Skip to comments.Guilty Until Proven Innocent: How Misinformation is Influencing College’s Sexual Assault Policies
Posted on 01/12/2012 10:15:47 AM PST by gabriellah
150,000 women die each year from anorexia nervosa.
The jarring statistic is essential to The Beauty Myth, an international best-seller written by feminist spokeswoman Naomi Wolf. Dr. Christina Hoff Sommers, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, linked the figure to a newsletter citing an estimated 150,000 sufferers (not fatalities) of anorexia. Wolf assured Hoff Sommers that her next book would correct the mistake, but the datum and its implications had already been smuggled into college textbooks and individual minds worldwide.
Did Naomi Wolf, a graduate of Yale University and Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, really believe it likely that three times more women die from anorexia each year than the total number of Americans who die from breast cancer or in car accidents? I am loath to accuse feminists of intentionally circulating false information, but they have historically armed themselves with humorously inaccurate figures on the gravest of issues.
Facts, Figures, and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2011
Vice President Joe Biden
A recent set of feminist-promoted White House statistics has inflated the issue of sexual violence to astronomical proportions and shaped policies regarding sexual assault on college campuses. Kicking off a nationwide campaign on sexual assault awareness, Vice President Joe Biden announced that 20 percent of college females are sexually assaulted, making it 444 times more likely to be raped on a college campus than in Detroit, Forbes 2011 most dangerous city in America.
A Dear Colleague Letter from the Department of Educations top civil rights official Russlynn Ali again reported that 1 in 5 female college students are victims of sexual assault. Ali demanded immediate federal action to combat this terrible and alarming trend, mandating that colleges employ a more likely than not standard of evidence (50.01% certainty of guilt) when adjudicating on matters of sexual harassment and sexual assault.
In response to Alis letter, Senator Leahy introduced the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2011 in November. Many schools currently maintain a clear and convincing standard of evidence (approximately 80% certainty of guilt), which is already appreciably (and appropriately) less stringent than the evidentiary burden of beyond a reasonable doubt. Yet, these institutions must now further lower standards of proof to meet the Education Departments recommendationor risk losing federal funding.
Yale, Stanford, Cornell and Brandeis Universities, and the Universities of Georgia and Oklahoma are among many institutions that have already taken steps to alter policies.
Debunking the Rape Culture Myth
A Bureau of Justice Statistics special report found that between 1995 and 2002 an average of 1 in 40 female students experienced sexual assault. But, inflammatory data exaggerating the plight of women continues to dominate media reports. Several figures have been particularly instrumental in creating the illusion of the rampant rape culture requiring Alis draconian action. The first two are that 1 in 4, which was later modified to 1 in 5, women will be sexually assaulted in college. The third is that a mere 2 percent of rape allegations are false.
The prevailing 1 in 5 statistic is from a study in which the researchers definition of rape was broad enough to include attempted forced kissing as sexual assault. Researchers also counted any and all sexual activity that occurred after a woman had consumed alcohol as rape because an intoxicated person cannot legally consent to sexual contact.
The 1 in 4 statistic, still found on college websites and published in rape pamphlets disseminated during freshman orientation, dates back to a 1990 Ms. Magazine article. Neil Gilbert, a Berkely professor of social welfare, questioned the validity of the 1 in 4 figure, pointing out that 73 percent of the women researchers counted as rape victims did not feel that they had been raped. In fact, 42 percent of those victims of completed rape went on to have sex with their assailants again.
How was Gilberts well-founded critique received? Feminists at UC Berkeley held mass protests calling for his castration (cut it out or cut it off!), and Sheila Keuhl, the director of the California Womens Law Center, wrote in the Los Angeles Journal that she found herself wishing Gilbert, himself, might be raped. Questioning the feminist agenda has significant backlash in the academic world, where political incorrectness is the new scarlet letter.
New York Universitys Wellness Exchange advises individuals to believe unconditionally in sexual assault charges because only 2 percent of reported rapes are false. This figure can be traced back to Susan Brownmillers 1975 book Against Our Will. Although the figure is cited on college websites and in the Violence Against Women Act, legal scholar Michelle Anderson of Villanova University Law School reported in 2004 that, no study has ever been published which sets forth an evidentiary basis for the two percent false rape complaint thesis.
A Travesty of Justice
Estimates on false rape reporting are far from consistent. A study conducted over a period of 9 years by Eugene J. Kanin of Purdue University concluded that 41 percent of rape complaints were false, while the authors of Until Proven Innocent believe the number to lie somewhere between 9 and 50 percent. The National Institute of Justice puts the rate of inaccurate reporting at 25 percent. The only thing clear about these estimates is that a more likely than not standard of proof has greater potential for injustice than the feminists 2 percent figure suggests.
Take the case of Joshua Vaughan, who met a fellow Vermont Law School student in a bar. The two left and had what Vaughan claimed to be consensual sex. Friendly texts initiated by the complainant over the next few days supported Vaughans account. Yet, seven months after the incident, a rape complaint was filed. Although the woman later dropped the case and independent investigators informed the school that Vaughan could not be found guilty of sexual assault, the Dean of Student Affairs and Diversity charged him with rape anyway. It took eight months for Vaughan to have the charges cleared.
University of North Dakota student Caleb Warner was not so lucky. The University found Warner guilty of rape and suspended him for several years, while the police vindicated Warner by formally charging his accuser with making a false report to law enforcement. Notwithstanding police evidence indicated Warners innocence, the University refused to reverse the guilty verdict and denied his request for re-hearing.
Campus disciplinary committees, comprised of students, professors, and administrators, are equipped to deal with academic dishonesty, but they are not qualified to preside over cases of arson or kidnapping. Rape, a felony of equal magnitude to the aforementioned crimes, requires a well-trained police force and court system that can put criminals behind barsnot simply off campus.
This information is not meant to imply that rape does not occur or should not be addressed, but only to show how self-serving feminists guaranteed that a travesty of justice for men be eclipsed by an illusive rape culture. Accurate representation of the issue at hand, crucial to determining a prudent response, is unlikely if the matter remains in feminist clutches. Equitable policies that strike the balance between deterring assailants and protecting fundamental rights can only be realized in the absence of feminisms malign influence.
Good article, making some excellent points.
But by that time the mooselimbs will be in charge of all colleges and the hos and bitches won't be allowed to attend any school, so rapes will not occur.
The preadolescent 11 year old boy, however, better watch his butt in 5th grade.
Back in 1984, I was at a Christmas party with five other female friends from high school after our first semester of college. Three of us had been subjected to sexual assault, or assaultive sexual advances, that fell short of rape. I had been forcibly pulled down to sit on the steps next to a man who then grabbed my breast; another girl was pinned to her bed by a man who had to be pulled off by two other male students when she screamed; I forget now what happened to the third girl. And one had witnessed a rape from her window, out in the quad. Yes she called the campus police, and ran down to help the victim - the rapist, a student, finished before she got there.
None of us were at party schools - none of us were party girls. This was at places like MIT and Cornell. We were virgins, not sluts. We weren’t drunk. Yes, we made mistakes, I didn’t know how to defuse or escape a situation in which someone was showing sexual interest in me that I didn’t want, my other friend didn’t realize the dangers of having a man in her dorm room, of what he might think she intended by that.
And all this had happened in the first 3 1/2 months of our time at college, and to three out of the six of us. Was 1984 a really bad year? I do know that my friends and I learned caution in a hurry, and as far as I know, none of us were assaulted after that.
But I don’t have any trouble believing in a very high rate of real sexual assault on college campuses - at the same time that I believe that such things as drunken sex with later regrets do not count as sexual assault, and that men are very often not afforded due process.
Regardless of the politicising of statistics, it’s not surprising that there would be more sexual assault on college campuses than in any supposedly “more dangerous neighbourhoods”. It’s about time we treated these things as the Godless degeneracy they are. Clearing up the ambiguous definitions would deal with both the disgusting experiences of you and your friends, and the accusations of “rape” leveled toward people who had sex drunk or touched someone inappropriately (neither of these things are at all okay in my book (or should that be Book)).
“But I dont have any trouble believing in a very high rate of real sexual assault on college campuses - at the same time that I believe that such things as drunken sex with later regrets do not count as sexual assault, and that men are very often not afforded due process.”
Well, considering that colleges have gone from same-sex dorms, to same-sex floors, to co-ed floors, to co-ed bathrooms...should anyone be surprised that college administrators consider girls there to be fair game for them boys.
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