“Accidents happen—that’s why we have emergency contraception, also known as the morning-after pill.” — Planned Parenthood website
Well, regret happens, too. That’s precisely why falsely accused students need the protection of a “Morning-After Bill.”
The night started out innocently with some flirtatious behavior and hanging out at a local bar. It was great fun and their inhibitions were waning. The college duo decided to leave and go to her dorm room because her roommate was gone for the weekend. They started making out, fondling, and each took off their own clothes. What ensued next was consensual sex, more than once. He left her at 4 am. The next day they each texted and said they had a good time, but she began worrying about her reputation. Who saw them together? Who saw him leave her room? What stories will he tell his friends? Did I really want to have sex with him?
Days later, she filed a complaint with the Office of Equal Opportunity saying she didn’t consent to the sex. She said she was R-A-P-E-D.
Regret happens. Regret does not equal rape.
The Morning-After Bill will help ensure a night of consensual sex, followed by next day regret of the once-willing partner, will not amount to a false accusation charge of rape in attempt to rid oneself of regret, embarrassment and a host of other feelings.
Unfortunately women do make up allegations of sexual assault for a multitude of reasons like wanting attention, having a boyfriend, being worried about their reputation, getting “back” at a guy for not wanting a long -term relationship, or having “buyer’s remorse”. There’s that r-e-g-r-e-t again.
Sadly, real rape does happen. Sadly, false accusations also happen. That is precisely why due process at the university level is imperative to uncover the truth of what really happened. Since the 2011 “Dear Colleague Letter”, universities have experienced immense pressure to accept the claims of sexual assault at face value to avoid being seen as unresponsive to a so-called “rape crisis”, or risk financial penalties from the government. Just because a female claims sexual assault does not mean that it took place, and I propose that most university personnel are not effectively trained to do a fair investigation to uncover the truth.
If a university is going to act on these accusations and impose harsh consequences that can affect a student for the rest of their life, then absolutely they must employ careful, non-biased judicial standards. At minimum, those involved in the case should be very well trained in sexual assault law and policy and employ standards of due process. By no means should they assume guilt from the outset and in turn conduct a biased investigation supporting the female accuser to avoid pressure and penalties from the government for not taking rape accusations seriously.
Most, if not all, of these rape accusations should be handed over to the local police department and judicial system that protects every person accused of a crime, and provide the right to counsel, due process, and a fair investigation. Those rights should not have to be forfeited once a person is accused of a crime on a University campus.
The Morning-After Bill will help ensure regret does not equal rape and guarantee due process is granted to both parties. Unlike the Morning-After Pill, a person can’t “un-do” the sex they had the night before by blaming someone for their once-willing behavior.
To young college women, I implore you to allow your regret motivate you to take responsibility for future behavior. If you are disappointed in yourself and your choices, let your regret motivate you to change your future behavior. Use this as a learning experience. Do not blame someone else for your actions that at one time were exactly what you wanted. Thinking before acting is wisdom, but acting before thinking can lead to regret.
Blame yourself, but don’t blame an innocent young man.
“Blaming others for our choices is like blaming donuts for being fat. It wasn’t the donut; it was the choice” – Jeff Gitmore