Read Emily Yoffe Instead

Rather than write about this post by Slate’s Dear Prudence, whatever time you might spend reading here would be better spent reading Emily Yoffe’s post, The College Rape Overcorrection.

When you’re done, watch this video by Terry O’Neill, President of the National Organization of Women, and consider whether her argument reflects reason or an act of desperation.

24 thoughts on “Read Emily Yoffe Instead

  1. ShelbyC

    “I’m a detective. I can tell when someone is lying.”

    Well Jeez. Why bother will all this silly due process stuff when detectives can just tell us when people are lying.

      1. JCC

        I flagged that particular line as a rip snorter. And yes, there are plenty who really believe it though. We might say we recognize BS when we see it.
        A favorite commercial:
        Analyst: “You’re in denial.”
        Patient” “No, I’m not.”
        Analyst: “See?”

      2. JCC

        Just a quick personal observation here. For one year – a very unsatisfactory year I would add – I commanded all of the detectives investigating sex crimes, elderly abuse and child abuse (both physical and sexual). Like any other cop in the field, i had some peripheral involvement with sex crimes for much of my career. However, what probably surprised me the most when it became my daily place was how difficult it was to sense the truth in many claims of rape. Some, of course, were pretty ugly and obvious, but especially for those in a social setting, it just wasn’t evident who was telling the truth in the many he said-she said claims of sexual assault. Intercourse/sexual contact wasn’t the issue, consent was; rarely was there actual force or injury, alcohol and/or drugs were almost always present, etc. There were credible claims on either side, of sexual predation and of lying to retaliate.
        Yeah, some cops really believe that about themselves. Some MIT professors think we’re stupid and it’s OK to mislead us to pass socially acceptable legislation. So the MIT guy is part right.

        1. SHG Post author

          JCC, most of this is well known and fairly obvious. This is why the “rape denialist machinery” was created, to respond to the issues you raise, and provide plausible explanations that, when repeated often enough, overtake the narrative. It’s why they want rules that create presumptions favoring victims, believing victims, despite evidence or lack of it and the presumption of innocence. But most importantly, this is why they work so hard to redefine rape to mean whatever (and whenever) a women decides she’s been raped.

          That’s the point, that all reason and logic that doesn’t serve the cause be rejected in favor of a belief system that is enforced with ad hominem attacks of misogyny, patriarchy, victim blamer and rape apologist.

  2. Levi

    Did I blink? When I first read this, I could swear it said “National Association of Women” and it occurred to me that many of their policies have indeed changed from “NOW” to “NAW”.

    Outside of that, the rationale in that video would fit very well in a Joseph Heller book. “If a rape account is accurate, it is obviously to be taken seriously and the victim should be commended for heroism. If a rape account is inaccurate, it is even stronger proof that the rape was so brutal as to damage the memory.” Stunning.

    1. SHG Post author

      Are you kidding? Am I so much of a moron that I would write NAW? (So yes, I am, but I’m not such a moron that I wouldn’t correct it.)

      1. Oliver Mackson

        At the risk of seeming nit-picky, it’s the National Organization for Women. Having felt the wrath of NOW for making that same mistake in print many years ago, I figured I’d take the plunge.

  3. EH

    That video is so aggravating.

    Everyone knows that the distinction between “rape” and “not-rape” is often a matter of very minor details about who said what; who did what; and in precisely what order. Merely remembering that you said both yes and no is meaningless; yes-no-sex is rape; yes-sex-no is not. Details matter! And since “an accuser who says she was raped” is tautologically present in 100% of rape accusations (be they true, accidentally/legally incorrect; or maliciously false) it is crazy to use it as indicia of anything.

    I don’t see how folks who call themselves liberal can maintain that we should always end up on the “conviction” side of things. Either you’re accurate or you’re not accurate. You can’t claim accuracy when it comes to the accusations and then defend inconsistencies w/r/t the defense.

  4. Julian

    Well if we can’t generally trust a brutal-rape victim’s account of the who, what, when, and where–and that’s what I understand the President of NOW to be saying, given her complete confidence in Jackie having been victimized despite the significant discrepancies in Jackie’s story–then I guess Due Process for the accused is, like, pretty important.

    So it’s good we cleared that up.

  5. Jim Cline

    For her to call “Jackie” a hero at 1:18 in the video and then call for responsible advocacy and journalism at the end seems a bit contradictory to me. Wouldn’t the responsible thing to do be to sort out some of the inconsistencies before applying labels other than ones beginning with “accused”?

      1. Jim Cline

        I was troubled by most of it. Seemed like everyone else was covering the part between those points. Ms. O’Neill obviously hasn’t read the article you linked to which I find equally troubling.

        I guess male college students need to start wearing body cameras.

  6. JCC

    In both linked essay and video, there are reams of worthwhile back-and-forth. From experience, there is no single definition of rape/sexual battery/sexual assault on which to predicate all these numbers being flung about. Next, no one really knows how many rapes (however defined) actually occur, or how many of those reported are bogus. I repeat, no one. So all of those memes being cited by Ms O’Neill are so much baloney, to wit: 11% to 20% of female at college will be victimized (from the TV hostess actuallly), rape victims don’t graduate while rapists do, fabriacates rape claims are “very unlikely”, etc.

    Ms O’Neill spends much time discussing how a tramautic event causes “discrepancies” in memory, explaining the Rolling Stone narrative. Sorry, but to the degree there is some validity, that would explain a victim having trouble recalling some details, but not fabricating out of whole cloth a party at a specific location involving a date with a specific male, a gang rape with multiple offenders, gross physical injuries, contact & reaction with friends, etc. all of which details now proving, let us say, elusive.

    I especially liked Ms O’Neill closing with some comments specualting about how the UVA president would react to the “powerful rape denailist machinery”, when what she is describing is how that university and office should react now that the narrative has been disproven. In other words, the alleged guilty party is/are innocent, but Ms O’Neill thinks apparently sanctions remain viable in the current “sea change.”

    1. JCC

      Referring to the essay, you may see one reason college administrators do not wish to involve law enforcement. The case cited would have gone exactly no where, and fairly quickly. In fact, the written case summary would have, no doubt, listed in boldface the mother’s undue influence on the initial report and probably recommend the UCR classification be changed to Unfounded, that is, concluding that no crime had occurred. However, even had the fairly obvious link between Mom’s outrage and the crime report not been evident, that case demonstrates what makes rape claims so difficult to investigate and prosecute. Unless the report is timely, meaning almost instantaneous, so evidence can be collected, only the most egregious and obvious cases will result in prosecution. So, the cops need blood tests and physical exams for the victim and suspect, evidence collection at the scene, interviews of anyone who may have knowledge of events ante and post alleged rape, etc. All the feel-good, see a counselor, talk to your friends, wait a month or two, and then decide the time is right to complain make prosecution an impossibility. So the machinery in place to make reporting easier and more likely also make it less likely that the ostensible victim or suspect will get a fair hearing, because it will all be reduced to he said-she said (or some variant, I’m going for the obvious here).

      There is an interesting reference in the essay, to a study by Dr David Lisak. Although the study has been misapplied, and undoubtedly has some specificity issues, he raises several valid issues. Most genuine sex offenders are indeed serial offenders, and this includes those who would prey on victims in a college social environment, I would think. But no one really knows.

    2. SHG Post author

      A little less soapbox, please. Not only is that mine, but these are subjects that have been addressed in depth in the past. SJ existed before you got here, you know.

  7. Kathleen Casey

    I watched the video and then read the essay. In reverse order of what you suggested but it doesn’t matter. Terry O’Neill graduated from Tulane Law School and worked largely as a lawprof. I don’t know if she is admitted to practice anywhere. If she is she is not much of a lawyer. Logic, evidence and due process are no considerations to her.

  8. Nigel Declan

    Ms. O’Neil seems to have decided that when it comes to allegations of rape, the correct approach is the anti-Joe Friday: “Everything but the facts, ma’am. Everything but the facts.”

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