Advice for Parents of College Kids on Sex Scandals

 

After seven years in the higher-ed administration industry, during which I largely dealt with “Title IX” issues, and having largely shepherded my own kids through college unscathed, I now have nieces and nephews on their way into the Octagon that is college life today. I doubt I’ll have a chance to tell them what they need to know, but I might be able to tell their parents.

I want to write something that explains to them what is happening on campuses today, the dangers it poses to their kids, and what they can do to make themselves safe. I’d start with four suppositions:

1. College-age kids, on the whole, have been raised with the assumption that men and women view sex the same way, as the goal of any relationship;

2. College-age kids have been raised in a culture drenched in pornography, and as a result, have very strange ideas about the nature of sexual relationships between adults;

3. Supposition No. 1 notwithstanding, college-age women, in particular, have been raised to believe that sex is scary and dangerous; and

4. College-age kids today have been denied, by overprotective parents, the opportunity to develop the skills needed to negotiate their way through the tangles of human relationships.

This is a recipe for disaster. If you throw raging hormones and free-flowing alcohol into the mix, and toss in the occasional sociopathic predator who hunts for those who are weak and disabled by booze, you will, in the end, find all the tragedy you might want.

Finally, if you add in the belief, apparently common among those coming of age today, that nothing is their own fault and anything bad has to be fixed for them, and for good measure toss in strict instructions to colleges from the Department of Education demanding that they do, in fact, fix anything bad related to sex, because bad things related to sex are seen as discrimination on the basis of sex … well, things get very, very toxic. And kids are not prepared for it.

So, how do you keep your kids from becoming the victim of this toxic culture or the sex police we’ve set up to deal with it? What can we teach them that will keep them safe when we send them off to college? To figure that out, we have to take a look at what leads to the typical Title IX claims of sexual assault, non-consensual sex, stalking, and so on. The variations are endless, but there are a few basic fact patterns.

The single most common complaint by students against students is this: a young woman walks into the Title IX office at her school and announces, “this creepy guy keeps talking to me.” Creepy Guy is a fellow student. They are probably in a class together. The girl probably initiated the relationship by striking up a conversation with this harmless-looking fellow. Creepy Guy is usually socially awkward, sometimes on the autism spectrum, unused to relating to women, unsure of how to proceed but, given that she showed some interest, desperate to do so. He overplays his hand and comes on a little strong, or keeps trying after she initially rebuffs his advances. This makes Creepy Guy, in modern eyes, practically a serial killer. The girl, therefore, is now afraid. The fact that she is afraid, regardless of whether it is reasonable, turns “this creepy guy keeps talking to me” into a claim of sexual harassment or assault, or stalking, under federal law as interpreted by the Department of Education. Cases following this basic fact pattern probably account for a quarter of all incidents reported to Title IX offices.

The second-most common fact pattern involves alcohol consumption leading to apparently consensual sexual activities. The complainant, in heterosexual hook-ups this is almost invariably the girl, is extremely upset that this happened, and claims she was not capable of consenting because she was incapacitated by alcohol. The law in most states and most school policies define incapacitation as a level of intoxication beyond mere drunkenness; intoxication, in fact, to the point of losing the ability to understand where one is and what one is doing. However, common usage among college women seems to define incapacitation as that level of drunkenness where one is likely to do something one wouldn’t do while sober. The allegation that incapacitation rendered the consent invalid must, under federal rules, be investigated. The respondent, almost invariably the boy, is now facing an investigation into an alleged violation of the school’s Title IX policy, and the local police may also be investigating it as a rape. The complainant may demand that the Respondent be removed from campus while the investigation is pending so that the complainant is not made to feel unsafe by the presence of her rapist.

If you are already in this situation, get a lawyer, one who knows this field. But what can you tell your children to help them avoid getting there? I’d like to hear what the Ricochet community thinks. Trust me, I’ve already got “keep it in your pants” and “don’t get sh*t-faced drunk with strangers” covered. I’d like to hear other suggestions, or hear your questions or comments. I think best, and write best, when I am responding to others. Please help me out here.

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There are 20 comments.

  1. EJHill Podcaster

    Idahoklahoman: Trust me, I’ve already got “keep it in your pants” and “don’t get sh*t-faced drunk with strangers” covered.

    The thing is, it really is that simple. I’ve gotten two of my four through the maze already.

    My wife and I have friends, well, the wife actually, who was determined to keep her daughters out of public school – not for the academics – but because she’s always been afraid her kids would “fall into the wrong crowd.”

    One day I had lunch with the dad and I asked him, “Do you like my kids?”

    ”Sure,” he says, “I think all of them are great.”

    “And they all went through public school, too. It’s not the crowd they fall into, it’s the upbringing they fall back on.” And it’s the same for when they get to college.

    Freshman year of college is not the time to prepare to navigate that stage. If you’ve done it correctly, don’t sugarcoat things, and have been honest about the world with them most kids will be just fine.

    • #1
    • June 17, 2019, at 10:12 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  2. Unsk Member

    May I add some points:

    • Young men have largely lost due process rights in any sexual abuse charge on Campus. Young men are considered toxic and guilty until proven otherwise. Tell your college age sons to be very careful, or what they thought was an innocent encounter with a young coed could ruin their life.

    • Gay sex and the Gay lifestyle are heavily promoted and defended on campus, particularly among the coeds. Also there many Lesbian sexual predators that would like nothing better than to deflower a straight young coed. 

    • #2
    • June 17, 2019, at 11:04 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  3. Chris Campion Coolidge

    Don’t wonder why college costs so much when they’ve essentially setup a court system to indict students based on the hazy claims of drunken people.

    If the statement that roughly 25% of the claims described in the OP are guys talking to girls, it helps explain why many of graduates of these academies are virtually unemployable in the workplace. They have been trained to think the world works like the cocoon of insanity they were educated in.

    • #3
    • June 18, 2019, at 3:46 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  4. EODmom Coolidge

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Idahoklahoman: Trust me, I’ve already got “keep it in your pants” and “don’t get sh*t-faced drunk with strangers” covered.

    The thing is, it really is that simple. I’ve gotten two of my four through the maze already.

    My wife and I have friends, well, the wife actually, who was determined to keep her daughters out of public school – not for the academics – but because she’s always been afraid her kids would “fall into the wrong crowd.”

    One day I had lunch with the dad and I asked him, “Do you like my kids?”

    ”Sure,” he says, “I think all of them are great.”

    “And they all went through public school, too. It’s not the crowd they fall into, it’s the upbringing they fall back on.” And it’s the same for when they get to college.

    Freshman year of college is not the time to prepare to navigate that stage. If you’ve done it correctly, don’t sugarcoat things, and have been honest about the world with them most kids will be just fine.

    All of that and: 1. Girls lie. 2. For girls, sex changes everything. 3. Girls lie. Said to both boys and girls. And 4. Neither boys nor girls will listen so plan way ahead – like when you first bring them home from the hospital – how you want them to grow up. No waiting. Worship as a family, have dinner as a family. Teach them hockey. 

    • #4
    • June 18, 2019, at 4:39 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  5. Idahoklahoman Member
    Idahoklahoman Post author

    EJ, I absolutely agree that step no. 1 is raising them right. Do that, and they won’t fall into the wrong crowd, and that’s half the battle. It’s good to remember but it’s beyond my scope.

    Yes, and it’s absolutely true that one of the drivers of college costs is the ridiculous demands placed on them by federal law as a condition of being eligible for financial aid money. Colleges instituted these kangaroo courts because the government told them they must. (And don’t get me started on the Clery Act, which is even more ridiculous, believe it or not.) People have often suggested that these cases should be handled by criminal courts, not colleges, but they won’t be. The vast majority of Title IX incidents investigated by schools, including most cases in which someone is found responsible for non-consensual sexual contact, would never be prosecuted in a criminal court, either because the proof is inadequate or the facts don’t meet the statutory elements of rape or sexual assault. That is largely why activists pushed for these courts, using Title IX as their tool — it was a new way to effectively criminalize the marginal cases. 

    Often, the behavior really is bad, but would probably never be prosecuted. Schools do have conduct administration systems that punish behavior that might also be crimes. If you steal from your roommate, you expect to be punished by the school, right? So, the argument is, why would the school not also punish the guy who picks up drunk girls at a party and has sex with them?

    • #5
    • June 18, 2019, at 5:23 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  6. Idahoklahoman Member
    Idahoklahoman Post author

    And thank you for every comment. They help. A lot.

    • #6
    • June 18, 2019, at 5:25 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  7. Front Seat Cat Member

    Your comment #3 is something I didn’t realize – that college age women think sex is scary and dangerous – do you know what’s driving that, if they think that men and women think of sex in the same terms because men don’t think its scary?

    I am wondering if its possible to introduce some sort of instructions upon entering the college – maybe a mandatory class on what is considered acceptable behavior. This may seem funny and a day late, but it seems what they know coming in is already skewed. Watching some films – teaching respect for boundaries? It seems they don’t know. You would have thought things would have gotten better after the sexual revolution but I guess nowadays with social media and access to everything, and alternative lifestyles being pushed, it’s a mine field.

    • #7
    • June 18, 2019, at 5:54 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  8. Seawriter Member

    The only advice I can offer is do not have sex with anyone who is not a good friend. (Yes, I know you should save it for marriage, but let’s be realistic.)

    Forget one-night stands. They are dangerous. The chances your partner will be bat[CoC] crazy are sky high. (Otherwise why would they hop in bed with you so casually?) The risks of incurring social diseases or social justice warriors (but I repeat myself) are too high.

    On the other hand, a friend is someone you know. You share interests. You care about each other. There is trust. (You really cannot be friends with someone you cannot trust. You can like them, enjoy having them around, but that person will never really be a friend.) Moreover, friends do not want to hurt each other.

    This creates the foundation for a lasting relationship. It may lead to marriage, or may not. But it offers an escape from the two scenarios most often leading to trouble.

    Ask that friendly girl if she wants to have dinner with you. Or study with you. Or go to the big game. Learn about her. Let her know you are shy around women, and you are not sure of the rules. Follow her lead at first. (I don’t mean for one day. Give it a few weeks minimum until you are both comfortable with each other.) If she is not interesting in you or you are not interested in her you can disengage gracefully, remaining friends.

    The key, of course, is patience – something teens and early twentysomethings are typically short of. Regardless, patience is one of the hallmarks of being an adult.

     

    • #8
    • June 18, 2019, at 6:35 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  9. Idahoklahoman Member
    Idahoklahoman Post author

    Seawriter, excellent point, but one that is very hard for an 18-year-old guy to remember when the drunk girl is hanging all over him at a party. That is also advice that college kids are unlikely to hear in their Title IX “training.” Because, just as telling girls “don’t get drunk with people you don’t know” is “victim-blaming,” telling boys they don’t want to get involved with the girl who is interested in a one-night stand is “slut-shaming.” Both are frowned upon by the social justice, grievance studies types who probably run the Title IX Office.

    However, it has been my experience that, whenever this suggestion is shot down as victim blaming or slut shaming by the social-justice-grievance-study types, they always add, “of course, that’s what I told my own child.”

    • #9
    • June 18, 2019, at 6:49 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  10. Idahoklahoman Member
    Idahoklahoman Post author

    Front Seat Cat, a significant portion of young women do indeed think that. I believe they have been conditioned to feel that any sexual experience that doesn’t go right is sexual assault. They have certainly been trained to believe that they are powerless in the face of sexual assault. Every complainant that I’ve seen in action is thoroughly committed to the idea that when a sexual experience starts to go wrong, she is powerless to respond. They will say they believe boys are dangerous and they are afraid they will be killed if they object. They will report that they felt “immobilized” by fear, as they are taught in their training that that is a common response to sexual assault. It’s virtually guaranteed that the boy will be found responsible when the girl uses these words. And they genuinely believe it’s true.

    Boys aren’t afraid of sex so much as they are afraid of girls.

    Fifty years of sexual liberation have given us a generation of men and women who are scared to death of each other.

    • #10
    • June 18, 2019, at 7:02 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  11. EODmom Coolidge

    Idahoklahoman (View Comment):

    Front Seat Cat, a significant portion of young women do indeed think that. I believe they have been conditioned to feel that any sexual experience that doesn’t go right is sexual assault. They have certainly been trained to believe that they are powerless in the face of sexual assault. Every complainant that I’ve seen in action is thoroughly committed to the idea that when a sexual experience starts to go wrong, she is powerless to respond. They will say they believe boys are dangerous and they are afraid they will be killed if they object. They will report that they felt “immobilized” by fear, as they are taught in their training that that is a common response to sexual assault. It’s virtually guaranteed that the boy will be found responsible when the girl uses these words. And they genuinely believe it’s true.

    Boys aren’t afraid of sex so much as they are afraid of girls.

    Fifty years of sexual liberation have given us a generation of men and women who are scared to death of each other.

    Given all of that, if I had college-bound children under my care now and I were paying for it, I wouldn’t send them to a 4 year residential college. It’s clear that the corrosive university environment cuts across many kids’ ability to find and make good friends. I would tell them that they would have to manage foundation courses either on-line or at community college while they sorted their goals and continued to mature enough to keep out of those bad choice situations (and any teenager is capable of being supremely stupid on any Saturday night) and focus on their career choices. I think college is not the time to hang out and find oneself on TheBankofMomandDad. It’s the time to learn a trade to support yourself. And since the intellectual offerings have been so distorted and diluted, it’s simply not worth the risk – and the money – to put someone you love in such a situation. It doesn’t make sense to me to ask my child to adapt to an abusive environment. The environment won’t change until the money is gone. It will be awhile.

    • #11
    • June 18, 2019, at 7:15 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  12. Seawriter Member

    Idahoklahoman (View Comment):
    Seawriter, excellent point, but one that is very hard for an 18-year-old guy to remember when the drunk girl is hanging all over him at a party.

    Tell me about it. I used to be that 18-year-old guy with the drunk girl hanging all over me. Although that was in high school during my three months as the school stud. (As explained here.) By college I could resist the temptation offered, although by then I had lost my Conan reputation.

    Idahoklahoman (View Comment):
    That is also advice that college kids are unlikely to hear in their Title IX “training.” Because, just as telling girls “don’t get drunk with people you don’t know” is “victim-blaming,” telling boys they don’t want to get involved with the girl who is interested in a one-night stand is “slut-shaming.” Both are frowned upon by the social justice, grievance studies types who probably run the Title IX Office.

    Yet another testimony to the worthlessness of a modern college education. If a college won’t stand up for what is true, the education received is pretty well meaningless. Of course I warned my three that this would be the case, and that they would have to rely on their own judgement as to what to believe, so they avoided the worst follies of the modern education system.

    On one hand what does it say when 18 to 22 year-olds cannot rely on the judgement of putative adults running the institution? On the other hand, the 18 to 22 year-olds who stormed the invasion beaches during World War II had to rely on their own judgement and they did pretty well. Perhaps it is time for those in their late teens to assume responsibility for their own lives rather than relying on elders that have never become adults themselves. That is what I told my three to do.

    • #12
    • June 18, 2019, at 7:20 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  13. Buckpasser Member

    Maybe traditional colleges are not the way to go. Technical schools, apprenticeships perhaps. If college is a must limit it to Hillsdale, Thomas Aquinas and a few others.

    • #13
    • June 18, 2019, at 7:22 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  14. Idahoklahoman Member
    Idahoklahoman Post author

    EODMom, not bad advice. Send them to the local community college for the basics. The credits will transfer to a four-year school and they can get the more impressive diploma when they are older and more mature. And, it’s significantly cheaper.

    • #14
    • June 18, 2019, at 7:23 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  15. Fake John/Jane Galt Thatcher

    Seems that you need to teach your kids that school is like a job. 

    co-workers/students are not friends but are adversaries to be treated with respect and distance. 

    Information is power, only let your fellow coworkers/students know as little about you as possible. 

    Keep all communications on the professional level about the business at hand. Do not discuss personal stuff.

    If you need friends find them else where. Not at work, not at school.

    Do not look to the company/school/boss/teacher for help. These entities have their own agendas that most likely do not correspond with yours. Interact with these entities as little as possible.

    That should cover it.

     

     

     

    • #15
    • June 18, 2019, at 9:44 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  16. Old Bathos Member

    My kids are past that now. If I had to do it now, I would treat it as if I were dropping an agent behind enemy lines. Teach them to fake wokeness, to recognize and cultivate fellow secret skeptics, never to put anything counter-PC in writing, to avoid any and all romantic relationships with on-campus persons who have not been vetted. Use code to communicate by email on the assumption it is all monitored.

    I would keep the Federalist Papers and public choice books and articles, Hayek and Buckley available for secret reading and to smuggle to fellow insurgents.

    • #16
    • June 18, 2019, at 10:29 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  17. Idahoklahoman Member
    Idahoklahoman Post author

    Wow, Old Bathos and FJG. You two make it sound like a cold, cruel world. Thanks.

    • #17
    • June 18, 2019, at 12:13 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  18. Mikescapes Member

    Idahoklahoman (View Comment):

    Wow, Old Bathos and FJG. You two make it sound like a cold, cruel world. Thanks.

    It is a cold, cruel and intolerant world these days. Always was, but worse now that Title IX is in play. I’m glad that when I, and my kids, went to college you could get hammered, and maybe lucky. I do worry about my grandkids should they fall victim to the sex police.

    It’s not just college. Far too often this mentality is encouraged in our society. The puritans have gained a strong foothold in government and culture generally. Used to be that they populated the more religious slice of America. Not today. Now they are the forgiving ones. They recognize that people are human, they screw up, especially kids, and are entitled to a break. It’s the rigidity of the puritanical Left that is antithetical to having too much fun. Likely they never had fun other than attending a protest. 

    Kinda makes you want to find a safe space where these SOBs can’t charge you with thought crimes.

     

     

     

    • #18
    • June 18, 2019, at 2:51 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  19. Fake John/Jane Galt Thatcher

    Idahoklahoman (View Comment):

    Wow, Old Bathos and FJG. You two make it sound like a cold, cruel world. Thanks.

    It is, been there, got the t shirt.

    • #19
    • June 18, 2019, at 5:15 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  20. Idahoklahoman Member
    Idahoklahoman Post author

    Mikescapes (View Comment):

    It’s not just college. Far too often this mentality is encouraged in our society. The puritans have gained a strong foothold in government and culture generally. Used to be that they populated the more religious slice of America. Not today. Now they are the forgiving ones. They recognize that people are human, they screw up, especially kids, and are entitled to a break. It’s the rigidity of the puritanical Left that is antithetical to having too much fun. Likely they never had fun other than attending a protest.

    Kinda makes you want to find a safe space where these SOBs can’t charge you with thought crimes.

     

    They will allow no breaks for kids who have violated Title IX. In spite of the massive uncertainty surrounding any adjudication of responsibility for a policy violation (colleges scrupulously avoid using the word “guilty,” recognizing that their process is not a trial and their judgments are suspect), the trend now is to require colleges to mark transcripts to signify that the student is an offender. Several states have now passed laws requiring transcript annotation. Gov. Abbot in Texas signed such a provision into law last week. Since when you apply to a college you must send a transcript from every school you have attended, a finding at one school will keep you from getting in anywhere else.

    In 2011, the Obama administration sent out the “Dear Colleague” letter (the DCL) requiring schools to ramp up their sexual assault prosecutions, requiring them to deny accused students the right to cross examine their accusers, and requiring them to use a “preponderance of the evidence” standard. Many people noted that these tribunals could not provide due process or fundamental fairness to the accused students. The response was that accused students are not due much process because the worst that can happen to them if they are found responsible is that they will have to transfer to another university. The goalposts have now officially moved. Students found guilty under these lesser procedures are now branded for life as convicted rapists — even when the underlying offense may be no more than a good morning kiss on the cheek of a sleeping girlfriend.

    • #20
    • June 18, 2019, at 7:43 PM PDT
    • 1 like