Case that's turned sex assault scandal on its head
AFTER a night of partying two university students, a male and female, decided to go home together. Both were intoxicated and they hooked up.
The male student woke up in the morning and filed a sexual assault complaint against the female.
But the female student then filed a counter complaint, claiming she was also drunk when they engaged in sexual contact.
So, who is in the wrong?
This is the question being asked to the University of Cincinnati, one that they previously answered when the first complaint was filed and has caused them to be embroiled in an ongoing legal battle.
When the male accuser, referred to as John Doe in the court proceedings, filed the sexual assault complaint against the female student, Jane Roe, claiming he was too drunk to consent, the university suspended the female student
Because of this decision Doe was granted the protections recommended for university sexual-assault victims, meaning Roe was not allowed to return to campus until Doe had graduated.
This is the typical action taken by the university when these kinds of complaints are made but in this case things were complicated when Roe filed a lawsuit against Cincinnati University, accusing the school of violating her due process rights.
The following account is Roe's version of the night's events as stated in the court documents.
On September 30, 2017, Jane Roe attended a party with John Roe, both of whom were drinking throughout the evening.
The two left the party together when Doe said he was drunk and wanted to go home, with Roe being invited inside when they reached Doe's house.
Roe claims she gave Doe some water and an ibuprofen for an injury he had on his foot. She then fell asleep on Doe's bed.
Doe's roommates later came into the room and asked her to leave but she said she was "too dizzy" to walk home.
Doe later got into the bed with Roe and initiated sexual contact, which Roe allowed. Roe then asked Doe if, "There was anything else you want to do?", to which he said "I think my roommates can hear. Let's go to sleep". They went to sleep and Roe left the house the next morning.
It was two days later on October 2 when Doe filed the complaint against Roe.
The court documents also reveals that Roe had previously filed a sexual misconduct complaint against one of Doe's friends, suggesting that Doe may have made the complaint as a form of revenge.
"On information and belief, John Doe was motivated to file a Title IX Complaint in retaliation for a prior Title X Complaint Jane Roe had filed against his friend," the documents said.
The suit also emphasised that Roe was drunk at the time of the encounter too, posing the question of how can Roe be found guilty of non-consensual sexual activity because Doe was drunk but the situation doesn't apply when reversed?
Revenge is the theory put forward by Roe to explain Doe's decision to file a complaint, another, proposed by the publication Reason, suggests that Doe was worried he would have a sexual misconduct complaint filed against him.
"Doe woke up, realised they had engaged in sexual activity while they were both drunk, and feared that she would file a complaint against him, as she had done to his friend," the article theorises.
"Panic-stricken, he felt he had no choice but to beat her to the punch."
Whatever the reasoning behind the complaint, the case highlights the way many universities tend to favour the side of the person who makes the complaint first, rather than giving accused students a proper chance to defend themselves.
Because of this Roe claims that the university may have discriminated against her as a woman as it "was facing pressure to prosecute females accused of sexual assault" after being named in "multiple lawsuits brought by men who alleged that UC discriminates against men".
University of Cincinnati spokesman Gregory Vehr, told The Atlantic that they were unable to comment on the case.
"The University of Cincinnati focuses on the wellbeing of our entire university community and makes every effort to provide an equitable process that respects everyone's rights and accommodates their needs," the statement read.
"Due to federal confidentiality requirements, we cannot address the specifics of any individual case. Our goal, as an educational institution, is what's best for all of our students in terms of safety, equity, and support."
QUEENSLAND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICES