Widgets Magazine

Culture of silence surrounds sexual assault

(ALISA ROYER/The Stanford Daily)

Survivors say ARP helps trials, but stigma still prevents open campus discussion 

Trigger warning: This article deals with sexual assault. Names have been changed to protect the identities of survivors of sexual assault.

Christina ’13 was raped in the middle of the Main Quad at Stanford, in the early morning of Martin Luther King Jr. Day her sophomore year.

He was an acquaintance; a “friend” from her freshman dorm she didn’t really know. They were both drunk at a party, and he had volunteered to walk her home.

“I was very, very drunk so I was unable to do anything when it was happening,” Christina remembered. She admits she has blocked much of the incident out but remembers small details – the bikers who rode by them, giving congratulatory hoots moments before he pressed himself on top of her. The taste of alcohol on his breath. The “practiced” feel of it, as he unzipped his pants and hiked up her skirt in quick, effortless motions.

That night, when she arrived back to her house, Christina ran into a friend of hers in the bathroom.

“You’re up late. What’s up?” her friend asked.

“Something happened that I didn’t want to happen,” was all Christina could say. Her friend gave her an understanding look, assuming it was simply a drunken hookup.

“Honey, it happens all the time. Just drink some water and go to bed.”


The next morning she woke up at 9 a.m., in a state of shock.

“When I woke up in the morning and I remember, it was the most disgusting feeling, having his semen all over my legs and thinking, ‘I didn’t consent to any of this.’”

She called the Vaden Health Center’s 24/7 emergency hotline, which took several hours to respond because of the holiday. When she asked to file a police report, she was told her she had to contact the police directly. There was nothing else the Center could do for her.

“Vaden was fucking awful. They took hours to call me back, and it’s pretty time-sensitive…I just remember being curled up in a ball next to my bed, waiting for the cops to call me,” she said.

The police arrived around 11 p.m. that night to pick her up and drive her to the closest medical facility that administers rape kits, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, where a doctor found vaginal tears and semen.

“I thought I had a good case because I literally reported it the day of,” she said.

After being called in for interviews by the Stanford University Department of Public Safety (SUDPS) over several weeks, SUDPS called her in one last time to tell her the district attorney was dropping the case for lack of evidence.

“They had a female cop tell me, which I thought was nice, but she had clearly never undergone any sensitivity training for sexual assault… The way she told me was essentially, ‘We don’t think you were raped.’ It was so fucking hurtful. You’re trying to recollect and become whole again and you hear that from a woman… I just remember crying right there.”

According to women’s health advocates, this is often the reality of pursuing rape cases in the judicial system.

“It’s not that they don’t believe the survivor,” said Kelly Ramirez, chief development officer of the YWCA Silicon Valley. “It’s just that the legal requirements are not there.”

Ramirez said the situation is unfortunate for everyone involved: police officers, detectives and especially the victim.

This judicial paralysis becomes even worse when compared to the size of the problem: A staggering one-in-five women will be raped during their college careers, according to a 2005 report by the U.S. Department of Justice. Between 80 percent and 90 percent of these rapes are committed by an acquaintance and fewer than 5 percent are reported to police or campus authorities.

Ramirez noted reporting can be difficult, especially when the victim and accused have mutual friends.

“They say to you – I can’t believe he did that. Maybe you really asked for it. You could have just dealt with this quietly; you didn’t have to actually report it. Think about his future!’”

“The reason it got so difficult was because I notified everyone,” Christina said, describing how going through the process with Judicial Affairs and having to recount her story again and again was excruciating. “I felt I was suffering for doing the right thing.”


Christina’s case was one of the first to use the Alternative Review Process(ARP) for sexual assault – in fact, Stanford lowered the burden of proof from “beyond a reasonable doubt” to “preponderance of evidence” during her case, meaning the panel would find the accused responsible if it was “more likely than not” a crime had occurred. Her attacker would later use this as grounds for an eventually unsuccessful appeal.

“When they changed to preponderance of evidence, I just remember weeping… I was so happy. It’s pretty much just a survivor and one witness [to convict],” she said. “As soon as they proved I was drunk via witness, they were able to stop the case right there.”

The review panel found her attacker guilty of rape, and also heard testimony from another female student who had been sexually harassed verbally by the same student. He was given a two-year suspension, after which he’d be allowed to return to Stanford.

“I appealed saying he should be expelled, but everyone knows Stanford doesn’t expel people, because that looks bad on them,” Christina said. “Why would anybody want to have this guy on campus, when there are so many vulnerable, vulnerable girls?”

According to Stanford’s Office of Judicial Affairs, nine of the 13 cases brought before a review panel since April 2009 have resulted in a finding of responsibility, and none of the students found responsible have been expelled.

After Christina’s rape, being at Stanford became difficult. She began to skip classes, and her grades began to suffer.

“Everywhere at Stanford were reminders that [it] happened. I’m a HumBio major so all my classes are in The Quad, even having to pass the place I was raped everyday, I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t do it,” Christina said. “It was a hard year.”

Despite the inherent difficulty in reporting and retelling the story of her attack, Christina said getting her attacker off campus was crucial for her mental health.


While Christina and other survivors have some complaints about University resources, they agree overall that with Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), the Office of Sexual Assault & Relationship Abuse Education & Response (SARA) and the ARP, the resources are there for rape survivors who seek them. The bigger problem lies in prevention.

“It’s not talked about enough,” Christina said. “And it keeps happening.”

Sarah, ’15, was assaulted by a serial rapist two months before starting her freshman year at Stanford. She echoed Christina concerns over the lack of discussion about the issue.

“There’s a lot of resources out there, and I‘ve tried a lot of them; I’ve reached out a lot. It’s more I feel the community around me [isn’t] very open to hearing about it, or talking about it, or being comforting,” she said. “It’s a forbidden topic for the entirety of Stanford.”

From New Student Orientation (NSO) through her freshman year, she had the feeling that Stanford was the place to come and be happy – if you can’t be happy here, you simply don’t fit in.

“I don’t know how to change the mindset or overall feeling of a place,” Sarah said. “It bothers me to no end that it is like this, but I don’t know how to fix it.”

The ARP has reformed Stanford’s judicial system, making it easier for survivors to obtain findings of responsibility against their attackers. But according to Sarah and Christina, Stanford remains a difficult place to discuss these issues.

“It leads to feelings that people have in this community that nobody wants to talk about sexual assault and nobody wants to hear it exists,” Sarah said. “That’s not a good feeling for somebody who’s been sexually assaulted to feel.”

Julia Enthoven contributed to this report.

About Brendan O'Byrne

Brendan is a senior staff writer at The Stanford Daily. Previously he was the executive editor, the deputy editor, a news desk editor and a writer for the news section. He's a history major originally from New Orleans.
  • Concerned

    I think you meant to direct that towards guest? Again, I’d direct you to the nuanced discussion on this topic down thread between Bethany Baby, L, and Tiffany that center on the topic of false accusations. You’re repeating things that have already been addressed elsewhere on this thread. I also think it would serve you well to consider Tiffany’s recent comment in response to your previous post. Repeating yourself won’t further the discourse here.

  • L

    Just to clarify, Tiffany’s (well cited) comment below actually supports the argument that “most rapes are committed on college campuses by a small group of serial rapists who are acting maliciously.” That would be the 6% (or 13%) that you yourself are suggesting S search by.

  • F

    I strongly disagree. That was only her interpretation of it.

  • L

    That’s so odd–I missed your response discrediting the references or critiquing her interpretation and only saw what appeared to be support of her interpretation (“I actually suspected all of this”) and a request for further references (indicating that you hadn’t made the connection between her comment and F’s).

  • z4510

    – partially, roger, sorry, thanks
    – are you trying to intimidate someone over the internet? 😉
    i am just asking for a harmless little number

  • Bethany Baby

    The article is referencing something peer reviewed. The Rumney study. It’s also not Slate’s assertion, it was his assertion. Stop being deliberately obtuse. If you think the research for an 8-10% estimate is inadequate, then there is even less evidence in support of a 2% estimate. So my original claim that a 2% estimate is unfounded still stands, and you appear to be in agreement with it.

    What do you mean “in practical terms?” False reports have nothing to do with unreported rapes. If a rape is not reported, then it cannot be have been falsely reported. That assertion isn’t even logical. Nor is comparing the number of false reports to “total rapes.” The two have nothing to do with each other. If a rape was falsely reported, then no rape took place.

  • Bethany Baby

    The article I link to is simply a discussion of the Rumney study. I never called it a study in it’s own right.

    Stop derailing and instead address the issue of whether the claim that “only” 2% of rape allegations is false is reasonable in light of available evidence. Clearly it is not.

    Also, excuse me while I have a good laugh at “serious academic.” If it’s not a hard science, it’s pure fluff with little to no legitimacy.

  • Bethany Baby

    I’d argue that it would be very difficult to “accidentally” rape someone. If you are sexually penetrating someone, you should have a good idea of whether they’re ok with it from their body language alone.

    I ‘reasonable but mistaken’ belief as a defense would more likely apply to cases of sexual contact (groping) rather than sexual penetration. I could envision many scenarios where someone might honestly and reasonably believe that someone consents to being groped where that person does not actually consent in fact.

    Reasonable mistake of fact is and should be a defense in those cases.

  • Bethany Baby

    This seems contrary to Blackstone’s formulation. Something that is foundational to Western jurisprudence. Blackstone asserted that it is better that 10 guilty men go free than 1 innocent man be wrongly punished by the State.

    We obviously don’t need to strictly apply this formulation when it comes to campus disciplinary hearings, because the maximum possible sanction is expulsion. Though, I still don’t agree that we prioritize the minimization of “type II” errors over “type I” errors. Rather, I think there should be an even balance in our approach to minimizing each. When comes to the law, however, then I believe the priority should continue to be minimizing “type I errors.”

    In a legal context: the consequences of a wrongful acquittal include (type II error): a rapist going free, a victim unable to get justice for herself, and the potential danger of future attacks.

    The consequences of a wrongful conviction (type 1 error) include: an innocent man being wrongfully incarcerated, the danger of a real rapist still being on the loose, an innocent man being saddled with such a severe stigma that he will no longer be able to meaningfully participate in society and his life will effectively be over, even when he is released, and the illegitimate imposition of government violence (something not to be taken lightly).

    We also need to consider the source of the harm when considering these consequences. In a type II error, the source of the harm continues to be an individual person behaving unethically. Something that is a constant danger and something the State can only minimize through effective policy. In a type I error, the source of the harm is the force of government itself. The state is directly enacting injustice and directly imposing harm on an innocent person.

    There is also a substantive difference between a state not intervening in order to prevent a possible harm, and a state directly imposing a harm. In a rape case, the choice is not: Side with the victim OR Side with the defendant. The real choice is: Do nothing to either party OR Commit an act of serious violence against the defendant. In order for the State, or even an institution, to legitimately use violence against one of it’s citizens, there needs to be virtual certainty that such violence is warranted. If there is any reasonable question about whether or not such violence is warranted, then the State should properly do nothing (acquit the defendant).

    This is the basis for Blackstone’s formulation.

  • Bethany Baby

    “Legally, he’s a rapist”

    This is far from clear from the scenario you describe, actually. It depends on the jurisdiction and on how intoxicated the victim was. In an affirmative-consent jurisdiction (very few in the US), then his behavior would likely be considered legally rape. As there was no affirmative communication of willingness prior to his penetrating her (only yes means yes). In a jurisdiction that requires some element of forcible compulsion, it’s unlikely that this behavior would be considered criminal. Most jurisdictions require that someone continue the penetration in the face of resistance or protest before the penetration is considered criminal rape (no means no). Either that, or they are required to communicate some threat that makes protest impossible (force or the threat of force, etc).

    Either way, these cases would be considered fairly borderline and likely would be difficult to prove even if they do in fact satisfy the elements of the offense within their jurisdiction. You should also consider the limitations of these studies given that they rely on self-reporting. A rapist who recognizes his behavior as rape would likely not be taken into account by these studies, and the results will naturally be skewed.

  • z4510

    If I could broaden this, there is plenty of accusation space outside of sexual assault where all it seems to take is one party’s spoken report (depending on genders), and are not as clear-cut as rape. I don’t know how you’d lower your chances from those except by avoiding everyone/unstable people (much of (3)). [The experience I’m speaking from didn’t involve accusations of rape or sexual assault]

    For a broadened version of your (4), it’s worth pointing out that while the barriers to reporting results in few accusations, their fewness makes them very powerful (“if they went to all that trouble, you must have done it”), or shall I say, seemingly unreasonable to doubt, even if they’re just a story. And sure, they’re difficult for normal people to make. But I would wonder if the people making the rare false accusations are not, in fact, normal.

    Speaking of trust and social restriction, I think your consequences of Type I error is not a full picture. When the guy is accused, in my experience, depending on how not credible his accuser is and he is, his friends and former mutual friends will break for him. Everyone else will believe the guy is guilty. Everyone will know. Because so many guilty accused get off in these situations, even if you’re rightly found innocent after months of having everything else derailed as you work through the parodic university system and the IRL legal system [in my case, my AIM client saved chatlogs with this person, which ended up being the thing that saved me], everyone you didn’t know before you were accused will consider you guilty regardless. This is especially true after college, if you were thinking of confiding in anyone. The way people treat you will show you who they really are, and that will depress you. It’s not rape or torture or anything. It’s just the injustice of the whole world thinking you are vile. Kind of a lonely feeling, really. It gets to you. It’s hard to forget, and it’s hard to let go and just move on. [did not happen at Stanford; used ‘preponderance of the evidence’ standard]

    If you want a funny anecdote about assault: A couple years later, I was in a really sketchy area, tried to get a refund for a hotel room with holes in the wall and worse (the only place with vacancies left), they threatened me, I overstayed my welcome, and was promptly beaten in the head and thrown down the concrete steps outside with my stuff. They used my ear and hair as a freaking grip in one hand. I didn’t even know that was possible. Shit hurt. I called the cops and got chuckled at an hour later (‘well you should have known better’). Honestly, how much more women need to be concerned with personal safety and are taken seriously about it than men always blows my mind…

  • Bethany Baby

    “The law is on the side of the first definition.”

    What? Which law? That isn’t true for the vast majority of jurisdictions. What you’re referring to is called “affirmative consent.” Wisconsin and New Jersey are the only two states two affirmative consent states that I can think of. California really isn’t. In that lack of consent alone doesn’t satisfy the elements of the crime. There also has to be some other element of forcible compulsion.

  • Bethany Baby

    Right, but I was simply pointing out that someone’s mental state or intentions are not irrelevant to the crime. The Mayberry defense most often appears in Misdemeanor sexual battery cases.

    Say a man and woman are on a date. They begin to make-out, and in the course of this making out the man puts his hand on the woman’s buttocks over her clothes. She tells him to stop and he does.

    Normally, touching someone without their consent, even if you stop when they say “no”, is sexual battery. A man who gropes a woman on the street can’t avoid culpability just by stopping when he’s told “no,” for instance. Because of the fact that they were on a date and making-out at the time, however, the man might raise the Mayberry defense. Arguing that, under the circumstances, he reasonably believed that the touching was permissible. It would then be for a judge or jury to consider whether his belief was reasonable under the circumstances (they probably would). If they conclude that it was, then he is not guilty of the offense.

  • You acknowledge that Blackstone’s formulation doesn’t really need to apply in cases of campus discipline. Those are the cases I was talking about (which is why I talked about expulsion as a consequence, and things like being able to participate in campus social life as preventative barriers).

    Then you make a series of interesting arguments about why the STATE should seek to follow Blackstone’s formulation. I wasn’t talking about the state. Actually, I agree that the federal/state judicial system should continue to use the standard of evidence it’s always used.

    My argument is based on an understanding that private colleges are an isolated/different legal environment, if the word “legal” can even be used here, and are certainly different practically when it comes to the frequency/type of rape and what we can do to prosecute/find evidence for these cases.

  • L

    Right… this is irrelevant to the point that I made (as explained above) and, as any individual who actually attends Stanford can explain to you, the scenario in which “a man and woman are on a date” is equally inapplicable to our culture.

    Regardless, as you should know, evidence of dating history (or even being on a date) does not establish consent (CA Penal Code 261.6). Also, I believe the Mayberry defense applies only to sexual intercourse and violations of California Penal Code Sections 261(a)(2), (6) or (7)). I’d be interested in seeing information indicating otherwise.


  • L

    Actually, above I asked specifically why generalizing or aggregating statistics from a non-US population is legitimate. You haven’t actually responded to that at all. The Rumney paper (as even the abstract points out) “examines studies on the recording of rape complaints carried out in England, Scotland, the United States, and several other countries” as well as focusing on the UK Parliament.

    Again, my concern is: “I’m skeptical of the applicability of a study based in the UK, which has a different legal definition of consent, rape, and a completely different culture surrounding gendered violence, to reporting patterns in the US. For example, all of the PSAs listed above are based in the UK, and my understanding is that their legal system has a very different structure regarding alcohol and consent. Has research actually been done theorizing that such a cross-application is reasonable?”

  • F

    I was concurring with the results of the study, not her interpretation, which should have been obvious by previous statement. Why would I contradict myself? And the comment I made requesting references was made before I read Tiffany’s post. Honestly quit the debate club bullshit. It’s seems like your also the champion of selected reading.

    And finally did you completely miss this, “Mr. 6% doesn’t think he’s done anything wrong, and will later in fact voluntarily self-report this sexual encounter, both to random people who ask him to take surveys, and to his friends. He’ll consider himself having “gotten laid,” and will think this is normal sexual behavior.”

  • Bethany Baby


    I don’t suggest that we need to apply this to campus disciplinary hearings, but I still don’t agree that we should prioritize the minimization of either type of error above the other. I think you may minimize the harm a suspension or expulsion can convey. There is still a great deal of stigmatic damage to the defendant. A disciplinary expulsion or suspension will be noted on his transcript, and he will have to explain it at any future job interview.

    He could always lie, but it’s not that difficult for someone to dig up the true reason for the suspension/expulsion. For this reason, I think there should be an even balance and avoidance of one type of error should not be prioritized over the other.

  • Bethany Baby

    Right, evidence of a dating history does not, in itself, establish CONSENT(actus rea), but if the defendant asserts that he honestly believed he had consent, then any prior or current relationship with the complainant will necessary apply when considering the reasonability of that belief.

    As far as I know the mistake of fact defense is generally available in any consent case, or at least that’s how it often applies in practice, but I don’t have a citation. I can see no reason why the courts would limit it to penetrative rape cases as the logic of Mayberry is equally applicable in any other consent case. The vast majority of jurisdictions allow a mistake of fact defense with regard to consent in sexual assault cases.


  • Wow Okay…

    The fact that the DA chose not to prosecute is evidence that they did not have enough evidence to prove the perpetrator was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Perhaps that is a failing of our criminal justice system, but most people agree that strict standard of proof is needed to send someone to jail. Not going ahead with the prosecution is NOT a sign that they believe the jury will ignore the evidence and instead be confused regarding consent and blame the victim. That is what a trial is for- the jury does not make the decision the first day.

    Stanford students, the current administration, and the Obama administration have little to no authority on issues of justice. Most Stanford students only have a conception of justice insofar is it will benefit them (why would any women oppose the ARP, and why would any man risk his reputation speaking out against it?). The administration is cowardly and succumbing to financial demands- if they truly though the ARP was a great system, why wait until federal funds were threatened to be taken away to change anything? And the Obama administration is not a legitimate judicial authority. They could make whatever decisions they want- it is up to the rest of us to challenge the constitutionality of these mandates.

    Saying people support the ARP is no proof that it is a correct procedure in the name of justice. Who is appealing to the herd mentality now?

  • RE z4510

    Many, apparently. The only thing holding back these women from supporting no standard of proof is the fact that the decision would probably be viewed at with complete skepticism by their peers. Already the POE standard casts a lot of doubt on these rulings. Perhaps it is in the best interests of everyone to adopt “clear and convincing evidence” for the burden of proof.

  • Concerned

    re: DA’s decisions to prosecute rape cases, I’m a little shocked by your apparent disconnect from the reality regarding juries? The law absolutely takes into account the fact that jurors will bring their own biases to the table. That’s why jury selection exists. Both lawyers and our legal system also take into account the fact that juror bias can be particularly severe in cases of rape and sexual assault. That’s why things like rape shield laws exist.

    My argument is not that “the jury will ignore the evidence and instead be confused regarding consent and blame the victim”–my argument is very explicitly that juries are fallible (which can certainly work both ways–oh hey false convictions?) and that they are influenced by the same cultural norms that the rest of society is. A DA will not prosecute a case they do not think they have a chance of winning. Your oddly cut and dry conception of “evidence” as inherently objective and inherently viewable through only one lens is a bit baffling.

    re: herd mentality–I think you’re missing my point. OP states “Considering this alongside the dubious judicial practices of ARP make this whole case very suspect.”

    My response is that asserting that the judicial practices of the ARP are “dubious” and using this entirely unsupported claim as evidence that this specific case is suspect and appears to rely on the belief that those reading OP’s comment will agree that the practices are “dubious.” My argument is that this is not the case (regardless of whether you think anyone who has an opinion is qualified to have that opinion). If you’d like to discuss the merits of the ARP that’s fine, there are threads already doing that on this message board; however, that is not what the OP was doing and you’re doing quite a bit of work on their behalf.

  • Concerned

    I love that you’re assuming I’m a woman? Shockingly it is possible to be both male and support policies like the ARP. But I also do things like double check on consent when I hook up and actually JUST walk girls home when it becomes apparent they’ve had too much to drink….

  • L

    This strikes me as an odd reading of California Penal Code 261…
    Subsection 3 specifies or “Where a person is prevented from resisting by any intoxicatingor anesthetic substance, or any controlled substance, and this
    condition was known, or reasonably should have been known by the
    accused” which speaks to the example above.

    Also, the definition of consent given in 261.6 works directly against what you’re constructing as “against that person’s will” (which is not defined–are you referencing case law?).

    “261.6. In prosecutions under Section 261, 262, 286, 288a, or 289,
    in which consent is at issue, “consent” shall be defined to mean
    positive cooperation in act or attitude pursuant to an exercise of
    free will. The person must act freely and voluntarily and have
    knowledge of the nature of the act or transaction involved.”


  • Annie

    Thank you for covering this!

  • L

    Still weighting on a response to her interpretation besides that you “strongly disagree”… This comment system is a little counterintuitive so maybe you posted something and I missed it?

  • Bethany Baby

    The definition of consent is separate from the notion of “against the will.” ‘Against the will of…” is kind of an anachronism, but it’s not completely analogous to consent. If you look at the actual statutory construction:

    when an individual engages in sexual intercourse with another person when the sexual act is accomplished (1) against that person’s will, ***OR*** (2) without that person’s consent…****AND**** by means of: force, violence, duress, menace, or fraud.

    Note the placement of the words “Or” and “And.” Rape is sex against a person’s will OR it is sex without consent AND (one of a list of other elements).

    Sex without consent, alone, doesn’t satisfy the elements of the crime. Sexual contact without consent, without forcible compulsion, would be a lesser offense.

    Most sex crimes are staggered like this. Sexual contact or penetration without consent is a lesser (often only misdemeanor) offense. New York’s “sexual misconduct” law, for instance. While “rape” typically requires force in addition to lack of consent for the more serious felony charges.

  • Does non-verbal consent exist legally in society or Stanford? I’m not sure but I don’t think it does.

  • L

    The statutory construction you’re referring to doesn’t exist in California State Law:
    See text of penal code 261 here:

  • For reference, the number of false accusations in cases off rape is somewhere around 1-3%, below the average for other crimes, according to the SARA Office. Take that information the way you’d like.

  • And, of course, most people will ask for an acceptable number of young women whose lives are ruined by sexual assault where perpetrators are allowed to stay on campus with them.

  • Point three, exactly what’s at stake here. Thank you.

  • Bethany Baby

    I don’t know if your’s is a more or less current version. Either way, the point about force stands.

  • Bethany Baby

    Do they cite a source for that alleged figure?

    David Lisak’s comparative analysis of studies on the issue found the likely range to be between 2-10%. The FBI reports the unfounding rate to be 8%, and the UK Home Office study of 2008 found a false reporting rate of 9%.

    The point is that there is little to no evidence in support of such a low rate of false reporting.

  • Yeah I’m not sure, I’ll see if I can check the powerpoint they were using and if I was understanding the statistic properly.

  • Hoyt

    If the guy was attractive it wouldn’t have been rape.

  • parent

    Here’s the case as viewed from the accused side as well as a list of attached case material, including findings of fact, training manual of jurors, etc., all available at:

    The materials provided at the site are truly shocking. E.g. from Findings of Fact, quoted in letter by FIRE to Pres. Hennessey: “The panel finds the Responding Student responsible for violating
    Stanford’s Sexual Assault policy, which states sexual assault is the
    commission of an unwanted sexual act […] that occurs without
    indication of consent of both individuals.” The Administrative Guide
    Memo 23.3 specifies that “A person is legally incapable of giving
    consent […] if intoxicated by drugs or alcohol.’ The panel finds that
    the impacted party was intoxicated by alcohol, per her own report as
    well as the reports of reliable witnesses who testified to signs of her
    visible intoxication including slurred speech.”

  • nebulae

    I can never stop admiring the women who come forward with their horrendous experiences, who face people’s indifference and cruelty towards something so life-changing, who go through the trauma of court… Please know that there are many of us who are very sensitive towards and irked by the injustice of it all. You all are very special, with some amazing, amazing inner resources. I sincerely wish you to not only heal, but be well.

  • parentagain

    Here’s the case as viewed from the accused side as well as a list of attached
    case material, including findings of fact, training manual of jurors,
    etc., all available at:

    The materials provided at the site are truly shocking. E.g. from
    Findings of Fact, quoted in letter by FIRE to Pres. Hennessey: “The
    panel finds the Responding Student responsible for violating
    Stanford’s Sexual Assault policy, which states sexual assault is the
    commission of an unwanted sexual act […] that occurs without
    indication of consent of both individuals.” The Administrative Guide
    Memo 23.3 specifies that “A person is legally incapable of giving
    consent […] if intoxicated by drugs or alcohol.’ The panel finds that
    the impacted party was intoxicated by alcohol, per her own report as
    well as the reports of reliable witnesses who testified to signs of her
    visible intoxication including slurred speech.”

    This has been amended now, saying that a person has to be “incapacitated” not just intoxicated


    I am stunned that the entire main point of this article has been missed. And that much of the comments have circled around false accusations (which are a very LOW percentage) and men’s vague ideas of consent and victim blaming. The REAL issue here is that MEN VIEW WOMEN AS PREY and as soon as a woman cannot fight off her rapist (by being drunk or drugged) they go after her and rape her. THESE MALES KNOW EXACTLY WHAT THEY ARE DOING. And as usual, bystanders DID NOTHING. I would have ASKED if everything was alright if I saw a guy on top of a woman on the ground IN THE MIDDLE OF CAMPUS!! Why would any woman want to have sex in full view of others, on the ground, out in the open, in the middle of the campus?!? The rapist said he would take her back to her room, he NEVER ASKED HER if she wanted to have sex. NO, he just forced her on the ground and raped her. And why would she go through the humiliation and trouble of trying to report this (rape kits, vaginal exams, endlessly retelling your humiliating story to total strangers) The REAL issue here is the deeply engrained misogynist beliefs men have about women. They need to STOP looking at woman as prey, they need to start seeing woman as whole human beings, who OWN OUR OWN BODIES. This culture (and ALL cultures) need to deprogram themselves from the idea that men are the ones who should control and possess women’s bodies. For the first time in human history, women now have the right (in the U.S and some other countries, but not ALL) to decide what she will do with her body and her life. But males (and some females who are indoctrinated into the same misogynist culture the same as males) HAVE NOT CAUGHT UP TO THE PRESENT. And the total lack of empathy from men is stunniong. Rape is a life altering, devastating act of violence, no matter how it happened. If males had REAL respect for woman, and viewed them a full human beings, like we view men (NOT prey, T and A, pieces of ass, ho’s, bitches, etc.) rape would not be the horrendous issue is is today. Men need take responsibility for their OWN actions and beliefs. Women get blamed for rape for being alone, getting drunk, trusting the wrong male. WHY ARE WOMEN RESPONSIBLE FOR MEN’S BEHAVIOR AND BAD DECISIONS?? Are men NOT capable of making better, more rational decisions for themselves. Or are men just dumb stupid animals who can’t control themselves? BULL!!! Why do woman have to have to bear ALL the responsibility and make all the concessions?? Women can never get drunk but men can? Women can never go to parties but men can? Women cannot go out at night or alone but men can? A woman has to be careful of what she wears but men can wear whatever they want?? This is total crap! I don’t believe for a minute that males behaving like sexual predators is inevitable or unpreventabe. MEN NEED TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR OWN BEHAVIOR AND STOP BLAMING WOMEN.

  • Tired of the Bull

    As usual I see guys (and even some women) blaming the victim and acting confused about “consent”. If a woman (or a man!) is too drunk to say no, put up a fight or otherwise unable to stop someone doing something to their body against their will, THERE IS NO CONSENT. Here a guideline for you guys… IF SHE CAN”T WALK AWAY OR HER MOTOR SKILLS ARE AFFECTED, IF SHE CAN”T SAY NO OR YES, IF SHE IS UNCONSCIOUS, DRUNK, DRUGGED OR IN ANY WAY INCAPACITATED, THEN DO NOT HAVE SEX WITH HER!!!!!!!! Do the right thing. Call her a cab, call her friends to come get her, make sure she gets some place safe, or call 911 and get an ambulance. People do die from alcohol poisoning. As for blaming the victim, well, let’s look at it this way. If you left the door to your home open or left your keys in your unlocked car and someone came along and stole your car or entered your home and stole your TV, etc, who do you blame? THE THIEF!! Because in spite of making a mistake and leaving your property unlocked THE DECISION TO STEAL WAS MADE BY THE THIEF. It is understood that they STILL HAD NO RIGHT TO TAKE YOUR PROPERTY IN SPITE OF YOU LEAVING EVERYTHING UNLOCKED OR UNGUARDED. The responsibility for the crime IS ON THE CRIMINAL. And you, as the victim, did not FORCE the thief to take anything. That decision was made by the thief. Yet when a woman is raped, she is often blamed and held responsible for what happened. Her body is not viewed as her OWN sovereign property, and that somehow, if a woman is not constantly on guard and keeps her “property” locked at all times, that men have the RIGHT to violate her and take what they want. This is BULL****!!!!! Males DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT to take advantage of a woman and force her to have sex (rape) just because she has “left the door open”. The penalty for women getting drunk, being at a party, going out alone, or trusting the wrong man shouldn’t be rape!!! The rapist are criminals and predators who make their own decision to violate a woman’s body. She didn’t “force” him to do it. HE CHOSE TO DO IT. He could have made other, better choices. Most of these guys DO KNOW EXACTLY WHAT THEY ARE DOING. THEY ARE REPEAT OFFENDERS!!!!. They often rape multiple woman and through fear and shame MOST RAPES GO UNREPORTED!!!! And why are women shamed for being sexual and men are not?!? Start thinking outside the narrow, sexist, cultural boxes popular media has set up for us and start questioning, hard, the unquestioned norms, behaviors and beliefs we are taught. Deprogram yourself and expand your vision.

  • SomeGuys

    Who are you to tell others what their subjective experience of reporting sexual assault feels like, much less minimize by comparison others’ subjective perception of the potentially devastating consequences– informal and formal– of being falsely accused? Do you think the damage to former Yale QB Patrick Witt’s on- and off-field employment prospects and reputation in relation to an informal accusation


    could be construed by him as incredibly unpleasant, difficult, traumatizing and painful? Is it really the case that most of the accused face– veracity of the accusation set aside– face no consequences? Is it not of consequence to be blacklisted, threatened, publicly shunned and humiliated?

  • SomeGuys

    And you were close enough to see this when you were there?