Linked HERE is an article from thenation.com (headline in the title). There does not seem to be any author credited for the piece (or I am just not seeing it).
The article explores whether or not there would be more fairness in the handling of sexual assault cases on post secondary campuses if there was not so much confidentiality in how these institutions deal with each situation. I am in agreement that there needs to be a change in this arrangement. You can not trust an institution to be impartial to a scenario that may well bring them bad publicity.
Yet at the same time, I am unsure as to what the author means when they state their case for “less confidentiality” in the proceedings. If it means that the process between being informed, investigation and disciplinary action should be more transparent, then I agree. However, if they are insinuating that not only should the process be more transparent but also that the names of the people allegedly involved in the assault be released, then I have to draw a line of disagreement.
As much as hearing the words “False Rape Allegations” makes (particularly) radical feminists want to cover their ears and shout “LA! LA! LA! LA!” and otherwise disrupt the conversation, it is something that happens and is therefore something that must be taken into consideration.
Most of these people that are prone to such disruption tactics (or to just ignoring that aspect of the issue) are the ones with this preconceived notion that society in general just does not give a shit about sexual assault victims (particularly female victims).
To be fair to them, we could indeed do a lot better in some respects. Starting with the victim blamers, who often times try and downplay the severity of the assaults by nitpicking what the victim was wearing, their past sexual histories etc. An assault is an assault whether your wearing only undergarments or a snowsuit. Using that logic is a bit like blaming an offensive bumper sticker or vanity plate for a car accident (“The sticker/plate offended them, so it was the guys own fault for displaying something so offensive!”).
The recent UVA scandal that ended up tarnishing the otherwise sterling reputation of Rolling Stone magazine is an excellent example of why less confidentiality may be a VERY bad idea. Though the reporter telling the story did not verify the claim of the victim, she took her word for it, feeling no need to check (why would someone lie about a rape story?).
So the story was run, and the public reacted angrily, as is expected in this sort of situation. The dean of UVA immediately suspended all fraternities, and the fraternity named got targeted by angry vigilantes (even had its windows smashed).
However, it was not long before the Washington Post did some digging (what the Rolling Stone reporter should have done in the first place) and started finding various holes in the victim’s story. To date (with what is available on the incident last I checked into it to write THIS piece) I am not going to go as far as to call it an outright lie. However, there are some gigantic holes that should have been filled.
The concept of fully transparent proceedings is not a good means to an end in this case. Completely uprooting and potentially destroying the livelihood of potentially an unknown number of innocent males is NOT a good price to pay for, solving the problem of sexual assaults. And anyone that would think in such a matter, is an idiot.
With these situations, there are at least 2 biased parties that we have to take into consideration. First is the educational institution, who know its in their own best interests to keep these things quiet. Then you have the angry public, who only want REaction (even if that goes against the main tenant of our criminal justice system that states “innocent until proven guilty”).
I think the best solution to solve this problem would be, an independent entity that would investigate each instance from an impartial prospective. The police would be a good start. Or, mandate that every school must employ at least one investigator that would serve this purpose.
Even if not “employ”, contract out.
They would investigate the claims, then (if necessary) bring the claims to the proper authorities so they can take whatever action that they deem is necessary. The investigator would keep the process transparent (yet anonymous) so that the public knows what is happening, yet no one is falsely accused.
I will end this piece the same way I end many others on the subject. Though the problem of sexual assault is very serious, you are not solving it by creating (or ignoring) a whole other segment of victims.