Push Grows For A 'Scarlet Letter' On Transcripts Of Campus Sexual Offenders
The Scarlet Letter reference comes from one particular abhorrent quote by a particularly garbage human being.
"I think at some point Hester Prynne gets to take the scarlet letter off," says attorney Justin Dillon, referring to the A (for "adulteress") worn by the character in the Nathaniel Hawthorne novel The Scarlet Letter. Dillon has represented dozens of students accused of sexual assault. "This is essentially public shaming in its worst form."
Let's go ahead and break down all the wrongness that one man managed to cram into two short sentences.
Firstly, the point of The Scarlet Letter is that being publicly shamed for adultery is horrible and ridiculous because while infidelity can be very hurtful, it's still consensual sex and in no way should it ever be illegal. The basis for its illegality back in the day was based heavily in misogyny and the idea that women are basically property that belong to their fathers and then their husbands, and how dare they ever act like autonomous beings who can make their own choices about who to fuck?
Rape, on the other hand, is a horrific fucking crime that should always be a crime because it's a violent and terrible violation of someone's autonomy, body, and soul. Comparing rape to adultery in and of itself has so many layers of awful, misogynistic, rape culture-supporting shit to it that I can't even fit it into my head right now. But what I can do is say FUCK YOU JUSTIN DILLON, FUCK YOU FUCK YOU FUCK YOU FUCK YOU FUCK YOU.
Secondly, putting a notification on a transcript is not public shaming. The only people who see that notification are those people working for the colleges the rapist chooses to apply to who deal with transcripts.
Thirdly, putting notifications of misconduct on transcripts already happens, it's just usually not specific when it comes to sexual assault.
Fourthly, RAPE IS A FUCKING CRIME. These rapists should be thrown in jail, but they get to go free, free to pursue more education and have normal lives. Why would anyone thing this is okay? If a student murdered another student on campus there would be no "oh but what about his precious education, how dare you publicly shame him for murder??" That student would go to jail for murder and have that on his very much public criminal record for the rest of his life making it impossible for him to get a decent job if he ever got out. Same if he was caught robbing another student. Or beating another student up. Or was caught with too much drugs. Or was black and breaking some really minor law.
But oh, we want to let other universities know that the reason a student was expelled was because he raped another student? PREPOSTEROUS. Kid robs a store to try and get by, maybe to pay for their ridiculously expensive textbooks? THROW HIM IN JAIL. KICK HIM OUT OF SCHOOL. PUT IT ON HIS CRIMINAL RECORD. HE MUST BE PUNISHED FOR LIFE FOR THIS ONE BAD DECISION BECAUSE CRIME IS WRONG. ROBBERY IS BAD. Guy rapes a woman? HOW DARE YOU TRY TO PUBLICLY SHAME HIM FOREVER BY NOTIFYING OTHER COLLEGES THAT HE MIGHT TRY TO RAPE STUDENTS. DOESN'T HE DESERVE AN EDUCATION? A LIFE? AFTER RAPING SOMEONE?
Do you fucking see the goddamn fucking problem I'm having with this particular line of thinking yet?
And it's the epitome of rape culture that survivors are wary of legislation and policies making colleges but that notification on transcripts of students kicked out for sexual assault or rape because it's already really fucking hard to get colleges to do anything for victims already. Colleges already tend to side with rapists and do anything they can to dismiss accusations because god forbid the college gets a bad reputation.
It just goes to show you that as long as we live in a rape culture, there are no good choices for victims/survivors. And also, fuck you, Justin Dillon. I hope you die.