Law Sweeping the Nation Under the Radar Makes Young Men Accused of Rape Presumed Guilty

“Affirmative Consent laws and policies are making their way through the states,” an advocacy group correctly points out, and if you don’t believe it, check out the state-by-state listing of legislative activity to make affirmative consent the law.

“Affirmative consent” is repugnant to notions of due process and makes innocent college men presumed rapists solely on the say-so of college women. One court candidly explained how it works after a young man is accused of sexual assault:

[The accused] must come forward with proof of an affirmative verbal response that is credible in an environment in which there are seldom, if any, witnesses to an activity which requires exposing each party’s most private body parts. Absent the tape recording of a verbal consent or other independent means to demonstrate that consent was given, the ability of an accused to prove the complaining party’s consent strains credulity and is illusory.

Mock v. University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, No. 14-1687-II (Tenn. Ch. Ct. Aug. 10, 2015).

Exactly how are innocent college men supposed to prove consent? A co-author of California’s law, Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, said this: “Your guess is as good as mine.” That comment is as chilling as it is telling.

The sexual grievance cartel: no concern about innocent college men

When people of goodwill raise concerns about the effect of “affirmative consent” laws on innocent college men, the sexual grievance cartel becomes indignant. Attorney Shelley Dempsey recently testified against Connecticut’s proposed “yes means yes” bill and explained that it undermines the fundamental presumption of innocence. This sparked a “heated exchange” with one of sponsors of the bill, Sen. Mae Flexer. Flexer didn’t bother to refute Dempsey’s argument that the proposed law would flip the “presumption of innocence” but instead played the “rape epidemic” card. She argued that “statistics show one of every five women will be a sexual assault victim on campus.” Her implication was that because rape is a problem, we shouldn’t worry about the wrongly accused, who are necessary collateral damage in the far more important war on rape.

Attorney Dempsey challenged Flexer’s premise by correctly refuting her statistics. Dempsey explained that, in fact, data from the U.S. Department of Justice shows the real number is 6.1 students per 1,000.

Flexer responded with indignation that Dempsey would dare to cite actual statistics to correct Flexer’s fabricated statistics. Flexer accused Dempsey of “reframing the debate in a way that was not conducive to solving the urgent problem of college sexual assault.” Flexner added: “It’s frustrating to be debating the criminal justice statistics on this issue when everyone in this room can recognize that there are clearly far too many young women in this state and across the country that are sexually assaulted on our college campuses.”

Indignation is a new approach for Flexer in responding to queries about “affirmative consent.” Last year, speaking at a panel discussion at Yale, Flexer claimed that it is a “false criticism” to maintain that affirmative consent presumes guilt in an accused. Yale’s Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Melanie Boyd chimed in, explaining that Yale still begins with a presumption of innocence but simply has shifted the question from “was there a refusal” to “was there agreement.”

Excuse me while I go bang my head against a wall. When you force an accused student toprove there was an agreement, you are presuming guilt based on an accusation. “. . . the rule about burden of proof requires the prosecution by evidence to convince the jury of the accused’s guilt . . . .” Taylor v. Kentucky, 436 U.S. 478, 485, 98 S. Ct. 1930, 1934, 56 L. Ed. 2d 468, 475, 1978 U.S. LEXIS 95, *12-13 (U.S. 1978). So, no, it is not a “false criticism” to claim that “affirmative consent” flips the presumption of innocence on its head.

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This is about what we should expect from the folks who dominate the public discourse on sexual assault–and don’t give a damn about your son. Jaclyn Friedman, editor of the book “Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape,” explained on PBS why “affirmative consent” is a good law:

Q: All right, Ms. Friedman, what about that switch, that the presumption has switched from guilt to — or innocence to guilt?

JACLYN FRIEDMAN: Well, we don’t say that when we say that a kidnapper, when we ask a kidnapper, like, did you have permission to take them somewhere, right? So that doesn’t create presumption of guilt. So I don’t know see why it would be different in sexual assault.

That Friedman seems to think a “kidnapper” has the burden of proving his innocence is not just naive and absurd, it is frightening. She is a leading light among the feminists who dominate the public discourse on sexual assault.

The goal: legislation that requires colleges to always believe the woman

A few years ago, it would have been irresponsible, even laughable, to suggest that college men are presumed rapists solely on the basis of an accusation. Today, it is law in our two biggest states, not to mention the official policy of many colleges, and the sexual grievance cartel is attempting to make it the law in many states.

If history teaches us anything, we know two things: (1) the progressives who run the sexual grievance cartel never lose a battle, and (2) the sexual grievance cartel will continue to push for more and more legislation until the goal of “always believe the woman” is given statutory articulation across the nation.

If that sounds absurd remember that before April 11, 2011, hardly anyone would have believed that the Department of Education would issue a fiat demanding that colleges lower the standard of proof for sex offenses in all U.S. colleges to “preponderance of the evidence.” TheDear Colleague letter issued that date was a shocking display of executive branch hubris and an affront to the presumption of innocence.

Most people assumed the debate from that point on would be over rolling back the Dear Colleague letter’s excesses. But the sexual grievance cartel had other ideas. Working under the radar, as it is wont to do, it was busy taking the next step and flipping the burden of proof on its head. It got “affirmative consent” passed in California and New York and enshrined in student disciplinary handbooks in colleges across America.

On college campuses, the debate has taken the expected course: earnest students, ever eager to be perceived as having the correct views, march in lockstep to the PC group-think of their self-anointed moral superiors in the sexual grievance cartel. The outlandish lie that a rape epidemic is sweeping the academy is largely unchallenged, and anyone who seeks to instill balance in the discourse is shot down as a rape apologist.

Whatever happened to liberals?

“Liberalism . . . used to stand for due process of law, but not anymore,” wrote Chris Powell, managing editor of the Journal Inquirer at Manchester, Connecticut, lamenting that the anti-due process bandwagon is about to ensnare Connecticut–its legislature is considering making “affirmative consent” the law for colleges in the state.

The presumptive Democrat Party nominee for president shares the belief that men accused of rape are presumed guilty until proven innocent. This unconscionable belief is being enshrined in affirmative consent laws across America.

The “affirmative consent” standard is the easy, but not the appropriate, way to respond to the public outcry about sexual assault on campus. Innocence Project guru Mark A Godsey has said that “the risk of wrongful conviction is the highest when there’s public outcry. Most of the exonerations and wrongful convictions have occurred in rape cases.”‘

The problem is, the progressives leading the charge to enshrine “affirmative consent” into law don’t give a damn about your son or the wrongly accused.