Louis Theroux s01e33 Episode Script

The Night in Question

I get woken by her slapping me, and she said we shouldn't have had sex, and her friends shouldn't find out.
And at around .
.
4pm, 5pm, she sent me a text message saying, "Saif, you're a piece of shit.
" A few days later, I found out that she's accusing me of rape.
I was making a documentary about young men accused of sexual assault on American campuses.
Are you going to apologise to the victim? There are a lot of guys who have been told that they're the best and that they can have whatever they want, and I think the idea that a woman might not want to sleep with them can be kind of jarring.
Recent years have seen a huge increase in reported cases of sexual violence in universities.
CHANTING There is also now a community that believes there's been an overreaction that tramples on due process.
I don't know what accounts for this moral hysteria, but I think Yale is fully in the grip of it and I think that their procedures are an obscene joke.
For six months, I'd followed a young man called Saif Khan through his university investigation, attempting to piece together his story and trying to figure out where the truth lay.
It sounds like you want everyone to believe you.
Not everyone.
Which that's just not realistic.
Of course, but we aren't .
.
entertaining the concept that she could have lied.
INDISTINC A statement on confidentiality, a timely warning, and the letter.
I was with Saif and a lawyer who is advising him, Margaret Valois.
Here.
That's the Department of Education one.
In 2015, while at Yale, Saif was accused of raping a fellow student.
Suspended from campus, he was prosecuted but found not guilty in a criminal trial.
Tell me where you'd like to start.
Sure.
So I mean, Yale responded on the 21st.
More than two years on, he was awaiting the outcome of a university Title IX investigation into the same incident before he could resume his studies.
So, Margaret, there is now a Title IX in process, is that correct? - Yes.
- At Yale.
Where is Saif at right now? He's in the same place he was in November of 2015.
It's just like he's stuck at day one.
Now, of course, there has been a criminal trial, and obviously things happened there and he was acquitted of all charges.
But as far as the campus investigation goes, we don't have any further information that they're sharing with us since the day he was suspended.
A neuroscience major, Saif's life changed due to events on October 31st, 2015.
Many of the details of that night are disputed.
What is agreed is that Saif and a female fellow student both attended a Halloween party, then met up at a concert, eventually spending the night together.
The following morning, she told friends she'd been sexually assaulted.
The alleged victim had not agreed to speak to me, but I'd read police notes of interviews with her and other witnesses.
At a house rented by the production, I asked Saif about the night in question.
Yale, as I understand it, follows a policy of clear and continuing - unambiguous consent.
- Yes.
I mean, are you on board with that? Yeah.
Yeah.
And that's my version of events.
That's how things happened.
So, around ten o'clock, I think she arrived with some friends at the party and, in her version, I think, she says she had a couple of strong drinks and then some sips or some shots of an unidentified liquor.
I think she also said she had two glasses of white wine and was beginning to feel quite intoxicated.
I never witnessed her drinking anything .
.
so, I guess, I'll take her word for what she drank.
We move things onto We're talking about the YSO show, the Yale Symphony Orchestra event.
Her allegation is, at this point, she's really quite drunk.
Mm-hm.
And it's inside that she vomits for the first time.
So we were sitting down, we were flirting, and then, out of the blue, she, to the side, just, you know, in the alleyway, she vomited.
Was it your impression that she was drunk at this point? No, no.
She looked just like any other person, just buzzed, just enjoying themselves.
She was She was normal.
And then, a little after midnight, I think Quite a while after midnight.
.
.
you arrive back at the dorm.
Yeah.
I opened her door and she said, "Saif.
" And she gave me this look, as if, expecting, and a tilted head.
And so I was like "Yeah?" And she was like, "Do you want to come with me?" I just said, "Sure.
" And so we went into her room.
At this point in her account, it's blurry.
She alleges she was extremely drunk.
She vomited again and more or less collapsed on the bed.
And then, in the night, was aware of you on top of her, kind of manhandling her, with her head hanging off the bed.
And then, the next morning, awoke to find two used condoms, and the feeling of having, you know, kind of, had sex.
She had the impression she'd been violated.
What happened in my recollection is that she started taking her clothes off, we were getting intimate, and so it led towards me taking my pants off.
And she started giving me oral sex.
At one point, she asked me what I really liked and I said I liked going deep.
And so she said she hadn't tried that, and so she .
.
tried to take me in deeper.
She gagged and .
.
to the side, towards the door, she vomited again.
And so .
.
we clean up the mess, I took off my condom, threw it to the corner.
She grabbed a white towel to go shower.
I'm on the couch and my long term open-relationship girlfriend called me.
We talk almost every night and .
.
the conversation went on for about two and a half hours.
Two and a half hours, that's a long time.
So she was in the bathroom for some of it, then she was on the bed.
What was she doing? Had she fallen asleep? I don't recall because it was dark, so I didn't really know.
You come off the call, what happens? She woke up, saying, "Hey, come cuddle with me.
" And so I went to the bed.
She got on top of me and, at that moment, I'd be generous to say if I lasted 20, 25 seconds, and so I just went to sleep.
I was just dead tired.
But a few days later, I found out that she is accusing me of rape.
In your recollection, she was with it, conscious, fully consenting and not incapacitated? Yes.
- Who wants to win a T-shirt? - CROWD CHEERS Right there, come on up, come on up.
I need one more, right over here, somewhere right over there.
Right there.
Come on down.
Let's give these two a big, big round of applause.
Come on, give it up.
So, here's the deal.
- You're on a date.
- OK.
Date's going so well, you want to give your partner a kiss.
You like this, all right, very good.
So How do you know when it's the right time to make your move? For freshmen throughout the US, the start of the school year involves orientation classes on sexual consent.
CHANTING LAUGHTER Now, Joey, once you get the look, do most people stop and say, "May I kiss you?" Or do most people just go for it? Not you personally.
- What do you think most people do? - Probably go for it.
All right, let's see what the room thinks.
ALL: Go for it.
Policies on consent vary, but most require each sex act to be clearly agreed to.
For instance, why don't we just ask, "Can I kiss you?", instead of going for it? If you agree with that, say, "Yes, I do.
" ALL: Yes, I do.
To investigate allegations of misconduct and take disciplinary measures, colleges have special Title IX administrators, so named after the federal law against sexual discrimination in education.
- I'm Louis.
- Nice to meet you, Jordan Draper.
Jordan Draper is Title IX coordinator at the College of New Jersey.
These cases are not easy.
They're very hard.
There's a lot of grey.
There is this pressure of hook-up culture.
There's pressure or involvement of alcohol, and it's all this kind of grey, nuanced area that makes it .
.
unclear for students to be able to really understand, "Does this person want to engage in this activity?" And those are the cases that we, myself and my colleagues are kind of seeing across college campuses.
So is it the case that there could be an incident that would not meet a criminal standard of being a sexual assault, but that in a Title IX sense would be a sexual assault? - Yes, absolutely - That's correct? .
.
and that's because of the standard, so Ugh Information to show beyond a reasonable doubt that something happened compared to more likely than not is just drastic.
You need a lot less information for the college process and again that's because you're just removing somebody, potentially, from your institution as opposed to jail.
But recently, under President Trump, there has been pushback amid claims the Title IX process is Kafkaesque and overreaching.
The truth is that the system established by the prior administration has failed too many students.
With the heavy hand of Washington tipping the balance of her scale, the sad reality is that Lady Justice is not blind on campuses today.
Many young men found responsible for sexual assault see themselves as victims of a new politically correct culture.
Saif's case had become something of a cause celebre.
When we'd spoken, he'd been at pains to stress what he saw as the unfairness of his treatment.
This letter says that I'm suspended immediately and this letter says that I'm being .
.
you know, "investigated for sexual misconduct" "by the university-wide committee.
" So I went to the Dean's office.
They told me I have 30 minutes to pack up and leave, and so I went to my room hurriedly.
And I said .
.
"Fuck".
And I started realising.
.
.
wow, this, this .
.
this is huge, that-that you know, that it's rape.
So you've been suspended .
.
ever since? Yeah.
You know I-I've lost a lot.
HE SIGHS DEEPLY I'm also very tired.
WHISPERING: Very tired.
TEARFULLY: Just really tired.
Saif's view of himself as a victim of a cruel injustice was apparent and yet it was also worth recalling that for years it had been the voices of female victims that had been largely unheard.
One of the early advocates for more awareness of assault was a young student at Columbia University who made an allegation against a fellow student in 2013.
- Hi, Emma? - Hi! Louis.
Emma Sulkowicz is now an artist working in New York.
Emma's best known work remains a senior thesis project which involved carrying a mattress around campus.
Normally, when I give talks, I just show this photo.
Was it your actual mattress that you slept on on the night in question? - No.
- But it was the same kind? Yeah, yeah.
Um, these are the rules of engagement .
.
for myself to follow.
"Whenever I'm on campus property," "I must have the mattress with me.
" Then it says, "If my rapist is suspended from school" "for any reason, I will not perform during his leave.
" "The performance ends if the administration" "expels either my rapist or me.
" For me, it was a thing that I lived through for nine months.
Um This piece has affected every aspect of my life.
Six months after the incident, Emma met with an ex-girlfriend of the same man, who also alleged he'd been abusive, and decided to go public.
The media picked up on the story and copycat protests sprang up on campuses across the country.
- There was this guy - Mm-hmm.
.
.
who had been a friend of yours, correct? Yeah.
I invited him back to my room because that was like our rapport at that point.
Um And we were having consensual sex, until, um .
.
he started being violent in ways that I wasn't comfortable with and I asked him to stop and he didn't.
His account of the night, you know, differs from yours and he says that you had consensual sex.
Yeah, he has a really graphic, um .
.
fantasy of what happened that night.
So the conclusion of the Columbia investigation - was that he was not responsible - Mm-hmm.
.
.
for any act of sexual misconduct against you.
Right.
You feel extremely ill-used by Columbia, right? Yeah.
The people on the panel were so uneducated about rape.
Like, I was anally raped and one of the people on the panel was like, "I don't understand how he could anally rape you" "if he didn't have lube.
" And it's like she had this, like, idea that rapists have, like, rape lube or some shit like that.
Like, she just didn't I was like, "Well, it's an act of force", right? Like, that's the whole point of why it's, like, painful and mean and rape, right? Um But she didn't understand that.
So, it was like these were the people who were deciding everyone's fate, right? Um It was a total mess.
So, as a result of the performance .
.
this guy sued the university under Title IX, claiming that he was discriminated against, and I suppose it's fair to say he regards himself - as the real victim in all of this.
- Mm-hmm.
I mean, I really just wanted him to apologise, and I still believe this, like, if he had just been like, "I'm so sorry I did that", and, like, "I understand how I should've listened to you", you know, this would be such a different story.
- It would have ended there? - Mm-hmm.
- But in - Do you think, then? Because, obviously, rape is a .
.
you know .
.
arguably the worst crime, or one of the worst crimes, and, and So "sorry" seems quite weak.
You know "sorry I raped you" seems rather weak, doesn't it? I think a big reason why people try and avoid being called rapists is that they .
.
know this label's going to follow them for the rest of their life.
Right? Like "That man's a rapist", right? That's, like, so final.
If we had a society in which people could, like, be a rapist but then change and get better, and learn from it and stop being a rapist, people would be so much more willing to change themselves, reform.
So, I wish he could have just been like, "Yeah, I did something bad and I'm going to learn from that.
" Emma's wish for a view of rape that did not overly stigmatise perpetrators, as strange as it sounded, was a logical consequence of the reality of how rape often takes place.
But assaults of this type, during sex that was until then consensual, are also the kind of cases police and prosecutors struggle with.
When Emma went to the police 18 months afterwards, they did not pursue it.
Saif's case, involving someone he did not know well, had the hallmarks of being more prosecutable, but at trial, with the help of some anonymous financial backers, he'd been able to afford the services of one of Connecticut's pre-eminent defence attorneys, Norm Pattis.
- Hi.
Norm? - Yes.
- Louis.
Can I come in? - Of course you can.
- How you doing? - Very well, how are you? Norm was also helping advise Saif on his Title IX process.
How's it going? They agreed to meet me in his offices in New Haven.
And so here we are.
So many of these sexual misconduct cases seem to hinge on situations involving alcohol, right? And quite often you have a young woman who doesn't remember a great deal of what happened.
I think that, in general, the university will focus, I think, on whether Mr Khan knew, or should have known, that she'd had so much to drink that any consent she gave was compromised.
I don't doubt that she was feeling the effects of the liquor, but to suggest that she was comatose or unable to know what was going on around her, um, I don't buy it.
I mean, I-I saw her testify, I saw the video.
Um I just don't buy it.
At trial, the prosecution maintained that the alleged victim, who testified she rarely drank, was incapacitated on the night.
They introduced CCTV footage, which they argued showed her stumbling.
When you play that video in real time, what you'd see is her smiling, on his arm, as they walked across campus.
They weren't zigzagging.
He wasn't holding her up.
She wasn't falling over.
Ugh, the question I asked at some point is, ""Didn't it look like a couple of young lovers crossing campus?" This young woman has already spent three days on the witness stand and a jury of ordinary people in Connecticut concluded that she was not credible.
The jury came back "not guilty" very, very quickly.
I don't know what accounts for this moral hysteria, um, but I think Yale is fully in the grip of it and I think that their procedures are an obscene joke.
So, Norm, you don't buy the idea that there is a category of sexual misconduct that falls short of being a criminal act, but which, nevertheless, universities should not tolerate? No, there may be, I just don't think that it is at all applicable in Mr Khan's case.
What went on in that room was not rape.
It was not non-consensual sex.
Um, it was a young woman who had a little too much to drink .
.
um, who woke up with buyer's regret.
I should have possibly stayed put and just cuddled with her, yet I chose at that moment to run away from that and just go to the couch and sleep there.
I should have had breakfast with her in the morning.
Eh, there were a lot of things that I could have done to not hurt her feelings, but I did not violate her rights.
I did not violate her body or her her autonomy.
I did not rape her.
For his supporters, part of the appeal of Saif's case was his embodiment of an aspect of the American dream.
He'd been born to Afghan parents in a refugee camp in Pakistan.
Later moving to the Middle East, and coming to America on his own, on a scholarship, aged 18.
I wondered whether his life journey, from a traditional background to an America still figuring out its sexual mores, might provide any clues as to what had happened.
- This is my first time in New York.
- Wow! That must have been exciting.
There was a lot for me to catch up on, to understand how to adjust culturally.
It's the first time I had really eaten with a fork and a knife.
It is the first time I had slept on a raised bed.
Did America represent something for you, when you came? A lot of things.
It represented .
.
might.
It represented freedom.
Opportunity, as well? Opportunity to-to make it big.
You were aware that it could potentially lead to a career - Yeah - and an income and status? I mean, that's the American dream.
I'm curious whether the culture in the world you came from, you were aware of it being - more conservative - Mm-hmm.
.
.
maybe more repressive, and that, in coming to America, that that would afford you, also, sort of social and romantic opportunities.
Sure.
There was definitely .
.
piqued interest from a lot of people, um, oftentimes relating to my background and my ethnicity, and it seemed cool for people to hang out with me or hook up with me based on who I was, um, and that was often the case at Yale as well.
And I was taking benefit of that.
You mentioned when we first spoke that you enjoyed, uh, deep-throating women.
Where did that come from? Is that something you'd seen in pornography? - I don't - How had you acquired that taste? I don't know where it came from, but .
.
I do like .
.
you know, trying to figure out what I enjoy, what I don't enjoy, you know.
Um, At the end of the day, it's about .
.
what do the two people want, what do they enjoy? On the night in question, she asked you what you liked, but I don't recall you asking .
.
what she liked.
That is one of the regrets that I have.
Um It actually goes against my philosophy, it goes against, because, usually, I'm focused on the other person, focused on .
.
helping them achieve what they want.
So you're saying that was out of character for you? Yeah.
With an increasing number of male students found responsible for sexual misconduct, many of them are finding redress in an unlikely form, by suing their universities under the same law that was used to prevent sexual assault, Title IX.
They say they are experiencing discrimination as men and large pay-outs have been awarded.
- Hi.
Will? - Yes.
Louis.
- Can I come in? - Yeah.
Will Norris had been studying mechanical engineering at CU Boulder, when, in 2016, a friend and fellow student accused him of two instances of sexual misconduct.
So this is the war room, if you like? This is my war room.
This is the trial, and motions, mediation - The original criminal trial? This one? - Yes.
At trial, he'd been found not guilty, but a Title IX investigation determined he was responsible for one of the two incidents.
These are all files that are related to the Title IX proceeding.
I get the sense, Karen, you've been quite involved in this.
- Yes, I have.
- In Will's case.
I have.
I met him with his mother, Karen, a retired federal prosecutor, at her house in San Antonio, Texas.
The young woman in question, how well .
.
did you know her? You were close friends, would you say? We were like best friends.
We hung out all the time, we watched movies together.
You know, we would go on hikes.
We just, we hung out a lot.
I wasn't aware there was a situation until one day in January of 2016, when she says, "You know you raped me.
" Back the summer before, we had kind of We had hooked up, we had started to have sex, but stopped.
I have no idea if she has been drinking, how much she had drank, I just don't know.
I just don't feel comfortable doing it.
I don't want to do this any more.
- So you stopped.
- So I stopped.
So I tell her, "No, I don't want We can't do this.
" And she says, "Yeah, you're right.
" Now, in the course of this, a second incident came into the mix.
She said this other event happened in, like, January or February of 2014.
And In which I, like, something like that I held her down and tried to put my hand in her pants.
"Pinned her - "both arms above her head.
" - Right.
I think, at a time when you'd been making out and she possibly had her top off.
She gave several different statements about this and, in the first statement that she gave to the detective, she did not say she had her shirt off.
- What's your version? - I remember this that night.
Um We started, like, kind of playing around, like, kind of tickling each other, where, in the course of that, like, after, like, she keeps poking me, I keep poking her, I ended up grabbing her and pushing her hands down, which is what she was saying, like, I pinned her hands down on top of her head, or over her head.
And so, I mean, we're continuing to kiss.
Well, at that point, I take one of my hands off and I go to make a move and she tells me, "No, don't do that.
" I said "OK".
So I stopped.
We continued to kind of kiss throughout the rest of the night, and, you know, we talk, and then eventually she leaves.
And what is not in dispute is that, following that incident .
.
um, for the next 18 months, you continued to be close friends.
Yes.
So the result of the Title IX investigation, how did they find? So, they found that I was not responsible for any sort of wrongdoing with regards to the July incident, where she came over to my house.
- The 20 seconds of sex? - Yeah.
She.
.
They basically found I had done nothing wrong.
As I understood, they said, "Well, she may have been incapacitated", "but you would not necessarily have known that.
" - But then there was the second part.
- Right.
And the second part was stating that this allegation in 2014, that I was responsible for that other incident That was the pinning, - wrestling incident.
- Right.
- They found against you, in fact.
- Yes, they did.
So you were suspended forabout 18 months.
Yes.
And then, at which point, what would happen, you could be readmitted? I could apply to come back, um, but I would have to admit wrongdoing and attend counselling for the wrongdoing, and that's just something I wasn't willing to do because I didn't do anything wrong.
There's a lot of grey area in here and it's very difficult to sort out, and I think some of it is taking responsibility for your own actions, if you got drunk and you maybe had sex with somebody that you wouldn't have otherwise had sex with, that doesn't mean that person assaulted you.
Anybody who makes an allegation like this absolutely deserves to have it investigated fully, no question.
The problem comes in with presumptions that are made.
And so sometimes the courts have called it a pro-victim bias, that a university will have in these investigations, and the problem with that is that the second you use the word "victim", you've made an assumption about the veracity of the allegation, and, if you make that assumption at the beginning, your investigation will be tainted.
As I understand it now .
.
you've turned the tables somewhat and brought your own suit against the university.
- Is that right? - That's correct.
I'd like to get my degree, um .
.
that's a big part of it.
Um.
And then I'd like to .
.
get some of the money back that my family had to spend on this.
It's not just, you know, a money dispute.
It's somebody's reputation, it's somebody's career, their education.
It's their life, going forward, and so you need to have a good quantum of evidence before you hold someone accountable.
Will's case was difficult to figure out.
Without speaking to his alleged victim, I couldn't know for certain, but, on the face of it, his 18-month suspension seemed harsh.
I was with Saif.
- Hey, Louis.
- How's it going? His investigation was still ongoing, but Yale had allowed him back to continue his studies, pending the outcome.
I'd like to catch up with you properly, but I think we're going to do it in your room.
I don't have a room.
What do you mean? So, I've been e-mailing the university for months now, saying, you know, I want to come back, can I You know, I need housing, food, classes, and they're telling me that there's no available housing.
- Can you swipe me in, please? - Yeah.
Thank you.
But since I'd last seen him, there had been a strange development.
I'd had a call from the man who first put me in touch with Saif.
They'd volunteered together at a group called Face, that advocates for students who feel they've been wrongly accused of sexual misconduct.
- Hi.
Jonathan? - Yes.
- Louis.
How are you doing? - Nice to meet you.
- Can we come in? - Sure.
Jonathan Andrews had also been the subject of sexual assault allegations and he'd helped Saif during his trial.
They'd become close.
But since then, he'd left Face and he and Saif had fallen out.
Thank you.
He was now making some disturbing claims.
His intent, especially during the trial, was a lot more worrying, and that's more telling of what may have happened than anything else, you know.
For example, um .
.
he had me Well, he thought he had me spy on her.
- The alleged victim? - Yes.
Of the of the incident? Yes.
Um, he gave me her Snapchat information and he wanted me to send her Snapchats.
Was this during the trial? Yes, it was.
So you've written "Send last name.
" - He's called Big Poppa.
- Yeah.
So he's texted you the last name of the alleged victim.
You've written, "Added me.
" I was lying about her adding me on Snapchat.
He's written, "Work your magic.
I know you can do this.
" Meaning what? Get to her and talk to her, and find out what she was doing.
- Get in her head in some way? - Yeah.
"Jon, this is one of those things" (HE READS THE MESSAGES) So, uh, is he .
.
suggesting that you record her messages? - Yes.
- Without her knowing.
A lot of talk about Harry Potter.
Extended metaphors.
He, at one point, compared me to Snape to his Dumbledore.
LOUIS SIGHS DEEPLY So what was the nature of your relationship? SCOFFING: Um It's really weird to describe, um.
We spoke 24/7, almost, um When we weren't texting each other, we were on the phone almost constantly.
Sometimes nine hours a day on the phone.
Started to turn into things like sexting and videos, pornography.
It always had to be something that was, um .
.
humiliating for him to get off to it.
How do you know that? Because he had me pick them out for him.
He just told me what he wanted and I would search for it.
He dominated my life.
Do you think he was sexually attracted to you? No, I don't.
Um And we did end up having a threesome with someone else when we were in DC.
- With another man? - Woman.
He was rough with both of us.
Things like forcing her to drink alcohol.
He .
.
made me Made her penetrate me with .
.
a sex toy.
And, at one point, I guess I had been so intoxicated that I passed out.
She and I had both at points said "no" and "stop".
And she had said her safe word, I didn't have the luxury of having one, but she did.
For me, it was really an uncomfortable experience all around.
- Are you OK? - Yeah.
What are you thinking about? It-It definitely makes me feel very guilty.
You know, did you enable this person .
.
to go back to Yale? Because if I hadn't helped him write the letter asking for his suspension to be lifted, he wouldn't be allowed back in a few days.
But he is allowed back, and that's because of me.
Am I right in thinking that, um .
.
you spoke to him, or you communicated around the time - that I first interviewed him? - That's correct.
And did he give any feedback on that? He was very pleased with himself.
Um, well, he was in-between laughs, he was like, "Oh, yeah, I cried", "and he's really sold on that.
" And he He does that a lot, he cries for people.
- To create an effect? - Yeah.
And I guess he did that with you.
So, what was his attitude to making the programme? He made me watch all of your documentaries, actually, and do write-ups of all of them.
Your mannerisms and how you interviewed people.
- WHISPERING: That's pretty weird.
- Yeah.
What was the idea? He didn't trust you.
If he was so mistrustful, why did he agree to do the documentary? It was an opportunity for him to spin his story.
Um, this documentary was going to be his vindication.
Jonathan's allegation about his discomfort during a three-way was hard to process.
Later, I heard from his ex colleagues at Face that he'd made other unsubstantiated claims about people there.
Still, the screen grabs of the messages directing Jonathan to contact the alleged victim, if real, suggested Saif was a much more calculating figure than he'd portrayed to me.
In the meantime, Saif had also forwarded me a transcript of his trial.
I'd been struck by the testimony of witnesses who said they'd seen the alleged victim vomiting.
Back at Yale, with the cloud of suspicion hanging over him, Saif had been assigned accommodation at a hotel off campus.
You were kind enough to forward some of the trial transcripts Yes.
.
.
which I took a look at.
My sense is that these cases are incredibly difficult and I think I'm trying to explore the possibility that there are multiple narratives that fit the facts.
You have, um .
.
a very plausible, on the face of it, scenario in which a young woman who's very light-framed drinks too much.
Her friend, who's drinking alongside, drinks about the same amount How do you know she's light-framed? Well, she's about 120lbs.
- Oh, it was in the trial.
- It was in the transcript.
Her friend has to be hospitalised, who she's drinking alongside, because she gets alcohol poisoning drinking more or less the same drinks.
It wasn't that alcohol poisoning.
It was she had to be hospitalised because she was out of it.
We don't know why.
Well, then vomits at least twice.
That's hearsay and conjecture to say they're of similar size, they drank the same stuff.
There were at least three witnesses that testified to the idea that, um OK, uh .
.
the alleged victim was incapacitated, right? Billions of people believe in specific gods, does that - make them right or correct? - And she vomited.
You were next to her when she vomited at the auditorium - Yes - on her dress.
But, in other words, that's a plausible scenario.
And, in fact, it's the most common scenario in which this type of alleged campus assault takes place, in which a young woman drinks far too much and becomes blackout drunk.
I guess the main contention in this argument is the idea that .
.
we aren't entertaining the concept that she could have lied.
She lied about being drunk? It's like we are somehow going down this intellectual debate, where we're clearly disregarding evidence.
And And only conjecturing based on - Well, let's figure out - Well, the vomit isn't evidence? The three witnesses say she was really drunk isn't evidence? The fact that people saw her drinking these drinks and that her friend had to be hospitalised for alcohol, that's not evidence? I don't know the reason for her vomiting and you're right that oftentimes it is because of alcohol.
But she wasn't as drunk as, um .
.
she's saying.
Will you come over here as well, Saif, if you're comfortable? Course.
So I need to talk to you about something else that's come up.
Of course.
Um Someone reached out to us, um, someone from Face, called Jonathan Andrews.
Oh, I see.
OK.
Do you know who I mean? Yeah.
He has been removed from Face.
- Yes, he mentioned that.
- OK.
He made allegations about you that I - I think it's only fair to put to you.
- Mm-hm.
I guess the most concrete one and the one that therefore, um, I should put to you first is that he that you asked him to friend the alleged victim on social media during the trial.
No.
That's crazy.
Does that does that ring any bells with you? No.
OK, here's the Does any of that look familiar? OK, what? What else? Well, so how do you respond to that one? He has this app on his Samsung phone where he edits text messages.
So you're saying that's not real? Yeah, I deny that.
It's not my messages.
OK.
He characterised your relationship as being almost I don't know if romantic is the term, but a kind of quasi-sexual relationship.
But I am into women.
He is a man.
He contends that on one occasion you took part in a three-way sexual session, the two of you plus a woman, and that it was, I guess, abusive and in certain respects not consensual.
SCOFFING: OK.
So what do I say to that? Like, why do I have to confirm or deny, like, rumours or, like, allegations? It's not This is not a court.
This is I mean, obviously I deny that I've had that sort of relationship with him.
It's like the kid is crazy.
So there was no three-way? I did not have sexual relationships with John.
I don't hear you denying the three-way.
I don't know why you're focused on that.
Well, because he alleged that it was abusive and not in certain respects consensual.
I deny that.
I deny that that happened.
I guess the big picture is that he's characterising you as a cold-blooded master strategist .
.
who is deeply manipulative and totally lacking in compassion.
Uh, how does one respond to that? Because, like, that's not true.
That's fascinating.
Manipulative in what sense? Stage managing your encounters with us, I guess.
Crying on your own will, more or less, in a fake way, showing emotion.
It's actually really I don't know how one would do that.
Cry on command? Yeah, I mean, like, onions.
- Actors can do it.
- I - Huh? - Actors can do it.
Oh, OK.
I didn't know that.
I thought they did like some sort of, like, onion or, like, pinch themselves or, like, I don't know.
Help me understand what's going on here.
I don't have to spend energy or time trying to disprove what he's saying or accusing.
It's not my job to prove my innocence.
It's just not Maybe, maybe that is what's wrong with me in the sense that I do care about, like, you know, others' opinion of me.
But I don't go out of my way to quash that.
I just simply let the truth surface on its own.
It had been an uncomfortable exchange.
I had this strong feeling that Saif was being tactical and not telling me everything he knew.
But perhaps most striking was the steeliness with which he'd handled my questioning, his almost unshakable composure.
What crime are we describing happening in the scene? What crime is being set up in that moment? Just yell it out.
I heard rape and sexual assault.
Why would this be a rape or sexual assault by the way I described it? Raise your hand, give me reasons, all the way back there.
Yes.
One of the changes of recent years is a broader understanding of what rape and sexual assault can look like.
Do not do these things.
The issue has proved controversial, some suggesting the new rules set unrealistic standards of consent, others seeing it simply as a long overdue recognition of how rape often takes place.
Some of you are looking at me, going, "But, Mike, if I do just go for it", "they do have a choice to stop me.
" That's not called a choice.
That's called self-defence.
It's messed up.
Yale has been an epicentre of the debate.
In the last few years, a fraternity there called Delta Kappa Epsilon or Deke has featured in ten allegations of sexual misconduct.
One victim was Molly Johnson.
She'd agreed to speak publicly for the first time.
Thank you for agreeing to do this, by the way.
I really appreciate it.
- How are you feeling? - I'm feeling OK.
- I'm just a bit nervous.
- Yeah.
- It's just a lot to talk about.
- Sure.
Molly moved to the UK to work with a law firm representing women who have experienced harassment and abuse.
Her boss Jeff was sitting in for moral support.
- What year was this? 2014.
- '14? - Yeah, this was - Those are your parents.
Yeah, that's my mom, Venetia.
That's my dad, Tom.
There's me.
And then this is my brother, Matt.
That's lovely.
Yeah, that was right when I got there.
So what was your impression and experience in the first few - semesters at Yale? - I loved it.
I felt more at home than I think I ever really had.
I was surrounded by really nerdy people, so I think that was particularly exciting, to finally feel like talking about books all the time wasn't really a weird thing to do.
Were you active? Did you have an active social life and lots of friends and going out? What kind of? Yeah, no, I like to think I had a good number of friends.
We went to a lot of the football games.
Didn't really go out that often, but, you know, enjoyed going out with friends and never really went to fraternities.
They have parties at the fraternities, is that partly what they're known for? That's, I think, basically entirely what they're known for.
In 2016, Molly was in her third year at Yale and not long out of a two-year relationship.
With a friend, she went to a Christmas party at the Deke frat house.
Are you OK talking about this, - what happened next? - Mm-hm.
I'll just have some coffee.
You go into his room and you're thinking at this point he's a little pushy, but, it feels as though it's more or less within acceptable social norms.
Yeah.
I mean, there were no red flags had come up in my mind at that point, um.
I think you Which, something I didn't realise before, is that once you're in those situations, you do feel like you have to do certain things.
And so, for example, I've had multiple people tell me that they feel like, if they go into a guy's room, they feel like they have to give him a blowjob and so I did that, thinking that it would be done, and he then proceeded to keep asking to have actual penetrative sex.
And I told him no, I didn't want to do that.
We probably had that conversation five, six times.
And he kept manoeuvring himself so that he was on top of me, and he is quite large.
Like, I'm pretty tall, but he's significantly larger than me.
He kept being pushy and finally I was like, "OK, we can have sex, but only "with a condom.
" And he was like, "No, no, there's There's definitely not one in this house.
" And I was like, "Well, OK, then, you know, I'm not going to have sex" "with you, like, because this is what I have set out.
" And he continued kissing me, and all of a sudden his penis was inside of me, and, and it was really shocking.
I think Like I said, that was what I felt more than anything is that I just You know, you don't expect that that's going to happen when you've made your desires pretty clear.
Was it the case that you were fighting him off or was there a point at which you more or less gave up? So I was trying to move to avoid him penetrating me, and was fighting that, but, no, did I punch him in the face? Of course not.
Would I ever punch someone in the face? No.
I should reflect the fact that he has maintained and has probably still maintained that .
.
it was a consensual act.
I think a lot of people, when they talk about these cases, they are like, "Oh, you know, they're so ambiguous.
" "People aren't saying what they want.
" But I said what I wanted.
I said no.
I made my constraints very clear and he went against them, so So then, the next morning, you're attempting to process what's happened, would that be? Yes, I went to class and I took a quick shower, and I remember like I was texting Sorry.
Let me have a sip of coffee.
I was texting a few friends at that point and, and that's when I first called my family.
I called my brother Matt and He said, "So you've been raped?" And I was just like baulking.
That was the first time that someone said that word to me.
I think it's a really scary word to use, um.
But then once you realise that, descriptively, it matched what happened It's tough to not use it.
So what was the result of their investigation? They found that there was an instance of sexual misconduct and they suspended him for He was responsible for, they called it - penetration without consent.
- Mm-hmm.
After he was removed from campus, I felt like I could be a student again.
That is part of the reason why the suspension meant so much to me because, every time I saw a large man, I was .
.
I would just like freeze up because I thought it could be him.
I guess there are people who Maybe more old-fashioned people, who take the view that, "Oh, boys will be boys.
" That's the phrase that gets used.
And we are attempting to legislate and penalise exuberant partying behaviour.
Do you think it makes sense that there is a lower standard of evidence for the Title IX investigations than there is for a criminal case? They're very tough cases to prove, given that they occur in such private scenarios and don't involve force oftentimes.
You almost have to have this lower standard of evidence because, you know, there I didn't come out of what happened with, you know, a broken nose.
You know, I came out with, you know, a broken sense of security.
Molly's account was compelling and unsettling, a striking example of the traumatic effect of a sexual assault that might not have been taken seriously in a previous era.
In fact, though she'd reported it to the police the day after, and completed a rape kit, it did not lead to charges being brought.
Since Molly's case, the Deke frat house has been closed down at Yale.
Her assailant returned to campus once Molly graduated, having served a 14-month suspension.
Meanwhile, on Saif's case, more information had come to light.
The Yale Daily News had published a story based on Jonathan's allegations.
It quoted the woman involved in the three-way.
She described being force fed alcohol, being hit with a paddle, as she put it, "way too hard", and having to use her safeword.
Based on the article, Saif had been suspended again and was no longer attending classes.
I visited him on the day he was due to give testimony in his original case in front of the campus committee on sexual assault.
He was with his lawyer Norm.
I was moved last night by Mr Khan's optimism, so I'm hoping it's redeemed today.
If you don't stand up .
.
what's the point? Let's go.
Let's get it done.
With a moment to myself, I reflected on where I'd got to with Saif and observed an attitude to sex that was detached and transactional to the point of being a little chilly.
And there were aspects of his version of events that simply didn't add up.
It could still be weeks before a verdict came down.
In the meantime, he would continue in his state of limbo, unable to study or stay on campus.
- Hey, Louis.
- How'd it go? - Pretty good.
- A difficult day.
I saw five people struggle, probably beyond their pay grade, beyond their skill set, to determine what happened here.
So this is the yellow brick road, that's Oz, and, somewhere behind the curtain, somebody is hiding and making a decision.
And it's never going to be transparent to the public.
It was frustrating, very frustrating.
I'm glad it's over.
It had been a long and strange journey.
I'd heard that Saif's alleged victim had testified via Skype.
I thought about everything she must have been through and alongside that was a sense of perplexity at the figure of Saif.
The stamina he had shown in weathering so much negative attention and his utter faith in his own ability to outsmart the allegations against him.
Did you say that you read a poem? Yeah, I started my opening statement with a poem, Invictus.
Why did you do that? They were good words that communicated my feelings and I first heard Obama say them at Mandela's death.
I said, "In the fell clutch of circumstance, I have not winced" "Nor cried aloud the bludgeoning of chance.
" "My head is bloody but unbowed.
" "It matters not how straight" It is almost certain that President Trump's Education Secretary, Betsy De Vos, will make changes to the federal guidelines for how sexual assault is investigated on US campuses .
.
attempting to shore up the rights of the accused, requiring, among other things, a higher standard of proof.
It's notable that some of these changes have received cross-party support.
I had come to see the system as flawed but also necessary, an all too human attempt to recognise the rights of victims and bring some safety to the most intimate frontier of the bedroom.