In the United States, feminists have been responsible for the curtailment of the fundamental rights of men.
On university campuses up and down the land, if a man is accused of sexual assault, instead of reporting it to the police as one would expect, it is often dealt with ‘in house’, in a Kafkaesque-like process administered by university bureaucrats.
As this process is not part of the criminal justice system but a civil process, basic rights, such as a fair trial and having access to all the evidence against you, are seriously curtailed.
President Obama has already complained that universities are not taking allegations of sexual assault seriously enough.
In fact if this Kafkaesque process is not favourable enough towards a complainant, the federal government can threaten to cut off university funding.
So it was with weary predictability, I read that feminists are advocating a similar type of civil punishment in UK universities, specifically Oxford.
The President of the Oxford Union, Ben Sullivan, has been accused of rape and attempted rape.
He was granted police bail, but as yet has not been charged with any offence. He denies all allegations.
This has not prevented Sarah Pine, President for Women at Oxford University Student Union, from calling for a boycott of the Oxford Union by speakers, and for the President to ‘step aside’ while still under investigation.
Unbelievably David Mepham, UK Director of Human Rights Watch, has joined the boycott. He clearly has no idea of even the basic principles of human rights and should rename his organisation Human Rights (now and again) Watch.
The problem with pressing for boycotts and suspension at allegation stage is that as well as it ‘acknowledging the seriousness of the allegation’ it amounts to an admission of guilt.
If Ben Sullivan is guilty I would expect serious jail time, not suspension from a debating club. But currently although the allegation is serious, it remains a mere allegation.
Calling for a suspension is an underhand way of demanding Mr Sullivan’s resignation, as the position is for a fixed term and criminal investigations and trials take time.
If every person subject to an allegation was to resign from his position or employment it would have serious consequences for society.
But Sarah Pine and other worthies do not want this applied consistently to all persons, but just to men accused of rape. All in the name of equality! How twisted.
In the name of equality we can mark out certain categories of people – men accused of rape – and deny them fundamental rights! This is the very antithesis of equality.
Professor AC Grayling has refused to partake in the boycott stating it would undermine the presumption of innocence and Mr Sullivan should not be subject to the ‘kangaroo court of opinion’. Ms Pine, however, states that the presumption of innocence does not mean ‘business as usual’.
In fact, the presumption of innocence means no person shall be convicted of a criminal offence without due process of law.
In addition, it must be the case that before a person is even charged it should mean business as usual.
I can accept that post charge, a person may be suspended from his position if, the criminal process he now faces will compromise his carrying out his duties, and a suspension is not tantamount to an outright firing (as would be the case here).
This is because when a person is charged the Crown Prosecution Service has decided that there is enough evidence to sustain a realistic prospect of conviction.
So a ‘test’ administered by an impartial member of the justice system has been passed. But a pack of worthies just rounding on an individual when an allegation has been made, but not yet charged, is a witch-hunt.
And it is saddening to see that a process once used to get rid of troublesome women is now being used against men.