were just entering adolescence when [the 2007 anthology] Yes Means Yes! was published. The college students of the past several years came of age at a time when feminism was increasingly cool, and had unfettered access tofeminist content online that is significantly more radicaland diverse than just about anything on the internet a decade ago. It’s no surprise that those same young women brought a kind of feminist entitlement to their campuses: the simple belief that sex is something they get to choose to enter into, no matter what.
Unfortunately, as many of those same young women are now learning, that view isn’t as widely held off the feminist internet. The idea of sex as a battle, one party cajoling and the other assenting or rejecting, runs deep in the American psyche, to the point where a whole lot of people have a difficult time imagining a different social model, let alone a legal one.
You can read the whole thing. Filipovic’s suggestion of “a different social model” as the basis for a legal standard where men are deemed guilty of rape if a woman later says did not consent “enthusiastically” raises the question of how such a standard could be enforced. Preventing rape is a laudable goal, but that’s not Filipovic’s goal. Her goal is to make men responsible for women’s post-coital regret.
“Dubious claims about ‘rape culture’ are an attempt to create an all-purpose scapegoat for the emotional dark side of promiscuity,” Robert Tracinski wrote in February 2015:
College campuses have long since been taken over by a culture in which casual sex with acquaintances is considered normal and where slightly outré sexual experimentation is strongly encouraged, all of it spurred on by alcohol, which figures prominently in most of these cases. But it’s clear that some young women are not psychologically prepared for this. They have casual relationships and hookups, but then feel regret and emotional trauma when the experience ends up being emotionally unsatisfying or disturbing. Then they are encouraged, by the feminists and “rape culture” activists, to reinterpret the experience as all the fault of an evil man who must have coerced them.
It’s a system which systematically preys on and exploits the emotional vulnerability of young women in order to use them as publicity fodder for an ideological agenda.
Don’t let your sons or daughters become part of this problem — drunken hookups that turn into “he-said/she-said” dramas — but beware of the “ideological agenda” of feminism. They are moving the goalposts, attempting to redefine sexuality and reorganize society, as part of a radical War Against Human Nature.
BY Carol TavrisWhen I was a young social psychologist and feminist in the 1970s, I never imagined that I would be asked to testify for the defense in a rape case. Rape laws at the time still included the "marital rape exemption," with rape commonly defined as "an act of sexual intercourse with a female, not one's wife, against her will and consent." Men joked about this. "If you can't rape your wife," California state Sen. Bob Wilson said to a group of women in 1979, "who can you rape?"
Making the nation aware of the reality and brutality of rape — in a time of jokes, nonsensical theories and misogynist laws — was an arduous task, so it put me in a state of cognitive dissonance when a female defense attorney asked me to work with her on a case. Her client had been accused of raping a woman he had fired for incompetence.
The plaintiff had ready responses to the defense attorney's questions. Why did she wait a month after her dismissal to file charges against him? She was traumatized. Why didn't she report it at the time to anyone she knew, or a doctor? She was ashamed. Why didn't she have emotional or physical symptoms then or afterward? The absence of symptoms is a symptom of "rape trauma syndrome."
The defense attorney was not squeamish in questioning the plaintiff specifically about what she claimed had happened in her office. The boss had straddled her on her desk chair? But the chair had arms. He forced her out of the chair, with one arm around her neck, and dragged her to the door to lock it? But she was taller and heavier than he. While holding her with that arm around her neck, he then lifted her dress with his other hand and removed her pantyhose?
The courtroom was silent as everyone, male and female, realized what a challenge that would be with a willing woman, let alone a protesting one. The woman next to me said, "Pantyhose are nature's chastity belt." The defendant was acquitted.
We need to draw distinctions between behavior that is criminal, behavior that is stupid and behavior that results from the dance of ambiguity.- That defense attorney taught me two important lessons: Don't let ideology ever trump justice — for women who are wrongly disbelieved or for men who are wrongly accused — and don't shy away from precise questions, to clarify what "rape" is when we talk about rape.
The Justice Department and the FBI have expanded the definition of rape that existed decades ago. Today, it is defined as forced penetration of any orifice with any part of the body or an object. Under that definition, rates of rape are about 3% to 4% of college women and a slightly higher percentage of women not in college. If you add "attempted rape," the number goes up.
But if you add all of the behaviors now considered sexual assault — which include any unwanted acts such as "forced kissing," "fondling" and "rubbing up against you in a sexual way, even if it is over your clothes" — the number rises to that now-famous 20%. That's the figure President Obama used in his news conference launching the Justice Department's crusade against the campus rape "epidemic." It is also close to the number reported in the Assn. of American Universities' latest survey of sexual assault on U.S. colleges.
On one level, numbers shouldn't matter: Rape is ugly, it's serious and can have devastating consequences for its victims. But if numbers are being used to generate a national panic or to institute university policies that may cause more harm than good, then we need to assess them as dispassionately as possible, without being accused of being "rape cultured" or supporting perpetrators.
Should young women be encouraged to believe that a clumsy act of fondling or kissing is the same thing, emotionally or physically, as forced penetration? For people who believe that misogyny and sexual violence are widespread and entrenched, the answer is yes; 20% seems like the right number for the percentage of assault victims. The culture today, they argue, encourages young men to feel sexually entitled to take advantage of women who are inebriated or otherwise unable to consent; look at those frat guys chanting, "No means yes."
For others, 3% or 4% feels like a more accurate number, supporting their argument that claims of rape are exaggerated in a political climate that supports any allegation a woman makes, and that invites women to turn unpleasant or regretted sexual encounters into assault charges. The culture today, they say, encourages women to avoid taking responsibility for their part in sexual encounters. Look at the language we use when we blame men for "getting a woman drunk." "Getting"? What is she, an empty vessel with no ability to say she's had enough?
Our challenge is to accept what is valid in both perspectives. We can vigorously pursue the goals of justice for rape victims and fairness for accused perpetrators. We can understand that many acts of sexual assault are violent, and appreciate the subtleties of sexual communication that can create mischief and misery.
It's the subtleties that cause such controversy. When many people think of rape, they imagine two strangers, but 85% of all reports of rape occur between people who know each other. Some of these encounters are unambiguously coerced, but many are not. Sex researchers repeatedly find that people rarely say directly what they mean, and they often don't mean what they say. They find it difficult to say what they dislike because they don't want to hurt the other person's feelings. They may think they want intercourse and then change their minds. They may think they don't want intercourse and change their minds.
They are, in short, engaging in what social psychologist Deborah Davis calls a "dance of ambiguity." Through vagueness and indirection, each party's ego is protected in case the other says no. Indirection saves a lot of hurt feelings, but it also causes problems. The woman really thinks the man should have known to stop, and he really thinks she gave consent.
Davis and her colleagues Guillermo Villalobos and Richard Leo have suggested that the primary reason for the many "he said/she said" reports that make the news is not that one side is lying. Rather, each partner is providing "honest false testimony" about what happened between them. Both parties believe they are telling the truth, but one or both may be wrong because of the unreliability of memory and perception, and because both are motivated to justify their actions.
By far, the most well-traveled pathway from uncomfortable sexual negotiations to honest false testimony is alcohol. For some women, alcohol is the solution to the sex decision: If they are inebriated, they haven't said yes, and if they haven't explicitly said yes, no one can call them sluts. But for both parties, alcohol significantly impairs the cognitive interpretation of the other person's behavior. Men who are drunk are less likely to interpret nonconsent messages accurately, and women who are drunk convey less emphatic signs of refusal. And alcohol severely impairs both partners' memory of what actually happened.
When trying to reduce sexual assault, labeling all forms of sexual misconduct, including unwanted touches and sloppy kisses, as rape is alarmist and unhelpful. We need to draw distinctions between behavior that is criminal, behavior that is stupid and behavior that results from the dance of ambiguity.
Carol Tavris is a social psychologist and the coauthor, with Elliot Aronson, of "Mistakes Were Made (but Not by Me)."
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By ASHE SCHOW (@ASHESCHOW) To take a page from alarmist writers who gleefully post headlines claiming that one-in-five women are sexually assaulted in college, I bring you some information that will be either ignored or severely downplayed.
It turns out the "one-in-five number" is correct, but it's not the one-in-five the media are reporting. Harvard University released its sexual assault statistics as part of federal regulations, and it turns out 18.1 percent of reported rapes on campus are "unfounded," defined by Harvard police as "any report of a crime that is found to be false or baseless."
If this number is reported anywhere in the media that's so eager to report every faulty survey purporting to show 20 percent of women are sexually assaulted in college, you can bet they will add in all the caveats they leave out in reporting incidences of sexual assault.
For example, this is an extremely limited report — it's just one campus. That might fly when trying to claim there's a national epidemic of campus sexual assault, but it really means nothing. Harvard could be an outlier. It could be the norm. What the report does have going for it is that it is based on evidence (actual reports) and not vague descriptions of sexual acts determined to be assault by biased researchers searching for a crisis.
And while the headline for this report over at the campus paper, The Crimson, falls back on alarmist tactics, the underlying story is more hype than substance.
Yes, "reported campus rapes nearly double[d] from 2013 to 2014" at Harvard ... from 17 to 33. That's 33 students reporting a rape to university police, local law enforcement or "campus security authorities," defined by The Crimson as "university officials involved in student administration." Harvard has a student population of 21,000. Thirty-three reported rapes, even if all of them were 100 percent true, is 0.15 percent of the student population — far from the constant claims of one-in-five.
Even if you accept the idea that just 20 percent of women report their rapes, and adjust accordingly, that would still be only 0.78 percent of the student population experiencing a rape, which is much more in line with federal statistics.
This also means that if 18.1 percent of those reports were false, that's just six reports. This would also suggest that the other 81.9 percent of reports were true; however, that is overly optimistic. Some could be true, but many don't have evidence one way or the other and can't conclusively be labeled as true.
It doesn't matter, because the media won't report this information in the same way they report inflated findings of sexual assault. This finding doesn't fit their preferred narrative.
By ASHE SCHOW (@ASHESCHOW)
As I wrote in my column yesterday, not all accusations of campus sexual assault are black and white. Yet colleges are treating accusations as if the accused were a potential rapist, even when the accusation involves nothing more than requesting social media connections one too many times.
Kimberly Lau, a lawyer who has defended wrongly accused students in more than 40 cases, released a statement regarding a recent survey purporting to show that one-in-four women will be sexually assaulted while in college.
Lau notes what other critics of the survey, including me, have pointed out: that it relies on an overly broad definition of "sexual assault" in order to inflate its numbers for scary headlines. Lau has specific knowledge of the ways normal interactions, though possibly jerkish, have been elevated to the level of assault, warranting severe punishment.
One of Lau's cases involved a male student who received a deferred suspension, was banned from his graduation and branded a sex offender on his transcript for stealing a kiss and exchanging inappropriate text messages that were later deemed harassment. Another case saw a male student suspended for a year because he sent multiple Instagram follow requests to a female student and once looked at her on campus.
Even if these behaviors were inappropriate, is a one-year suspension justified instead of, say, someone simply telling the kid to stop?
Most college kids who get that kind of warning from an authority figure would be thoroughly frightened enough to stop. But disrupting their life for a year over social media requests and what could have been an errant look?
On today's college campuses, anything deemed offensive can be used as a weapon against college men in accusations of sexual assault and harassment. And colleges, under pressure from the federal government to find students responsible, have created pseudo-court systems that eviscerate due process in order to get those findings.
"Herein lies the problem with campus tribunals determining if a crime of sexual misconduct was committed," Lau said. "[S]tudents can be wrongly accused because the accusation becomes the proof or, simply, because the definitions are too broad and too ambiguous; students can be accused months or even years after the incident; and those wrongly accused are denied due process."
Lau has had some success defending kids from exaggerated or wrongful accusations. Most recently, she helped a student accused of sexual assault (who was suspended for a year and a half) settle with his university. The student was punished despite the accuser admitting to police that she "may have stretched the truth" because she was "pissed off" and wanted "the s--- to be scared out of him." She also lied to police.
As policies continue to expand the definition of sexual assault, more students wrongly accused of terrible crimes will have to sue their universities in order to get their lives back.
By ASHE SCHOW (@ASHESCHOW)
A campus crime report from the University of Miami has found that 1-in-5 reported rapes are "unfounded," a finding similar to that of a recent Harvard University report.
Colleges across the country are releasing campus crime statistics, and it turns out campus sexual assault might not be as rampant as recent "studies" claim. Even worse for advocates of draconian sexual assault policies that eviscerate due process is the notion that a good chunk of the accusations are false.
"Forcible sex offenses on campus went up from four in 2013 to five in 2014, with one case being reported as 'unfounded,'" reported the Miami Hurricane student newspaper. "Four of the five cases were reported in student residencies, where the one 'unfounded' case occurred."
One might notice that literally 1-in-5 reports were "unfounded," meaning there was no basis for the report, as there were only 5 reported rapes in 2014. That's far fewer than at Harvard, which saw 33 reported rapes.
Again, if this statistic is repeated anywhere in the media, proper caveats will be attached, something lacking from reports of studies purporting to show that 1-in-5 women are sexually assaulted in college.
The first caveat is that the 1-in-5 false rape report came from the university's Coral Gables campus, which is the main university campus. There were no reports of forcible rape at the university's Rosentiel School campus, but there were three reports (none of which were determined to be unfounded) at the Miller School of Medicine. Adding in the Miller School numbers (even though it's not the main campus) would lower the percentage of unfounded reports.
The other caveat is that, as with Harvard, this is just one school. Other schools might have higher or lower rates of false or unfounded reports.
Another thing we don't know from these statistics is any details about the reports. We've seen before that some accusations are wrong, stemming from regretted drunken hook-ups, but wouldn't fall into the "unfounded" category because at the very least, some form of sex took place. And in some of those instances, the universities were under pressure to find students responsible, even if the evidence didn't support the finding.
There has so far been radio silence from the mainstream media when it comes to the inconvenient statistics being revealed in these campus reports. Reports of sexual assault are up (slightly), but those numbers don't coincide with the hysterical claims that 1-in-5 women are being sexually assaulted while in college.
Harvard, reports amounted to just 0.15 percent of the student population claiming to experience a rape, and of that, a quarter of the reports were false or unfounded. At Miami, with just 5 reports, only 0.03 percent of students experienced a rape and reported it. And again, a fifth of them were unfounded.
In contrast, there were 133 drug law violations and 277 liquor law violations at Miami in 2014, a steep drop from 2013, but still far, far higher than reports of sexual assault. Yet those issues don't receive anywhere near as much attention, perhaps because they don't include the "war on women" narrative those in the media prefer to report.
An assistant secretary of education thinks she can rewrite rape law by writing a letter.(Photo: Chris Pietsch, The (Eugene, Ore.) Register-Guard via AP)
It appears to many — including me — as if theObama administration is engaged in a war on college men. Using debunked statistics, the president, the vice president and various other political officials have falsely claimed that there’s an epidemic of rape on college campuses, even though campus rape is, in fact, falling, just as off-campus rape is. (And, in fact, rape is less common on campus than off).
And, ever since the Department of Education issued a ”Dear Colleague" letter to universities in 2011, in essence ordering them to adopt new and draconian campus “sexual assault” rules that treat accusations as presumptively true and force the accused — almost always men — to prove their innocence, sometimes even very strong evidence of innocence is ignored.
Spearheading this effort has been Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights Catherine Lhamon, who has characterized the letter as binding on colleges and universities even though it is not a law, was not adopted as a formal or informal rule making after notice and comment under any law, and appears to have very little to do with the federal anti-discrimination law Title IX, which says only that “no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
Title IX was supposed to force colleges to admit women to programs formerly reserved for men. The law says nothing about sexual assault, sexual harassment, or the duty of universities to investigate criminal behavior on their own instead of referring crimes to law enforcement. But through a period of interpretation and reinterpretation, that simple statutory language has produced reams of federal paperwork that, in effect, turn a simple academic non-discrimination rule into a rape law that lacks the due process protections and evidentiary standards of actual rape law.
Now it appears that Congress has noticed. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., crashed a Senate hearing last week to grill Deputy Assistant Secretary of Education Amy McIntosh about past statements by Lhamon that purported to establish the “guidance” letter as binding law. How could this be binding, asked Sen. Alexander, when it’s simply a letter issued without any of the procedures required for administrative rule making?
McIntosh didn’t offer much of an answer, and that’s because there isn’t one. As some, including Ari Cohn, have argued for a while, the Department of Education is acting unlawfully here.
A law, to be binding, must pass both houses of Congress and be presented to the president's desk, where it must either pass into law or be vetoed and then overridden by a two-thirds vote of each house. Because this procedure, which the framers of our Constitution designed in order to make lawmaking difficult, turns out to make it difficult to pass laws, we also allow administrative agencies to issue regulations that are binding as law. But those regulations can be issued only after a draft is published and the public has a chance to comment, via either formal or informal rule making.
A mere letter from a bureaucrat, which is all the “Dear Colleague” letter is, has no binding authority. At most, it suggests that the bureaucrats might be willing to go to court to try to convince a judge that their interpretation of the statute is correct.
So why did colleges roll over? Law blogger Scott Greenfield suggests that it’s because the colleges are also warring against college men: “After all, why should a college risk the loss of its lifeblood (federal money) for the sake of protecting a few guys, particularly when the colleges pretty much agree with Lhamon’s progressive ideals?”
Greenfield notes that once Columbia University was sued by a male student claiming that his Title IX rights were violated because of the university’s response to a false accusation, it changed its mind and decided that Title IX didn’t create much in the way of student rights after all. Greenfield concludes: “Regardless of whether one embraces the policy choice embodied in Lhamon’s ‘Dear Colleague’ letters or not, there is no doubt but that it was imposed without lawful authority and adopted by schools who chose to sacrifice one segment of their student population to appease another segment. This is not the law. This is not what Title IX mandates. And they know it, even if you don’t.”
Greenfield is right. It’s nice that members of Congress are taking notice. But male college students and their parents, as well as alumni and trustees — and those women noticing that there’s a shortage of college-educated men all of a sudden — need to ask why there’s a war on college men, and why colleges, seemingly, are on the other side.
Glenn Harlan Reynolds, a University of Tennessee law professor, is the author of The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education from Itself, and a member of USA TODAY's Board of Contributors.
In addition to its own editorials, USA TODAY publishes diverse opinions from outside writers, including our Board of Contributors. To read more columns like this, go to the Opinion front page.
No Indictment Against Woman In Sex Case
Texan, 31, was charged with assaulting man while he slept
By Christina Hoff Sommers
On January 27, 2010, University of North Dakota officials charged undergraduate Caleb Warner with sexually assaulting a fellow student. He insisted the encounter was consensual, but was found guilty by a campus tribunal and thereupon expelled and banned from campus.
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A few months later, Warner received surprising news. The local police had determined not only that Warner was innocent, but that the alleged victim had deliberately falsified her charges. She was charged with lying to police for filing a false report, and fled the state.
Cases like Warner’s are proliferating. Here is a partial list of young men who have recently filed lawsuits against their schools for what appear to be gross mistreatment in campus sexual assault tribunals: Drew Sterrett—University of Michigan,“John Doe”—Swarthmore, Anthony Villar—Philadelphia University, Peter Yu—Vassar, Andre Henry—Delaware State,Dez Wells--Xavier, and Zackary Hunt—Denison. Presumed guilty is the new legal principle where sex is concerned.
Sexual assault on campus is a genuine problem—but the new rape culture crusade is turning ugly. The list of falsely accused young men subject to kangaroo court justice is growing apace. Students at Boston University demanded that a Robin Thicke concert be cancelled: His hit song Blurred Lines is supposedly a rape anthem. (It includes the words, “I know you want it.”) Professors at Oberlin, University of California, Santa Barbara, and Rutgers have been urged to place “trigger warnings” on class syllabi that include books like the Great Gatsby—too much misogynist violence. This movement is turning our campuses into hostile environments for free expression and due process. And so far, university officials, political leaders, and the White House are siding with the mob.
It appears that we are in the throes of one of those panics where paranoia, censorship, and false accusations flourish—and otherwise sensible people abandon their critical facilities. We are not facing anything as extreme as the Salem Witch Trials or the McCarthy inquisitions. But today’s rape culture movement bears some striking similarities to a panic that gripped daycare centers in the 1980s.
In August 1983, an anguished mother reported to the police that her 2-year old son had been horrifically abused in the McMartin preschool in Manhattan Beach, California. She described a network of underground tunnels where school staff had sodomized her child and forced him to watch animal sacrifices. The mother was mentally disturbed and her story had no basis in reality. But the news media seized on the story, and paranoia about Satanic Cults became a national epidemic. Parents were already on edge: advocacy groups, politicians, and the media had warned that nearly 50,000 children were being abducted by strangers, and 4,000 of them murdered, every year. As news of the McMartin barbarity spread, daycare personnel in schools across the nation found themselves implicated in the crime of satanic-ritual child abuse. A national network of abuse-therapists promptly materialized. Through the use of intimidating interviewing techniques, they egged on children to “remember” terrible abuses in their daycare.
The abuse therapists were joined by an influential group of conspiracy-minded feminists, including Gloria Steinem and Catharine MacKinnon. When a few civil libertarian feminists—Carol Tavris, Wendy Kaminer, Ellen Willis, and Debbie Nathan—tried to blow the whistle on the witch-hunt, they were vilifiedby the conspiracy caucus as backlashers, child abuse apologists, and “obedient ‘daddies’ girls of male editors.”
From the start of the scare in 1983 until its ending in the mid-1990s, untold numbers of children were subject to manipulative therapies and hundreds of innocent adults faced charges of ritual child abuse. Several of the accused would spend years in prison for crimes that never happened. A recent Slate article called it “one of the most damaging moral panics in America’s history,” which only began to abate when skeptical journalists got round to checking facts and asking questions. A 1985 story in the Los Angeles Times informed readers that, according to FBI reports, the number of child kidnappings by strangers in 1984 was 67, not 50,000
Today’s college rape panic is an eerie recapitulation of the daycare abuse panic. Just as the mythical “50,000 abducted children” fueled paranoia about child safety in the 1980s, so today’s hysteria is incited by the constantly repeated, equally fictitious “one-in-five women on campus is a victim of rape”—which even President Obama has embraced.
The one-in-five number is derived from surveys where biasedsamples of respondents are asked an artful combination of straightforward and leading questions, reminiscent of the conclusory interviews behind the daycare agitation. A much-cited CDC study, for example, first tells respondents: “Please remember that even if someone uses alcohol or drugs, what happens to them is not their fault.” Then it asks: “When you were drunk, high, drugged, or passed out and unable to consent, how many people ever had vaginal sex with you.” (Emphasis mine.) The CDC counted all such sexual encounters as rapes.
Reputable studies suggest that approximately one-in-forty college women are victims of rape or sexual assault (assault includes verbal threats as well as unwanted sexual grabbing and fondling). One-in-forty is still too many women. But it hardly constitutes a “rape culture” requiring White House intervention.
Once again, conspiracy feminists are at the forefront of this movement. Just as feminist psychologists persuaded children that they had been abused, so women’s activists have persuaded many young women that what they might have dismissed as a foolish drunken hookup was actually a felony rape. “Believe the children,” said the ritual abuse experts during the day care scare. “Believe the survivors,” say today’s rape culturalists. To not believe an alleged victim is to risk being called a rape apologist.
Some will say that these moral panics, while overblown, do call attention to serious problems. This is deeply mistaken. The hysteria around daycare abuse and campus rape shed no light: rather they confuse and discredit genuine cases of abuse and violence. Molestation and rape are horrific crimes that warrant serious attention and vigorous response. Panics breed chaos and mob justice. They claim innocent victims, undermine social trust, and teach us to doubt the evidence of our own experience.
E.M. Forster said it best in A Passage to India, referring to a panic among “good citizens” following a highly dubious accusation of rape: “Pity, wrath, and heroism filled them, but the power of putting two and two together was annihilated.”