A male and female, both students at the University of Cincinatti, meet at a campus party. It’s September 30, 2017.
The female nursing student, now referred to as Jane Roe, is bingeing on vodka and beer, while the male student, now referred to as John Doe, is becoming intoxicated off schnapps and beer.
After a few hours, John tells the young woman he is too drunk and wants to go home. Allegedly worried about him, Jane walks him back to his apartment, to ensure he gets home safe and has some water to drink.
She fusses over him when they arrive, offering him some ibuprofen and putting him to bed. At this point, Jane allegedly falls asleep too, only to be awoken by John’s roommate who asks her to leave. According to the roommate, she says she can’t because she’s dizzy.
That’s when the fumbling begins, and allegedly John initiates sexual contact with Jane. According to her testimony, she allows him to touch her. Jane then asks, “Is there was anything else you want to do?” to which John replies, “I think my roommates can hear. Let’s go to sleep.”
And that’s what they do. Jane wakes up and leaves his house the next morning.
It’s what happened next that is now making headlines all over the world.
Two days later, John filed a sexual misconduct complaint against Jane, who was suspended from the university “indefinitely” under Title IX.
Title IX (1972) is a federal law that, according to Ventura College, “serves as a powerful tool for combating campus violence. The law requires colleges receiving federal funding to combat gender-based violence and harassment, and respond to survivors’ needs in order to ensure that all students have equal access to education.”
Due to this law, John is protected until his graduation – meaning he does not have to share a campus with his alleged assailant.
Jane is suing the University of Cincinnati, with her lawyer arguing that there is just as strong a case against the male student who accused her. They were both intoxicated – and it was Jane, not John, who was touched.
Caitlin Flanagan, writing for The Atlantic, has termed the phenomenon ‘Mutually nonconsensual sex’, and opens her feature with the question: “Is it possible for two people to simultaneously sexually assault each other?”
Robby Soave, editor of the blog Reason, summarised the story as follows: “Male and female student have a drunken hookup. He wakes up, terrified she’s going to file a sexual misconduct complaint, so he goes to the Title IX office and beats her to the punch. She is found guilty and suspended.”
There is some credibility to the theory that John’s accusation was defensive.
Court documents reveal that Jane had filed a sexual misconduct complaint against one of John’s friends in the past. Was John worried she would do the same to him? Was it preemptive self-protection? Or was it a form of revenge?
Or – are there two people in this scenario who truly believe themselves to be victims? And, in that case, are there also two perpetrators?
Flanagan uses the case as an example of the “sexually repressive madness” that has taken over campuses in the United States, illustrating the “potential excesses of policing sex” among adults.
She puts it rather jarringly: All we need to know, is that a woman has been suspended from university because a man touched her vagina.
Have we lost all logic and reason?
It is cases like these – the outliers, the exceptions to the rule, the highly improbable – that capture the public interest more than any others.
Do they truly prove that the world has gone mad? That we’ve lost all sense of truth in a culture steered by the progressive left?
Or – does this indicate that no step forward is ever simple? That a law designed to protect will inevitably also be used as a means to harm, and will, at times, serve the ‘wrong’ people.
There’s every chance, of course, that John Doe was a victim of sexual violence.
But what does the law do when two parties claim victimhood? When a sexual act took place, but neither person believes they consented to it?
The politics, it would seem, are getting more complicated, not less, and these are the questions we’re going to have to try and find the answers to.