Campus Rapes Must be Reported to Police

hunting groundBy Peter Galuszka

You can’t have it both ways.

The Virginia General Assembly is taking steps to make it mandatory that officials at state universities report to police allegations of sexual assault, except for crisis counselors.

The move follows the incident at the University of Virginia which was turned upside down by a flawed report in Rolling Stone magazine that a female student had been gang raped in 2012.

Although there are strong doubts that the rape took place in that case, it broached the issue that if a student reports rape on campus, school administrators may not be inclined to do much about it. The assaults often occur at parties where alcohol is readily available.

After the Rolling Stone bombshell hit, U.Va. officials temporarily suspended activities at fraternities and sororities to sort matters out. The university now has rules that ban mixed drinks and require sober monitors at Greek parties.

That’s a good step, but I think the General Assembly is wise to take it a step further with its requirement that alleged rapes be referred to law enforcement. Why not? Rape is a serious felony nearly up there with murder. Would school officials not report that one student had apparently killed another? Crisis counselors would be exempt from the requirement, so students in pain and unsure of what to do would still have a protected outlet to find help.

The Washington Post editorialized today that the legislature should take slower steps when considering new laws to help prevent campus rape. The newspaper believes that pushing ahead with mandatory rules on reporting rape would make victims not want to report anything at all. It wants to wait until a state commission tasked with reviewing campus rape issues deliver its report.

The Post is wrong here. Rape is rape. Of course it is incredibly personal, but if it is a crime, it should be reported as one. Doing so not only would affirm the rights of the victim, it also might help exonerate supposed perpetrators who have been falsely accused.

Having rape regarded as a true crime would demystify it and allow all sides to deal with it properly. And it’s not as if rape is suddenly no longer a college problem after the Rolling Stone story evaporated. A new documentary released at the recent Sundance film festival called “The Hunting Ground” is said to uproot rape cultures at schools such as Harvard, Notre Dame and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

If the film is accurate, Virginia legislators are right to address the problem, regardless of how the University of Virginia situation played out.

Incidentally,  poll taken by the Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University shows that 90 percent of voters survey think the police must be informed  of campus rape allegations rather than have them handle internally. The results were released today.

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21 responses to “Campus Rapes Must be Reported to Police

  1. Yeah, reporting rape to the police is the best thing for the victim and a surefire way to see justice prevail. The legal system treats rape victims wonderfully!

    http://www.cracked.com/article_21910_8-ways-legal-system-screws-rape-victims-like-me.html

    “Rape is rape.”

    Is it? According to the gentle souls here it’s only rape if the victim was drugged against their knowledge or forced. If the victim drugged themselves by drinking alcohol then they knew what they were getting into and should have exercised personal responsibility (no word on why the rapist didn’t have to exercise the personal responsibility not to rape).

    There are a lot of things Virginia needs to do to protect rape victims (Yes means yes laws would be a nice start) before forcing victims to go to the police is even close to a good idea.

    • You should go to a college fraternity party. I have one recent graduate and three in college now. I’ve seen a few fraternity parties recently. Everybody is drunk. The men, the women, hell I suspect the house dog is half crocked.

      If two drunks get together and have willing sex, who raped whom?

      • I’ve been to college frat parties…it’s a bunch of dudes who look/act/sound too much like one another and a bunch of chicks who look/act/sound too much like one another drinking. It’s like a family reunion where all the cousins are trying to have sex with each other. It wasn’t my scene and I opted to party with math and art majors instead.

        The person who wakes up the next day and realizes that what happened to them was not what they consented to was raped by the other person. I trust people to know the difference between rape and regret.

        • Your trust is entirely misplaced, as the campus policies mandated by the DOE/OCR Dear Colleague letter and the DOJ Blueprint letter, include subjective interpretation of sexual harassment (which includes sexual assault).

          In other words, by federal government fiat, if a woman feels sexually violated for any reason, it is rape.

    • What you’re advocating is that, when two parties make the same decisions, only the man should be held accountable for the outcome.

      Almost all college “rape” is a matter of mixed messages and confused consent. And college tribunals do not allow for a proper investigation or any rights for the accused.

      You advocate for a witch-hunt process rather than justice.

    • Fall Line, when I read the link you gave, the woman who reported the rape – and described her travails – said she was okay now, and that the man who raped her is in jail.

      The young woman who was raped at Vanderbilt had a similar outcome – she appears to be headed towards a productive and successful life, and her rapists are headed to jail.

      From what I’ve seen from the gentle souls here, their take is that rape is rape.

      You appear to have misinterpreted a discussion about the difference in rules for rape versus campus sexual assault. For me, it does not make sense to describe acts as rape on college campuses that do not meet the legal requirements for rape. If you are drunk and have beer goggles, you can still consent. If you are incapacitated, you cannot consent, and no one here has claimed otherwise. No one here has suggested that you have to physically fight.

      Some colleges explicitly consider any drunken sex rape and will adjudicate it accordingly. That is not the actual law, and it does not make sense.

      Believing that consensual drunken sex is not rape does NOT mean you believe it’s rape only if someone is drugged or forced.

      Asking for people to use some common sense and protect themselves is NOT the same thing as blaming them for their rape.

      Rapists are responsible for rapes. However, to give one example, the young girl at the link you provided had passed out at a party. She is not to blame for her rape – her rapist is. He is in jail, where he belongs. She is headed towards a good and fulfilling life, which is what she deserves.

      However, passing out a party is not a smart thing to do, and it leaves you vulnerable. Pointing out that it’s risky to drink to the point of passing out at parties is not quite the same thing as surrendering to the patriarchy. I don’t think it’s a good idea for men to do that either, and bad things can and have happened to them too.

      Yes means yes laws are not a good start. I am totally, 100%, in favor of no means no. I am totally, 100%, in favor of acknowledging we cannot expect a no if you are threatened or otherwise unable to say no. However, in normal circumstances, even a two year old has a “No” and knows how to use it.

      Asking people to say no when they don’t want to do something – anything, not just sex – assuming they are not under threat or incapacitated – is a fairly unexceptional expectation.

      I personally do not want to give consent in the way that would be legally mandated if yes means yes became the law. It’s not the state’s place to tell me how to have sex. Requiring me, by force of law, to talk dirty to my husband is an untenable violation of my personal autonomy and privacy. If I want to do that as my own personal preference, that’s my business, but it’s not the Commonwealth’s job to order me to do so or be considered guilty of a felony.

      • “Fall Line, when I read the link you gave, the woman who reported the rape – and described her travails – said she was okay now, and that the man who raped her is in jail.

        The young woman who was raped at Vanderbilt had a similar outcome – she appears to be headed towards a productive and successful life, and her rapists are headed to jail.”

        So we have two cases where rapists are headed to jail, the system works! You nicely ignore the point of the first piece (talk about missing the trees for the forest), which is how rough the system treats rape victims, which is part of my point as to why mandatory reporting is a bad idea.

        “If you are drunk and have beer goggles, you can still consent. If you are incapacitated, you cannot consent, and no one here has claimed otherwise.”

        No, they just keep trying to pick gnat shit out of pepper with where the line between “drunk goggles” and “incapacitated” is, which is why the floor for where consent can be withdrawn is as low as a single drink, otherwise the defense is “Well, I didn’t SEE her drink” or “Well, she was able to walk back to the dorm so she clearly wasn’t incapacitated.” If you just have your drunk goggles on and have sex with someone you were lead to believe was another person through your fun, amber colored glasses it
        clearly wasn’t rape!

        “Some colleges explicitly consider any drunken sex rape and will adjudicate it accordingly. That is not the actual law, and it does not make sense.”

        I’m sad state laws lag behind the standards colleges are setting for the students in their care. Of course, there are no laws on state books regarding cheating on a test, yet people have no problems with universities adjudicating those matters and kicking students out.

        “Believing that consensual drunken sex is not rape does NOT mean you believe it’s rape only if someone is drugged or forced.”

        Of course it doesn’t, but the use of “real” rape and the inability of some commenters to explain why, say, it’s legally fine that drunken testimony is inadmissible or why contracts signed by a drunken party can be vacated but a drunk rape victim can only negate consent if they’re “incapacitated” certainly lends itself to that interpretation.

        “Asking for people to use some common sense and protect themselves is NOT the same thing as blaming them for their rape.”

        And somehow the conversation never seems to be about asking rapists to use some common sense and protect themselves from rape allegations, the onus is completely on victims.

        I can’t see how anyone would think that was victim blaming, especially when it’s coupled with something as nonjudgmental as:

        “However, passing out a party is not a smart thing to do, and it leaves you vulnerable.”

        “Pointing out that it’s risky to drink to the point of passing out at parties is not quite the same thing as surrendering to the patriarchy. ”

        No one said it was, but if you want to keep arguing with the voices in your head then be my guest.

        “I personally do not want to give consent in the way that would be legally mandated if yes means yes became the law.”

        Did they define a form that would need to be filled out when I wasn’t looking?

        “It’s not the state’s place to tell me how to have sex.”

        You must hate laws against beastiality, pedophelia and statutory rape, too, then.

        “Requiring me, by force of law, to talk dirty to my husband is an untenable violation of my personal autonomy and privacy.”

        – Hey, are you in the mood?
        – Yeah, let’s go.

        Truly salacious.

        “If I want to do that as my own personal preference, that’s my business, but it’s not the Commonwealth’s job to order me to do so or be considered guilty of a felony.”

        Are you afraid your husband is going to go to the police because you didn’t extract a ‘yes’ from him?

        • Clearly, you prefer a nanny state in which all men are presumed rapists and all women are held blameless for any choice they make.

          In other words, you despise equity, justice and common sense. You ARE the problem.

          • LifeOnTheFallLine

            I’m just a humble member of the misandry infantry, a proud fighter in 38th Bombin’ Bella Azbugs.

            There, now I’ve at least written something down here that more closely resembles the version you have of me in your head.

          • That’s the first honest thing you’ve posted here.

        • Actually, quite a decent percentage of the high-profile rape cases – the ones that actually make the papers – wind up with the perpetrator going to jail. I did not ignore the point of your first piece – but, bluntly, they have nothing to do with the proposed laws.

          Mandatory reporting laws require reporting. They do not require victims allow rape kits be taken. They do not require that the victim cooperate with the prosecution. Basically, they get names, dates, and some basic facts.

          I haven’t seen anything that would mandate the victim cooperate. It does help when police can tell a victim – you are the fourth report we’ve gotten on this guy – can you help us stop him? It’s still the victim’s choice.

          I strongly disagree that people are trying to conflate beer goggles and truly incapacitated. I also strongly, strongly disagree that it makes sense to make the threshold a single drink. The issue is not, did you have fun, the issue is, did you consent, and were you able to consent – and that is what makes it rape or not rape.

          My understanding is that you actually CAN sign a legally binding contract drunk, although it is not binding if you were incapacitated. I would suggest you talk to your business lawyer before you go signing things thinking that a couple of martinis will get you out of it, unless you can prove you were slipped something without your knowledge.

          My understanding is that you CAN testify, even if you were drunk, although if you are intoxicated, the defense is likely to raise the point to suggest you are less credible. So, to the best of my knowledge and belief, neither of your analogies are actually accurate.

          I am not sad state laws are not the same as the standards colleges are setting for students. The students are not “in their care” -way to infantilize – they are legal adults. No one has a problem with universities adjudicating academic matters, such as cheating. That’s their job – and realize, the standard for adjudicating cheating is clear and convincing evidence, a much higher standard than the OCR allows college to use with rape. I have huge problems with universities adjudicating felonies, something they are grossly unqualified to do.

          No one has said a drunk rape victim can only negate consent if they’re incapacitated. Anyone can negate consent at any time. The point is that consent freely given is still valid if you are just drunk – the threshold where you cannot consent is when you become incapacitated.

          And I’m sorry, but if your take on victim blaming is pointing out that passing out at parties is a high risk behavior, while noting that only a rapist is to blame for rape, then we have VERY different standards of what victim blaming is.

          Suggesting that rapists use common sense is just stupid. The point is not protecting rapists. No one here wants to protect rapists. The point is making sure that the people you accuse actually are rapists. The person falsely accused of rape is also a victim.

          You don’t appear to understand what yes means yes actually is. At all.

          Yes means yes means that each step of each sexual encounter – each touch and each escalation – each new body part you touch, and each different way you touch – must be clearly and specifically approved. In practice, that means verbally. Which, in practice, means turning any sexual encounter into a verbal checklist that’s the intimate equivalent of an x-rated IRS form 1040.

          “Hey are you in the mood, yes, let’s go” does not remotely meet the requirements of yes means yes. Apparently you don’t understand what you’re asking for.

          I am afraid of turning the way that ordinary consenting adults have intimate relations into felonies, yes. Do I think my husband would go to the police? Of course not. Do I think it’s a good idea to make typical sex into a felony? Not really, no.

  2. Are college students not adults? I’d imagine 95% of them are.

    Now we have a lot of different “privileges”….clergy, law, doctor, counselor, social worker, etc.

    I don’t understand the need to “de-adultify” college students. If a 20 year old girl wants to go to a professor in confidence to talk about a messy sexual situation (which may or may not be a rape), I just don’t understand why that should be any different than talking to her minister or counselor as an adult. The minister or counselor can keep the information confidential and privileged.

    A lot of college students are far away from home. They develop relationships of trust with a professor. (I know I did, I had a professor who was extremely helpful with my career). The idea that they can’t approach a professor to talk about a situation at a frat party without fear of being “narc’d” on is absurd. But that’s the clown show in Richmond…..

    • Well said, Cville!

    • If a college girl (I use that term deliberately, as most are not even of legal drinking age) wants confidential advice on a sexual encounter, every campus has crisis counselors who have immunity from reporting requirements.

      We can’t, on the one hand, blame college administrations for sweeping sexual assault under the rug and, on the other hand, allow them to NOT report a crime to the proper authorities.

  3. The General Assembly over-reached again. The requirement should be that Virginia universities cannot undertake internal rape investigations without also involving the police. The universities should not become surrogate courts prosecuting felonies which, for whatever reason, aren’t being brought to the real courts.

    • Of course there is an issue here that is not reported on by any media outlet….

      A lot of police departments and prosecutors are very reluctant to prosecute he said/she said cases without any other proof. Contrary to bad stereotypes, a lot of people in law enforcement take their jobs seriously and aren’t all bloodthirsty conviction artists. They realize that someone’s freedom is on the line and you’ll find a lot of those cases not prosecuted.

      I agree that university courts shouldn’t displace criminal courts. But what about when criminal courts don’t act? Should the university court not act as well?

      I haven’t heard this addressed in the debate. I’d be interested to hear people’s thoughts on this.

      • Most alleged rape claims are not prosecuted because there is insufficient evidence to warrant putting a mans’ freedom on the line – as is appropriate in a legal system that grants rights of due process to the accused.

        Campus tribunals, on the other hand, are ordered by the DOE/OCR to use the lowest standard of proof and to deny the accused any protections or support.

        What you advocate is a witch-hunt process rather than justice.

  4. For an in-depth expose of the evolution of universities from institutions of higher learning into witch-hunt tribunals for the “rape culture” advocates, see: New Puritanism – New Paternalism: The “Rape Culture” Narrative Demeans Women, Demonizes Men, and Turns Universities into Witch Hunt Tribunals

    The deprivation of basic constitutional rights for men and their attempts to fight back are addressed in: The Pendulum Reverses – Again: The Betrayal of Liberty on America’s Campuses & Men Strike Back against Title IX Tribunals

  5. Pingback: All Opinions Are Local: Blankenship is on his own for legal fees | Local National News

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