California’s legislature is fond of passing bills to micromanage daily life for the irresponsible citizens, at least those who haven’t left for freer states. They don’t trust people to dispose of plastic shopping bags properly, so they’re outlawed; the process used in French cuisine to make fois grois via overfeeding ducks can’t be rapidly changed to a more humane method, so they outlawed foie gras–or at least you now have to import it from somewhere less enlightened. The state’s enormous debt and unfunded pension and medical obligations will soon be squeezing all services, but that’s not important–vote for me!
Since there’s an election coming up, the Legislature didn’t want to be seen as not addressing an important largely hyped problem, so they’ve passed a law requiring consent–preferably verbal–at every stage of campus sexual relations, to make sure that no student will ever end up doing something they might later regret. Overkill for a problem better addressed by education and closer supervision of alcohol consumption? Probably…
Reason’s Shikha Dalmia takes on the story:
Feminists are super excited about California’s newly minted “yes means yes” law that they claim will not only make sex safer on American campuses, but also better. But that’s as credible as telling little boys that masturbation will make them blind. To the extent that the law works, it will actually ruin both good men and good sex.
California, the first state to implement this law, will require colleges that want to keep their state funding intact to deploy the “affirmative consent” standard when adjudicating sexual assault cases. This means that campus authorities will have to establish whether the partners obtained “affirmative, conscious, and voluntary” agreement. Although non-verbal consent is allowed, verbal is better. And it has to be obtained at every stage–touching, kissing, and foreplay–not just initially.
The obvious problem with the law–which many other states are considering as well–is that it assumes that sexual assault, already a crime under multiple laws, is the result of miscommunication. The assumption is that somehow one partner (and let’s be honest, it is overwhelmingly the one with a Y chromosome) didn’t ask or realize that the other wasn’t into it. But the fact is: Most assaulters know exactly what they are doing. The vast majority of campus rapes are committed by a small minority of repeat offenders who give not a damn about what the woman wants. And if they can threaten violence, they can also lie about obtaining consent. So how will the law change anything?
Feminists argue that the new standard means that campus authorities will now have to grill the accused about whether and how he obtained consent — rather than the victim to prove that she refused–mitigating the trauma of investigations and encouraging more women to come forward. This is true. But by effectively changing the assumption from “presumed innocent” to “presumed guilty,” this new standard will inevitably snag some guys who earnestly meant no harm. Over time, of course, an industry will emerge to coach the accused on how to game the law and get away….
The reality is that much of sex is not consensual–but it is also not non-consensual. It resides in a gray area in between, where sexual experimentation and discovery happen. Sex is inherently dangerous. Sometimes, there will be misadventures when these experiments go wrong. Looking back, it can be hard to assign blame by ascertaining whether both partners genuinely consented. But trying to shoehorn sex into a strict, yes-and-no consent framework in an attempt to make it risk free can’t help but destroy it.
The sexual revolution liberated women from the shackles of modesty, allowing them to explore their sexuality. It won’t help their sexual actualization now to enchain their partners in ill-advised lines that limit their moves.
The return of the view of women as fragile flowers in need of special protection, now being pushed by feminist activists, opens the way for arguments of traditionalists that schools should segregate the sexes, preferably miles away from each other–or at the very least return to the restrictive policies of the pre-60s. The entire effort to tilt the scales of justice against young men to get at the few real rapists among them is wrongheaded–and shouldn’t be tolerated. There are ways to reduce the damage they do but this isn’t one of them.
As for how serious a problem campus rape actually is, The Economist story on the law lays out the lack of a case for seeing it as a crisis:
Sexual violence in America has declined sharply since the mid-1990s. According to the National Crime Victimisation Survey, the gold standard for measuring crimes that are often not reported, the proportion of women subjected to rape or sexual assault fell 64% between 1995 and 2005, and declined slightly further by 2010, to 1.1 per 1,000 women per year (see chart). Colleges do not appear to be more dangerous than other places where young people congregate: according to Bureau of Justice statistics, 18-24-year-olds who do and don’t attend college are about equally likely to be raped or sexually assaulted.
Nonetheless, colleges are under unprecedented pressure to make campuses safer. Activists talk of an alcohol-fuelled “rape culture”. A student at Columbia has vowed to carry her mattress around all day until the man she says raped her is expelled. Images of what she describes as a piece of performance art, “Carry That Weight”, have landed her on the cover of New York magazine.
On September 19th Barack Obama launched a campaign to prevent sexual assaults in college. This is not the first time his administration has weighed in. In 2011 the Department of Education sent colleges a letter suggesting that if they did not take steps to curb sexual violence, they could fall foul of a federal anti-discrimination law called Title IX. The letter cited an estimate that about one in five women are victims of a completed or attempted sexual assault while in college—a much higher figure than other studies find. Sceptics protest that the study in question relies on a narrow sample of students and a broad definition of sexual assault, including “any unwanted sexual contact” while the victim is incapacitated by alcohol or drugs.
The entire “crisis” is fueled by an alliance between feminist activists and a Democratic administration to continue their successful campaign to persuade single women to vote for them because they are against rape, portraying anyone who has doubts as misogynists and probably rapists themselves. Civil libertarians are appalled, but who cares? Votes!
Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations
[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations, available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]
Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”
Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.
More on the Campus Rape Panic and Feminist Overreach:
Camille Paglia: The Modern Campus Cannot Comprehend Evil
Social Justice Warriors: #GamerGate Explained
Emma Watson’s Message: Intelligence Trumps Sex
Divorced Men 8 Times as Likely to Commit Suicide as Divorced Women
Life Is Unfair! The Militant Red Pill Movement
Leftover Women: The Chinese Scene
“Divorce in America: Who Really Wants Out and Why”
View Marriage as a Private Contract?
Madmen, Red Pill, and Social Justice Wars
Unrealistic Expectations: Liberal Arts Woman and Amazon Men
Stable is Boring? “Psychology Today” Article on Bad Boyfriends
Ross Douthat on Unstable Families and Culture
Ev Psych: Parental Preferences in Partners
Purge: the Feminist Grievance Bubble
The Social Decay of Black Neighborhoods (And Yours!)
Modern Feminism: Victim-Based Special Pleading
Stereotype Inaccuracy: False Dichotomies
Real-Life “Hunger Games”: Soft Oppression Destroys the Poor
Red Pill Women — Female MRAs
Why Did Black Crime Syndicates Fail to Go Legit?
The “Fairy Tale” Myth: Both False and Destructive
Feminism’s Heritage: Freedom vs. Special Protections
Evolve or Die: Survival Value of the Feminine Imperative
“Why Are Great Husbands Being Abandoned?”
Divorce and Alimony: State-By-State Reform, Massachusetts Edition
Reading “50 Shades of Grey” Gives You Anorexia and an Abusive Partner!
Why We Are Attracted to Bad Partners (Who Resemble a Parent)
Gaming and Science Fiction: Social Justice Warriors Strike Again
Culture Wars: Peace Through Limited Government