THE ESSENTIAL QUESTION
What changes need to be made with how our judicial system,
more specifically college campuses, handle sexual assault to
stop actual rapists from getting away with crime while, in the
event a case is false, protecting accused rapists of the lasting
stigma that is associated with rape?
DEFINING RAPE: LITERALLY
2rape verb: to force (someone) to have sex with you by using
violence or the threat of violence
Does this definition have enough power to describe the crime of
DEFINING RAPE: LEGALLY
As defined by the ALM Network of Legal Publications, Events,
Research, and Intelligence Tools… 2) v. to have sexual
intercourse with a female without her consent through force,
violence, threat or intimidation, or with a girl under age …
… On the other side of the coin, there is the concern of law
enforcement and prosecutors that women whose advances
have been rejected by a man, or who have been caught in the
act of consensual sexual intercourse and are embarrassed may
falsely cry "rape."
HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE SEXUALLY
ASSAULTED EACH YEAR?
According to the NCVC (National Crime Victimization Survey) in 2002 247,730
people were raped/sexually assaulted in the US.
According to a study done by Finkelhor, D., Hotaling, G., Lewis, I. A., & Smith, C, 1
in 6 boys will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18 and 1 in 4 girls will be
sexually assaulted before the age of 18.
1 in 3 American women will be sexually abused during their lifetime. (George
Mason University, Worldwide Sexual Assault Statistics, 2005)
WHY DOES RAPE HAPPEN?
Rapists Alcohol Promiscuous clothes Television Weather
WHERE DOES SEXUAL ASSAULT
USUALLY TAKE PLACE?
Sexual assault happens predominantly in cities among people of
low socioeconomic class and on college campuses.
Sexual assault cases on college campuses are often untreated
resulting in the encouragement of criminals to continue sexually
Different colleges define rape differently. The definition of rape
among college campuses has created a lot of controversy over
the past decade.
SEXUAL ASSAULT ON COLLEGE
According to Time Magazine (May 26, 2014) 1 in 5 women at
college are subject to experiencing some type of sexual assault.
The University of Montana had 80 rape cases reported between
2009 and 2012.
In the past two years, due to these statistics, measures have been
taken against sexual assault on college campuses.
CONTROVERSY ON COLLEGE
Kirsten Gillibrand, a Senator form New York: “There is a pervasive
lack of understanding when it comes to the true nature of
campus sexual assault. These are not dates gone bad or a good
guy who had too much to drink. This is a crime largely
perpetrated by repeat offenders, who instead of facing a
prosecutor and a jail cell remain on campus after a short term
suspension, if punished at all.
Emma Sulkowicz, a junior at Columbia University, was a victim of
rape. Her hearing didn’t take place until seven months after the
incident. One panelist insisted on asking her “how anal rape was
even physically possible.” The offender was found not guilty and
her appeal was sent to the dean; the dean, most likely not
wanting to give the university a bad rep, dismissed the case.
CONTROVERSY ON COLLEGE
Matthew Kaiser, a criminal defense lawyer: “What about our
sons? Colleges will risk sanction by the Department of Education
if they don’t take action in favor of women who report sexual
assault. The school’s incentive is to set up a process that results in
guilt. One way schools accomplish this is by defining sexual
assault as sex with anyone who has been drinking” … “The ‘drunk
sex = rape’ rule is systematically unfair to male students,
especially when we all know drunk sex is common in college.
When my daughter leaves for college, I want her to be
protected form sexual assault. But when my son goes to college, I
want him not to risk his future whenever he has sex after a party.
And, based on the cases I’ve seen, I’m more concerned for my
son than my daughter.”
CONTROVERSY ON COLLEGE
Jed Rubenfeld, a Yale Law School professor: “In addition to
widespread underreporting and defective procedures for
handling campus rape, another fundamental problem is
confusion over the very definition of rape. Yale redefined sexual
assault among students as any “nonconsensual sexual contact”
where consent must be a prior “unambiguous” “Agreement” to
each “specific” touching, whether or not consented to in the
past” … “If two Yale students are kissing and one of them
touches the other sexually, that person has apparently
committed sexual assault even if they’ve done it before. Other
colleges tell students that sex with someone intoxicated is always
assault” … “These overbroad, unenforceable definitions of sexual
assault are counter productive. They conflate violent rape with
objectionable conduct of much lesser gravity. They may
discourage reporting because the process so often ends with no
punishment or, conversely, results in punishment of individuals
who haven’t actually committed an assault.”
ARE COLLEGE CAMPUSES CAPABLE OF
HANDLING SEXUAL ASSAULT CASES
In Emma Sulkowicz case,
college campuses apparently
aren’t capable of handling
sexual assault cases.
Rape cases are handled
differently on college
campuses than they are in the
The federal government is
currently investigating 55
colleges on the account that
they may have violated the
law in how they handle rape
cases reported on campus.
FALSE RAPE ACCUSATIONS ON COLLEGE
CAMPUSES AND EVERYWHERE ELSE
A group study conducted by David Lisak, Lori Gardinier, Sarah C.
Nicksa, and Ashley M. Cote concluded that 6% of convicted
rapists aren’t rapists at all.
Consider the case of Sean Lanigan, a teacher who was accused
of molestation with the claim later being shown false: Police
issued a press release with Lanigan’s booking photo and home
address, and the school district sent home a letter about his
arrest. You can imagine what happened to his career.
FALSE RAPE ACCUSATIONS ON COLLEGE
CAMPUSES AND EVERYWHERE ELSE (CONT.)
Law enforcement agencies
say that up to 7,000 out of
the 87,000 forcible rape
cases reported are later
admitted or proven false.
Brian Banks was 17 and a
top football talent who
spent five years in prison
and five years on probation
for raping his 15 year old
Wanetta later admitted she
made it all up and this was
recorded on tape. Brian
was only then exonerated.
ARE THE FALSE ACCUSERS PUNISHED?
Elizabeth Coast, accused Johnathan C. Montgomery, a former
neighbor, of raping her in the year 2000 when she was 10 years
old and he was 14. She later admitted that she made up the
story and lied on the witness stand at his June 23, 2008, trial.
Johnathan served four years in jail and Elizabeth was sentenced
to sixty days in jail, only to be served on weekends.
Crystal Gail Mangum claimed three Duke Lacrosse players raped
her – the men were imprisoned without an investigation,
furthermore there wasn’t even forensic evidence that the rape
She became a celebrity and an idol among activists. It took a
year for the charges to be dismissed after they were found out to
WHAT’S THE POINT?
Rape cases should be more carefully considered when they
Formal investigations are a must.
With the way rape cases are handled, actual rapists are on the
loose repeatedly offending. If investigations were more carefully
considered, the real rapists would get caught more often and
false cases would be dismissed as false, as they should be.
If it is proven by evidence that a person creates a false allegation
of rape, there should be a serious punishment waiting for them in
attempt to eradicate this problem.
ARE FALSE RAPE ACCUSATIONS EVEN
WORTH WORRYING ABOUT?
I believe so. Focusing on this issue in no way strives away from the
seriousness of rape: in fact, it encourages formal investigations
where they aren’t present and therefore could potentially result
in actual rapists being convicted.
While we learned that 7,000 men are wrongly incarcerated each
year, there could be even more that are falsely accused.
It is a logical certainty that the worst and rarest cases of false
claims – ones that result in imprisonment and rape in prison – can
be worse than rape itself. But one need not be convicted to face
LIVES ARE IMPACTED WHETHER IT
HAPPENED OR NOT
When sexual assault is reported, there are two possibilities:
A. The sexual assault happened. The victim has suffered the worst
possible scenario next to death. His or her life will be effected until
they die by their experience. This is incredibly unfortunate and
every step should be taken to stop this from happening.
B. The sexual assault didn’t happen. The victim here is the one
who was accused of rape. He or she will go to prison for a long
time. Or, if it’s proven that the allegations are false, they won’t.
Regardless, there are still repercussions that will follow them for
the rest of their life. They are being raped – not physically,
however: they are being raped of their status, their credibility,
their friends who will forever think of them as a rapist, and more.
Rape is not a victimless crime on either side of the spectrum.
LINK TO PRESENTATION
"Rape." Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 25 May
Hill, Gerald, and Kathleen Hill. "Legal Dictionary -
Law.com." Law.com Legal Dictionary. Publisher Fine
Communications, n.d. Web. 26 May 2014.
"Welcome to the National Center for Victims of Crime." National
Center for Victims of Crime. National Center for Victims of Crime,
n.d. Web. 26 May 2014.
Finkelhor, D., Hotaling, G., Lewis, I. A., & Smith, C. (1990). Sexual
abuse in a national survey of adult men and women: Prevalence,
characteristics and risk factors. Child Abuse & Neglect 14, 19-28.
George Mason University, Worldwide Sexual Assault Statistics,
WORKS CITED (CONT.)
Gray, Eliza. “America’s Campuses Are Dangerous Places." Time
Magazine May 26, 2014: 20-29. Medium.
Wantanabe, Teresa. "Government Investigates 55 Colleges over
Handling of Sex Assault Cases." Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles
Times, 1 May 2014. Web. 26 May 2014.
Lisak, D., L. Gardinier, S. C. Nicksa, and A. M. Cote. "False
Allegations of Sexual Assualt: An Analysis of Ten Years of Reported
Cases." Violence Against Women 16.12 (2010): 1318-
334. Icdv.idaho.gov. Violence Against Women, 21 Dec. 2010.
Web. 23 May 2014.
Turley, Jonathan. "Virginia Woman Falsely Accuses Man Of Rape
And Sends Him Away For Four Years Before Recanting . . . Given
Just 60 Days In Jail To Be Served On Weekends." JONATHAN
TURLEY. N.p., 20 Aug. 2013. Web. 23 May 2014.