CNN Op-Ed Says College Men Need Text-Message Proof They Didn't Rape

CNN Op-Ed Says College Men Need Text-Message Proof They Didn't Rape

College men should have their sexual partners send them a text message before they get down to business to avoid a false rape charge, according to Roxanne Jones, a former vice president at ESPN.

Jones offered this bit of advice in an op-ed published by CNN Tuesday, in which she focuses on combating "stupid girls" and discloses that she gave her son 300 condoms when he went off to college.

Jones writes:

Never have sex with a girl unless she's sent you a text that proves the sexual relationship is consensual beforehand. And it's a good idea to even follow up any sexual encounter with a tasteful text message saying how you both enjoyed being with one another -- even if you never plan on hooking up again.

Crazy, I know, but I've actually been encouraging my son and his friends to use sexting -- minus the lewd photos -- to protect themselves from being wrongly accused of rape. Because just as damning text messages and Facebook posts helped convict the high-schoolers in Steubenville of rape, technology can also be used to prove innocence.

Jones' column discusses the role alcohol plays in college sexual violence, but doesn't explain how two consenting yet intoxicated co-eds would practically pull out their phones to text each other about the impending intercourse.

If this idea was reasonable, maybe people would actually do it and not just laugh at the prospect of signing your name to prove consent in a "Chappelle's Show" skit.

Jones' column received plenty of skepticism on Twitter, including from at least one CNN journalist:

instead of teaching your son to respect women tell him they're all whores who just want to wrongly accuse him of rape

— Jessica Roy (@JessicaKRoy) November 26, 2013

Jones' focus on stopping false rape accusations is alarming considering the overwhelming statistics about campus sexual assault: roughly one in four women become victims of sexual assault in college.

Jones does use statistics in her piece, but not the data point that just 10 percent of sexual assaults are reported to authorities, according to the Department of Justice. Of the rapes that are reported, just 2 percent are found to be false accusations.

And many more are never reported at all -- in fact, many rape victims never tell anyone, a fact she doesn't take into account.

Unsurprisingly, the reaction to Jones' advice about how to avoid a false rape accusation has been similar to the outcry following a roundly rebuked column by Emily Yoffe at Slate. Yoffe argued college women should stop getting drunk to avoid sexual assault. Columns such as these, which avoid discussion of what constitutes healthy, consensual, intimate relationships, are often bashed as "victim blaming."

Sexual assault on campus is real and widespread: A number of colleges are currently under federal investigations over allegations that the schools failed to properly adjudicate sexual assaults on campus -- not that they wrongly punished too many alleged perpetrators. In some cases, students said their perpetrators admitted assaulting them, but schools still failed to hold the attackers accountable.

The CNN post ends with Jones warning men, if they see a woman who's "falling down drunk," to not get her help and make sure she gets home safe, but instead, to "stay away, far away."

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