Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Senators McCaskill, Heller, Ayotte and Gillibrand: why are you throwing our sons under the bus?

Senators McCaskill of Missouri, Heller of Nevada, Ayotte of New Hampshire, and Gillibrand of New York will hold a hearing this morning on the proposed Campus Accountability and Safety Act that throws our sons under the proverbial bus in the interest of pandering to extremist women's groups. Apparently, the senators believe that the war on sexual assault cannot be waged without depriving our sons of fair proceedings.

Not a single advocate for the due process rights of the accused will appear at the hearing today, which will resemble a reunion of the sexual grievance industry more than a fair hearing designed to shed light on a thorny issue.

The proposed CASA refers to accusers as "victims" 59 times and as "accusers" only twice. In an earlier version of the bill, accused students were actually called "assailants"--a chilling barometer of how gender extremists have seized not just the public discourse on this issue but the reigns of government.

The bill famously affords substantial resources only to accusing students, none to students who are accused. It would require schools to provide confidential advisers to accusers without providing confidential advisers to accused students, an unmistakable signal that the federal government's goal is not to insure fair hearings but to help accusers prevail.

Perhaps the greatest of the bill's many affronts to due process is the requirement that the persons who will decide whether our sons are expelled are to question accusers in a manner that will prevent the truth from being brought to light, and will assure a finding of guilt. The bill calls it "victim-centered, trauma-informed interview techniques," and it requires that the school "focus[ ] on the experience of the victim." The bill, of course, has it backwards: the subjective "experience" and beliefs of the accuser are of no import when it comes to sexual assault. The only pertinent inquiry is the objective evidence about what occurred--whether, based on the accuser's words, conduct, and outward manifestations, the student accused reasonably understood that the accuser had consented to the act in question. The accuser's "experience" will always be that she was raped, but as even Brett Sokolow, the nation's preeminent campus victim's advocate, has conceded: "We see complainants who genuinely believe they have been assaulted, despite overwhelming proof that it did not happen," and "in a lot of these cases, the campus is holding the male accountable in spite of the evidence – or the lack thereof – because they think they are supposed to . . .." (As an example of the injustice that will result by focusing on the subjective experience of the accuser, almost half of all college women think that when a woman gives a guy a "nod in agreement," that isn't enough for consent.) According to the proposed bill, the interview cannot suggest that the school is "judging" the reporting student's account of the alleged assault. The bill leaves it up to "the victim" whether she wants the interview of her accusation --an interview that could destroy the life an innocent young man--recorded.

This bill is the product of the sexual grievance industry that thinks your son already gets too much of that due process nonsense. It is a legislative articulation of the old feminist mantra that accusers are always to be believed. All persons of good will need to speak out against it, and to hold the offending senators accountable.