In my last post, I noted some of the procedural problems with university procedures concerning charges of rape on campus. In this post, I want to discuss the inequality as to standards for rape at universities. Consider this testimony about rape rules from a high official at Duke. If an individual is intoxicated, they are thought not to have the ability to consent to sex:
McLeod’s lawyer asked Wasiolek [the Duke official] what happened if both students were drunk. In that case, presumably, “they have raped each other and are subject to expulsion.” Not so, stated Wasiolek: “Assuming it is a male and female, it is the responsibility in the case of the male to gain consent before proceeding with sex.” How this policy can be reconciled with Title IX must remain a mystery.
I have often wondered about exactly this issue. Is there any defense of this policy? It seems hard to justify. As the quote above indicates, it seems blatantly inconsistent with equality between the sexes.
One of my colleagues attempted to defend this rule. He argued that if the man is the initiator – as they usually are in our culture – then this rule will be defensible because it is no defense to rape that the rapist was intoxicated. While this is an inventive argument, there are several problems with it. First, this argument merely shows that the initiator should be held responsible. The male may usually initiate, but he does not always do so. Thus, it does not justify categorically holding the man responsible and the women free of responsibility. Continue Reading →