June 16, 2016

College Coeds and Sexual Assault

The Stanford University rape case brings out much bigger issues.

When a preposterously lenient penalty was handed down to the “all-American” swimmer at Stanford University who had raped an incapacitated woman behind a garbage dumpster, most people rightly experienced revulsion and anger at this injustice. That revulsion is amplified among Stanford alumni.

While there may have been extenuating circumstances known only to the judge, it is difficult to conceive how any such circumstances would result in such leniency.

Those who have never been the victim of a sexual assault can’t comprehend the humiliation and personal violation. We can weep for the victim, love the victim, and pray for the victim, but we can never take away the lifetime of pain and anguish that they bear.

Some assaults, as in the Stanford case, clearly fit the definition of “rape.” Unfortunately, for every case where rape is clear, there are thousands of sexual encounters between college coeds which might be classified as assault but could never produce a conviction because both parties were impaired by drugs — the most common drug being alcohol. For this reason, few assaults are reported, and of those that are, most result in plea bargains or refusals to prosecute.

Further, some of the most “celebrated” cases of sexual assault, those which have become media sensations, such as gang rape charges against the Duke lacrosse team and the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity at the University of Virginia, prove to be unfounded. The MSM may have increased their market share advertising by promoting sensational cases, but when those cases have been proven unfounded, they tend to undermine legitimate charges.

The best defense against most instances of sexual assault begins with personal responsibility. First, if you are a parent, and your coed is not committed to abstain from sex and alcohol use, make sure your sons and daughters understand what constitutes “consensual sex.” Second, no matter what their attitudes about sex might be, they must avoid making poor choices that increase their exposure to predatory sexual encounters — which on college campuses most often begin with alcohol/drug impairment.

It is likely that everyone reading these words is, or knows someone who made poor choices about alcohol/drug consumption in the wrong company and, as a consequence, had a sexual encounter they regretted. Few of those encounters rise to the level of the assault in the Stanford case, but many do involve predatory sex, even if both parties are impaired.

Some have suggested — or worked to pass laws requiring — “sexual consent contracts,” which may seem laughable but…

If a loved one ever entrusts you with news of a sexual assault, understand that they’re taking a huge risk in telling you. Give them your attention, compassion and belief. And if the victim is a minor, report the assault to qualified investigators — don’t let an offender re-offend.

It is unfortunate that within 24 hours of sentencing, the Stanford assault case became fodder for race-bait memes, which appeared across social media platforms. Those memes compared sentencing between white and black offenders, which, again, is an unfortunate diversion from the subject at hand.

And on the subject of alcohol/drug impairment and sentencing, consider that if a drunk driver kills another motorist, few states have minimum sentencing standards that exceed one year. Our home state of Tennessee has the most stringent sentencing requirements in the nation: eight to 60 years. But in Maryland this week, a drunk driver who killed two passengers in his car was sentenced to just four years in prison, which according to The Washington Post “was more than two years longer than [his] attorney had sought but eight years shorter than what prosecutors wanted.” He is eligible for parole in one year.

Sound familiar? A mitigating factor was that the other three occupants in the car were also impaired. Now don’t get us wrong — the sentencing in both cases seems grossly lenient, but the Maryland judge said he would not punish the driver for “the sins of a society that has made teenagers think it is okay to drink and do drugs.”

Finally, on a related note about sentencing for sexual assault, for those who have so quickly politicized the Stanford case, we draw your attention to another case when a lawyer got a child rapist off in a plea bargain for “time served in the county jail” — two months. One Hillary Rodham agreed to defend the rapist “as a personal favor” before becoming that state’s first lady.

In her defense of Thomas Alfred Taylor, Hillary impugned the character of his 12-year-old victim, alleging she “sought out older men” and was “emotionally unstable.”

In a recent interview, the victim in that case had a few words for Clinton: “[She] took me through Hell. … I realize the truth now, the heart of what you’ve done to me. And you are supposed to be for women?”

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