Weak Responses to Rape Allegations Embolden Rapists

A story linked from Alas: Fourth Duke Rape Case Link Round-Up caught my attention.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10382613/

Dorm officials met with Jeremy and Jamie [after rape allegations] and determined that Jeremy was responsible for sexual misconduct he was put on disciplinary probation and was moved to another co-ed dorm right next door. That’s where Stacy says Jeremy [sexually] assaulted her just three weeks later.

This story exposes a deep flaw in the argument made by those who insist on blaming women who become victims of sexual assault for drinking or leading a man on or doing something tantalizing. This man, and others like him, only need opportunity before setting their sexual aggression free and committing sexual assault.

In other words, the drive to commit sexual assault is an internal one, and is not dependent on the sexual signals of potential victims. “Can I get away with it?” is a more important question than, “Does she want to have sex with me?”

In the first rape allegation brought against a particular man, the odds might be unknown on the so-called “She said, he said” arguments. But the odds shift toward she said as the number of she saids rise. I will go so far as to say that tepid responses to complaints of sexual assault embolden men who are rightly-accused to continue raping. They may have begun with a real fear of punishment, but the weak response reduces that fear until it’s an ineffective deterrent.

A different approach by the university could have respected this man’s rights while protecting the female students from further attack. And it’s very simple.

If two credible accusations of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault are made against you, then you will be expelled. No excuses and no crying, “It was consensual.”

If this system were in place on all college campuses, I believe the number of sexual assaults would drop dramatically.

Note: Also posted on my blog, http://abyss2hope.blogspot.com

This entry posted in Feminism, sexism, etc, Rape, intimate violence, & related issues. Bookmark the permalink. 

98 Responses to Weak Responses to Rape Allegations Embolden Rapists

  1. Pingback: FeministBlogosphere

  2. Pingback: feminist blogs

  3. 3
    alsis39.9 says:

    Thanks for posting this, Abyss. Does anyone else notice a parallel between the way these schools treat acused rapists and the way the Catholic Church so infamously treated its acused pedophiles ?

    >: Yeah, just move ‘em over to the next dorm. Don’t tell anyone that another student has juuuuuust the teensiest problem with his behavior. That would be mean.

  4. 4
    Tony says:

    I agree that campus response to rape is too weak, but your proposal is clearly not acceptable. You would be demanding that the accused prove his innocence, which is always dubious. But would be forcing the accused to prove that the allegation is not “credible,” which is basically the same as requiring that he prove his innocence beyond a reasonable doubt.

  5. 5
    D says:

    A good idea in spirit. Never would happen of course because it would make the institution look “bad”. Personally I think every incoming freshman to a college should take a manditory course on general ethics and empathy, and make it as painless as possible for victims of rape to report the crime.

  6. 6
    nik says:

    If that system were in place on all college campuses the number of reported sexual assaults would rocket. All you need is to get someone else to make a complaint with you for someone to be expelled. It’d also hurt a lot of rape victims, because the first response of any intelligent rapist would be to file a counter-complaint and get a strike marked up against his victim.

  7. 7
    B says:

    Tony

    Since rape is so underreported the odds are that the man actually is a rapist. Naturally you cannot legaly punish anyone unless a crime or infraction is proven but what is to hinder the campus to give all involved in these cases compulsory counseling? Separately of course.

    On the mans part it could focus on how he could have avoided “misunderstanding” and conflict as well as some gender education and sensitivity training.

    If he was innocent he will have been given a chance to recieve education I believe most men in todays patriarchal society would benefit from, and if guilty he will have been given proof that society doesn’t accept his treatment of women.

  8. 8
    Robert says:

    Your suggestion shifts the burden of dealing with the consequences of a rape allegation more towards the accused, which is appropriate.

    However, “credible” is a word which, in this context, is essentially meaningless. People of good will can and will vary on whether they believe a particular accusation to be credible. No school is going to set itself up for the inevitable lawsuits and adverse publicity that will accompany the implementation of this policy.

  9. 9
    B says:

    Why lawsuits if both the woman and the man recieves compulsory counseling?

  10. 10
    Fiona64 says:

    B Writes:

    May 3rd, 2006 at 1:03 pm
    Why lawsuits if both the woman and the man recieves compulsory counseling?

    —–
    Why would the accuser require “compulsory counseling”? I’m curious to know why you think this is important. (Yes, I do understand that counseling for survivors of rape is of value … but I’m not clear that this is what the poster intends). It sounds to me (and I could be wrong) like a case of “now, you two get out of here and play nice together.” :-/

  11. 11
    alsis39.9 says:

    Far as I can see, nobody, including Abyss, demanded that the acused be clapped in leg irons or tranquilized. However, if the school refuses to treat an acusation of sexual assault as a top priority, the least they can do is order the acused to live either off-campus or not in a co-ed dorm for awhile.

    If acused citizens are supposedly entitled to complete and uncontested autonomy while they await action from superiors, why do we have bail bondsmen ? Or leaves of absence from law enforcement or other institutions ? I’m sick and tired of hearing about how a woman should have to stew in misery and fear because nobody wants to risk inconveniencing the man she’s acused of attacking her. How many threads about how fear of rape affects women must we have here before men start to care about how that fear is for damn sure not a mere “inconvenience” to the average woman ?

  12. Robert wrote:

    However, “credible” is a word which, in this context, is essentially meaningless. People of good will can and will vary on whether they believe a particular accusation to be credible.

    “Credible” would presumably involve something more than he-said-she-said; there would, in other words, have to be evidence pointing in the direction of credibility in order to support, for example, asking a man accused of rape to live off-campus–as alsis suggests–and if there is evidence then “credible” is by no means a meaningless term. We could argue, no doubt, about what kind of evidence would be required, what the standards or proof would be, etc., and that would be an important argument to have, but it makes no sense even to go there unless we agree from the start that a male college student who has been credibly accused of rape should be inconvenienced in ways that are analogous to the ways we inconvenience people accused of crimes whom a prosecuting attorney believes there is enough evidence to convict.

  13. 13
    Robert says:

    B, lawsuits for wrongful expulsion. Colleges are a business.

    Alsis, nobody has said that accused citizens are entitled to complete and uncontested autonomy. As you say, we have complex systems that are set up predicated on quite the contrary notion. But other than to counsel the victim of the crime and to provide support, what role does the school have to play? Schools are not states. Rape is a crime. The locus of authority is the police and the judicial system, not Podunk U’s dean of students (or whomever).

    I am not sure what the purpose is of making accusations about what people care about. I can care about the feelings of rape victims, without losing respect for the fundamental premises of law.

  14. 14
    alsis39.9 says:

    The situation described in Abyss’ link is unacceptable. If the school cannot turn these cases around quickly in the face of an immediate acusation, they should at least move to guarantee the safety of the student who has brought a charge until they can turn the case around. Your “fundamental premises” are not serving women who wish to pursue their education without fear of assault. They’re not serving the men who should be learning to appreciate our common humanity. Women have gotten the message loud and clear for years that our freedom is secondary to yours, Robert. Your law is not serving us. As Abyss points out, it is, in fact, encouraging the creation of serial rapists.

  15. 15
    B says:

    But, since I suggested something else than expulsion for cases where there is not sufficient proof, I don’t see how your comment on lawsuits in regards to my suggestion is relevant.

  16. 16
    Sgt. York says:

    If a rape occured it should be reported to the police. If the allegation is credible, the accused sould be prosecuted criminally. I don’t understand why the college would be involved in this matter; the college is not a law enforcemant agency.

  17. 17
    Robert says:

    B, my lawsuit reference related to the expulsion provision, not your suggestion. Sorry if I miscommunicated there.

    Alsis, the fundamental premises of our juridical system “don’t serve” a lot of people. It’s just that historical experience has demonstrated that removing the premises does a disservice to even more people. Rape is not the only crime that affects women. As for the idea that the school should “guarantee safety”, it is regrettable but axiomatic that there is no safety, for anyone.

    A woman who fears a particular student can seek a restraining order, and the school can cooperate with that order. That would seem to be an appropriate resolution for the case where an accused man gets out on bail. However, the schools and universities I have worked for generally have had policies where students accused of serious crimes are put on suspension pending trial, and if convicted, they are expelled from the school, whether formally or informally.

    That doesn’t apply to the cases in the link of course. Those cases weren’t taken to the police – they were taken to the college’s pretend-justice system, which is a system designed and appropriate for cases of verbal harassment or someone who just won’t turn down their music – not felony rape.

    It is horrible to be the victim of an invasive crime, and even worse when it’s not possible for whatever reason to pursue justice for that crime in our society’s justice system. But creating pseudo-courts to try to administer justice in cases where the evidence isn’t good enough for the real system is not the answer to that problem.

  18. 18
    Robert says:

    Richard, if there is evidence that arises to the standard that you mention, then there is no reason for the college or university to be attempting to administer criminal justice. If you’ve got real evidence, go to the cops and (try to) put the rapist in jail.

  19. 19
    D says:

    Colleges are also communities with people they are responsible for keeping safe. Many colleges already have no/low tolerance policies for a number of behaviors; cheating, underage drinking, etc. Why should sexual assault be swept under the rug and tolerated?

    I’ll agree that expelling someone for 2 unsubstantiated claims of assault would be overkill, but doing nothing is no more acceptable. Personally I think 2 unrelated and credible claims would certainly be enough to revoke housing privileges and perhaps place the person on academic probation.

  20. 20
    Robert says:

    Sexual assault shouldn’t be swept under the rug and tolerated; it should be prosecuted and punished.

    Colleges are not in loco parentis, and do not have a responsibility to keep people safe. They have a responsibility to not engage in negligent admissions; the remedy when they fail in that duty is the civil court system.

  21. 21
    alsis39.9 says:

    It’s just that historical experience has demonstrated that removing the premises does a disservice to even more people.

    According to you, a conservative male. Thanks for giving the ironic feeling I get whenever I see your blog’s title one more little twinge. Yes, let’s try freedom, but only for those who prove that they cannot treat it responsibly. I don’t like the way a man drives, so I have the freedom to stay off the sidewalk.

    Blah fucking blah.

    Richard wrote:

    but it makes no sense even to go there unless we agree from the start that a male college student who has been credibly accused of rape should be inconvenienced in ways that are analogous to the ways we inconvenience people accused of crimes whom a prosecuting attorney believes there is enough evidence to convict.

    Have a nice wait, Richard. Robert believes in equality for women the same way that RonF believes in racial justice over in the post-Rodney King thread. Talk about equality and justice for all in the abstract until we’re blue in the face. Hurrah ! Bring out any specific case whatsover, and there’s always a good reason for he who benefits the most from the status quo to hem and haw and insist that this case just isn’t good enough to prove his opposition’s point. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    Blecch. >:

  22. 22
    Robert says:

    Alsis, this is a thread about how educational institutions respond to rape accusations. If you want to dump on me, why not do it on your own site?

  23. 23
    alsis39.9 says:

    Robert, take your passive-aggression and cram it. If you don’t like how I’m talking about the situation, why don’t you head elsewhere ? Not enough feminists in your own space or on Amp’s sattellite board for you to get your jollies baiting ? That figures.

    I made my proposals. You find them unfair. Knock me over with a feather. If I never posted in a thread because I knew that you’d A) Fail to offer me anything I hadn’t heard from you before B) Felt compelled to mess with my head or C) Behave like a passive-aggressive twit, I’d never post at all.

    Oh, wait… Suddenly it all grows clear. :/

  24. 24
    Robert says:

    I have no objection to how you’re talking about the situation, Alsis; I was just hoping that perhaps you’d be willing to focus on policy instead of personality. No harm in trying.

    You propose that schools require that a student move off-campus or into a single-sex dormitory upon a non-criminal accusation of rape. What defense do you offer to the schools when the inevitable lawsuits start draining their endowments?

  25. 25
    D says:

    Colleges are not in loco parentis, and do not have a responsibility to keep people safe.

    Right on first (depending upon the college in question), wrong on second. To not take responsibility for the safety of students would in fact be negligence on the part of the college. And as exclusive communities, colleges have the right to remove those that are disruptive or threats, even if said persons have not broken or can’t be proven to have broken any laws.

  26. 26
    Robert says:

    D, it depends on what you mean by taking responsibility for safety. They have a negative duty to avoid negligence (as you say). They don’t have a positive duty to prevent all possible harms. For example, a college may not bar its students from participating in sports on the grounds that sports participation is physically dangerous.

    In the case of rape or other violent crimes, the negative duty requires that people shown to be violent have to be carefully vetted by the school. That negative duty would certainly include taking steps (like expulsion or suspension) against a student accused of rape (by anyone, not just another student). A positive duty – if they had one – would oblige them to go farther, and greatly restrict the student body for its mutual protection.

    An argument can certainly be made that schools should have a positive duty for safety, but it is likely that argument would be defeated within the academy, because a positive duty for safety is pretty substantially in conflict with the school’s primary function of education. Negative duty = wearing eyewear in chem lab, positive duty = no chem lab. You can learn it from a book, after all.

    I worked for a couple of years in the admissions office of a large state university in Colorado, and part of my job was coordinating the various sessions that were periodically held between the registrar, campus police, and applicants/students who ran afoul of the law. I picked up a fair amount of data concerning where the school is required to draw the line under the law.

  27. 27
    Kate L. says:

    I work with a woman now who is a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) nurse. She’s a highly trained forensic nurse who has done countless sexual assault exams and testified at trials. What she says over and over again is: “Rapists are MADE, not born.” The example she uses is: John grabs Susie’s butt in the hallway, then goes to the locker room and says, guess what guys, I grabbed her butt! He gets high fived and the school does nothing to sanction him, so next time he goes for a little over the sweater action, again is high fived and no consequences. It gets to a point where eventually, he rapes a woman because not only has he not seen any consequences for uninvited sexual touching, he has actually gotten PRAISE for getting away with it. Is it any wonder that we have the climate on college campuses that we do?

    A little personal annecdote – when I was a junior in high school, there was a select group of young men who “ranked” all the girls in the Junior class. Their criteria for this ranking system was sexual desirability coupled with how many beers you needed to get into said girl before she’d sleep with you. The list traveled the school. Some women were duly upset about it, some were upset about where they were ranked, which makes me so sad I can’t even begin to describe it. Teachers and prinicipals knew about the list, and what do you think happened to the men in question? NOT A DAMN THING – no detention, no suspension, no sexual harrassment charges, all of which would have been appropriate. That happened not in 1970 something, not in 1980 something, in 1995. We live in a world that not only doesn’t punish harmful acts and thoughts of women, but that tacitly SUPPORTS such things. How might all of our lives have been different if my high school had used this opportunity for a teachable moment about sexual harrassment, consensual sex and rape?

  28. 28
    Kate L. says:

    Robert:
    “Colleges are not in loco parentis, and do not have a responsibility to keep people safe. They have a responsibility to not engage in negligent admissions; the remedy when they fail in that duty is the civil court system”

    Are you sure about this? If so, can you point me to a source? I’m not trying to be picky, I’d just like to read the info for myself because I thought, and I could be wrong, that they in fact ARE in loco parentis. That’s why they can search your dorm room without you being there and without your knowledge. It’s why they can say, even if you are 21 you can’t have alcohol in your room, it’s why they have all kinds of policies and procedures designed to keep students safe. It is in part, their responsibility.

    I’m not sure how I feel about the claim of 2 separate claims of sexual assault means expulsion, but I am QUITE sure, that since there are other NON ACADEMIC related infractions that can get you kicked out of school (outside the criminal justice system), then there probably should be policies at Universities where serious sexual assault allegations mean serious academic consequences.

    College women are actually at higher risk for sexual assault than are non college women, it stands to reason that the institution bears some responsibility for reducing that risk and placing consequences on the people who violate sexual codes of conduct. Again, I’m not sure I agree with the EXACT method stated above, but the general idea is most certainly appropriate.

  29. 29
    D says:

    I think one of the problems colleges have is they tend to only have concern for what right up to the point where they’ve legally covered their asses’. I would hope though, that you (Robert) would consider it to be neglect to allow a suspected or known rapist to remain in the environment that allowed them to easily commit their crime in the first case.

  30. 30
    Kate L. says:

    Robert,
    But Universities take positive steps to provide for the safety of their students all the time. It’s why they have escort systems – university funded programs where if you want to walk somewhere at night, they will be your escort, even from off campus to on campus or vice versa. It’s why they have PED systems – where you have to swipe to gain entry to dorms, and only people who live in that dorm have the right code. When I was an undergraduate, during my junior year, a woman was sexually assaulted in a dorm bathroom. Within WEEKS there were code locks on all dorm bathrooms and only the people who lived in that hall were given the code. These are all positive steps the University took in order to insure the safety of their students. Why shouldn’t they have policies in place to remove students who pose a threat to the rest of the student body, such as mandating that you live off campus, placing them on probation, etc. Maybe I just don’t understand your definition of positive duty and negative duty…

  31. 31
    alsis39.9 says:

    Robert:

    You propose that schools require that a student move off-campus or into a single-sex dormitory upon a non-criminal accusation of rape. What defense do you offer to the schools when the inevitable lawsuits start draining their endowments?

    I suggest they spell out their policy in detail before the students enroll. No ability that way for either parents or students to play dumb later on.

    I suggest a war chest on hand if they have to defend themselves from lawsuits. Rape is a safety issue. Don’t tell me that a college can’t afford to insure itself against threats to a student’s physical safety.

    I suggest that they explain to the folks who fatten the endowments that women are people, too, and entitled to a safe campus as well as a decent education. No policy will ever be one percent safe or just, but right now too much benefit of the doubt is going to the acused.

    Don’t imagine that I’d be thrilled if a male friend was acused of rape. I wouldn’t be. But I’m not thrilled with how common stories like Abyss’ are, either. Women are bearing much greater risks than men in this culture right now, and if you want men to get out of the risk, counsel them to avoid risky behavior while they’re still young enough to learn. Women know the “protect yourselves” drill by heart. Now it’s your turn to pick up some of that burden for yourselves.

    You ask me to separate issues from personalities. As a woman, I don’t feel that I have that luxury.

  32. 32
    alsis39.9 says:

    Kate L., thanks for your post. It’s been awhile since I’ve been to college, and neither school I attended had a campus in the traditional sense, so it’s appreciated.

    Oh, and if Robert or any other men lurking here wonder what they should say to young men before their rotten proclivities are set oh-so-neatly in stone by the policies in the original article, Shannon did a good, succinct job of it not too long ago.

    …Tips:

    You are never entitled to sex.

    No, I don’t care if she’s a sex worker.

    I don’t care if she did it before.

    I don’t care if she slept with the whole frat house.

    I don’t care if she is running around butt naked.

    I don’t care if she wants to be a porn star.

    I don’t care if she is your g/f/wife/whatever

    Don’t rape, dumbass…

  33. 33
    Raznor says:

    good post abyss. My problem with your solution is that it could have a negative effect as far as rapes being reported. For example, say the captain of the football team, or someone else of extreme popularity, rapes someone. There is already an intense pressure on the victim to be quiet, and a constant fear of harassment from other students – and such harassment would be increased tenfold if there’s the possibility of expulsion.

    I think forcing a student to live off campus is fine, for whatever period of time is deemed necessary – it wouldn’t remove the student and would protect the rest of the student body. And certainly ethics education is of predominant importance. But still – I don’t know a solution that doesn’t require a considerable change in society, and now I’m depressed.

  34. 34
    Robert says:

    Kate, I totally agree about drawing a hard and fast line very early on. The treating of sexual liberty-taking as heh-heh-thats-my-boy absolutely is the first step (or a first step) towards thinking of women as objects instead of people. I suspect that the genesis of this derives strongly from how boys see their fathers treating their mothers – is she an independent person to be treated with respect, or is she a thing whose agency is immaterial?

    I don’t have a cite, but I recall from looking at the admissions materials of schools that I was considering (mumbledy mumble years ago) the explicit statement, such-and-such college does not act in loco parentis. The statement was aimed at parents and seemed basically to be intended as a warning. Dorm room policies and such have to do with the fact that the dorm is owned by the college – they can search your room whether you’re a 17 year old or a 57 year old.

    Positive steps are fine, and schools are free to take them. They just aren’t obliged to take them. The difficulty with the steps being discussed here is that they have the school taking a punitive action against someone on one person’s unsupported word. (The action isn’t intended to be punitive, but protective, but to the accused, it will be a punishment.) If the charge is serious and the evidence is valid, then they really need to be going to the cops, not the chancellor.

    D -

    I would hope though, that you (Robert) would consider it to be neglect to allow a suspected or known rapist to remain in the environment that allowed them to easily commit their crime in the first case.

    The problem here is that every male is a suspected rapist, and the environment that allowed them to easily commit their crime is the entire culture. If one woman in fifty was at risk for being raped, and the only place you could get away with a rape was a college mixer, that would be one thing. But rape is pervasive. We’re not talking about a population of 2% of all men, we’re talking about all men. It’s very problematic for a co-ed institution to adapt a harm-prevention approach, when the only practical way to have that be meaningful is to lock up all the men. Which, perhaps there’s a coherent case to be made for – but pretty much no men would come to that school.

    Alsis -

    You can certainly spell out the policy, and that might help a bit with your student body selection. But a student who’s forced off campus, presumably on nothing but the say-so of another student, is going to crush your school in the courts. You can buy insurance – once. The second time you lose $2 mil because some son of privilege with Dershowitz for a daddy gets booted out of his single, the insurance goes away. It seems like you want this to be about the school’s attitude – and I agree, many schools could use a serious adjustment in how they handle the issue of intrastudent crime, especially rape. But all the attitude in the world won’t change the facts about how the legal system is going to treat civil claims against your school.

    It seems that the crux of this whole issue is the incredibly difficult situation where there isn’t any proof or evidence, for whatever reason. I just don’t think there’s a good answer, there. I hope I’m wrong, and that someone somewhere does have a good answer. Private justice systems probably aren’t going to be part of it, though.

  35. Robert, you wrote:

    But a student who’s forced off campus, presumably on nothing but the say-so of another student, is going to crush your school in the courts.

    If indeed a student were forced off campus only on the say so of another student, no matter how horrible the accusation, you would of course be right. The college, however, can establish guidelines and investigative procedures that guarantee the presumption of innocence on the part of the accused, that do not depend merely on the accuser’s say-so and that result, when the accused is found “guilty” (which I put in quotes only because we are not talking a court of law), in sanctions against him or her. This is what exists on my campus and on campuses throughout the country when it comes to sexual harassment. Granted, most of those policies were originally designed–as I understand it–to deal with teacher-on-student or faculty-staff/faculty-staff harassment, not student-on-student harassment/assault, but I know that the issue of student-on-student sexual harassment/violence has become increasingly important and so I see no reason, in theory, why an on-campus system could not be set up to deal with accusations of date rape that works analogously to those set up to deal with sexual harassment; why could there not be a campus investigation parallel to a legal, the purpose being not to convict the accused, but rather to determine if there is enough credible evidence to determine that he is not welcome as a member of the on-campus community?

    And, again, I will say that it makes no sense to argue about the specifics of how such a system might work if you are not willing to consider that someone who has been credibly accused of rape is someone that a college campus community might choose to exclude, and while you may be right about the difference between a college’s positive and negative obligations, the fact is–as you have said–that colleges can and do take steps to exclude students guilty of non-criminal offenses; how much more so does it make sense to remove a student about whom there is sufficient reason to believe he might have a violent crime against women until it is determined whether or not he is truly guilty?

  36. 36
    Robert says:

    why could there not be a campus investigation parallel to a legal, the purpose being not to convict the accused, but rather to determine if there is enough credible evidence to determine that he is not welcome as a member of the on-campus community?

    Works for me – if matters are handled openly, with the ability to cross-examine and impugn evidence, and face the accuser, and the standard protections of the legal system.

  37. 37
    RonF says:

    It seems clear to me that if one student at a college makes an accusation of a serious and violent crime – indeed, a felony – against another student, the school has an obligation to ensure the safety of the accuser while preserving the rights of the accused. Separating the two seems reasonable; whether that’s off-campus or not depends a lot on the campus. A school in a major city will have a different solution than a school in a cornfield or a small town. But an accused doesn’t have the right to not be inconvenienced.

    But, what’s the end point? Despite the feelings of the “if a woman says she was raped, believe it” school, it’s not right to take something away from someone permanently based on allegations alone. There has been talk on here that there are other things that can get you kicked out of a school without having committed a crime, but are there things that you can have been alleged to have done that can get you kicked out? And what are these things, anyway?

    So, just how would this work? Where is the dividing line where the school would say, “Well, there’s not enough evidence here to convict you of rape, but there’s enough to justify expelling you”?

    Our legal system is based on what I’ll perhaps imperfectly describe as a bias towards the defendant – it’s better to see some guilty people go free than to see some innocent people get convicted. I get the feeling that there are many who would like to see this change, or at least shift some, when allegations of rape are involved. Doing so outside the court system is justified, to a point. But when the actions of a college go from something temporary (separating the accused from the student body) to something permanent (expulsion), the justification for that point will end up being worked out in the courts.

    And that is where the sticky details of this will be worked out. Hell, I’d go along with expulsion for one instance of sexual assault, never mind two. But if we don’t have a legal case for sexual assault, then the whole crux of this is going to be just what constitutes a “credible” allegation of sexual assault that yet falls short of being legal proof.

  38. 38
    Jake Squid says:

    I have no objection to how you’re talking about the situation, Alsis; I was just hoping that perhaps you’d be willing to focus on policy instead of personality.

    Ha! Hahahahahahahahahaha!

    Keep hoping that you can treat people one way and have them treat you in a different way and let me know how that works out. You seem to be having some problems with that here.

  39. 39
    Gar Lipow says:

    I have a thought on this. Instead of expulsion for “credible allegation” how about explusion if proven by “weight of the evidence”. Rape as a criminal penalty has to have proof beyond a reasonable doubt. However civil cases are decided by “weight of the evidence” not “reasonable doubt”. So perhaps a school can set similar standards for expulsion for rape. This might meet a reasonable test against civil suits for wrongful expulsions; expulsions are happening under a similar burden of proof to that required for a civil (as opposed to criminal) convictions. (I am not a Lawyer, so you need to ask one if this true, but it might be sufficient protection against lawsuits.) In terms of desirablity – as long as defendents rights were protected as well as in a civil court – i.e. they genuinely had to be convicted by weight of the evidence, and not prove their innocence – I would say that this would be a reasonable balence of rights. And the good thing is that you would not have to wait for a second incident.

  40. 40
    Sarah says:

    Why not move the accuser off site? Similar effect to moving the accused but more likely to be voluntry.

  41. 41
    VK says:

    Sarah, I can see that working well – accuse someone of raped and you will be forced out of college accomodation. I’m sure the victim will be so much mroe willing to come forward.

    The point isn’t simply to remove the accuser from the accused, but to protect other women in the dorms from being attacked. Read the quote at the top of the post. One women was raped, the guy was moved to another dorm whereupon he raped another woman.

    If he lived off campus, a woman would be more vary of going back to his room. It would be further away from her room, so she would think harder about diffuculty of getting away if something went wrong. He would be more likely to have a living room, as well as a bedroom so less reason for her to be alone with him in his bedroom. He wouldn’t have a roommate, so he couldn’t lie about his presense. When someone lives in a dorm, it is very easily to end up alone with them, sitting on their bed – because it is the only place you can have a private conversation – hence it is easy for a rapist to get a victim into his room. Remove the living accodation excuse, and it’s harder for him to place her in a vunerable position.

  42. 42
    D says:

    Robert: I think you may be confusing some feminist ideas with strawfeminist ideas. I believe the correct line is more akin to every man is a potential rapist. When I say a suspected rapist, I don’t mean someone a paranoid woman thinks is a rapist, I mean someone that the school has reason to believe committed sexual assault. And again, I don’t think anyone here is proposing that someone be expelled simply because one or two people accused a person of sexual assault any more than if two people accused someone of cheating on an exam. In both cases some sort of investigation should be conducted. But I do not think the accused should be able to face the accuser, especially in cases of sexual assault.
    If there is the “weight of proof” as someone put it before that the accused is guilty, I’d think one incident be enough to at very least place that person on some sort of probation if not remove them from residential campus. And if every male student ended up on such probation, that would certainly be very telling of the environment created by the college. But I don’t think that would happen, because the environment where sexual assault was easy and left unpunished would cease to exist if a college began to treat it more seriously. The “Can I get away with it?” question would no longer be answered, “Yes.”

  43. 43
    Sarah says:

    Perhaps true, but since false accusations do happen why should a potentially innocent person be punished? Removing them from campus and suspending them essentially suggests that the accuser is beyond reproach however the accused isn’t. Similarly why should the accused’s study suffer while the case is not yet proven, I am sure that if it was a man crying rape here against a woman we wouldn’t all be jumping to defend him and kick his evil accuser off site…

    As for the room thing, that makes it easier in a way to get into the girl’s room, as he can play the “my flat is far away” line. I have lived in halls of residence for 2 years and University owned communal flats for a year, all the time they feel safer because there are always people you know, people you see and staff around to help you, in a flat of your own there is generally less communication and help available.

    Something has to be done however it just seems a triffle unjust and unfair to begin to punish someone before they are guilty. Colleges in my opinion shouldn’t realistically be punishing anyone for this until guilt is acertained.

  44. 44
    nik says:

    How do the rules for workplace dismissal regarding sexual harrassment work?

    It’d obviously be reasonable to use them as an analogy. I’m not sure if they can dismiss person x because they are alleged to have raped person y, but they clearly do have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their employees, and to impose rules upon employees while they are at work for that reason. It’d be completely reasonable to ban students from being in someone else’s dorm room and ban all sex on campus on pain of expulsion, the same as rules found in the workplace.

    It’d be much better, and more effective, to introduce preventative measures like these that to try and figure who raped whom after the event. (And legally a damn sight less complicated). If you want to protect women from being attacked introducing general preventative policies would be much more effective than playing hunt the rapist.

  45. 45
    nik says:

    “And again, I don’t think anyone here is proposing that someone be expelled simply because one or two people accused a person of sexual assault any more than if two people accused someone of cheating on an exam.”

    Abyss2hope did in the post above. But the phrase ‘credible accusation’ was used. I’m not sure what ‘credible’ means in this context (though I’m guessing ‘consistent with the available evidence’). This policy also wouldn’t have prevented either of the assaults on the people in the case under discussion.

    I think the big issue with this sort of policy is that it also gives rapists and their supporters a lot of power. They can also also make credible complaints against people, and morals aren’t going to stop them from doing so.

  46. 46
    mythago says:

    nik, there are no ‘rules’ requiring a company to fire an employee for harassment. The laws about harassment are different; that’s what you look to when determining if an employer is guilty of harassment, often by tolerating or encouraging harassment by its employees. Companies form their own rules because failing to act on harassment is evidence that they did engage in prohibited conduct. And of course it varies by severity–a company that referred employees to sensitivity training for an off-color remark is in a different position than one referring an admitted rapist to sensitivity training.

    If two credible accusations of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault are made against you, then you will be expelled.

    Uh, how about “prosecuted”?

  47. 47
    Mandolin says:

    It’d be completely reasonable to ban students from being in someone else’s dorm room and ban all sex on campus on pain of expulsion, the same as rules found in the workplace.

    Been on any college campuses lately?

  48. 48
    Sheelzebub says:

    Colleges are a business.

    No, they are not. Unless you’re talking about a strictly for-profit venture with no fundraising staff, a university isn’t a business. It is a institution of higher education with a fundraising staff that seeks to find money for scholarships, building maintenence, pay, the endowment, and other costs.

    A business would want to cover its sweet ass by separating the accuser and the accused (with an exception of American Apparel and Alarm One, two companies that need a good smack upside the head from the clue fairy).

    And honestly, if the university in the original post had concluded that the man was indeed responsible for sexual misconduct, then it mystifies me why they’re opening themselves up to lawsuits by allowing him to stay on campus. People who have been found to be responsible for breaking the honor code or vandalizing university property have been kicked out of school.

    I hope this guy was prosecuted in a court of law.

  49. Something I do not understand: What is it about rape accusations that leads people to assume that anyone who thinks a college should take some sort of action against a man who has been “credibly accused” thinks that the word of the accuser is all it should take to make the accusation credible in the eyes of the university? I will agree that expulsion-on-the-basis-of-two-credible-accusations, as was proposed in the original post, is going too far, because credible accusations can turn out to be inaccurate, but the overall thrust of people’s responses against the idea in the post has not been to say that expulsion on the basis of unproven accusations is wrong; rather, it has been to suggest, implicitly and explicitly, that what is meant by “credible accusation” is the word of the accuser. Somehow I don’t think we would be having this argument if we were talking about credible accusations of theft.

    nik, you wrote:

    How do the rules for workplace dismissal regarding sexual harrassment work?

    I can speak only for the process on my campus, but there is well-defined process by which a student who wants to bring a charge of sexual harassment against a faculty member (I am not familiar with the procedure in the case of a faculty member who brings charges or a student who wants to bring charges against another student) moves up the ladder, with the assistance and support of a trained counselor, from the trying to resolve the situation informally, if the student is willing to do so, to bringing formal charges, in which case the college affirmative action officer launches an official investigation, questioning the parties involved, witnesses and so on.

    If the faculty member is found guilty, then the measures taken against him or her will vary depending on the type and severity of the harassment, whether or not this is a first, second, etc. offense and so on. No matter how good a policy is on paper, though, it’s only as good as the degree to which a college is willing to enforce it. In one case on my campus, a woman who brought an accusation against one of my colleagues became so frustrated with the college’s slow response time that she published an editorial in the school newspaper naming the man she accused, and it was someone whom everyone knew had a long track record of harassing and sleeping with his female students.

  50. 50
    wookie says:

    That’s an interesting concept if we’re looking for the punishment to be a deterrent, but it just doesn’t sound appropriate given that (a) the definition of “credible accusation” is probably never going to be firm enough to make it work and (b) again, you’re dealing with that small (but still existant, definately not negligable) percentage of false accusations. I wish I could find the link today but apparently the rate of false accusation for rape is the same as it is for felonies.

    I can possibly see making the full expulsion, no excuses, no whining, based on a conviction of rape. Certainly if we do it for cheating on an exam, it would be reasonable to consider rape a much more serious breach of trust, not to mention danger to other persons on campus.

  51. 51
    Abyss2hope says:

    I find it quite telling that some commenters are more concerned about those who might face possible false accusations than they are about real rape victims.

  52. 52
    D says:

    That’s an interesting concept if we’re looking for the punishment to be a deterrent, but it just doesn’t sound appropriate given that (a) the definition of “credible accusation” is probably never going to be firm enough to make it work and (b) again, you’re dealing with that small (but still existant, definately not negligable) percentage of false accusations. I wish I could find the link today but apparently the rate of false accusation for rape is the same as it is for felonies.

    Defining “credible accusation” can easily be done by an institution’s administration willing to be serious about sexual assault. Defining such terms is really part and parcel to making policies.

    As to accidentally punishing innocents; I don’t feel it would be a problem, first because the prior established credibility and second because of the low probability. I don’t know the percentage of false accusations of crimes, but just to make a point, let’s say its 10%. If this were like rolling dice then 2 accusations being false would have a 1% probability. However it’s not like that. You’d have to actually know the probability of a person being accused in the first place and then apply the probability of being accused twice and then the probability that both were false. And even then we’re not talking about criminal punishment. For my arguments I’d say removal from the residential campus. That is of course if there is not enough evidence to pursue further actions.

    Still some (nik) would claim setting up such a system would encourage people to make vindictive accusation simply to cause grief to others. I tend to disbelieve this simply because students can already do any number of vindictive things to their fellow students, but for some reason tend to keep things rather sane all on their own.

    I find it quite telling that some commenters are more concerned about those who might face possible false accusations than they are about real rape victims.

    It’s all about which situation you can see yourself actually ever being in. Another example of why we need empathy training.

  53. 53
    Sheelzebub says:

    Again, is there the same level of concern for students who are accused (and found to be responsible for) honor code violations, theft, and/or vandalism? All of these things can get you expelled.

  54. 54
    alsis39.9 says:

    Jake Squid:

    You seem to be having some problems with that here.

    IOW, some animals are more equal than others ? :D

    Notice also the parallel between our arguments in this thread and our arguments in the immigration thread. Eventually, everything aparently boils down to the bloody horror of potential lawsuits and how we must protect bosses and large institutions from this horror before we get around to dealing with the piddling needs of the individual citizen for justice.

    Bah.

  55. 55
    Medium Dave says:

    I think that abyss’s proposal makes as much sense as any that I’ve heard… as long as colleges adopt tough-sounding anti-rape policies but then fail to back them up with tough actions, the high incidence of sexual assaults on campus will continue.

  56. 56
    Kali says:

    Criminal cases require proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Civil cases require a somewhat lesser burden of proof. This is in line with the lesser punishment in civil cases. Following that logic, it would be reasonable to have a lower burden of proof for administrative actions (like expulsion, or removing from campus) than for civil cases. Two credible accusations (“credible” could be more clearly defined as a policy matter), IMO, would meet this reduced burden of proof.

    Anyway, I think we have have gone overboard with this “let hundred criminals go free before one innocent is punished” ideology. What this ideology fails to recognize is that, more often than not, when you are letting a criminal go free, you are not just letting him go free, but you are also convicting his future victim to victimisation. This is especially true in case of rape and child molestation. But the men who write the laws don’t have to worry about themselves getting raped. They worry more about being falsely accused, which is why this ideology has so much power in our society. That is why we have such ridiculously impossible standards for what is acceptable as “beyond a reasonable doubt” in rape cases. When we consider the “mens rea” and the “beyond a reasonable doubt” and violent porn that perpetuates the idea that women like violation and pain, I wonder how much difference there is in the actual prosecution of rape between the western nations who purport to take rape seriously and the Islamic nations who ask for four male witnesses. I am sure that the Islamists are giving the same reasons for the four male witnesses requirement that the Roberts and RonFs are giving in this forum for having extra burdensome requirements of proof from women before they can be protected from men who assault them.

  57. 57
    pdf23ds says:

    Ack. My comment echoing a lot of what people are saying is stuck in moderation. :-(

  58. 58
    RonF says:

    Anyway, I think we have have gone overboard with this “let hundred criminals go free before one innocent is punished” ideology. What this ideology fails to recognize is that, more often than not, when you are letting a criminal go free, you are not just letting him go free, but you are also convicting his future victim to victimisation. This is especially true in case of rape and child molestation. But the men who write the laws don’t have to worry about themselves getting raped. They worry more about being falsely accused, which is why this ideology has so much power in our society. That is why we have such ridiculously impossible standards for what is acceptable as “beyond a reasonable doubt” in rape cases.

    So are you saying that the standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt” is applied differently in rape cases than it is in cases of battery, non-sexual assault, robbery, etc., where men are much more likely to be victims? Can you quantify that in some fashion?

    I wonder how much difference there is in the actual prosecution of rape between the western nations who purport to take rape seriously and the Islamic nations who ask for four male witnesses.

    Well, if you wonder, perhaps you might want to do some research to find the answer. I believe what you’ll find is that the incidence of both rape prosecutions and rape convictions in countries with sharia-based legal systems is a lot lower than in Western cultures. The reasons I have seen proposed are a) it’s impossible to get a conviction, and b) the victim has significant odds of being killed by her own family because of the shame she brought to her family for allowing herself to be raped.

    I am sure that the Islamists are giving the same reasons for the four male witnesses requirement that the Roberts and RonFs are giving in this forum for having extra burdensome requirements of proof from women before they can be protected from men who assault them.

    Perhaps you could give an example of the “extra burdensome requirements of proof” that you say I have given. I don’t see where I have done that anywhere, but since you say that I have I’m sure you can back up your assertion with quotes.

    IIRC, the Islamists’ reason for the four male witnesses is that this is what they believe is the will of Allah. I think, although I don’t know, that it’s actually a holdover from pre-Islamic days. Women as property, women being less intelligent, women being prone to lie, women being unable to control their own sexuality, and various other cultural constructs developed millenia ago and frozen in sharia. Why the heck they came up with 4 vs. 2 or any other number is not something I’ve seen any commentary on. You could ask Ask the Imam and see what he says.

    In any case, I assure you that “the will of Allah” is not a reason you’re going to hear me give for doing anything.

  59. 59
    evil_fizz says:

    To backtrack a little…

    You can certainly spell out the policy, and that might help a bit with your student body selection. But a student who’s forced off campus, presumably on nothing but the say-so of another student, is going to crush your school in the courts.

    Actually, no. In some states, the student code of conduct (as presented in materials given to the student) constitutes a contract between the school and the student. I’m not sure about all jurisdictions, but this is certainly the case in Illinois.

  60. 60
    azbballfan says:

    Rapists should be prosecuted and punished.

    Accusers should be presumed to be telling the truth.

    However, the issue of rape in the college student population becomes highly political. These young kids are away from thier homes for the first time and thrown in with a bunch of other kids without much oversight.

    In High School, kids tend to be with other kids who they knew before sex and rape was an issue. And at the end of the day they return to the oversight of thier parents.

    Once they go to college, young men and women test the boundaries of what is acceptable for the first time outside the perview of their parents. Add the political factor of trying to be popular and accepted by a bunch of people from varying backgrounds and you’ve set a wonderful stage for a series of tradgedies to unfold.

    We need to find ways to teach our kids the importance of avoiding the dramas that play out in popular media and news.

    Here’s another sad story: Go visit Sex, Lies and prison

  61. 61
    alsis39.9 says:

    From the –ahem !– Townhall article:

    ” …Again, I’m unable to do justice to the many questionable details of this case. Instead, let’s focus on Gorman’s nightmare, and what potentially can happen to any male who has sex with a female in the current sexual climate of virgins and demons…”

    Get out the violins.

    Kathleen Parker is a Rightwing hack whose tears for poor victimized men don’t belong on this thread.

    …In High School, kids tend to be with other kids who they knew before sex and rape was an issue. And at the end of the day they return to the oversight of thier parents…

    az, give me a break. Most kids are sexually active before they hit college. Most rapists go after girls or women they know, not strangers. If you think that rape is not an issue for anyone until they reach college, you are sadly mistaken.

  62. 62
    nik says:

    nik, there are no ‘rules’ requiring a company to fire an employee for harassment.

    I’m not suggesting there is. I am suggesting that your employer can sack you for harassing someone or theft or fighting in the workplace and so on (without “proof beyond reasonable doubt”). No-one seems to have a problem with that. I’m suggesting if that’s uncontroversial then – what is the standard? – and why can’t it be applied to explusion from college.

  63. 63
    Rosemary Grace says:

    Many universities require some sort of signed agreement to an honour code when students move into university housing. The ones I signed at my university in England, and at a UC school mentioned a “zero tolerance” policy to drugs. I believe the UC school also officially had a no alcohol policy, but it wasn’t really enforced unless someone comitted assault, or vandolism, while drinking. The zero tolerance to illegal drugs use was enforced, and everybody knew it, so drug use tended to happen off site.

    Most universites seem to have some sort of statement of “doing X,Y, or Z will get you kicked out”, and agreeing to such terms is a requirement for enrollment. Illegal drug use and plagiarism are two common no nos.

    I don’t think it would be too revolutionary to add a strict code of conduct regarding sexual harrassment and assault to these types of agreements. There would be more scope for strictness with students living on campus, making on-campus housing dependant on good behaviour wouldn’t do much to prevent a predatory male from assaulting a woman in an off campus location. Establishing a “zero tolerance” rule akin to the anti-drug policy already in place in most universities is long overdue, especially if it’s backed up with some sort of info session pointing out specifically which behaviours are considered sexual harrasment/assault. Ideally, children should be educated from a much younger age that wolf whistling and groping are rude, invasive behaviours, and as such, should not be tolerated. But if we can’t get them to figure this out by college age, then colleges will have to improve their policies.

    I think it would be worth looking at false accusation rates for the other offenses that get people kicked straight out. Of course it has to happen sometimes that some vindictive person plants drugs, or stolen exam papers, but it probably doesn’t happen very often. What is it about rape that makes people think women are just rubbing their hands with glee plotting how they are going to point the finger at the next poor chump that pisses them off?

  64. 64
    Rob says:

    At schools with honor codes, a false rape accusation would be grounds for expulsion: its lying.

    Rape accusations are super easy to make: Ampersand raped me.

    See, Don’t you have to believe me?

  65. 65
    D says:

    No Rob, because you do not make a credible case. And it’s just as easy to make such flat accusations concerning drug use, cheating, vandalism, etc. Yet for some reason very very few people seem to make them. Rape on the other hand happens disturbingly often.

  66. 66
    Sarah says:

    azbballfan accusers should be presumed to be lying until otherwise proven, that is the basis of our legal system. Its easy to make an accusation as shown above, its easy to claim you did it for a reason, the burden of proof lies with the accuser, proving someone is guilty is generally possible, proving your innocence is a lot harder.

    For example: Prove god exists.

    A simple statement, 2000+ years later we have how many religions, cults, aethiests etc…

    Now rape etc are slightly easier to prove than this however its a similar principle, if you want to announce something the burden of proof lies with you not those who disbelieve you. I don’t think women in general are wanting to jump up and down and yell rape, however with any crime you have to have proof, and in this case there is damned little to go on. Looking at it objectively a man accused of rape multiple times should not be considered to be more likely to do so again any more than a perpetual victim (look at the Duke case, the accuser claims to have been raped before) should be admissible. As they say, whats good for the goose is good for the gander.

  67. 67
    Sarah says:

    Double post, sorry had to reply to D.

    D Said:
    No Rob, because you do not make a credible case. And it’s just as easy to make such flat accusations concerning drug use, cheating, vandalism, etc. Yet for some reason very very few people seem to make them. Rape on the other hand happens disturbingly often.

    Situation A:
    We were alone, he raped me.

    Situation B:
    I was alone with the guy, I had a lot to drink that night, I remember him taking off my clothes then I remember him having sex with me.

    Is B more credible than A, what if no one can vouch for us in either case, what if he has an alibi what if…

    What benefit does cheating in an exam bring? From what I can see not a lot, where as Rape can be shown to have benefits, again the Duke case the accuser is now having her college tuition paid… how much is that worth? It may seem cruel but in certain cases crying wolf does bring help.

  68. 68
    D says:

    Sarah: The “what if”s are part of establishing if an accusation is credible. I also do not buy into the defense theory of making a victim of a crime become the one on trial. And then there is this:

    Looking at it objectively a man accused of rape multiple times should not be considered to be more likely to do so again any more than a perpetual victim (look at the Duke case, the accuser claims to have been raped before) should be admissible. As they say, whats good for the goose is good for the gander.

    and this:

    What benefit does cheating in an exam bring? From what I can see not a lot, where as Rape can be shown to have benefits, again the Duke case the accuser is now having her college tuition paid… how much is that worth? It may seem cruel but in certain cases crying wolf does bring help.

    Those are so far beyond reality I don’t know how to respond. Do you really not understand the difference between committing an act and having someone commit an act upon you? You really don’t know the benefit of cheating or the cost of accusing someone of rape? I’m rather certain all of those things have been discussed on Alas before and that you aren’t new here.

  69. 69
    Abyss2hope says:

    Sarah:

    accusers should be presumed to be lying until otherwise proven, that is the basis of our legal system

    That may be the de facto basis in rape cases, but it isn’t the basis in other types of assaults and serious crimes.

    Anyone who insists that all alleged rape victims should be presumed to be liars is a rape enabler.

  70. 70
    Robert says:

    We don’t have a presumption that accusers are liars. We have a presumption that accused people are innocent. There’s a big difference.

  71. 71
    mythago says:

    nik, I don’t know about the UK, but in the US, almost all employment is ‘at will’. Your employer can fire you because he doesn’t like the way you parted your hair this morning.

    It’d be completely reasonable to ban students from being in someone else’s dorm room and ban all sex on campus on pain of expulsion, the same as rules found in the workplace.

    Where do you work–a convent?

  72. 72
    Gina says:

    I woke up to this on the news this morning.

    Since I arrives at work here at Duke the comments I have heard from men have been that this girl must be making this up. These men also say that the girl said this because if all the reprts about the Lacrosse team. It makes me want to vomit. How can some men be so STUPID !
    ___________________

    Duke Police Investigate Sexual Assault Allegation
    No charges have been filed; investigation is ongoing

    Wednesday, May 3, 2006

    Durham, N.C. — The Duke University Police Department is investigating a report from a Duke student who alleges she was sexually assaulted last week by another student.

    Students
    Police interviewed witnesses who said the woman left Last Day of Classes celebrations around midnight April 26 and walked back to her residence hall with a male student, said Lt. Sara-Jane Raines, Duke Police public information officer. Both students reported to police that they were under the influence of alcohol, according to police.

    The woman was unable to provide details about her activities leading up to the alleged assault, police said. The male student told police he did not have sex with the woman, police said.

    No charges have been filed, and an investigation is ongoing.

    For more information, contact: Leanora Minai, Sr. Communication Strategist | (919) 681-4533 | leanora.minai@duke.edu

    Home>2006>Duke Police Investigate Sexual Assault Allegation

    posted by bunny May 05 2006 at 08:04

    Police Investigate Alleged Rape On Duke Campus
    Woman Alleges She Was Attacked By Male Student At Koehane Dorm

    POSTED: 9:04 pm EDT May 4, 2006
    UPDATED: 6:14 am EDT May 5, 2006

    DURHAM, N.C. — Duke University police are investigating another rape allegation involving Duke students.

    Police said the rape allegedly happened after a party at Koehane Dorm on Duke’s campus. According to a police report obtained by WRAL, the accuser reported the alleged sexual assault the day after it happened on April 27.

    WRAL has learned the end-of-class party in the dorm involved drugs and alcohol use. Based on the accounts of the night posted on the Duke University police Web site, the accuser said a male student who walked her home raped her.

    Witnesses told police the accuser left the party with the male student. Duke police questioned that student. Investigators also collected DNA samples from him and the accuser.

    The student accused in the rape has hired Los Angeles attorney Steve Sitkoff. In a telephone interview with WRAL, he said his client did not commit a crime.

    “I am confident that once the Duke police, who I have the utmost confidence in, have completed their investigation, they will come to the exact same conclusion I have come to, and that is my client is 100 percent innocent of these allegations,” said Sitkoff.

    Based on the Duke University police Web site, the accuser admitted she was drunk and could not provide too many details of what happened leading up to the alleged attack.

    This latest investigation comes just days after a stinging report about the drinking culture among Duke students. A committee formed after the Duke lacrosse rape investigation put out the report. It singled out end-of-year parties that involved alcohol.

  73. 73
    Sheelzebub says:

    What benefit does cheating in an exam bring? From what I can see not a lot, where as Rape can be shown to have benefits, again the Duke case the accuser is now having her college tuition paid… how much is that worth? It may seem cruel but in certain cases crying wolf does bring help.

    Wow, this is the most ignorant thing I’ve read on this thread, which means you’ve topped the ridiculous assertion that universities are businesses.

    FWIW, if you wanted to fuck with someone at a university with a no-cheating honor code, you could by claiming that they plagarized your work, bragged that they paid for the answers to a test, or whatever. Some people want to be the top in their class, get good brownie points with a professor (or their advisor) and looking good by knocking down the competition is a way to do this.

    Does that sound ridiculous? No more ridiculous than the assertion that bringing a rape charge gets you wads of cash. I’ve known four rape survivors, and none of them–NONE of them–have ever gotten compensated. In fact, none of them ever came forward because of the fucking misogynist drivel that rape survivors have to contend with. Like your post, and like a lot of the scummy rape apologist/women are lying bitches posts I’ve seen polluting this space and the net.

    I’m sorry, but your idea that a rape charge brings benefits to the woman is just fucking stupid. If that were true, every one of my friends–whom I believe were raped–would have come forward. Why not when it really happend and they’d get a fabulous cash prize? Someone, quick, let the rape crisis centers know. There is a huge population of women who are owed some money if that’s the case.

    So the accuser has her tuition paid for (by Jesse Jackson’s organization, and it was because it bugged the hell out of him that she had to strip to make ends meet)–I hardly think she knew that would happen by coming forward. In fact, for most accusers in these cases, they not only do not get compensated (unless it’s for counselling and treatement from victim services), they are pilloried, harassed, and, oh yeah–accused of golddigging. See: the Big Dan’s rape in New Bedford, MA (which the accused was based on). Lots of golddigging accusations flying around. It was bullshit then and it’s bullshit now.

    The only thing this woman knew for sure was that she’d get a ration of shit for making a rape accusation, and that it would quardruple thanks to her race and her occupation.

    When I was mugged and reported it, I was NOT assumed to be lying. When my neighbor’s house was broken into, she was NOT assumed to be lying. (Hey, she had some financial troubles, she could have faked it for a future lawsuit or insurance scam.)

    Nope. Only in the case of rape do we have to assume the accuser is a liar. Not, if we are on the jury, listen to all of the fact and make our decision after careful consideration. Nope. Burn the witch and imagine all sorts of nefarious schemes since women are all liars.

    You know, I’m likely breaking Amp’s civility rules, but I don’t care. I’ve seen too much damage done to friends of mine because of ignorant, misogynist myths that should be thrown back into the cesspool from which they came.

    Don’t fucking bleat to me about “real” rape victims and how gosh golly gee you want justice for them. They have heard more tripe about how they weren’t “real” rape survivors by the convention of misogynist and self-hating assholes out there after it happened.

  74. 74
    Abyss2hope says:

    Whenever I see someone who says they are against “real” rape as they bash victims or something that helps victims, I know they are either a “unreal” rape enabler or an “unreal” rapist.

  75. 75
    Medium Dave says:

    Well, it makes perfect sense, mythago. nik is opposed to the idea of a policy that would sounds workable (if controversial), and proposes a completely unworkable one that would penalize young people who haven’t done anything wrong. Not to mention, one that would cause the enrollment at that particular school to plummet.

  76. 76
    Medium Dave says:

    Well, it makes perfect sense, mythago. nik is opposed to the idea of a policy that would probably be workable (if controversial), and proposes a completely unworkable one that would penalize young people who haven’t done anything wrong. Not to mention, one that would cause the enrollment at that particular school to plummet.

  77. 77
    Sarah says:

    Sheezlebub, if you are mugged generally there is a lot of proof that something happened (violence, missing identifiable equipment etc). Still when investigating your word is not law its a view on a situtation which the facts may support and if you were mugged likely will.

    You may say that my comments inflame things and that rape is terrible however in cases where there is a large media stink there can be a reward for claiming this and the facts support this, it may not be the majority of cases however there are provable cases. Exam cheating or dobbing in others doesn’t gain you a lot, there isn’t normally a financial, grade or otherwise reward for turning in others in any case that I can think of.

    Misogynist is a word that gets thrown around a lot, seems odd that people defending the accused immediately get labeled with this while those defending the accuser don’t. Again what if it was a male raped and a female accused.

    Sorry for the inflamatory nature of my post.

  78. 78
    azbballfan says:

    Again, there is no excuse for rape and all rapists should be punished.

    In an attempt to maintain some semblance of balance, I would like to comment on the claim that women never benefit from claiming rape.

    I agree that women and the feminist movement never benefit from claiming rape. To ignore the fact that there are false claims of rape further harms the feminist movement. The patriarchy loves to associate healthy sexual conduct with the shame of promiscuity. There are rare occasions when women who have had consensual sex bend to the patriachy will of shame to deny that consent was given. This harms the feminist cause, as women should not give up control of their bodies to the need of some to claim that all extramarital sex is impure, and all women who engage in it are whores. Women who are shamed by the uncovering of their “indiscretions” to their peers then attempt to reclaim some “purity” by saying they were forced into it are harming the feminist cause.

  79. 79
    evil_fizz says:

    Sarah, I cannot believe you are going to insist repeating this tripe.

    Sheezlebub, if you are mugged generally there is a lot of proof that something happened (violence, missing identifiable equipment etc). Still when investigating your word is not law its a view on a situtation which the facts may support and if you were mugged likely will.

    Go read Amp’s post about crimes that pit one person’s word against another. Really, go on. We’ll wait.

    You may say that my comments inflame things and that rape is terrible however in cases where there is a large media stink there can be a reward for claiming this and the facts support this, it may not be the majority of cases however there are provable cases. Exam cheating or dobbing in others doesn’t gain you a lot, there isn’t normally a financial, grade or otherwise reward for turning in others in any case that I can think of.

    A media circus is not a reward. It’s a nightmare. To wit: the accuser in this case is pretty much in hiding. The woman who accused Kobe Bryant (another media circus if I ever saw one) was threatened and harassed to the point where three men were jail for threatening to harm her. The victim in the Haidl case? You think the media circus surrounding that revolting display was a *reward*? Fuck civility. You are dumb as the rock you crawled out from under if you believe that.

  80. 80
    alsis39.9 says:

    You are dumb as the rock you crawled out from under if you believe that.

    Or she’s Kathleen Parker. :p The prose quality is about the same.

  81. 81
    Sarah says:

    Who?

  82. 82
    azbballfan says:

    Sarah, alsis39.9 is referring to the writer of this article:
    Go visit Sex, lies and prison
    Please note alsis39.9 already railed Kathleen Parker earlier in this post as being a rightwing hack. As far as I can tell, she leans towards the moderate conservative side on social issues.

    In the article, she points to an aggregious example of a false rape claim. One which certainly is quite rare, but does point to some of the dangers of creating an environment of “virgins and demons”.

  83. 83
    Ampersand says:

    1) Please keep it civil, everyone.

    2) Azbballfan, K. Parker is an antifeminist who has published some very unfair screeds against feminism – not exactly a credible source around these parts.

    The story you link to, as Parker tells it, seems both tragic and bewildering. But I don’t trust that Parker is necessarily telling the whole story; and if she is telling the whole truth, then I’d describe the jury’s decision as bizarre, not as representative of how our justice system typically works in rape cases.

    Is there an objective source of information about that case, that you know of?

  84. 84
    Mickle says:

    accusers should be presumed to be lying until otherwise proven, that is the basis of our legal system

    Um, no, actually, that isn’t at all what our legal system presumes. Such a false accusation would, after all, be slander at the least – perjury depending on how far the proccess is taken- and yet a “not guilty’ verdict of the accused does not equal a “guilty” verdict for the accuser.

    In fact, we don’t even proclaim people to be “innocent” we proclaim them to be “not guilty” which isn’t quite the same thing. We presume the accused and the accusers to be innocent. The legal goal of a trial is not to decide who “wins” but to answer a very simple “yes or no” question with either “almost certainly” or “not sure”. Our legal system does not proclaim one person right and another wrong in a single trial, we simply have safeguards built in to protect everyone because people are flawed.

    Re: the original topic

    As I wrote on an earlier thread, the last rally I attended in college was in response to a nearby college’s lack of response to an alleged rape on their campus. I was ambivalent about some of our demands, but what got me at the rally was the fact that we had to ask that the accused be removed from his non-paying job as “security” for dorm parties – when the alleged rape occurred during one such party.

    Whether you agree with Abyss2hope’s solution or not, it seems quite obvious (to me) that most colleges have woefully inadequate responses to rape allegations and that this is especially ridiculous when one considers the statistics about rape on college campuses and the fact that, as others have already pointed out, their policies on such things as drug use, theft, cheating, and sexual harrassment are quite clear and relatively consistent.

  85. 85
    azbballfan says:

    Ampersand,
    Thank you for the note re: moderation.

    I have noted some articles of K.P. which are critical of the feminist movement. I was hoping that in this article, she showed some form of journalistic integrity, but alas, I see that she’s a regular guest on Chris Matthews.

    Which causes me to admit my bias for claims of date rape based upon a personal experience. I witnessed a friend in college who at a party ended up having sex with a gal. The next day, the gal’s friends and roommates were furious with her for “being lose”. As a result, she told her friends she was forced upon. A big hoopla was made and the guy was made to look like a schmuck and a loser. Later, I had to share details I witnessed about the event which proved the sex was consensual.

    Now, in this case, there was never any discussion of formal charges being made. All that happened was that some nosy people with a chip on thier shoulder about premarital sex made a big deal out of nothing. The need to be viewed as a “generally good guy” got exploited.

    A lesson learned for me and my friend. The threat of being accused of a horrible crime makes sex outside a monogomous relationship too risky. I guess those friends who frankly I think were a bit prudish won out.

    In my opinion, women should feel comfortable in their sexuality and should not be forced to equate sex with lifetime commitment. They may chose to do so if and when they’re ready.

    Again, no formal charges were involved in this scenario, only innuendos – which are far more effective.

  86. 86
    mythago says:

    Colleges are not in loco parentis, and do not have a responsibility to keep people safe.

    Right on the first, wrong on the second.

    As far as I can tell, she leans towards the moderate conservative side on social issues.

    No, she’s trying to be the poor man’s Ann Coulter.

  87. 87
    Abyss2hope says:

    Azbballfan:

    To ignore the fact that there are false claims of rape further harms the feminist movement.

    I don’t think anyone is ignoring the reality of false claims. What many of us are rejecting is the mythology of the scope of false rape claims. We are rejecting the idea that a rape claim must be considered a lie if the accused says it was consensual. We are rejecting the idea that it’s better for a hundred women and girls to be raped without their rapist being punished than to risk having a single false allegation.

    We are rejecting systems that put all the risk and and all the blame on victims and potential victims.

  88. 88
    azbballfan says:

    Abyss2hope,

    Everyone has thier own perspective. Personally I am unaware of prevalent authors creating a mythology about false rape claims. That being said, I am interested if there are those I’m unaware of.

    The issue is very difficult and politically charged. I have yet to see studies on the issue which I find believable due to the lack of quality of evidence in these cases. This puts both the accuser and accused at more risk of unfair treatment by those who judge in these matter.

    We are rejecting the idea that it’s better for a hundred women and girls to be raped without their rapist being punished than to risk having a single false allegation.

    I am unaware of anyone who put forth that idea in the first place. On that point, how many young men would you suggest we allow to lose their right to an education through false claims in order to allow women to feel more empowered to claim rape?

    In my opinion, your suggestion to expell students who have 2 claims brought against them would only add energy and charge to an issue which would be better served by education and understanding.

    I would rather see efforts to study the issue of rape across cultures too seek to understand how attitudes about gender, sex, and social norms can be influenced to reduce it’s occurance and impact on our society.

  89. 89
    Abyss2hope says:

    azbballfan,

    I wasn’t suggesting that any innocent people be expelled because of an allegation that is without merit. What I was referring to is the fear that more false allegations will be made if colleges take a stronger stance against rape.

    Women are expected to be afraid of rape on a daily basis (and are chastised if they don’t get scared soon enough) while it’s considered wrong that men who make sexual advances should have any fear that their actions will be seen as sexual misconduct or assault.

    For women who are raped on campus, education and understanding aren’t enough. Neither is further study on how rapists are formed. What they need is to be safe from further violation and to protect others from that same danger.

  90. 90
    ginmar says:

    A ‘gal”s story? How exactly do you know this? Did the woman tell you this herself? Or did the guy?

  91. 91
    azbballfan says:

    ginmar,

    I will assume your question was directed towards the tale I shared. In that example, the gal involved never did confront the accused, only her friends. In that case, the friends involved certainly did not condone the gal’s right to enjoy herself and confronted the guy. The reason I know it was consensual was because I was the guy’s roommate and witnessed the event. Without getting too graphic, let’s just say she was the jockey.

    Under the proposed rules, if I weren’t a witness, would this be considered a credible allegation of sexual assault? Once the rule is in place, the administration would be held to a high standard to aggressively accept the word of initial allegations in order to protect themselves from future lawsuits. An administrator would be remiss in thier fiscal responsibility to the institution to not believe any allegation which couldn’t be proven false. The only way I can think of around this problem would be to have every female student sign a waiver against suing the university for not adequately protecting them. Which I suspect would be unacceptable.

    I am fully supportive of implementing these rules as they adhere to access to college operated living quarters.

    Abyss2hope

    I guess this is where we differ. I’ve had too many gal friends tell me thier friends wish I would make sexual advances. I chose not to just for the reason you quoted. Too often men are damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

    I would note that I used to travel to other countries frequently for business and enjoyed discussing the international views on Americans. A consistent thread in the views of South American and European businesswomen was that they couldn’t believe the high incidence of rape in the US and questioned our views on sexuality and chastity. I was particularly suprised to hear South American women share these views because of the open displays of machismo. Upon further questioning, I was told that most of that is for show and while some men may be a bit “handsy” at times, they know where to draw the line. (Which begs a question about where “the line” really is for women).

    I’m not suggesting a study on how rapists are formed, but on why it seems to be more prevalent in our society than others. Rather than seeking new ways to condemn and hurt each other, I think we could benefit by learning from others on how to better get along.

  92. 92
    Kave says:

    Since rape is so underreported the odds are that the man actually is a rapist.

    I can’t believe this statement has not been questioned on this thread.

  93. 93
    Mickle says:

    I’ve had too many gal friends tell me thier friends wish I would make sexual advances.

    And you don’t why? Are you mute, or something? Is it not possible to simply ask?

    The “cry of rape” you are describing is so very outside the norm for most reported rapes. She, by your own words, only claimed it was rape after being castigated by her friends, which means she only told people who already knew she had sex that it was rape. Making a police claim means going and telling complete strangers that she had sex – and that something shameful was done to her. Simple human nature makes it extremely likely that someone who is embarrased that easily would find it too humiliating to tell complete strangers this over and over again.

    A consistent thread in the views of South American and European businesswomen was that they couldn’t believe the high incidence of rape in the US

    A) WTF is their opinion on the killings in Juarez then?

    B) Having lived in Europe for a year – I’m so not buying the “European” part of that. Unless by “European” you mean “Italy” – home of the “women who wear jeans can’t be raped” verdict.

  94. 94
    B says:

    As a European I sadly have to inform all of you that we too live in a patriarchy. Unfortunately rape is common here too. I remember reading last year of a study in Scotland where one in four teenage boys said they would rape a girl if they knew that they could never be held accountable.

    Hopefully attitudes are better than that here in Sweden, where I live – but that might be wishful thinking. Who knows?

    Still I agree that we must work on changing the rapeculture, wherever we live.

  95. 95
    Sheelzebub says:

    Sheezlebub, if you are mugged generally there is a lot of proof that something happened (violence, missing identifiable equipment etc). Still when investigating your word is not law its a view on a situtation which the facts may support and if you were mugged likely will.

    No, Sarah, you only have proof that something is missing. You don’t have to be roughed up in a mugging–just intimidated to the point of giving up your wallet, your cash, or your jewlery. So the cops know that you say someone pulled a knife on you, maybe grabbed your arm, and forced you to give them all of your cash. But they don’t know that you aren’t lying as a way to say, create an excuse for being late, or to garner sympathy or gain attention, or to scam people. Maybe you gambled the money away and didn’t want your spouse to know. Maybe you lost track of time meeting with a lover on the side and wanted to cover up. Maybe you just like the attention.

    You may say that my comments inflame things and that rape is terrible however in cases where there is a large media stink there can be a reward for claiming this and the facts support this, it may not be the majority of cases however there are provable cases.

    So what? There are proveable cases of fraud for all false accusations of all crimes. See: insurance fraud, revenge, quest for attention, covering crimes/misdeeds, etc. They may not be the majority of the cases, however, they are proveable cases (unlike the Duke rape case, where you’ve pretty much convicted the woman for lying on no proof at all. Again, she had no idea that Jesse Jackson’s group was going to pay her tuition).

    Kindly point me to some irrefutable proof that every rape claim is going to garner montetary rewards. A media circus isn’t a reward unless the person in question is a real attention hog, and then they could use any crime for that. In fact, you swing from monetary rewards to attention back to montetary awards. You can’t keep moving the goalposts. If you insist that women lie about rape to get money, I’ll point out [again] that most accusers get squat. If you insist that women lie about rape for revenge, I’ll suggest you check out my honor code/theft scenarios. If you insist that women lie about rape for the attention, I’ll suggest you check out my rebuttal above.

    You seem to think that because *you* don’t feel there is any benefit to making false accusations for other crimes/infractions, that they don’t happen or aren’t common. Yet you insist, on abseloutely no emperical evidence whatsoever, that women who say they were raped are liars. That is bullshit.

    Misogynist is a word that gets thrown around a lot, seems odd that people defending the accused immediately get labeled with this while those defending the accuser don’t.

    That’s because the people “defending” the accused are doing it by insisting that all women who say they were raped are liars, that they do it for money, and that they do it for attention or spite. Yet they don’t have the same concerns about false accusations when it comes to other crimes. Nope, just for women, who should be assumed to be liars. That’s misogynist tripe, period, full stop.

    There’s a difference between rebutting the original post (about how weak responses to rape allegations give rapists free reign) and trashing women who’ve been raped. Many of whom post here and/or read this blog.

  96. 96
    Sheelzebub says:

    Here are some false accusations for you all:False allegations of assault., a false allegation of robbery and assault, and a town-wide epidemic of false robbery allegations.

    Odd how it’s only when it comes to women and rape that false allegations are important.

  97. I don’t know if posting the same comment to two threads violates any sort of etiquette, but this article on MSNBC is related both to this thread and the one on false rape allegations, where I have also posted it. The title of the article is “S. African ex-deputy president cleared of rape,” and part of the reason he was cleared was that the judge found the accuser “had a history of making rape claims that turned out to be false, and said he did not believe that Zuma would risk raping her when a police guard and his daughter were nearby.” I first saw this story reported in The New York Times and wrote a little bit about it on my blog.

  98. 98
    Abyss2hope says:

    Sarah:

    What benefit does cheating in an exam bring? From what I can see not a lot, where as Rape can be shown to have benefits, again the Duke case the accuser is now having her college tuition paid… how much is that worth? It may seem cruel but in certain cases crying wolf does bring help.

    Others disputed the myth that reporting rape is either neutral or brings benefits, but reporting sex crimes can bring death too.