The College Rape Overcorrection

iossarian12/15/2014 11:55:49 am PST

re: #7 Dark_Falcon

And God Bless you for helping with that, for you truly do the Lord’s work.

Tying into the Story Sergey posted, I argue that part of the reason universities have the sort of ‘informal complaint’ system Patrick Witt describes is to keep claims of rape away from the police. Universities want to look like they’re fighting against sexual violence without actually having to admit to rapes on campus. It’s yet another variety of gaming the system, or ‘juking the stats’ as it was called on The Wire. By disposing of a complaint ‘informally’, the university can say they addressed it without actually having to investigate it.

Knowing several people who do this work at universities, I can tell you that in my experience this isn’t really true - the people who do the reporting are usually well insulated from people who would have a vested interest in “keeping the numbers down”.

My impression is that the type of counseling that was described in the UVa article and portrayed as discouraging victims from going to the police is actually something of recommended practice in such circles: the victim should be presented with an array of clearly explained options including filing criminal charges, but should not be pressured into a particular decision. Given the crappy state of the legal system, many choose not to bother.

Obviously that’s a pro-university point of view. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

I’m gravitating towards the view that the 51% evidence rule should be used by universities to enforce a no-contact penalty (which could mean suspension) on first offences, in parallel with whatever happens via the criminal justice system. Being clear about the rules up front places the onus on students to be pretty sure they have consent, and education on the topic can help them to grasp what that means.