Rape

In Brown University Rape Case, Did the Media Have Any Interest in What Really Happened?

Did media outlets reporting the sexual assault allegations against Daniel Kopin properly scrutinize his accuser's claims?

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Brown University
Brown University / Wikimedia Commons

Did media outlets reporting the sexual assault allegations against Brown University student Daniel Kopin properly scrutinize the claims of his accuser, Lena Sclove? Over at Minding the Campus, Cathy Young argues persuasively that the accounts of the incident in both Salon and The Huffington Post contained inaccuracies that painted Kopin in an undeservedly poor light.

First, some background. Brown student Lena Sclove accused Kopin of assault after a sexual encounter at his campus residence last summer. Sclove said that Kopin forced himself on her and choked her. The police did not pursue charges, but university administrators determined that it was more likely than not that Kopin was guilty of "sexual misconduct."

But the story is much more complicated than it was portrayed in the media, according to Young:

None of the media accounts gave any details of Sclove's alleged assault. Both the Huffington Post and Salon claimed that the charges on which Kopin was found responsible included "sexual violence involving physical force and injury." In fact, the conduct board made no such finding; the official document a scan of which was featured in the Huffington Post article showed that the offense was described as "sexual misconduct that includes one or more of the following: penetration, violent physical force, or injury" (emphasis added). Kopin was also found responsible for "actions that can result in or can be reasonably expected to result in physical harm" and "non-consensual physical contact of a sexual nature."

… Aside from Brown's handling of the case, the most striking aspect of this story is the utterly pathetic performance of the media. No attempt was made to independently verify any of Sclove's claims. Most publications made no attempt to get Kopin's side of the story. No one thought to ask such basic questions as: If Sclove was indeed violently raped and strangled, why didn't she go to the police? Would Brown officials really readmit a known violent rapist after a brief suspension and run the risk of him reoffending?

Young interviewed both Kopin and his attorney, Harvey Silverglate, who was barred from attending the disciplinary hearing. Some previously unreported details:

* Sclove never alleged that there was physically forced sex; rather, the finding of non-consensual sex was based on the fact that, as she testified and Kopin confirmed, when they got to his place she told him she did not want to have sex with him. She claimed that Kopin continued to make physical advances which she did not resist because she was "in a fuzzy state" from drinking at the party and because she felt he was not giving her the option to refuse.

* According to Kopin, he told Sclove he was fine with her decision and even offered to walk her home if she wanted to go–but she refused. Sclove conceded that he made such an offer; she said she didn't leave because she felt unsafe either walking by herself or walking with Kopin, after the earlier choking incident (yet was willing to stay alone with him in his apartment). 

* Kopin claimed, shortly after telling him she didn't want to have sex, Sclove was the one who made sexual advances. (He also testified, with some corroboration, that she had a history of sending such mixed signals.) While Sclove denied this, she admitted that she asked Kopin to get a condom and agreed to give him oral sex–though, according to her, she did so only because it was the least "horrible" of her options.

* Kopin's three housemates, who came home during the alleged assault and saw Sclove moments later, testified in support of Kopin. The three, two men and one woman, heard the sounds of a sexual encounter from outside and knocked loudly to alert the pair; Kopin and Sclove collected their clothes and ran upstairs to his bedroom, from which Sclove shortly came down. According to the housemates' testimony, she seemed embarrassed but not frightened, traumatized or disoriented.

The notion that Kopin choked Sclove is especially dubious, given what Sclove said—or didn't say—about the matter. In an email to Kopin a week after the encounter, she did not mention choking and instead wrote that he had "crossed a boundary." She claimed to have been sexually harassed by someone else a few days before, and the way in which Kopin touched her "triggered" the memory of that harassment.

Given all that, it's not quite clear why administrators deemed Kopin guilty, even under the lesser "preponderance of evidence" standard. According to Silverglate, the decision not to expel Kopin from campus outright was an implicit acknowledgement that the case against him was weak.

Of course, this has not stopped countless media outlets and a lynch mob of Brown students and faculty from declaring a miscarriage of justice over the fact that Kopin was merely suspended for one year (he ultimately dropped out).

But there will always be injustice in campus rape proceedings as long as administrators continue to deprive the accused—at the unfortunate insistence of the federal government—of their due process rights.

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  1. If you have to ask…

  2. (He also testified, with some corroboration, that she had a history of sending such mixed signals.)

    Oh Jesus fucking Christ.

  3. I wonder if any guy on that entire campus will ever go near Sclove now. “Hey, want to try and decipher my mixed signals and then possibly get kicked out of school when I decide randomly whether I liked it or not?”

    1. It will make a wonderful “I wonder why I can’t land a man” article on Jezebel on day.

      1. Good point. That was her plan all along!

    2. Another feminist in the making?

      A few years from now she’ll be a member of every feminist lynch mob available within her reach, dedicating her life to battling the “War On Women”.

  4. lynch mob of Brown students and faculty from declaring a miscarriage of justice over the fact that Kopin was merely suspended for one year (he ultimately dropped out).

    Who would go back to such a place?

    1. Sunken costs. That’s about it.

      1. And depends what your life goals were: for some people, an Ivy degree is all about opening the right doors.

          1. The back door.

  5. …sexual misconduct that includes one or more of the following: penetration-

    Stop right there.

    1. Stop right there.

      That’s what she said (allegedly).

  6. She claimed to have been sexually harassed by someone else a few days before, and the way in which Kopin touched her “triggered” the memory of that harassment.

    Oh, the humanity! Triggering?!? Well, that does it, then. Lock ‘im up and throw away the key. But be careful to throw it in a manner that does not trigger anyone’s traumatic experiences.

    Seriously, men of Brown…stay the F away from this walking jail sentence. I don’t care if she looks like a Brazilian porn star; she is a six-course meal of victim-cult poison.

    1. Google her. She doesn’t look like a Brazilian porn star.

      1. You’re right. She looks like a dyke. Kopin had to be hammered.

      2. Thanks for suggesting that. Now I know that she has her own website, dedicated to survivors (her own words).

    2. If I was hiring, and my routine background check/investigation revealed all this, well, no way in hell would I let such a walking grievance factory/lawsuit machine into my company.

      1. Hiring discrimination lawsuit, ahoy!

  7. In Brown University Rape Case, Did the Media Have Any Interest in What Really Happened?

    If by “media” you mean Salon and Huffington Post, then no.

  8. “While Sclove denied this, she admitted that she asked Kopin to get a condom and agreed to give him oral sex–though, according to her, she did so only because it was the least “horrible” of her options.”

    Okay, I admit it, I laughed a little bit at this one.

    1. How often does oral sex with a condom occur? That sure seems like the most horrible option to me.

    2. “I’ll suck your dick, but only on MY terms!”

      “What terms are those?”

      Rape, motherfucker! Now put on the condom and victimize me! I want my five minutes of fame!”

    3. “While Sclove denied this, she admitted that she asked Kopin to get a condom and agreed to give him oral sex–though, according to her, she did so only because it was the least “horrible” of her options.”

      A worse option than, I don’t know, leaving?

      Is there any evidence he wouldn’t let her leave?

      1. No, in fact if you read the article, he asks if she wants to leave, and offers to walk her home. She elects to stay.

        1. If the description is anywhere close to accurate, her signals weren’t mixed, they were completely randomized.

          “See if you can guess what I’m going to do now!”

  9. Given all that, it’s not quite clear why administrators deemed Kopin guilty, even under the lesser “preponderance of evidence” standard.

    Would normal male college students simply refrain themselves from having sex with college girls no matter how hot or slutty, or at least make them sigh Hold Harmless agreements before engaging in sexual intercourse? I mean, if you want sex, you can always go to the internet and jerk off. I am sure college girls will be more than able to be gang-raped by men that are not students, outside campus.

    1. That agreement was clearly signed under duress. It must have been, since only a rapist would want one signed prior to sex. If you have nothing to hide, why would you need such a thing?

  10. ..she did so only because it was the least “horrible” of her options.

    Yeah, calling campus security to get a ride or walk back to her dorm/apartment wasn’t an option?

    Young women today are really confused.

    1. I doubt that. I’m pretty sure Sclove is just an asshole.

      1. Possibly she’s just an asshole, but young women are getting really mixed messages about sexual empowerment and what constitutes rape and consent. It’s inevitable that borderline’s will misconstrue, misinterpret, and abuse.

        1. Yeah, but there were always borderlines and always will be, and they’ll be someone to avoid regardless of whatever stupidity they use to justify erratic and destructive behavior.

          This case is absurd and shouldn’t have happened, but young dudes need to learn that there are borderlines out there and you need to be careful. Young women have to learn the exact same lesson about borderline guys too.

        2. It’s inevitable that borderline’s will misconstrue, misinterpret, and abuse.

          This is why, I have been advised, to never stick it in the crazy.

          I learned the hard way.

          1. Go on…

          2. I learned the hard way.

            Yeah, me too. Card carrying member of the crazy x-boyfriend club.

        3. Part of that stems from pressure from feminists – the notion that if you’re not shagging to beat the band you’re not “empowered” – on to women who just don’t have an overriding interest in sexuality.

          1. Technically, I think it’s because they’re against *any* restriction, even any social restriction, against “women’s sexual choices.” Translation: No parietal rules, because those oppress the coeds, no shunning or criticism against what we would now call “sexually active” women…and dissolving the infamous “double standard” by making sure men and women both feel equally free to be randy and irresponsible.

            On the personal level, however, I don’t think *all* feminists are actually into empowering themselves by promiscuous sex, just willing to “speak out” against the slightest social pressure against the behavior of their slutty sisters.

            1. The context against which they were reacting: Mom telling daughters to act modestly so as to avoid attracting The Wrong Sort of Men, getting pregnant or catching diseases. For the educated classes, this included curfews at college dorms. And there was among some men a “you dog, you” winking at the Don Drapers of the world, which didn’t have as much of a counterpart among women – the “double standard” (though the official teaching of the major religions was that adultery and fornication were wrong for *both* sexes).

              To rebel against this, why not tear down all the social rules (mostly civil-society rules, but some legal rules too) discouraging promiscuity and adultery – what could go wrong?

              1. And it wasn’t even about dressing modestly, if the movies of the 1950s are anything to go by. It was about not going all the way.

                1. Obligatory stipulation – the 50s were no golden age, etc. etc.

                  1. Interesting points. But I think that what’s gone wrong is that it’s just that the rules have switched sides. If she’d said “No” you can bet that some feminist pal of hers would have chided her for supporting the prudery of the patriarchy.

                    1. I don’t know any movement feminists, so I can’t be sure, but I think it would depend on the *reason* for not having sex.

                      “I decided I didn’t like him” would be a perfectly acceptable response for a feminist.

                      “God wants me to save myself for marriage” would be *unacceptable,* because God is an insidious male chauvinist tool of oppression etc. etc.

                    2. You’re expecting reason (drink!) from movement feminists?

        4. Hey, Lady Bertrum?

          If I have sex with you, will you be mad if I try and have you put in prison?

          It’s just. . .I really want to have sex.

          But I don’t want to feel like a slut.

      2. Visiting her website confirms her assholishness. She’s not to be taken seriously. Ever. Again.

        1. I didn’t even need to see her website. Just the quotes from her in the article screamed asshole. The very language she uses sets off every one of my crazdar alerts. She’s wishy-washy, obviously is completely unsure of what she wants, weak-willed, vague, and totally invested in specific language and terms that is solely based on muddying the waters of male-female sexual interaction. RUN THE FUCK AWAY. Kopin was stupid. He didn’t deserve to have this happen to him, but he was stupid.

          1. That’s pretty much her website. After viewing it, one might get the impression that she’s really enjoying all of this attention. Like, really enjoying it.

            1. Oh, I’m sure of it. There’s a massive dose of attention whore wrapped up in a personality like hers. But again, a prospective mate needs to be able to smell that on her and realize it’s dangerous and just stay the fuck away.

              1. That’s the problem, isn’t it. Crazy can add about 2 hotness points in the short term. You have to get burned a time or two before you figure out that it is the crazy that is making her seem so hot. Something that usually happens in college. So the very fact of his age helps explain his defective crazy-dar.

  11. I wonder if this guys has a case against all the media outlets too. I bet a good solid libel corn-holing would deliver the ActRight to them.

    1. Yeah, that’s what I was wondering, too. This seems like a laydown win, to me:

      Both the Huffington Post and Salon claimed that the charges on which Kopin was found responsible included “sexual violence involving physical force and injury.” In fact, the conduct board made no such finding;

  12. Rico Suave is confused; this man has made love to this woman, and she complains? Rico Suave only must apologize to the women he finds himself too tired each night to make love to. And the women then fight each other out of jealousy over who gains his favor. Rico Suave thinks college is teaching Spanish the wrong way.

    1. Does Robby ever step in to defend himself, or is this meme just going to get way out of hand?

      1. Rico is above such petty squabbles.

        1. So, the latter.

  13. Upon further research, Lena Sclove writes for the Huffington Post. Poorly, I might add.

    1. Maybe a writing-skills test is to the HuffPo what an intelligence test is to certain police deparatments? If you score *above* the cutoff, you’re disqualified.

      1. Do you put ‘rape victim’ on your resume these days?

  14. I have to admit that I was once accused of rape.

    Not to the extent that this kid was, though. It was solely a hush-hush-did-you-hear-what-he-did-whisper-whisper kind of accused.

    It was done by the school slut. I told everyone who asked that it didn’t happen.

    Then nothing else happened. I guess I was lucky.

    1. Those were the days when the Patriarchy allowed every man One Free Rape, like a get-of-jail-free card.

  15. Why hasn’t a judge declared any of these kangaroo courts as the unconstitutional travesties that they are? Why hasn’t a law firm or organization taken up one of these cases and pushed it in front of higher courts to demand everybody, including University students, be given a fair trial?

    How can anybody who really cares about rape think that it is in any way honorable to prosecute somebody for rape in any venue other than a court of law?

  16. What is it with Reason and “duh” themed articles? Does the media not care about the truth of things? Duh. Was the Iraq war a waste? Duh. Would we have been better off if we hadn’t sunk a trillion dollars in the hellhole which is now Afghanistan, killing countless numbers for no particular purpose? Duh. Do corrupt political hacks like Hillary and Bill and Hopey and Dubya and (endless list) maybe really have self interest at heart rather than the good of mankind? Duh. Is war in general, maybe, not sheer wonderfulness for all involved? Duh.

  17. Can we like roll with the punches or what dude.

    http://www.WentAnon.tk

  18. A google image search of this Sclove women really tells you a lot. I read this book by it’s cover and I see a disingenuous leftist feminist with a victim complex.

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