Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Nation's Foremost Champions of Wrongly Accused College Men

They are attorneys who've handled dozens of campus sexual assault cases at 19 universities across the country, and they've written a brilliant piece explaining the atrocities faced by the wrongly accused. They are Matt Kaiser and Justin Dillon. and this is their law firm. No, I don't know them, but I admire them. Here is their article (found here).

What the Rolling Stone story tells us about campus sexual assault

By Matt Kaiser and Justin Dillon

Rolling Stone has walked away from its story about a woman it called Jackie being gang raped at a fraternity at the University of Virginia. The story was sensational and relied on Jackie’s detailed description of a brutal rape by seven members of a U.Va. fraternity. Rolling Stone apologized for the story because its reporter, her editor and its legal department blindly believed Jackie and didn’t investigate or scrutinize what she said.

Based on our experience handling dozens of campus sexual assault cases at 19 universities across the country, it looks like Rolling Stone took a page out of the playbook from most colleges when they handle allegations of sexual assault on campus. The article and the investigation that led to it was long on emotional response and short on truth-searching.

One part of the story that seems to be true is that something very traumatic happened to Jackie. Her suitemate said that after the night of the alleged rape, she withdrew into her room and didn’t talk to others. The woman who started at U.Va. as a bright and enthusiastic person transformed into a shell of herself.

That transformation is striking — and it looks like the school should have done more to help Jackie.

But, in light of the significant problems with her story, what she says happened that night just couldn’t have happened. Even her own roommate said that she feels Jackie misled her.

What this suggests to us is that the takeaway of the Rolling Stone controversy is that just because a person went through a traumatic experience — and there is no reason to doubt that Jackie had something happen to her — that person’s report of what happened shouldn’t be accepted uncritically.


The mantra of the recent action around campus sexual assault has been that women just don’t falsely report rape — that a person making a sexual assault claim should be believed. Jackie’s story shows the limits of that assumption.

And the Rolling Stone story isn’t the only example — at two separate schools in New Hampshire, two separate women are being prosecuted by the police for making false reports of campus sexual assaults.

We don’t know why a woman would make a false accusation. But what the discrepancies in Jackie’s story make clear is that it does happen; any system of resolving these cases that assumes otherwise is bound to be flawed.

In its apology, Rolling Stone said that it found the story of Jackie — the woman who reported the gang rape at a fraternity party — credible because she neither said nor did anything that made the reporter, or Rolling Stone’s editors and fact-checkers, question Jackie’s credibility. In the story, her friends and rape activists on campus strongly supported Jackie’s account. She had spoken of the assault in campus forums.

Outrage and emotion trumped good journalism. The magazine didn’t push to talk to the people who could have shed light on what happened because they “were trying to be sensitive to the unfair shame and humiliation many women feel after a sexual assault.” Out of a concern for victims, the magazine decided not to do its job.

This is precisely what happens at college campuses across the country as they investigate these cases. Students are accused, told only the thinnest of details about the accusations, and given no meaningful ability to investigate or present their side of the story.

Campus hearings on these cases don’t help much, either. In our experience handling these at colleges around the country, the young woman is almost uniformly distraught. The young man, believing himself to be falsely accused, usually comes across like one might expect a falsely accused college student to come across — as cold, angry, and incredulous. So the panelists at the hearing often side with — and do not closely question — the sympathetic person, while leaving their hard questions for the less sympathetic one. A search for truth, this is not.


Virtually every campus in America also prohibits an accused, or his attorneys, from trying to interview witnesses about what happened. The schools’ view is that if a witness is approached by someone trying to defend himself, it could be uncomfortable for the person bringing the complaint.

But schools have forgotten what Rolling Stone has just been reminded — the search for truth is often uncomfortable.

And the problems don’t stop there. Often, in campus hearings, an accused person can’t ask questions of the accusing student. In some cases, a male student is told a date but not the name of the accuser or any of the details of the accusation.

The discrepancies in Jackie’s story came out only because the case went public. Everyone read what Jackie said and critically evaluated it. We were able to see how the mere fact of trauma does not mean that everything the person who experienced the trauma says is true. But in campus cases across the country, men are accused, found guilty and expelled, without anyone knowing, seeing, or challenging what happens.

Sexual assault, on campus or elsewhere, is serious. It deserves serious discussion and attention. And women who experience trauma should receive support. But Jackie’s story shows that an experience of trauma isn’t the end of an inquiry; it’s the start.

Just as Rolling Stone shouldn’t have thrown away the practices of good journalism out of concern for victims of sexual assault, colleges shouldn’t throw out basic fairness in investigative practices when handling these cases.

If Jackie had named her attackers, they would almost certainly have been expelled and likely prosecuted. For, apparently, nothing. Yet that is exactly what’s happening at campuses across the country every day; Rolling Stone just isn’t there to cover it.

Matt Kaiser and Justin Dillon are partners at Kaiser, LeGrand & Dillon PLLC, a law firm in Washington, D.C, that has defended college students in campus disciplinary proceedings.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Female college president's photo with bare-chested male students prompts professors to question whether the college has "a casual attitude toward sexual assaults"

Before the Christmas holiday break, East Stroudsburg University President Marcia Welsh was visiting the campus' residence halls to deliver holiday cookies and she was greeted by various groups of students "showing their holiday spirit." At Hawthorn Suites, she was greeted by bare-chested male students donning Santa hats who call themselves the "Hawthorn Hotties." John Alston, one of the "Hotties," said the guys "thought it would be funny."

President Welsh posed with the young men for a photo and then tweeted it along with photos of other stops on her cookie delivery tour. The picture of Welsh with the "Hotties" is strictly PG material -- the "Hotties" didn't actually "show their holiday spirit" but kept it in their pants.

It turns out the "Hotties" are amateur erotic male dancers on campus who fund-raise for charitable causes, like prostate cancer research and awareness about domestic violence and sexual assault, and to promote other student organizations.

From the reaction to the tweet, you'd think President Welsh posed for a photo-op with the Steubenville rapists. wrote: "It has professors questioning whether East Stroudsburg is a university that has . . . a casual attitude toward sexual assaults."

If you're scratching your head, or other parts of your anatomy, over that non sequitur, scratch mine, too (just my head, please).

Tying this photo to sexual assault is akin to saying that if President Welsh posed with the local fire department, it would show the school has a casual attitude toward arson. The one has nothing to do with the other.

President Welsh fired back at her critics, noting that the guys raise money for cancer research, and the criticism of the photo "is not only an insult to them but a malicious disservice to the good work they do for our university and the community."

President Welsh ought to go further. She ought to redo the photo as an "in-your-face" Christmas card for her critics, only this time, the "Hotties" ought to don thongs, and it should have a greeting like this: "Hoping you savor the holiday season as much as I savor copping a feel of sophomore John Alston's fine, tight ass!"

The critics do make one interesting point. One professor said: "I wouldn't be surprised if at a university where a male president posted such a thing he would be fired."

Given that the sexual grievance industry's hypersensitivity about men and sex borders on pathology, that wouldn't surprise me in the least.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Website counsels journalists how to cover sexual assault cases -- and to believe the "victim"

The Rolling Stone debacle ripped off an ugly scab on the biased reporting of sexual assault accusations by American news outlets. The pus it revealed is anathema to serious journalism. Most conscientious editors will not want to repeat the public relations disaster Rolling Stone has experienced, and now, for the first time in recent memory, people who write about sexual assault accusations might feel an obligation to be accountable and even-handed in their reporting.

How widespread is biased reporting on sexual assault? Regular readers of this blog know that it is is a serious problem.

Here is a website that might just be the playbook used by Sabrina Rubin Erdely when "reporting" on the alleged gang rape of "Jackie" at a University of Virginia frat house in Rolling Stone Magazine -- it's called "Know Your IX", and it advises journalists how to report on sexual assault. It's a veritable cornucopia of  how not to fairly report on the news. The gist of it seems to be that journalists are supposed to treat accusations of sexual assault as if they were proven sexual assaults. That the authors of this site expect journalists to abide by its suggestions would be laughable were it not for Erdely, Hofstra, the Baltimore Sun, and a thousand others. Here are some excerpts:

"Know Your IX has assembled a guide for reporters and editors who are covering gender-based violence, particularly on college campuses."
Use direct quotes from survivors, rather than paraphrasing their accounts, as much as possible. Direct quotes allow the survivor to retain control over the narrative of their personal experiences, which is crucial for survivors, especially those who have been revictimized by disbelieving/dismissive administrators or police departments. It will also help prevent you from accidentally leaving out details that the survivor considers important or from misrepresenting their experiences. The Columbia Spectator’s approach provides a helpful example: When the paper first covered Emma Sulkowicz’s “Carry That Weight” project, it presented it as a video, allowing Emma to talk about her project and about her assault uninterrupted. Using direct quotes also allows you to avoid using the term “allegedly”. As the Chicago Taskforce on Violence Against Girls and Women points out in its excellent Reporting on Rape and Sexual Violence” toolkit (also a valuable resource for reporters looking to improve their media coverage of sexual violence), the terms “alleged” or “allegedly” carry a host of negative and positive connotations and cast unwarranted doubt in the readers’ mind as to the validity of the survivors’ story. So long as you credit the survivors’ stories to them, there shouldn’t be any legal obligation to use the term “allegedly.”
          . . . .
"Don’t give false rape reports and sexual assault equal weight; this is false equivalency." 
. . . . 

". . . if your publication has a policy against letting sources read a story before publication, talk to your editor/highers-up about making an exception for stories about sexual assault survivors." 
. . . . 
"If a survivor doesn’t want to share certain information or details you’d hoped to include, particularly about the violence or abuse itself, don’t push it."
Readers here know that we've called attention to countless incidents where journalists have called accusers "survivors" or "victims." We once convinced the New York Times to add the word "alleged" to signify that an accuser is only an "alleged" victim. Most news outlets ignore our entreaties. Maybe they won't after Rolling Stone.

Why is it a problem to call an accuser a "victim" or a "survivor"? Because readers assume that journalists have done their own investigations, so when journalists bestow these terms on accusers based on nothing more than the accuser's ipse dixit, this signals to the reader that the accuser's allegation is factual. This does a grave disservice to the presumptively innocent who are the subject of the accusations since, by necessity, they must be guilty if their accusers are, in fact, "victims."

It also does no favors to rape victims when journalists transform accusers into "victims" without substantiation because, if the accusations are shown to be doubtful -- as in the Rolling Stone story -- this not only undermines confidence in the way journalists cover these stories, it foments distrust in rape accusers.

One solution is for editors to avoid allowing ideologues to write about sexual assault. When an editor has to assign a reporter to cover sexual assault, anyone with a Women's Studies degree should be exempted, as should anyone who volunteers to write it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Pakistan terrorist attack was essentially a massacre of boys

The terrorist attack on children in Pakistan was horrifying by any measure. Throughout the day on Tuesday and this morning, we saw news report after news report stating that the school under siege is one that is attended "by boys and girls" from both military and civilian backgrounds.

What's not been a focus of attention is that it was essentially a massacre of boys.

"Boys and girls attend, though witnesses said the assailants primarily targeted upper classes made up only of boys." And: "The dead included 123 male students, as well as nine staff members, including a female teacher."

It just so happened that the victims were almost entirely male, and this wasn't considered newsworthy. I find that curious.

If the assailants had targeted girls, would the media have underscored the victims' gender? Remember the "Bring Back Our Girls" hashtag?
Boko Haram gained worldwide infamy in April when its members kidnapped 276 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok in northeast Nigeria. The incident was "just a drop in the bucket in the context of the total number of people kidnapped in recent years," . . . .. But it put the global spotlight on Nigeria, driven by the social media hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. This online movement gained support from Michelle Obama and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, among others.

Most hateful quotes of 2014

Phi Kappa Psi House at UVA
This year has witnessed a plethora of disturbing comments by influential mainstream writers, feminists, progressives, and others manifesting hostility to due process and college men accused of sexual assault. Which do you think is the most egregious?

1. ●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 . . . .”

2. ●Ms. Magazine quoted Caroline Heldman, a professor at Occidental College on suits filed by men for alleged violations of their due process rights in connection with sexual assault claims: "These lawsuits are an incredible display of entitlement, the same entitlement that drove them to rape."

3. ●California’s new “affirmative consent” law requires "affirmative" consent at each step of a sexual encounter on its college campuses. The co-author of the bill in the state assembly, Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, was asked how an innocent person is supposed to prove consent. She said: “Your guess is as good as mine."

4. ●Sen. Claire McCaskill circulated an extensive survey about sexual assault to 350 college and university presidents. The survey classified persons who make accusations of sexual misconduct as “victims,” and in one place called persons merely accused of sexual misconduct “offenders.” Then on page 14, it contained this query: "Below is a list of policies and procedures that may discourage victims from disclosing and reporting assaults at some schools . . . . 1. Disclosure of offender’s rights in the adjudication process . . . ." The implication: it is somehow improper to insure that students accused of serious sexual offenses are aware of their rights.

5. ●A jury acquitted former Dartmouth student Parker Gilbert of raping a female student at the school in a "he said/she said" dispute. A juror told a reporter “(The woman’s) story of how the night played out, the evidence wasn’t there to support that." And: “There is tons and tons of evidence that just doesn’t add up.” But WISE, an organization that seeks to empower victims of domestic and sexual violence, issued a formal statement: "Today’s decision in the Dartmouth rape trial of Parker Gilbert is devastating and there is no doubt that it sends a terrible message to survivors of sexual assault."

6.Duke University Dean of Students Sue Wasiolek was asked what would happen if two students got drunk to the point of incapacity, and then had sex. "Assuming it is a male and female, it is the responsibility in the case of the male to gain consent before proceeding with sex," said Wasiolek.

7. Jessica Valenti mocked the efforts of three mothers who started Families Advocating for Campus Equality (FACE) that seeks to raise awareness about the injustices faced by presumptively innocent college students accused of sexual misconduct. Each of the three founders of FACE has been touched directly by campus rape injustice: their sons were ensnared by it. Valenti wrote: "Alternative name for this group: Not My Nigel." Of course, "Not My Nigel" is radical feminist shorthand to suggest that women who defend their male loved ones accused of rape or similar acts are defending rapists.

8.Ezra Klein evinced satisfaction that possibly innocent young men will 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."

9.Elisabeth Dee, Stanford class of 2016, one of the organizers of the “Carry that Weight” demonstration where students were urged to carry a pillow or mattress around for a day to symbolize the burden placed upon survivors of sexual assault, called on the school to reduce the burden of proof required to find someone guilty of sexual assault, which is already the lowest legally permissible, "preponderance of the evidence." Dee said that Stanford, should not be focusing on "defending the perpetrator, because essentially burden of proof is a defense of the perpetrator.”

10.Laura Dunn, executive director of SurvJustice, on why some colleges have pushed back against lowering the standard of proof for sexual assault cases to make it easier to hold young men accused of sexual assault: "To put it bluntly, I think it's arrogance and ingrained male privilege . . . ."

11. ●Julia Horowitz, a journalist at University of Virginia’s school newspaper, wrote that while the Rolling Stone "gang rape" story may be false, “from where I sit in Charlottesville, to let fact checking define the narrative would be a huge mistake.”

12.Zerlina Maxwell wrote this: “Ultimately, the costs of wrongly disbelieving a survivor far outweigh the costs of calling someone a rapist.”

13. ●Jessica Valenti, debated Wendy McElroy at Brown University. A live-blog shows a questioner suggested that the conversation had become unnecessarily adversarial, with some people supporting the accuser and others supporting the accused. Valenti responded: “. . . in the society we live in now, we need to side with the survivors. That might not be a fair and equal thing, but that’s how I think it has to be."

14. Sabrina Rubin Erdely, recounting the alleged gang rape of "Jackie" at a University of Virginia frat house in Rolling Stone Magazine: "'Grab its motherfucking leg,' she heard a voice say. And that's when Jackie knew she was going to be raped. She remembers every moment of the next three hours of agony, during which, she says, seven men took turns raping her, while two more – her date, Drew, and another man – gave instruction and encouragement." And: "For men, skepticism is a form of self-protection . . . . For much of their lives, they've looked forward to the hedonistic fun of college, bearing every expectation of booze and no-strings sex. A rape heralds the uncomfortable idea that all that harmless mayhem may not be so harmless after all. Easier, then, to assume the girl is lying, even though studies indicate that false rape reports account for, at most, eight percent of reports." (The Managing Editor of Rolling Stone later apologized for the story, noting with almost other-worldly understatement: ". . . there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie's account.")

Teen prostitute charged for falsely reporting rape after a client failed to pay her in full for services

An 18-year-old woman from Lubbock Texas has been arrested on multiple charges after police say she called to report a rape after she wasn’t paid for prostitution services.

Just after 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, officers responded to the Hyatt Hotel on East Putnam Avenue after the woman called police reporting that she was raped by a guest at the hotel.

After a police investigation in which police interviewed everyone involved, police determined that the woman had lied and fabricated the entire account of the incident. She admitted to police that she was involved in prostitution at the hotel. She was arrested and charged with falsely reporting an incident, prostitution, and interfering with a police officer. She is being held on $10,000 bond. Police said they believe the motivation for the false report was made after she failed to receive full payment for services rendered.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Battle for the Ages: The Naked Students of Harvard's 'Patriarchal Sausage-Fest' Versus Harvard's Social Justice Warriors

Shortly after midnight last Thursday morning, a surreal tableau settled on Harvard Yard that pretty much illustrates everything that is wrong with our vaunted institutions of higher learning.

A group of 30 über-privileged Harvard students -- some clad in black sweatshirts with the words, “I ♥ Black People” (they might as well have worn sweatshirts with the words "Some of my best friends are black people!") -- attempted to force 100 other über-privileged Harvard students to join in a four-and-a-half minute "silent demonstration" against racism, prompted by the grand jury decisions in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases.

What forum did the wise silent protesters choose to stage this noble demonstration? About the most inappropriate one imaginable: the "Primal Scream" at Harvard Yard, a biannual school tradition where mostly male students "at times inebriated, run naked around [Harvard] Yard on the eve of the first day of exams." This event has been called a "detrimental and patriarchal sausage-fest" and a "penis parade."

The rest of the amazing story, and an NSFW photo, appear after the jump:

Monday, December 15, 2014

Female assistant principal falsely accused of having sex with teen male

It started as a school rumor that accelerated into accusations.

Then, in December 2013, a 34-year-old assistant principal was arrested and accused of having sex with a male student under the age of 19 between December 2012 and November 2013.

The changes hung over her for a year. She lost her job and could not find work. She was forced to sell her home and to move in with her mother. And she has become a social outcast because of the accusation.

But then, her attorney revealed, the DNA evidence "came back negative." And now, a judge has dismissed the case and ruled that she can never face charges over the same incident in the future because, among other things, the accuser "has hereby recanted and is no longer cooperating with the prosecution of these cases," according to the court order.

"I dedicated and invested a large part of my life into [teaching]. And I loved doing what I did. To wake up and have that all taken away and gone, and have people say the things that they said about me, that were not true. And to have people turn their back on you really hurt."

This case is unusual in that the victim of the false charges is a woman and the accuser is male. While false claims of sex offenses are generally more destructive to males (the gender sentencing disparity for these offenses is substantial), that is of little consolation for the victim in this story because her life, too, has been ruined. The community of the wrongly accused must stand in solidarity with female victims the same as with male victims.


Game Changer: New DOJ study on college sexual assault says it's not one-in-five, it's one-in-fifty-two

The new DOJ study shows that the real number isn't 1 in 5, it's 1-in-52.  It isn't 20 percent of all college women, it's 1.9 percent. See herehere and here.

Even one sexual assault is too many, but this news undermines, in a dramatic fashion, a movement that has become increasingly dependent on a campus rape epidemic to define itself. Many of us knew the one-in-five stat was concocted from whole cloth.

Those who would try to discredit the new study would do well not to fall back on the one-in-five. The lead author of the one-in-five study, Christopher Krebs, recently told Emily Yoffe that it is not a representative statistic. The Washington Post didn't buy into the one-in-five stat. Even the New York Times has called it "flawed" and noted that other studies that came to similar conclusions "have their own shortcomings." In an NPR report, RAINN head Scott Berkowitz backed away from the one-in--five.

Unfortunately, the 1 in 5 stat has become the basis for draconian government policies marked by a hostility to due process for college men accused of sex offenses. It is amusing that the same folks who tout the "one-in-five" are the first to insist that Prof. Kanin's false rape study is invalid. (For the record, Kanin's study is not representative, either -- Kanin himself said so -- and should not be relied on to establish policy any more than the one-in-five.)

The invocation of the one-in-five stat was never about the truth -- only the most deluded of purveyors of rape culture really believed there is a 20 percent chance that any of our daughters would be subjected to one of the worst crimes imaginable merely by attending college. It was always about ramming a political agenda down the throats of college administrators. The rape culturalists succeeded. Our colleges now have sexual assault policies designed not so much to actually reduce sexual assault as to institutionalize the notion that masculinity is inherently evil and that women are perpetual victims of men.  It's good old-fashioned '70s gender get-evenism.

According to the new one-in-52 study, when it comes to sexual assault, colleges are much, much safer for young women than are non-college settings. Everyone already knew that -- except the sexual grievance industry, which has a tremendous financial interest in manufacturing a campus rape problem of catastrophic proportions. It is ironic that even now, our lawmakers pouring tremendous monetary resources into colleges to combat this "crisis," and they're passing laws that will infringe on the rights of college men in order to make colleges even safer for college women. Note that the lawmakers ignore non-college women, who, according to the new study, are in relatively greater danger.

The new study suffers from a fundamental impediments as the "one-in-five" that serve to over-inflate the number of sexual assault. It credits as true every assertion of sexual assault when, in fact, we know that when sexual assault claims are actually reported, investigated, and tested against competing claims and evidence, more than half fall into a gray area where its impossible to say if it was actually a sexual assault. When we know that most of all sexual assaults actually reported can't be credited as actual sexual assaults, why should every sexual assault in a survey be so credited?  And please note, it's not that droves of women lie about rape. The National Institute of Justice has said: "Men and women may have different perceptions of the same incident." Is it really so shocking that there might be two sides to the story, and that neither party is lying? And, yes, sometimes people do exaggerate, lie, and claim their behavior is better than it really is in surveys. A recent scientific study shows that  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. Should it surprise anyone, then, 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? Is that in any sense controversial?

Coming on the heels of the Rolling Stone gang rape debacle, this new study will be perceived as a massive setback for the sexual grievance industry. That is as it should be because this is what happens when you shoot without regard for the truth or the innocents struck by your scattershot fire. These folks have ruthlessly used the one-in-five stat to roll back the rights of college men, and they have no one to blame but themselves if their agenda suffers.

RAINN has discredited the "rape culture" meme, and recent events strongly suggest that it is time for our friends in the feminist community to follow suit if their movement is to survive.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

'Rape claim part of custody ploy'

News item found here:

ELIZABETHVILLE — A Dauphin County mother and daughter are charged with false reports to law enforcement after admitting their claim the daughter’s father raped her was untrue and a ploy to keep him from getting custody of her daughter.

State police at Lykens filed charges Friday against Brittnie Lynn Hawk, 22, and Tonya Ann Hawk, 39, both of Elizabethville.

Brittnie Hawk faces eight misdemeanors, including unsworn falsification to authorities, two counts of false report to incriminate another, one count of reporting an incident that didn’t occur, tampering with or fabricating evidence and conspiracy. Tonya Hawk faces seven misdemeanor charges. The two women claimed the incident happened between July 19 and Nov. 25.

State police said the women admitted to conspiring against the man in an ongoing child custody issue. It is not known how old Hawk’s child is.

Friday, December 12, 2014

When this writer lumps "rape denialists" with people who express concerns about "due process" for men accused of rape, I am not sure what he means

Freddie deBoer writing in The Week posits this: "The insistence that every rape accusation must be presumed to be true inevitably means that the credibility of those opposing rape will always be bound up with the least credible accusation."

That is correct, Mr. deBoer, but when you write things like this -- "The ways in which terms like 'rush to judgment' and 'due process' have gotten lumped into rape denialism does the movement against rape no favors" -- you raise some thorny questions. I mean, this is the only place in your entire article where you even mention "due process" -- the same spot where you're talking about "rape denialism."

Hmm.  You insist that there is "a committed group of rape denialists active in our culture . .  . ." So tell me, Mr. deBoer, can someone tout the importance of due process for men and boys accused of rape without being a "rape denialist"? What exactly does "rape denialism" mean? Those of us concerned about silly things like "due process" and the "rush to judgment" are sometimes called "rape denialists" (because, you know, it's easier to call people names than to deal with the substance of their arguments), and we fervently hope you aren't referring to outlets like this. Are you?

We agree that there are nutty outliers who think rape is pretty much non-existent, and there are extremely backward people who think women who dress like "sluts" bear responsibility for being raped. But I don't think that's who you mean, because nobody really takes those folks seriously.

Do you mean those of us who insist on keeping an open mind in the face of a rape accusation? That's the overriding theme of this blog. Your own article counsels something to that effect, if I'm reading it right, so if we're "rape denialists," you are, too.

Do you mean those of us who think that there is a hostility to due process on campus when it comes to men accused of sex offenses? Count 28 (mainly liberal) Harvard law professors, law professors from Yale and George Washington University, the American Association of College Professors, and Brett Sokolow, the head of NCHERM and the foremost advocate for rape victims on American college campuses, among them.

Do you mean the idiots who insist that women are responsible for their own rapes if they drink themselves to oblivion? Read what we said about the Steubenville case and tell me if that's "rape denialism."

Do you mean us backward people who think Blackstone's formulation retains its validity even in rape cases?

Do you mean those of us who don't buy into the one-in-five stat? Count the Dept. of Justice, the Washington Post, and the head of RAINN among them.

Do you mean those of us who don't buy into "rape culture" meme? Count RAINN among them.

Do you mean those of us who counsel against using the Bill Cosby accusations as a reason to eliminate statutes of limitations in rape cases? That's a position the ACLU and defense counsel generally take. I understand it's not very popular, but there are important reasons for it that extend far beyond the Cosby scenario. (Please note that, personally, I can't even fathom why a multitude of unrelated women would all make up the claim that they were raped by Bill Cosby.)

Do you mean those of us who don't like treating presumptively innocent guys like rapists (even though we personally may not think that guy is a shining example of masculinity)?

Do you mean those of us who think that when it comes to rape claims, the system is rigged against young minority men? See here and here.

Do you mean those of us who speak up for women who are wrongly charged with making false rape reports?

See, Mr. deBoer, that "rape denialism" meme is tossed around a little too freely, without definition, and it's often directed at outlets like ours that believe every civilized society must strive to eradicate heinous criminality by punishing offenders, but that every society must also insure that the innocent aren't punished with them.

Because if you think that's "rape denialism," then we're got a serious problem with you.

Was the Rolling Stone lead gang rapist concocted to make a guy jealous?

Jackie's "friends imply" that she might have invented a suitor (who ended up supposedly raping her) to make her friend "Randall" jealous. See here. That's "Randall" on the right -- his real name is Ryan, and he appeared with Jackie's other two "friends" on ABC-TV. Read the Washington Post story here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

If you think "we should automatically believe rape claims," you are stupid.

This ought to be final nail in the coffin of the "always believe the woman" meme.

And this sums up the whole problem.

Senate: Torture techniques used on innocent men after 9/11

The Senate investigation into CIA interrogation practices after the 9/11 attacks reopens old wounds and raises questions long ago asked, but never properly answered, about the appropriateness of such techniques in battling terrorism. The current administration prohibits these kinds of techniques, but it, Sen. Feinstein and others concerned about the CIA's use of torture under the previous administration, support utilizing drones to kill enemies. How appropriate is any of it?

These issues are debated by people far better informed than me, but I would make one point. Many folks who are perfectly okay with the CIA's techniques after 9/11 are assuming that the techniques were used on "terrorists." In fact, the Senate report reveals about one-fifth of the men imprisoned were wrongly detained, and some were subjected to the "enhanced" interrogation techniques (President Obama called these techniques "brutal"):
. . . the CIA used enhanced interrogation techniques against at least one of those persons [according to the report].

"They include Abu Hudhaifa, who was subjected to ice water baths and 66 hours of standing sleep deprivation before being released because the CIA discovered he was likely not the person he was believed to be," that footnote states.

Other detainees . . . include one detained as "useful leverage" against a family member and an "'intellectually challenged' individual whose taped crying was used as leverage."

The report shows that the CIA acknowledged it had wrongly detained five individuals throughout the course of the program, but the committee's review of CIA records found at least 21 others who did not meet the standard for detention.
Citation: here.

War is hell, presidents and people acting on their behalf in the defense of America have an impossibly difficult job, and people acting in good faith sometimes have terrible lapses in judgment. If this report forces our leaders to ponder how this happened, and to insure that processes are in place to minimize these sorts of abuses and mistakes, then this report will serve a useful purpose.

Readers of this blog know we loathe sacrificing innocents as collateral damage -- whether it be in the "war on rape" or the war on terror.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The final word on the campus rape witch hunt

Cathy Young, as usual, nails it here.

Emily Yoffe has written the most comprehensive piece on the subject we've seen here.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Rolling Stone debacle didn't happen in a vacuum: it is time to mothball the destructive 'rape culture' meme

The Rolling Stone debacle did not happen in a vacuum. The sordid saga of the infamous article about a supposed gang rape on a college campus -- the fact that it was written in the first place, then published in a mainstream magazine, and then believed by so many -- is the product of a culture that has allowed gender extremists to dominate the public discourse on sexual assault. These are people who unflinchingly demonize college men and reduce them to vile caricature, insist that college campuses are rape pits, claim with a straight face that women don't lie about rape, and preach that due process for men accused of rape on campus is a luxury college women can't afford. In short, they buy into something that even RAINN, the preeminent anti-rape organization in America, denounced: the "rape culture" meme.

Only acceptance of the "rape culture" meme can explain the widespread and uncritical acceptance of the fantastic -- indeed, other-worldly -- tale of the gang rape depicted in the Rolling Stone article. As Erik Wemple explains in the Washington Post:
Under the scenario cited by Erdely, the Phi Kappa Psi members are not just criminal sexual-assault offenders, they’re criminal sexual-assault conspiracists, planners, long-range schemers. If this allegation alone hadn’t triggered an all-out scramble at Rolling Stone for more corroboration, nothing would have. Anyone who touched this story — save newsstand personnel — should lose their job. The “grooming” anecdote indicates not only that Erdely believed whatever diabolical things about these frat guys told to her, she wanted to believe them. And then Rolling Stone published them.
(Prof. KC Johnson, who helped bring justice in the Duke lacrosse case, has more on this travesty here.)

The "editors and fact-checkers [at Rolling Stone] felt that Jackie was credible," said the New York Times. It is well to remember that in virtually every false rape case where a man or boy is wrongly charged and sometimes convicted, the accuser seemed credible. By way of example, Brian Banks spent years behind bars after he was coerced into a guilty plea because, his own attorney convinced him, no jury would ever believe him over his false accuser.

Last Friday, only after other news outlets pounced on the tale to reveal significant problems with it, Rolling Stone wrote the following: "Our trust in [the accuser] was misplaced." Over the weekend, under pressure from women's groups, Rolling Stone revised its apology to scrap the line about "misplaced" trust, because it sounded like "victim blaming." Rolling Stone took all the blame itself.

Even now, the extremists' spin on the Rolling Stone debacle reveals they've learned nothing from it, and they are only making matters worse for rape victims. Again. They still say "Jackie" should be believed, and they claim the only problem was that Rolling Stone didn't jump through pro forma journalistic hoops in telling her story. Rolling Stone's lapse in judgment, they say, will only fuel "the age-old rape myth that women lie about being raped."

It is that sort of thinking that goes to the heart of the problem that led to the story in the first place: while they are right about Rolling Stone's lapse in judgment, devotees of "rape culture" still think people should automatically believe rape accusers without considering both sides of the story.

Fortunately, most people don't look at every rape claim through the prism of extremist gender politics, and they don't buy into that narrative.

The real lessons from the Rolling Stone disaster are that it is never right to rush to judgment and treat an accusation as tantamount to a conviction even where the accuser "seems" credible, and that it is both journalistic malpractice and morally grotesque to refuse to concede even the possibility that there might be another side to the story. The entire affair underscores the critical need for due process in "he said, she said" scenarios involving sex claims -- something feminists are happy to dispense with on college campuses. And, it affirms what Prof. Alan Dershowitz once wrote about rape accusations: ". . . don’t assume anything until all the evidence is in. The story is almost never what it appears to be on first impression."

Make no mistake, this mess is the product of the dreaded "rape culture" canard. It is time to insist that RAINN's counsel be heeded and that the "rape culture" meme be mothballed once and for all. "Rape is caused not by cultural factors but by the conscious decisions, of a small percentage of the community, to commit a violent crime," according to RAINN. The "unfortunate" tendency to blame "rape culture" for sexual assault, RAINN wrote, "has led to an inclination to focus on . . . traits that are common in many millions of law-abiding Americans (e.g., 'masculinity'), rather than on the subpopulation at fault: those who choose to commit rape." The distinguished writer John Leo has urged the media to confront the notion of "rape culture." Mr. Leo wrote: "Stupid ideas spread when people who know better refuse to confront them."

The fact that vocal segments of the feminist community part company with RAINN on this issue tells us how extreme those voices are.

Insisting that rape is "normalized" in our culture and practiced by even otherwise "decent guys" (even Dr. David Lisak doesn't agree with that) gives purveyors of "rape culture" license to rush to judgment and assume guilt based solely on an accusation. Worse, the "rape culture" meme is used to justify the erosion of critical rights of men and boys accused of sexual misconduct. If you don't think that's happening, you are woefully unschooled on the issue. Read, for example, the recent letter signed by 28 Harvard law professors voicing strong objections to their school's one-sided, feminist-inspired sexual misconduct policies, which are typical of such policies at colleges around the country. Yale law professor Jed Rubenfeld echoed those concerns in the New York Times. Brett Sokolow, head of NCHERM and the nation's most prominent college sexual assault victim's advocate, sounded a clarion call to address the institutionalized mistreatment of college men accused of sexual misconduct. Prof. John Banzhaf, a law professor at George Washington University, said that illegals crossing the border have more rights than college men accused of rape. The American Association of University Professors criticized the Department of Education's mandate that schools use a "preponderance of the evidence" standard -- the lowest in our jurisprudence -- for college disciplinary proceedings involving sexual assault. The AAUP said the higher "clear and convincing evidence" standard isn't just preferable, it is "necessary" in order to insure that students are afforded the due process they are entitled. The Database of Lawsuits Against Colleges and Universities Alleging Due Process and Other Violations in Adjudicating Sexual Assault chronicles the witch hunt that is the product of the "rape culture" meme.

The Rolling Stone debacle is evidence of "rape culture" hysteria and is troubling on more levels than I can count. If the Rolling Stone article has a "chilling effect" that deters women from reporting rape, don't blame it on "rape myths." The blame lies squarely with "rape culture's" purveyors -- they are the architects of this travesty. People hate and have no tolerance for rapists, but they also hate and have no tolerance for witch hunts that target innocent men. With this gang rape story, Rolling Stone crossed the line from journalism to witch hunt, and feminists ought to stop trying to whitewash it.

It is critical that the community of the wrongly accused be at the forefront in insisting that victims of sexual assault be treated with dignity, and that the real causes of sexual assault be addressed. But the "rape culture" lie needs to stop, and the extremists need to be exposed for what they are.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Rolling Stone: "Our trust in her was misplaced" -- another high profile rape case fizzles

Last month, Rolling Stone ran a massive story about a terrible campus gang rape that got national publicity -- it was perhaps the most high profile rape allegation in years -- but the publication did what too many news outlets do as a matter of course: it automatically believed the accuser; it reduced the accused (thankfully unnamed) males to vile caricature; and it expressed a rooting interest in the putative victim's story.

Now Rolling Stone has apologized. ". . . there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie's account, and we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced."

This wasn't a correction of some erroneous facts, this was a company falling on its sword and telling the world it blew it in a very, very big way. Rolling Stone had no choice because it had to have known that the Washington Post was about to blow the lid off the story.

But everyone who follows these cases carefully knows that this, ladies and gentlemen, is par for the course. Will Rolling Stone and other publications watching this closely learn anything? Don't count on it.

Prof. Alan Dershowitz once wrote this about another high profile rape accusation: ". . . don’t assume anything until all the evidence is in. The story is almost never what it appears to be on first impression." That's darn good advice, but the news media never gets it.

How does this happen so often with the news media? It happens because the news media is far more enamored of the "rape culture" narrative than the more conservative general public. When it comes to rape, instead of being objective investigators, their stories are geared to advance that narrative. Even reporters you wouldn't suspect fall into it.  They are out to educate the unwashed general public they see as gun-toting, Bible-thumping hicks, racists and misogynists.

Enough, already!

Rolling Stone needs to step back and look at the mess it's created. This story hurt the community of the wrongly accused -- it "confirmed" a lot of people's prejudices about white, upper-middle class frat guys. (Any apology to the fraternity, Rolling Stone? I won't hold my breath.) No matter how much Rolling Stone says it lost trust in "Jackie," you can trust me on this: the usual suspects will continue to insist that "something must have happened." The narrative must be protected at all costs.

Beyond that, make no mistake, this story did no favors for rape victims, either. Every rape lie, every rape half-truth, undermines the credibility of real victims.

The truly disgusting part is that the news media does this all the time. Perhaps the most famous false rape case in recent years after Duke Lacrosse, the one at Hofstra University back in 2009, provides a good example -- read our very comprehensive post on it, it is truly horrifying. The media's rush to judgment in that case was grotesque (the worst example: a television news report that essentially said the four young men were awful rapists). We wrote this at the time the young men were cleared:
Is it too much for them to actually do their own investigations, to report whether the rape allegation is supported by any known evidence aside from the accuser's word, to offer the other side of the story (e.g., the fact that the stories of the four accused men in the Hofstra case were consistent, and that the story of the accuser was riddled with inconsistencies)? What we saw here was a vicious smear, a wholesale destruction of four young nobodys, their scared and callow faces displayed so that the world could scorn them and titillate to their humiliation.
In the aftermath of the Hofstra debacle, Carol D’Auria of 1010 WINS said this: “We need to move slower." She added: “But I don’t see that happening.”

I didn't see it happening then, and now, more than five years later, I still don't see it happening. If anything, it's worse than ever.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Killing Eric Garner

"I can't breathe" -- Eric Garner
. . . our police officers put their lives on the line for us every single day. They’ve got a tough job to do to maintain public safety and hold accountable those who break the law. . . . But . . . there are issues in which the law too often feels as if it is being applied in a discriminatory fashion. I don’t think that’s the norm. I don’t think that’s true for the majority of communities or the vast majority of law enforcement officials.
President Barack Obama, Nov. 24, 2014

Read that again: the "vast majority of law enforcement officials" do their job in an even-handed way. But law enforcement is like any profession. Talk to any conscientious chief of police or director of public safety in any town in America and, if they are candid, they will tell you there's always one or two on the force they'd like to get rid of -- who overstep their authority, who have an attitude that doesn't comport with being a public servant.

The death of Eric Garner was inexcusable. For those who insist that he got what was coming to him because he was resisting arrest for an alleged minor crime, I can only say you are grotesquely unschooled in basic notions of justice -- things like "due process" and the idea that the punishment must fit the crime. As the New York Time said: "The imbalance between Mr. Garner’s fate, on a Staten Island sidewalk in July, and his supposed infraction, selling loose cigarettes, is grotesque and outrageous."

Was Eric Garner's death racially motivated? We've come a long way in terms of race, but we still have a ways to go. The greatest victims of injustice in the criminal justice system now and for as long as this country has existed are black men. Race was an animating factor in the two most prominent injustices this blog has dealt with, the Brian Banks case and the Hofstra false rape case. We need to be candid that a lot of people have a fear of black males and are quick to assume they are guilty and that they "got what they deserved" when they are killed for resisting arrest. The fact that so many African American males are stranded in a cistern of poverty and crime only affirms those feelings, and innocent black males are often negatively stereotyped by the general public and by police because of the actions of other black males, and that's not fair. Even Jesse Jackson once said: "There is nothing more painful to me ... than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery, then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved."

With that said, I am sorry that this incident comes so quickly on the heels of the Michael Brown incident. Here's the reality: people who don't view every police encounter with a black male through the prism of race weren't sure about the Brown case, and the riot that ensued made middle America even less sympathetic, to the point of affirming their darkest feelings about race.

But the Eric Garner case seems different. This one was blatant. Maybe it's because we have incontrovertible evidence of what happened and we know that the police officer used force that isn't allowed by the police department. A man who didn't seem like much of a threat was killed by agents of the City of New York, and somebody needs to answer for that.

I only wish the grievance industry would learn to pick its spots. Not every bad outcome merits a protest, much less burning down a town; not every ambiguous grand jury decision warrants taking a strong stance. Sometimes it's entirely proper to say, "I really don't know what happened." If they did that where it's appropriate, the grievance-mongers would have a lot more credibility with middle America (and they wouldn't deserve to be called "grievance mongers").

Sadly, a lot of people who pay little attention to the news will assume that the outrage over Eric Garner is just more of the same from the usual suspects. I don't think it is.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Repugnant: Heather MacDonald finds an upside to the unjust campus rape witch hunt -- it will force college "boys" to keep their pants zipped

This blog advocates for a lot of people whose loose sexual morality and fealty to the "hook-up culture" is anathema to me, but I very rarely publicize my personal views because, as Pope Francis famously said, "who am I to judge?" I tell you my personal views so that there is no confusion about why I find Heather MacDonald's piece in the Weekly Standard, Neo-Victorianism on Campus, so terribly repugnant.

MacDonald sees a clear upside to the "the new campus sex regime" of "biased campus sex tribunal[s]" that "puts boys in danger of trumped-up assault charges heard before kangaroo courts." She thinks these injustices will "result[ ] in boys taking a vow of celibacy until graduation," and, she clucks, "there is simply no loss whatsoever to society and only gain to individual character" from that. MacDonald goes so far as to bleat that she does not consider college men unjustly accused of sexual offenses to be "sympathetic victims" because, even though they are not guilty of rape, "many are guilty of acting as boorishly as they can get away with."

Let's put this in plain language. MacDonald is perfectly content with unjust laws and illegal policies that put college men (and, please, Ms. MacDonald, they are "men," not "boys") at grave risk, so long as these unjust laws and illegal policies usher in an era of sexual morality in the academy that mirrors MacDonald's personal views.

Excuse me while I go bang my head against the wall.

Trust me, I "get" the point of MacDonald's piece -- it's ironic that "radical feminism unleashed the current [sexual] mess" on campus, and now, radical feminists are "unwittingly accomplishing what they would never allow conservatives to do: restoring sexual decorum." But MacDonald's blithe indifference to the injustices inflicted on the wrongly accused -- so long as "sexual decorum" is restored -- is  jaw-dropping. She engages in the worst kind of victim-blaming by suggesting that if young men just keep their pants zipped, they will avoid the injustice of a wrongful rape claim and a wrongful expulsion.

Finding an upside to the current campus witch hunt against young men echoes Catherine Comins' famous quote in a 2001 Time Magazine piece:
Catherine Comins, assistant dean of student life at Vassar, also sees some value in this loose use of "rape." She says angry victims of various forms of sexual intimidation cry rape to regain their sense of power. "To use the word carefully would be to be careful for the sake of the violator, and the survivors don't care a hoot about him." 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."
(Emphasis added.)

Six years ago, MacDonald wrote a provocative piece that helped expose the myth of the campus rape epidemic, and this blog and its predecessor praised her for it. But no one should be content with laws and policies that wrongly expel young men just because they behave boorishly, and no one should absolve college administrators of responsibility for the injustices they commit even though those injustices cause college men to eschew promiscuity. Based on her current piece, Heather MacDonald is no friend of the wrongly accused.