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Legal Scholars Call on Universities to Reform ‘Victim-Centered’ Sexual Misconduct Policies


Nearly 140 legal scholars have signed a letter calling on universities to reform current policies governing sexual misconduct allegations with a renewed focus on due process, rather than by a doctrine of “always believe the victim.”

The letter highlights dangers inherent in “‘victim-centered’ practices” that “undermine neutrality in campus Title IX processes,” and claims the imbalance has been plaguing institutions for nearly three decades.

According to the authors, the misleading victim-centered procedure was introduced in the early 1990s and been on the rise since the 2006 publication of an End Violence Against Women International manual, titled “Effective Report Writing,” which mapped out methodology for achieving a “successful prosecution” of sexual assault complaints.

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  1. Dustin

    In other words, acknowledge that some victims suffer from Lena Dunham syndrome. Recognize that inconsistent statements can equally be a sign of a false claim rather than evidence of trauma. In particular, the more outlandish a claim is, the more likely it’s made up.

    Funny. Maybe I’m a prick, but that always sounded like common sense to me. It’s a crying shame that it took some serious (? Noticed the article didn’t name any of them) legal academics to point out what should be obvious.

  2. Sam

    After reading the 4 police statements in my case I’d say your analysis is pretty spot on for some cases. Reading how it was described in the report I would have been a gymnast.

    The reports also included “statements” from my grandma that she had never made, stating that she was afraid of me. In reality she was scared for me, as the Klansman neighbors would often set their dogs on me when I was walking home from school or from the store or chase me down the street with their trucks and hit me because I was a chink.

    But that was before the registry.

  3. totally against public registry

    If this “victim centered” approach loses traction on campuses, maybe it’ll flow over onto all other court cases…That is a good thing! This change was a long time coming. I feel that victims need to heal and move forward with life just like the crime perpetrators need healing and moving on with their lives. Can’t stay a victim for all eternity….

    • Dustin

      Personally I think most victims do put everything behind them. Certainly, there are those that struggle with it, and I doubt the press and advocates help; they have too much interest in victims wallowing in their victimhood. Advocates in particular have no use for a recovered victim.

      Willing to bet it’s in the same ballpark as the public perception of SOs. Just as the characteristics or the worst and most publicized sex offenders are presumed to be prevalent in all SOs, those of the victims who struggle the most are presumed to apply to all victims. The fly in the ointment is that it is the exceptions, not the norm, that get the most attention.

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