A former student who sued Oxford University over its sexual assault complaints investigation policy has had her case thrown out by England’s High Court. Elizabeth Ramey was refused the right to a full judicial review of Oxford’s policy of only conducting internal inquiries into sexual assaults in certain limited circumstances.
Although Ramey has failed in her legal bid on a technicality, the litigation is being supported by progressive groups who will be sniffing around for another test case. The legal campaign is an attempt by British feminists to introduce draconian Title IX-style campus kangaroo courts onto UK campuses.
Ramey reported an alleged rape to police in 2011 while studying for a Masters in African Studies at Oxford. The case was discontinued due to insufficient evidence. She then pursued the University’s internal complaints procedure. Oxford failed to investigate the alleged rapist as Ramey had demanded.
She then took her case to the Independent Adjudicator of Higher Education, who partially upheld her complaint and advised Oxford to change their policies. Oxford implemented the changes to standards which, Ramey argued, did not put enough pressure on Oxford to investigate allegations.
In throwing out Ramey’s case, Justice Edis ruled that Ramey had never been subject to this policy, and so its application had no impact on her personally, which meant she lacked standing to bring the claim. Ramey had also unsuccessfully tried to bolster her case, in the customary fashion, by throwing in a claim of sex discrimination.
Her solicitor argued that Oxford was engaging in “indirect discrimination” against women by creating a “hostile environment” by not investigating claims of sexual assault.
What really happened to Elizabeth Ramey?
Before considering the story, readers might want to make use of the following advice for Rape Crisis England on “how to help someone who has been raped”:
Listen – To what she has to say and let her take her time. It might not be easy for her to start talking about an event that she has kept silent about for a long time. It may be difficult because she may have been told not to tell by the abuser at the time.
Believe – People rarely lie about rape or sexual abuse. Why would they? It is important to believe what they are saying.
So what actually happened to Elizabeth Ramey, the alleged victim? Ramey has waived her right to anonymity to bring publicity to the proceedings and the quangos advocating on her behalf. In January, however, she published an anonymized account of her alleged rape in the Telegraph, which she claims. She told then how, as a fresher, she met a man at a party who “pursued her all night”, before she agreed to go to his room.
In ambiguous language she claimed that the alleged attacker “kept pushing me until I said yes,” after which, “I was exhausted and kind of gave in.” She offers no clarification of whether the alleged attacker figuratively or literally “kept pushing” her. She also offers no clarification of what she means by “kind of gave in,” and whether she means to say she passively acquiesced in a way that would have been interpreted as consent by her alleged attacker.
They engaged in consensual kissing, after which the alleged attacker started to toucher her intimately. She claims she asked him to stop but he refused. She claims she was then overcome by “frozen fear.” Her account of the assault is: “I said stop and he didn’t. He was fingering me and he didn’t stop.” Ramey then says she “managed to get away,” giving no detail at all of what words were spoken or whether there was a struggle.
Unusually for a victim of an alleged rape, she eschewed immediately going to the police, and instead “spent the next six months trying to forget what had happened, suppressing all thoughts and feelings.” She finally reported the assault to college welfare officers at the end of the second term, once she’d heard allegations that her purported attacker had been “harassing” other students. The welfare officers failed to pass her concerns on to the college dean as promised, so she went directly to him.
In what amount to serious allegations of misconduct on the part of the dean, Ramey claims he brushed her concerns off. She also claims he said that the alleged rape was what happens when students drink too much. She says in her account that the dean “tried to explain the guy’s actions by saying he had a drinking problem.”
There are conflicting accounts as to what happened to Ramey’s alleged attacker. The anonymised account given in the Telegraph in January by a pseudonymous “Rachel” holds that no disciplinary action was taken against the alleged attacker, but that arrangements were made whereby he would me asked to avoid her.
Last week’s report in the Telegraph, however, reports that Ramey was told that the college would not take action against the alleged rapist unless Ramey made police report, which she did.
Last week’s pre-action Telegraph article reports that the Crown Prosecution Service dropped the case three months later because there was a low chance of conviction. This also seems to have been the view of the University according to the earlier write-up, which reported that a junior proctor investigating Ramey’s case noted “little tangible evidence.”
The proctor also raised concerns that if questioned before a panel, the man accused by Ramey would have to answer questions not tested before a criminal court.
It is easy to see why the criminal case against Ramey’s purported rapist got nowhere. Ramey is sheepish about admitting how readily she had given consent to her alleged attacker, and how competently she had communicated its withdrawal. She uses ambiguous language to describe what happened, admitting that she “kind of gave in.”
She then says she asked her attacker to stop, and claims he ignored her and carried on fingering her, after which she was overcome with fear. She claims to have “gotten away”, quite likely into the vicinity of a student halls where there would have been ample witnesses. She makes no mention of telling a friend on the night, and, crucially, eschews making a police report immediately after the event.
Listen and believe
Faced with the circumstances, the police were right to treat this as an unlikely case to succeed before a jury. Feminists boldly demand that we should “listen and believe” women who claim to have been raped. The accused, on the other hand, would have certainly said that the entire evening was consensual, raising the uncomfortable question that any sensible jury would ask: was this a false rape allegation based on a guilt-based, retroactive revocation of consent?
The University, to its credit, had admitted before the High Court hearing that it would be unlikely to open an investigation into a serious allegation of assault that has already been the subject of an unsuccessful police investigation.
Ramey’s case was disputing precisely this. Case papers outlined her argument that: “[t]he more serious an assault upon a woman, the less likely the university will take action to investigate and potentially take disciplinary action.” And rightly so. University pastoral staff are entirely ill-equipped for handling serious allegations of rape.
This has been amply demonstrated in America with Obama’s Title IX reforms. Academics an inadequate grasp of due process and intellectual loyalty to poisonous ideologies such as radical feminism (all penis in vagina sex is rape) and post-modern epistemology (truth and logic are social constructs, there is no such thing as absolute truth), have been put in charge of campus sexual complaints adjudication on campus.
This has resulted in growing case law generated by male students suing for redress after being subjected to banana-state procedures and having their academic careers ruined.
Title IX-style kangaroo courts, coming to a British campus near you
Elizabeth Ramey’s case is the first salvo fired in the campaign to impose the same US-style approach in British universities. Title IX reforms were imposed on a top-down basis by the Obama regime. Compliance was enforced at financial gunpoint, colleges were threatened with defunding unless they implemented reforms to the letter.
This inlcuded expressly requiring that campus investigations not be contingent on a police report and that the standard of proof be lowered to “preponderance of the evidence” from the stricter “beyond reasonable doubt.”
The same end is being sought in England by way of litigation. Judicial Review is a means by which aggrieved citizens can challenge state decisions they disagree with. Judges can order any state institution to change a policy which falls afoul of administrative law.
Universities are not public institutions in the UK, but since when they are adjudicating sexual assault complaints they are acting in a quasi-judicial capacity, they fall within reach of the long arm of the High Court, which may in future force them to adopt a more draconian position.
The usual suspects
A look at the profiles of Elizabeth Ramey’s legal team reveals who exactly is pushing this attack on the due process rights of male students. Ramey’s case was funded by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, a quango set up by the Blair administration, tasked with enforcing equality laws on Britain. Its former chairman, Trevor Philips, is renowned for having kept a bust of Vladimir Lenin on his desk during his tenure.
Ramey is also supported by Sarah Green, acting director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, a feminist quango given an inordinate amount of column space in British newspapers to push policies like “consent lessons” for schoolchildren and the denial anonymity for rape suspects. “EVAW” also tried to bully the BBC for including a case study of a false rape accusation in one of the reports.
Ramey’s counsel in the High Court, Karon Monaghan QC, is a tenant at the radical left-wing Matrix Chambers, where Cherie Blair, wife of Tony, and international feminist plied her trade before leaving to concentrate on the Cherie Blair Women’s Foundation.
Monaghan has litigated high-profile progressive legal actions, defending the council that sacked a Christian registrar for asking to abstain from officiating gay civil partnerships, and also suing the Bed and Breakfast owners who refused, on the basis of their Christian beliefs, to let double rooms to homosexuals.
Whether Elizabeth Ramey is a real victim of a bona-fide sexual assault, or simply another woman making a false rape allegation after having a sexual encounter she came to regret is irrelevant. The real relevance of her case is that it is the thin end of the wedge being used by progressive quangos like the EHRC and the End Violence Against Women coalition, and activist lawyers like Karon Monaghan to introduce a Title IX-style campus adjudication policy into British universities and colleges.
This will mean that flimsy cases like that of Ms. Ramey, where no police report has been made and where it is one person’s word against another, may soon be adjudicated, Title IX-style, by academic feminists with a burning hatred of due process and men in general.