Dem Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand: Let's not blame the victim in this bogus UVA/Rolling Stone rape story

Via Ace. If you’re unclear who she thinks the “victim” is, here’s a hint. It ain’t the frat guys who were accused without a shred of evidence and had their windows smashed by angry classmates before everyone found out this was really just a bizarre play for romantic sympathy gone horribly wrong.

“Jackie’s” the victim, now and forever, because that’s what the Campus Rape Culture panic requires her to be.

“Victim blaming or shining the spotlight on her for coming forward is not the right approach,” Gillibrand said on “The Capitol Pressroom,” a public radio show in Albany. “In fact, what we have to focus on is how do we keep these campuses safe? How do we have better trained personnel on campuses so they can tell a survivor what her options are and so they can have all the facts?”

Gillibrand said it would be wrong for some to call on the female student in the UVA scandal to face criminal charges.

“I think it’s inappropriate,” she said. “One of the challenges with survivors of sexual trauma and rape is that they often don’t want to actually participate with law enforcement because they don’t think justice is possible. They don’t think they will be believed; they think they’ll be blamed.”

Listen to the audio (the key part starts at around 13:00) and you’ll hear Gillibrand concede that some small percentage of rape claims are bogus, which is why her legislation aims to protect the rights of both alleged victim and the accused. That’s super, but the bit in the excerpt above about “victim blaming” belies that. Obviously she opposes any penalties for women who falsely accuse men of rape, no matter how selfish their reason and destructive the consequences. It’s the other side of the coin from some feminists arguing, in essence, that an accusation of sexual assault is necessarily persuasive beyond a reasonable doubt; Gillibrand won’t go that far but she will basically say that no amount of evidence that an accusation is false can ever reach the same beyond-a-reasonable-doubt threshold. That’s why she’s still describing Jackie as a victim. That’s why the cops in Chancellorsville yesterday were careful to say that they’re not claiming that Jackie wasn’t assaulted, only that they’ve found no evidence of it. That’s why, if I’m not mistaken, Duke lacrosse accuser Crystal Mangum never served a day in prison for her own bogus rape report. The justice system has overcorrected its traditional callousness towards sexual assault to the point where there’s really no such thing as a false accusation of rape anymore. All there are are accusations that can’t be proved. The “lay off Jackie” stuff is in service to the noble goal of removing deterrents to real rape victims reporting real rapes, but when you take it as far as absolving someone who falsely accused others of a major felony, you’re turning the old maxim about 10 guilty and one innocent on its head. Better that one random innocent guy have his reputation utterly destroyed by an irresponsible liar than 10 guilty men never be justly accused by the women they attacked. I’m not sure why we can’t walk and chew gum at the same time by agreeing that (a) cops should take every rape claim deadly seriously and (b) women who prove to be liars should be treated as assailants, not “victims.” Good lord.

And needless to say, Ace is right that Gillibrand et al. not wanting to deny Jackie her “victim” status is also a function of them wanting to cover their own asses for having uncritically accepted the Rolling Stone UVA rape story. If Jackie’s a sympathetic figure even now, well, then the torches-and-pitchforks crowd really shouldn’t bear any blame for having viciously attacked Rolling Stone’s skeptics as rape enablers who might as well have been in the room at Phi Kappa Psi while Jackie was being assaulted. They reacted harshly only because they care so much about making sure that skepticism didn’t discourage genuine rape victims from coming forward. Gillibrand describing Jackie as a victim is a vestige of that attitude. Skepticism towards any accusation, for whatever reason, must be resisted to the bitter end and even beyond the bitter end, when the whole world knows what Jackie really did, and why.

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