Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Colleges are covering up epic numbers of rape reports . . . except they aren't

Another progressive media outlet--this time, Mother Jones--wants us to believe that college students are reporting to their schools that they've been raped in epic numbers but the schools are only revealing a tiny portion of the reports.

Mother Jones says that "a survey released last month by the Association of American Universities (AAU) has revealed [that colleges and universities are] undercounting the number of rape reports that schools actually receive." For example, at the University of Florida last year, there were 7 Clery Act official rape reports but the AAU survey reveals that there were actually 214 reported rapes.

Wow! That's a massive discrepancy--7 versus 214. The University of Florida must have hired the Nixon White House to pull off that cover-up. And a lot of other schools are doing the same thing, according to the AAU survey.

Except when you read further in the Mother Jones article, you find that's not really what's happening. For a big percentage of the supposed rape "reports," women didn't really report that they were raped--they merely "talked to a counselor."

There's a hell of a big difference between reporting a rape to authorities and talking to a counselor--for the latter, we have no idea what was discussed, and many such meetings likely occur because the woman just wants to air conflicted feelings about an unsatisfactory sexual encounter. But in the loopy world of the sexual grievance industry and its media enablers, it's fair game to conflate the two to "prove" a college rape epidemic, with all its attendant panic and influx of resources.

The AAU survey is another in a long line of surveys that is unreliable for a variety of reasons, chief among them that every claim of rape is credited as true, even those made by almost half of all college women who don't know that when a woman agrees to have sex, she isn't being raped.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Ashe: 4 questions men should ask when searching for a college

Read it immediately--it is one of her best, which is saying a lot.

I will offer one addition: is the school public or private? If private, you will need to consult the handbook very carefully because it will probably contain the entire panoply of rights in the event you are ever wrongly accused of sexual assault.

Whether private or public, does the handbook specifically promise students rights in connection with the conduct of the hearing? The more specific, the more likely the handbook will be construed to create contractual rights that can be enforced in the event of a dispute.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Salon blames Oregon shooting on 'traditional masculinity'

Salon insists that traditional masculinity is behind the Oregon shooting:
Guns, sex, and money serve as a sort of holy trinity for traditional masculinity, the tropes by which a supposedly true man is known. When it’s stripped down to its toxic core, "what is a man" ends up being defined by how many chicks he can bang, how much ass he can kick, and how much money and “status” he has.
At its core, masculinity is evil, don't you know, and needs to be reconstructed. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Don't read it--it's the same steaming pile of bullshit that pops up in pretty much every progressive rag after pretty much every tragedy where a deranged young man goes on a rampage and kills innocent people.

The problem with every one of these rants, of course, is that they conflate a tiny segment of the population that suffers from serious mental health issues with the vast majority of young men who bear no relation to the outliers.

In any event, if the writers of pieces like this had reduced virtually any other group of Americans to vile caricature, they'd be fired on the spot, but it's perfectly PC to beat young men in print like piƱatas. What's humorous is that these H.L. Menken-wannabes smugly do to young men the same thing they vehemently mock when, say, a conservative politician conflates Muslims as a group with Muslim terrorists, or Mexican immigrants as a group with criminals.

The inanity of the piece is self-evident and requires neither serious nor extended refutation. There is a streak of misandry a mile-wide in the progressive media--the people who write for these sites really do think there's something wrong with your son just because he isn't your daughter.

They can all go to hell.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

A national disgrace: another young man accused of rape commits suicide

This is among the most important posts we've written and, although it will be a difficult post for some to read, no "trigger warnings" here--everyone needs to read this, and we need to act on it.

People who claim to have been victimized by sexual assault are afforded all manner of assistance to deal with their trauma. Tremendous resources are devoted for their mental well-being.

In contrast, people who are wrongly accused are left to fend for themselves, despite the fact that a false or wrongful rape claim is among the most traumatic and life-altering events that can happen to anyone. The insensitivity shown to men and boys wrongly accused of sexual assault is unconscionable.

Jay Cheshire, 17--a kind, funny, talented, hard-working, bright but vulnerable and sensitive young man--was accused of rape this past spring. The alleged female victim dropped the allegation and the police investigation was ended. On July 3, Jay was found hanging in a park in Southampton. He died two days later. At an inquest, it was learned that Jay struggled to cope with the false accusations and was "absolutely distraught." The police dropped the charges but didn't bother to make sure Jay was alright. Jay wasn't alright. See here and here.

The cases are legion where men and boys wrongly accused of rape have not been able to cope with the ordeal and instead made a tragic, irreversible decision.

23-year-old mentally unstable man was very upset and angry that he was accused of sexual assault. The police investigated the claim and interviewed the young man. On June, 4, 2009, police decided to drop the charges. They immediately informed the accuser didn't tell the young man before the young man hanged himself. Under applicable law, "victims" (that is a code word for "accusers") have the right to be told when a case is dropped but there is no such law for informing suspects, even the falsely accused. At a jury inquest, the delay in informing the young man of the decision to drop the case was called a "contributing factor" in his death.

A 27-year-old man was subjected to seven months of "hell" before a jury took just 45 minutes to clear him of a rape charge. Thereafter, the judge did something stunning. He revealed in open court that the Crown Prosecution service was guilty of “a craven abdication of responsibility” in bringing the case against the man. The judge explained to the jurors that the accuser had previously falsely accused another young man of rape. Some jurors broke down in tears when they heard that the 21-year-old woman not only had wrongly accused someone else, but that the wrongful accusation played a role in the suicide of her 21-year-old male victim.

Last year, a 16-year-old schoolboy hanged himself after being falsely accused of sexual assault. Stephen McLaughlin was 23 when he killed himself after being falsely accused of rape. Another 23-year-old man killed himself by drinking poison after a false rape charge was leveled against him. A 53-year-old man facing a rape trial committed suicide days after the complainant reportedly admitted that he had only tried to hold her hand after a fight over money. A 35-year-old man committed suicide after being harassed by a woman, including being threatened with a false rape claim. A police officer committed suicide after a woman accused him of sexual assault. Police confirmed that the woman made false statements during the investigation.

We won't even begin to discuss the cases where men and boys wrongly accused of rape contemplated suicide--that list is practically endless. Former television star John Leslie contemplated suicide after being accused of a rape claim that was subsequently cleared. A 25-year-old falsely accused father of two lost his job due to the rape lie and eventually grew so frustrated by the lie that he tried to throw himself into the path of oncoming traffic. Concerned passers-by pulled him out of the road to safety. Thereafter, his false accuser was sentenced to a twenty month prison sentence. Still, months after the charges were dropped, people were still saying "have you heard, we've got a rapist living down the road."

We need to be like those concerned passers-by who pulled the young father to safety--we need to do something to save men and boys from making a tragic, irreversible decision. Suicide is a national epidemic. Suicide among males is four times higher than among females. Male deaths represent 79% of all US suicides. It is the second leading cause of death for 15-24-year-olds.

Men wrongly accused of sex offenses are usually devastated by the ordeal and are in need of special assistance, yet their needs are ignored. The police may not even bother to tell the accused if the case was closed, and any concern shown will be for the accuser, not the accused. A University of Iowa oboe professor apparently committed suicide after being accused of sexual harassment (the validity of the allegations is not known). Even before a single scrap of evidence was admitted at trial over the alleged harassment, the director of the school's Rape-Victim Advocacy Program said that such apparent suicides could emotionally affect the "victim" who reports harassment. Even in that tragic instance, the emphasis is all about the accuser; the men accused aren't given a thought.

We have received notes from young men telling us that our blog was instrumental in their decisions not to take their own lives. This blog is a very poor substitute for the help young men wrongly accused of rape need, but it underscores the absence of badly needed resources for the wrongly accused. Men wrongly accused of rape face the prospect of years behind prison bars with all its attendant horrors and the loss of jobs and social relationships. They are usually pariahs, sometimes even after they're cleared. (A cringe-worthy example of this: three men falsely accused of rape in the infamous Hofstra false rape case appeared on the Steve Wilkos show after the accuser admitted under oath it didn't happen. They were immediately booed by some members of the audience.)

I plead with anyone in this situation who happens to find this blog post at the worst possible moment of his life: justice usually prevails, all is not lost, and you need to fight. I implore you: don't make an irreversible decision over what is usually just a temporary problem. Many, many other men have been in your situation. If you find yourself thinking of ending your life, DON'T DO IT. Seek help, immediately. Go here to start: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

What the hell is wrong with today's college women?

A recent Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation survey  shows that 44% of college women--that's approaching half--think that when a woman gives a guy a "nod in agreement," that isn't enough for consent. A bare majority of college women (just 51%) think that it is. Here is the actual question:

. . . .
The fact that a staggering percentage of college women don't understand that an unmistakable outward manifestation of assent constitutes consent should have raised eyebrows all across America. It should have caused us to question the findings in that and other surveys that suggest there is a "rape epidemic" on college campuses. But, of course that didn't happen because the truth doesn't advance the preferred narrative--that innocent young women are routinely raped by "normal" young men a la "Jackie" in Rolling Stone's rape fairy tale (you remember--"Jackie" supposedly was pushed to the ground and forced to lie on shards of glass while seven vicious young men raped her, and vast segments of the public believed it).

Do I mean to say that an accusation is not tantamount to an actual rape? Heresy, you say? The leader of the college sexual grievance industry candidly admitted he sees "case-after-case" where "sincere victims [sic] . . . believe something has happened to them" even though "overwhelming proof" shows it did not. Read it again: "case-after-case."

How can college women be so terribly ill-informed about consent given the mind-boggling resources devoted to raising awareness about sexual assault on campus? It's because their thinking has been molded by the anti-male sexual grievance industry and its media enablers. They are filling our daughters' heads with not just half-truths but outright lies. They are teaching them that consent has to be "verbal" and "enthusiastic"; that "regret equals rape"; that when two drunk students mutually decide to have sex, only the male is a rapist; that it's perfectly okay to punish innocent young men as the price of battling sexual assault; that it's perfectly okay to expel young men accused of rape because women must automatically be believed; that due process for college men is "bullshit"; that the burden of proof is "a defense of the perpetrator"; that fact checking sexual assault stories is a"huge mistake"; that keeping an open mind about an accusation is "rape apology"; that schools where there are no rapes is proof of the campus rape epidemic; and that the prosecution of rape liars a violation of "human rights."

These aren't the views of loony outliers, these are mainstream feminists. In virtually any other context, their comments would draw waves of laughter, but here, they give out PhDs to the women most proficient at spewing the lunacy.

If this sounds harsh, it needs to be. The problem is that the lunacy is being given statutory articulation, and the hostility to due process for college men is being codified in laws across America. And middle America doesn't have a clue it's happening.

So what the hell is wrong with today's college women? The real blame lies with the women who are teaching them to view themselves as victims, and to hate--how else can their views be characterized?--yes, hate, men.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

America's foremost advocate for wrongly accused college men

Ashe Schow is the leading voice in America for wrongly accused college men. Day in and day out, she highlights the college rape witch hunt that has ensnared so many innocent young men.

Today, she's written a wonderful, and wonderfully succinct, article that blows to bits the made-up college rape epidemic.  You need to read it here right now.

Ashe makes this brilliant point: "I think the funniest thing in all of this is how the claim that 1 in 5 women experience sexual assault in college was enough for massive calls for draconian legislation to fix an 'epidemic.' But reports that 1 in 5 accusations are false are being ignored as a trivial matter."

Yes, my friends, if our moral superiors who dominate the public discourse on sexual assault (the sexual grievance industry) cared one whit about being honest and consistent, they would have to concede that there is a false rape epidemic and a "false rape culture" on college campuses. Yet the purveyors of PC bullshit steadfastly ignore the injustices to college men precisely because they don't affect college women. Let's cut the bullshit and just say it.

Keep up the great work, Ashe.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Alarming stats from Harvard: One-in-five rape claims determined to be false or baseless--and the real number is almost certainly much, much higher

At Harvard, more than 18 percent of rape claims were false or baseless last year--at least. That's only the percentage that campus police have definitively determined were "false or baseless"--that's how the report itself defines "unfounded." Of the remaining rape claims, it is certain that a sizable percentage can't be classified one way or the other (that's true of every population of rape claims), and it is safe to assume that a significant percentage of those are also false or baseless.  It would not be surprising if the total number of false or baseless rape claims approximated Prof. Kanin's much reviled 40 or 50 percent.

Shocked? Feminist Brett Sokolow, the leader of the campus sexual grievance industry who has done more to shape colleges' sexual misconduct policies than anyone in America, last year wrote that he sees "case-after-case" where "sincere victims [sic] . . . believe something has happened to them" even though "overwhelming proof" shows it did not. Mr. Sokolow suggested mental health issues may play an important factor in these false accusations.

Last year, no other criminal offense at Harvard had any "false or baseless" claims. What does that mean? Perhaps nothing, but it may also suggest that rape is unique among criminal claims that women either lie about or are wrong about. (It is easy to see how a lot of women might get it wrong: a new Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation survey reveals that almost half of all college women think that when a woman gives a guy a "nod in agreement," that isn't enough for consent. At least we know where the vast fortunes spent on the "war on rape" are going: to teach our daughters to mistake consent for rape.) Whether the accuser was lying or just mistaken--and it doesn't much matter to the wrongly accused--these alarming statistics underscore the necessity of greater due process protections for presumptively innocent college men accused of rape, per the counsel of 28 Harvard law professors who last year sounded this warning bell in words more adamant than even this blog could muster: "Harvard has adopted procedures for deciding cases of alleged sexual misconduct which lack the most basic elements of fairness and due process, are overwhelmingly stacked against the accused, and are in no way required by Title IX law or regulation."

More appropriately, rape and related claims of serious sex offenses ought to be left to law enforcement, per the wishes of 90 percent of likely American voters. As unjust as the criminal justice system can be for young men accused of rape (e.g., see here), the due process protections afforded persons accused of crimes promise fairer outcomes than college kangaroo courts are able to provide in the vast majority of cases, and the criminal justice system is subject to much greater accountability. It is astounding that fraternities--whose houses are unjustly caricatured as rape pits--are leading the charge to insist that rape claims be reported to the police.

One additional critical point needs to be made. The scare surveys that show one-in-five college women are sexually assaulted are rightfully attacked as politically biased and fatally flawed. But there's a problem with such surveys that is so fundamental it ought to be mentioned at the top of any such discussion: every allegation that meets the surveys' criteria of sexual assault is uncritically accepted as true and none are tested against competing claims of innocence. Harvard is an example of what happens when claims are actually investigated.

It's time to end the sexual grievance industry's witch hunt on college men.

Friday, September 25, 2015

College expels male using 'preponderance' standard; male sues, college claims he should meet 'clear or substantial likelihood of success on the merits'

The men of Middlebury College ought to be concerned--very concerned. Their college doesn't bother to give men accused of sexual assault a hearing. Instead it trains sexual assault "investigators" to decide whether the male is guilty by telling them to start off by believing the accuser. The investigator is allowed to expel male students on her own using the lowest standard of evidence--"preponderance of the evidence"--but when the male student challenges the expulsion in a real court that holds actual hearings, the school wants the court force the male student to meet an even higher standard than the court normally employs in such proceedings, "a clear or substantial likelihood of success on the merits."

This actually happened, folks. Fortunately, the federal judge saw the injustice and reinstated the male student. But the editors at the student newspaper are very unhappy.

Sometimes I think the college rape witch hunt can't get any worse. Then I read about places like Middlebury College. Read on. This case encapsulates everything that's wrong with college sex "justice."

In November 2014, while on a study abroad program with the School for International Training ("SIT"), a male student of Middlebury College was accused of sexual misconduct. The accuser was also a participant in the SIT program but has never been a Middlebury College student. The male student's counsel asserts that he “was falsely accused of sexual misconduct" by the young woman. According to the male student, he and accuser engaged in consensual, sexual intercourse.

In accordance with its policies, SIT investigated the accusation and actually held a real, live hearing--after which the male student was exonerated in December 2014. Throughout the proceeding, SIT kept Middlebury informed regarding the complaint, investigation, hearing, and outcome. Middlebury allowed Plaintiff to return to campus and classes in January 2015.

But then, you can guess what happened. The accuser, and her unnamed college, weren't happy with the outcome. They made it clear that they were going to protest to the the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (the office that issued the anti-male "Dear Colleague" letter). According to Prof. KC Johnson, the college effectively set aside SIT’s finding, a Middlebury dean later said, based on the accuser’s “perceptions of SIT’s investigation and hearing process.” Middlebury decided to conduct its own purported "investigation" into the complaint. Middlebury didn't bother with silly things like a "hearing."  Middlebury investigators, Prof. Johnson points out, are trained how to investigate these kinds of cases: "they must 'start by believing' the accuser. The discussion with the accuser must not involve the investigator interrogating her; 'This is not the time for ‘"just the facts."’” Moreover: "While the investigator must 'start by believing' the accuser, the Middlebury official must begin by wondering if the accused is 'who he said he is.' . . . Middlebury investigators [are counseled] against using the term 'accuser' ('victim' or 'survivor' is preferred)." And: "The report prepared by the investigator 'should not include . . . consensual language' or anything indicating 'mutual participation.'” (Prof. Johnson asks: "But what if the intercourse was consensual . . . ?") And: "Nor should the investigator’s report include the following language: The 'victim has inconsistencies with her story.' . . . . Nor should the report conclude that 'the victim’s account of the incident is not believable or credible to officers given her actions during and after the encounter with the suspect.'”

This, of course, is beyond Orwellian. The case is over even before it has begun.

In the case at issue, the investigator used a preponderance of the evidence standard. Is it any wonder the investigator found the male student responsible? He was expelled.

The male student sued and sought a preliminary injunction to allow him to return to school to graduate in 2016. After a hearing, on September 16th, Judge J. Garvan Murtha of the United States District Court for the District of Vermont granted the injunction and reinstated the male student. The Judge found the male student had established a "likelihood of success on the merits" and noted that he would suffer irreparable harm if the federal court did not issue a preliminary injunction. The judge clearly was concerned that "Middlebury's policies did not authorize a second investigation and de novo evaluation of the allegation of sexual assault after it had been decided in [the male student's] favor by SIT, the sponsor of the study abroad program during which the alleged misconduct occurred, to whose discipline [the male student] was subject." The court wrote: "As a result of Middlebury's breach, Plaintiff has suffered the harm of expulsion and--in the absence of an injunction--the concomitant loss of a job, emanating from a completed summer internship program offered to rising college seniors, that depends upon his graduation in 2016."

The case is reported at 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124540 (D.Vt. 2015).

Just another witch hunt fomented by the misandry-laden sexual grievance industry. For devotees of that sad but powerful cult, things like due process and fairness are luxuries colleges can't afford to extend to male students. Innocent young men are necessary collateral damage in the war on campus rape.

But here's the interesting part: in footnote 7 of the court's opinion, the court notes that Middlebury wanted the court to require the male student to meet a higher judicial standard--requiring the male student to demonstrate "a clear or substantial likelihood of success on the merits." The college claimed that this higher standard was appropriate because if he prevailed on the preliminary injunction, the "relief cannot be undone and because [the male student] seeks to alter rather than maintain the status quo." The court rejected the argument.

But do you see the irony? When the college wanted to expel a male student, it applied the lowest legally permissible standard--preponderance of the evidence--and didn't even bother to give him a hearing. When the male student tried to undo the expulsion given the palpable injustice, the court holds an actual hearing, but the college wants the court to force the male student to abide by a higher standard than the court employs when deciding preliminary injunctions.

As if the school hasn't done enough to the male student, it is appealing the judge's decision.

So how do the good students of Middlebury react?

The student newspaper has written an editorial about the case that is positively other-worldly. It commended the college for its actions. The fact that SIT had previously conducted a hearing and exonerated the male student? A "technicality," clucks the editors of the student newspaper. "His counsel is made up of experts in their field with axes to grind; Harvey Silverglate, part of the firm representing Doe, published an op-ed in the Boston Globe asserting that 'the campus sexual assault panic' is 'one of many social epidemics in our nation’s history that have ruined innocent lives and corrupted justice.' Lawyers like these have the resources to find legal loopholes without having to contend with their clients’ guilt."

The next excerpt is laughable, pathetic, and chilling, all at once:

"Although we do not believe Middlebury to be above the law, we worry that if the College must face forces like Silverglate every time it decides to expel a student found guilty of sexual assault, our judicial system may be compromised and victims of sexual assault may hesitate to come forward because of Doe’s complicated legal challenge to Middlebury’s ruling."

Your "judicial system"?! Seriously? Your school trains "investigators" to find male students guilty, and doesn't even bother to give them a hearing! There have been two hearings in connection with this incident--one by SIT and one by the federal judge--and both concluded its more likely than not that the male student should not be expelled. Yet, you moan about your "judicial system"? You need to grow up.

I know that most college students look at the world in simplistic, and idealistic, black-and-whites, and that they march in lock-step to their moral superiors, the sexual grievance industry. But the good students of Middlebury College need to ditch the knee jerk assumption that their male classmates are guilty by reason of penis. Justice is anything but politically correct, and mature citizens of the world understand that fair processes are the only bulwarks we have against tyranny.

Every student of Middlebury ought to be outraged about what's going at his or her school.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Sen. Lamar Alexander for President

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R.-Tennessee, strikes a blow for presumptively innocent students accused of sexual misconduct. Yesterday, he spoke out against the Dept. of Education's overreach in promulgating the unjust "Dear Colleague" letter. The Dept. of Education insists that institutions of higher education follow their edicts (making it a de facto law) without following the lawful procedures for enacting laws or regulations.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Off-topic: Sen. Ted Cruz: "I believe in democracy." Colbert audience: boo, hiss

Colbert, a lightweight regarded by the know-nothing generation as an intellectual, tried to tangle with a Constitutional expert about the Constitution. Cruz gives the glib Jack Paar-wannabe a civics lesson about the Constitution. But the boos and the hissing when Cruz mentions "democracy" pretty much say it all: we're doomed.

Another college rape scare survey that is not reliable

Yet another seriously flawed self-selecting survey purports to show a college rape epidemic. The line for the flawed college rape scare surveys starts on the left, please. I ask, how can these scare surveys be squared with the DOJ study that comes up with a number that's not just dramatically different, but in-a-different-universe different? They can't. The scare surveys have engorged the definition of sexual assault beyond recognition. I'm not going to legitimize this latest survey by describing its flaws--read Ashe Schowe's article.

There have been many articles debunking the college rape scare surveys that ably explain the flaws in the surveys' methodologies. But all of the critics--as correct and as well-intentioned as they are--overlook something critical and dramatic: even if these scare surveys were structured to yield unbiased results, they still would not be reliable. How can I say that? Because in this latest survey and all the others, every allegation that meets the survey's criteria of sexual assault is uncritically accepted--and none are tested against competing claims of innocence.

Every time rape claims are subjected to scrutiny against competing evidence of innocence, most are either deemed unfounded or false. Those few studies that actually look at actual rape claims show that false or unfounded claims are extremely common--in fact, more common than actual rapes. And we know that when women actually report rape, a significant percentage of them turn out to be false or unfounded.

But don't rely on me for that. Feminist Brett Sokolow, the leader of the campus sexual grievance industry who has done more to shape colleges' sexual misconduct policies than anyone in America, last year wrote that he sees "case-after-case" where "sincere victims . . . believe something has happened to them that evidence shows absolutely did not . . . ." And: "We see complainants who genuinely believe they have been assaulted, despite overwhelming proof that it did not happen." And brace yourself: Mr. Sokolow suggested mental health issues play an important factor in these false accusations.

Here's the chilling fact: the college rape scare surveys would accept as true every allegation of sexual assault that even Brett Sokolow says are spurious.

Actual reports of rape can't be automatically accepted as true, yet responses on a survey are treated as if the respondents just ingested truth serum. The only legitimate way to test for the prevalence of rape on campus would be to take a representative sampling of rape accusations and carefully examine the evidence (including--heaven forbid--interviewing the accused and all pertinent witnesses) as to each claim in a painstaking, objective manner.

Unfortunately, the sexual assault milieu is so terribly politicized that attempts even to broach the subject typically are met with vitriol and name calling, not serious, much less respectful, dialogue. Why, some of you scoff, would women lie on surveys? Let me turn it around: why would women lie when they report rape, and which is easier--to lie about rape to the police or on a survey where a lie has no consequences?

A recent scientific study shows that some women lie on surveys to minimize their consensual sexual encounters, likely because of societal double-standards that find it acceptable for men, but not women, to engage in sexual activity. These lies are designed to bring women in sync with their expected gender role. When women believe they can lie and get away with it, they understate the number of their sexual partners. In contrast, when women are hooked up to a polygraph and believe their lies will not go undetected, they generally report more sexual partners than when they felt no such compulsion to be honest. (Men lie too -- but exactly the opposite: they exaggerate the number of sexual partners when they think their lies won't be detected.) Therefore, should it surprise anyone that some women report in surveys that they've been subjected to unwanted sex even when the sex was consensual in order to be in sync with societal expectations about gender roles?

Feminist writers acknowledge that some women lie about rape to "defend their femininity." Amanda Marcotte once wrote that "the idea that it's shameful to just have sex because you want to" is "the reason that you have false rape accusations in the first place." Marcotte noted that "[i]t's the women who are afraid they'll be called sluts if it gets out that make up these rape stories." Likewise, Amanda Hess once explained that given women's adherence to their expected gender role when it comes to sex, it is "inevitable," among other things, that a woman who "had desired the sex all along . . . must defend her femininity by saying that she had been coerced into sex."

It is a proven fact that there is significant regret asymmetry between men and women: women are more remorseful following casual sex than men. A study shows how common remorse is for women following one-night stands: "Overall women’s feelings were more negative than men’s [about one-night stand casual sex]. Eighty per cent of men had overall positive feelings about the experience compared to 54 per cent of women. . . . . The predominant negative feeling reported by women was regret at having been 'used'. Women were also more likely to feel that they had let themselves down and were worried about the potential damage to their reputation if other people found out. Women found the experience less sexually satisfying and, contrary to popular belief, they did not seem to view taking part in casual sex as a prelude to long-term relationships."  Another recent study has confirmed the regret asymmetry between men and women. Amy Bonomi, a professor of human sexuality at OSU specializing in domestic violence and assault, explained: "Women tend to feel bad after having a random hook up." Typically men are not upset by these occurrences. Bonomi attributed this situation to society's "gender double standard" that men are expected to be more sexually forward than women. And yet another new study shows that women attending universities who have casual flings are more likely to suffer from depression than people in ‘romantic’ relationships.

The National Institute of Justice made this startling assertion: "Surveys of men and women on college campuses show a striking disparity in the proportion of women who report being assaulted and the proportion of men who report (even anonymously) being perpetrators. For example, in the Campus Sexual Assault survey, 19 percent of the women reported experiencing a completed or attempted sexual assault since entering college, while 2.5 percent of the men reported being perpetrators."  Why this disparity? The National Institute of Justice posed this as one possibility: "Men and women may have different perceptions of the same incident."

So why is it assumed that sexual assault surveys are the moral equivalent of truth serum where women are incapable of telling anything but the one, objective truth?  The fact is, people exaggerate, lie, and claim their behavior is better than it really is in all sorts of public pronouncements. They exaggerate the hours they work; how often they go to church; their height and their weight; and their altruism during emergencies. White voters lie in surveys about their willingness to vote for a black political candidate. Heck, people even lie about the reason they buy a new computer. Nearly one in four women admitted to exaggerating or lying in social media about key aspects of their lives between one and three times per month.

So why is it verboten to suggest that some women defend their femininity by claiming the consensual sex they engaged in was non-consensual? Or that men will defend their masculinity by understating the incidence of non-consensual sex they are subjected to?

The issue we raise isn't some abstraction, and we do not write this to engage in some sort of "Oppression Olympics."  The fact is, sexual assault surveys are used to justify the policy of diminishing the due process rights of students accused of sexual assault. There are legitimate reasons for doubting the reliability of these surveys, and these concerns should not be dismissed as rape apology, misogyny, or slut shaming.

The real problem is that we are raising a generation of girls that sees rape oozing from every crevice on campus. The fact is, college women are seeing rape where it doesn't exist--and that's not just my opinion. One of the recent college rape scare surveys accidentally revealed it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Jared Polis apologizes for supporting the expulsion of innocent men

Last week, Jared Polis made some shocking comments and was widely criticized for them. We wrote about them here: http://www.cotwa.info/2015/09/colorado-rep-jared-polis-needs-to.html He now says he misspoke. Ashe Schow isn't buying it, but whatever Polis's motivation, the following op-ed by Mr. Polis appeared in a Colorado paper and evidences that he realizes his words were not acceptable:

Jared Polis: Colleges should handle sex assault cases
I misspoke

During a subcommittee hearing last week about sexual assault on college campuses, I committed a major gaffe during the back-and-forth exchange with a witness who was advocating for removing the authority of colleges to adjudicate sexual assault cases that happen on their campuses. My words did not convey my beliefs nor the policies I now or have ever supported

During that exchange I went too far by implying that I support expelling innocent students from college campuses, which is something neither I nor other advocates of justice for survivors of sexual assault support. That is not what I meant to say and I apologize for my poor choice of words.

Sexual assault on college campuses is a serious issue — one that shouldn't be whittled down to errant sound bites. For the incoming class of 2019 that arrived at college campuses earlier this month, nearly one in five female students will be assaulted or raped by the time she graduates .

Nor should this be seen strictly as a gender issue. Men also experience sexual assault and they face the same types of trauma as female survivors.

To most people who don't know much about this issue, it makes sense to solely adjudicate these cases in our criminal justice system, just like we do other crimes. The witness mentioned above who I was questioning was arguing for just such an approach.

However, this is a deeply dangerous idea that demonstrates a cursory and superficial understanding of the issue. Ask any sexual assault advocate and they'll tell you the same thing.

There are very important reasons why colleges and universities currently have jurisdiction over assaults that occur on their campuses, and why the process is separate from the criminal justice system. In my effort to defend this practice, I went too far, and I regret that my remarks have detracted from the substance of this debate and have reflected poorly on the good work being done by college offices across the country that investigate these cases, including two in my own backyard in Colorado (University of Colorado at Boulder and Colorado State University).

Decades of research and case histories show how woefully inadequate the criminal justice system can be for survivors of sexual assault. For starters, rape survivors are unlikely to report cases to police, citing things like not thinking it's important enough, not wanting others to know, not having proof, fearing retaliation, and being uncertain about whether what happened constitutes assault . According to a recent Department of Justice study, only 20 percent of campus sexual assault survivors report the assault to police .

Secondly, our criminal justice system moves slowly. Campus assault cases are designed to move efficiently so that survivors, as a basic matter of campus safety and to prevent additional trauma, don't have to cross paths with their assailant on campus for an extended period of time.

Third, colleges have a unique obligation to adjudicate these cases because of a landmark federal civil rights law, Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in any federally-funded educational institution. Sexual violence on college campuses creates a hostile learning environment, particularly for women, and is therefore a violation of civil rights. It's essential that colleges uphold the right of every student to a safe learning environment and colleges are uniquely equipped to provide that through accommodations that local police simply can't offer. For instance, helping a student switch classes or move dorms so she or he doesn't have to interact with their assailant on a daily basis are critical to survivors' ability to complete their education.

This is precisely why the Department of Education four years ago stepped in and required schools to use a "preponderance of evidence" standard to remove alleged assailants from campus, meaning the evidence shows it is more likely than not that the student is guilty of the assault.

This requirement doesn't discourage survivors from also pursuing criminal complains if they wish, but it allows schools to take more timely action against individuals who the evidence shows are guilty, so that assailants are not allowed to remain on campus and reoffend while their cases slowly make their way through criminal courts (if they ever do — only half of all sexual assault cases that are investigated by police are prosecuted ).

Our criminal courts weren't designed to decide who can safely be in the same classroom with your kids or mine; they were designed to set a high bar for depriving someone of their liberty and imprisoning them. In my comments last week I was attempting to make this point, though I went too far in making it. I regret that my gaffe is now being used by some to advocate for a dangerous and myopic policy that would make our college campuses less safe.

For those of us also concerned with the rights of the accused, dragging their name through the newspaper as an accused rapist through a criminal justice process will haunt them

forever, even if they are found not guilty. So too, it damages the survivor of sexual assault even more to have their name and crimes against them in public, especially because a popular defense strategy is to attack the victim.

Yes, balancing the needs for campus safety and due process is not easy. But the answer is not simply to tell schools to wash their hands of all responsibility on the issue and refer every student to a court system in which justice is elusive (for every 100 rape cases reported, only three rapists will ever serve a day in prison ).

Instead, we should be working together toward the same goal: college campuses where survivors feel empowered to come forward and where administrators have the resources they need to handle these cases promptly, fairly and equitably.

Jared Polis represents Colorado's second congressional district in the House of Representatives.

The institutionalized hostility to the rights of college men is not a "war on men," clucks female writer

Maggie Cassidy, a student at the University of Maryland, has a problem with "white males"--as in How dare a "white male" point out that institutionalized hostility to the rights of college men constitutes a war on men. Cassidy takes issue with noted law professor Glenn Reynolds USA Today article about Congressman Jared Polis's willingness to expel innocent men to insure the guilty are punished.

Cassidy points out that Reynolds is a dreaded "white man" in order to tarnish his credentials to speak to this subject. Does Cassidy have a problem with "men" as a class? I ask that because of this comment in her article: "The numbers crunched by the National Association of Scholars further show that men still aren’t grasping the sinister presence of sexual assault." Did you get that? "Men" still aren't grasping. Not "a very small percentage of men," not "men who commit sexual assault." Just "men."

Given the culture we live in, I'm not sure if my moral superiors (i.e., anyone who is not a white male) will allow me to deal with--you know, silly things like facts--but here goes: of the rape claims that can be definitively classified, false claims are more common than actual rapes. Shocking? Try and refute it--I mean actually refute it. Don't do what English major Maggie Cassidy does--her idea of arguing is to reduce people she disagrees with to vile caricature (e.g., "right-wing zanies who publish political manifestos on their misogynistic blogospheres") and to invent straw men instead of dealing in reality (men are lashing out not because of indisputable injustices that some of the most reputable law professors in America have taken issue with, but because they want "to resume their rightful place on top" of society).

Cassidy raised a point that merits special attention. She blithely dismisses Prof. Reynold's concern that "men are wildly underrepresented" in the college "positions charged with interpreting and enforcing the sexual harassment rules." Professor Reynolds points out that this is problematic “considering that the overwhelming preponderance of sexual harassment allegations are directed by women at men." Maggie Cassidy doesn't buy it: "Yes, Reynolds is statistically right that men don’t play a large role in groups that promote diversity and sexual assault awareness, but how does that help his argument against the war on men? Because it doesn’t."

But, of course, it does. Men and women do not look at the issue the same way. A much-touted new survey on sexual assault in American colleges shows a significant gender divide on key issues. College women believe, by an overwhelming margin, that it's better that innocent young men be punished for offenses they didn't commit than to allow a guilty man to go free. (Question 32) Most college men take the opposite view. In addition, the National Institute of Justice has said that when it comes to rape, men and women may have different perceptions of the same incident. In what universe is it fair to de facto exclude men from the positions that will decide men's punishment for alleged sexual assault?

What's alarming is that Prof. Reynolds' well-reasoned piece apparently so incensed Maggie Cassidy that she felt a need to refute it. Some people just can't stand it when a man points out that, yes, young men are the targets of certain injustices. That's not to say women aren't, or that men have it "worse," or that sexual assault isn't a problem.

The injustices Prof. Reynolds wrote about will continue so long as the prevailing mindset in this culture is that the one group not allowed to complain about even real oppression is young white men.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Appalling trend: innocent young men are deemed necessary collateral damage in the war on rape

Professor Alan Dershowitz is especially fond of this line: "Some people regard rape as so heinous an offense that they would not even regard innocence as a defense." Dershowitz has been using that line for years but, sadly, it has recently lost its sting because the extremists Dershowitz references are now the ones making public policy.

Last week, United States Congressman Jared Polis made the following other-worldly comments during a congressional hearing on college sexual assault: ". . . even if there is only a 20 or 30 percent chance that it [sexual assault] happened, I would want to remove this individual” from the college where the accusation occurred. And: “. . . if there’s 10 people who have been accused, and under a reasonable likelihood standard maybe one or two did it, it seems better to get rid of all 10 people.”

Polis' blatant hostility to fundamental notions of fairness was matched only by his shocking insensitivity to the countless young men who've been wrongfully expelled for imaginary sexual assaults and their families. Polis's repulsive comments came during an exchange with noted civil libertarian Joe Cohn of FIRE. Polis garnered cheap applause by derisively trivializing the harm caused by wrongful expulsions, then he refused to allow Mr. Cohn to speak to the issue.

Polis's barbaric sentiments flip on its head a long-settled principle of jurisprudence famously expressed by the celebrated English jurist William Blackstone: it is "better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer." (Commentaries on the Laws of England, 1765.) "Blackstone's formulation" is not merely one of the pillars undergirding our sense of justice, it is the very hallmark of a civilized society, one of the things that separates us from tyranny.

Sadly, Polis's backward views are not isolated curiosities, they are becoming mainstream in a culture that regards innocent young men as necessary collateral damage in the war on sexual assault. I am not referring to the "rush to judgment" crowd that wrongly assumes guilt based on nothing more than an accusation and a bias that women never lie about rape. (I note in passing that of the rape claims that can be definitively classified, false claims are more common than actual rapes.) I am, rather, referring to people who acknowledge that the accusation may be false but who have no compunction about punishing the accused anyway.

A much-touted new survey on sexual assault in American colleges shows that college women believe, by an overwhelming margin, that it's better that innocent young men be punished for offenses they didn't commit than to allow a guilty man to go free. (Question 32) This question exposes a sharp gender gap--most college men take the opposite view.

Last year, Amanda Childress, Sexual Assault Awareness Program coordinator at Dartmouth College, declared that campus policies aren't going far enough to protect students. She asked: "Why could we not expel a student based on an allegation?" Dartmouth defended Childress's comment, noting that she "was asking a question—a provocative one—meant to generate dialogue around complex issues . . . .”

Ezra Klein evinced satisfaction that innocent young men may be expelled for rapes they didn't commit: "Critics worry that colleges will fill with cases in which campus boards convict young men (and, occasionally, young women) of sexual assault for genuinely ambiguous situations. Sadly, that’s necessary for the law’s success. It’s those cases — particularly the ones that feel genuinely unclear and maybe even unfair, the ones that become lore in frats and cautionary tales that fathers e-mail to their sons — that will convince men that they better Be Pretty D–n Sure."

When a court held that school districts do not have to disclose names of teachers who've had unsubstantiated allegations of sexual misconduct made against them, a newspaper took offense: "Yes, public knowledge of the allegation could lead to the end of a teacher’s career even if it were proven to be false. . . . . A few teachers being unjustly accused is far less important in the long run than the outing of a school district that hides evidence of patterns of misbehavior by teachers."

The Princeton student newspaper defended lowering the standard of proof to find students guilty of sexual assault because the evidence to prove sexual assault is often unclear. The paper acknowledged that more innocents may be found guilty under this standard, but, the editors told male students not to worry--the disciplinary committee has discretion to impose reduced punishments. (And, no, I'm not making that up.)

The Columbia University Marching Band instituted a policy of expelling from the band persons merely accused of sexual assault. In an official statement, a spokeswoman of the band acknowledged that "there could be problems with the policy," but said "[w]e don't care if [the allegation] is not confirmed . . . ." Also at Columbia, student editors of a school blog asked a staffer to "resign" based on an accusation of sexual assault, explaining: "Our decision does not reflect a position on the innocence or guilt of this former staff member . . . ."

During a panel discussion on sexual assault at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a teaching assistant "said she did not feel that the notion of innocent until proven guilty should apply to rape cases because it only helps protect the rights of the accused instead of the victim. Only one of the panel members spoke out in disagreement with this statement." One student stood up to declare that she was "horrified" to discover that her accused rapist had due process rights.

When police arrested identical twin brothers because they believed one them might be a rapist, many of the comments beneath the story were beyond appalling: "Wow just shoot them both! No biggie!" And: "Shoot 'em both and let God figure it out!" And: "Spit the difference. Charge each one with three of the six assaults." And: "Well, we've got it down to two suspects FLIP!" And: "Just shoot em both obviously there's something messed up in their DNA."

When five innocent young minority men were wrongly arrested for rape at Hofstra University, they were "treated like animals" in jail; one of them was fired from his job; one was expelled from Hofstra; and the news media skewered them by treating the accusation as definitive fact. Even after the false accuser admitted she lied under oath and there was no doubt about the young mens' innocence, a  writer for a major New York daily declared that they got "the good scare that they well deserved." As if that wasn't bad enough, the wrongly accused young men were booed when they appeared on the Steve Wilkos show.

The Dept. of Education's infamous April 4, 2011 "Dear Colleague" letter requires schools to give accusers protection from their alleged sexual perpetrators even before an investigation is completed by insuring the accuser and accused are kept separate--the letter goes out of its way to say that "a school should minimize the burden on the complainant" (not the accused) when it does so.

When this blog writes about Blackstone's formulation, we are sometimes greeted with very angry reactions. One reader wrote: ". . . . you thump your chest and break your arm patting yourself on the back because you stood on the wall for the" one innocent guy "when 17 [sexual assault] victims and their families can't get any sleep because there is no justice." Another reader wrote: ". . . Fuck you and I hope you get raped, and told to 'stop being hysterical' and that you're making it up by the police." Another wrote: "Yes, I do hope you get raped too. Brutally. This blog is just a space for a bunch that's frightened of women's rights. Ah, I do pity these losers!" (Do you see why we stopped allowing comments?)

Back in 2001, Catherine Comins, then-assistant dean of student life at Vassar, spoke to Time Magazine about rape: "Comins argues that men who are unjustly accused can sometimes gain from the experience. 'They have a lot of pain, but it is not a pain that I would necessarily have spared them. I think it ideally initiates a process of self-exploration. 'How do I see women?' 'If I didn't violate her, could I have?' 'Do I have the potential to do to her what they say I did?' Those are good questions.'"

Time Magazine recognized the injustice in Comins' comment, noting that "there is an ugly element of vengeance at work here." Sadly, that "ugly element of vengeance" has become the prevailing culture on American college campuses and the motivating impulse of the people who dominate the public discourse on sexual assault in America.