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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Campus Sexual Assault Reform: 2014’s Political Bandwagon of Choice

 
Update: 

Since this May 14, 2014 post more articles and editorials have been published that most Americans will never even read so here they are:  

A Campus Dilemma: Sure, 'No' Means 'No,' But Exactly What Means 'Yes'? June 13, 2014
George Will responds to senators on his sexual assault column, June 13, 2014
George Will: Colleges become the victims of progressivism, June 6, 2014
TIME's Cover Story on Campus Rape Probably Will Fuel Rape Hysteria, Innocent Men Beware, May 17, 2014  http://www.cotwa.info/2014/05/times-cover-story-on-campus-rape.html 
 
Changing Campus Sexual Culture: More than Just Students, May 15, 2014
Using White House claim of under-reporting, only 1 in 34 women at Ohio State are sexually assaulted, not 1 in 5, May 9, 2014

Original Post:

Campus Sexual Assaults, this issue has become more media prevalent than Military Sexual Assaults were a few months back or even Human Trafficking has been for the last 2 years. 

All three topics are important ones that need to be discussed but is the constant media attention or the parade of advocates, legislators and victims pointing fingers going to improve anything?  

Can justice really be served with fear-mongering, hype, hysteria and demands for action, any action even if it’s bad action?  

No. 

But yet the quantity of articles and opinion pieces by these three groups in the last 3 months has been staggering. 

Whereas the number of articles that site facts, real data and how Americans are supposed to be presumed innocent (not guilty) until a full investigation or trial has occurred have been few and far between. 

Why? 

Because being the lone voice in the room armed with facts, common sense and our system of justice when facing the opposition who is armed with anger, vengeance, stories of being victimized and claims of  the perpetrator not being punished sufficiently holds the publics attention. 

Facts are insignificant in a panic and that’s what U.S. Military and Campus Sexual Assault campaigns have become, a moral panic. 
 

So I decided to re-post two articles I’ve shared on this blog in the last 2 weeks and two new ones that I’ve found in the last 2 days. 

Common sense is out there you just have to look for it because it’s being stifled by louder voices. 

On May 1st I posted The Fact Checker: The Truth Behind the Rhetoric. One in five women in college sexually assaulted: the source of this statistic, which had no verdict for the source being accurate or valid. I wrote the author, made a suggestion of a researcher for him to contact and suggested a follow-up article with a verdict. I have not found a follow-up piece yet. 


Colleges can’t play cop in sexual assault investigations, May 14, 2014

Overreaching on Campus Rape, May 13, 2014
DOE rules kill due process, sow confusion and red tape — and do nothing to reduce sexual violence.

We’ve seen it all before. A parade of proposed acts, laws, organizations and procedures named after missing, abused, assaulted and murdered children. The Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act 1994, Megan’s Law 1996, The Jacob Wetterling Improvements Act of 1997, The Protection of Children from Sexual Predators Act 1998, Jessica’s Law 2005, the Adam Walsh Act 2006 (AWA), Alicia’s Law, Cayee’s Law, Erin’s Law, Chelsea’s Law, the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Registry, the Polly Klass Foundation, the Elizabeth Smart Foundation and Amber Alerts. 

It is the bandwagon effect: 

Is a well documented form of groupthink in behavioral science and has many applications.[which?] The general rule is that conduct or beliefs spread among people, as fads and trends clearly do, with "the probability of any individual adopting it increasing with the proportion who have already done so".[1] As more people come to believe in something, others also "hop on the bandwagon" regardless of the underlying evidence. 

In layman’s term the bandwagon effect refers to people doing certain things because other people are doing them, regardless of their own beliefs, which they may ignore or override. The perceived "popularity" of an object or person may have an effect on how it is viewed on a whole. For instance, once a product becomes popular, more people tend to "get on the bandwagon" and buy it, too. The bandwagon effect explains why there are fashion trends.[4] 

When individuals make rational choices based on the information they receive from others, economists have proposed that information cascades can quickly form in which people decide to ignore their personal information signals and follow the behavior of others.[5] Cascades explain why behavior is fragile—people understand that they are based on very limited information. As a result, fads form easily but are also easily dislodged. Such informational effects have been used to explain political bandwagons.[6] 

When emotions drive our legislation not only are bad decisions made, but innocent people will be labeled as guilty and real justice (not vengeance and punishment) but justice will never be an option. 

In America for the last 20 years when it comes to sex and crime, emotion has sadly won over logic every time. 

The loudest voice in the room is not always accurate but it usually wins and I fear it will win again. 

Mary Devoy