In the YouTube clip below, Hillary Clinton clearly, plainly, unambiguously said that in a case of alleged rape, the default position should be to believe one side (who happens to be the accuser) "until they are disbelieved based on evidence." The competing "evidence" will almost always need to be proffered by the accused, or by someone supporting the accused's position. And she didn't say just any evidence will do--the evidence has to be sufficient so that we actually disbelieve her story. Hillary Clinton buys into the notion that a man accused is guilty until he proves his innocence. That represents a monumental sea change in the way we think about criminal offenses. As you watch the clip below, you need to understand why it is so awful.
Shifting the burden of proving consent in rape cases is an idea long pushed by extremist victims' advocates. We've been warning about it at COTWA for years. Colleges have started mandating it on their own in the past couple of years, and some states are now legally requiring colleges to shift the burden of proof. It is an articulation of the worst kind of radical feminist thought. We think it will be ruled unconstitutional when it is finally challenged.
Linda Brookover Bourque's "Defining Rape" said in 1989 that the ultimate objective of rape reform--the ultimate objective--is shifting the burden of proof from "the victim" to "the offender."
Mainstream feminist extremist Jessica Valenti advocates that America look to Swedish law as its legislative model for rape, and "activists and legal experts in Sweden want to change the law there so that the burden of proof is on the accused; the alleged rapist would have to show that he got consent, instead of the victim having to prove that she didn't give it."
Serious feminist scholars have written extensively on the subject in an effort to change the law. Criminal law professor and feminist Michele Alexandre would make the sex act a presumed crime whenever a woman cries rape. See M. Alexandre, "‘Girls Gone Wild’ and Rape Law: Revising the Contractual Concept of Consent & Ensuring an Unbiased Application of ‘Reasonable Doubt’ When the Victim is Non-Traditional," 17 American Univ. Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law 1, 41, 55-56 (2009). In "Addressing Rape Reform in Law and Practice" (2008), Professor Susan Caringella of Western Michigan University's Sociology Department, not only refused to pay lip service to insuring that the innocent aren't punished with the guilty, she goes so far as to declare that men accused of rape are "overprotect[ed]." She writes: "It is high time to give victims a fair shake, to dismantle the zealous overprotections for men accused of this crime, which have been buoyed up by the myths about false accusations, ulterior motives, and so on, commonly embraced when rape charges are levied." Prof. Caringella advocates a shift in the burden of proof by enacting affirmative consent laws. Two years ago, the Washington Supreme Court reversed some very bad law that put the burden of proving consent in rape cases on the accused.
Hillary Clinton has tapped into an idea espoused by radical feminists, and it is a very dangerous thing. The Obama administration has manifested blatant hostility to the due process rights of men accused of rape--a hostility that goes far beyond what any previous administration has manifested (if you don't know that, you haven't been paying attention to the issue since April 2011 when the "Dear Colleague" letter was promulgated)--and Clinton's attitude clearly suggests the hostility and the witch hunts will continue. At an event in Iowa on September 14, 2015, Hillary Clinton declared, “I want to send a message to every survivor of sexual assault . . . You have the right . . . to be believed and we’re with you.” She also posted the following comment on Twitter: “Every survivor of sexual assault deserves to be . . . believed, and supported.”
Every woman who claims she was raped has the right to be treated with respect and to be taken seriously. She should not be disbelieved, but it needs to be her burden (or the state's or the school's) to prove that the man she accused is guilty.