I thought it would be interesting to juxtapose two stories about drunkenness and rape. The first is hearsay: I heard it from a former judge’s clerk who was telling me about the funniest case she ever worked on, back in the 1980s. I don’t have details, but I do remember the core facts she told me. The second is ripped from today’s academic headlines.
The first case, which happened in the mid-1980s, was a rape trial. The alleged rape took place at a beach party that involved lots and lots of booze. The claim was that the victim was reclining in a beach chair when the defendant raped her.
The victim testified in sobbing detail about her terrible ordeal. The judge passed a note to his clerk saying, “She’s dumb as a post.” How right the judge was came out under cross-examination. It quickly became apparently that the sex was entirely consensual because the “victim” had been so drunk she thought the defendant was her boyfriend — and she thought this even though her boyfriend was wearing a heavy cast on his leg that night, while the defendant was not. The defendant was swiftly acquitted.
I guess it was that story, which I heard almost 30 years ago, that has made me leery to this day about accepting at face value rape claims from women who were admittedly drunk almost to the point of unconsciousness.
And now for the other rape story, this one coming from Dartmouth, an Ivy League institution that prides itself on — ahem — the quality education it gives its students. There, a young man named Parker Gilbert was arrested and tried for rape. He was fully acquitted because all of the available evidence indicated that both he and the young women were drunk as skunks and that the sex was consensual. (The girl’s roommate said that the sounds of “consensual sex” were present, which makes it sound as if a Dartmouth dorm is pretty much the equivalent of a brothel, with sex taking place openly in semi-public rooms. Everyone at college is apparently an exhibitionist or, whether unwittingly or unwillingly, a voyeur.) I pass the narrative baton to Robert Stacy McCain:
The accuser was drunk, the accused was drunk, and the witnesses were drunk — evidently everybody on campus at Dartmouth was completely hammered that night, and the only thing anyone can remember for sure is that “vaginal penetration” occurred.
Permit me to digress: Can someone get a trial transcript and provide me with verbatim quotes of Nancy Wu’s testimony? Because I’m curious to know what she says she heard, which the newspaper euphemistically describes as “sounds consistent with consensual sex.” Was the alleged victim moaning passionately, as if in a state of orgasmic ecstasy? “Oh, Parker! You sexy beast! Do me, baby!” But I digress . . .
You can see why I was so strongly reminded of that long-ago reminiscence about crazy days in the District Court. But here’s an add-on that would, I think, have still been unthinkable back in the halcyon days of the 1980s: In modern-day Dartmouth, even though Gilbert was completely exonerated, Dartmouth still considered him guilty:
How did the activists at Dartmouth respond? With a lengthy statement (still labeling the accuser as a “victim”) denouncing the jury, demanding a “cultural shift” in what could be considered a crime. . . .
If Gilbert had been convicted, the message would have been a need to address “rape culture” at Dartmouth. With Gilbert acquitted, the message was a need to address “rape culture” at Dartmouth (and in New Hampshire!). Facts, it appears, don’t matter.
As McCain notes, it’s not a matter of ignoring facts, it’s a matter of not knowing facts — but in the absence of knowledge, the man is guilty. In other words, America’s finest educational institutions have come up with a mirror image of the sharia standard: when it comes to sex, it’s always the man’s fault. While Islam holds that women always ask for it, meaning a man cannot be guilty of rape, America’s universities hold that men are always forcing it and must, even in the absence of knowledge or the presence of consent, be deemed guilty of rape.