The Virgin Rapist

Some students still arrive at College as virgins. Perhaps they feel the need to hide the shameful fact. Perhaps because of faith, especially at some schools, they proclaim it loud and proud. But at most secular campuses it risks making you a bit of an outsider, to say the least. Maybe not as much as a decade or two ago, but the possibility of ridicule is there. The drunken ritual of the nerd losing his virginity - this figure of comedy is usually a him - has long been a staple scene in various silly movies. And the alcohol fueled clumsy ritual lends to that comedy unfortunately. But it can turn tragic very easily. Or worse. We now live in a world where College Campuses teeter between false accusations of rape and the real thing. Rape is clearly the worse crime, and a horrific crime, but false accusations muddy the waters and destroy people’s lives.


This all comes to mind in considering Peter Yu's case at Vassar, a college from which the brilliant student, and accomplished athlete, (ok he was a varsity rower, how good he actually was is a little uncertain), was expelled, accused of sexual assault against the anonymous, (to us the general public), daughter of a Vassar professor. The incident around which all this revolves involved a team party, with of course alcohol. It continues with two students ending up back at a dorm room, both at least somewhat drunk, and Peter Yu losing his virginity while his roommate walked in on them and quickly retreated to go walk the halls or do anything until he could safely return and crash. A scene that has been repeated countless times over the years in campuses around America. For some grown ups, it is a fond memory, for others it makes them blush with an embarrassed grin. For some, it evokes a "I can't believe I was that dumb" response. For others, specifically the authorities at Vassar and the accuser, it was rape.

To answer that question, in a legal sense, and yes in a moral sense as well, you need due process. And Peter Yu has clearly been denied that due process, at least until now. The evidence, or at least some available bits of information that might point to the actual evidence, suggest the anonymous daughter may have seduced the geeky virgin rower. A series of what seem to be friendly Facebook conversations after the incident give that impression. And they also suggest the anonymous daughter wants to keep the geek well away from her, perhaps having regretted the drunken sex. A year after the fact, she decided the sex was not consensual - it is implied she was too drunk to give consent - and Yu ended up expelled. Yu's sought to reverse the decision and his treatment in the courts so far has not given much hope for his case. In fact, a judge involved essentially said that Vassar as a private university does not have to follow due process. American campuses remain balanced between the danger of violent sex on the one hand, and the terror of false accusations of rape on the other. All against a background of a flood of sexual information, from earnestly explicit sex-ed to easily available porn for any kid who wants it. God help the geeky campus virgin who gets seduced by the wrong girl. God help the tragic victims of rape, one of the worse forms of violence. A judiciary that is severely rigorous in applying due process is the only way out of this mess.

Posted by Keeley at April 6, 2015 10:39 PM
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