Connect with us

Campus Crime

Viewpoint: Yale Rape Trial Shows We Still Have A Long Way to Go

A Yale University rape trial shows we still have a long way to go, despite the efforts of the #MeToo movement.

Published

on

They asked her what she was wearing. They asked her if she had been drinking. They asked her if she had been flirting with him.

Simply put, defense attorneys asked a Yale University student who brought a rape complaint against her classmate all the generic victim-blaming questions we are sadly too used to hearing.

The trial, which resulted in a not-guilty verdict this Wednesday, lasted several days in which the woman described an alleged rape by the accused student, Saifullah Khan, 25, on Halloween night 2015, according to the New York Times.

Sterling Memorial Library in October 2016.

The Times also reported that Khan’s lawyers repeatedly tried to discredit the woman’s credibility and even character, asking her how much she had to drink, why she wasn’t dressed more modestly for Halloween and she could remember certain events from the assault but not all the events.

Laura Palumbo, a spokeswoman for the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, called the defense’s line of questioning “all victims’ worst fears in coming forward.”

“It is very intentionally working to trigger victim-blaming and stereotypes and misconceptions about sexual assault,” she said to the New York Times. “You must be interested in sexual behavior just based on how you’re dressed and drinking.”

The lawyer of Khan, Norman Pattis, went on to call the #MeToo movement “mass hysteria”, and said “sex” happened on college campuses regarding the trial.

“If you dress in a sexually provocative manner, don’t be surprised if someone becomes provoked. Does that justify rape? No. Was that one of the factors that led Mr. Khan to believe she might be willing to explore intimacy? Yes,” Pattis told TIME. “It was directly relevant, and to suggest otherwise is criminally naive, if not stupid.”

“If you flirt with somebody, you have a little bit too much to drink, you invite him back to your room, and you’re wearing provocative clothing, don’t be surprised if the individual looking at you is going to be provoked,” he added. “People need to take responsibility for the signals they send. All this outrage about the questions I asked is really ridiculous. You don’t get a free pass just because you claim to be a victim.”

The trial comes as a significant pushback during the #MeToo era. Criminal proceedings should not be focusing on text messages and women’s outfits, yet they tend to do that a lot.

“It also shows a huge discrepancy between the way that we teach students on campus about consent, and the way that courts and antiquated laws look at sexual violence and consent,” said Jess Davidson, interim executive director of the group End Rape on Campus to TIME. “This case is every survivor’s worst victim-blaming nightmare.”

Did you enjoy this article? Consider supporting College Media Network's mission to support the next generation of journalists. For as little as $2 a month, you can help keep our site ad-free and the future of journalism alive. Go here to donate.

I'm an aspiring journalist from Istanbul, Turkey and am currently a junior at the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. My work has appeared in Visit Seattle, Discover SLU, Washington State Visitors Guide and Ms. Magazine. I'm currently an editorial intern at Psychology Today.

Sign up for the Morning Scoop

and wake up with us each day.

CMN Reports

National News13 hours ago

Trump Is Changing the Colors of Air Force One

Because the Kennedy's were not patriotic enough, right?

by , Senior Editor
National News15 hours ago

American University on Lockdown

American University is on lockdown after armed man is reported near campus.

by , American University
Equality2 days ago

10 Black Washington University Students Falsely Accused of Leaving IHOP Without Paying

"The fact that these 10 students, all of whom are African American, were scared and humiliated is unacceptable to us"...

by , American University
Academics3 days ago

Keynote Speakers Highlight Importance of Diversity at College Journalism Workshop

Some important reflections on an important topic.

by , Virginia Commonwealth University
National News4 days ago

Teen Who Urged Boyfriend’s Suicide Through Text Says It Was Free Speech

Apparently, the First Amendment extends to telling your boyfriend to get back into the truck and kill himself.

by , Penn State University
Entertainment6 days ago

Stormy Daniels ‘Set up’ in Police Sting Operations

A juicy piece of the Stormy Daniels saga.

by , Senior Editor
Entertainment6 days ago

Build-A-Bear ‘Pay Your Age’ Deal Ends in Failure

Would you wait in a line for hours, for a $29.00 teddy? Many did, which ended in chaos.

by , CMN Senior Correspondent
Entrepreneurship7 days ago

Papa John’s Founder Resigns After Using Racial Slur

Papa John's is on the search for a new face.

by , U. Alabama Birmingham

Top Reads