Psychopathic Quote Of The Day
Tim Cavanaugh at Reason Hit and Run has a good run-down of the basic travesty:
A Stanford University student accused of sexual assault in an incident that the Palo Alto police and prosecutor investigated and declined to pursue nevertheless was convicted by a student court under relaxed evidence standards introduced by U.S. Department of Education.Being logical and persuasive indicates somebody is an abuser? Bullshit! (I say that rather than a logical, persuasive argument lest anyone accuse me of being abusive.)
In the Rupert Murdoch-owned New York Post, Princeton alumna Samantha Harris reports that the student court – which I guess is what you would get if you replaced kangaroos with students in a kangaroo court – changed its standard mid-trial, in response to a letter from Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR):
At the time the student was charged, Stanford was using the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard -- the highest standard of proof, used by courts in criminal cases. But after OCR's letter, Stanford shifted to the "preponderance" standard in the middle of his case.
Plus, the campus panel that heard the case had been "trained" using documents boldly proclaiming that "everyone should be very, very cautious in accepting a man's claim that he has been wrongly accused of abuse or violence" and that one indication of an abuser is that he will "act persuasive and logical."
Perhaps the Stanford student acted too logically: He was promptly found guilty and suspended for two years. But because the OCR's letter forces colleges to permit the accuser to appeal the decision if the accused may do so, she has appealed and is seeking permanent expulsion of her alleged attacker.
If I were a male enrolled at Stanford I'd transfer out as fast as possible. But Stanford student blogger Uncle Ruckus -- I mean, Peter "Shotgun" McDonald (that's how his name appears on his author archive page) -- argues on The Unofficial Stanford Blog that since rape victims were often disbelieved in the bad old days, "innocent until proven guilty" should not apply to men accused of rape today:
In most sexual assault cases, there’s pretty much only one piece of evidence that proves guilt beyond a shadow of a doubt: bruises. Often times, rapists aren’t so courteous. So it’s her word against his, in a society that is none too afraid to call women lying bitches when they act in ways that are displeasing to powerful men, and in a society where stories about attempted rape are auto-tuned and gleefully offered up as the latest Internet meme. For sexual assault victims that aren’t blonde-haired, blue-eyed, and still had their hymen in tact, the system’s kind of set up against them. But none of that matters because “INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY.” I’m pretty sure the people who developed that concept never had to worry about being the victim of sexual assault. [italics added]Is Peter "Shotgun" McDonald seriously suggesting the veracity of a given statement varies depending on the shape of the genitalia of whoever uttered it? Pete also agrees with Reagan appointee Ed Meese that people accused of crimes don't need too many rights because (to quote Meese) "If a person is innocent of a crime, then he is not a suspect":
The old Standard of Proof was not working, it needed to be changed. If the new Standard of Proof bothers you, there’s an easy solution: don’t sexually assault people.So if you're accused, does that automatically mean you're guilty? Not necessarily; turns out Peter "Shotgun" McDonald does concede that men can be falsely accused of sexual assault. But Peter says the victims were all asking for it:
If you carry the world view that false sexual assault allegations are commonplace, then don’t do anything that would make a woman want to file one against you. They don’t just come out of the blue. Think about cutting down on sex with blackout strangers. Maybe reduce the number of sexist insults you use whenever you get in an argument with a romantic attachment. Call your friends out when they do the same.Try applying McDonald's logic to women worried about being sexually assaulted: "Don't do anything that would make a man want to assault you. Attacks don't just come out of the blue."
As a woman -- a member of that half of humanity whose interests McDonald thinks he's championing -- I can only hope Pete's just trolling. Because, surely, he can't sincerely believe "Women sometimes behave like sociopaths, but men just have to expect that, and know not to trigger it," right? Nobody can actually be stupid enough to believe "That guy falsely imprisoned and charged with rape? Serves him right for being insulting."