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September 29, 2014


Date-Rape-Accused Hacking, Outing, Videotaping

Ethically Dubious Remedies Alongside Court Wins

WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 29, 2014): College men accused of date rape are fighting back with ethically dubious techniques including hacking, outing their attackers, and videotaping their sexual encounters, in addition to bringing an increasing number of successful law suits to vindicate themselves, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf.

Last week, at the University of Chicago, individuals allegedly trying to keep “the Hyde Park community safe from people who publicly accuse other people of committing varying levels of gender-based violence without any proof whatsoever…” hacked into a website of the school’s student organization and posted the name and photo of an alleged rape survivor as well as this threat: “Hopefully the class of 2018 is paying attention because otherwise the UChicago Electronic Army is going to have to rape harder.”

The incident was apparently in retaliation for a post on Tumblr called the “Hyde Park List.”

That list claimed to identify male students “known to commit varying levels of gender-based violence.” It listed male students as either “code red’ or “code orange” – apparently a reference to the seriousness of their alleged sexual crimes.

“Creating so-called ‘rape lists’ of students who may or may not be guilty of sex-based offenses – ostensibly to warn female students, but also to shame the males – is both ethically dubious and may well open the perpetrators to legal action,” says Professor Banzhaf, who has written widely on the topic of campus date rape. On the other hand, hacking into computer systems and outing women is at least as wrongful, and two wrongs never make a right, especially concerning such a serious matter, suggests Banzhaf.

As colleges are pressured to be more aggressive in finding students guilty of date rape, it appears that a few male students are beginning to follow the advise on various web sites to surreptitiously videotape their sexual encounters to be able to prove afterwards, if necessary, that the act was consensual.

For example, four students at Hofstra University were accused of gang raping a fellow student, but were freed when a cell phone video indicated that the sexual encounter was consensual.

Likewise, a San Francisco lawyer, charged with raping three women, had the charges regarding two women dismissed because he had videotaped those encounters, and another man was found not guilty of an alleged gang rape after a Cook County, Illinois, jury was shown a videotape arguably showing some signs of consent as pointed out by an expert witness.

Although such videotaping – without sound – may not be illegal in many states, it’s likewise ethically dubious, and hardly a good solution to the problem of date rapes, and of students who may be wrongful accused of such actions and/or denied basic procedural protections in the campus proceedings determining guilt or innocence.

An alternative, albeit a very expensive one, is for males found guilty to bring law suits against their universities – about a dozen of which have already been successful, and at least twice that number are still in the courts, says Banzhaf.

When the system fails to provide justice, people will seek it on their own. What’s that old saying? Oh, right: No Justice, No Peace!