The Problem With Dick

Much as I’ve written with some regularity about the underlying issues with the redefinition of rape and sexual assault, starting on campus and filtering through to real courtrooms, and even worse, social media mobs, that’s just me saying so. So maybe I’m just making this stuff up because I’m male and, by definition, just don’t get it.

Rather than consider my characterizations of the problems, consider the words “Kaitlin Prest, a sex-positive ​feminist and podcast producer who often discusses the issue of consent, and educational consultant Hanna Stontland.” Continue reading

Scholars, Unfiltered

In the early days of blawging, one of my beefs with the academics was that they didn’t engage in humanspeak with lawyers. Or to be more precise, they wouldn’t tolerate the fact that lawyers didn’t use the moderated speech of the Academy, where calling something “interesting” was tantamount to saying your baby was ugly and you’ve got a booger hanging from your nose.

It was, in a word, frustrating when the prawfs came up with some interesting idea but couldn’t manage to engage with practicing lawyers in a way that enabled an overlap in the discussion. They had theirs. We had ours. To the extent there was any overlap, it was usually some sniffling prawf offended at someone (often me) who disagreed with their brilliance in comprehensible terms. But at least it was a substantive disagreement, even if we didn’t use the word “curious” to describe it.

And then, all hell broke loose.* Continue reading

But For Video: When The Cop Didn’t Rape

One of the primary arguments in favor of police having cameras on their person and patrol cars was that it would not only prove misconduct when it occurred, but would prove innocence when it didn’t. And to some extent, it’s worked out that way, as Ashe Schow notes.

Marley Barberian, 23, was accused of stealing from a Target store in Palm Beach County when she was arrested earlier this year. While in jail, she claimed a Sheriff’s Office deputy had groped her at the store where she was arrested and raped her on the side of the road while on the way to the jail.

“She said he pulled her pants down and raped her on the side of the road after he pulled over to complete some paperwork he got from the police department, the arrest report notes,” CBS 12 reported. “She then told authorities the deputy who raped her drove her and dropped her off at the jail. She also accused the deputy of groping her earlier in a patdown during her arrest at the Target.” Continue reading

Lhamon’s Confession: She Gamed The Narrative

People ask how Title IX ended up as the default mechanism to police sex on campuses through a system carefully designed to assure that anyone accused of sexual misconduct, whether real or imagined, is railroaded for the cause. There is the legal explanation, how Catherine McKinnon fought for decades to twist the system into the pretzel that would vindicate a radical feminist view of elevating fragile women over toxic masculinity.

But that fails to sufficiently explain why people let that happen. Do women hate and fear men that much? Are men that awful toward women? Is rape ubiquitous? How did we come to believe that men are raping women on campus constantly, so much so that such extreme measures are necessary, that even innocent men should be sacrificed to the cause of protecting women from regret or responsibility? KC Johnson provides an answer.

In an interview with ESPN, ex-Office for Civil Rights head Catherine Lhamon commented on a study showing that in Power Five conferences (Big Ten, Big XII, ACC, Pac 12, and SEC) male athletes are disproportionately accused of sexual assault. She noted that absent the high attention such allegations received, the campus sexual assault movement “would be largely nonexistent.” Lhamon added, “The capturing of the hearts and minds of the American public is what has moved this issue. The response of student communities to sexual violence among athletes has been really important.”

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“Due Process,” Tar Heel Style

It’s not as if the notion of “due process” is a huge legal mystery, given that it’s been the subject of a good deal of discussion over the past couple centuries. And yet, the words haven’t made their way to North Carolina, apparently.

Adrienne Allison, the UNC director of Title IX Compliance, said due process in Title IX investigations is about ensuring equal treatment to both the responding and reporting party during University procedures.

It’s not that Allison isn’t a lawyer, so one would expect her to know better and not say something so bizarrely wrong. Then again, she attended law school in North Carolina, graduating in 2005, so it may be unfair to hold her to the standards of legal knowledge applicable to lawyers elsewhere. Or perhaps she just doesn’t like the way due process is defined by law, and has chosen to define it in her own, special, Title IX way. Continue reading

The “Third” Lawyer’s Dilemma

It’s hard to explain why the proliferation of Marsy’s Laws are specifically awful. Sure, there’s the Ted Frank’s Rule, but since individual states tweak the laws to some greater or lesser extent, the specifics are hard to pin down. Generically, they’re a “bill of rights” for victims, which sounds lovely since everyone loves a “bill of rights” and everyone feels empathy for “victims.” And that’s really all that’s needed to sell this hot mess to the voters.

Voters in six states — Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Nevada, and North Carolina — all approved amendments to their state constitutions expanding the rights of crime victims. Known as “Marsy’s Laws,” these amendments provide an enforceable bill of rights for crime victims in the criminal justice process, guaranteeing such things as rights to notice of court hearings, to attend court hearings, and to be heard at particular points in the process. These amendments help to set the stage for a future effort to amend the U.S. Constitution to protect victims rights there as well.

Note that this victims’ bill of rights isn’t merely worming its way into laws, but into constitutional amendments. Bad laws are hard to fix, but far easier than constitutional amendments. And even as victims’ rights propagandist Paul Cassell expresses them between sobs, they don’t seem like the terrible things I suggest. After all, what’s wrong with keeping victims apprised of proceedings? It seems like basic courtesy, right? Continue reading

Chesterton’s E-Fence

Michelle Alexander’s seminal work, The New Jim Crow, Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, was a brilliant exposé of how “our prison system is a unique form of social control, much like slavery and Jim Crow, the systems it has replaced.” Buried in there is a problem atop a problem, that the New Jim Crow was born of reform of the old Jim Crow. Or to be blunt, we fixed one problem by creating a new problem.

And now Alexander raises the newest Jim Crow.

Since 2010, when I published “The New Jim Crow” — which argued that a system of legal discrimination and segregation had been born again in this country because of the war on drugs and mass incarceration — there have been significant changes to drug policy, sentencing and re-entry, including “ban the box” initiatives aimed at eliminating barriers to employment for formerly incarcerated people. Continue reading

The Next Generation Gap

Whether it’s for realsies or to make a point is unclear, but Emile Ratelband is trying to do it.

A 69-year-old Dutch “positivity guru” who says he does not feel his age has started a battle to make himself legally 20 years younger on the grounds that he is being discriminated against on a dating app.

Emile Ratelband told a court in Arnhem in the Netherlands that he did not feel “comfortable” with his date of birth, and compared his wish to alter it to people who identified as transgender.

Ratelband said that due to having an official age that did not reflect his emotional state he was struggling to find both work and love. He has asked for his date of birth to be changed from 11 March 1949 to 11 March 1969.

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The Persuasive Value Of “Shut Up And Listen”

In the aftermath of the midterm elections, my pal Elie Mystal noted the voting pattern of that heinous group of awful people, white women.

It’s almost as if there is something wrong with people voting the way they choose to vote, which is particularly odd given that Jill Filipovic attributed the aspect of the election she deemed good to women. Not just black women, but white women. Women. So which is it, are women the heroes or the villains? Continue reading

The Right To Freedom And The Patrol Car Door

Christopher Glenn was on probation, not that you would know that. Contrary to popular belief, there is no brand on the forehead of probationers. They aren’t forced to wear a special symbol on their shirts, or some weird “I’m on probation” hat, so as long as they don’t do anything illegal, they’re pretty much the same as anyone else. That means they get to take a walk and be left alone.

Christopher Glenn took a walk near a school. Someone called 911. Responding officers were filmed arresting him for loitering—an arrest that he resisted.

It’s unclear why someone called 911. Maybe Glenn was an unfamiliar face in the neighborhood, and someone assumed that if a face is unfamiliar, it must be there for unsavory purposes. Maybe it’s the ubiquitous “see something, say something,” designed to turn every good guy into a good snitch, just in case. Continue reading