The Slippery Slope of Consent Laws

I am not a fan of slippery slope arguments. Far too often people see something they do not like and assume the absolute worst possibility with no evidence. Yet sometimes these arguments are fair. One such instance is the argument against consent laws.

Feminists have pushed these laws for years. They have been most successful on college campuses. Many colleges and universities now institute policies that essentially require the accused to prove no assault occurred. Often included in these policies are provisions that require other parties to act on behave of the alleged victim.

A recent case shows the inherent problem with these provisions:

The University of Southern California found a male student, “John Doe,” responsible for sexual assault and suspended him for two years. But his alleged victim, a female student, “Jane,” maintained that the sex between them was consensual.

Doe was ultimately punished, not because he hurt Jane, but because he did nothing to prevent two other males from having rough sex with her—from slapping her on the buttocks—during an orgy.

Just so it is clear: John Doe was punished for a crime he did not commit.

This is precisely the kind of situation due process is designed to prevent. However, feminists have eroded this in college proceedings. A person, typically female, need only make an allegation and many college displinary boards will simply take the accuser’s word.

In this case, both the alleged victim and the accused claim the sex was consensual. This young man is not being punished for his own actions, but because he did not stop someone else’s actions, as if that were his responsibility.

It gets worse. According to the report, Doe and two other men met the alleged victim at a fraternity party. The group later had group sex, which all parties involved agreed was consensual. The problem starts when Jane, the alleged victim, claims that while John was fine, the other two men became “rough” and engaged in butt slapping.

Here is where it gets interesting:

At no point did Jane tell any of the men to stop, but she did begin to cry after the slapping. All sexual activity then ceased. Jane later texted Doe that she had a good time with him, but “your friends suck though.” She approached him again at a party some weeks later, but he declined to dance with her.

Months later, in August of 2014—after discussing her “confidence issues” with a counsellor—Jane decided that the incident constituted sexual assault and filed a complaint. Still, she maintained that she had consented to sex with Doe: it was the other men who had violated her.

USC disagreed, and accused Doe of violating 11 different sections of the student code of conduct, including “endangering the health of others,” “engaging in obscene behavior at a university-sponsored event,” and “engaging in non-consensual sexual touching.”

This does not make any sense. By Jane’s admission, John did nothing wrong. Yet because of the provisions in the college policy, he could be held responsible for something he did not do. This is despite Jane explicitly stating John did not assault her. Of course, Jane is not the most helpful in this case:

Jane submitted a letter detailing the difficulties she had experienced after the incident, which she characterized as a rape. She also stated that she is uncomfortable on campus knowing that John was still there, and concluded, “I do not believe that the University is enforcing its Title IX responsibilities for responding effectively and immediately to reports of sexual harassment, or quelling what is currently a hostile environment. I expect that the University will hold [sic] its original decision for my case in order to ensure my safety, comfort, and peace on this campus.”

We are now to believe that she fears John despite admitting he did not assault her and Jane contacting him afterward and attempting to go out with him again.

The premise of this case is ridiculous. The woman engaged in consensual sex she later regretted. Only after speaking with a counsellor did she conclude she was raped. Yet she failed to inform the men of her view on rough sex or that the butt slapping was undesired. While neither of these are acceptable if someone does not want to do them, it is a stretch to call them rape.

The case should have been dismissed before it made reached the displinary board. Even had it reached the boards, the only responsible parties should have been the men Jane accused, not John.

Again, it is cases like this why we have due process. No one should be held responsible for someone else’s actions. This is a fundamental aspect of the law that has been thrown out because of feminists.

Feminists will likely argue that this is an outlier. They will likely claim that the policies protect against such abuse. They will likely claim that even if this case is wrong, the policies need to be in place to protect women.

The problem with all those arguments is that they completely ignore the violations against the accused. It sets up a system that begs for misuse and false accusations. There is no concern for those whose rights and lives will be trampled and ruined. There is only concern that the accused be punished, even if the accused has done nothing wrong.

There is some good news:

Thankfully, the Court of Appeals agreed with him. Its decision is a strong affirmation of both due process protections and common sense. USC obviously denied Doe a fair hearing, relied on hearsay to convict him, and nonsensically suspended him for the non-crime of failing to stop the butt-slapping.

This case is so egregious that John Doe will likely win his lawsuit. There is simply no way to justify the initial claims of rape or the switched claim of failure to act.

This should be a warning, however, of the dangers of removing due process from rape cases. While feminists may favor the reduction, the rational among us must understand the horrors that can result from these kind of policies.

6 thoughts on “The Slippery Slope of Consent Laws

  1. While the case is egregious, don’t expect that John Doe will get justice. Paul Nungesser’s suit against Columbia was dismissed.
    Given the cavilier attitude to due process, collectively men can claim that cllege in a a “hostile enviorment” and sue under Title XI.

  2. “Feminists will likely argue that this is an outlier.”

    I hope they do! I’m afraid they will argue it is totally justified and that ALL MEN are guilty of similar crimes all the time.

  3. Peterman:

    As just one example.

    Ampersand is always good for a dose of stupid logic. I am unsure if his position has changed in the last nine years.

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