Nonconsensual Sex: How Colleges Rebranded Rape

From Aljazeera America: Why are hundreds of campuses now using the term ‘€œnonconsensual sex€’ instead of ‘rape’ or ‘assault’?

 
Nonconsensual sex is sexual assault. Several schools make that clear. In Princeton University’s policy, for example, next to the category “non-consensual sexual penetration,” it states in parentheses that the act is “commonly referred to as rape.” And next to “non-consensual sexual contact,” the act is “commonly referred to as sexual assault.”

But the reason that hearing boards winced at the word “rape” is the exact reason activists think the term is important: It’s violent and powerful, and does justice to the violation that victims experience. Anti-rape campaigners have pressed their communities to understand what rape is, and how much it happens. Many see “nonconsensual sex” as a harmful euphemism.

Rape is a serious crime. And colleges aren’t in the business of determining what is a crime. They can’t send a rapist to prison. They can only decide if a student violated school rules, and the worst they can do is kick the kid off campus. In making that decision, most colleges use a much lower burden of proof than a criminal court—“preponderance of evidence,” or “more likely than not,” as opposed to “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

It’s rare for a college to seriously sanction a student who commits sexual assault. According to a 2010 investigation by the Center for Public Integrity, only 10 to 25 percent of students found “responsible” for sexual assault were permanently kicked off campus.

For school hearing boards, the term “nonconsensual sex” has opened up a space for there to be sex that didn’t have affirmative consent, but isn’t assault exactly. There can be degrees of “rapiness,” with different punishments to match.
Schools can be super victim-friendly on paper, they say, without actually expelling students who violate the rules. But everyone agrees that words are important, even if just as a way to start the conversation.
 

Read the entire story here and learn more about rape on campus on Aljazeera America.

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James R. Marsh
A University of Michigan Law School graduate, James represents victims of campus sexual assault and rape; Title IX violations; sex abuse in schools, colleges, churches, and government and military institutions; online sexual exploitation; child pornography; sextortion, and revenge porn. His case on compensation for victims of child pornography in federal criminal restitution proceedings was recently decided by the United States Supreme Court. That case, United States v. Paroline, led to the Amy and Vicky Child Pornography Victim Restitution Improvement Act currently pending in the House and Senate. James founded the nationally recognized Children's Law Center in Washington, DC, and is an experienced trial attorney, and frequent commentator, lecturer, and Huffington Post Blogger. He now leads Marsh Law Firm in New York which is recognized worldwide for its work helping sexually abused survivors obtain justice and rebuild their lives with dignity and respect.

1 Comment

  • Aundrea Hasselbach February 10, 2016 (4:04 pm)

    NEW UPDATE on Grant Neal’s plight of being falsely accused of rape at CSU- Pueblo under Title IX. (full story is included in this post below)

    Very reliable sources have told us that on Monday, Mr. Roosevelt T. Wilson, the Title IX officer for CSU Pueblo, has left the university. This is not likely a coincidental correlation with this post and the reaction provoked for the many who are as outraged as we are. I started this post over the weekend + people started sending emails and letters to the university on Sunday and Monday, so this is a very interesting revelation.

    In spite of this development, the university has chosen to send a canned response that’s very generic & appears unrelated to the specifics in Grant’s case to everyone that sends in a letter. It’s clear that priority lies with the accuser (who in this case never stated that Grant Neal raped her) There seems to be no concern for the complete and utter chaos they have caused in the life of a good boy who was a model student athlete up until this point. The latest canned response from the university is disgusting, and shows a complete and utter disregard for a grave injustice only to appear righteous.

    In spite of the generic and canned response, we can’t stop writing and insisting that this case be reopened. If the responsible judge and jury has left the school there should be no reason that the case shouldn’t be investigated.

    Their canned response doesn’t come as a surprise as they continue to hide behind Title IX. The part they may not be understanding is that we’re not going anywhere until this case is reopened. The attention to this story is growing expediently nationally.
    Thank you again for your continued support, letters, shared posts and actions as we continue to fight for Grant’s right to due process.
    Please note that canned response or not from the university … your letters matter + we can’t go into the reasons why but it will all be transparent soon! Every voice matters.

    Aundrea & Harald Hasselbach

    (Grant Neal’s story below)

    Harald & I would like to say thank you to everyone that has read about Grant’s plight of being falsely accused of rape at the CSU Pueblo which has resulted in Grant losing his football and wrestling scholarship, his spot in the pre-med program and removed from the university for his educational studies.
    Over 375 people have shared my post and the response has far exceeded Grant and his families expectations. There’s definitely power in numbers and it’s important that we keep this as yet an unresolved issue in the forefront.
    Harald & I have called the university asking for a meeting with the president of CSU Pueblo – so far their office has not contacted us back.
    Please understand the motive behind going public with this is is purely because an innocent 20 year-old has been villianized unjustifiably with one of the most heinous acts imaginable and his innocence needs to be screamed from the rooftops. There’s no greater solace than knowing Grant is not alone and community solidarity is of the upmost importance in his path to redemption. The path to mental and spiritual health has begun for Grant thanks to the support and assistance provided by so many of you.
    We can’t say thank you enough as we remind Grant that he’s not alone.
    If you have not written a letter yet, please continue to send them to the email address or mailing address below.
    xoxo
    Aundrea and Harald
    Send letters via email or to the following address:
    Or email: [email protected]
    CSU Pueblo
    Lesley Di Mare (president of the university)
    Colorado State University-Pueblo. 2200 Bonforte Blvd. Pueblo, CO 81001-4901
    If you haven’t read our story it’s below:

    * just a note to make it clear the alleged victim is a student enrolled in the athletic training program at CSU Pueblo.

    A note: a 20 year-old’s life has been turned upside down and when I tell you that Grant needs his community now, I can’t say that enough. This is very hard for him to come to grasps with so he really needs your support.

    To everyone that reads my posts – Harald and I have never been more furious in our lives. Please take 10 minutes to read my post. This is the life of a young man named Grant Neal, Terran’s best friend, a 2 time state champion wrestler and football player from Regis Jesuit High School who went on to play football at CSU Pueblo, was the regional D2 freshman player of the year last year and now has been found guilty of non consensual sex (rape) It’s our duty to inform everyone about this miscarriage of justice and his rights to due process + to do everything in our power to bring attention to this injustice. Presidential candidates right now have this on their agenda, clearly campaigning that due process needs to be implemented under Title IX.

    Title IX could affect any of you that have children, no one knows about Title IX (a landmark federal civil right that applies to all educational institutions and in which these colleges or universities receive federal funding for it, if a quota is met in reporting these cases) What it really means is that if you are accused of sexual misconduct, harassment or rape in college you have NO RIGHTS!

    We, as parents, teach our boys about sexual misconduct, harassment and rape as they grow into adulthood and become sexually active. The collegiate football coaches speak about this to our sons religiously, further enforcing the obvious laws which justifiably protect women and potential victims of sex based crimes. Conversely, one would assume that our sons are also protected by the law, and due process at the conclusion of a fair trial if accused of committing such a crime … but what if there is no trial, what if your judge, jury and executioner is one man who is bound to not only meet a quota but is also not educated in any form of law. There is no due process, there is only judgement based on how a case is presented.
    Grant Neal has been accused of non consensual sex (rape) and has subsequently been suspended from school following a rejected appeal of this allegation. His accuser is not the alleged victim but the friend of an alleged victim who presented a second hand account of an incident between two consenting adults to the athletic training director who then presented this to the Title IX director at CSU Pueblo.

    Grant Neal had consensual sex with the alleged victim and had an ongoing relationship with her both before and after the reported accusation. Following the sexual encounter, there are numerous text messages between Grant and the alleged victim which indicate a mutually affectionate and civil relationship even hours following the alleged incident. The alleged victim is an athletic trainer at CSU Pueblo and it is against policy to fraternize with athletes under their care. The athletic peer that the alleged victim shared her encounter with questioned her about the hickey on her neck and this is when the accusation was established. Following this encounter, the alleged victim texted Grant in a panic state asking to meet with him. Her texts showed she was clearly worried about her conversation with her athletic training peer and that it now involved Grant. She was very apologetic and remorseful to Grant through texts. Grant at this time met with her completely unaware of the accusations that were coming his way. Grant and the alleged victim went back to his house to watch movies, he consoled and assured her that she couldn’t possibly get in trouble for the hickey. Grant started realizing the potential gravity of the situation through their conversations and that’s when he hit the record button on his phone. Within that recording of that conversation one can clearly see a civil and non threatening rapport between the two. In that recording the alleged victim clearly states that Grant didn’t rape her. (Harald and I heard the voice recording) An hour later the two engaged in consensual sexual intercourse once again. These are not the actions of a victim of rape. There are witnesses the saw the alleged victim clearly straddling Grant during the 2nd consensual sexual encounter.

    We have personally reviewed all of the evidence, the documents, text messages and recordings, but as parents of a daughter ourselves we are always apt to give the most vulnerable and weaker party the benefit of the doubt yet in this case the evidence is so compelling and irrefutable that the victim in this case is clearly the accused.
    When the burden of proof is so convincing and irrefutable there seems to be no possible way that this could not be a case that is summarily dismissed. There are voice recordings, hand written letters, snap chats, numerous text messages, and even a subsequent sexual encounter, hardly the common place response to a victim who has been raped there’s not even a direct accusation of rape from the victim herself. The alleged victim told Grant Neal that she has gone into CSU Pueblo numerous times to see the Title IX director and tell him that Grant Neal didn’t rape her however he has stated he has made his decision and she is clearly distraught.

    It is absolutely preposterous that Grant Neal should face life altering consequences for an act which was consensual and completely lacking in any criminal nature. If Grant were a rapist then why is he not faced with criminal proceedings. How can there be an assumption of guilt with such clear cut proof of innocence.

    Under a review of this case by the Title IX officer at CSU Pueblo, Grant was found guilty. Under Title IX he had no rights to an attorney in the case, he has no guaranteed right against self-incrimination, the alleged victim will not be allowed to be crossed examined, there’s no right to constitutional due process, the school may only give a summary of the evidence against you and can limit your presentation of evidence, the school must immediately investigate the allegation of possible sexual violence no matter how far-fetched or unbelievable and take interim measures against the respondent before determining whether any wrongdoing occurred. Untrained or poorly trained students or faculty members conduct the investigation. The decision-maker determines whether it was ‘more likely than not’ (just over 50%) that you are responsible for misconduct. You may not have the rights to appeal and if you do have the right to appeal they can exclude any evidence they wish.
    Now if the alleged victim was truly raped and took this case to the police – Grant would have the right to an attorney, even if he couldn’t afford one. He would have the right confront and cross-examine the accuser, he has the right to due process of law and a fair trial. He would have the rights to know the charges and evidence against him and right to present a thorough defense. Trained police officers investigate and professional prosecutors decide whether to bring a case. A judge and grand jury also decide whether there is probably cause to issue charges and there is a neutral judge and impartial jury to decide the case. If you are found guilty, you have the right to appeal to higher courts also made up of neutral judges, raising legal errors or violations of constitutional rights.

    But Grant Neal was not accused of rape to the police, or the courts. He didn’t rape the alleged victim. He has lost his wrestling and football scholarship, removed from the pre-med program. He’s not allowed to go near the CSU-Pueblo campus. He can’t transfer colleges because his transcript now states he is a rapist.
    The alleged victim is incredibly remorseful in her snap chats and hand written letters sent in the mail to Grant (all of which are documented), stating she wishes she could make this all go away.

    When the alleged victim graduates from college in 2018 or 19 he can then reapply to CSU Pueblo.

    Having known Grant for most of his life, and as anyone knows him can attest Grant Neal is a one of a kind, and an exemplary student, athlete but primarily a person. We have developed an incredibly close bond with Grant because of the person he is and the best friend he is to Terran. There’s a level of dedication that few can hope to attain that is deeply rooted into the personality of Grant Neal. He spends most of his life perfecting himself as a football player, as a student and as a human being. We have nothing but deep admiration and respect and know without a shadow of a doubt that he is innocent in this case.

    Be forewarned that any one of our children can fall victim to an incident such as this. Whether we like it or not kids seek out and are having sex in college and this could have happened to anyone who is sexually active in our country’s educational institutions. It is an affront to all the real victims of rape to let this incident stand!

    If you feel so inclined please voice your support by sending a letter to the president of CSU Pueblo at the miscarriage of justice that has occurred here. A young man’s life hangs in the balance and the institution at fault needs to be held responsible.

    CSU Pueblo has violated Grant Neal’s rights under the Title IX, the federal gender equity law, after he was found guilty of non consensual sex. He has been wrongfully accused and suspended after a night of consensual sex followed by another night of consensual sex. These false allegations made against him and the resulting failures by CSU Pueblo that he trusted have wreaked havoc in his life.

    What we do know is this: Colleges and universities have been under pressure from the federal Department of Educations’s Office for Civil rights to address sexual violence on campus or face the withholding of federal education money.
    Grant is 20 years-old and at this time he needs a village of support. He has zero control of his future and by sending a letter it’s one more hope that this case will be reviewed and reversed.

    Thank you for listening & I’m happy to answer any questions. Keep in mind Grant can’t do anything legally to reverse this appeal as the school is protected by the Title IX provision. Our only hope right now is to bring attention to CSU Pueblo, the president of the university, the governor, the mayor, State Senator, Marco Rubio (who’s an advocate of due process under Title IX being implemented), President Obama – this letter is going in anyone’s hands I can get it into and revisions must be made – college kids must have the right to a fair trial if accused. + again I will never, ever recommend CSU Pueblo to anyone!
    Aundrea & Harald Hasselbach

    (clearly the alleged victim said something to her athletic training peer in a moment of desperation and fear to cover her relationship with a football player and save her spot in the athletic training program and clearly she wasn’t prepared for what would happen next. There is no documentation that shows the alleged victim telling the Title IX director that she was involved in non consensual sex with Grant Neal)

    Send letters to
    CSU Pueblo
    Lesley Di Mare (president of the university)
    Colorado State University-Pueblo. 2200 Bonforte Blvd. Pueblo, CO 81001-4901
    Or email: [email protected]

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