Rape Case Makes ‘Yes Means Yes’ a Little Harder to Decide

A student at Yale University, Saifullah Khan, 25, was accused of nonconsensual sex with another Yale student. Khan was found not guilty by lack of evidence. Evidence being that the woman making the claim is said to have been capable of saying no and was not incoherent at the time.

Many pointed out that the woman claimed on camera her leg was dragging and she could barely hold herself up. However, jurors found that she was walking properly, and seemed to be just fine unlike her claim of staggering and dragging her leg. Other evidence points towards romance and flirtatious behavior, from texting to chatting on Facebook, including text messages the following day and mixed messages from the prosecution. The following day the woman making the allegations sent a romantic poem by Shakespeare to Khan, but claimed it was not “like that” and it was from a joke page on Facebook that other students used frequently.

However, this wasn’t Khan’s first experience with allegations of sexual assault. In 2014, multiple female students had considered reporting khan for sexual misconduct. Another reports stated that Khan behaved inappropriately with her while she was a first year. She said, “he told me about his cognitive science work, how he liked to ‘control people’s minds’, he tried more forcefully to make advances and I tried to leave,” she continued. “I was scared to offend him, and agreed to go and ‘study’ at his office.” It was also reported that students knew Khan to be “handsy” even when the person was dating someone else who was present in the room.

This case, on the other hand, seemed different to previous allegations against Khan. After only hours of deliberation Khan was found not guilty. This raised tensions and cries for justice on campus. However, was there justice to be found  here for the accuser? This case seems to raise questions of where the line for “yes means yes” is. The evidence spoke to his acquittal and did not provide enough weight to send him to jail. Khan has already been suspended by Yale and till could face disciplinary action from the school on top of being suspended.


Khan was at the time running for President of the Yale College Council, and accused his opponent Sara Miller of spreading accusations of sexual misconduct to bully him out of the YCC presidential race. Many have even regarded the allegations against Khan as campaign bully tactics. Khan then decided not to run for YCC president due to the allegations against him.

Khan’s attorneys put out the statement, “We’re grateful to six courageous jurors who were able to understand that campus life isn’t the real world. Kids experiment with identity and sexuality. When an experiment goes awry, its not a crime.” They added, “Now that MR. Khan has been acquitted, we’re calling for Yale to readmit him. He was suspended in 2015 without a hearing. It’s time to right that wrong.

While it may seem unfair and cruel, the line between immoral and criminal still must be questioned. It is clear how these two ended up together that evening. Between text messages and flirtatious hints, there is almost no way for the defendant or prosecution to say they said “no” in any sense of the word. The evidence was not in her favor, and many seem to be upset about it. Although allegations of nonconsensual sex should be heard and investigated, this case seems to be an example of untrue allegations and evidence that proves contrary to the charges.

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