Originally posted on April 27, 2013
Feminists have a sordid response to false accusations. While some will admit that they occur, most feminists seem opposed to considering them a serious problem. When presented with examples of false accusations resulting in arrests, public humiliation, imprisonment, and even death, many feminists treat those as outliers. Nothing to be concerned with, nothing to focus on. Instead, those feminists accuse advocates for the falsely accused of supporting and excusing rape.
This was the response to men’s rights activists when they opposed a recent change to Title IX that allowed for easier prosecution of students accused of sexual assault. The Obama administration changed the language of the law so that colleges need only rely on a “preponderance of evidence” to expel a student for sexual assault. This is the same standard used in civil court cases, and only requires the accuser to show that it is more likely than not — essentially that it is possible — the accused committed the act.
This set off a wave of complaints about the law violating due process rights. Yet, few of those complaints came from feminists. Feminists tended to support the change as it would result in more punishment for those accused of rape.
However, there is a problem: what if the accusation is false? What if it is malicious? And what if one of those feminists who supports such changes to the law found her son falsely accused of rape? Judith Grossman recently found out the answers to those questions:
Until a month ago, I would have expressed unqualified support for Title IX and for the Violence Against Women Act.
But that was before my son, a senior at a small liberal-arts college in New England, was charged—by an ex-girlfriend—with alleged acts of “nonconsensual sex” that supposedly occurred during the course of their relationship a few years earlier.
What followed was a nightmare—a fall through Alice’s looking-glass into a world that I could not possibly have believed existed, least of all behind the ivy-covered walls thought to protect an ostensible dedication to enlightenment and intellectual betterment.
Grossman’s son faced a college tribunal that showed no interest in facts. Because of the way the law works, the tribunal can bar the accused from facing the accuser. The tribunal does not have to tell the accused who the witnesses are against him, and it can decide what evidence is and is not worth looking at. Grossman’s case, the tribunal wanted no part of any of the emails and documents her son wanted to present to defend himself. He was not allowed an attorney, was not told who the witnesses testifying against him were, and was not even given an explicit account of the charges against him:
My son was given written notice of the charges against him, in the form of a letter from the campus Title IX officer. But instead of affording him the right to be fully informed, the separately listed allegations were a barrage of vague statements, rendering any defense virtually impossible. The letter lacked even the most basic information about the acts alleged to have happened years before. Nor were the allegations supported by any evidence other than the word of the ex-girlfriend.
The hearing itself was a two-hour ordeal of unabated grilling by the school’s committee, during which, my son later reported, he was expressly denied his request to be represented by counsel or even to have an attorney outside the door of the room. The questioning, he said, ran far afield even from the vaguely stated allegations contained in the so-called notice. Questions from the distant past, even about unrelated matters, were flung at him with no opportunity for him to give thoughtful answers.
The many pages of written documentation that my son had put together—which were directly on point about his relationship with his accuser during the time period of his alleged wrongful conduct—were dismissed as somehow not relevant. What was relevant, however, according to the committee, was the unsworn testimony of “witnesses” deemed to have observable knowledge about the long-ago relationship between my son and his accuser.
It sounds ridiculous. No reasonable person would endorse the nonsense this young man experienced. This kind of “trial” is precisely the reason for the 5th and 14th Amendments. Yet this happens on many college campuses as a direct result of the Title IX language and policies created and supported by feminists.
What happened with Grossman is something that happens to many feminists: she got slapped in the face with the logical conclusion of her own ideology. When you support biased policies, eventually someone will use it on you. It was always wrong to deal with criminal offenses using a preponderance of evidence, but was not until Grossman ironically had to live it that she realized that.
That should not have to happen. Grossman seems intelligent enough to have known beforehand that this was a stupid policy. While it is understandable that feminists want rape prosecuted, the unfortunate truth is that some women lie about rape to get back at men. It happens, and they often use the very policies feminists put in place to make it easier to convict men of rape.
The solution here is to leave these matters in the hands of the criminal authorities, and to rely on the legal standard of criminal prosecution. After all, rape is a criminal offense and until a person is convicted in a criminal court, nothing should be done to the student. A school should be allowed to ask the accused not to attend school should their presence present a safety issue for other students or the accused. However, punishing them with expulsion with the slimmest of evidence is patently absurd.
That is something everyone should be able to agree with, and it should not take having it happen your son to realize that.