At the end of its post, The College Fix makes a brutal point that compels repeating:
Had Yovino reported the incident to Sacred Heart administrators rather than police, the male students – both punished by the university after they were charged – would have likely been branded as rapists for the rest of their lives.
It was fortuitous that Nikki Yovino chose to falsely accuse two male Sacred Heart students of raping her to police rather than some Title IX admin at Sacred Heart University. Yovino lied, and it was a nasty, ugly lie. Had she lied only to her college, nobody would have cared. Nobody would have ever questioned her claim. But she lied to the police instead, until she finally admitted it was a lie,
The 19-year-old Long Island woman — who claimed she was raped by two Sacred Heart University football players, then admitted months later to police that she lied to impress a prospective boyfriend, then claimed on the witness stand she was forced to have sex without her consent.
Yovino was sentenced for her lie, and the two victims had an opportunity to address her.
Malik St. Hilaire had been content to remain in the background during the year-and-a-half the case has been pending in the Golden Hill Street courthouse. He didn’t want his name to get out, to be pursued by the media the case had attracted.
He chose to come forward to give a victim impact statement at Yovino’s sentencing.
“I went from being a college student to sitting at home being expelled with no way to clear my name,” St. Hilaire told the judge, as Yovino smirked just a few feet away. “I just hope she knows what she has done to me, my life will never be the same. I did nothing wrong, but everything has been altered because of this.”
The second victim decided not to come out, to have his name associated with Yovino’s rape accusations, but issued a statement through St. Hilaire’s lawyer.
The last almost two years have been definitely my most difficult of my life,” the statement read. “The roller coaster of emotions; fear, anger, sadness, embarrassment, depression, anxiety and the list goes on. She accused me of what I believe to be a horrendous, horrific crime out of her own selfish concerns. I lost my scholarship, my dream of continuing to play football and now I am in debt $30,000 and I’m simply trying to get ahead as best as I can.”
The Yovino case is hardly proof that every accusation is false. It is, however, a microcosmic demonstration of why the narrative diminishing, trivializing, dismissing the excuses for a failed Title IX system is dangerous and flawed. Here, a white woman who engaged in consensual sex destroyed the lives of two young black men.
It’s not that the woman’s life doesn’t matter, but that the two men’s lives matter as well. It’s not that the woman’s accusation should not be believed, but that it shouldn’t be above scrutiny. False accusations happen. False accusations ruin lives. False accusations are not only deemed “impossible” in the scheme of campus Title IX adjudications, but even the consideration of such a thing would be politically untenable. No one but a rape-apologizing misogynist can doubt a “survivor.” And what’s the big deal anyway, since the impact on the accused is so trivial that it’s unworthy of concern. St. Hillaire begs to differ. So too does his friend.
Yovino agreed to plead guilty to two counts of second-degree falsely reporting an incident and one count of interfering with police, all misdemeanors, as the case was about to go to trial. She has already served three months in prison and likely faces another three months before she is eligible for release.
The contrast between the charges, and the sentence, for Yovino and the reaction to the sentence imposed on Brock Turner is also worthy of consideration. Her false rape accusation was hugely destructive. Does it compare to the impact on Turner’s victim? It’s hard, if not impossible to make any valid comparison, but both did severe damage. Is there anyone screaming about the sentence imposed on Yovino? Is there anyone outraged that there were only misdemeanors to be charged?
The point isn’t to claim one is worse than the other, that one harm is greater than another. Rather, the point is that there is harm either way, and yet only one side of the equation, the accuser of rape, is shown any serious concern based upon a narrative that denies reality, has crafted a litany of excuses to immunize itself from meaningful scrutiny and trivializes the risk and the suffering of those harmed in the process.
Tell Malik St. Hillaire that he should be willing to have his life destroyed for the sake of “survivors.” Tell his unnamed co-victim. Tell Nikki Yovino that she got off easy. Or we can just reduce the harm a false accusation causes people for the sake of “believing the victim,” because that’s important enough to some that they can shrug off the collateral damage in the name of their cause.
Had this been limited to Title IX at Sacred Heart, Nikki Yovino would be the hero of this story instead of the false accuser being sentenced. And nobody would give it a second thought, except the two guys whose lives were destroyed by the false accusation. And you would be fine with that, for the sake of “believe the victim.”