#MeToo Believe the Victim Campus Due Process False Allegations Investigations Rape-Culture Hysteria Sexual Assault Title IX

$15 Million Verdict Against Thomas Jefferson Univ. Signals Fall of ‘Believe Women’ Movement


Rebecca Hain: 513-479-3335


$15 Million Verdict Against Thomas Jefferson Univ. Signals Fall of ‘Believe Women’ Movement

WASHINGTON / December 13, 2023 – On September 28, 2018, a full-page advertisement appeared in the New York Times that stated simply, “Believe women” (1). These words would be repeated countless times over the years, eviscerating the presumption of innocence and tilting the outcome of sexual assault cases against the accused. But a sexual assault allegation that recently ended with a $15 million jury verdict reveals the days of the vacuous “Believe women” phrase may be numbered.

The former Soviet Union was famous for its notorious Show Trials in which innocence or guilt was decided not by the evidence presented, but rather by whether the accused person came from a favored social group. If an investigation was conducted, it only was intended to create a façade of impartiality for the bogus trial with a predetermined outcome.

Which is exactly what happened in Thomas Jefferson University’s adjudication of medical resident Jessica Phillips’ accusation of rape against attending orthopedic surgeon John Abraham.

The saga began at an alcohol-fueled party on June 23, 2018 in Philadelphia. As the party began to wind down, Phillips forced whiskey into Abraham’s mouth and began to aggressively kiss him, according to the man. She pulled him to the floor, where they had sex. Abraham promptly reported the incident to his supervisor at the university. But inexplicably, his complaint was not forwarded to the Title IX office and never investigated (2).

In the meantime, the woman informed her husband of the incident and filed a complaint with her residency director. Four days after the sexual liaison occurred, Abraham received a Notice of Concern from Jefferson’s Title IX coordinator, alleging that he had engaged in “non-consensual sexual intercourse” with Phillips.

The university Chief Medical Officer also warned Abraham that if he did not immediately take a leave of absence, he would be suspended and reported to the Medical Staff and National Practitioner Database (3). Abraham believed he had choice but to capitulate.

All this happened before the University had completed its investigation.

On January 8, 2019, the University concluded its probe, with no finding of responsibility against the man. A police investigation of the incident likewise did not result in any charges being filed.

But the damage had been done. Abraham had been forced out of his position, his reputation destroyed, his career in tatters. The acclaimed surgeon was the latest victim of a campus Kangaroo Court.

A year later, Abraham filed a Title IX lawsuit against the University, accusing the institution of sex bias for failing to investigate his original complaint of sexual assault. At the trial, attorneys invoked the damsel-in-distress argument, claiming that Abraham “was in a powerful hierarchy position” relative to Phillips, as if a high-achieving woman in a medical residency somehow had lost her ability to utter the word, “no.”

On December 3, the jury met to decide on the case. Appalled at the university’s failure to investigate the surgeon’s complaint, the jury decided in favor of Abraham, awarding him $11 million in compensation for his financial losses, and $4 million in punitive damages for the university’s “outrageous conduct.” (4)

After five years of legal wrangling, a jury of five women and three men unanimously decided to not believe the woman. And the millions of falsely accused Americans could give a sigh of relief (5).


Believe the Victim Campus Investigations Prosecutorial Misconduct Sexual Assault Sexual Harassment Victim-Centered Investigations Violence Against Women Act

Trauma-Informed, Victim-Centered Training: Text of VAWA Reauthorization Bill

Trauma-Informed, Victim-Centered Training: Text of VAWA Reauthorization Bill


Section 205

Subtitle Q—Trauma-Informed, Victim-Centered Training for Law Enforcement



7 ‘‘(a) DEFINITIONS.—In this section—

8 ‘‘(1) the term ‘Attorney General’ means the Attorney General, acting through the Director of the

10 Office on Violence Against Women;

11 ‘‘(2) the term ‘covered individual’ means an individual who interfaces with victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking,

14 including—

15 ‘‘(A) an individual working for or on behalf

16 of an eligible entity;

17 ‘‘(B) an administrator or personnel of a

18 school, university, or other educational program

19 or activity (including a campus police officer or

20 a school resource officer); and

21 ‘‘(C) an emergency services or medical employee;

23 ‘‘(3) the term ‘demonstration site’, with respect

24 to an eligible entity that receives a grant under this

25 section, means—

1 ‘‘(A) if the eligible entity is a law enforcement agency described in paragraph (4)(A), the

3 area over which the eligible entity has jurisdiction; and

5 ‘‘(B) if the eligible entity is an organization or agency described in paragraph (4)(B),

7 the area over which a law enforcement agency

8 described in paragraph (4)(A) that is working

9 in collaboration with the eligible entity has jurisdiction.

11 ‘‘(4) the term ‘eligible entity’ means a State,

12 local, territorial, or Tribal law enforcement agency;

13 and

14 ‘‘(5) the term ‘mandatory partner’ means a national, regional, or local victim services organization

16 or agency working in collaboration with a law enforcement agency described in paragraph (4).


19 ‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—The Attorney General shall

20 award grants on a competitive basis to eligible entities to collaborate with their mandatory partners to

22 carry out the demonstration program under this section by implementing evidence-based or promising

24 investigative policies and practices to incorporate

1 trauma-informed, victim-centered techniques designed to—

3 ‘‘(A) prevent re-traumatization of the victim;

5 ‘‘(B) ensure that covered individuals use

6 evidence-based practices to respond to and investigate cases of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking;

9 ‘‘(C) improve communication between victims and law enforcement officers in an effort

11 to increase the likelihood of the successful investigation and prosecution of the reported

13 crime in a manner that protects the victim to

14 the greatest extent possible;

15 ‘‘(D) increase collaboration among stakeholders who are part of the coordinated community response to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking; and

19 ‘‘(E) evaluate the effectiveness of the

20 training process and content.

21 ‘‘(2) AWARD BASIS.—The Attorney General

22 shall award grants under this section to multiple eligible entities for use in a variety of settings and

24 communities, including—

1 ‘‘(A) urban, suburban, Tribal, remote, and

2 rural areas;

3 ‘‘(B) college campuses; or

4 ‘‘(C) traditionally underserved communities.

6 ‘‘(c) USE OF FUNDS.—An eligible entity that receives

7 a grant under this section shall use the grant to—

8 ‘‘(1) train covered individuals within the demonstration site of the eligible entity to use evidence10 based, trauma-informed, and victim-centered techniques and knowledge of crime victims’ rights

12 throughout an investigation into domestic violence,

13 dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, including

14 by—

15 ‘‘(A) conducting victim interviews in a

16 manner that—

17 ‘‘(i) elicits valuable information about

18 the domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking; and

20 ‘‘(ii) avoids re-traumatization of the

21 victim;

22 ‘‘(B) conducting field investigations that

23 mirror best and promising practices available at

24 the time of the investigation;

1 ‘‘(C) customizing investigative approaches

2 to ensure a culturally and linguistically appropriate approach to the community being served;

4 ‘‘(D) becoming proficient in understanding

5 and responding to complex cases, including

6 cases of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking—

8 ‘‘(i) facilitated by alcohol or drugs;

9 ‘‘(ii) involving strangulation;

10 ‘‘(iii) committed by a non-stranger;

11 ‘‘(iv) committed by an individual of

12 the same sex as the victim;

13 ‘‘(v) involving a victim with a disability;

15 ‘‘(vi) involving a male victim; or

16 ‘‘(vii) involving a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (commonly referred to

18 as ‘LGBT’) victim;

19 ‘‘(E) developing collaborative relationships

20 between—

21 ‘‘(i) law enforcement officers and

22 other members of the response team; and

23 ‘‘(ii) the community being served; and

24 ‘‘(F) developing an understanding of how

25 to define, identify, and correctly classify a re-

1 port of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking; and

3 ‘‘(2) promote the efforts of the eligible entity to

4 improve the response of covered individuals to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and

6 stalking through various communication channels,

7 such as the website of the eligible entity, social

8 media, print materials, and community meetings, in

9 order to ensure that all covered individuals within

10 the demonstration site of the eligible entity are

11 aware of those efforts and included in trainings, to

12 the extent practicable.





17 ‘‘(A) IN GENERAL.—The Attorney General

18 shall identify trainings for law enforcement offcers, in existence as of the date on which the

20 Attorney General begins to solicit applications

21 for grants under this section, that—

22 ‘‘(i) employ a trauma-informed, victim-centered approach to domestic violence,

24 dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking; and

1 ‘‘(ii) focus on the fundamentals of—

2 ‘‘(I) trauma responses;

3 ‘‘(II) the impact of trauma on

4 victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking;

6 and

7 ‘‘(III) techniques for effectively

8 investigating domestic violence, dating

9 violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

10 ‘‘(B) SELECTION.—An eligible entity that

11 receives a grant under this section shall select

12 one or more of the approaches employed by a

13 training identified under subparagraph (A) to

14 test within the demonstration site of the eligible

15 entity.

16 ‘‘(2) CONSULTATION.—In carrying out paragraph (1), the Attorney General shall consult with

18 the Director of the Office for Victims of Crime in

19 order to seek input from and cultivate consensus

20 among outside practitioners and other stakeholders

21 through facilitated discussions and focus groups on

22 best practices in the field of trauma-informed, victim-centered care for victims of domestic violence,

24 dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.


1 ‘‘(e) EVALUATION.—The Attorney General, in consultation with the Director of the National Institute of

3 Justice, shall require each eligible entity that receives a

4 grant under this section to identify a research partner,

5 preferably a local research partner, to—

6 ‘‘(1) design a system for generating and collecting the appropriate data to facilitate an independent process or impact evaluation of the use of

9 the grant funds;

10 ‘‘(2) periodically conduct an evaluation described in paragraph (1); and

12 ‘‘(3) periodically make publicly available, during

13 the grant period—

14 ‘‘(A) preliminary results of the evaluations

15 conducted under paragraph (2); and

16 ‘‘(B) recommendations for improving the

17 use of the grant funds.


19 are authorized to be appropriated to the Attorney General

20 $5,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2023 through 2027

21 to carry out this section.

Believe the Victim Campus Department of Justice Investigations Sexual Assault Sexual Harassment Start By Believing Title IX Trauma Informed Victim-Centered Investigations

PR: Railroading the Innocent: 5,200+ Petition Signers Demand an End to ‘Victim-Centered’ Investigations


Rebecca Stewart: 513-479-3335


Railroading the Innocent: 5,200+ Petition Signers Demand an End to ‘Victim-Centered’ Investigations

WASHINGTON / June 16, 2021 – An online petition is demanding an end to the use of so-called “victim-centered” investigative methods. “Victim-centered” approaches serve to remove the presumption of innocence and tilt the investigation in favor of the complainant (1). Such investigative philosophies are becoming widespread both in the criminal legal system and on college campuses.

The petition highlights the account of Matt Rolph of New York, who was accused of sexual assault by his former long-term girlfriend. Despite the fact that a jury found him innocent of all charges, Hobart College launched a “victim-centered” investigation that ignored inconsistencies among the witness statements. Rolph sued the college, with Judge Elizabeth Wolford eventually ruling in his favor (2).

Inexplicably, Congress has been supportive of such “victim-centered” methods.

Recently the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1620, which endorses “victim-centered” investigations. The bill defines “victim-centered” as asking questions of a complainant “in a manner that is focused on the experience of the reported victim.” (3) This description is an admission of the biased nature of such investigations, because it says nothing about focusing on the experiences of the defendant, or seeking to verify the truth (or falsity) of the allegation.

“Start By Believing” is another “victim-centered” philosophy that has enjoyed generous government support. Over the years, the “Start By Believing” sponsor has received $9.5 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Justice and other sources (4).

“Trauma-informed” is yet another victim-centered ideology that has been derided as “junk science.” (5)  Healthcare providers now are being instructed in circular “trauma-informed” thinking. According to a New York State nurse who attended one such training, “Current trauma-informed training teaches that a patient who remembers every detail of an incident, or a patient who remembers little to nothing of an incident, both indicate a trauma has occurred.” (6)

Two years ago the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) successfully organized to defeat ABA Resolution 114. The resolution sought to establish an “affirmative consent” standard on the basis of flawed trauma-informed science (7).

The National Registry of Exonerations, which tracks wrongful convictions of the innocent, found that investigative misconduct contributes to 35% of all wrongful convictions. The investigative misconduct includes concealment of evidence, fabrication of evidence, witness tampering, misconduct in interrogations, and making false statements at trial (8).

The names of the petition signers, now numbering 5,278 persons, are available for inspection (9). The online petition continues to accept additional signers:


Believe the Victim Campus Due Process False Allegations Investigations Title IX Trauma Informed

PR: Defense Attorneys Urged to Speak Out on H.R. 1620, Which Would Remove Impartial and Fair Investigations


Rebecca Stewart: 513-479-3335


Defense Attorneys Urged to Speak Out on H.R. 1620, Which Would Remove Impartial and Fair Investigations

WASHINGTON / March 15, 2021 – A bill recently introduced in Congress, H.R. 1620, would vitiate the right of defendants to an impartial and fair investigation, thereby removing a key due process right and increasing the risk of a finding of guilt. H.R. 1620 seeks to promote so-called “victim-centered” and “trauma-informed” investigations, which are known to remove the presumption of innocence and sharply bias the investigation in favor of the complainant (1).

H.R. 1620 defines “victim-centered” as asking questions of a complainant “in a manner that is focused on the experience of the reported victim.” This description is an admission of the one-sided nature of such investigations, because it says nothing about focusing on the experiences of the defendant, or on the objective facts of the case.

A report from the National Registry of Exonerations found that investigative misconduct contributes to 35% of all wrongful convictions. The investigative misconduct includes concealment of evidence, fabrication of evidence, witness tampering, misconduct in interrogations, and making false statements at trial (2). To date, 2,754 wrongful convictions have been documented (3), a figure that is believed to substantially underestimate the actual number.

Settlement agreements involve compensation payments to exonerees typically in the range of $50,000 to $100,000 for each year of wrongful imprisonment (4).

Black male defendants are often targeted by such “victim-centered” methods. A recent article by Wendy McElroy reported that 73.6% of wrongful convictions involved Blacks who were victimized by officer misconduct (5).

Ethics codes admonish police officers to conduct investigations that are impartial, fair, and honest (6).  The Law Enforcement Code of Ethics of the International Association of Chiefs of Police states, for example, “As a law enforcement officer, my fundamental duty is… respect the constitutional rights of all to liberty, equality, and justice.” (7)

SAVE urges defense attorneys to contact the bill sponsor, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, and tell her to remove the unconstitutional provisions from H.R. 1620, found at Sections 206 and 303. The full text of H.R. 1620 is available online (8).

A vote on H.R. 1620 is expected to take place later this week. Jackson Lee’s telephone number is 202-225-3816.


Believe the Victim Campus Title IX Trauma Informed Victim-Centered Investigations

PR: Campus Administrators Need to Restore Impartial Investigations, or Face a Surge in Costly Lawsuits


Contact: Rebecca Stewart

Telephone: 513-479-3335


Campus Administrators Need to Restore Impartial Investigations, or Face a Surge in Costly Lawsuits

WASHINGTON / August 11, 2020 – SAVE has published an analysis that documents a dramatic increase in judicial decisions against universities involving biased investigations of sexual assault allegations. In 2014-2016, the average number of lawsuits alleging faulty campus investigations averaged three decisions per year. In 2020, that number is projected to reach 30 judicial decisions against colleges and universities, a 10-fold increase in the span of a few years.

Such investigations go by a variety of names: “trauma-informed,” “Start By Believing,” and “victim-centered.” These investigative approaches discount the presumption of innocence and begin with the assumption that the complainant is being fully truthful. As a result, exculpatory evidence is often discounted or ignored.

Five examples illustrate the due process deficiencies that judges considered in the university lawsuits:

  • In Neal v. Colorado State University-Pueblo, the university opened an investigation into a male student after a classmate saw a hickey on that student’s girlfriend’s neck during class. The girlfriend swore to the university the sex was consensual, but the university decided to “investigate” anyway. The university gave the male student less than 24-hour notice to the hearing and refused to give him a copy of the investigative report.
  • In Doe v. Regents of University of California, a female student accused a male student of sexual assault without providing any witnesses or evidence. Without any investigation, the university put the male student on interim suspension and then did not allow him access to the investigative report once one was created.
  • In Doe v. Purdue University, the university withheld the investigative report, which included a made-up “confession” by the accused student.
  • In Doe v. Brandeis University, the institution refused to interview the accused student’s witnesses, refused to inform him of what he was being investigated for, and refused to allow him to review the investigative report.
  • In Doe v. Syracuse University, the accused student alleged that the university trained its investigators that “perpetrators of sexual assault are supposedly rational actors who plan, practice, and become habitual rapists and sexual predators… [and that] inconsistency in the alleged female victim’s account [is] evidence that her testimony is truthful, because of alleged trauma.”

On May 6, the U.S. Department of Education issued a new regulation that would require campus investigations to be impartial and free of bias. In response, the State of New York filed a lawsuit requesting a Preliminary Injunction against the Title IX regulation (1). SAVE then filed an Amicus Brief highlighting the fact that, “The Regulations require that any coordinator, investigator, decision-maker, or any person designated to facilitate an informal resolution process be free from conflict of interest or bias.” (2) The SAVE Brief urged the Court to reject the New York complaint.

This past Sunday, Judge John Koeltl issued a ruling denying the State of New York request (3). In the opinion, the judge favorably quoted a key provision from the new regulation:

During an investigation of a formal complaint, the school must “[p]rovide both parties an equal opportunity to inspect and review any evidence obtained as part of the investigation that is directly related to the allegations raised in a formal complaint, including the evidence upon which the recipient does not intend to rely in reaching a determination regarding responsibility and inculpatory or exculpatory evidence whether obtained from a party or other source, so that each party can meaningfully respond.” (page 12)

The new Title IX regulation is slated to take effect this coming Friday, August 14 (4). SAVE urges campus administrators to carefully review investigative policies and procedures to assure compliance with the new regulation.

The SAVE analysis, “University Administrators Need to Assure Impartial and Fair Investigations, or Face Legal Consequences,” is available online (5).


Believe the Victim Trauma Informed

Highlights of New Special Report on the Neurobiology of Trauma

Recently the Association of Title IX Administrators (ATIXA) published a Position Paper on “Trauma-Informed Training and Neurobiology of Trauma” that sharply criticizes the assumptions, precepts, and methods of trauma-informed proponents. Now, the Center for Prosecutor Integrity has published a separate report that takes a deep-dive into the science behind trauma-informed theory, as expounded in a bulletin written by End Violence Against Women International titled, “Understanding the Neurobiology of Trauma and Implications for Interviewing Victims.”

Following are highlights from the CPI report titled, “A Review of ‘Understanding the Neurobiology of Trauma and Implications for Interviewing Victims:’ Are We Trading One Prejudice for Another?“, researched and written by behavioral neuroscientists Sujeeta Bhatt, PhD and Susan Brandon, PhD. A large part of their review, which contains 250 citations from the scientific literature, documents the “Over-Simplification and Errors in Descriptions of Brain Processes” of the EVAWI report:

  • “The impacts of trauma on memories and recall are widely variable. The stress accompanying and resulting from trauma may produce strong memories (McGaugh, 2000; McGaugh and Roozendaal, 2002), impair memories (Salehi, Cordero, and Sandi, 2010), have no effect on memories (Shermohammed, Davidow, Somerville, and Murty, 2019), or increase the possibility of false memories.” (p. 5)
  • “The  [EVAWI] authors describe one of the roles of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) as being to integrate “memory data into narrative ‘stories’ (p. 9);” however, recent research shows that the neural networks involved in narrative formation are currently unknown.” (p. 5)
  • “The description of ‘attachment circuitry,’ defined as that “which allows us to connect emotionally with other human beings,”  does not appear to be based on current findings.” (p. 6)
  • “The authors incorrectly name and describe “habitual behaviors” demonstrated by sexual assault victims.” (p. 7)

Bhatt and Brandon caution that an “undue emphasis on brain science increases the likelihood of hindering an investigation”  because it can promote confirmation bias and undue stereotypes, and create a false information effect (pp. 7-9) More fundamentally, the authors argue that criminal investigators do not need to use special interview methods with purported trauma victims:

“Examination of studies across these domains did not reveal any evidence to support the notion that victims of potentially traumatic events require interview methods that are different from those that have been shown to be most effective for accounts of events that are presumably not traumatic. In fact, one of the most robust – and most studied – methods of interviewing victims and witnesses, the Cognitive Interview, was constructed specifically for such interviews, as part of a request to the academic and scientific community by the U.S. Department of Justice to construct an interview protocol that was different from the accusatorial protocols common to American police departments (Kelly and Meissner, 2015; Meissner, et al., 2014). Previous reviews of interview protocols purported to be especially useful to trauma victims (e.g., the Forensic Experiential Trauma Interview; Meissner, 2014) also have failed to support the assertion that memory processes (encoding, consolidation, or recall) are so unique in instances of trauma that special protocols are necessary or even useful.” (p. 9)

Bhatt and Brandon conclude their analysis with this stunning critique:

“Unfortunately, the neurobiology of trauma information provided in the Wilson et al. (2019) bulletin does not contribute in any meaningful way to justify the need for trauma-informed interviewing methods….research has indicated that resilience, use of psychopharmacologic substances (e.g., drugs, alcohol), and frequency and type of trauma all affect the subjective experience of trauma, however, none of these mitigating factors are described in the Wilson et al. (2019) bulletin.

“The meaning of our current understanding of the brain, as described above, for investigations of assault is difficult to ascertain because the impacts of traumatic experiences on memories and recall are variable, as noted. This means that an investigator who makes assumptions about the status of an alleged victim risks biasing the investigation in ways that increase the likelihood that either the innocent will be found guilty or the guilty will go free.

“In fact, assertions about brain processes in instances of trauma run the risk of leading an investigator to assume that he or she knows how the case should proceed, what the victim feels, or what should happen with respect to the suspect.” (p. 10)

In short, “Over-generalizations and assertions in the bulletin that cannot be supported by current science make some of these descriptions problematic for the intended audience(s)” (p. 5), and “As written, the bulletin does not provide sufficient evidence to support conclusions reached on the basis of the anecdotes” (p. 3).

Believe the Victim Campus False Allegations

I Was a Victim of a ‘Victim-Centered’ Investigation

I am a former cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. In July 2011, during summer training at Camp Buckner, I was taken to the military police station shortly after arriving back from a rigorous field training exercise. I was dehydrated, sleep deprived, and hadn’t eaten.

I was informed that I had been accused of sexual assault from an alleged incident that had occurred six months before. I then endured a two-year investigation that culminated in a general court martial where I essentially faced life in prison. Although I was found innocent of all the sexual charges, I was kicked out of the Academy in June 2013, the summer preceding my senior year.

While I do not know if West Point had formal victim-centered policies pertaining to sexual assault cases, I believe the Academy engaged in victim-centered practices throughout my investigation.

One of the hallmarks of victim-centered approaches is prioritizing the safety, privacy, and well-being of the “victim.”

Throughout the investigation, my accuser was treated with respect, while I was often treated with hostility. It became apparent early on that my personal well-being was not a priority. My accuser was assigned a victim advocate who escorted her around campus. She was afforded health and welfare checks to ensure that she was coping with the process.

I was never provided such support. In fact, my five-hour initial interrogation took place immediately after a multi-day field training exercise. The investigators essentially took advantage of my weakened state.

While I was afforded a full criminal investigation and trial, it was clear that there was a predetermination of guilt. During my initial interrogation, the interviewing agent was hostile, and used leading questions in an attempt to reshape my statements until they fit his preconceived narrative.

The agent’s questionable conduct was confirmed during the trial by witnesses. In her testimony, one cadet described her interview as a “frustrating and hostile environment.” She testified that “he would ask me what happened, but then he would tell me what to say. I would give an answer, and we would argue with me about my answer…I wanted to get out of there because it was so uncomfortable.” Another cadet stated that “the way [the agent] asked questions was really aggressive. He wouldn’t move on from a subject until he got what he wanted.”

Victim-centered practices often overlook the complainant’s inconsistent or untruthful statements, and attribute such inconsistencies to trauma.

At trial, my accuser committed perjury about the incident, but was later allowed to graduate without punishment. Testifying about the blood she claimed was left in the bedroom after our consensual sexual encounter, my accuser testified, “there were 4 or 5 streaks…24 inches wide, 6 inches deep blood streaks along the side of the bed.” She further testified that her roommates stated that they were “grossed out” by the blood. But all three of my accuser’s roommates denied seeing any blood in the room or making any such statements.

Sexual misconduct investigations are difficult for all parties involved and lives can be ruined if they are not handled properly. This is why it’s important for investigators and adjudicators to treat all parties impartially. Fundamental fairness is a cornerstone of our justice system. But victim-centered practices only focus on the well-being of one individual, the accuser.

The due process rights of accused students have fallen by the wayside because people fail to consider the impact these investigations have on accused individuals. Throughout my investigation I battled severe depression and even suicidal ideations, which continued for years after my investigation. I had to deal with the social stigma attached to my situation because people often presume guilt based on the seriousness of the allegations. I lost a lifelong dream of serving in the Army and the opportunity to finish my degree at a prestigious institution. My friends and family also suffered throughout my ordeal.

Sexual assault investigations should be approached impartially and fairly. While protecting alleged victims is important, it does not mean that we need to compromise the integrity of investigations by providing preferential treatment.

I was lucky to make it out alive. But many individuals don’t have the support network that I had or the resources to combat mishandled investigations. As a society, we should rely on the facts and maintain impartiality because lives are at stake.

Believe the Victim Campus

PR: ‘Start By Believing’ Investigations: Dishonest and Unethical

Contact: Rebecca Stewart

Telephone: 513-479-3335


 ‘Start By Believing’ Investigations: Dishonest and Unethical

WASHINGTON / March 4, 2019 – Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE) is today launching a national campaign designed to alert college administrators, public officials, attorneys, and the public to the perils of Start By Believing and other “victim-centered” investigative methods.

Ethics codes call for investigators to conduct their investigations in an impartial, unbiased, and honest manner (1).

In contrast, Start By Believing programs instruct investigators to start the probe with an “initial presumption” of guilt and engage in dishonest practices such as (2):

  1. Concealing inconsistencies in the complainant’s statements and “minimize the risk of contradiction.”
  2. Making sure the sexual encounter does “not look like a consensual sexual experience”
  3. Slanting the investigative report to focus on evidence that serves to “corroborate the victim’s account.”

Such methods are an anathema to the principles of fairness, due process, and the presumption of innocence.

Federal Title IX regulations require that college grievance procedures be “equitable” (3). Colleges that did not employ equitable investigative procedures in sexual assault cases have lost numerous lawsuits (4).

Over 150 professors and legal experts have signed an Open Letter criticizing the use of “victim-centered” methods such as Start By Believing (5). A formal complaint was filed with the Department of Justice in February 2018 regarding its funding of Start By Believing (6). One year later, a reply has not been received.

More information about SAVE’s #StartByListening or #StartByBelieving? campaign is available online (7).



SAVE (Stop Abusive and Violent Environments) is working for effective and fair solutions to sexual assault and domestic violence:

Believe the Victim

Help Protect Fairness and Due Process. Volunteer and Vote.

Never before have we witnessed such attacks on fairness in our legal system — “Start By Believing,” “#MeToo,” “Believe Survivors,” and the other empty cliches of the due process deniers. All this despite the fact that a strong majority of Americans support due process on campus:

One week from today will be the November 6 elections. Some candidates are openly supporting fairness, others not.

This may be the most important election in our lifetimes. SAVE urges you to get involved in the political process — attend rallies,  ask candidates where they stand on the issues, become a campaign volunteer, and most importantly, vote for the candidate of your choice.

Because some races will come down to just a few votes either way.


The SAVE Team

Believe the Victim False Allegations

Just Days After Cornerstone Caroline Incident, EVAWI Doubles Down on ‘Victims’

A few days ago, a woman known as “Cornerstore Caroline” called the cops on a 9-year-old boy for allegedly sexually assaulting her. But the surveillance video revealed the boy’s backpack accidentally and momentarily grazed her buttocks — there was no assault:

The video went viral, and incident has provoked a national debate on the problem of false allegations. Part of the problem is the careless habit of referring to complainants as “victims.” A person does not become a victim until a legal adjudication is conducted and the accused is found guilty. Until then, the accuser is only a “complainant.”

Despite that fact, a group known as End Violence Against Women International just put out a Training Bulletin with the misleading title, “Interviews With Victims and Suspects.”  To boot, EVAWI claims “victims” have long faced “unwarranted” skepticism — seemingly unaware that its own distortions may be contributing to the skepticism. See

Hey EVAWI, what’s going on? (509) 684-9800.


The SAVE Team