Monday, December 29, 2014

This is how stupid college students can be when they talk about rape

At the University of Virginia -- which is to "rape" what Loch Ness is to real monsters -- a council of student leaders from a variety of different organizations has put together a list of action points to battle rape. One of their suggestions calls on the state legislature to enact "Closed Criminal Trials" for rape. They write: "One hurdle to pursuing criminal resolution may be the painstaking public nature of trials. Introducing privacy could make that path more attractive."

We are raising a generation of nitwits. Too many say stupid things like this, and too many others don't object when they hear stupid things like this said.

In this case, they have it exactly backward, of course. Criminal proceedings involving rape ought to be more public, not less. The news media ought to stop shielding the identities of rape accusers as if they were children. No less an authority than Professor Alan Dershowitz has written: "People who have gone to the police and publicly invoked the criminal process and accused somebody of a serious crime such as rape must be identified. In this country there is no such thing and should not be such a thing as anonymous accusation. If your name is in court it is a logical extension that it should be printed in the media. How can you publish the name of the presumptively innocent accused but not the name of the accuser?" Prof. Dershowitz also wrote: "It is absolutely critical that rape be treated like any other crime of violence, that the names of the alleged victims be published along with the names of the alleged perpetrators, so that people who know the victim or know her reputation can come forward to provide relevant information."

Feminist Naomi Wolf once wrote: "Feminists have long argued that rape must be treated like any other crime. But in no other crime are accusers kept behind a wall of anonymity. Treating rape so differently serves only to maintain its mischaracterization as a 'different' kind of crime, loaded with cultural baggage and projections. . . . . Though children’s identities should, of course, be shielded in sex-crime allegations, women are not children. If one makes a serious criminal accusation, one must wish to be treated – and one must treat oneself – as a moral adult."

Prof. KC Johnson wrote this about the UVA actions points:
The students’ recommendations were extraordinary. The most eye-popping came in a call for UVA to use its influence with the General Assembly to change Virginia law, and make all rape trials in the state secret (on grounds that the “painstaking public nature of trials” discourages victims from reporting crimes). The students seemed unaware—or indifferent to—the fact that secret trials are anathema to the U.S. legal tradition, or that open trials afford a critical protection to the wrongly accused.
Prof. Johnson dignifies the student's idiocy with a rationale that ought to be apparent to a ten year old.

We all know that college campuses are breeding grounds for puerile groupthink and conformity to the PC meme du jour -- in their defense, the ones doing the "groupthinking" are barely older than children, and a staggering percentage of them still think like children -- but all the supposed good intentions in the world can't excuse idiocy that would put innocents at risk.

All persons of good will need to start calling these sorts of morally grotesque ideas exactly what they are: stupid, and dangerous.