Recognizing simultaneous truths about rape

Rape is an evil, heinous act. Persecuting young men for crimes they did not commit is also an evil, heinous act. Both statements are simultaneously true, and the truth of one in no way reduces the truth of the other.

Consider this example: In 1989, a woman was savagely beaten, raped and sodomized in Central Park, drawing the outage of a nation and calls for harsh punishment of the perpetrator. The five teenagers who were convicted of this crime – four blacks and one Latino – were completely innocent and spent years in prison for a crime they did not commit. Pointing this out does not minimize the heinousness of that crime. False convictions only make injustice worse.

Now, on to the controversy over rape on America’s college campuses and the meme that one in five women are raped or sexually assaulted in college. The “one in five” meme – which makes college campuses more dangerous than high crime inner cities – minimizes the heinousness of rape by including things that are not rape with rape. Forced kissing, fondling, or grinding are acts of moral depravity and a violation of a woman’s right to bodily integrity, but none of those things are rape. It is an insult to rape victims to lump those things in with rape.

The Central Park Five is an extreme example, but one that should inform us in how universities and the Obama administration deal with rape on campus. It has been well documented that men on college campuses have been denied due process in campus kangaroo courts, are subjected to an extremely low standard of proof that they committed a crime, are denied the right to defend themselves, are denied the right to call witnesses or have an attorney, and in some cases are even denied the right to know the charges against them. One man was expelled after the woman he allegedly “raped” denied she was raped and said the sex was consensual!

This is simply wrong and it needs to stop. We need to protect rape victims and harshly punish rapists, and that should be done by the criminal justice system instead of a university that can at worst expel someone. I have always been in favor of harsh punishment for rapists. I have never said rape is anything other than evil. But what is going on at college campuses today is just wrong. Rape is evil. Ruining the lives of men who committed no crime is also evil. We need to be very clear in opposing both crimes.

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