In the name of reducing rapes on campus, UNC’s sexual assault policy will only increase misunderstanding, antagonism and lawsuits.
The need to combat the rape epidemic is critical, but the policy itself, like a recent bill in California, assaults the Constitution, by imposing an unrealistic, artificial standard of “affirmative, unambiguous, conscious consent” to sexual contact.
Frankly, how the writers of the UNC policy and California bill arrived at this standard is puzzling; on this planet, sex is a biological act, which is governed as much by the spontaneous and unconscious as the decisive. Sex just doesn’t follow a script; although consent by adult parties is essential, expecting an “affirmative, unambiguous, conscious yes” each time before sexual activity is ludicrous. The standard compels human beings to act like robots, even in committed relationships and marriage, and will hence propagate only undesirable public-policy outcomes.
Only decades ago, Americans rebelled against sexual conservatism, exhorting the government “to get out of our bedrooms.” Now the same rebels have invited a White House Task Force back in, to micromanage universities, whose principal business should be education, not private liaisons.
Clearly, most university students can no longer manage sexual relationships, and parents have also been negligent. Sex requires maturity; if one cannot handle a sexual relationship – and no shame exists in admitting so – one should refrain from sex until one is sufficiently mature, such as after marriage. Sexual abstinence will, by definition, increase student safety, reducing sexual assault, abortions, and infectious disease, without trampling on Constitutional freedoms. University emphasis on education will also reduce the taxpayer burden of “new departments” or “divisions.”
Mature adults should also recognize that, unless one’s judgment is impaired, both silence and lack of resistance can imply consent. “Silence means consent” is the actual proverb, and constitutes the basis for condemning the refusal to prevent immoral or unethical acts. Hence, the “no means no” standard needs to be enforced, through all means – speech, abstinence, resistance, parents, departure from the scene, etc. Perhaps workshops can be arranged to train university students in proper dating conduct; but human beings cannot be expected to undertake a “yes”/”no” checklist before, during, and after sexual activity.
The sexual assault controversy needs to confront its own racism. The controversy tends to be “whites-only”; white women are protesting sexual assaults from white men, whom the former quite often have solicited. Widescale immigration has simply not led to a democracy in social relations; instead, the races have “balkanized.”
If one goes to any bar on a Friday night, one will see Asians sitting in one corner, whites in a second corner, Hispanics in a third corner, and blacks in a fourth corner. Although some white men do date women of other races, most white women choose only white men for their dates. The phenomenon begins in middle and high school, where white girls text or call white boys (the boys no longer need initiate). As a result, young white women, whether they are afraid of non-white men, repulsed by them, want only white babies, or are following their parents’ directives, often make minorities feel dirty, immoral, socially defective, just for expressing a natural desire for the opposite sex. The minority is often left alone on a Friday night, to contemplate his math or engineering homework, while his parents arrange a bride from overseas. He is essentially excluded from the American social fabric.
Hence, the female UNC sexual assault policy proponents are simply not paragons of virtue, damsels in distress. The women validly complain of sexual assault, but perpetrate another crime. The entire syndrome needs resolution. The sooner we begin, the sooner we can realize our ideals.
Dhruva R.J. Sen lives in Chapel Hill.