Victims' advocate Julie Valentine said during a recent Utah Rape Kit Working Group that evidence, not instinct, should be the basis of sexual assault investigations.
Valentine, a sexual assault nurse examiner and professor, made the comment in response to a law enforcement official who claimed that incidents of false rape accusations are higher than the media likes to report. That official, the senior crime scene investigator for a city in Utah, drew the conclusion from this that it would be a waste of money to examine all rape kits.
Valentine rightly pointed out that physical evidence is the best basis for investigations based on fact rather than hunch. "We have to get away from subjective thinking in making decisions on rape cases, instead making it objective," Valentine said. "Approaching it objectively helps us to establish justice."
Many other investigators besides Bardole have made similar claims about the number of false accusations they encounter. Sex assault activists often just brush them off as sexist. It's harder to make that claim against a woman. That doesn't mean she's right.
Valentine's point about approaching sexual assault accusations objectively is important. And it applies both to hunches that dismiss credible allegations, and also to hunches that lead to unjustified persecution of people accused without evidence.
Too often, sexual assault accusations — especially on college campuses — are investigated subjectively, by campus bureaucrats under pressure from the federal government to look tough on the issue. The federal government's idea of looking tough is to expel students who are accused, no matter the evidence.
Guidance from the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights has been used by colleges and universities to deny due process rights to accused students and to railroad them in order to fight the fake epidemic of sexual assault on campus.
Police and college administrators need to approach accusations objectively. Evidence — whether inculpatory or exculpatory — should not be ignored for political purposes, to save a bit of money, or to throw a bone to federal authorities who have a warped view of the issue.
Ashe Schow is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.