December 1, 2011
The Hamilton community is flush with self-professed feminists; from the Womyn’s Center to She Fears You, the influence of this ideology is manifest across campus. Conspicuously absent, though, is a similar movement for men, this despite their status as a minority on Hamilton’s campus and the presence of unheralded inequalities with respect to the male gender both at colleges and in the legal codes of the United States. Frankly, for a college that endeavors for diversity über alles, this is unacceptable — Hamilton, and the country as a whole, needs vehement and vocal advocates for men’s rights.
The first obvious injustice towards men concerns the college’s policy stance towards students (most male) accused of sexual harassment and sexual assault. At present time, the college’s Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Board abides by a “more likely than not” standard when assessing the culpability of students accused of sexual transgressions. Considering the gravity of such charges, such a standard is abominable; persons accused of sexual misconduct face expulsion from the College and the specter of bearing a scarlet letter as they enter the hypercompetitive labor market. Such a metric runs contrary to the principles of our justice system, which requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt when assigning guilt — that is, a 99 percent chance, not merely a 51 percent chance. Indeed, in the current system, the burden of proof is completely backwards; men and women accused of sexual misconduct should not have to demonstrate their innocence — cases which disintegrate into a quibble over explicit consent without corroborating evidence should immediately be dismissed.
Men’s rights, however, go further than simply protecting the innocent from the wrath of baseless accusations (studies in England indicate a consistent 8-12 percent of rape allegations are fabrications, with rates no doubt comparable across the Atlantic). Consider, for instance, the insidious double standard vis-à-vis the abortion policy in the United States. Under current statutes, if the woman wishes to keep the child, then the man’s paycheck is garnished for the next eighteen years, but if the woman wants to terminate the pregnancy, the man cannot stop her, even if they are legally married. Such a situation is patently inequitable; in spite of the persistent rhetoric of the political left, abortion is by no means a “woman’s issue” — excepting perhaps a curious case in Roman Palestine, pregnancy requires a certain input from both parties. Yes, men do not endure the pains of labor, but it is delusional to believe woman seek abortions solely because they detest the process of giving birth; the vast majority of abortions in this country are performed because the woman does not “want” the baby. However, men can “want” or “not want” children too — why do we refuse to take their opinion into account?
With the existence of a committed men’s movement to highlight such inconsistencies, both these injustices are easily ameliorated; Hamilton College and her sister institutions could switch to a “beyond a reasonable doubt” criterion with respect to rape allegations without compromising student safety, as, despite requiring such a standard in her legal system, the rest of the country has not descended into violent anarchy.
On the abortion front, the logical contradictions are erased by allowing for men to sign “virtual abortions” and requiring the consent of both parties (if feasible) before terminating the pregnancy — or, more simply, by outlawing the barbaric practice (the moral equivalent of the ancient Greeks abandoning newborns to die in the wilderness) entirely, except if the mother’s health is compromised or the pregnancy resulted from rape. Though only, of course, if such is proven.