Earlier in the month of October, I heard a troubling story about a man. Now, the man is not me (as some writers have a tendency to conceal), nor is he a man I know, but he is very close to a person who’s close to me. We can very rightly say the man is a fool: carousing with strange women, drinking to inebriation, cheating on his partner — certainly that he lacks sexual virtue. But having spent quite a bit of time running about the streets like a dog, he was eventually hit by a car.
An unstable woman, deeply angered by his unchastity after having slept with him, reported to the local authorities that she’d been raped by him. The trial was recently dismissed; evidence stacked in his favor so strongly — audio, video, and mountains of obvious perjury from her side — that the judge simply threw the case out. But what happened shortly afterwards is what bothered me most. Having seen a man dragged through the mud — though certainly, he was already playing in it — the trial simply ended, and both parties went home. He, with a $20,000 debt and a rapist’s reputation (for women have an uncanny ability to portray themselves as victims, whether true or not), and she with her liberty and reputation.
I will not say that the man deserves better; actually, if I’m to disclose my true feelings, I concur with Biblical Law that sex outside of marriage should legally result in marriage, whether the woman is his best friend, the above psychotic, or a prostitute. But what bothers me so deeply about the situation is that our legal system allowed a man to be accused on spurious evidence, and then permitted perjury “in defense of womankind” (a false-witnessing which in Biblical times would have punished the accuser with the penalty she sought for the defendant). This issue of evidence is what I hope to address here.
In a previous article, I took special note of America’s sexual harassment problems, not only recognizing that American men are largely uncivilized in their intersexual relations, but also that women have been granted (in light of men’s poor behavior) powers which exceed the boundaries of reason and justice. But though my solution to the issue of false accusation was entirely Biblical, requiring that the process of justice have the adequate testimony of two witnesses, a friend of mine questioned what would happen supposing an accusation were to be made involving just one witness, the victim.
This, of course, presents a serious issue; for if a man and a woman did find themselves alone (a circumstance which the essay cautioned strongly against), either the man must be prosecuted without sufficient evidence, or the woman must be denied any sort of protection against sexual harassment. Either outcome, of course, is imperfect; but one cannot accept neither, and so there is simply no imaginable way to avoid the issue. A choice between the two must be made.
As such, in the interest of justice, without proper evidence, society must in most cases side with the accused (I must let the reader know that further protections for women are explained below, and ask that the readers approach this topic with an open mind, as the topic will become increasingly controversial before the end statement is reached). Even supposing that some sort of forensic evidence were to be supplied — say, that it could be proved the man groped another person — one couldn’t prove that such an act were non-consensual, as is the case with most sexual acts. The evidence of even detectable sexual acts, shy of a second witness, would simply prove that a sexual act took place, but not whether consent occurred; and in situations of verbal sexual harassment, there is oftentimes not any evidence that such speech occurred at all. This is not to say that the writer approves of sexual liberalism, but rather to say that proving an act occurred does not determine, under present law, whether the act was criminal.
It is not always so easy, though, to simply provide a second witness. Though the first concern in any serious accusation would be the procurement of witnesses (as any serious legal circumstance requires two to three witnesses for a trial), since many rapes — like cases of sexual harassment — are unlikely to occur in areas with more than the offender and the offended, it is also unlikely that any witnesses would be present at the exact time of the crime. There is, however, a moderate chance that in cities, a woman can scream for help and be heard, a Biblical legal requirement in any accusation of rape.
There are generally two concerns which opponents of this requirement mention, the first being that screaming still gives her a power over men, in that the man can still be held guilty when there exists no second witness. The second concern is that a woman may be too frightened to scream.
Regarding the first issue, it is true that women are given great power over men in this scenario, but it must be reminded that at the current moment, a woman can already claim that a man forced himself upon her and the man can be jailed with little to no evidence. But in this Biblical scenario, she must scream and have immediate witnesses; she cannot simply claim, days, weeks or even months later, that something happened which cannot be proven. There cannot be a Duke lacrosse scandal within this proper legal environment.
Assuming a woman were to scream for help and a man not be guilty of anything other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time, it will become plainly obvious to men that they should not approach unknown women in alleys (an incredibly complex philosophical subject, I am aware, for many men). In addition to this, it must be noted that in more respectable times, men would not be left alone in homes with women anyway, particularly if those women were not their spouses, or were not related to the men. Supposing such a requirement of screaming were instated, men would also become concerned more seriously with the character of the women with whom they socialize, being careful to avoid the unstable and the disreputable woman at all costs. Once again, this still gives women a tremendous and necessary power for women’s protection, but men have far more control over the circumstances of accusations. In essence, balance would result where before there had been none.
This statute, of course, requires a radical change in the responsibilities of both women and men. Men, knowing well that it is their duty to protect the more vulnerable sex, would have to be trained by both parent and school of their duty to respond to a cry for help, and their very reputation would have to be staked upon it. A man who fails to respond should be viewed as cowardly, and lacking in his ability to provide and care for women, unfit for a romantic relationship. Women, having greater responsibility for the process of justice, would have to be trained to scream at any and all costs, the entire society knowing very well that to approach a woman in an inappropriate manner could very well land one in serious trouble. The institution of such a program would require a massive public effort to notify any and all potential rapists, through public means, that American women will not simply sit by when they are attacked, but have been trained and are willing to cry for the protection of any and all nearby valiant men.
Regarding the second issue, there are several circumstances which determine whether or not a woman will be able to cry for help. The first and most obvious, that her life will be preserved upon condition of silence, presents the most notable of all objections. If a woman does not scream because her life is threatened, then she may not be able to prosecute her attacker; but if she is not required to scream, then the lives of men could (rather: will) be ruined for acts which they did not commit. Simply put, though her life may be threatened, her scream is not merely the protection of herself, but the protection of every law abiding man she has ever known, holding the lives of women and of men as equally important — neither making a legal sacrifice for the other. Therefore, women must be ready to call for help at all costs, and if they cannot, then enough evidence can be provided for the rapist’s conviction, particularly if the attacker is caught in the act, if violence or the threat thereof was obviously involved, or the crime was committed in a place unsuitable for normal sexual behavior (say, an alley).
But supposing the woman becomes too inebriated to maintain good judgment, men cannot be held guilty for rape, as they can in Washington State (see state’s definition of “mental incapacitation“). It is not the duty of men to protect women who by drinking lower their standards significantly, making themselves easy targets for the sleaziest of men, oftentimes blurring the line between regretful debauchery and rape. A respectable woman should not only keep respectable male company, but should drink within reasonable amounts in the company of other respectable women. To suggest otherwise is to foster the imprudence of women at the expense of a man’s fair trial, an exchange wholly unjust, the price being steep and the reward being itself abominable (though once again, willing fornication itself, in a civilized society, should legally result in marriage).
Simply put, men must learn to protect women; but learning to protect women means first admitting that women are weaker. They possess a smaller frame, are easily overpowered, and, as the sexual organs themselves attest, are on the receiving end. Perhaps certain women enjoy thinking of themselves as physically equal to men, hating men’s preference of other men in more physical and brutal careers and duties; but — and I address myself to men, here — whether women feel strong or not, or whether they compete in wood-chopping or soldiering, is not a moral concern. Whether women are safe or not is a concern. It’s a very serious concern, and if men are more concerned with a woman’s feeling strong than being safe, I don’t believe the men should be able to call themselves men. Whatever women believe about themselves, the barrier between rapists and women is patrolled primarily by men, and if that barrier is to remain, we must think of ourselves as protecting the weaker sex. And if we’re to protect women from the dangerous, then we must do so in a manner which considers men their equals — not necessarily in the physical sense, but in a spiritual sense; a sense which declares both worthy of a fair trial, both worthy of due process, both worthy of justice when wronged, and responsibility when wrong.