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Dog bites man: Prosecutor says student “rape” at Ohio U. was just drunk sex in public

November 9, 2013

Remember the 20-year-old student at Ohio University who reported to the police that she’d been raped by a fellow student on a street near campus while bystanders just stared and took pictures?

You can imagine the feminist outrage at Ohio U. after the Oct. 12 incident–even though several witnesses, including another student, who had videotaped the 3 a.m. incident of oral sex in front of a local bank branch, said that the encounter appeared to be completely consensual, with the supposed victim smiling and even posing for the camera–and then voluntarily leaving the scene and walking unassisted with her supposed assailant, another Ohio U. student also age 20. Both participants, who had been at a bar together, appeared to be intoxicated.

Still for the feminists, it was all about “rape culture,” yada, yada, yada. The usual “rape-awareness” campaign cranked into place on Ohio U.’s campus in Athens, Ohio. Cathy Young reports for Minding the Campus:

Despite the fact that this information was widely available in the social media and appeared in the campus newspaper, The Post, as early as October 17, the university community continued to treat the sexual assault as a fact, with commentary often omitting even the word “alleged.”  On October 22, students began to leave Post-It notes on the Chase Bank window where the “rape” occurred, with inscriptions that decried “victim-blaming” and offered supportive messages such as “You are not alone,” “This is not your fault,” “We let you down, I am so sorry,” and “You are strong and brave.”  (An Athens policeman took the notes down and stopped the students from posting more, resulting in an informal complaint against him.)  On October 24, the university hosted a student/faculty event titled “Campus Conversation: Sexual Assault, Consent, and Bystander Intervention.”  The topic, according to the official announcement, included “healthy sexualities, policy (sexual assault/misconduct definitions and existing policy), victim blaming, sexual assault, masculinity/power, consent, bystander intervention and outreach to the community.”  On the same day, The Post published a letter from more than thirty faculty members, including the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, expressing deep concern about “recent events involving alleged sexual assault, alcohol and social media on our campus and in our community.”
***

Perhaps the most astonishing aspect of this story is the virtually unanimous support for the “survivor” from anti-rape activists and their supporters.  Letters published in The Postfrom women and men alike, deplored the “disheartening” skepticism about the “poor woman’s” claims and decried the pernicious sway of “the rape culture.” Class of 2013 alumnus Jared Henderson chided “misguided skeptics” for failing to realize that “it takes incredible courage for a woman to come forward and report a rape,” since she subjects herself to “massive public scrutiny.” The fact that the woman was already unwillingly exposed (as it were) to public scrutiny had apparently escaped his notice: the facts, Henderson confidently asserted, gave “no reason to believe that this is an embarrassed woman crying wolf about rape to save her reputation.”

Feminists outside the OU campus took the same stance.  A column on ThinkProgress.org, the website of the Center for the American Progress, suggested that eyewitness accounts confirming that both participants in the act were “very, very drunk” proved that, no matter how consensual it looked, it fit Ohio University’s criteria for sexual assault.  (Actually, the university policy quoted in the column states that a person is unable to consent if “incapacitated” due to alcohol or other factors.)

There was only one little problem: On Oct. 28, two weeks after the incident, a grand jury convened to consider criminal charges against the young man declined to indict:

[Prosecutor Keller]Blackburn added the main issue the grand jury faced was whether the man knew she had no ability to consent. Lab results show the woman’s system was clean of any date rape drug.

“A reasonable person would think that she was not intoxicated beyond the ability to consent,” Blackburn said.

According to one statute in the Ohio Revised Code regarding rape, the crime occurs when the other person’s ability to resist or consent is substantially impaired — possibly because of alcohol.

“Being able to walk down the hallway carrying her own burrito and into the apartment, she was able and not being escorted,” Blackburn said. “It didn’t appear to us or the grand jury that she was not able to give consent.”

Her own burrito?

 The couple left after the bar closed Oct. 12 and began kissing while moving south on Court Street.

At approximately 3 a.m., the two stopped in front of Chase Bank, 2 S. Court St., where the male performed oral sex on the female and, in video footage of the event, digitally penetrated her.

The female was responsive, Blackburn said.

During the act, the man asked the woman if he should stop because a crowd was building behind them. She answered no.

***

After leaving the bank, the two can be seen on video voluntarily entering the man’s Court Street apartment. They arrived just after 3:30 a.m. and left at 6:30 a.m.
The man then walked the woman home and provided her with his cell phone number.

***

It was not immediately clear whether the assault would be further investigated or if the two could face misdemeanor charges in municipal court for public indecency or underage drinking.

Blackburn recommended APD not file public indecency charges because “the public embarrassment of what has gone on is more than a misdemeanor charge could be.”

None of this has stopped the Ohio U. “rape-awareness” machine from grinding away. According to Young:

The university is still considering whether to take disciplinary action against one or both of the students.  (One may safely assume that charges against the woman for filing a false police report is not one of the options on the table.)  Meanwhile, a follow-up “campus conversation” on sexism, sexual assault, and alcohol is scheduled for November 18.
One of the topics will be–get this–the “double standard.”
Posted by Charlotte Allen
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One Comment
  1. Frank Rizzo permalink

    Why does the “rape awareness” machine assume it is the female that was abused? If they think she was abused due to her being too drunk to consent why would they not think that the male was abused because he was too drunk to consent. My god…a first…they were raping each other!!!

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