05/16/2014 Jonathan Taylor

Vigilante rape hysteria at Columbia University

Note: this article and the images on it have been added to the key AVFMS article “The Face of Misandry in Academia: a Collection of Banners, Posters, and Other Visual Aids.”

A while ago I posted an article that talked about misandry in academia from the 1980s to the present day. In waltzed a few Feminists & Friends to argue that misandry prior to 2000 was irrelevant and not worthy of discussion because it was “in the past.” My point was that the culture that had created the kind of misandry in the 80s and 90s had not gone away; it had become entrenched in our educational institutions.

It has historic continuity, in other words. Far from irrelevant, such continuity makes that misandry all the more problematic and worthy of discussion.

And today we see history repeat itself. In 1990 a bunch of Feminists at Brown University wrote a “rape list” of men they accused of sexual assault on the bathroom stalls of the women’s restrooms on campus. And now in 2014 – a full twenty four years later – so-called “sex-assault victim advocates” (who have left all the telltale signs of being Feminists themselves) are doing the same thing at Columbia University, as you can see in the picture above.

According to The Columbian Lion:

The photos above show a list of four students, all of whom are Columbia undergrads. There were four distinct styles of handwriting, which suggests multiple authors. The names on the photos have been blacked out, out of respect for the judicial process. Unfortunately, we were unable to see the list for ourselves, as Facilities had recently scrubbed the walls of the bathroom stalls. According to our tipster, it had been less than 24 hours since the list had been written.

Of course, the activists could theoretically be punished for graffiti. But then most universities are so afraid of making any public statements that run counter to rape hysteria that it’s questionable whether this will be investigated.

When the writing was scrubbed away the activists then decided to leave flyers in the bathrooms:

Columbia Flyer 1

Also, here’s an alternative photo.

The sentence at the bottom is a huge red flag: “always make sure to have sober, enthusiastic, continuous consent.” Consent, of course, needs to be neither “enthusiastic” nor sober. There is indeed such a thing as passed-out-drunk rape, but there is no such thing as “tipsy rape” when consent hinges upon alcohol consumption.

The expanded definition of rape has all the telltale signs of Feminism, as it is Feminists who have historically been at the forefront of pushing the “enthusiastic consent” and “all drunk sex is rape and the man’s a rapist (even if both partners are drunk)” model.

I would say that the probability is very high that this is a group of Feminists running around falsely accusing several men of rape on campus, or accusing them with evidence that is nowhere near proportionate to the degree the claim requires. I can’t prove it, so I won’t pretend to make a definitive claim of someone else’s guilt. But that’s only because I’m using a higher standard of evidence in pronouncing the guilt of Feminists than they use in pronouncing the guilt of men.

One of the accused students wrote for Bwog, which describes itself as “an independent, student-run campus news site.” He was summarily fired just for being accused. You can read their public statement here. Take note of this passage:

On May 7, allegations that a member of our staff had violated Columbia University’s Gender Based Misconduct policy were brought to our attention by an anonymous tip. As a reiteration of our continued work against rape culture, we have taken steps to ensure that the makeup of Bwog’s staff, without question, reflects this.

Note the publication’s parroting of the Feminist dogma of “rape culture,” even as they fire a man without question. That sounds a lot more like they are supporting a false rape culture to me, rather than fighting some kind of rape culture.

Accordingly, we asked this staffer to permanently and immediately resign from their position, and they agreed. Our decision does not reflect a position on the innocence or guilt of this former staff member, nor does it comment on, take a position on, support, implicitly or explicitly, any allegations of fact or law made against such person.

I can’t describe the problems with this statement any better than Community of the Wrongly Accused did:

The import is as clear as it is chilling: the editors’ decision to dismiss the staffer had nothing whatsoever to do with the merits, validity, or strength of the allegations lobbed at the staffer, or with the staffer’s guilt or innocence. The staffer deserves to be fired, the editors think, because of an unfounded accusation that the editors of Bwog haven’t been able, or haven’t bothered, to verify or confirm.

I will disagree with COTWA on the last sentence here, however:

The fact is, the editors could have stood firmly against sexual violence while also upholding the staffer’s right to be treated fairly. The one has nothing to do with the other. It’s not an either/or proposition. In addition, the editors could have used the unfounded accusation as an occasion to affirm their fidelity to principles of fairness and due process. Instead, they kowtowed to the mob and gussied up their decision to fire the staffer by claiming ‘conflict of interest.’

I don’t think they kowtowed to the mob. They are part of the mob. The part that has completed its long march through our institutions. And they were more than happy to sign their names for all the world to see at the end of their public statement. Their names are:

    • Sarah Faith Thompson, Editor-in-Chief
    • Claire Friedman, Managing Editor
    • Alexander Pines, Features Editor
    • Maud Rozee, Internal Editor
    • Jake Hershman, Publisher

The website Think “Progress” (boy, it’s getting harder and harder to justify that name) reported on this case as well. A lot of their regulars supported the flyers and the writing on the bathroom stalls. I suppose vigilante justice is “progress” to some people. And for the next step in our evolution to enlightenment: the stockade and the public hanging!

Jezebel.com weighed in on it. And Amy McCarthy (and what a fitting last name that is) over at The Bustle had this to say:

I’m typically not one for vigilante justice, but the student who fought back against the hushed culture of sexual assault at Columbia University by scrawling lists of names in bathroom stalls is my new hero.

McCarthyism indeed!

Students have a right to feel safe on campus, and that means knowing whether or not the guy in their study group is a rapist. If one person is protected from a sexual predator by this brave, anonymous student’s bathroom graffiti, they’ve already done more to protect students on campus than Columbia University has. 

Yes, students have a right to feel safe from malicious lying women who point the finger at them, knowing full well a false accusation of sexual assault can easily wreck someone’s life. And they also have the right to be protected from sexual assault.

I also love McCarthy’s pairing of “brave” and “anonymous” to describe these activists. Yes, anonymously flinging felony accusations against people without evidence is so incredibly brave. So brave, in fact, that I feel more inspired than when I went to see the latest Captain America movie. Where would we be without heroes like these people?

Columbia University, by the way, has also fallen under the eye of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) in the past for how they handle due process. Of course, virtually all universities mishandle due process issues anyway because they must comply with Department of Education directives that order them to use a ridiculously low standard of evidence. But Columbia was one of those that seemed interested in going the extra mile.

And let’s all keep in mind: it’s not like institutions of higher education have the investigative or prosecutorial power to make authoritative judgments on who is guilty of sexual assault, so any judgments they render are irrelevant.

Thankfully, however, there is some noticeable dissent in the comments sections at publications like Think “Progress,” Jezebel, and so forth. People are waking up to just how ridiculous these kinds of activists are. And what’s more, they are waking up to how bad universities are at handling sexual assault.

And not from the perspective of “universities are doing such a bad job so they need to ratchet down more draconian sexual misconduct policies.” No, they are doing it from the perspective of “hey university, where do you get off determining guilt in felony accusations?”

Universities have no business pronouncing judgment in felony sex-assault cases. Hand it off to the professionals – the police, the courts, and so forth. If you can’t win there after 50+ years of Feminist reforms, your case probably shouldn’t win anywhere.



Jonathan Taylor
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Jonathan Taylor

Jonathan is Title IX For All's founder, editor, web designer, and database developer. Hailing from Texas, he makes a mean red beans n' rice and is always interested to learn new things.
Jonathan Taylor
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About the Author

Jonathan Taylor Jonathan is Title IX For All's founder, editor, web designer, and database developer. Hailing from Texas, he makes a mean red beans n' rice and is always interested to learn new things.

Comments (4)

  1. Excellent, Jonathan.

    You say: “I don’t think they kowtowed to the mob. They are part of the mob.”

    Good point.

    I would add this. Students are said to have the right under Title IX to attend school without fear of being raped. So why don’t students have the right under Title IX to attend school without fear of being falsely accused, libeled, or having their good names destroyed without an opportunity to defend themselves? If rape is a Title IX issue, so are false rape claims.

    If a fraternity posted a sign that branded certain women “sluts,” does anyone seriously think the fraternity would not be punished for that? That the school’s president wouldn’t condemn it and call for an investigation and hearings? That Bwog and like-minded progressive outlets wouldn’t have a conniption?

    But it’s okay to distribute flyers calling certain men rapists.

    (And which is worse, being called a “slut” or a “rapist”?)

    Only in the loopy world of academia and progressive media outlets would such a double standard be deemed acceptable.

  2. One more comment:

    It is astounding how frequently we see things like this — and people who claim they are progressives showing no concern for rights of the presumptively innocent. When it comes to sex claims, the feminist left has an unfortunate history of dismissing the interests of the presumptively innocent in the name of outing and punishing rapists, and of ridiculing anyone who dares to speak for the wrongly accused.

    You mentioned Brown, which has always been one of my favorites. In that case, some women were not happy that university janitors continually erased the names. One woman told a reporter that erasing the names reinforces the idea that ”women are to blame for their rapes. . . . .” It never occurred to that woman that the janitor might have erased the names because university property is not a private billboard to make unfounded rape allegations.

    Exposing rapists is a great idea. The problem is, it doesn’t allow for the possibility that the people doing the exposing might get it wrong. Here a few other prominent examples:

    ▲For 17 years, the University of Maryland Clothesline Project allowed purported rape survivors to publicly display shirts with the full names of men they accused of rape written on them. Jennifer Pollitt-Hill, the executive director of the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault, said a sexual assault survivor “can feel empowered by naming the perpetrator . . . .” Many of the women who scrawled names on shirts felt the justice system — both the courts and the university judicial board — was too lenient on perpetrators. “Victims feel like these things silence them,” Pollitt-Hill said, “and there’s no justice . . . .” The public discourse on this issue focused almost exclusively on the value to rape victims of writing names on shirts. Absent was an acknowledgment of even the possibility that there might have been more than one side to the story for at least some of the alleged rape claims. The university-sanctioned practice of branding presumptively innocent men “rapists” without the pretense of due process was only stopped when the school realized that the practice subjected it to civil liability.

    ▲Women in a feminist art class at the University of Maryland once plastered the campus with fliers last week listing the names of virtually every male student under the heading, “NOTICE: THESE MEN ARE POTENTIAL RAPISTS.” The women also set up large posters containing all of the names on the grassy mall at the center of the campus. The project angered some men on campus. Several advocates of the signs, however, declared that the men’s anger was the point. “I think it’s admirable that men in this school have been saying the word ‘rape’ and are being angry at the same time,” said Jessica True, 23, a freshman from Takoma Park.

    ▲A group at Oberlin College once posted signs identifying its first “rapist of the month” — a male freshman — despite the fact that the targeted youth had not been charged with any crime and was mortified by the signs because, he explained, he was not even sexually active. A female freshman told a reporter that she knew the male and didn’t feel he did anything wrong, “but there’s a part of me that is questioning him” because of the signs. The New York office of the Legal Defense and Education Fund of the National Organization for Women declined to comment on the issue.

    ▲Some years ago, zealous victim’s advocates insisted that women must have the unilateral right to define rape in whatever manner they see fit, regardless of the harm to the person accused. This attitude was manifested in Catherine Comins’ quote: “To use the word [‘rape’] carefully would be to be careful for the sake of the violator, and the survivors don’t care a hoot about him.'” What Comins didn’t bother to consider was the harm to innocent people when the word “rape” is not used carefully.

    ▲Katie J.M. Baker, who claims she is someone who “writes and thinks about rape culture all day,” defended the injustices created by the Steubenville Internet vigilantes to battle sexual assault. “Sure,” Baker writes,” internet vigilantism has some serious drawbacks — [one anonymous vigilante] has ‘outed’ numerous Steubenville residents whom they believe are involved with the case and deserve to be punished, and we currently have no way of knowing if many of their accusations are true — but . . . .” The “but” is chilling. To Baker, the injustice of outing possibly innocent people was worth it (to her, at least — certainly not to the innocent who are outed).

    ▲In Columbus, Ohio, a Web site was set up to give rape victims a forum to post information about their alleged attackers. Flyers were passed out that said “Expose your rapist” and directed people to a Web site where they could list details about their attacker, including their names. The local prosecuting attorney gave this effort his quasi-imprimatur.

    ▲Feminist icon Germaine Greer is on record advocating something similar: “Speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival she said . . .: ‘I wish there were an online rapists’ register and that it was kept up to date, because we know the courts can’t get it right. When I say that to people, they get so scared, and say ‘Oh you can’t. What about privacy? Years ago I knew we would never get convictions in a court of law for date rape, so I suggested women kept an online dossier, so if a woman had a date with a guy and he did something to her, or frightened her, and she asked him to stop and he didn’t, then instead of going to the police she should put him online. Other women could check this dossier, look up a guy and see that he has form. Then she can say no, or if she does go, goes knowing it’s a high risk strategy.'”

    • Jack Strawb

      Please. Pointing to the left as being particularly egregious wrt the trampling of rights serves no one well, especially given the statement’s falsity. While the left has recently failed badly to stand up for civil liberties there have been long stretches in the US when the left was the only part of the political spectrum not just defending our civil liberties, but the only part of the spectrum not shoveling civil liberties away with both hands.

      Perspective. Please.

  3. Jack Strawb

    “Yes, students have a right to feel safe from malicious lying women who point the finger at them, knowing full well a false accusation of sexual assault can easily wreck someone’s life.”

    Consistent with this would be a widely publicized list of False Accusers, and those eager to believe anything, eager to slander and to libel.


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