Sunday, December 8, 2013

Penn students attack this blog with the silliest of arguments

At the University of Pennsylvania, a class blog for "Gender and Society" has taken issue with a post we wrote that "argu[ed] that the use of the preponderance standard [in college disciplinary proceedings] is damaging to the human dignity of defendants . . . ."

We are by no means a leading voice in opposition to the "Dear Colleague" letter. That distinction likely belongs to Fire. Other organizations have spoken out strongly as well, including The American Association of University Professors.

The rationales of the Penn students to explain why we are wrong reads like a caricature of a stilted and irrational feminist. It would be laughable were it not alarming that a student at an Ivy League School could write such silliness. Decide for yourself:
This post shrouds victim-blaming language in the rhetoric of justice, when justice and rape culture are in fact mutually exclusive. There is justice when one understands that the stigma, confusion and social pressure that accompany sexual violence give victims no incentive to falsely report (or report, period). There is justice when one trusts the word of survivors without challenging them to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that their rape was an “actual rape.” The use of the preponderance standard is a move towards justice, towards belief in survivors of sexual violence – a move towards “committing ourselves fully to resisting and eradicating patriarchy” . . ..
The puerility of the argument is undeserving of any, much less a serious, response. We note two ironies: (1) the post of ours the blog attacks undermines the assumption that accusers should be automatically trusted -- of course the blog doesn't bother to refute the facts we cited in that post; and (2) we've recently written how the phrase "victim blaming" is lobbed at anyone who dares to speak up for the wrongly accused. Here is just more evidence of that.

COTWA invites everyone to read the post we wrote under attack, and to read the blog that attacked us. Decide for yourself who deserves to be at the adult table on these issues, and who doesn't.