November 12, 2014

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.

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