Hey, have you noticed we have a new contributor to the blog? I want to welcome him by writing about how I think his post directly below this one is really bad.
I confess to not knowing about the Minnesota case until zipppa asked if he could write a blog post about it (zipppa: you don’t have to ask permission, btw, write whenever you want). All I know about it now is what I read in his summary, so I may be wrong in what I think happened. But here is how I would resummarize it:
- A woman named RS met two men at a frat party type thing and had sex with them
- RS was drunk at the time
- At some point, more people joined in
- Some of this is on videotape for some reason
- RS didn’t remember much of what happened
- The next day, she felt “conflicted” about the situation and didn’t want to press charges
- RS’s mom pressed charges. RS reports not saying “no” during sex because she was in shock
- She generally “didn’t act like a victim”
- Based on this, the men who were part of this incident were suspended from their football team
zipppa interprets this as a story of how men are always assumed to be inherently guilty and that basically consensual sex is now illegal. But it seems to me that in this case that argument is totally bullshit:
First off the “acting like a victim” bit is sketchy. If you look at how true, verifiable victims of rape/sexual assault/other types of assault act, you can draw up some statistics. And “not acting indignant immediately” is pretty fucking common. Fuck, even dissociation is a thing. I don’t have to tell you this. Before proclaiming expertise on how victims are “supposed to act”… like at least do the minimal thing of figuring out whether your idea is anywhere close to right.
Second off, if RS was drunk enough to “not remember much of what happened” that suggests she was pretty incapacitated.
Third off, even consenting to sex with two people doesn’t somehow imply you consent to a bunch of other people joining in, or the thing being on videotaped. Like, I think that’s relatively obvious?
There’s not enough evidence to convict them of rape. So they have not been convicted of rape! zipppa uses this as evidence that they’re actually innocent, but it’s not. It just shows that the system works in a sense. I would be against these men being convicted of rape – but they haven’t been!
In fact, they haven’t been convicted of anything in terms of criminal law – they’ve been suspended by the University. This is where the idea of “sexual assault” – which as zipppa correctly says is annoyingly nebulous – seems to be useful. This wasn’t provably rape, and so you can’t say that it was. And yet you want to prevent incidents like this from happening in the future and get through to people that it’s not OK. So “sexual assault” is a useful thing here.
I think the way universities adjudicate sexual assault has a bunch of problems (I like this article about it which brings up a lot of where I see the problems). But it really seems like this situation isn’t an example of that.