RAPE CASE: UNIVERSITY UNCERTAINTY
Seeking justice for someone involved in rape, whether that person is a victim or a perpetrator, is a complicated endeavor for a variety of reasons, some of which include: due to the intimate nature of the crime prosecution often has a dearth of evidence with which to work; social stigmas which act in a coercive way towards silence or denial that a crime occurred or that rape and sexual assaults are themselves crimes; a high threshold of uncertainty with regards to the attitudes of those who might precipitate action (eg unenthusiastic justice and peace officers); the dependence of legal action at the court date on the memory of the victim, the details of which naturally often become vague as time passes; the variables are myriad, etc.. In attempting to address this this problem, the actions taken at the university level in response to sexual assault cases and allegations are profoundly deficient, to the detriment of all of society.
In Texas, Universities that receive public funding are required to comply with federally mandated policies with regards to how they handle sexual assaults and rape accusations on campus; their funding is directly tied to their compliance with these policies. This is problematic for several reasons, not the least of which is that penalties of an academic and financial nature are in this way given leeway to be levied on the accused without due process- when they indeed result in action at all. Indeed, media is replete with stories about the tribulations faced by victims of rape when they come forward: they are judged as being “easy,” guilty or not their reputation and life is largely upheaved, they pay extravagant personal costs to affect a facsimile of justice in service of someone’s bottom line.
This becomes particularly troublesome when one considers the fact that the CDC considers in all its data “made-to-penetrate” a separate issue , and typically lesser, than that of rape; this means that it is a crime unique to men and is thus given entirely different judicial precedence than rape (ie virtually none), which means that public universities are then expected to adhere to de facto double-standards with regards to accusations of rape based on discrimination depending on the gender of the victim. To reiterate, this is public funding being necessitated on double standards with regards to sexual assaults on university campuses.
Part of the reason many campuses and the US government take a dim view on male victims of rape and an increasingly boisterous view on female victims of rape stems from a study and extrapolations thereof which indicate a misleading number of both female and male rape victims. This study informs government policy and has had its results largely questioned and found under scrutiny to lack academic rigor; ironically enough (in a macabre way) these studies are concerned with and most affecting areas of academic concentration.
Further, the CDC also rates the number of men who have been “made to penetrate,” which the CDC has also said it does not consider “rape,” at 1 in 21. The fact that there is no applicable recourse for victims of this crime, extrapolation of which suggests something like 4% of men are victims, is the type of gendered discrimination that college and university campuses are typically known for seeking to address. The fact that they have not speaks to the power in play at that level; focus is on funding, which is tied to the administration ignoring some crimes and politicizing others. Unchecked, this practice erodes the environment of safety incumbent to the academic process and the attending students’ growth therein.
This is not just a legislative problem; the effects ripple through every layer of society. The number of men with undergraduate degrees and post-graduate degrees have begun to decrease as they see the costs and value associated with college attendance to not be worth their while. This negatively affects the number of STEM and business graduates most obviously, whose dearth as a country the US can scarcely afford to facilitate, and that’s just with that half of the population. For the rest of us, it means a less competitive and rigorous educational environment, reinforcement of a largely restrictive political view of sexuality and relationships, and a culture of financial oppression that polices thought and conduct.