On December 8, 2016, House Representative Jackie Speier (D – California) announced plans to endorse a bill titled the “Safe Transfer Act.” If passed, this legislation would require college students, who were accused of rape, to include the rape charges on their transcripts. According to Speier, this regulation would track students accused of rape and other students would abstain from committing sex crimes on campus. Also, Speier noted that rape cases should be not be taken lightly, and the accused should be seriously punished just as those who committed plagiarism (The Blaze).
While the intentions are good in terms of preventing rape cases on campus, making those records public will do more harm to both the accused and the victims. Consequently, this whole incident feels like the situation in the Scarlet Letter, a socially complex tale revolving around the punishment of a woman who committed adultery – having to wear a scarlet letter “A” in public. Similar to the novel’s synopsis, the transcripts would follow the “accusers,” primarily men, around, whether they are guilty or innocent. This instance would further humiliate the “accusers” when they look for employment or other opportunities, and it will most likely turn them down. As with the victims, usually women, they are still condemned in rape cases due to lack of evidence and the timeliness/lateness of the reports. So, no one would take them seriously. Therefore, the accusation of rape printed on transcripts would lead to more of a double standard issue (Washington Examiner). Presently, states including Virginia and New York have implemented similar types of laws, and those legislations were not as effective in their execution. In short, the bill instigates the backwards way of thinking: “guilty until proven innocent.” Our modern government is based on the idea of being innocent until proven guilty in order to prevent wrongful incarceration or death sentences of innocent civilians, and it has worked for centuries in the United States. In this case, this bill would be a “lose-lose” situation for everyone affected.