The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday September 21st

Letter: ?Due process must be assured for all

TO THE EDITOR:

I wish to bring up a central, though rarely discussed, facet of the issue of sexual assault on college campuses — how do you punish a crime which is almost impossible to prove?

While DNA evidence makes it is easy to show that a man has had sex with another person (sexual assault by a woman is an even more difficult case), it is extremely difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that this sex was nonconsensual in a legal sense.

Sexual assault happens on college campuses, but in the vast majority of cases, little tangible evidence exists outside of a victim’s testimony.

Basic philosophies of western justice dictate the allegation of a crime is not adequate evidence to punish the alleged perpetrator. Just because a person claims another person victimized them does not mean that this is true.

Examples of false allegations of rape exist and are perhaps not as uncommon as one might think. The Duke lacrosse case provides a well known example but, on a personal level, I know someone whose ex-girlfriend falsely accused him of rape after they broke up and have heard horror stories of other people who have been trapped in costly legal battles in both criminal and honor courts for sexual assaults they did not commit.

I recognize sexual assault as a serious issue which needs solutions, but abandoning the presumption of innocence and lowering standards of evidence must not be a part.

Matthew Zipple

Senior

?Biology, political science

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