A good way to tell if the Left currently believes one of their beloved policies will disappear is how viciously they write about the potential change. In this case, they’re trying to smear people who believe those accused of heinous crimes should be able to defend themselves as somehow supporting the heinous crime. That is where we are in society.
On college campuses, students (mostly male, but sometimes female) can be accused of sexual assault and receive no effective due process, no promise of a fair trial in which they are allowed to defend themselves and present evidence to exonerate themselves. This is a basic tenet of a just society. Yet activists who support these policies insist America’s college campuses are more dangerous than war-torn countries in Africa regarding rape and sexual assault. They say this issue is so pervasive, we need to cut down on constitutional protections for those accused of these terrible crimes when the accusation happens on a college campus, because they’re most definitely guilty.
It’s an affront to our justice system, and bad for assault victims, who deserve their day in court and to not have the justice process politicized. Yet anyone who disagrees with campus activists and believes we should give the accused a chance to defend themselves rather than instantly labeling them a rapist for life get accused of being pro-rape.
Due Process Ensures Justice Is Served
These activists are actually insisting that due process impedes justice, and that providing accused students with a way to defend themselves constitutes disbelieving accusers and therefore hurting “victims” (these days, accuser equals “victim” before any evidence is collected).
What they don’t realize is that due process is not just for the accused. The hysteria surrounding campus sexual assault isn’t helping anyone. It doesn’t help falsely accused students who have almost no way to defend themselves in a system set up against them. It doesn’t help accusers who have been told they’re victims when they really aren’t, which is a completely cruel thing to do to someone.
Ultimately, it especially doesn’t help real victims of sexual abuse, who are told not to go to the police but to settle for the campus system, the best-case scenario of which is expelling a guilty student student out onto the street rather than criminal consequences for a heinous crime. This is in fact the worst-case outcome for someone found guilty in the criminal justice system — to get off essentially scot-free.
Trump Team Evaluates Victim Statements
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and her team may be trying to fix the current campus narrative. She hasn’t said whether she would uphold the Obama administration’s 2011 Dear Colleague Letter and subsequent guidance that insisted colleges lower protections for accused students in order to appease activists.
In addition to meeting families of students ultimately found falsely accused of rape, DeVos is meeting with several groups that insist this guidance has led to more false accusations and a culture on campus that sees anyone accused as guilty until proven innocent. Leftist articles about this meeting describe the groups as “men’s rights” groups.
Slate’s Christina Cauterucci described them as “trolls.” Cauterucci is the same writer who lambasted ESPN’s “30 for 30” documentary about the Duke Lacrosse rape hoax because “it’s a bizarre experience to watch a documentary that expects the viewer to root for a bunch of accused rapists.” But by now everyone knows they were falsely accused. Cauterucci wants us to root instead for someone who falsely accused people of a horrible crime.
Only one of the groups meeting with DeVos, the National Coalition for Men, could be considered under the “men’s rights” label. Now, the label is a smear for some, but shouldn’t be. Men do face issues specific to them, such as paternity fraud. They’re also largely ignored when we talk about rape or domestic violence. Trying to advocate for people who are suffering shouldn’t be a smear.
Harry Crouch, the president of NCM, has said some things I don’t agree with, like the widely circulated quote about Ray Rice’s then-fiancée having “aggravated him,” which led to him hitting her. But the articles from Slate, ThinkProgress, Mic, and others also lump in two other groups with the “men’s rights” label. Stop Abusive and Violent Environments do a lot of work on false accusations, which mostly happen to men, but believe in those protections for women as well.
The final group being smeared is Families Advocating for Campus Equality, a group started by mothers of students who have been accused of sexual assault and went through the campus process, finding they were unable to present evidence that proved their innocence. Members of FACE tell me some women have been falsely accused and joined their group.
None of these groups think rape is acceptable. They simply want protections for accused students put in place and for the hysteria surrounding the issue to stop. A lot of misinformation will be spread by those seeking to hold onto their control of college campuses. But there are two sides to every story, and both sides need to be heard for justice to truly be served.