'One of the students who accused the president of the prestigious Oxford Union of rape appears to have admitted almost a year earlier that their relationship was consensual, The Telegraph can reveal.
Ben Sullivan, 21, was arrested on suspicion of rape and attempted rape in May after two undergraduate students accused him of forcing himself on them after nights out in January and April last year.
Last week, Mr Sullivan was cleared of the charges and it can now be revealed that evidence passed to the police appears to show one of the victims knew their allegations were false.
In one online conversation seen by The Telegraph, one of the students appears to have told Mr Sullivan directly that she knew their affair was consensual, and pledged to help dispel rumors that he raped her.
The dialogue, which was included in the investigation along with further evidence, suggests the existence of a plot cooked up to undermine his tenure as Oxford Union president.'
'The alleged “rape culture” in America, and especially sexual assault on American college campuses, has stubbornly remained a hot topic in politics and the media this year.
The latest example is SB-967, sponsored by California Democratic state Sens. Kevin De Leon and Hannah-Beth Jackson and Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal. It would require “affirmative consent” – explicitly verbal or written – for sex involving a college student in California.
The bill, which passed the Senate 27-9 in May and the Assembly Higher Education Committee 11-1 on Tuesday, would require California colleges receiving state funds for student financial aid to “adopt consistent victim-centered sexual assault policies and protocols.”
Critics have said the bill could make any sexual activity a potential assault by definition, and that it wouldn’t stop assaulters from lying about getting consent from their sexual partners.
The bill follows federal investigations of 55 schools accused of unsatisfactorily addressing sexual assaults involving students. The Obama administration has proposed stricter guidelines under the Clery Act, which requires federally funded universities to report each year on all crimes, including sexual assault, connected with the schools.'
'Are we coming to a truce in the gender wars? Or just opening a second front? Or, perhaps, actually starting to talk to each other?
Those are the questions I was asking myself as I attended the First International Conference on Men's Issues in Detroit last weekend. And, to be honest, I'm still not sure. But it's certainly true that the discussion is expanding, and I'm enough of a believer in discussion and engagement to think that's a good thing.
The first thing that struck me about the conference — both the speakers and the attendees — was how diverse the crowd was. (Full disclosure: I was there as a tag-along spouse while my wife spoke about her gender relations book, Men on Strike.) There were plenty of women there, which I suppose should be no surprise, as there are plenty of men at conferences on women's issues. There's even a women's group called The Honey Badger Brigade that supports men's rights.
There were also a lot of African-Americans — or, in the case of Canadian Sen. Anne Cools, African-Canadians. But it turns out, as we heard from speakers like Fred Jones, the victims of the gender war are disproportionately black, because black men are more likely to be jailed for failure to pay child support, or on charges of domestic violence.
'Mary Walsh[link added] is helping women help men learn how to help with household chores.
The 62-year-old veteran of Canadian television and films is playing Rose O’Brien in The House Trainer — a series of instructional videos available in the Apple App Store.
As Rose, Walsh teaches men how to rinse the bathroom sink, load the dishwasher and change the toilet paper roll.
Users can build a custom training program and email it, via the app, from Rose O’Brien to friends and family that need to be house-trained.
It begs the question: Why does the toilet seat have to be left in the down position?
“It has to be down because if it isn’t down, in the middle of the night your very thin trophy wife will fall through and you’ll lose her,” Walsh replied.
“I feel that is the natural way that the toilet wants to be. I think the toilet wants the seat down.”
Walsh said women have put up with lazy men since time immemorial for no other reason than to keep society going.
“There would be no people on the Earth. There would just be cockroaches and snakes,” she opined. “It’s all biologically necessary for us to put up with all of this in order that we have children and the Earth goes on.
“I think at some point the women will just really get tired of that and say ‘I don’t care, let the snakes and the cockroaches take over. I’m just not doing another dish.’”'
'Why is empathy important? First, empathy breeds courage. In a recent study of nearly 900 youth, ages 11-13, NicolaAbbottand Lindsey Cameron’s, psychology researchers at University of Kent, found that participants with higher levels of empathy were more likely to engage in “assertive bystander behavior.” In other words, they were willing to stand up to a bully on behalf of someone outside their peer group. This kind of courage can be life changing for a victim of bullying and prevent the damaging effects of social isolation and exclusion that often lead to anxiety and depression.
Empathy also yields happiness. People with empathy have stronger interpersonal connections and are more eager to collaborate, effectively negotiate, demonstrate compassion, and offer support. They’re team players, and employers recognize this. So important has this skill become that a research team in England, after engaging in a six-month review of its schools, submitted a report that placed empathy in the top three of important outcomes for its students. Similarly, employers, when asked to compile a list of the “20 People Skills You Need to Succeed at Work,” placed it fifth.
What Parents Can Do
'George Will has added to the litany of facepalm-worthy statements by men about rape, implying that, due to university policies, victim status is “privileged” and “coveted.” In his June 6 column—which has gotten him fired from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch—he recounts a story from Swarthmore College in which a woman experienced date rape. The woman had been “hooking up” with a guy but then decided to just be platonic friends, a decision she thought was mutual. One night he fell asleep in her bed and she put on her pajamas and climbed in as well, thinking nothing of it. However, he began to pull off her clothes. She said no, but he persisted and she relented and let him do his thing. Six weeks later she filed rape charges.
Will seems to offer this case as an ambiguous scenario in which the woman is partly to blame for a) hooking up with the guy in the past and b) saying no only once. If we actually think this scenario is ambiguous—as apparently many young men do—then we need better sex education for boys.
That males might not clearly see certain behavior as rape when in fact it is is obviously worth emphasizing. Yet people tend to respond better overall to positive persuasion rather than alarmism. Rather than teaching boys that they are all teetering on the edge of violence, emphasizing the benefits of romantic and sexual relationships founded on open communication, honesty and mutual respect may provide more positive outcomes.'
'As a Jewish woman who opposes circumcision, I often get this kind of conversational preempt from friends and family. It's an occupational hazard of writing about such a highly-charged topic: people seem to think I'm looking for a fight.
In truth, I'm exhausted by the litany of pros and cons. Circumcision causes pain (just look at this list of benefits!). Foreskin tissue is erogenous (circumcision is more hygienic!). It's unethical to make this decision for an infant (parents have to make decisions about their children's health all the time!). And on and on -- a veritable Wimbleton of volleys back and forth, each of which is but a few Google clicks away from support or refutation.
How I'd love for us to change the conversation so that instead of arguing points, we focus on the Jewish families who struggle to navigate their way through this complex issue.
Clearly, families who say yes to circumcision will have support from the community. But what happens to those who decide to keep their sons "intact" (i.e., not to circumcise them)?
One would think these nonconformists might be shunned for turning their backs on a practice so deeply ingrained in the Jewish psyche. But evidence suggests that such families are accepted in, and integrated into, Jewish settings. Indeed, as I reported in a recent article in j. weekly, Reform rabbis say these families are welcome in their synagogues, preschools and bar mitzvah classes.
Like it or not, in the contemporary American landscape, identification as Jewish has become optional. Families need a reason to turn toward Judaism. We should be sending a clear message of inclusion to all families, regardless of their sons' circumcision status.
'An 18-year-old mother was arrested on suspicion of trying to suffocate her baby in an Orlando hospital room.
Brenna Elise Winter, of St. Cloud, was arrested on charges of attempted first-degree murder, battery by strangulation and aggravated child abuse.
According to authorities, an alarm was triggered in the hospital because of the child's condition, and a video monitoring system in the room showed Winter beside her baby with her hands inside the crib. Nurses checked on the baby, but hours later the child had to be revived when the alarm again sounded, court documents stated.
Investigators said Winter admitted to trying to suffocate her daughter because Winter wanted attention. She also said she once placed her finger down her daughter's throat, scratching the girl's mouth.'
'A 60-year-old California woman who has been involved in a series of “neighborhood disputes” is jailed on three felony charges after allegedly spraying a “poisonous weed killer” in the face and eyes of a seven-year-old who lives in the same condominium complex.
Julie Rodenhuis was arrested Wednesday evening after cops were dispatched to the development to investigate a reported assault on a child.
'Following a rise in reports of sexual assaults at colleges, a growing number of alleged assailants — including some at area schools — are pushing back, saying they have been falsely accused amid the heightened awareness sweeping the nation’s campuses.
The suspected assailants —who have been put on probation at the schools, suspended, or expelled — are appealing the disciplinary rulings and filing lawsuits asserting that college administrators unfairly rushed to judgment in their cases. They say the decisions have damaged their reputation, disrupted their education, and in some cases cost them thousands of dollars in lost tuition, legal expenses, and other costs.
Some accused students have also claimed campus officials violated Title IX, the very federal gender-discrimination law that many alleged victims have cited in federal complaints to argue that administrators did not take their allegations seriously or failed to mete out adequate punishment.
In one recent case at Brandeis University, a student found responsible by the school for sexually assaulting and harassing a classmate — his ex-boyfriend — has hired a lawyer and has appealed the ruling. He says he also plans to file a Title IX complaint against the school.
Accused students at Brown University, the University of Michigan, Occidental College, Xavier University, Swarthmore College, and Delaware State University are also fighting back, according to media reports and advocates following the cases.'
'Like you, I’ve had many dating missteps. From the guy who laughed at me because I’d never played "Grand Theft Auto," to the guy who pinched my cheeks and kept calling me Babyface, to the guy who knocked over a bottle of red wine on the white sundress that I’d bought specifically for the date (RIP white sundress).
I thought that I’d experienced the full gauntlet until I found myself on a date with a Men’s Rights Activist. MRAs, as they’re known throughout the blogosphere, have one unifying thread: a deeply ingrained disdain for women. Some want to punish women, others want women to solely pursue domestic interests like cooking -- sewing and the like -- while others just want to bang and discard as many women as possible.
The date went well. Some smiles, some flirty touches –- your standard, mildly nervous, I-think-I-might-be-attracted-to-you kind of first date. He repeatedly made mention of his dislike of "females who played games." To which I repeatedly, albeit naively, responded that it was a real date and not a game. At one point, he described himself as a "red pill."
At the time, I was unfamiliar with the vernacular. After he said it, I went to the bathroom and Googled it. I came up with hits for The Red Pill sub Reddit and read a few posts. I found out that "red pill" is MRA-speak for men who have seen the truth of devious female ways. The phrase is taken from "The Matrix" films. You know, take the blue pill or take the red pill. Stay in happy oblivion or see "the truth."
I realize this isn't ironclad evidence of his MRA status, but I have never heard that "red pill" terminology used elsewhere. You can read a summary of the woman-hating movement here.
'Recently, I was a keynote speaker at an event promoting women leaders. There were about 200 women in attendance, and maybe 15 to 20 men. A woman who took to the stage before I spoke had a PhD, and the expectation of her topic was high. She was very accredited but she didn’t have the ability to observe the men in the audience nor respect them. Observing the male participants was logical to me for obvious reasons, especially seeing that a few of them were program sponsors, which this woman knew along with the entire audience.
During her spiel, she put women on a pedestal and downplayed men as if they were not a part of the equation. She made men the primary target of several offensive jokes. It was a clear case of male-bashing. She pitted women against men and capitalized on some of their so-called inadequacies. It was not a gutsy move. It was a stupid move.
It was stupid because she lowered the value of women leaders. It was stupid because leadership is an inclusive agenda. Men are just as much a part of it as women. We need men to assist us on the journey. I can’t count how many former male supervisors helped me become a better leader through training and coaching techniques. Often, men contributed to my career quicker than some women.
When women bash men it hurts everyone. It changes how we view men. That distorted view bleeds over into how we see and treat our brothers, husbands, sons and fathers. Our image is tainted with negativity and hypocrisy.
'A conservative women’s group is trying to debunk the claim that one in five women is a victim of sexual assault in college.
The startling one-in-five statistic has become a rallying cry for campus judicial reform and entered the public lexicon through widespread dissemination by the media and the Obama Administration. Obama created a White House task force on campus sexual assault earlier this year, and Congress is currently considering proposals to combat sexual violence on campus.
At a Senate hearing Thursday, the one-in-five statistic was invoked in opening statements. Catherine Lhamon, assistant secretary of education for civil rights, said that “sexual violence is pervasive” on many college campuses and James Moore, compliance manager in the Clery Act Compliance Division of the Education Department, said we are experiencing a “crisis of sexual assault” on campus. (The Clery Act, passed in 1990, requires colleges and universities to publish annual reports on security and crime statistics, as well as publish information about sexual assault policies and programs.)
But the Independent Women’s Forum, based in Washington, D.C., hosted a panel Thursday for about 100 people at The Fund for American Studies that questioned the validity of one-in-five figure.
“I do not believe that the one in five statistic is trustworthy,” said Christina Hoff Sommers, self-titled “factual feminist” and resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. “Inflated statistics lead to ineffective policies. Worse than that, they can breed panic and overreaction, and that’s what I think we have right now. I believe that the rape culture movement is fueled by exaggerated claims of victimization.”'
'A controversial men’s rights group has seen its permit to march in the Pride parade revoked just days before the event after a behind-the-scenes campaign to get them removed.
The Canadian Association for Equality (CAFE), which bills itself as a “men’s issues” organization, learned earlier this week that they would not be allowed to march in Sunday’s parade because some people felt their work went against the values of the 10-day LGBTQ celebration. CAFE marched in the parade last year.
Pride executive director Kevin Beaulieu was vague on Friday about the reasons for CAFE’s exclusion.
“There has been some concern expressed about the activities and purpose of CAFE and whether they actually match the intent they express,” he said. Asked to be more specific, Beaulieu replied, “I’m really not going to go into that.”
CAFE has faced criticism for its association with anti-feminist websites like A Voice for Men and for apparently misrepresenting itself to the Canada Revenue Agency in its successful charity-status application last year. In that case, CAFE listed women’s groups as potential members of panel discussions who denied having been approached by the organization.'
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