In the wake of the Hollywood sexual harassment scandal, which started with Harvey Weinstein but has by now spread far beyond Tinseltown, sexual misconduct is a hot topic. But the newest stories just mark an escalation in an ongoing trend, which is redefining how men and women interact. It has seen behaviour which was previously considered at most to be in bad taste being recast as highly controversial: touching a woman’s knee, for example, is likened to sexual assault. But more dangerous is the way the bar for when sexual relations are criminalised has been dramatically lowered. Under the banner of “no means no”, campaigners have been successful in changing the definition of what constitutes a rapist, from a hooded thug dragging a woman screaming into a dark alley, to a college freshman fumbling with his drunk girlfriend in a dorm room.
And not only has the movement been successful in changing the definition of rape, they also seem to have managed to lower the bar for what is needed to convict. The UK definitely seem to have a problem in this regard. In one high-profile case, footballer Ched Evans’ conviction for rape was referred to appeal after new evidence shed doubt on its safety. Then last week, another case highlighted the problem: 22-year old Liam Allan was acquitted of rape charges after text messages which had previously not been disclosed were handed over to his defence team; evidence which proved that the Allan’s accuser, his former girlfriend, was lying when she accused him of non-consensual sex. Appropriately, media and commentators have reacted with outrage in response to the, apparently honest, mistake made by police in omitting the text evidence from the case while it slowly made its way to court over a two-year period.
But while it is of course disgraceful that a mistake like that can happen in any criminal justice system, it seems another, arguably larger, problem is being lost in the debate: commentators agree that Mr Allan would likely have been convicted if he had not been able to prove his innocence (he was looking down the barrel of a 20-year prison sentence), implying that in this case the burden of proof was on the accused – guilty until proven innocent. It is simply a technicality of this particular case that evidence was ultimately available to prove the falseness of the accusations. But how many cases have been, and are, going through the system where similarly innocent people simply can’t prove their innocence and so end up in jail? Political correctness has lowered the bar for when sexual relations are constituted as rape, and the courts seem to have responded by throwing a fundamental judicial principle out of the window in the pursuit of convictions which pander to an anti-men agenda set by radical feminism. Men can do nothing but beware the new paradigm, and behave with utmost caution.
The UK is of course not the only place where sexual relations are being redefined by political correctness. In Sweden, a leader in social justice legislation, prime minister Stefan Löfven has just announced a new law initiative which will outlaw all sexual relations which are not explicitly consensual, effectively requiring consent forms to be in place in advance of sex. “We assume that the new law will lead to more convictions for sexual crime,” Mr Löfven said. No kidding.
Are we looking at a future where men cannot chat up women for fear of being shunned by society, or worse, sent to jail, if their advances are misconstrued? Or will we wake up and recognise that we are on a slippery slope towards completely redefining how we interact with each other? The social justice warriors have many misdeeds on their conscience, injecting accusations and mistrust into the relationships between races, age groups and genders. Now they have the courts running scared, to the extend that they seem willing to dispense with justice. When will enough be enough?