LOOKING AT AN EARLIER QUESTIONABLE CAMPUS RAPE PIECE IN ROLLING STONE BY NINA BURLEIGH, Tom Maguire notices a pattern.
SEAN COLLINS: Rolling Stone And The Myth Of A Rape Epidemic.
HANNA ROSIN ON CAMPUS RAPE INVESTIGATIONS: Many women on campuses may want catharsis rather than rigorous justice, which is fine as long as no human beings are sacrificed.
BUT REMEMBER, IF YOU HAD ANY DOUBTS YOU’RE A “RAPE DENIALIST” OR SOMETHING: ABC: Witnesses ignored by Rolling Stone undermine another key part of “Jackie” narrative.
Related: As UVA Rape Story Falls Apart; Feminists Try to Save ‘Rape Culture’ Narrative. “Rape culture” is real. Just in places like ISIS’ Iraq or Boko Haram’s Nigeria, not on American college campuses. Strangely, feminists are completely uninterested in doing anything about those places.
FREDDIE DE BOER: What progressives don’t want to talk about in the Rolling Stone scandal: A presumption of truth in every rape accusation is an impossible standard. And it’s doing real damage to the cause of fighting sexual assaults. It’s almost as if “fighting sexual assaults” isn’t progressives’ top priority.
ASHE SCHOW: Advocacy groups must believe rape accusers without evidence, others should not. “We now live in a society where the search for the truth — things like facts and evidence and true investigation — is labeled as victim-blaming and an impediment to justice. A society where an accuser’s word — and sometimes, a university’s made-up version of the accuser’s word — becomes gospel, and evidence provided by the accused is ignored. A society where false statistics are repeated and those who disagree are disparaged as ‘rape apologists.’” It’s not about helping rape victims. It’s about protecting a racket from dangerous scrutiny.
MEGAN MCARDLE: Lessons From The Rolling Stone Debacle.
When questions first emerged, a number of people treated quashing those questions as the moral equivalent of war, attacking the questioners as if being skeptical of a story was itself wrong — rather than exactly the spirit of inquiry that makes science, and public debate, work. Others pointed out that trauma victims often have fragmentary or contradictory memories, which is generally true of all eyewitnesses, not just trauma victims, and not really sufficient to explain the gaping holes in this particular story. When we get wedded to our narratives, we become blind. That is true of everyone — the people who were appropriately skeptical of this story as well as the people who weren’t — and we all need to be on guard against it all the time. . . .
Before the problems emerged with the Rolling Stone story, I saw a lot of people talking as if this story somehow represented a broad and pervasive problem on college campuses rather than a single incident. Even if the story had held up, this would have been a vast overstatement. All sorts of horrific crimes happen in America, and the legal system does not always get the justice we would like. They are not necessarily representative of American culture, or even flaws in our institutions; they are reflections of the fact that we live in a big country, and like any big country, we have some bad apples.
But people who are worried about the problem of false rape accusations are now in danger of making the same mistake. If Jackie’s story is a hoax, it is no more representative than it would be if it were true. It is one story. Were reporters and editors excessively credulous because of the nature of the accusation? That seems likely. But that doesn’t mean that most accusations of rape are false, or that feminists are happy to tell fake stories in order to advance the cause.
Well, I don’t know. I’ve seen a lot of evidence for that last proposition. Or if not “fake stories,” certainly “too good to check stories,” told with reckless disregard for whether they’re true or not.
AMY TAYLOR: Lena Dunham, I Don’t Believe You. “I don’t believe that you were raped or sexually assaulted. I don’t believe that you are a victim or a survivor. I believe that you are a psychopath that needs to be the center of attention.”
THE WASHINGTON POST’S ERIK WEMPLE: The full demise of Rolling Stone’s rape story. “[T]he shoddiest piece of journalism in recent memory. . . . Erdely’s mission appears to have been to present as sensational and damaging an account of fraternity excesses as she could gather.”
ASHE SCHOW: Due process for everyone but those accused of rape. “‘[B]ecause essentially burden of proof is a defense of the perpetrator,’ said Stanford University activist Elisabeth Dee.” Due process weakens the state vis-a-vis the individual, so when lefties control the state, they’re against it. When they don’t, they’re all for it.
NOT VERY WELL: K.C. Johnson: How the Times Handled the Rape Report. While the Washington Post has been doing real shoe-leather reporting, the New York Times has engaged in shallow, slogan-affirming punditry disguised as reporting. In other words, pretty much what they did during the Duke Lacrosse case.
SENS. MCCASKILL & GILLIBRAND SAY: The Facts May Change, But The Narrative Must Remain The Same:
Sen. Claire McCaskill said at the hearing she is “saddened and angry” about the “bad journalism” in the Rolling Stone article.
The article was a “setback for survivors in this country,” said McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat. “This is not a crime where you have rampant false reporting and embellishment.”
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., echoed McCaskill’s concerns.
“Clearly we don’t know the facts of what happened or didn’t happen” in the alleged University of Virginia gang rape case, Gillibrand said. “But these facts have not changed: UVA has admitted that they have allowed students who have confessed to sexually assaulting another student to remain on campus.”
“I refuse to let this one story become an excuse for Congress not to fix a broken system,” Gillibrand said.
Actually, we now have a pretty good idea what didn’t happen, which is everything that was reported in the now-exploded Rolling Stone article. It’s not clear that anyone was raped, and certainly the lurid gang-rape-on-broken-glass scenario can be pretty much ruled out. It’s not clear that a fraternity was involved at all.
What is clear is that Gillibrand and McCaskill leaped on this storyline when it looked good, and are now backpedaling. And Gillibrand also hung her hat on the Erdely military-rape story, which I predict won’t hold up well under investigation either.
I’d also like to know how much coordination there was among folks at UVA — Emily Renda worked in UVA President Teresa Sullivan’s office, and on the White House “It’s On Us” campus rape group, and I believe was the one who told Erdely about Jackie’s case — and Rolling Stone, and the White House, and Sens. Gillibrand and McCaskill. Perhaps someone will ask them, or submit a FOIA request to the White House and a state FOIA to President Sullivan’s office. Conveniently, McCaskill and Gillibrand aren’t subject to FOIA, but that doesn’t stop intrepid reporters from asking them.
I’d also be interested in hearing from reporters themselves: Was the White House pushing this story?
Jackie has now given her friends two different names for the man she was with that night. Neither of them was in fact with her, ever dated her, or even knew her all that well. She appears to have invented a suitor, complete with fake text messages and a fake photo, which suggests a capacity for somewhat elaborate deception. Jackie, though, has not recanted her story. Her attorney would not answer questions for the Post’s story on Wednesday and has told reporters to stop contacting Jackie.
Here’s the most disturbing journalistic detail to emerge from the Post’s reporting: In the Rolling Stone story, Erdely says that she contacted Randall, but he declined to be interviewed, “citing his loyalty to his own frat.” Randall told the Post he was never contacted by Erdely and would have been happy to be interviewed.
That could mean one of two things: Jackie could have given Erdely fake contact information for Randall and then posed as Randall herself, sending the reporter that email in which he supposedly declined to participate in the story. Erdely also could have lied about trying to contact Randall. Rolling Stone might have hinted at this possibility in its “Note to Our Readers” when it referred to a “friend of Jackie’s (who we were told would not speak to Rolling Stone)” but later spoke to the Washington Post. That would take Erdely a big step beyond just being gullible and failing to check her facts, moving this piece in the direction of active wrongdoing.
People on Twitter are imagining all sorts of scenarios that might be true, but at this point, Occam’s Razor suggests that the whole thing was a hoax. Sure, it’s possible that Jackie was making up all sorts of stuff, but was then actually raped, and then subsequently changed her story many, many times. But at this point, all we know for sure is that everything she specifically told anyone seems to have turned out to be either clearly false, or extremely questionable — and mostly the former.
THAT’S BECAUSE THE VICTIMS ARE MEN: Prison: The “Rape Culture” That Everyone Ignores.
DAVE WEIGEL: Rolling Stone, Lena Dunham, and the ‘Rape Culture’ Backlash: Why sensitivity to rape victims might have led to flawed reporting. “Breitbart News was pilloried for investigating this. The attacks were of the sort Cooke was arguing against; they seemed to imply that anyone questioning a rape story was endorsing the culprit over the victim. That wasn’t what Nolte was doing. As Eugene Volokh explained in the Washington Post, Dunham might have opened herself to a libel suit from ‘identifiable conservative Barry.’ To many people, not just conservatives, the media’s sensitivity to ‘rape culture’ seemed to lead to lower standards that damaged peoples’ reputations. Hence the backlash.”
There are a lot of women in media who will shriek at anyone, male or female, who departs from the preferred narrative. Fear of them produces lousy journalism and, sometimes, expensively libelous mistakes.
TELL ME AGAIN HOW ANYONE WHO DOUBTED THIS CONFABULATION WAS JUST A MISOGYNISTIC RAPE-DENIALIST: U-Va. students challenge Rolling Stone account of attack.
The scene with her friends was pivotal in the article, as it alleged that the friends were callously apathetic about a beaten, bloodied, injured classmate reporting a brutal gang rape at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. The account alleged that the students worried about the effect it might have on their social status, how it might reflect on Jackie during the rest of her collegiate career, and how they suggested not reporting it. It set up the article’s theme: That U-Va. has a culture that is indifferent to rape.
“It didn’t happen that way at all,” Andy said. . . .
They said there are mounting inconsistencies with the original narrative in the magazine. The students also expressed suspicions about Jackie’s allegations from that night. They said the name she provided as that of her date did not match anyone at the university, and U-Va. officials confirmed to The Post that no one by that name has attended the school.
And photographs that were texted to one of the friends showing her date that night actually were pictures depicting one of Jackie’s high school classmates in Northern Virginia. That man, now a junior at a university in another state, confirmed that the photographs are of him and said he barely knew Jackie and hasn’t been to Charlottesville for at least six years. . . . He said it appears the photos that were circulated were pulled from social media Web sites.
And remember, based solely on that Rolling Stone story, University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan illegally suspended all Greek activity. Now it’s not even clear that there was a fraternity involved at all.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Early doubter Robby Soave: “The degree to which everyone involved in this travesty of journalism failed at their jobs is almost unbelievable. But unlike the story of a gang rape at UVA, we now have incontrovertible proof of it.” Plus: “If the friends’ narrative is accurate, it seems doubtful that “Drew” exists at all, and is instead the product of some kind of catfishing situation. Compare that with Rolling Stone editor Sean Woods’ initial claim that ‘I’m satisfied that [the perpetrators] exist and are real. We knew who they were.’”
I DUNNO, PEOPLE SURE SEEM TO BE DOING IT A LOT LATELY: Megan McArdle: You Can’t Just Accuse People Of Rape.
People are frustrated by rape on campus and want it to stop. Their frustration is righteous, their goal laudable. In the name of this goal, however, they are trying to drive the rate of false negatives down to zero, and causing a lot of real problems for real people who are going through real anguish that goes far beyond weeping in the doctor’s office. The main character is a boy who had sex with a friend. According to his testimony and that of his roommate (who was there, three feet above them in a bunkbed), the sex was entirely consensual, if extremely ill-advised. According to Yoffe, after the girl’s mother found her diary, which “contained descriptions of romantic and sexual experiences, drug use, and drinking,” the mother called the campus and announced that she would be making a complaint against the boy her daughter had sex with. Two years later, after a “judicial” process that offered him little chance to tell his side, much less confront his accuser, he is unable to return to school, or to go anywhere else of similar stature because of the disciplinary action for sexual assault that taints his record.
As I’ve written before, the very nature of rape makes these problems particularly difficult. On campus, especially, sexual assaults usually offer no physical evidence except that of an act that goes on hundreds of times every day, almost always consensually, at those campuses. It involves only two witnesses, both of whom were often intoxicated.
The goal — and be clear, I don’t mean an unintended consequence — is to make campuses a hostile environment for men.
CLAIRE MCCASKILL AND KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND getting some flak for their stands on campus sexual assault. Has Gillibrand said anything about the Erdely fiasco, given that she used it to justify her bill, and that she’s relied on Erdely’s military-rape story — now presumably also suspect — to support her initiative on military rape?
JONAH GOLDBERG: USING ALLEGATIONS OF RAPE IN A GRAB FOR POWER:
Nine males were accused of being part of a heinous rape. The alleged injustice fomented a mob mentality. An enraged community wanted to skip any talk of a serious investigation, never mind a trial, and go straight to the punishment.
I’m not talking about the now-discredited allegations against fraternity members at the University of Virginia, but of the legendary case of the Scottsboro Boys, nine African American teenagers falsely accused of rape in Alabama in 1931. Despite testimony from one of the women that she had made up the whole thing, the Scottsboro Boys were convicted in trial after trial. All served time either in jail or prison.
Scottsboro is a landmark case in the history of the civil rights movement and the American justice system. Sadly, it was hardly an outlier. There’s a long, tragic history of African American men being wrongly accused and convicted of rape. The most notorious recent example is the 1989 case of the Central Park Five in which four African American teens and one Latino were wrongly accused and convicted of brutally raping a white woman in New York.
Clearly, the injustices involved in these cases are far greater than what transpired at UVA. No one at the Psi Kappa Phi fraternity faced the death penalty or went to jail. But the lessons learned and principles involved are timeless and universal; everyone deserves the presumption of innocence.
Apparently, Zerlina Maxwell disagrees. She writes in the Washington Post: “We should believe, as a matter of default, what an accuser says. Ultimately, the costs of wrongly disbelieving a survivor far outweigh the costs of calling someone a rapist.”
The Scottsboro Boys case has gone from cautionary tale, to model.
EUGENE VOLOKH: A TIME.com article discusses the Breitbart investigation of Lena Dunham — and seems to miss the basics of how factual claims are investigated. Yeah, they don’t care about that. They just don’t want people challenging the narrative of a Designated Voice Of Her Generation.
More from Eugene:
It thus seems that the TIME.com account isn’t quite fair to Nolte and Breitbart.com here. But my concern is much broader than that: The dig at Breitbart seems to me to reflect a dangerous attitude towards journalism. The implication, as I read the first quoted paragraph, is that an investigation of a story is hopeless — and thus pointless and even suspicious — as long as all one can prove is that some parts of the story are false. So long as Dunham might have been sexually assaulted (and she certainly might have been), something that of course can’t be proved or disproved at this point absent someone’s confession, what’s the point of checking into whether particular factual allegations are accurate? Details, details.
But it seems to me that a basic tenet of journalism is that details matter. First, they matter to people’s reputations. Maybe the fact that Dunham’s alleged rapist wasn’t named “Barry” is irrelevant to those who care about “sexual assault on college campuses.” But they matter to a particular man named Barry, whose reputation was jeopardized by Dunham’s labeling the alleged rapist Barry without stating that this was just a pseudonym. Likewise, while there’s no legal cause of action for libeling a political group, if it turns out that Dunham’s alleged rapist also wasn’t a campus conservative — the Breitbart story casts some doubt on that detail, though it doesn’t conclusively disprove it — then this little detail isn’t really fair, either.
Second, the inaccuracy of some details that a person gives does cast doubt on the accuracy of other details.
Yes, but they lie a lot, so they don’t really want people looking into things too closely. That’s basically all it’s about.
UPDATE: I’m watching Tamara Holder on Fox calling Nolte “creepy” and charging him with “destroying women” for investigating this and yammering on about how 60% of rapes go unreported, while igoring that a real person has been libeled. It’s a really embarrassing performance.
MILO YIANNOPOULOS: The Sexodus, Part 2: Dishonest Feminist Panics Leave Male Sexuality In Crisis. “Straight young men simply don’t want to know any more. They’re not getting involved. Some women, too, horrified by what lesbianised third-wave feminism claims to do in their name, opt out of the argument. The absurd result is that geeks, queers and dykes are dominating the discussion about how men and women should interact. Jack Donovan, for example, is gay, as is your present correspondent. It’s as if gays are the only men left prepared to fight masculinity’s corner.”
Well, with the occasional hypermasculine straight guy chiming in now and then.
Men, driven, as many of them like to say, by fact and not emotion, can see that society is not fair to them and more dangerous for them. They point to the fact that they are more likely to be murder victims and more likely to commit suicide. Women do not choose to serve in the Armed Forces and they experience fewer deaths and injuries in the line of work generally.
Women get shorter custodial sentences for the same crimes. There are more scholarships available to them in college. They receive better and cheaper healthcare, and can pick from favourable insurance packages available only to girls. When it comes to children, women are presumed to be the primary caregiver and given preferential treatment by the courts. They have more, better contraceptive options.
Women are less likely to be homeless, unemployed or to abuse drugs than men. They are less likely to be depressed or to suffer from mental illness. There is less pressure on them to achieve financial success. They are less likely to live in poverty. They are given priority by emergency and medical services.
Some might call these statistical trends “female privilege.” Yet everywhere and at all times, say men’s rights advocates, the “lived experiences” and perceived oppression of women is given a hundred per cent of the airtime, in defiance of the reality that women haven’t just achieved parity with men but have overtaken them in almost every conceivable respect. What inequalities remain are the result of women’s choices, say respectable feminist academics such as Christina Hoff Sommers, not structural biases.
And yet men are constantly beaten up over bizarre invented concepts such as rape culture and patriarchal privilege. The bizarre but inevitable conclusion of all this is that women are fuelling their own unhappiness by driving men to consider them as sex objects and nothing more, because the thought of engaging in a relationship with a woman is horrifying, or too exhausting to contemplate. And the sexodus will affect women disproportionately harshly because research data show that when women “act like men” by having lots of casual sex, they become unhappy, are more likely to suffer from depression and destroy their chances of securing a meaningful long-term relationship.
Read the whole thing.
ASHE SCHOW: Yes, False Rape Accusations Destroy Lives.
Maxwell and other activists might try to claim that signing up for classes late is nothing compared to what his accuser is going through emotionally, but I disagree. Sterrett now has the term “rapist” hanging over his head, which will follow him his whole life despite evidence that he did not actually rape anyone. Meanwhile, his allegedly tormented accuser is pursuing her future just fine.
I’ve talked to numerous other young men accused of sexual assaults they claim were consensual, who are now suing their universities for denying them due process. I always ask what effect the accusation has had on their lives.
A former University of Massachusetts-Amherst student who was expelled over an accusation of sexual assault — which he alleges was consensual — told the Washington Examiner that his life had been turned upside down. He said that during the school’s investigation, as he drove over a bridge on his way to class, he frequently considered driving over the railing.
We’ve reached the precipice of what false accusations actually do to people. With feminist activists telling young women that they can claim rape over every regretted sexual encounter, the number of falsely accused men is climbing — as is the number of lawsuits against universities alleging denial of due process.
How long until one of these young men can no longer handle the stress and pressure? Is that what it’s going to take for feminists to stop pressuring universities and politicians to convict more young men without due process or evidence?
They won’t care at all. Maybe we need a “Men’s Lives Matter” campaign.
UPDATE: We Should Name Rape Accusers: It is time to lift the veil of anonymity. I agree. There’s nothing shameful about being raped. Why act as if there is?
EUGENE VOLOKH NOT IMPRESSED WITH THE LATEST LENA DUNHAM LIBEL DEFENSE: Lena Dunham’s publisher says her alleged rapist “Barry” wasn’t actually named Barry.
Appalling. The book wasn’t a novel; it was a memoir, offered to readers as such. The copyright page, which I suspect few people read, does say that “Some names and identifying details have been changed,” but it certainly doesn’t tell people which ones.
Indeed, early in the book, when she mentions a boyfriend of hers and labels him Jonah, she adds a footnote: “Name changed to protect the truly innocent.” Reasonable readers, it seems to me, reading the rest of the memoir, would assume that “Barry” — whose name wasn’t accompanied with any such footnote — was actually named Barry. Even if not all readers would so conclude, many would, and quite understandably so.
How could Dunham and Random House do this? How could an author and a publisher — again, of a self-described memoir, not a work of fiction — describe a supposed rape by a person, give a (relatively rare) first name and enough identifying details that readers could easily track the person down, and not even mention that “Barry” wasn’t this person’s real name?
Yeah, I think Random House’s opening offer is just that, and that we may see at least one more zero on the check before this is over.
NATASHA VARGAS-COOPER: Hey, Feminist Internet Collective: Good Reporting Does Not Have To Be Sensitive.
Here’s something that’s also sort of “unfair:” not talking to seven unconvicted, alleged criminals about their involvement in a purported horrendous crime! It is not rude, shaming, or belittling to seek quotes from alleged rapists. Actually, it is what a responsible journalist does, even when it makes said journalist’s source uneasy. And if making a source uneasy makes a journalist uneasy, it’s time for the journalist in question to find another profession.
If the reporter behind the Rolling Stone story, Sabrina Erdely, would have spoken to the seven alleged rapists about their version of events — or even just a couple of them! — the magazine could have avoided airing “Jackie’s” strange, hard-to-believe, increasingly doubtful story. Or if one of her assailants said, “HELL YEAH WE DID AND SHE WANTED IT!”, that would have been good to know: that guy is a pig. Or maybe one of the seven accusers attempted to stop the assault? Or tried to help Jackie? Or fled the room for help? Maybe we should talk to that guy?
There is a horrendous, hidden bias in Rolling Stone‘s reporting: the premise that none of these guys would tell the truth if asked. Whether it’s because they are white, or in a frat, or were even possibly directly involved in the act, the notion that the only things these men would say are lies is a stupid and cowardly assumption.
If you are a front-line warrior in the war against patriarchy, know this: facts, no matter how complicated or unpleasant, should not be obscured because they “help the other side.” Ask yourself, soldier, is the cause of equality so weak that statements made by the frat boys would destroy it?
A few paragons of the feminist left have condemned Rolling Stone‘s statement for discrediting their source. As well as brushing off inconsistencies in Jackie’s story as exposed by The Washington Post. “It’s as if survivors are expected to go to victim finishing school,” tweeted Durga Chew Bose. Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feminist, added, “My next book will be Bad Victim.”
But they conspicuously have not chastised Rolling Stone for their unwillingness to fact check Jackie’s story and enter into a losing bargain with a source who refused to have her severe accusations scrutinized.
It is remarkable and depressing how many SlutWalkers, members of The Progressive Internet, and Earnest Feminists, believe that good reporting somehow equates to victim shaming. If you believe that putting the screws to alleged rapists is somehow anti-feminist then you are an intellectual dwarf.
A lot of those out there. They don’t want reporting, they want Narrative. Truth is optional.
JUDITH LEVINE: Feminism Can Handle The Truth.
“Rape denialism”: The charge is hurled at anyone who questions the veracity of a story, statistic (one in five women students sexually assaulted), or policy (yes means yes). And if men are slapped down when they question these orthodoxies, special punishment attends female critics.
One alleged serial offender is Slate’s Emily Yoffe—a.k.a. Prudence of “Dear Prudence”—a consistently responsible, intelligent commentator on women’s issues. Last year, Yoffe wrote a typically well researched, and empathetic, piece about the link between binge drinking and campus rape. In it, she gave some common-sense advice: Rapists target drunk women. To reduce the risk of assault, don’t get plastered to unconsciousness.
The response was fierce. Feministing pronounced the column a “rape denialist manifesto.” On Jezebel, Erin Gloria Ryan accused Yoffe of “admonishing women for not doing enough to stop their own rapes.” Many more piled on.
Feministing had been indicting Yoffe for “denialism” for years. In 2007, a woman wrote to Prudence, fearing she’d have to divorce her “kind, supportive, funny, generous, smart, and loving” husband for the crime of twice initiating sex while both were intoxicated—sex, by the way, that the woman enjoyed. Yofee called it as she saw it: ideology gone mad. The man was not a rapist, she averred. Indeed, “Your prim, punctilious, punitive style has me admiring your put-upon husband’s ability to even get it up,” Yoffe wrote, and encouraged the woman to enjoy the spontaneous lovemaking that alcohol sometimes sparks.
For the mitzvah of saving a marriage, Lindsay Beyerstein, in In These Times, administered Yoffe 40 lashes for cruelly trivializing the trauma of a “survivor.”
These critics are not serious people, and do not deserve to be taken seriously.
TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Ex school counselor sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison for having months-long sexual affair with 13-year-old student. “A former school counselor has been jailed for almost 14 years for having sex with a 13 year old student. Brooke Dinkel slept with the underage teen at her home while he was working there to earn money.”
UPDATE: Oh, hey, here’s a good illustration of the double standard. Remember, if Due Process will help a Democrat, then it’s good. If not, it’s Evil Patriarchal Privilege. Though if I recall correctly, people weren’t objecting to the representation so much as the gleeful cackling about slut-shaming the victim.
TERRENCE, THIS IS STUPID STUFF: Credulous Journalist Ponders Why Journalists Are So Credulous.
The expression “fake but accurate” is really all we need to understand the problem, and it’s pathetic that journalists at the WaPo level haven’t fully internalized the lessons of these old scandals. Tweeting one day and cogitating over the general problem the next — it’s so sloppy, so lazy, so stupid. . . .
I must stress that when McCoy took down his tweet, he shifted the blame away from himself, saying: “Just read more into the Enliven graph. It was a misleading graph. I’ve since taken it down.” He didn’t just take down the graph. He took down his own mistakenly self-assured statement: “Let’s be clear about one thing. Fraudulent accusations of rape are extraordinarily rare. This graph proves it.” It wasn’t just “a misleading graph” by Enliven. It was a misleading assertion by a journalist. If he’s done a mea culpa for that, I haven’t seen it.
What I love is how the fact that it was posted by a guy who graduated from Harvard last year is supposed to make it better.
LENA DUNHAM’S PUBLISHER: Rapist “Barry” Is A Made-Up Character. “Random House, on our own behalf and on behalf of our author, regrets the confusion that has led attorney Aaron Minc to post on GoFundMe on behalf of his client, whose first name is Barry.”
As Wilford Brimley’s character said in Absence of Malice, “Wonderful thing, subpeenees.”
UPDATE: From the comments: “It’s racist to name your fictional rapist after our President!”
J. CHRISTIAN ADAMS: Media Silence on Lena Dunham Rape Questions. “In Manhattan’s publishing industry, where magazines like Glamour, Vogue, and Marie Claire treat Dunham as some sickening combination of Madonna and Rosa Parks, there is probably hardly a soul aware that Nolte has wrecked Dunham’s story. Even if a few are aware, truth and falsehood in those quarters comes by the identity of the speaker. If conservative new media wrecks Dunham’s veracity, it will take weeks for the New York publishing world to acknowledge it, if then.”
Well, Sabo is on it. But he’s not exactly Glamour. . . .
MORE ON COLLEGE RAPE HYSTERIA: Emily Yoffe has a long, detailed piece. Here’s my favorite bit:
Assertions of injustice by young men are infuriating to some. Caroline Heldman, an associate professor of politics at Occidental College and co-founder of End Rape on Campus, said of the men who are turning to the courts, “These lawsuits are an incredible display of entitlement, the same entitlement that drove them to rape.”
You want to know what “privilege” looks like? It looks like Caroline Heldman.
ACTIVISTS WORRY: Will Rolling Stone Debacle Hurt Campus Sexual Assault Programs? My own suggestion: With rape rates already plummeting over the past 20 years, maybe the best thing to do is not much.
Plus, from the comments: “In this article, I see quotes from a bunch of people trying to cover their tails. Like the Duke case a few years ago, we see a university mob attack a small group of what now appears to be innocent students. It was not just one or two wrong details.” The more people talk about compassion, the less compassion they have for people who stand in the way of their ideological program.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Friend of UVA/Rolling Stone rape accuser: It’s not a hoax. This appears to be grist for the “something happened, just not what Rolling Stone reported” theory.
MARGARET TALBOT ON THE RESPONSE TO Rolling Stone’s UVA Rape-Tale Debacle:
There are people who will argue that if Jackie was assaulted at a fraternity that night, it doesn’t matter if the specific details are wrong, or uncertain. Erdely herself seemed to be gravitating toward that point when she said, on Slate’s DoubleX podcast, “Given the degree of her trauma, there’s no doubt in my mind that something happened to her that night. What exactly happened—I don’t know. I wasn’t in that room. I don’t know.” As Rosin and Benedikt point out, that’s the nature of reporting: the reporter is almost never in the room. But the specific details of an accusation do matter. Erdely must have chosen this case, among all the other campus sexual assaults she could have reported, precisely because its details were so horrible that she knew it would get our attention. . . .
That isn’t exactly journalistic due diligence in a case where such extreme allegations are being made.
Plus, a key point:
More than a decade ago, I wrote about the McMartin preschool case, and other satanic ritual child abuse accusations that turned out to be false. Back then, the slogan many supporters of the accusations brandished was, “Believe the Children.” It was an antidote to skepticism about real claims of child abuse, just as today, “Believe the Victims” is a reaction to a long history of callous oversight of rape accusations. “Believe the Victims” makes sense as a starting presumption, but a presumption of belief should never preclude questions. It’s not wrong or disrespectful for reporters to ask for corroboration, or for editors to insist on it. Truth-seeking won’t undermine efforts to prevent campus sexual assault and protect its victims; it should make them stronger and more effective.
Yes. And if people don’t want the truth, I am suspicious of whatever else they do want.
ADRIANA COHEN: Apparently, this Rolling Stone gathers no facts.
Memo to Rolling Stone: A fifth-grader would’ve done some basic fact-checking before potentially ruining men’s lives.
Hello lawsuits. This is media sloppiness at its worst.
In America, one is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty by a jury of one’s peers, in a court of law where both sides are adequately represented.
Rolling Stone effectively found the fraternity brothers “guilty” without due diligence or due process. This is dead wrong and warrants — at minimum — public condemnation. . . .
Rolling Stone has hurt not only the young men who were accused and the university, but also campus rape victims all over America whose stories may not be believed.
The owner of Rolling Stone magazine should fire both the writer and its editor today. Then lawyer up.
MICHAEL MOYNIHAN: Why It Was Right To Scrutinize The UVA Rape Story.
Back in the 1990s, a dean at Vassar College told Time magazine that a false accusation is not only an acceptable price to pay, but might even benefit the falsely accused: “[The wrongly accused] 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.”
There is, though, one point on which everyone can hopefully agree: if Jackie’s story proves to be false (or a dramatic overstatement of a still terrifying trauma), the damage done to those fighting the scourge of campus sexual violence will be incalculable. Because if accusations are never met with circumspection, prepare to see an increase in those who believe that all accusations are untrustworthy.
When you know that there’s an entire infrastructure of people willing to support a lie if it advances a narrative, it’s reasonable to be skeptical of any story they put forward.
BRENDAN O’NEILL: Rape Culture And The Ivy League Lynch Mob.
At Columbia, I was startled by some of the mob-like invective falling from the mouths of otherwise bright, well-read students. One group of female students said “the rapist” must be expelled. But he hasn’t been found guilty of committing rape, I said. “We know he committed the rape,” one said, with the kind of steely-eyed conviction that recalled (admittedly in a much less lethal context) how KKK members once “knew” that their black victims were guilty of raping local white women.
A male student told me my insistence that individuals suspected of a crime must be fairly tried and found convincingly guilty before we ruin their lives — and being expelled from a prestigious university for rape would undoubtedly be life-ruining — was evidence that I had fallen for the “liberal paradigm” of justice, which tends to benefit white, well-off men.
Yes, I imagine by current standards the whole Scottsboro Boys thing was an example of true gender justice.
DON’T SEND YOUR DAUGHTERS TO THESE LEFTY SCHOOLS: “Mass Rapes” At UC Berkeley. Or your sons.
TEACH WOMEN NOT TO LIE ABOUT RAPE: Sex victim con artist deported after police spend $150,000 investigating false claims. “An immigration board hearing heard city police and health officials spent weeks and over $150,000 this fall investigating Azzopardi’s spurious claims she was the victim of prolonged sexual abuse before realizing the woman — who Ireland’s media described as a ‘Walter-Mitty-like con artist’ — had spun a similar web of lies to law enforcement officers in that country a year ago.”
RICHARD BRADLEY LISTS people who should apologize for calling critics of the UVA rape story sexists.
TOM MAGUIRE NOTES SOME RATHER DRAMATIC REVISIONS to the WaPo story on the Rolling Stone rape debacle. These changes don’t make Rolling Stone look any better, but suggest that there may be something in there somewhere. Maybe.
UPDATE: Readers note that the changes are also consistent with a liar who keeps changing the story to make it more dramatic. True.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Rolling Stone Quietly Changes Its Rape Story Apology. “A note that initially said the magazine “misplaced” its trust in an alleged gang rape victim was edited Saturday to say the ‘mistakes are on Rolling Stone.’”
When contemplating a libel defense, you don’t want to be crossways with your only source.
TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Clarksdale teacher arrested on a charge of sexual battery.
A 23-year-old Clarksdale Municipal School District teacher faces sexual battery charges after allegedly sleeping with a student, according to the Coahoma County Sheriff’s Department.
Kristen Damon was arrested at her home Tuesday and remains in jail on a $25,000 bond.
Employed through the Teach For America Program, Damon taught seventh grade English at Higgins Middle School and coached soccer at Clarksdale High School.
No word on whether the student was male or female.
CHARLES C.W. COOKE: Rolling Stone, Rape Apologists. “Worse, it is increasingly clear that Rolling Stone is not only indulging in one of the most high-profile examples of rape apology in recent memory, but that it is also keen to blame the victim. In its retraction, the outfit squarely places the responsibility for the mistake on Jackie herself — a classic move.”
ED DRISCOLL: The MSM Gang-Raped the Truth This Week.
MEGAN MCARDLE ON JOURNALISM AND LIES:
As any journalist or cop or lawyer or academic can tell you, reality is usually complicated. Eyewitnesses are unreliable, narratives are cloudy, the data you want is missing or never existed, people seeking money or power have pushed deep into legal gray zones without quite breaking the law. It’s not that clearer stories don’t exist — Bernie Madoff committed a very clear-cut and mediagenic crime. But those stories are hard to find, because the perpetrators are at pains to conceal their actions.
Fabricators can create exactly the sort of story that becomes front-page news: an obvious and sympathetic victim, a clearly identified perpetrator who obviously broke the law, vivid details to hold the listener’s attention. They don’t need to backtrack and say “Oh, wait, no, that happened three weeks earlier” the way that real witnesses often do, or shamefacedly confess, when confronted, that they maybe left out a few parts of the story that didn’t put them in the most flattering light. In other words, they can give us exactly the sort of story that can get us a prize, because they aren’t constrained by the often banal and frequently ambiguous details of anything that actually happened. The very reason people like Stephen Glass and Jack Kelley were so successful was that lies generally make better copy than reality.
I’m not saying that most of the amazing scoops that get printed are false. On the contrary. But it is true that journalists get offered many, many amazing scoops that simply won’t stand up to scrutiny. We keep them out of the news stream by carefully checking the stories for inconsistencies and offering the accused the opportunity to respond. Thankfully, fabrications frequently reveal themselves as questionable when you try to corroborate the details — often because these oft-rehearsed tales are carefully set up to be completely impossible to check, and the source disappears when you press. There’s also a reason that so many of the worst fabrications we know about were created by journalists, who knew exactly what they had to do to get the story through the system.
Unfortunately, reporting by others suggests that Erdely didn’t do one of the basic things that reporters do to try to keep fabrications or exaggerations out of our stories: Check with the other side. It now seems clear that her story has always been essentially a single-source story; she spoke to Jackie, and people who heard the story from Jackie, none of whom turn out to have pressed Jackie for such details as the names of the accused. According to the Washington Post, when Erdely did press, Jackie tried to back out.
Going ahead at that point, in my opinion, pretty much turned Erdely from a victim of fraud into a collaborator in it. When your single source doesn’t want to stand behind the story. . . .
Related thoughts from Hanna Rosin. “One thing we know is that Rolling Stone did a shoddy job reporting, editing, and fact-checking the story and an even shoddier job apologizing.”
Plus: “Fake rape allegations may be very rare but they have a huge impact, especially when they get so much attention.” How do we know that they’re very rare?
IT’S A SUCCESS, AND A CAUTIONARY TALE, AT THE SAME TIME: Sexual Misconduct Witch Hunt Recently Concluded at Yale Without a Hanging. It’s not rape just because you later wish you hadn’t slept with them.
WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Media Furious With Rolling Stone’s Mishandling Of UVA Rape Story. Or, as it seems to be, “non-rape story.”
Reaction to Rolling Stone’s admission was both swift and furious from across the ideological spectrum.
“Rape on college campuses remains a huge problem,” the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein tweeted. “Tragedy of the story is it will distract from that/cast doubt on future incidents.”
Similarly, Breitbart News’ Mary Chastain called it “a complete disgrace to actual rape victims.” And the Washington Free Beacon’s Lachlan Markay said “Rolling Stone is really screwing over other victims who will now face even greater skepticism in reporting campus rape.”
Some journalists who defended the article, even after its many inconstancies came to light, blasted Rolling Stone for failing to vet the story properly.
“This is really, really bad. It means, of course, that when I dismissed Richard Bradley and Robby Soave’s doubts about the story and called them ‘idiots’ for picking apart [the story], I was dead f**king wrong, and for that I sincerely apologize,” Jezebel’s Anna Merlan wrote.
“It means that my conviction that [Rolling Stone] had fact-checked [the] story in ways that were not visible to the public was also wrong. It’s bad, bad, bad all around,” she added.
“Welp. Turns out many of us, myself included, were wrong to trust the story,” Slate’s Jamelle Bouie tweeted.
The apologies are nice, but other backers of the story also need to apologize for calling anyone who questioned it “rape apologists.”
TOM MAGUIRE: “I am delighted to see Phi Kappa Psi cleared; I am having a harder time believing that nothing of consequence happened to Jackie.” It may or may not have, and if it did, it may or may not bear any relationship to the story she told Rolling Stone.
ACCOUNTABILITY: Don Surber: Suspend UVA’s President, Teresa Sullivan:
On November 22, University of Virginia President Teresa A. Sullivan unilaterally suspended all activities by fraternities based on a report on an alleged gang-rape reported by the Rolling Stone.
Today, Rolling Stone for all intents and purposes retracted that story.
UVa.’s board should suspend Teresa A. Sullivan immediately. Her decision was arbitrary, rash and wrong. Even Delta House got some semblance of a trial in the movie, “Animal House.”
Even if the Rolling Stone story had been true, her response was unfair, prejudiced, and a sign of lousy judgment and poor leadership. But she could have asked simple questions — was there a party on September 28? do they have pledges in the Fall? — herself. Instead, UVA knew about this claim but did nothing until it was in Rolling Stone, and then she responded in a knee-jerk, hateful, PR-oriented way, one that punished the innocent but not the guilty in order to provide the appearance of firmness. That was a betrayal of her responsibility to the University of Virginia’s student body, every one of whom has the right to expect a President who will deal fairly, honestly, and sensibly with whatever comes up.
Meanwhile, I expect the members of the Board of Visitors who — briefly — fired her a couple of years ago feel their judgment was vindicated this week.
YOUR RAPE: Is It Clickbait? Does It Pop? “She was rape shopping: going from campus to campus auditioning rape victims, contacting advocacy groups and asking for introductions. But the rapes she found at Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Penn didn’t have the right narrative feel. They were just rapes, and she needed a cover-worthy rape. So she kept shopping until she found someone who would tell her a version of the story she had already decided to tell. . . . Get better rapes, Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Penn. Let’s face it: For magazine journalism, yours just aren’t colorful enough.”
Related thoughts from Tom Maguire.
OUT: WOMEN DON’T LIE ABOUT RAPE! IN: Washington Post: U-Va. fraternity to rebut claims of gang rape in Rolling Stone.
A lawyer for the University of Virginia fraternity whose members were accused of a brutal gang rape said Friday that the organization will release a statement rebutting the claims printed in a Rolling Stone article about the incident. Several of the woman’s close friends and campus sex assault awareness advocates said that they also doubt the published account.
Officials close to the fraternity said that the statement will indicate that Phi Kappa Psi did not host a party on Sept. 28, 2012, the night that a university student named Jackie alleges she was invited to a date party, lured into an upstairs room and was then ambushed and gang-raped by seven men who were rushing the fraternity.
The officials also said that no members of the fraternity were employed at the university’s Aquatic Fitness Center during that time frame — a detail Jackie provided in her account to Rolling Stone and in interviews with The Washington Post — and that no member of the house matches the description detailed in the Rolling Stone account. . . .
Will Dana, Rolling Stone’s managing editor, also released a statement with new doubt. “In the face of new information, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie’s account, and we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced,” he said in a statement.
Will U.Va. President Teresa Sullivan apologize for her evidence-free collective punishment of the entire Greek system? Actually, she should resign.
Ultimately, “the State” is a synonym for “organized violence.” “If you refuse to pay your taxes,” Representative David Brat recently noted, “you will lose. You will go to jail, and if you fight, you will lose. The government holds a monopoly on violence. Any law that we vote for is ultimately backed by the full force of our government and military.” In consequence, Brat proposed, we should be careful about when and how that violence is utilized. Certainly, civilized nations need laws. But it is one thing to recruit armed men to prevent murder and rape and grievous bodily harm, and it is quite another to do so in order to regulate the manner in which cigarettes may be sold. Eric Garner was not killed while robbing a bank or starting a fight in a bar, but while selling tobacco on the street without a license. Is this really what the state is for?
If you judge people by what they do, rather than what they say, then that is what the state is for, more than anything else.
Roughly speaking, this argument runs like this: 1) The state of New York wished to regulate the sale and taxation of cigarettes; 2) Eric Garner wished to violate those regulations; 3) As a result, he was subjected to the full force of the law; 4) In the process of its application, he died.
Was Garner killed deliberately? No, of course he was not. Whatever the protesters might be chanting today, intent matters a great deal, and we are quite obviously not dealing here with a premeditated murder. Nevertheless, we should all be willing to acknowledge that Garner would never have been so much as approached had the city not wanted its pound of flesh in the first instance. Because there are consequences to all laws — however minor — it is incumbent upon us to ask if those laws are worth the risks that they yield. What, I wonder, would the anti-tax rebels who threw off the British Empire make of the news that a man had lost his life for peacefully selling a “loosie”? Is this why governments are instituted among men?
Again, judging by actions, yes.
So I guess I was only just barely ahead of the curve with this tweet:
So as I understand it, Atticus Finch is now the bad guy in "To Kill A Mockingbird," because he doubted a story about rape.
— Instapundit.com (@instapundit) December 2, 2014
DOUBTS ABOUT THE ROLLING STONE STORY COME TO SALON: Rolling Stone’s UVA rape story backlash: When narratives are so compelling that we don’t notice unbalanced reporting.
TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Jury convicts Grand Rapids tutor of statutory rape of boy. “The teen testified that he was a virgin before his involvement with Simon and she introduced him to a world of rough sex.”
ASHE SCHOW: If false, Rolling Stone story could set rape victims back decades. Yep. And can I say that a reporter who refers people with questions about a story to the magazine’s PR department doesn’t look like a reporter who’s secure with her reporting?
LIFE IN EUROPE: Paris Jewish Community in Shock Over Rape, Home Invasion ‘Because You Are Jews.’ Buy a gun, or get out. Nothing good is going to come of this.
THE PRESS HAS GONE CRAZY OVER A GOP AIDE WHO CHIDED THE OBAMA DAUGHTERS, BUT I’LL BET THEY PAY A LOT LESS ATTENTION TO THIS: Former Democratic congressional aide pleads guilty to sexual assault.
Donny Ray Williams Jr., 37, who served as a staff director for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee, pleaded guilty to third-degree sexual abuse, two misdemeanor counts of sexual abuse and one count of misdemeanor threats.
Prosecutors say that on July 22, 2010, Williams invited a female congressional colleague to his Capitol Hill apartment and promised to introduce her to Senate employees. At the house, prosecutors said, Williams spiked a drink with Ambien. The woman, according to court documents, fell into a “deep sleep,” at which point Williams raped her.
A month later, prosecutors said, Williams invited another woman to his home and gave her alcoholic beverages. They said he had sexual contact with her when she was too intoxicated to give her consent.
Williams had been indicted on 10 counts, but prosecutors agreed to dismiss the remaining charges. As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors said they would seek a suspended prison term and five years of supervised probation. Williams also would have to register as a sex offender for 10 years.
Will the Washington Post send someone to look into his college records?
WOMEN MEN NOT TO LIE ABOUT RAPE! Student Fakes a Rape Threat to Advance Diversity Initiatives: The truth about the threat was revealed in a federal investigation.
A federal investigation revealed that a racist rape threat against a University of Chicago student activist was actually fake, written by the student’s friend to gain support for their cultural-sensitivity initiatives.
Freshman Derek Caquelin posted a threat against junior Vincente Perez on his own Facebook wall on November 18 — and then claimed a racist hacker must have done it. . . .
Perez had co-written a petition earlier in November demanding that the university address cultural-sensitivity issues after he saw students wearing Mexican Halloween costumes that had offended him. The petition’s demands included “a mandatory cross-cultural competency program” and faculty “diversification.”
Caquelin’s Facebook page makes it obvious that he is an activist for the same campus initiatives and causes as Perez. In fact, he often directly shares Perez’s own posts on cultural diversity issues.
The media spoke highly of Perez when the rape threat came out.
Of course they did. So what’s the punishment for doing something that made many other students feel unsafe?
TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Ex-Phoenix teacher pleads guilty to sexual conduct with student. “A former physical-education teacher in the Phoenix Elementary School District pleaded guilty Monday in Maricopa County Superior Court to a series of sex charges for engaging in sexual conduct with a 12-year-old former student. Nicole Wooten, 38, pleaded guilty to sexual conduct with a minor, attempted child molestation and attempted sexual conduct with a minor for the crimes that took place with the eighth-grade student from 2005 to 2006, according to court documents.”
WASHINGTON POST: Rolling Stone whiffs in reporting on alleged rape. “This lapse is inexcusable: Even if the accused aren’t named in the story, Erdely herself acknowledges that ‘people seem to know who these people are.’ If they were being cited in the story for mere drunkenness, boorish frat-boy behavior or similar collegiate misdemeanors, then there’d be no harm in failing to secure their input. The charge in this piece, however, is gang rape, and so requires every possible step to reach out and interview them, including e-mails, phone calls, certified letters, FedEx letters, UPS letters and, if all of that fails, a knock on the door. No effort short of all that qualifies as journalism.”
Funny, the Rolling Stone fact-checkers in Almost Famous seemed super-rigorous. Of course, that was for a story that made rock stars look bad. . . .
Related: Thoughts from K.C. Johnson, who has some experience with such things.
TOM MAGUIRE HAS further doubts about that UVA gang-rape story.
MEGAN MCARDLE: UVA Should Help Police Catch Alleged Rapists — Now.
I wrote last week about the explosive rape allegations against a University of Virginia fraternity in Rolling Stone. This morning I see that Richard Bradley, a former editor at George who had the unhappy distinction of having been taken in by Stephen Glass, is raising questions about the story and the reporting by the author, Sabrina Rubin Erdely.
I read Bradley’s article and thought, “well, if there are problems with Erdely’s story, it will probably come out eventually, because there’s enough detail that can be checked.” But there’s a corollary to that: If the Rolling Stone article’s allegations are true, there’s also enough detail to put at least a couple of people in jail, and possibly the whole group, even if Jackie (the victim) is reluctant to assist the investigation.
For starters, there are two people whom the university can surely identify right now. First is “Drew,” the boy who worked as a lifeguard at the university pool with her, invited her to the party, and handed her over to his brothers to be raped. There are about 80 brothers in this fraternity; the odds that more than one of them was an upperclassman lifeguard in 2012 seem pretty small, unless this happens to be the swim team frat.
Second is the kid who raped her with a beer bottle when he found himself unable to maintain an erection; she says she recognized him as a classmate from a small anthropology discussion group. The story strongly implies that the rape was an initiation ritual for the fraternity, and since fraternity rush takes place in the second half of freshman year at UVA, this boy was almost certainly a sophomore, or maybe an upperclassman who transferred in. At any rate, it’s very unlikely that there is more than one young man who was a new member of Phi Kappa Psi in 2012, and also a member of lower-level anthropology class. The university ought to be able to identify these two young men in a matter of a few hours.
But the university may well be able to identify everyone, because the story strongly suggests that an entire new class of Phi Kappa Psi brothers participated in a gang rape, either of Jackie or of the two other girls who she learned were also gang raped at the fraternity around the same time that she had been. As far as I can tell, Virginia has no statute of limitations on rape, which means the police should be aggressively investigating these sickening allegations. The university has a duty to its own community, and to the community at large, to do its utmost to identify as many rapists as possible, and help the police to bring them to justice.
And yet, what it’s done instead is to visit watered-down collective punishment on the entire Greek system. What does that say?
When I first wrote about this story, I found it baffling that the woman in charge of U.Va.’s Sexual Misconduct Board was so apathetic toward an allegation of a brutal gang rape. That question still stands.
I had some lingering questions about the account, namely some clarifying details about how Jackie was able to recognize someone in a supposedly “pitch black” room and whether Jackie would cooperate with police now that the story has become so public. Erdley did not respond to a Washington Examiner request for information and U.Va. never returned a request seeking to confirm that a student even came to the administration with a story about gang rape.
But as Richard Bradley pointed out, questions do not equal untruth. The only people who know for sure what happened in that fraternity room two years ago are Jackie and Drew, and the seven men who allegedly raped her and the other man who was egging them on and possibly her friends at the time. But none of them are talking.
Well, luckily we’ve got the solid-gold imprimatur of Rolling Stone on this story.
TEACH WOMEN NOT TO LIE ABOUT RAPE: Guardian: 109 women prosecuted for false rape claims in five years, say campaigners.
Of course, the gist of the story is activists’ claim that punishing women for lying about rape is unfair to women!!! “But Prof Claire Ferguson, a forensic criminologist from the University of New England in New South Wales, Australia, said it was not the norm to prosecute women for false allegations and that only those in the most egregious cases were charged, often where the accused man had spent time in custody.” So how many more false claims were there?
MEN DON’T LIE ABOUT RAPE: Shia LaBeouf’s Collaborators Confirm Rape Allegations.
Early Sunday morning, two of Shia LaBeouf’s creative collaborators, Nastja Säde Rönkkö and Luke Turner, tweeted some clarifications about the actor’s claim that he was raped during his #IAMSORRY project. (LaBeouf told Dazed that a female audience member “whipped my legs for ten minutes and then stripped my clothing and proceeded to rape me” during an early February performance.) Rönkkö wrote that as “soon as we were aware of the incident, we put a stop to it and ensured the woman left.”
All you people who doubted him — I’m looking at you, Piers Morgan — you’re sexist rape-enablers.
REASON: Is The UVA Rape Story A Gigantic Hoax? If so, who will be held accountable?
RAPE AND OTHER SEX CRIMES down by half since 1990s.
TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Female Teachers: The Sex Offenders No One Suspects. “Women are given more lenient sentencing than men, says Shoop, who has served as a forensic expert in hundreds of sexual abuse cases in the U.S. ‘My experience has been that females get time served and probation, where men get 15 years for the same offence,’ he says. A 2012 University of Michigan study, ‘Estimating gender discrimination in federal criminal cases,’ found a gender divide in sentencing generally in the U.S.: men received 63 per cent longer sentences on average than women, and women were twice as likely to avoid incarceration if found guilty. Two decisions involving former Oregon high school teachers, found guilty of having sex with students earlier this year, bear this out. Denise Keesee, 39, received 30 days in jail and ﬁve years probation for two counts involving a 16-year-old male student. In another jurisdiction, 56-year-old Charles McLauchlin was sentenced to almost 10 years in prison for second-degree sexual abuse and online corruption of a minor involving a 16-year-old female student. . . . The trust accorded female teachers is precisely what allows them to offend.”
MEN DON’T LIE ABOUT RAPE: Shia LaBoeuf Says He Was Raped, Piers Morgan Rape-Shames Him.
WELL, YES: Where UVA Went Wrong: Students Need to See Rape as a Felony, Not Just a Campus Infraction. But treating it as a felony doesn’t create work for campus bureaucrats.
MASCULINITY, AT A GUESS: Zero Tolerance For What? “The University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors on Tuesday unanimously committed to adopting a zero-tolerance policy toward sexual assault – although the university hasn’t figured out what zero tolerance means.”
You want to show zero tolerance for rape? Report it to the police. Plus, from the comments:
If this is true, and i suspect it iS, then a zero-tolerance policy is likely to dissuade many students from even applying for admission to UVa. Who would want to risk expulsion for having a sexual relationship that could be misinterpreted, intentionally or otherwise, as sexual assault?
WHY UVA COULDN’T WIN:
I’ve spoken at length about the troubling impact that campus adjudication with limited due process can have on the lives of accused men. I’ve spoken less, however, about the other problem, which is how it can leave predators free to commit more rapes. Helping victims focus on their own healing may well be better for the victims; I’m not an expert, so I couldn’t say. But it’s probably worse for the future victims. Expelling a man may be a pretty big burden on him, but we’d really like to put an even bigger burden on people who gang-rape 18-year-old girls; we’d like to lock them up where they can’t get at any more 18-year-old girls. I’m at least open to arguments that a college disciplinary hearing is what we need to combat “non-consensual-kissing.” But it is ludicrously inadequate as either a punishment for, or a deterrent to, what allegedly happened in that fraternity house.
Do victims have a right to stay home and focus on themselves, while leaving the predators who did it at large to rape again? Do administrators have a right to focus on the victims, rather than the risk to the community? These are hard questions, and I’m not sure I have good answers. But I do worry that by bundling gang rape into the catch-all category of sexual assault, in the hopes of raising the offensiveness of groping women and otherwise forcing your unwanted attentions on their bodies, we are also reducing the seriousness with which we treat gang rape.
When a currency is inflated, it loses value. That applies to moral currency, too.
SHOT: Under The Fourth Geneva Convention, “Collective Punishment” Is A War Crime. “Article 33. No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.”
CHASER: U-Va. president suspends fraternities until Jan. 9 in wake of rape allegations. “Faced with mounting pressure from students, faculty and alumni, University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan suspended all campus fraternities Saturday, an action prompted by a searing magazine account of an alleged 2012 gang rape inside a fraternity house at the school. The suspension, which includes sororities and other Greek organizations, will continue until Jan. 9, the Friday before the spring semester is to begin, Sullivan said in a statement posted on the university’s Web site.”
Snark aside, let’s remember what the University did here. It knew about this for quite a while, but didn’t do anything until there was an article in a magazine. Then it boldly and dramatically took action — against people who didn’t have anything to do with the alleged crime. As Ashe Schow says, another argument why universities shouldn’t be involved in prosecuting rape. Plus, while there’s showy collective punishment for the innocent, the actual accused were helped by the University’s mishandling: “In Jackie’s case, Eramo eventually told her that ‘all the boys involved have graduated.’ This meant the case was no longer in the university’s hands and if Jackie wants justice, she’ll have to go to the police, only now it will be more difficult as the attack was years ago, meaning evidence and witnesses may no longer be available.”
UPDATE: In the comments below, much skepticism about the Rolling Stone report. Well, I guess you can’t expect Rolling Stone to get it right every single time.
Related: Peter Thiel: Thinking Too Highly Of Higher Ed. The “church” metaphor isn’t just a metaphor. Universities descend from clerical institutions, and have adopted poses, and enjoyed privileges — like internal disciplinary procedures and semi-immunity on their campuses from ordinary law enforcement — that descend from those institutions, too. But that’s problematic in today’s world, and the contradictions are becoming more apparent.
TEACH WOMEN NOT TO LIE ABOUT RAPE: Man in Prison 19 Years Freed After Claim Recanted.
A man who had been in prison for nearly two decades was released from custody Thursday, two years after his supposed victim recanted allegations that he molested her.
Jerry Lee Brock, 55, had been in prison since his conviction for first-degree molestation in 1995. In 2012, the alleged victim, Regina Rush, came forward to say she made the whole thing up, partly as a way to get more attention from her mother.
HOW ARE WE GOING TO TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE IF THE CONSEQUENCES ARE SO SMALL? No Prison for Lesbian Teacher, 24, Accused of Raping 17-Year-Old Girl.
MEGAN MCARDLE: Campus Rapes And Kangaroo Courts.
I’ve heard some version of this argument over and over in discussing campus rape prosecutions: “not a big deal, because this is not the government depriving you of your liberty, it’s just a help for victims to get away from their rapists, and nothing really bad happens to the boys.
In the first place, the government is pushing for these relaxed standards of evidence and due process, via Title IX, which means that this is the government doing something to you. Not putting you in prison, to be sure. But — and I hardly believe I have to say this — getting expelled on a sexual assault charge is, in fact, something very bad happening to you. I don’t know why people keep saying that this is “all” that happens, as if it were the educational equivalent of having to change hotels mid-vacation.
Read BuzzFeed’s account of what happened to men who went through these college disciplinary processes to see just how big this can be. One man lost his job after an anonymous caller notified them of his “convictions” — which were for “non-consensual kissing.” It can go on your permanent record, making it hard to get into grad school — you might possibly recover from a youthful bad grades, or plagiarism, but our society doesn’t offer much rehabilitation for sex offenders. You’ll probably lose credits, and for those attending selective schools, it seems likely to me that a man with such a notation on his record would have a hard time enrolling in another elite school.
When people say this is “no big deal,” how many of them would shrug off having this happen to them, on the basis of a hearing where the odds are stacked in favor of believing the accuser, and double standards are often rigorously applied? Which is to say: when two people who are equally drunk have sex, the girl can be presumed to be unable to consent—while the boy is held to be fully capable of determining her level of intoxication, and of making the informed decision not to have sex with someone too much the worse for wine. And this in the name of promoting equality between the genders.
It’s like there’s some entirely different agenda actually at work here.
WHAT ABOUT BILL CLINTON’S? Why Is Bill Cosby’s Career Over, But Terry Richardson’s Isn’t? Actually, Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy — it’s as if there’s some sort of White Rape Privilege going on here . . . .
UPDATE: Various commenters point out that it’s unfair to put Woody Allen — who faced charges that seemed very dubious — in with the others. That’s a fair point.
IN CASE YOU MISSED THIS DURING LAST NIGHT’S AMNESTY TALK EXPLOSION: Top Obama bundler accused of child rape.
On Wednesday, Portland, Ore. police arrested Terrence Patrick Bean, who has been charged with two felony counts of having sex with a minor last year. This man is not just any old guy accused of having sex with a 15-year-old – he’s a big-money Democratic donor and liberal political activist with connections inside the Obama White House. Bean raised more than a half-million dollars for Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. . . .
A search of the Federal Election Commission’s campaign-finance database turns up thousands in donations every cycle by Bean to the Democratic Party’s most powerful leaders, including Hillary Clinton, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Sen. Dick Durbin, and Rep. Barney Frank, among others. Photos of Bean posted online show him flying on Air Force One with Obama.
Although this report is in USA Today, I assume the major TV networks — which haven’t even covered Jonathan Gruber — will give this story a pass. Remember: Making sure you know what they want you to know is job #2 for them; making sure you don’t know what they don’t want you to know is job #1.
DISCIPLINE AND PUNISH: The University Policy That Fails Everyone.
Amid growing concern over sexual misconduct on American college campuses, the idea that the accused don’t deserve full legal representation has put some feminists and university administrators on the wrong side of morality and of the law. Fortunately, the reaction against this overreach is gaining ground, according to a new piece in the New York Times on lawyers who are pushing back against the way colleges handle these kinds of disciplinary proceedings. . . .
Rape is a horrible crime. To say that young people accused of rape are entitled to fair legal protections isn’t to endorse, defend, or enable rape. Nor is it to ignore the struggles that victims have in being believed or getting justice or protection. Sadly, some people have lost sight of these obvious facts.
Nevertheless, sending a few more lawyers to college campuses will not change the cultural conditions that have led to widespread sexual assault. The dysfunction of campus sexual assault policy—for the victims and the accused alike—traces to the mess that college life has become for many students. Where binge drinking, drug use, and the hook-up culture have taken hold, vulnerable young people are exposed to painful and damaging interactions. Meanwhile, administrators are often reluctant to address these toxic trends, and ill-equipped to handle the fallout.
Young women (and not only young women) are not helped by a culture that celebrates casual sex in an atmosphere of unrestrained use of alcohol and other drugs. Feminists and others are right that the situation on some campuses is unacceptable, but the “affirmative consent” paradigm seems like a dubious solution in this context.
The upside is that it will make some lawyers rich.
TEACH OBAMA SUPPORTERS NOT TO RAPE: USA Today: Top Obama bundler accused of child rape.
Conservatives complain that President Obama gets a free pass from the media, which acts as a de-facto public-relations shop for the Democrat in the White House. Never has that charge seemed truer than now as an ugly rape scandal unfolds on the west coast.
On Wednesday, Portland police arrested Terrence Patrick Bean, who has been charged with two felony counts of having sex with a minor last year. This man is not just any old guy accused of having sex with a 15-year-old – he’s a big-money Democratic donor and liberal political activist with connections inside the Obama White House. Bean raised more than a half-million dollars for Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign.
“Bean has been one of the state’s biggest Democratic donors and an influential figure in gay rights circles in the state,” reports oregonlive.com. “He helped found two major national political groups, the Human Rights Campaign and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund and has been a major contributor for several Democratic presidential candidates, including Barack Obama.”
A search of the Federal Election Commission’s campaign-finance database turns up thousands in donations every cycle by Bean to the Democratic Party’s most powerful leaders, including Hillary Clinton, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Sen. Dick Durbin, and Rep. Barney Frank, among others. Photos of Bean posted online show him flying on Air Force One with Obama.
The scandal is escalating. Earlier today, according to local media Kiah Loy Lawson, allegedly 66-year-old Bean’s 25-year-old former boyfriend, was arrested by the Portland Sex Crimes Unit for sexually abusing the same boy. After the relationship between the two men ended, Lawson went public with claims that Bean had a practice of secretly videotaping himself having sex with others.
This story was first reported by the local press, and there have been vague references to sexual trouble for Bean and Lawson since June, but the national media has not picked it up. That oversight is politically convenient for President Obama as he tries to pull off one of his riskiest political moves ever with his amnesty executive order.
Telling you what they want you to know is job #2; not telling you what they don’t want you to know is job #1.
SADLY, AN “ACTUAL DEBATE” ABOUT A CHARGED SUBJECT AT AN IVY LEAGUE SCHOOL IS NEWS NOWADAYS: An Actual Debate About Rape At Brown. But don’t get too excited: “Since this is Brown, where then NYC police commissioner Ray Kelly was shouted down and prevented from speaking, the planning for the debate came with several indicators as to how students are supposed to feel.” Over sixty grand a year tuition for that. . . .
TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE: Connecticut woman, 25, had sex with friend’s 10-year-old son while babysitting: police.
WORRIED ABOUT CAMPUS SEX? LOWER THE DRINKING AGE. “A vast majority of college women’s rape claims involve alcohol. Not long ago, 18-year-olds in many states could drink legally. College-sponsored events could openly involve a keg, with security officers on hand to ensure that things didn’t get out of hand. Since 1984, when the federal government compelled states to adopt a drinking age of 21, college alcohol policies have been a mockery. Prohibition has driven alcohol into private spaces and house parties, with schools largely turning a blind eye.”
THE PROBLEM WITH CAMPUS RAPE POLICY HAS REACHED THE PAGES OF THE NEW YORK TIMES, WITH JED RUBENFELD WRITING: “They are simultaneously failing to punish rapists adequately and branding students sexual assailants when no sexual assault occurred.”
TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Local Elementary Teacher Indicted For 25 Counts Of Rape. “A local elementary school teacher was jailed and accused of rape of a child under the age of 13, sexual battery and gross sexual imposition. Lori Ann Anderson, 50, of Cridersville in Auglaize County, was arrested Friday on multiple charges that include obstructing justice and obstructing official business.”
TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Woman performed sex acts on a 7-year-old boy, police say. “An Albuquerque woman photographed herself engaging in sex acts with a 7-year-old boy and told police she couldn’t promise to not do it again, according to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court. Gwendolynn Lindgren, 34, was charged with criminal sexual penetration, among other things, after her husband told police he found photographs of her and the boy in emails on her cell phone.”
MILO YIANNOPOULOS: How British Police Cozy Up to Extremists in the Name of ‘Islamophobia Awareness.’ I suppose this explains why they were so anxious not to investigate the Rotherham rape scandals. By the way, have any officials been charged yet? Or, you know, lynched?
IT’S COME TO THIS: Ruth Marcus denounces campus sexual assault policies.
Ruth Marcus, a self-identified liberal and columnist for the Washington Post, had some harsh words for supporters of new campus sexual assault policies.
“[D]on’t drink so damn much,” Marcus wrote as advice from a parent to their daughter leaving for college.
That advice is crucial because, as Marcus wrote, “the line between consensual sex and sexual assault is not always comfortably clear.”
Her advice as a parent to their son going off to college revolved around being sure that whoever they sleep with consents, because the “consequences of misjudgment can be life-shattering.”
As an example, Marcus relays the account of a Yale student accused of rape by a woman claiming she was too drunk to consent, even though she invited the male student over via text. Two months after the encounter, the female student emailed the male student accusing him of rape.
“Let’s just start with objective fact: you raped me,” she said in the email. “You are a rapist.”
Thirteen months after the night in question, the woman filed charges against the man. He was eventually found not guilty.
Marcus notes the outcome of situations such as the one at Yale hurts men and women.
“To a young woman who sincerely believes she has been raped but seems, at least from afar, to have been pushed by the prevailing culture into viewing a bad choice as a quasi-criminal event,” Marcus wrote. “To a young man who lived under the shadow of accusation and expulsion.”
That “shadow of accusation and expulsion” is far more damaging that Marcus lets on (or realizes). As with the case of Kevin Parisi, whose anxiety disorder was exacerbated by a prolonged investigation of a sexual assault complaint lodged against him. Parisi, like the Yale student, was found not guilty, but just being accused was enough to cause him irreparable harm.
So too was the case of the male student accused by Emma Sulkowicz, who now carries a mattress for performance art and to protest the university’s ruling in favor of the student she accused.
I’m beginning to believe that women are just too fragile to handle a college environment. Perhaps they should be kept at home until they marry, or at most sent to single-sex finishing schools.
TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Ohio Elementary School Teacher Charged With Raping Her Son. “She likes teaching kids, young kids.”
OKAY, I GUESS “TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE” HAS OFFICIALLY BECOME A THING: Gloria Allred suing high school for alleged treatment of male sexual abuse victims. “Celebrity attorney Gloria Allred — well known for defending mistresses of famous people — appeared Tuesday at a press conference with the mothers of high school boys who were sexually abused by their female teacher.” Say what you like about Gloria — no, really, say what you like — but she’s got a good nose for a legal trend. . . .