The Challenges of Campus Rape Legislation

by Rachel Baker on January 25, 2015

I enjoy reading Zoe Heller’s stuff, and I thought this particular article to be interesting in that she questions the recommendations for ‘proactive measures’ and whether they endanger women of being infantialized by “the system” by creating more bias toward the offender than should be there to begin with.

Rape cases are very difficult to prove – and they are even more difficult for both parties to begin on even ground during prosecution. And its so difficult to know the right way to handle accusations of this sort. Even the ‘Yes means Yes’ law is vaguely ambiguious because one can’t really define a “national standard for what it means to consent to sexual activity” because well, any specific national definition would also cause confusion when it came to individual university’s and college’s using their own definitions.

The article below is a look at some of the challenges those developing laws to address campus rape are having to figure out.

Read the article: Rape on the Campus

For some, this is a salutary development, a necessary antidote to the unfair disadvantages that rape victims have traditionally suffered when seeking redress in college tribunals. According to Colby Bruno, senior counsel at the Victim Rights Law Center, the preponderance of evidence standard “helps counterbalance so much of the bias and rape culture that permeates these cases.” But the proper remedy for bias is surely not more bias in the opposite direction. And while there is certainly a long history of rape victims being demeaned and automatically disbelieved, not all of the difficulties associated with prosecuting rape are attributable to sexist prejudice. Rape cases, which often boil down to the relative credibility of two conflicting narratives, are inherently difficult to prove. No fair adjudication process can get around this fact by assuming a posture of reflexive credulity toward a victim’s testimony.

This article was written by: Rachel Baker – Click to Become a Patron or to follow on Twitter.

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