“Please because I can’t let you go without it.”
A former Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism alleged in a lawsuit filed Monday in Manhattan Federal Court that he recorded an encounter with a woman who would come to accuse him of rape, after she tried to perform oral sex on him and bit him when he refused her sexual advances.
Ben Feibleman is suing Columbia for “grievously” mishandling a sexual assault allegation against him from a fellow student. The university expelled him for the October 2016 incident, which took place while he was attending the graduate school of journalism.
The woman did not report the assault to police but reported it to faculty a week after it allegedly took place, according to the lawsuit.
Feibleman, who accused Columbia of “anti-male” gender bias in the suit, claimed the female student was the real aggressor. According to him, the unnamed alleged victim pulled his face into her breasts following an “hours long” flirtation, the New York Post reported. Consensual kissing and fondling took place in the student’s room, Feibleman claimed. He rejected her frequent attempts to get him to engage in sex, citing the fact that the woman was currently in a relationship with another man.
“Please because I can’t let you go without it,” the woman reportedly said, referencing sex.
The alleged victim berated Feibleman, according to the lawsuit, leading him to make a 30-minute phone recording of the encounter while he was in the woman’s room.
But despite the recorded evidence that Feibleman alleged proved he had not assaulted the woman, Columbia investigators determined he was responsible. The school found that the female student was unable to consent because she was too drunk.
Feibleman’s lawsuit cites the high-profile “Mattress girl” case, in which Columbia student Emma Sulkowicz protested the university’s alleged leniency toward the man she says raped her by carrying a mattress around campus. Sulkowicz sent affectionate messages to her alleged rapist, Paul Nungesser, long after the attack supposedly took place.
“I love you Paul. Where are you?!?!?!?!” she wrote in one such communication.
Feibleman’s case highlights tensions that have arisen following the #MeToo movement’s admonishment of society to “believe women” when they come forward to claim they have been the victims of sexual assault.
Feminists allege that such a norm is necessary in order to fight against years of patriarchal society’s fostering of a rape culture that is, by default, skeptical of women who claim to be victimized by men.
Critics have pushed back, arguing that such a maxim has obvious limitations. Writing in The New York Times in Nov. 2017, Bari Weiss argued that the #MeToo movement had moved from “uncovering accusations of criminal behavior” to “criminalizing behavior that we previously regarded as presumptuous and boorish.”
“In a climate in which sexual mores are transforming so rapidly, many men are asking: If I were wrongly accused, who would believe me?” she wrote. Weiss questioned whether the “believe all women” vision of feminism actually benefits women, arguing that it “unintentionally fetishizes” them.
“Women are no longer human and flawed. They are Truth personified. They are above reproach,” she wrote.
“I believe that it’s condescending to think that women and their claims can’t stand up to interrogation and can’t handle skepticism,” Weiss added. “I believe that facts serve feminists far better than faith. That due process is better than mob rule.”
Recently, an Australian woman who accused a 36-year-old man of sexual assault, after he stopped to assist her when her car broke down in 2018, admitted she made the whole thing up,