LAW Victimizing The Accused? Obama’s Campus Sexual Assault Guidelines Raise Concerns by Wendy Kamine


“Not Alone,” the White House entitled its task force report on campus sexual assaults. “Believe the Victim,” the report might as well have been called. It reflects a presumption of guilt in sexual assault cases that practically obliterates the due process rights of the accused. Students leveling accusations of assault are automatically described as “survivors” or “victims” (not alleged victims or complaining witnesses), implying that their accusations are true.

When you categorically presume the good faith, infallible memories and entirely objective perspectives of self-identified victims, you dispense with the need for cumbersome judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings and an adversary model of justice. Thus the task force effectively prohibits cross-examination of complaining witnesses: “The parties should not be allowed to cross-examine each other,” the report advises, denying the fundamental right to confront your accuser.

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