What The White House Said About Sexual Assault And Why They’re Wrong

The White House recently issued this statement condemning sexual assault on college campuses:

“Colleges and universities can no longer turn a blind eye or pretend rape and sexual assault doesn’t occur on their campuses,” Vice President Biden said as a 20-page report was released Tuesday. “We need to provide survivors with more support and we need to bring perpetrators to more justice and we need colleges and universities to step up.”- Vice President Biden

Rape is a horrific crime one wishes could be wiped  from the face of the world. If there is a way to prevent rape, by all means we should be discussing it and acting on solutions.

That said, what’s horrible about Vice President Biden’s statement is that it’s so cravenly political in its calculation, and worse, insulting.

Reading the report, you discover the administration has no real interest in even discussing what could be done to prevent rape.  That’s right, the entire effort is focused on managing what comes after a rape.  I don’t know about you, but what I’d much prefer is not being raped.  While I’d want justice and removal of the thug from the street, what I’d really want was for it to have not happened.  Effective initiatives would reduce rapes rather than merely attempt to make the process afterwards run a little more smoothly.

Instead, we get more fear mongering by the administration that is meant to make women feel alone and afraid.  Female empowerment is the last goal of this initiative.

The Democrats continue to focus on the management of tragedy instead of creating a world with less tragedy.  The University system has not proved effective at preventing rape and likely it’s not capable of doing so. Their core competency should be education not criminal justice. Universities are proving their lack of seriousness daily about providing a classical education, yet we expect them to take a role in crime prevention?

If women don’t feel free to speak up when raped, why are colleges condemning speech? In the past year Universities have contributed to a toxic atmosphere that inhibits individual rights. What do you think the following actions are meant to convey?

  1. Declining to hear from accomplished women like like Condoleezza Rice and Ayaan Hirsi Ali because their political beliefs are not in perfect alignment with the beliefs of protesters on campus.
  2. Creating the concept of a “free speech zone” . (The implication being that there are places where speech is not free.)
  3. University culture has often become an arena of institutionalized intolerance. Cultures that put little value on individual freedoms and natural rights are cultures that feature high frequencies of rapes and violence against women. Western culture is demonized, despite it being the wellspring that gave birth to the freedom enjoyed in our country today.
  4. Inventing and promoting the concept of “rape culture” that expands the definition of rape to consensual but regretted sex.  Victims of rape are hurt by people who use the system to prosecute hurt feelings, not crimes.  The difficulty of prosecuting rapists is only enhanced by people falsely accusing others of the crime.
  5. Insisting on rape victims using the University system instead of the police to prosecute crimes. Froma Harrup discussed this issue recently at Real Clear Politics:

If a 19-year-old high-school dropout raped by her ex-boyfriend wants justice, she calls the police. The same should apply to a 19-year-old college freshman similarly attacked by another student.  But it doesn’t apply nearly enough. Colleges have let themselves become investigators of violent crime. They have no business being in that business. Furthermore, they got into the business for bad reasons. The inevitable result has been students suing their universities over what they see as an inadequate response to their allegations of sexual abuse. The feds are investigating several schools — including Harvard, Princeton, Ohio State and Florida State — over the matter. Many colleges want sexual crimes on campus handled in-house so the public doesn’t learn of them. In Rhode Island, for example, colleges have recorded 500 sexual assaults over a recent decade, but only one involved a call to police.

At worst, University convictions result in expulsion. Rape is a horrible crime and as such should be handled by the criminal justice system so rapists can be punished.  The creation of a university system to handle rape, tells women that the crime is one to be mediated not prosecuted.  The lack of serious consequences from these boards also conversely creates an arena that can be exploited to advance false charges since the punishment is not criminal in nature.  Worse, it can embolden an attacker, knowing there won’t be serious consequences.  The college also has a large incentive to minimize their rape statistics to attract prospective students.  None of these options are positive outcomes for rape victims, nor do they serve to prevent rapes.

The reason our criminal justice system features such things as requiring a defendant be proven guilty and allowing them the right to defend themselves is to avoid jailing innocent people.  In order to feel confident in doling out punishment, people desire proof of guilt.  The university system undermines this process.  If you lower the burden of proof, the accompanying punishment is not as severe.  Replacing our criminal justice system with the University’s review will not lead to fewer rapes. It may be incentivizing them since the punishment is less severe.  If this is how feminist, Emilie Buchwald defines rape culture “when society normalizes sexualized violence, it accepts and creates rape culture.“, isn’t handing over prosecution of rape from the police to universities normalizing sexual violence?  The removal of criminal punishment results in rape being an infraction, not a gross violation of a human being.

The solutions to rape prevention do not belong with institutions that cannot manage spiraling overhead costs, tolerate free speech or provide people with degrees that improve their likelihood for success.

What the White House is offering is more of the same failed ideas.  

If Universities are now struggling with their main mission, why would we entrust them with stopping crime?