Friday, December 19, 2014

Does Regret Nullify Consent?

I have been following the moral panic over sexual assault at San Diego State very closely. Events there are a mirror of those at the University of Virginia in the wake of the Rolling Stone Magazine Great Rape Hoax. Both universities have suspended fraternity events indefinitely.

Campus Police at SDSU have reported that there have been seventeen sexual assaults involving students since the beginning of 2014, and thirteen just this semester. They further report that "six of those reported assaults occurred at fraternities." A correction at the bottom of the page states that, " earlier version of this story, based on information from SDSU police, said the assault occurred at the Theta Chi House. Police later said that was in error."

A correction like that is enough for anyone to question the veracity of the entire story, especially the startling number of reported sexual assaults. If there really were seventeen sexual assaults, and six at fraternities, why have there been no arrests? Why haven't any fraternities been kicked off campus, or had their charters revoked?

The lone case that did produce an arrest may be falling apart. Francisco Paiva Sousa was arrested on suspicion of forced oral copulation and false imprisonment on December 9. He was supposed to be arraigned yesterday, but his case has been removed from the court calendar, and "remained under review."

I wasn't at the house where the sexual contact occurred, so I don't know what happened. All I can do is speculate. The police have interviewed people at the party, and Sousa, and the unidentified woman. I believe that the charges will be quietly dropped, because witnesses told police that the woman went willing to the room with Sousa, and the false imprisonment charge is bogus.

I'm going to further speculate that there is enough testimony from bystanders or the participants themselves that the sex act was mutually consensual. Maybe she didn't want him to ejaculate in her mouth, but he did, and using her mouth as a semen receptacle is what she is really complaining about.

Even if the charges are dropped, Sousa's reputation has been irreparably harmed by this accusation. There were people on social media expressing glee in his arrest, with student Joana Alex saying, "A lot of people are saying they're excited he's going to jail. They're saying karma's going to come." Very telling that what they want isn't justice, or due process. I would recommend that the Title IX coordinators at universities stop telling students that regret equals rape. Sexual discrimination lawsuits cut both ways, and if the university acts on Sousa absent a criminal charge, I will happily contribute to his legal defense.

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