Former OSU football players acquitted of rape charges based on 'consent video' of crying female filmed immediately after incident

The defendants claim they were advised by school officials to film such videos to absolve them of potential rape allegations.

This story follows the trend of academia downplaying the severity of sexual assault.

Two former football players from The Ohio State University (OSU) were acquitted on rape and kidnapping charges last month based upon a “consent video.” The defendants claim they were advised by school officials to film such videos to absolve them of potential rape allegations.

On February 4, 2020, a 19-year-old female OSU student visited the apartment of a fellow OSU student and football player, Amir Reip. When the case was initially reported to Columbus police, the female—whose identity has not been revealed in news coverage—stated that she engaged in consensual sex with Reip but withdrew consent in the middle of the activity.

During this encounter, another fellow student and football player, Jahsen Wint, entered the room, where the two men began to engage in graphic sexual activity with the female.

The woman also reported to police that she was forced by both Reip and Wint to shower with them to remove DNA evidence, including from intimate areas.

The key piece of evidence for the jury’s acquittal was a video filmed immediately after the sexual activity concluded. The woman, pictured naked and crying, states in the video that the encounter was consensual, but she later told police that she only said this so Reip and Wint would eventually let her leave the premises.

Both defendants testified that OSU officials had instructed them and other football players to protect themselves against sexual assault allegations by filming videos of their partners describing the consensual nature of their activities.

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Colleges’ detached approach to consent as a sexual ethic has been covered by Campus Reform for several years.

The University of Southern California’s (USC) “Consent Carnival” in 2016, for example, featured a sex-simulation bouncy house. As one student described the experience, “It was like you were having sex with the bouncy house, and they would give you permission to go through each stage of it.”

Along similar lines, Eastern Illinois University (EIU) taught students about consent through a program called “Sex is like Pizza” in 2017, during which consent for particular sexual acts was likened to a group agreeing on pizza toppings.

But consent is just one aspect of the trend in academia of downplaying the severity of sexual assault.

In 2015, Campus Reform covered a sex expert (or sexpert) event at the University of Maryland (UMD) in College Park during which the speaker did not directly answer a student’s question as to whether increasing sexual positivity is correlated with sexual violence.

Two years later, Campus Reform exposed how the freshman safety seminar at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) encouraged students to “Rub One Off” to prevent instances of sexual assault or rape, for which the university later apologized.

This year, a PhD candidate at the University of Virginia (UVA) in Charlottesville published a paper arguing that women fear rape “as a direct result of gendered, racialized power relations” and that “White” “Republican” women are to blame for sexual violence.

At OSU, this year’s sex week celebration featured safe-bondage practices and a discussion on how capitalism makes pornography unethical. Also this semester, OSU hosted a four-week sex-education seminar featuring, among other issues, condom negotiations.

[RELATED: Prof declares ‘pantry porn’ to have historical roots in ‘racist and sexist’ social structures]

An official from OSU refused to comment on the case, instead pointing Campus Reform to the school’s “well established Non-Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy, which you appear to have read.” At the time of the initial incident in 2020, OSU officials stressed to local news outlets that the school’s policies regarding consent are clear.

OSU’s Sexual Misconduct Policy defines consent as “[p]ermission that is clear, knowing, voluntary, and expressed prior to engaging in and during an act. Consent is active, not passive” and explicitly states that consent cannot be given under coercion. The topic of consent videos is not mentioned in any readily available official OSU documents.

13% of all undergraduate and graduate students experience sexual violence during their time in academia, according to the Rape, Assault, and Incest National Network (RAINN).

Follow Gabrielle M. Etzel on Twitter.