Given the crumbling of the Rolling Stone article about a supposed premeditated gang rape at the University of Virginia, feminists and others are trying to muddy the conversation by claiming an inordinate amount of college women are raped and almost no college men are falsely accused.
To further drive their message home, activists like Zerlina Maxwell are also now claiming that being falsely accused has only a minor impact on a person’s life.
“The accused would have a rough period. He might be suspended from his job; friends might defriend him on Facebook,” Maxwell wrote, adding that false accusations could be quickly undone during an investigation.
But she’s wrong. Even relatively quick investigations that eventually clear an accused person can have devastating consequences.
In August I presented the story of Kevin Parisi, who was accused of nonconsensual sex with a fellow student at Drew University. As soon as he was accused, Parisi was banned from his dorm and other places on campus. The accusation compounded Parisi’s pre-existing medical conditions (anxiety and digestive) and the stress interfered with his studies. By the time he was found not guilty — three months after being accused — he was on academic probation.
Even after he was acquitted, Parisi said he couldn’t return to Drew. He didn’t know how he would finish his education.
“What happened at that school could happen at another school,” Parisi said. “I don’t see any way that this — I don’t see how these — the laws at hand don’t protect me from this happening again.”
Parisi now suffers frequent debilitating panic attacks.
In Slate, Emily Yoffe details the case of Drew Sterrett, who was accused of sexual assault after the mother of a female student he had slept with found her daughter’s diary of sexual encounters. The University of Michigan — where the alleged sexual assault occurred — reportedly ignored exculpatory evidence that the sex was consensual. He was suspended from the school until the accuser graduates — in 2016. Sterrett also can’t transfer schools because this is on his transcript.
Sterrett’s conviction was reduced on appeal to disciplinary probation with restrictions — he was barred from campus housing and couldn’t sign up for classes until his accuser finalized her schedule so they wouldn’t end up in the same class. This meant he would be late to signing up for classes.
Maxwell and other activists might try to claim that signing up for classes late is nothing compared to what his accuser is going through emotionally, but I disagree. Sterrett now has the term “rapist” hanging over his head, which will follow him his whole life despite evidence that he did not actually rape anyone. Meanwhile, his allegedly tormented accuser is pursuing her future just fine.
I’ve talked to numerous other young men accused of sexual assaults they claim were consensual, who are now suing their universities for denying them due process. I always ask what effect the accusation has had on their lives.
A former University of Massachusetts-Amherst student who was expelled over an accusation of sexual assault — which he alleges was consensual — told the Washington Examiner that his life had been turned upside down. He said that during the school’s investigation, as he drove over a bridge on his way to class, he frequently considered driving over the railing.
We’ve reached the precipice of what false accusations actually do to people. With feminist activists telling young women that they can claim rape over every regretted sexual encounter, the number of falsely accused men is climbing — as is the number of lawsuits against universities alleging denial of due process.
How long until one of these young men can no longer handle the stress and pressure? Is that what it’s going to take for feminists to stop pressuring universities and politicians to convict more young men without due process or evidence?