Donnerstag, Oktober 16, 2014

Wendy Kaminer: "Panikmache gegen Vergewaltigungen an Unis erinnert an die Angst vor der Roten Gefahr"

Die bekannte Autorin und Rechtsanwältin Wendy Kaminer ist mit der aktuellen Rhetorik zu sexueller Gewalt – und den Niederschlag dieser Rhetorik in Gesetze – nicht einverstanden:

I’m a feminist, or so I have always thought, given my decades of advocacy for unqualified sexual equality and reproductive choice. But according to feminist matriarch Gloria Steinem and sociologist Michael Kimmel, I am in fact an ‘opponent of women’s equality and their right to make decisions about their own bodies’. Why? Because I oppose California’s new affirmative-consent law governing sexual conduct on college campuses.

Why is support for this legislation a test of your commitment to equality? In a recent New York Times op ed, Steinem and Kimmel describe the requirement that each person involved in a sexual encounter obtain ‘ongoing affirmative consent’ as the only reliable defence against legalised rape. ‘Only an explicit “yes” can be considered consent.’ Feminists who have long demanded that government stay out of the bedroom are now inviting it into the dorm room.

I wonder: have Kimmel and Steinem abided by this rule themselves, by requesting, receiving, and rendering ongoing affirmative consent throughout their many sexual encounters over the years? I doubt it, and I wonder too how any sexually experienced adult can reconcile legal theories of explicit, ongoing consent with real-life, human behaviour.

Die bereits angesprochene feministische Rhetorik zu diesem Thema ist Kaminer zufolge dafür geeignet, "willkürliche und diskriminierende Zwangsregime zu ermöglichen", wobei Kaminer die Unterstützung dieser Rhetorik durch die Redaktion der New York Times als besonders bedenklich herausstellt. Kaminer sieht Parallelen zwischen der aktuellen Hysteriewelle in Bezug auf sexuelle Gewalt und der ebenfalls hysterischen Furcht vor dem Kommunismus in den USA der fünfziger Jahre:

Once, authoritarian, right-wing officials hunted down suspected communists and communist sympathisers on campus. Mid-twentieth century red scares abated, after inflicting considerable damage, but the hysteria that shaped them always lies beneath and periodically erupts. Today, authoritarian, left-wing officials are targeting alleged sexual predators on campus, with similar disregard for civil liberty. (...) Affirmative-consent requirements and the conviction bias underlying the new approach to alleged campus assaults practically ensure that students accused of sexual assault will be found guilty of it. Advocates for self-identified victims don’t regard this as an injustice because they believe false accusations of rape are extremely rare or simply theoretical, not actual, possibilities.

They also tend to trivialise the consequences of guilty findings in campus cases: since campuses are not courts of law, advocates argue, students are ‘merely’ suspended or expelled, not convicted of crimes and subject to imprisonment. But they are labelled rapists and likely to be denied admission to other colleges and universities. Their educations and careers are derailed, at best. Innocent students wrongly accused of rape (and wrongful accusations are proffered) may be as traumatised as some rape victims.

Da die neuen Gesetze notwendigerweise geschlechtsneutral formuliert sein mussten, fragt sich Kaminer, ob die feministische Reaktion mit demselben automatischen und bedingungslosen Glauben an die Darstellung des angeblichen Opfers begleitet sein wird, wenn das angebliche Opfer nicht weiblich und der angebliche Täter nicht männlich ist:

Will feminists and other victims’ rights advocates reflexively ‘believe the victim’ when both victim and accuser are female or when both are male? I suspect not. Political correctness will be of little use in determining the truth or accuracy of accusations in cases involving same-sex couples, or transgendered people. Sexuality is fluid, gay and transgendered rights activists remind us, a perspective that could expose the injustices of an approach to sexual assault based partly on traditional sexual stereotypes.

Zuletzt macht Kaminer darauf aufmerksam, dass das totalitäre Bestreben von Menschen wie Gloria Steinem und Michael Kimmel sich nicht auf den Campus begrenzen dürfte:

But, in the meantime, activists focused on heterosexual relations who believe that affirmative-consent rules and minimal standards of proof are essential to the just disposition of rape claims will probably not content themselves with campus reforms. Gloria Steinem and Michael Kimmel, for example, insist that an ongoing ‘explicit yes’ rule is ‘completely logical, and fully consistent with adjudicating other crimes’. Why, then, should it only apply to colleges and universities? And if we’re supposed to ‘believe the victim’ on campus, why not believe her off campus, as well? Civil libertarians should take note: assaults on the fundamental presumption of innocence and due process in rape cases that begin on campus are unlikely to end there.

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