As the mechanisms imposed by some bureaucrats to assure that “survivors” of sexual claims receive the “justice” they’re certain they deserve are receiving an unfavorable reception by Betsy DeVos, the new Secretary of Education, the women who believe the survivor, not to mention their own myths and press releases, aren’t taking it lying down.
In recent weeks in Australia, young women have been campaigning against sexual assault, holding up signs detailing the crimes committed against them. The protests coincide with the release of a survey by the Australian Human Rights Commission showing that some 2,000 university students, almost 7 percent of those surveyed, reported being sexually assaulted at least once during a two-year period.
A recurring theme on the signs is that we tell women, “Don’t get raped,” when we should be telling men, “Don’t rape.” While faces of rape survivors are increasingly visible now, names of perpetrators are not. This leads to a troubling thought. Maybe the reason men continue to rape is that doing so is unlikely to pose any risk to their freedom or reputation.
Do they not tell men “don’t rape”? The doctor/writer, Lisa Pryor, doesn’t quite say that, but it’s the clear implication. And, of course, it’s false, but for the open question of how rape is defined. The image the word conjures in the mind is static and horrible. The details of claims are more often silly, bordering on nonsensical.
But to say so is to risk the ire of the mob, and this is a mob with ire to spare and no inclination to deal honestly. They want their blood, and if you think facts or rational discussion is going to change that, you’re a rape apologist shitlord. Because no one else could possibly question them.
Such a case has recently made headlines in Australia. A young woman reported being raped to the police; she was accompanied by a friend who reported a similar experience with the same man. As is typical, the case did not progress to a prosecution.
Don’t ask why the case didn’t get prosecuted. Don’t question whether this is typical. It’s enough that she says so, and how dare you question a survivor. Are you calling her a liar? Are you, you misogynistic shitlord?
So this young woman reported the allegations to the political party to which this man belonged. Then she named him on Twitter and published a photograph of her injuries, purple bruising spreading across her neck and shoulder. The man was suspended from the political party; he deleted his social medial presence almost entirely. He denies all the allegations and says that he will be pursuing legal action. “In Australia,” he told me over email, “justice is served through our established justice system,” not through a “social media lynch mob.”
Pryor, proving her fairness, then acknowledges that there is the one in a million chance that a man is falsely accused, and concedes this can be “a traumatic and violating crime in its own right.” But not nearly as traumatic and violating as rape.
But when a man is falsely accused, there are a number of avenues he can pursue to seek justice. As well as rebutting the allegations in the forum where they are raised, he can complain to the police or sue for defamation. Women can, and have been, imprisoned for making false allegations of rape, such as in two widely reported cases in Britain in the last year. But I don’t think that women who have been raped should be obliged to protect the privacy of their attackers because women who have not been raped may make false claims.
Well sure, a guy can always prove the negative on twitter. And certainly media has gone too far revealing the identities of women alleging rape while concealing the men accused. Oh wait, neither of those things are remotely true. But using Australia and Britain as examples, maybe they can slide past an American readership, because globalism is very trendy even though we have a peculiar ignorance that allows us to romanticize the ways of other countries. So what’s this got to do with America?
Publicly accusing rapists is far from a perfect solution, but at a time when a vast majority of rapes still go unpunished by the criminal justice system despite decades of reforms aimed at making the process more hospitable to victims, it may be one of the few options that many victims have for bringing some consequences to bear on those who rape.
But what about the legal system? Isn’t that how we do things here?
Besides, justice and the criminal justice system are not one and the same. It is a fiction that justice must begin and end in the courtroom.
Ah, justice, the simple catchall of whatever you want it to be. Like an outcome? It’s justice. Hate the outcome, it’s injustice. Elements of crimes, due process, evidence, all the tools of a system that fails to do as women desire, and why should they accept a system that denies them justice? Simple as that. And Pryor has a solution: institutionalizing the mob.
Perhaps what is needed is to formalize the practice of naming perpetrators, in a way that best protects victims and minimizes the risks of false accusations. Specifically, I would like to see a charitable body that carefully investigates and reports on sexual assault, including naming perpetrators.
If this still sounds like vigilantism, consider that all I am describing is investigative journalism, with a specific purpose and subject matter. And that investigative journalism is an important institution of democracy, playing an especially vital role when other institutions like the courts prove incapable of delivering justice.
Trust us, we’re legit. We say so. But what’s to prevent such a charitable investigative journalist organization from being a proxy for the mob?
The organization I am proposing would survive only if it observed rigorous investigative standards and did not make the error of simply assuming that a source was telling the truth, which a journalist should never do, even in the case of rape.
After all, Jackie at University of Virginia got caught, which proves you can trust journalists. And Pryor says there will be “rigorous investigative standards,” so it must be true.
It is time to accept that the criminal justice system may never be capable of providing justice for the vast majority of sexual assaults. The problem is not that we do not take rape seriously; we take it so seriously that we demand silence about perpetrators unless we are reporting on a court case and, as a result, very few perpetrators face any consequence at all.
Nowhere does Lisa Pryor mention Title IX, Betsy DeVos or campus adjudications that are carefully crafted to deprive an accused of due process. Her attack is on the criminal justice system, which she inexplicably claims demands “silence about perpetrators.” This certainly lends credence to the rigor she would impose on truth.
But as much as her proposed solution is a stretch*, what isn’t a stretch is a movement of feminists with nary a passing familiarity with truth, but strong ties to hysteria and attacks, using the mob to achieve their special brand of justice by destroying lives. The court of public opinion has long been with us, and if there’s one thing that distinguishes it, there’s no appeal from its swift fury and mindless condemnation.
The tacit message is that if women are denied the means to assure their desired outcome, such as the kangaroo courts on campus, they’ll take to social media with their pitchforks. If you thought campus tribunals were bad, replete with lies, distortions, rationalizations and a litany of excuses, it’s going to seem like a dream compared to the shrill insanity of the Girl Mob.
*While the creation of such a journalistic organisation isn’t easy, it’s not as if “savior” journalism hasn’t happened in the past to advocate for their cause under the pretense of competence and honesty. It could happen.