Photo courtesy of PAUSE

We are PAUSE (People Against Unwanted Sexual Experiences), and we are tired. We are tired of seeing you use your news source as a means of posting harmful opinions that at the least, do a disservice to our student body and at the worst actively harm survivors of sexual violence. Publishing poorly worded, unsubstantiated articles is not only dangerous but also a false representation of our campus’s beliefs.

Over the last year, you have posted multiple stories that both directly and indirectly promote a victim-blaming climate that diminishes the heinous crime that is sexual assault on Tech’s campus. Starting with your article, “Expelled student speaks about his OSI ruling” in October 2015 (Volume 101, Issue 13), you have cultivated a sense of animosity towards the survivors of sexual assault that chose to make the brave decision of speaking out against their assailants.

That following spring, in your April Fool’s edition, you posted a “satirical” article about banning alcohol from campus because it led to an increase in sexual assault (Volume 101, Issue 26). Sexual assault is a direct result of the assaulter, not alcohol, and it is no joke.

This fall, we’ve seen an article that dismissed trigger warnings (Volume 102, Issue 5), an article that very poorly defended the idea of feminism (Volume 102, Issues 4 and 8), and most recently, an article that fought for “assumed innocence” of rapists (Volume 102, Issue 12). While disappointed in these publications, we were very pleased to see your anonymous submission from a rape survivor (Volume 102, Issue 9).

We even brought up the story at our meeting to show that the Technique had some redeeming qualities that promoted campus inclusivity and a safe environment to discuss difficult topics. You can imagine our disappointment when the story had been redacted with no explanation. This was shortly followed by the publication of the “Assumed Innocence” article that candidly downplayed the gravitas of rape with no supporting data to fact check its validity. This most recent article of yours tells us to assume every accused person is innocent until proven otherwise, when statistics show that over 90 percent of claims are substantiated.  We are told to question the judicial system, which time and time again, has proven its inefficacy by allowing rapists their freedom with minimal consequence.

We would like to provide you and your readers with some facts, provided by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. Fact one: One in five women and one in 16 men will be sexually assaulted while in college. Fact two: Over 60 percent of sexual assaults go unreported. Fact three: Only 2–8 percent of sexual assault reports are falsely made.

Why did your news source choose to publish an article that fights for assumed innocence when over 90 percent of sexual assault reports are proven true? By fighting for the rights and innocence of someone accused of sexual assault, you are simultaneously marginalizing the survivor. Having to endure the trauma of sexual assault and having authority doubting a survivor’s experience is the reason 63 percent of such cases go unreported.

The underlying problem is not in our judicial system but in how society views the injustice done to survivors of sexual violence. By having a news source that consistently victim-blames, discredits and creates doubt against victims of sexual assault when there are facts that say otherwise, you are siding with the 90 percent of rapists that you believe should be “assumed innocent.”

Technique, we challenge you to become a news source that has integrity and value when addressing such a serious topic as sexual assault.

To survivors of sexual assault, we apologize for the uncertainty our school casts on your experiences. We stand by you. We believe you.

  • John Smith

    Feminism at its most insane in this article. When you advocate against “assumed innocence” of accused persons (please re-read “To Kill a Mockingbird” and then get back to me on this) and misrepresent statistics to this high of a degree, don’t be surprised when no one chooses to identify as a feminist or take anything else you say seriously. There’s no other way to say it: taking away constitutional protections for the presumption of innocence under the guise of victim advocacy is deplorable. Go back to retweeting Lena Dunham or Laci Green, please. We don’t need the opinions of legally untrained regressive undergrads on matters of law.

    • Mitt Romney

      What is deplorable is that instead of making a coherent argument against “misrepresented statistics” you rudely tell the writers to go read a book most people read in grade school and insult their intelligence for an entire paragraph.

      • John Smith

        If you want me to point out to you in painstaking detail why the statistics in the above article are misleading, I certainly can (just ask).

        But I don’t especially care if I’m insulting your intelligence. If you are arguing on behalf of PAUSE and its incredibly dangerous implication that “assumption of innocence for the accused” is wrong, I will use whatever words in my arsenal to defend the fundamental notion of rule of law in our country and, really civilization itself. Don’t argue to take away clear, settled fundamental rights and then call someone out for “being rude” or insulting people’s intelligence. If you argue for revocation of fundamental rights, that goes well being “rude” or “insulting intelligence;” you are attacking the very essence of the rule of law. I certainly hope you, your brother, or your father never gets accused of sexual assault or any other crime; because under the system that you argue for, they’re already guilty.

  • SCORCH

    Alright, I’ve remained quiet while these people continued to push their hateful agenda as of late. But enough is enough, now that they’re attempting to shame the press into remaining quiet.

    Last year, myself and a few other students formed SCORCH, or the Student Council On Rights and Constitutionality in Hearings (really, we wanted an acronym related to FIRE, the national group we were inspired by). We led an effort to raise awareness about the shady tactics employed by Georgia Tech’s Office of Student Integrity and to raise public awareness about the breeches in Constitutionality that occurred during our school’s secret tribunals. Ultimately, we exposed 2-3 cases where Georgia Tech had expelled students without giving them proper due process or even examination of evidence; in one case, a homosexual student was forced to come out of the closet to his parents before he was ready, simply because a jilted lover altered Facebook messages to give the illusion that he had been raped.

    Following several lawsuits, a $240,000 settlement, and heavy local news coverage, the Board of Regents changed statewide policy to require more strict guidelines towards these types of investigations; I have not heard of a single miscarried case since. Our job done, we disbanded.

    However, now there seems to be a push from these people in PAUSE to push false statistics (such as the 1-in-5 number, a statistic from a single study that has been debunked a hundred different times) and to repudiate the paper for publishing both sides of the story. All out of some ridiculous plan to push for a guilty-until-presumed innocent approach to sexual assault at Georgia Tech. As the saying goes: it is better for a hundred guilty men to go free, than for one innocent man to be punished; for then virtue itself is no security. In a nutshell; why obey the law if you can still be punished for having committed no crime? The presumption of innocence has been the backbone of our criminal justice system for centuries and it will continue to be so long after we are gone.

    So as the former leader of SCORCH, let me be the first to tell you; you do not get to control what people say. The First Amendment of the United States gives the Technique the right to print whatever they so desire, and your attempt to shame them into giving only your side of the story credence is truly a deplorable act.

    To the Technique: if you want to print this reply, please do.