It’s pretty well-known that women have advantages and incentives in a lot of occupations, which leads to the kind of lowering of standards one sees in the military, fire and police departments and university faculty, but at least they attempt to make some showing of competence in public.
But when it comes to writing for a national publication anything goes, including advocating the dismantling of hundreds of years of jurisprudence, common law, and a widely accepted basic tenet of human rights.
Jessica Valenti just came out with an article for the Washington Post promoting Swedish law over American, and suggesting that Swedish rape laws are a “potential model for our own legislation.”
To drive home that Swedish law is better than American, she points out that moves are afoot in Sweden to revoke the presumption of innocence in rape cases:
The fact that U.S. law is so ill- equipped to actually protect women in realistic scenarios is a national embarrassment – not to mention a huge hurdle in obtaining justice for sexual assault victims. Swedish rape laws don’t ban “sex by surprise” (a term used by Assange’s lawyer as a crass joke), but they do go much further than U.S. laws do, and we should look to them as a potential model for our own legislation.
In fact, some activists and legal experts in Sweden want to change the law there so that the burden of proof is on the accused; the alleged rapist would have to show that he got consent, instead of the victim having to prove that she didn’t give it.
The reason presumption of innocence is so basic is that it is often impossible to prove that one has not done something. For example, say someone is accused of stealing a neighbor’s gold and burying it in a secret place while his neighbor was on vacation. If the neighbor was gone for two weeks and the man lived alone, there will be innumerable occasions where he could have done the deed, so he can’t possibly adequately defend himself. He cannot prove that he didn’t do it. Therefore, to prevent people from being thrown in jail unjustly, the burden is upon the accuser to prove that he did in fact steal the gold. This is the only way we can be reasonably sure that the crime occurred. The exact same principle applies to rape, especially where consent is at issue. There is literally no way a man can prove consent throughout the entire act of sexual intercourse short of setting up an all-angles-covered porn recording team in his bedroom, possibly in conjunction with a brain scanner, a telepathist and a psychic. And, if you take feminist concepts of rape into account, even that isn’t enough, because they think women should be able to withdraw consent retroactively (yes, they do).
In a column on Paul Elam’s A Voice for Men site, the False Rape Society does a good job of rebuking Valenti’s idiocy, but what I’m curious about is why the Washington Post gives her any credit in the first place. Does a woman who is so stupid that she is blasť about overturning one of the most important safeguards against tyranny that exists deserve so much as one word in print in a national publication? The old media likes to make a point that they uphold standards better than most online publications, but when they print this kind of garbage that pretty much flies out the window.
I think readers ought to write the editorial board of the Washington Post and politely ask why they are giving a mental lightweight and disreputable radical a platform in their publication. Why are they discrediting their own publication by allowing this kind of thuggish disregard for human rights and justice? Of all people, journalists should be concerned about the potential for abuse of power — especially when it is used to silence critics.