Jessica Valenti's take on the Assange sex case in last Sunday's Washington Post was more of the same old same old, a mish-mash of the usual feminist victim blather about America's supposed tolerance of rape.
But then, just as we are nodding off, Valenti tosses a bucket of ice water on us by -- it seemed to me (you read it and decide for yourself) -- at least tacitly endorsing what would be the most unjust, inhumane, morally grotesque law in our entire jurisprudence. Read carefully what she says:
". . . we should look to [Swedish rape laws] as a potential model for our own legislation.
"In fact, some activists and legal experts in Sweden want to change the law there so that the burden of proof is on the accused; the alleged rapist would have to show that he got consent, instead of the victim having to prove that she didn't give it."
Valenti, who, by the way, is not above resorting to the cheap feminist trick of calling a rape accuser "the victim" (which means, of course, that the accused must be a "rapist"), seems to at least tacitly endorse turning the most fundamental act of intimacy, an act that has been performed countless times every minute of every day of every year since the beginning of time the world over, into a presumed felony.
Read that again. It's not hyperbole. Under the plan proposed by some Swedish legal experts, once a woman cries "rape," the accused male would be sent away to prison for many years unless he could prove consent.
What would this mean in practice? In many rape cases, there is no significant evidence aside from the testimony of the accuser and the accused. Under this plan, if the jury doesn't know who to believe, as is often the case, the male would be guilty because he is unable to meet his burden of proof. He will have lost the trial before it has begun.
From a legal perspective, such legislation would do an end run around one of our most cherished rights -- the right not to testify against oneself. At present, a prosecutor is not permitted even to suggest that the jury draw an adverse inference from the defendant's refusal to testify. Under this plan, the defendant would have no choice but to testify because it would be his burden to prove he didn't rape the accuser. It would be a setback to pre-Magna Carta days.
Reversing the presumption of innocence for consent is the radical feminists' Holy Grail. Linda Brookover Bourque's Defining Rape said in 1989 that the ultimate objective of rape reform is shifting the burden of proof from "the victim" to "the offender." It is the most dangerous, most radical proposal in this entire field.
But, you see, for Valenti and her ilk, there aren't enough young men rotting away in prisons for rapes they surely must have committed. If we flip the burden of proof for consent, America, which is already the prison capital of the world, would need to double or triple the number of existing prisons to house the young men guilty by reason of penis. Our colleges and our military literally would become pink ghettos.
The misandry underlying this proposal is so vile, so breathtaking, that it ought to frighten anyone who possesses a Y-chromosome, and anyone who loves someone who possesses a Y-chromosome. All of us need to be alert to the fact that this proposal lurks out there, and that there are committed zealots in this country who would love for it to be the law of our land.