Ms. Magazine blog writer Emily Shugerman says that men who are suing colleges for alleged violations of their due process rights in connection with sexual assault claims are just "playing the victim" and that their suits are a "backlash" in the "face of this rising tide of feminist action." Then the magazine quotes someone named Caroline Heldman, a professor at Occidental College: "These lawsuits are an incredible display of entitlement, the same entitlement that drove them to rape."
It is well to note that neither Shugerman nor Heldman bother to discuss the actual merits of any of the cases -- you know, silly little things like evidence -- because they can't. That doesn't stop them from rushing headlong to judgment and assuming the plaintiffs are guilty by reason of penis. Because rape happens too often in entirely unrelated cases, these particular men can't possibly have valid claims. They are just "playing the victim" and are "entitled."
It would be difficult to imagine a more shocking hostility to due process, or to men.
Shugerman proceeds to exclaim that "according to the FBI, only eight percent of rape reports are unfounded." The implication is that 92 percent of all claims are actual rapes, and the FBI never said that. In fact, as Dr. David Lisak has shown, the majority of rape claims can't be classified as true or false. But why left the facts get in the way of a good radical feminist rant?
The nation's leading authority on the subject of campus rape justice, Brett Sokolow of NCHERM, says there is a problem for young men on campus. He says that in "a lot" of cases, schools are holding young men "accountable in spite of the evidence – or the lack thereof – because they think they are supposed to . . . ." And that in "case-after-case . . . sincere victims believe something has happened to them that evidence shows absolutely did not . . .." And: "We see complainants who genuinely believe they have been assaulted, despite overwhelming proof that it did not happen."
Both Shugerman and Heldman come off like Harvard Lampoon caricatures of angry, irrational feminists. Most appalling is the arrogance of these ideologues, who deign to prejudge judicial actions without bothering to deal with the facts. Is it any wonder that so few people -- including so few women -- identify as feminist? It is unfortunate that leading feminist pundits don't call them out on their intolerance because they engender disrepute of the entire movement.
And, of course, they do rape victims no favors: hostility to the fair administration of justice undermines confidence in the system and fuels a growing belief -- which Mr. Sokolow has verified -- that college disciplinary proceedings can be hostile places for young men. The more prevalent that belief is, the greater the likelihood that persons adjudicating these disputes will be wary about finding even guilty men responsible for their actions.