Monday, April 22, 2013

The public discourse about sexual assault hits an all-time low: first, keeping an open mind about a rape investigation is 'rape apology'; now, calling for due process on campus is 'rape culture' and 'victim blaming'

The public discourse about sexual assault has hit an all-time low as evidenced by articles penned by two feminists appearing in major on-line sites in the past few days. Neither advances the public discourse on this critical issue in a serious or helpful way; both underscore a disturbing trend that seeks to silence anyone who dares to voice concern for the presumptively innocent when it comes to sexual assault.

First, Jezebel's Katie Baker suggests that keeping an open mind about a rape claim is rape apology. See our take on it here and Baker's article here.

Now, Jessica Wakeman at The Frisky is attacking Judith Grossman's perceptive article about the absence of due process protections for college men accused of sexual assault as "rape culture" and "victim blaming." She doesn't bother to discuss, much less challenge, Ms. Grossman's informed indictment of the college disciplinary system as grossly unfair to men accused of sex offenses. Instead, Wakeman insists on changing the subject to proclaim that rape is rampant on campus, that women don't lie about rape, and that rapists aren't punished severely enough. Wakeman is indignant that anyone would dare to speak up for the presumptively innocent, likely because, to her, an accusation is as good as an adjudication of guilt -- if only that pesky due process nonsense weren't in the way! Her biggest beef seems to be that Grossman self-identifies as a feminist, and she doesn't understand how a feminist can denigrate a system that was designed to help our daughters just because it is unfair to our sons. Grossman's take on the matter is the reasonable one: we need to have a system that is concerned about both our daughters and our sons, it's not a zero sum game. Wakeman's blather is not worthy of serious refutation. The unfortunate article is found here.

This blog frequently discusses the critical balance that is at the heart of sexual assault legislation: every civilized society must strive to eradicate heinous criminality by punishing offenders, but it also must insure that the innocent aren't punished with them. While the latter concern typically is absent from the public discourse, rarely have we seen such vitriol directed at persons who express concern for the presumptively innocent as in the Baker and Wakeman pieces.

Hurling terms like "rape apology," "rape culture," and "victim blaming" where they are not appropriate is the bow wow of extremists who aim to do one thing: silence voices the writers don't agree with.  Baker and Wakeman have exiled themselves from the adult table on these very serious issues.  Only people interested in the aforementioned critical balance need apply for a spot, not gender warriors spouting the clich├ęs of gender get-evenism.