Sexual Assault or Mutual Consent with Consensual Relations…
These subjects have recently set off an avalanche of discussion by politicians, college administrators, military leaders, and in our society as an urgent call for help.
Sexual assault is a serious crime that exerts profound, long-term trauma on its survivors. There is absolutely no doubt that sexual assault in the military and on college campuses is real and it's pervasive, threatening women's physical safety, as well as their mental and emotional well-being.
Celebrity athletes have long been the targets of such alleged assaults, from which many have fallen from grace, lost their careers and reputations, and others have been convicted. Were they guilty? Was it consensual? Or was it something else?
In the Kobe Bryant rape case, the Los Angeles Lakers guard was accused of raping a 19-year-old Colorado woman; he said that the sex was consensual.
There are good people and bad people of both genders. There are honest and dishonest people of both genders. Even in the best of cases, there can be differing recollections of exactly what happened. How many of these cases are actually true? How many are a vendetta, blackmail, feelings of regret, guilt, rejection or jealousy? Was the accused guilty? Was it consensual? Or was it something else?
The answer is that we will never know… without a witness or proof of mutual consent, this quandary more often than not falls under the “he said, she said” category. This scenario is always the most difficult to sort out. On the one hand, if it’s true, it’s a devastating event and, if it’s not true, it is equally as devastating an event being falsely accused. In her piece entitled "The Truth About Sex and College," Martha MacCallum states, "Advocates say we've got to think of the victim, we have to do more for the victim...That's why in every case the first question should always be 'Who is the victim?'"
Sexual assaults on college campuses, in the military, and in the workplace are being reported at an all-time rate, as many more people will be accused of sexual assault going forward.
The Brian Banks Story
"Banks was a standout high school football star at Polytechnic High School (Poly) in Long Beach, California, and in 2002 he had verbally committed to play for USC. After being falsely accused of rape by a classmate, he spent more than five years in prison, but had his conviction overturned in 2012 after his accuser was secretly recorded admitting she had fabricated the story. Following his exoneration, Banks sought to resume his football career, attending mini-camps for several NFL teams before signing with the Locomotives on September 20, 2012.
In the summer of 2002, Banks was arrested and charged after classmate Wanetta Gibson falsely accused him of dragging her into a stairway at Polytechnic High School (Poly) and raping her. Faced with a possible 41 years to life sentence, he accepted a plea deal that included five years in prison, five years of probation, and registering as a sex offender. Wanetta Gibson and her mother Wanda Rhodes sued the Long Beach Unified School District, claiming the Poly campus was not a safe environment, and won a $1.5 million settlement. In March 2011, Gibson contacted Banks on Facebook, met with him, and admitted that she had fabricated the story. Banks secretly recorded Gibson's confession, but she refused to tell prosecutors that she had lied so she wouldn't have to return the money she and her family had won in court. Nevertheless, with Gibson's taped admission and help from California Innocence Project attorneys, Los Angeles County prosecutors overturned Banks' conviction on May 24, 2012.
On April 12, 2013, the Long Beach Unified School District announced it was suing Wanetta Gibson for $2 million in an effort to recoup the $1.5 million she received, along with attorney's fees and punitive damages. On June 14, 2013, the school district won a $2.6 million judgment against Gibson, which includes the $750,000 settlement initially paid to her along with attorney's fees, interest, and $1 million in punitive damages.
Three Columbia University Women Speak Out About Sexual Assault
Bill Weir, in his "CNN Tonight" coverage entitled "Battling Campus Sexual Assaults" (May 14, 2014) interviewed three young Columbia University women who were all allegedly sexually assaulted by fellow students. Sarah Yee, Camila Quarta, and Zoe Ridolfi-Starr all recounted their traumatic and devastating experiences of being raped by fellow students. They elaborated on the secondary injury they sustained when University personnel and advisors questioned the women's participation in the rapes, either implying or stating outright that their drinking essentially was a co-factor. ""Battling Campus Sexual Assaults" (May 14, 2014)"
In his article, "These Colleges Have the Most Reports of Rape," Nick Anderson (June 7, 2016) states, "The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation published in June 2015 a national poll that found one in five women who attended a residential college during a four-year span said they had been sexually assaulted...Those findings have been reinforced by surveys at several prominent research universities. ""These Colleges Have the Most Reports of Rape," Nick Anderson (June 7, 2016)"
Clearly, today's college, military, and workplace environments need a third-party system in place to verify who said what, and when and where they said it. Consent EDU fills that void and will help not only to deter violent rapes under the loosely-asserted claims that mutual consent was obtained, but will also ensure that false accusations of rape are minimized.
 Associated Press (20 September 2012). "Brian Banks signs with Las Vegas UFL team". Press-Telegram. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
 "Exonerated of rape, Brian Banks now realizing NFL dream – in different capacity". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 27 January2015.
 "Ex-Poly standout has rape and kidnapping conviction reversed". USA Today. Gannett. 2012-05-24. Retrieved 2013-04-03.
 "A 10-year nightmare over rape conviction is over". Los Angeles Times. 2012-05-25. Retrieved 2013-04-03.
 Lowrey, Brandon (April 12, 2013). "Long Beach School District Sues Brian Banks' Accuser for $2M". NBC Los Angeles. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
 Mellen, Greg (June 14, 2013). "Long Beach Unified wins judgment against accuser in false rape case against Brian Banks". Press-Telegram. Retrieved August 9, 2013.