How not to write about false rape allegations


Over the past few days, two different male writers on my radar have run against the rocks on the issue of false allegations.

The first was “Prisoner Ben” Gunn. I really value this blogger. He brings an irreverent and sharp mind to issues of criminology and penal policy, informed by extensive study and 32 years of imprisonment, from the age of 14 until last year. He was nominated for an Orwell Prize while blogging from behind bars, and has continued since his release. That gives him a rare and valuable perspective. He campaigns and writes, often brilliantly, about issues of judicial reform and miscarriages of justice. More power to his elbow.

Last week Ben Gunn took issue with the Twitter hashtag #ibelieveher, which sprang into life in response to the grotesque shaming, blaming and online outing of the victim of convicted rapist and footballer Ched Evans. As he later wrote on his blog:

It began when I saw a campaign headed “I believe her”, propagating the view that all rape victims should be believed. I assumed even the dimmest or most ideological could glimpse the flaw in that idea – sometimes an accusation is false. To simply “believe” is to throw out the justice process, essentially renders the trial process pointless. Thought everyone would appreciate my concern…. Well. They didn’t.

I understand what he was driving at, but also understand why others didn’t see it that way. What Ben misses, I think, is that the single biggest obstacle to justice and personal recovery for rape victims is excessive disbelief. It is disbelief that sees too many reported rapes being “no-crimed” by police or inadequately investigated. It is disbelief that sees rape victims being branded liars or sluts by internet vigilantes, and it is the fear of disbelief that deters many victims from reporting the crime in the first place. If we genuinely want rapists to be convicted for their crimes, saying “I believe her” (or for that matter “I believe him” in around 10% of reported rapes) has to be the default starting position for police, media reporters and social media commentators alike.

This does not imply that belief trumps evidence. I don’t think anyone is suggesting we “throw out the judicial process.” Nobody is suggesting police, prosecutors and juries abandon the collection and analysis of evidence and testimony, or the requirement that someone be proved guilty beyond all reasonable doubt. The moral payback, I believe, is that when allegations have been properly investigated and there is no proof that an individual is guilty of the offence, that person is held unequivocally to be innocent, without a stain on (usually) his character.

It is blunt truth that in the real world many rapes happen without witnesses or physical evidence of non-consent. Many rapes will always go unpunished. Many others will be lost in a mist of uncertainty, with insufficient evidence of guilt or innocence to proceed. Then in a small proportion of cases, there is actual evidence of fabrication and falsehood by the alleged victim, sufficient to warrant prosecution for perverting the course of justice or just wasting police time. This leads us to this week’s second unhelpful contribution to the debate.

The Daily Mail’s resident men’s issues correspondent, Peter Lloyd, is angry. He’s angry that false accuser Lindsey Attridge was spared a jail sentence after fabricating allegations against two men. He’s also angry that feminists and women’s charities aren’t stepping up to loudly condemn false accusers for their wicked deeds and for undermining the credibility of rape victims.

There is a lot in the article I’m unhappy with, but first let me deal with an absolute travesty of a claim. I’d like to think it is down to careless wording rather than either ignorance or mendacity,  but on an issue of such importance and sensitivity, there is no excuse even for that. Let me quote the paragraph in full:

In 2010, an official enquiry report led by Baroness Stern – a prison reform campaigner – ordered [Harriet] Harman to stop misleading the public about rape statistics. For years she’d been pumping misinformation that only six per cent of rapists are brought to justice, when the reality is actually very different.

Actually, the rate is more like two in three – a figure which is much higher than comparable numbers for other violent crimes. Yet still we are told that only 4 per cent of rape attacks go to court.

For anyone unfamiliar with the statistics, there are several different figures at play. Stern rebuked Harman for not distinguishing between the conviction rate for rape (the proportion of cases heard in court resulting in guilty verdicts – about 60%) with the attrition rate (the proportions of reported rapes which withstand the full process of report, investigation and prosecution to result in a guilty verdict – about 6% in Harman’s day, slightly higher now.) Both statistics are meaningful and useful, although Stern was right to demand that they be used with clarity and accuracy. Neither tells us what proportion of rapists are brought to justice.

We know that the vast majority of rapes are not reported and so the vast majority of rapists will never even face the possibility of prosecution. The British Crime Survey gives an approximate estimate of 85,000 rapes happening last year. There were around 2,400 guilty verdicts, or roughly one conviction for every 35 rapes that occur, one conviction for every 14 rapes reported to police, and three convictions for every five cases brought to court. All of those statistics are true and compatible. To suggest that two thirds of rapists are “brought to justice” is dangerously misleading and frighteningly ignorant. For good measure, it also implies that the 40% of defendants cleared in court are unconvicted rapists, a disturbing assertion.

If what Peter Lloyd said was bad enough, perhaps worse is what he didn’t say. At no point did he reveal to readers that the five cases he found of convicted false accusers walking free from court are atypical. Many women convicted of making false allegations are jailed, often for long terms – his paper takes great delight in reporting them every couple of weeks. Nor does he provide any context as to the prevalence of false allegations in comparison to prevalence of rapes.

It is genuinely impossible for anyone to say for sure how many false allegations occur. As I’ve written elsewhere, there is not even consensus on what we actually mean by a false allegation. We do know that in 17 months, the CPS considered only 132 cases for prosecution, which equates to about 0.6% of reports. These could be considered a bare minimum. There must be more allegations which are false but not provably so. About the only thing we can say with certainty about false allegations is that they do sometimes occur. Anything more specific than that is a statement of faith, not evidence.

However by the same system we can note that if the Daily Mail recorded and reported proven, convicted rapes with the same zeal and efficiency they afford to false accusers, they would report 200 new cases every month, that’s seven pages of their paper every single day of the year. Peter Lloyd’s article was especially problematic in the context of his paper, which pursues an editorial policy that creates a vastly skewed impression of the prevalence of known cases of false rape allegations in comparison to actual rapes, and therefore greatly inflates public perception of the likelihood that a rape allegation might be false, and the risk to (primarily) men of being the victim of a false allegation.

I’ll confess that it does frustrate me that many commentators and rape campaigners seem to refuse to engage with the existence of false allegations or suggest that they are so rare they are not worth considering. The possibility that an allegation may be false is a hugely important factor in the prosecution equation and can’t be ignored as an inconvenience. I also wish some feminists would refrain from suggesting that being falsely accused is no big deal, when it is often devastating for those affected. Making a malicious false allegation is a horrible crime, and no one should be reluctant to say so. This debate desperately requires nuance and balance, but is often marked by factional polarisation.

To return to our starting point, rape victims require belief. That belief is certainly undermined by proven cases of false allegations, but it is also undermined by heavily skewed public impressions of the extent and nature of the problem. To complain about the former while actively contributing to the latter would seem to be disingenuous to say the least.

Comments

  1. Ally Fogg says

    Hi folks, sorry this article was so long, didn’t have time to write a short one.

    Had planned to publish the next Malestrom piece today, but shelved it for this, which was more time specific.

    Watch this space.

  2. Maria Hughes says

    Wonderful blog Ally – I really admire your ability to cut through the BS and present the facts and arguments clearly. Not too long at all! :-)

  3. Copyleft says

    Yes, rape victims require belief and support.

    The problem is, all we see are rape [i]accusers[/i], and we don’t know until the trial and evidence whether they’re victims or not.

  4. doublereed says

    False rape allegations can be dismissed. They are dismissed all the time. The fact is that most unfounded rape allegations are dismissed by police before even prosecutors get involved. And prosecutors are also obviously way less likely to take a case that is a false rape allegation.

    The idea of innocent until proven guilty is kind of weird in rape cases, because generally the claim is that you have the wrong person rather than a question of consent. But in rape cases, you are usually incredibly sure you have the right person, it’s just a matter of consent, which is incredibly dubious when you have one person in the consensual relationship saying it wasn’t consensual.

  5. says

    I’ll confess that it does frustrate me that many commentators and rape campaigners seem to refuse to engage with the existence of false allegations or suggest that they are so rare they are not worth considering.

    Is this going to be another one of those times where feminists and anti-rape activists are like, “WHO??” and you’re like, “Never mind, it doesn’t matter!”?

  6. DeepThought says

    What Ben misses, I think, is that the single biggest obstacle to justice and personal recovery for rape victims is excessive disbelief. It is disbelief that sees too many reported rapes being “no-crimed” by police or inadequately investigated. It is disbelief that sees rape victims being branded liars or sluts by internet vigilantes, and it is the fear of disbelief that deters many victims from reporting the crime in the first place. If we genuinely want rapists to be convicted for their crimes, saying “I believe her” (or for that matter “I believe him” in around 10% of reported rapes) has to be the default starting position for police, media reporters and social media commentators alike.

    I don’t know about this, Ally. I see the problem you are grappling with here but I don’t know it’s been quite accurately stated. Are you suggesting that police and prosecutors are biased against investigating and prosecuting rape precisely because they don’t believe the victim? Or could there be other factors at work? I’m not convinced that victims don’t come forward precisely because they think they won’t be believed, but rather I think this is so because of the shame involved. There needs to be more compassionate treatment of victims, this I can 100% agree with. I don’t know that belief or perception of belief quite accurately states the problem. To do their jobs professionally, police must have a certain skepticism of people; they just can’t take everyone’s word for it. Moreover, “I believe him/her” is not and cannot be the default starting position for members of a jury in a criminal trial, because there is presumption of innocence and the burden of proof is on the prosecution.

    And “I believe him/her” simply can’t be the “default position” for those in the media. For one, they simply can’t refer to an accused rapist as a “rapist” rather than “accused rapist” or “alleged rapist” without being opened up to a ton of lawsuits. Moreover, they can sometimes end up with big-time egg on their faces if the allegations do turn out to be false, such as the Duke lacrosse case.

  7. Schala says

    The idea of innocent until proven guilty is kind of weird in rape cases

    Let’s throw out due process.

    It won’t be “Did you beat your wife?” in the future but “Prove you didn’t beat your wife!” Because, you’re obviously the right accused, and why would your wife lie.

    Which is why no one ever got imprisoned while innocent. Never happens. We live in some Alice in Wonderland world, where everyone makes perfect decision, nobody is malicious, nobody is incompetent, nobody has bias.

  8. mildlymagnificent says

    And then there’s the real problem with not believing people making rape accusations. This woman http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/06/10/lawsuit-police-accused-girl-of-making-up-rape-claim-about-serial-rapist/ was charged with making a false accusation, but the charge was later withdrawn. Other women were raped because she was not taken seriously.

    It’s about time people started taking the research that shows that about 6% of men are responsible for about half of all rapes (it’s actually more than that but I don’t have the numbers handy) as a useful guide to action. Police in particular should treat each rape accusation as an opportunity to solve – and to prevent – an unknown number of other rape cases. The odds are fairly good that any given rapist may become, or is already, a serial rapist.

  9. says

    Is this going to be another one of those times where feminists and anti-rape activists are like, “WHO??” and you’re like, “Never mind, it doesn’t matter!”?

    That’s a damn good question. It would really help the debate if someone could state, specifically, WHO is really unfairly ignoring or belittling the possibility of false rape accusations. If we can’t name names, at least sometimes, then all we have are prejudices leading us to discount necessary information without good cause.

    Are you suggesting that police and prosecutors are biased against investigating and prosecuting rape precisely because they don’t believe the victim?

    Suggesting? Dude, it’s an OBSERVABLE FACT that cops and prosecutors (and judges) do exactly that, on a daily basis, without even pretending otherwise. Seriously, what color is the sky in your bubble-verse? You should have just stopped at “I don’t know.”

  10. Jacob Schmidt says

    DeepThought

    I don’t know that belief or perception of belief quite accurately states the problem. To do their jobs professionally, police must have a certain skepticism of people; they just can’t take everyone’s word for it.

    That’s what investigations are for. Notice how no one is saying we should do away with said investigations?

    And “I believe him/her” simply can’t be the “default position” for those in the media. For one, they simply can’t refer to an accused rapist as a “rapist” rather than “accused rapist” or “alleged rapist” without being opened up to a ton of lawsuits.

    That’s not what’s being suggested.

    Schala

    Let’s throw out due process.

    It won’t be “Did you beat your wife?” in the future but “Prove you didn’t beat your wife!” Because, you’re obviously the right accused, and why would your wife lie.

    What are you talking about? No one suggested this, and it was specifically denied in the OP. If you’re gonna strawman, you need to be subtle about it.

  11. Ally Fogg says

    @SallyStrange

    Is this going to be another one of those times where feminists and anti-rape activists are like, “WHO??” and you’re like, “Never mind, it doesn’t matter!”?

    By necessity yes, because I’m asserting the absence of something.

    If you can find a few forthright and unequivocal statements of condemnation (basically anything that doesn’t include the word “but…”) from prominent anti-rape campaigns or feminists, I’ll happily retract.

  12. Schala says

    What are you talking about? No one suggested this, and it was specifically denied in the OP. If you’re gonna strawman, you need to be subtle about it.

    I’m quoting someone, and it’s not the OP.

    Can you guess who?

    Hint: You can hit ctrl+f, enter my quote, and you will find it in seconds.

  13. Freja says

    DeepThought @ 6

    Moreover, they can sometimes end up with big-time egg on their faces if the allegations do turn out to be false, such as the Duke lacrosse case.

    Was the accuser ever convicted of false reporting? If not, you have no more basis for saying the accusations were false than you would have for saying the players were rapists.

  14. Schala says

    Suggesting? Dude, it’s an OBSERVABLE FACT that cops and prosecutors (and judges) do exactly that, on a daily basis, without even pretending otherwise. Seriously, what color is the sky in your bubble-verse? You should have just stopped at “I don’t know.”

    I completely agree, look how they treat male victims who go and try to charge their female perpetrators. Rape culture in action.

  15. Schala says

    Was the accuser ever convicted of false reporting?

    Never investigated, never tried, never charged, so well yeah, never convicted either.

    Who are the ones opposing investigating and trying people who make false accusations? Just in case it might make genuine victims less forthcoming.

    Hint: It start with a f.

  16. Maureen Brian says

    DeepThought,

    If the first guess of the policeman or policewoman on the front desk is so likely to be right, then why are we in the UK currently mopping up a whole series of historical rape cases some of which were reported at the time and rejected on the basis of police intuition? As far as I know there’s no proof that such intuition is a better than anyone else’s or a sound basis for deciding anything.

    The Metropolitan Police used to know with absolute certainty that their procedures, ways of dealing with people and, yes, intuitions were not racially discriminatory. No way! Not until Sir William Macpherson proved otherwise.

    Why, indeed, was Keir Starmer, DPP, on the media today explaining his firming up of advice to investigators to look at the credibility of the story and investigate that rather than go by a first impression of the possibly vulnerable complainant.

    ——

    Oh and, Ally, just reminding you – I’m sure you know – that British Crime Survey does not interview the under-16s so its figures are good but not inclusive.

  17. Thil says

    “The Daily Mail’s resident men’s issues correspondent, Peter Lloyd, is angry”

    “Peter Lloyd smash! Peter Lloyd bash!!”

  18. Freja says

    Ally Fogg @11

    By necessity yes, because I’m asserting the absence of something.

    If you can find a few forthright and unequivocal statements of condemnation (basically anything that doesn’t include the word “but…”) from prominent anti-rape campaigns or feminists, I’ll happily retract.

    I don’t think it’s fair to accuse activists whose focus is not false rape accusations of not focussing on condemning false rape accusations. As long as they acknowledge that they exist, just like false accusations of every other kind of crime, that really should be enough.

    To compare, how many examples can you find of people fighting other types of crime spending their time looking up cases of false accusations specifically to condemn them? How many anti-feminists have you seem condemn the false accusations of false rape accusations (which are rampant)? How many people have you seen condemn others for saying that they believe O.J. Simpson is guilty?

  19. Ally Fogg says

    @DeepThought (6)

    Are you suggesting that police and prosecutors are biased against investigating and prosecuting rape precisely because they don’t believe the victim?

    Yes, that’s precisely what I’m saying. It’s not the whole problem, but it is a large part of it. Look up the IPCC report into the Sapphire Unit and the John Worboys case for heaps of reasons why.

    As for media, police and juries – I said “I believe him/her” should be the default starting position for any such cases, not that it should be a position of blind faith. Media should of course also respect that the accused is innocent until (and unless) proven guilty. But assuming the accuser is innocent until proven guilty does not demand that the accuser is considered to be lying until proven to be telling the truth.

    I realise there’s a bit of Schrodinger’s Cat to that, but actually a lot of decent reporters can convey both messages simultaneously.

  20. Ally Fogg says

    @Freja

    I don’t think it’s fair to accuse activists whose focus is not false rape accusations of not focussing on condemning false rape accusations. As long as they acknowledge that they exist, just like false accusations of every other kind of crime, that really should be enough.

    I’m not accusing anyone of anything, and I don’t think anti-rape activists should be focussing on false allegations or devoting any time to campaigning on behalf of victims of false allegations.

    I am making a slightly plaintive observation that the debate can get needlessly stuck on the issue of false allegations, and if the likes of Rape Crisis had a simple and clear position on false allegations it might sidestep some needless shit-flinging and, at the very least, shut up the likes of Peter Lloyd,.

    I didn’t mention it in the article but there are other feminists, notably Women Against Rape (who are quite a high-profile organization in the UK) have a policy that there should never be prosecutions for women who make false rape allegations. I know it is a minority view within feminism, but it is not entirely marginal, and I believe it is downright immoral and makes it much harder to get men on board with the real issues.

  21. Soarer says

    Being believed is one thing, being able to prove is another.

    Of course rape should be investigated with due care and respect shown to the individual reporting it. But believing someone does not help with making a case. The police should be able to investigate any crime properly, regardless of their individual beliefs.

    I am not even sure that it is the main factor in the under-reporting to the police. Many victims will know they will have an very difficult task in many circumstances proving rape beyond a reasonable doubt, simply due to the nature of the crime. Perhaps this correct apprehension prevents many of them reporting a rape to the police.

  22. Freja says

    @15 Schala

    Never investigated, never tried, never charged, so well yeah, never convicted either.

    Who are the ones opposing investigating and trying people who make false accusations? Just in case it might make genuine victims less forthcoming.

    Hint: It start with a f.

    So it’s OK to assume that someone is guilty of false reporting even if they’re not convicted, because feminists? But it is not to assume that someone is innocent of false reporting until convicted, because fmeinists?

  23. Copyleft says

    When a criminal charge is filed, the presumption of innocence belongs to the defendant, not the plaintiff/accuser… even if the accuser was actually the victim of a crime. Sorry, but there’s no other way to run a justice system that actually provides justice on a consistent basis.

  24. N4M says

    Hi Ally. In this piece, Reconciling the Men’s Movement with Feminism, from November last year, you’ve written:

    http://hetpat.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/intertwined-reconciling-the-mens-movement-with-feminism-speech-transcript/

    How do you reconcile the demand that a woman reporting a rape should always be believed with the demand that an accused person always be considered innocent until proven guilty? The truth is you can’t.

    No chance you would care to expain what has caused you to change your position since that time, and what the flaw was in your original reasoning, as far as you’re concerned? Don’t have to of course, just interested. :-)

  25. Ally Fogg says

    @N4M

    I don’t think my position has changed. I’d say I’ve expanded upon that sentence considerably in this post, but not abandoned it.

    You can’t reconcile those two necessary positions. They have to both be held simultaneously in different contexts.

  26. says

    Hmmm, I have to take issue! If the default position for police is “believe” then it completely skews any proper investigation. In the alternative to “believe”, I posited “investigate properly” – a view which is far more likely to arrive at the just outcome. It also addresses a central complaint by victims, that they are dismissed. I don’t want them “believed” – I want the complaint to be taken seriously and investigated.

  27. gjenganger says

    How do you reconcile the demand that a woman reporting a rape should always be believed with the demand that an accused person always be considered innocent until proven guilty? The truth is you can’t.

    I was going to say that, but I would much rather quote you – you are a very authoritatiive source. As N4M said – please explain.

  28. doublereed says

    Let’s throw out due process.

    It won’t be “Did you beat your wife?” in the future but “Prove you didn’t beat your wife!” Because, you’re obviously the right accused, and why would your wife lie.

    Which is why no one ever got imprisoned while innocent. Never happens. We live in some Alice in Wonderland world, where everyone makes perfect decision, nobody is malicious, nobody is incompetent, nobody has bias.

    Come on, that’s a mischaracterization.

    I don’t understand the analogy to wife-beating. Are you suggesting that wife-beating is consensual? How is this analogous? Yes, you have to prove you didn’t beat your wife. You have to give some explanations of how she got that black eye and broken ribs. You basically are guilty until proven innocent once it’s been established that you are the correct person.

    Give me an instance where that’s not true. Once you’ve been identified/proved to be the correct person, name me an instance where you are not presumed guilty.

  29. gjenganger says

    You can’t reconcile those two necessary positions. They have to both be held simultaneously in different contexts.

    That would work in quantum mechanics and in multiple personality disorder. Maybe in theology. How do you see it working in the real world?

  30. Ally Fogg says

    BenGunn

    Hmmm, I have to take issue! If the default position for police is “believe” then it completely skews any proper investigation. In the alternative to “believe”, I posited “investigate properly” – a view which is far more likely to arrive at the just outcome. It also addresses a central complaint by victims, that they are dismissed. I don’t want them “believed” – I want the complaint to be taken seriously and investigated.

    Hi Ben, many thanks for dropping by.

    I said the default starting position should be to believe. I’m not saying that should be the sum total of the process!

    There have been far too many cases – most notably in the Sapphire Unit, but also recently in South Wales (and I don’t doubt many other places too) where it has been shown that the default police response to complaints was disbelief and rejection, to the extent that the complaints were not even investigated.

    I completely agree that the only reasonable policy is for all complaints to be fully and seriously investigated. What I’m suggesting to you is that unless we actively challenge the culture of disbelief this can never properly happen.

  31. doublereed says

    I mean, if Bob gets mugged and they take his mugger to trial. It’s assumed that it might be some other guy that mugged him. That’s innocent until proven guilty.

    But you don’t assume that Bob never got mugged and he’s lying about the whole thing. That’s what happens in rape cases. Do you not see the difference here?

  32. says

    Challenging a culture of disbelief is a far cry from “believing”. Two different things. The former leads to better professional practice and justice. The latter leads to skewed investigations and the police buying into yet another harmful ideological view.

  33. Ally Fogg says

    gjenganger (29)

    Here’s how it happens in practice.

    Policy one: All reports of rape are assumed to be true, accurate and honest, but in need of adequate supportive evidence or testimony.

    Policy two: To secure a prosecution beyond all reasonable doubt, every legal effort should be made to find evidence and testimony or secure a confession.

    Policy three: If insufficient evidence or testimony can be found to secure a conviction beyond all reasonable doubt, the accused is dismissed without stain on his (?) character.

    Policy four. If in the course of investigation, evidence emerges that the allegation is not just unsupported, but actively false, then it can be classed as a false allegation and a decision can be made to prosecute if appropriate.

    Policy five: If there is no evidence to prove the claim either true or false, the report remains on the books as an unsolved crime.

    Now that is pretty much how things should operate at present. The real failure is at stage one, where often the investigators aim to find reasons to rule the case out (drunkenness or prior relationship, inconsistencies in the evidence, “unreliable witness” etc)

  34. gjenganger says

    But you don’t assume that Bob never got mugged and he’s lying about the whole thing. That’s what happens in rape cases.

    You’re missing an important point here. The fact that Bob lost his wallet and got a black eye is pretty strong evidence that a crime was committed. The fact that two people had sex is not evidence of anything at all. Rape, crucially, is about not only sex, not only consent, but intention. It is much more plausible that someone had a bad sexual experience and decided (quite likely sincerely) that it was rape, than it is that Bob gave his wallet to Joe, deliberately hammered his eye against Joes shoulder, and then decided he was mugged.

  35. Ally Fogg says

    Ben

    Challenging a culture of disbelief is a far cry from “believing”. Two different things. The former leads to better professional practice and justice. The latter leads to skewed investigations and the police buying into yet another harmful ideological view.

    Yeah, I think this is at the nub of it.

    I think what I’m saying to you is that the hashtag / slogan “I believe her” doesn’t quite mean what you’re assuming it to mean. I think it is precisely aimed at challenging the culture of disbelief, not at removing the need for proper investigation and judicial process.

  36. A Hermit says

    re: “I believe her”: To me that just says that anyone reporting that they have been sexually assaulted should be taken at least as seriously as someone reporting that they’ve been robbed. They often aren’t.

  37. gjenganger says

    @AllyF 33
    In an ideal world yes, but once the police, the press, family and friends have all decided up front that they believe the accuser (1)), I really do not think it can be possible to get the accused released ‘without a stain on his character’ (3)). It might work if policy 1) was limited to a specially trained and tasked police team. That still leaves another worry. Clearly, police are much more likely to find a reason to dismiss the case if they do not believe the accuser. Conversely, once they are convinced that the accused is guilty (is that not what ‘believe’ means?), they would be more likely to cut corners and search for a reason to rule the case in – ‘We know he is guilty, let us nail the b******d’). Not saying your proposal is impossible, but surely it would tilt both the damage of an unproved accusation and the risk of being found guilty regardless significantly against the accused.

  38. says

    Ally, if you read the comments below my blogpost elaborate on the position and say just that!

    I know damn well that #ibelieveher is essentially about a supportive and healing environment for victims, and not particularly concerned with the criminal justice process. But what infuriated me was not only the utter refusal to accept the existence of false allegations, but the abuse I received for even mentioning the issue – For refusing to buy into #ibelieveher wholeheartedly, I was accused of being a rape-denier, woman hater and rape-apologist.

    No wonder so few men ever go near these issues. Its interesting that it was my comments that you found noteworthy – I thought it was the response from #ibelieveher.

  39. says

    I know comparing rape to property crime is probelmatice, but I am going to do it anyways…If your house is burgled and you call the police they do not arrive assuming you are perpetrating an insurance fiddle. They take your word a crime has been committed and act accordingly. This does not affect the rights of the burglar if they are arrested, or what happens in courts.

    People reporting a rape need to be treated the same way.

    Oh and one last point, I prefer #Ibelievethem because of course not just cis women are victims of rape

  40. doublereed says

    You’re missing an important point here. The fact that Bob lost his wallet and got a black eye is pretty strong evidence that a crime was committed. The fact that two people had sex is not evidence of anything at all.

    Assuming bob doesn’t have a black eye for a moment, a person losing a wallet is not evidence of a crime. People lose their wallets all the time.

    The fact that two people had sex is not evidence of anything at all. Rape, crucially, is about not only sex, not only consent, but intention.

    What? No. Rape is about consent. Intention does not matter. I don’t even understand this statement. I’m sorry, but consent is not ambiguous.

    It is much more plausible that someone had a bad sexual experience and decided (quite likely sincerely) that it was rape, than it is that Bob gave his wallet to Joe, deliberately hammered his eye against Joes shoulder, and then decided he was mugged.

    That is not plausible at all. What kind of woman declares that she is raped sincerely and yet is just too stupid to understand her own personal autonomy and the consequences of her actions to other people? This is absolute BS.

    The whole idea is that false rape victims are not sincere at all and are deliberately trying to ruin men’s life because women are evil emotional harpies bent on destroying men. That is what is happening, hence why people want them thrown in jail. You are completely misrepresenting what is going on here.

  41. Ally Fogg says

    @Ben

    Ally, if you read the comments below my blogpost elaborate on the position and say just that!

    Yeah, but that wasn’t what copped you the grief!

    I do think the reaction you described was excessive and misrepresented what you were saying (but then I would, I’ve copped much the same many times!).

    You did touch a raw nerve, and I was explaining one reason why I think it is raw, but I don’t think our positions are that far apart. .

    I did make a very similar point in the ” NS article linked to above, which might be slightly closer to how you would express things.

  42. Freja says

    gjenganger

    You’re missing an important point here. The fact that Bob lost his wallet and got a black eye is pretty strong evidence that a crime was committed.

    There is no proof that Bob lost his wallet except Bob’s word, no proof that his injuries (if any) were aquired during a robbery, and often no proof of injury. There are actually quite a few cases of violence that never result in a conviction because it can’t be established who threw first punch and what lead up to it. But that doesn’t make us assume that people who claim to have been subjected to violence must be lying as the default. Remember that false charges is also a crime, one which people have an equal right to be presumed innocent of.

    Also, pretty relevant:

    http://pervocracy.blogspot.dk/2011/09/ten-shades-of-false-rape-accusations.html

    “But I do have this to say: if someone tells you they’ve been raped, and you are not acting in official capacity as a judge or juror, just go ahead and believe them.  The odds they’re lying are a pretty small minority, and the odds they’re lying in a way that hurts someone are even smaller.  Just go ahead and take that risk.

    I’d rather live in a world where a hundred false accusers are told* “I believe you, I care about you, and I’ll stand up for you,” than where one rape survivor is told “gosh, this story has two sides and I really need to consider him innocent until proven guilty.”

    *not in court, but by their friends, families, and people who figure they have a right to comment because they read about it on the Internet and everything “

  43. Jacob Schmidt says

    Schala

    I’m quoting someone, and it’s not the OP.

    Oh, I see that. I never said otherwise. Non the less, no one advanced the idea you so gallantly attacked. You’re strawmanning, and doing it rather blatantly.

    Ally Fogg

    I think what I’m saying to you is that the hashtag / slogan “I believe her” doesn’t quite mean what you’re assuming it to mean. I think it is precisely aimed at challenging the culture of disbelief, not at removing the need for proper investigation and judicial process.

    One thing that often annoys me about these debates is twisting and attacking the literal meanings of slogans (i.e. “shut up an listen”). It’s as if many people are entirely unable to recognize that slogans are necessarily simplistic, and that the idea they represent often has much more thought behind it.

  44. says

    I will peruse at leisure. Too busy resisting anti-Page 3 on Twitter at the mo! Thanks for using me as a jumping off point for this endless debate.

  45. Ally Fogg says

    While we’re comparing to other crimes, I’d hazard a guess that false reports of stolen cars and mobile phones (for insurance claims) are vastly more commonplace than false reports of rape.

    But when I had my car stolen the police officers taking my report didn’t cross-examine me in the slightest as to where I’d been that day, whether my story stacked up, whether I might have crashed it and dumped it in the canal then made up a story to claim it back on insurance. They assumed I was telling the truth and proceeded from there.

    There have been cases of people faking muggings and assaults in order to claim criminal injuries compensation.

    But as Jemima101 and others have said, the police assume I am telling the truth until they uncover evidence to the contrary. I don’t see why sexual assaults should be so different.

  46. Freja says

    @39 Ben Gunn

    But what infuriated me was not only the utter refusal to accept the existence of false allegations

    Could you give an example? Not to disbelieve you or anything, but most cases of “deny the existence of false accusations” I’ve run across have been cases of “refuse to stop what they’re doing to dwell excessively on the topic I want to talk about”.

    but the abuse I received for even mentioning the issue – For refusing to buy into #ibelieveher wholeheartedly, I was accused of being a rape-denier, woman hater and rape-apologist.

    So you went to people involved in an initiative to provide a more supportive and healing environments for victims, and wanted to talk about the validity of the accusation most often used to hurt and silence victims? And you’re surprised people got angry? Why is it that there’s absolutely no space to just talk about why rape is bad and victims should be treated with compassion? And why have I never heard the issue of false accusations brought up that way in relation to any other crime?

  47. Ginkgo says

    “I understand what he was driving at, but also understand why others didn’t see it that way. What Ben misses, I think, is that the single biggest obstacle to justice and personal recovery for rape victims is excessive disbelief.”

    Personal recovery? Are you confusing police work with therapy?

    In practice thouh there is plenty of room for “believe the accuser” (“victim” is yet to be determined). You have to credit the accuser and the report enough to investigate it, how is anything going to be investigated?

    The problem all around is too little scepticism. You remain sceptical about the report, but you respect it enough to investigate it. That’s all it takes. It the same as with any asssertion of fact. Simple standards of profesionlaism and a decent amount of scepticism would have prevented the whole political circus that the Duke Lacrosse Three became.

    As for people denying that false rape accusations are a real thing, or a real problem, here’s one in an instituitonal position to do real harm who believes that:
    http://www.cotwa.info/2013/02/univ-of-alabama-official-some-people.html

    Or you can just ask the Innocence Project about the probelm.

  48. Jacob Schmidt says

    Ginkgo

    Personal recovery? Are you confusing police work with therapy?

    No. They weren’t.

    The problem all around is too little scepticism. You remain sceptical about the report, but you respect it enough to investigate it. That’s all it takes. It the same as with any asssertion of fact. Simple standards of profesionlaism and a decent amount of scepticism would have prevented the whole political circus that the Duke Lacrosse Three became.

    I usually find statements like this gobsmacking, particularly when cases like this seem to be at least an annual thing. There’s too much skepticism.

  49. gjenganger says

    What? No. Rape is about consent. Intention does not matter. I don’t even understand this statement. I’m sorry, but consent is not ambiguous.

    From what little I know about the law, the crime of rape requires mens rea. In plain words it is a crime if you knew, or should have known, or recklessly did not try to determine that your victim did not consent. If someone freezes up at exactly the wrong moment in an otherwise friendly seduction it is a tragedy, but not a rape.

  50. Ally Fogg says

    Gingko

    Are you confusing police work with therapy?

    Nope, I’m saying both are important and should be considered.

  51. Jacob Schmidt says

    In plain words it is a crime if you knew, or should have known, or recklessly did not try to determine that your victim did not consent.

    There have been several studiues on the topic. Many rapists don’t consider what they’re doing as rape. They don’t intend to rape. They intend to subvert consent, but not rape. That’s the point of the post you’re responding to. With this skewed idea of what rape is, “I didn’t mean to rape him/her” is a useless statement. Intent, under these circumstances, frequently does not matter.

  52. gjenganger says

    @AllyF 46

    But when I had my car stolen the police officers taking my report didn’t cross-examine me in the slightest as to where I’d been that day, whether my story stacked up, whether I might have crashed it and dumped it in the canal then made up a story to claim it back on insurance. They assumed I was telling the truth and proceeded from there.

    That might just be because it makes little difference for a stolen car. The police is not going to interview witnesses, or likely go through CCTV footage, and check out anybody seen n the vicinity at the time, or do much of anything at all. If the car is found with fingerprints or DNA or in a suggestive location they might check out a likely culprit. Or if it is driven by somebody else. Otherwise they will enter it into the computer and leave insurance fraud to the insurance company. And even if the car is found close by an isolated farm, the farmer is not going to be all over the papers or ostracised in his community on suspicion. Certainly, any possible court case is unlikely to hang entirely on your personal credibility.

  53. Copyleft says

    “There’s too much skepticism.”

    That’s a statement I always find astonishing… and depressing.

  54. gjenganger says

    @Jacob Schmidt 53

    “I didn’t mean to rape him/her” is a useless statement. Intent, under these circumstances, frequently does not matter.

    Fair enough, in that sense. But, according to law, mens rea does, no?

  55. Ginkgo says

    “Nope, I’m saying both are important and should be considered.”

    Good. And kept separate. They may conflict.

    Jacob @ 53 – “There have been several studiues on the topic. Many rapists don’t consider what they’re doing as rape. They don’t intend to rape. They intend to subvert consent, but not rape. That’s the point of the post you’re responding to. With this skewed idea of what rape is, “I didn’t mean to rape him/her” is a useless statement. Intent, under these circumstances, frequently does not matter.”

    Totally agree. This is exactly the problem with dealing with a lot of f-on-m date rape – the whole culture so values sexual access to women that a woman can easily be completely convinced that any man she gets the itchies for is just hot to trot and can’t wait to “get some from her” – look at how the language itself encodes that valuation.

  56. gjenganger says

    @Freja 43

    I’d rather live in a world where a hundred false accusers are told* “I believe you, I care about you, and I’ll stand up for you,” than where one rape survivor is told “gosh, this story has two sides and I really need to consider him innocent until proven guilty.”

    Well, that is what I would say – if I knew the accuser and not the accused. But there are costs for the accused too. On the internet I would remain neutral – even DSK deserves the benefit of the doubt. And if I had to disown my son on the accusation of his girlfriend I do not know what I would do.

  57. doublereed says

    From what little I know about the law, the crime of rape requires mens rea. In plain words it is a crime if you knew, or should have known, or recklessly did not try to determine that your victim did not consent. If someone freezes up at exactly the wrong moment in an otherwise friendly seduction it is a tragedy, but not a rape.

    Yes that is rape.

    ??? How is that intent as well as consent? How could your intent be correct but consent not available, even under such a legal standing?

    This is actually scaring me that you think consent is that ambiguous. It’s not. It’s a fairly obvious idea. And in fact it’s precisely this kind of ridiculous BS version of consent that rapists use to get out of crimes. If this were true, then rapists would turn themselves in and be profoundly apologetic. They are not. This is a myth of miscommunication:

    Mythcommunication: It’s Not That They Don’t Understand, They Just Don’t Like The Answer

  58. gjenganger says

    Yes that is rape.

    If you mean morally, we could aregue that one forever. If you mean under UK law, please give a reference.

  59. doublereed says

    Well, not to mention that you’d have to convince a jury “someone freezes up at exactly the wrong moment.” That’s the kind of non-pragmatic argument that I really dislike in these conversations.

    If you mean morally, we could aregue that one forever.

    Uhm. Why? It sounds like it wouldn’t take long at all, as long as you aren’t an awful person.

  60. thascius says

    The Duke Lacrosse circus wasn’t a case of “too little skepticism.” It was a case of a DA, probably for political reasons, ignoring exculpatory evidence. Of which there was plenty-the accuser gave multiple accounts, none of which matched any physical evidence. All of the players on the Lacrosse team gave DNA samples, none of which matched any found on the accuser. One of the accused was videotaped by a bank ATM machine across town at the time of the alleged assault, etc, etc. Much of the commentariat at the time insisted the DA must have evidence that wasn’t being made public or he wouldn’t go so far out on a limb, but he didn’t. He lost his job. The new DA (or it may have been a special prosecutor, I’m forgetting some of the details) not only dropped the charges but took the unusual step of publicly declaring the accused players innocent, not “we can’t prove them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt” but “they are innocent.” I’m not sure why the accuser wasn’t charged in that case, but regardless, the problem wasn’t people too willing believe a rape victim but a district attorney not doing his job appropriately.

  61. Jacob Schmidt says

    CopyCat

    That’s a statement I always find astonishing… and depressing.

    Care to explain why?

    gjenganger

    If you mean morally, we could aregue that one forever.

    uhh… no. If the victim doesn’t consent, it’s rape. It doesn’t matter if consent was revoked before or in situe. Morals have nothing to do with it; rape has a specific definition (i.e. sex without consent).

  62. Maureen Brian says

    gjenganger,

    “I had sex with (person) without consent is mens rea.

    Sexual Offences Act 2003, section 1 subclauses (1) and (2) …

    (1)A person (A) commits an offence if—
    (a)he intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person (B) with his penis,
    (b)B does not consent to the penetration, and
    (c)A does not reasonably believe that B consents.
    (2)Whether a belief is reasonable is to be determined having regard to all the circumstances, including any steps A has taken to ascertain whether B consents.

  63. Copyleft says

    I’m amazed that anyone who looks at our society could think that “too much skepticism” is one of our major problems. I’m not even familiar with what ‘too much skepticism’ would look like— the horrors of demanding evidence before reaching conclusions? The lack of blind acceptance of whatever we’re told? Blind trust is called that for a reason.

  64. doublereed says

    I’m amazed that anyone who looks at our society could think that “too much skepticism” is one of our major problems. I’m not even familiar with what ‘too much skepticism’ would look like— the horrors of demanding evidence before reaching conclusions? The lack of blind acceptance of whatever we’re told? Blind trust is called that for a reason.

    Well put him in context. He’s referring to a bunch of dudes that justify a complete lack of compassion for rape victims and complete disregard for problems of rape culture, masquerading under the guise of “skepticism.” Personally, I would just say that it is Motivated Skepticism, a bad thing.

  65. Paul says

    Thanks for another interesting article Ally. It’s quite clear that men are getting away with rape and there’s an important debate to be had as to how that needs to be addressed.However the rights of men aren’t expendable and in my opinion it’s wrong that given the severity of the crime men who’re prosecuted for rape aren”t granted anonymity.For those who’re found innocent can still have their reputations completely destroyed as there’ll always be people who believe there’s no smoke without fire.

  66. Jacob Schmidt says

    Copyleft

    I’m not even familiar with what ‘too much skepticism’ would look like— the horrors of demanding evidence before reaching conclusions?

    In principle, you’re right. Skepticism properly applied cannot be any sort of problem. The problem comes when people display something colloquially called ‘hyperskepticism’. Like being skeptical that an 11 year old rape victim is really a victim (she’s really like a spider trapping her flies, dontchyaknow). Or, in the example I gave above, where the police had video evidence of the gang rape, but instead said that there wasn’t enough evidence. And, despite the evidence being (illegally) circulated through the school, the victims peer constantly harrassed her for being a “slut” until she killed herself. That case is also very similar to the Staubenville case, where the victim was harrassed despite clear and obvious evidence.

    The problem is that people often demand levels of evidence that are unnecessary. They aren’t being skeptical on principle.

  67. Ginkgo says

    doublereed @ 67 – “Well put him in context. He’s referring to a bunch of dudes that justify a complete lack of compassion for rape victims and complete disregard for problems of rape culture, masquerading under the guise of “skepticism.” Personally, I would just say that it is Motivated Skepticism, a bad thing.”

    Which is a failure of scepticism, not of willingness ot believe. Their minds are already made up, that’s the problem there. They believe they already know what the truth is.

  68. Jacob Schmidt says

    Oh, also:

    I’m amazed that anyone who looks at our society could think that “too much skepticism” is one of our major problems.

    Societies aren’t homogenous. I said the problem with one specifc aspect of our society was too much skepticism (better referred to as ‘hyperskepticism’), not society as a whole.

  69. Jacob Schmidt says

    Ginkgo

    Which is a failure of scepticism, not of willingness ot believe.

    We’re not refering to philosphical skepticism. Look up the definition of skepticism; it’s pretty synonomous with ‘incredulity’.

  70. Freja says

    @gjenganger 58

    Well, that is wha I would say – if I knew the accuser and not the accused. But there are costs for the accused too. On the internet I would remain neutral – even DSK deserves the benefit of the doubt. And if I had to disown my son on the accusation of his girlfriend I do not know what I would do.

    Did you read the link I quoted? In most cases, people will not be in a situation where they actually know the rapist/alleged rapist. But they’re still eager to press the theory that the victim/accuser must be lying, even though they wouldn’t do the same for other crimes. People like DeepThought and Schala furthermore believe that people who make an accusation of rape shouldn’t benefit from the presumption of innocence which they want to extend to people accused of rape. From what I recall, you believed that a man saying someone took his wallet is proof enough that said wallet is really missing, and a missing wallet is proof enough that someone took it. That’s all awful lot of presumptions for someone who’s allegedly that sceptical.

  71. Gjenganger says

    @Maureen Brian 64, Jacob Schmidt, Doublereed
    I do not understand what we are disagreeing about. Your quote says (my emphasis):

    (1)A person (A) commits an offence if—
    (a)he intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person (B) with his penis,
    (b)B does not consent to the penetration, and
    (c)A does not reasonably believe that B consents.
    (2)Whether a belief is reasonable is to be determined having regard to all the circumstances, including any steps A has taken to ascertain whether B consent

    Not that different from the way I put it:

    it is a crime if you knew, or should have known, or recklessly did not try to determine that your victim did not consent

    Anyway, the reasonable belief of A is as important as the consent of B. I suppose one could argue about what is reasonable, but a long as it is legal and acceptable for half-drunken complete strangers to meet up and copulate, surely there is no enforceable set of precautions that can avoid the odd, rare, mistake.

  72. Ginkgo says

    Jacob @ @72 – Are you really giving a dictionary defintion as dispositive? We’re not in the 4th grade here.

    Incredulity – okay; people should doubt their own beliefs, all the time. It’s just simple due diligence.

    Here’s how it works:

    Exanple: A woman comes in to report a rape. She is dressed in skimpy clothes and is looks like she is drunk.

    Example: A man comes in and reports his girlfriend has raped him, forcing him into sex with threats of accusing him of rape.

    Example: A woman comes in to report a rape. She cannot remember many of the details. teh rpae occurred three weeks ago.

    Example: A white woman comes in and accuses a black man of rape.

    Can you spot all the assumptions and reactions that a desk sergeant might have and that she should interrogate?

  73. Schala says

    People like DeepThought and Schala furthermore believe that people who make an accusation of rape shouldn’t benefit from the presumption of innocence which they want to extend to people accused of rape.

    If investigating wether it was malicious false accusation is removing the presumption of innocence, then just about no man EVER accused of rape has been presumed innocent – after all, they investigated at least a bit (regardless of it going to court, there was probably an investigation of some sort).

    You like your men with straw, right? One, coming through.

  74. Gjenganger says

    @Freja 73
    Yes I read it. And I would not dismiss possibility 8 out of hand as they do (A and B have sex, A thinks it is consensual, B thinks it is rape). That is the one that is most scary for your odd male debater – and incidentally the one that could not possibly happen with a wallet but might with a rape. And I am conviniced it could happen, in good faith. But yes, I put it badly. I still think that scpeticism is more warranted with rape than with theft, simply because the stakes are higher. A missing wallet does not trigger much policework, if the accused is never found nobody cares but the insurance company, and if some particular person is accused, you are not forced to kill either party dead, socially. You can always choose to believe that ‘it was probably an absent-minded mistake’ – and it is maximum a fine anyway. A court case is unlikely, and probably will not depend so heavily on the credibility of the accused, in practice.

    It is of course wrong to assume that the victim is lying, but you asking for rather more than suspended judgement. If you automatically believe the accuser, you take it for granted that the accused is guilty. That too has its price.

  75. Maureen Brian says

    Gjenganger,

    Of course I accept that there are odd, rare mistakes. There are in murder cases, too.

    You were originally arguing for some sort of triple lock – you have to penetrate, you have to do it without consent and you have to have evil intent.

    Now that you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that penetration by penis without consent is the crime under discussion – no mind-reading required – then you are back at the same place as the rest of us are and where the law is.

    As for drunkenness, that’s why I quoted the second bit of the description. Two people getting drunk for the purpose of having drunken sex doesn’t constitute a crime. Two people who separately get drunk and then go out on the pull, ending up having sex, is probably not a crime either. One person deliberately getting the other drunk or taking advantage of a drunken person he just happened upon almost certainly is. That is why the reasonableness of the penis-wielder’s belief in consent – by that person, on that occasion – can and should be tested either during the investigation or under cross-examination in court.

  76. Edward Gemmer says

    Now that you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that penetration by penis without consent is the crime under discussion – no mind-reading required – then you are back at the same place as the rest of us are and where the law is.

    There is still a requirement of intent in most rape laws I know of, besides the proverbial statutory rape.

  77. Maureen Brian says

    Edward,

    Gjenganger asked someone to point him at what the law is here. I did that. It’s at 74 and it’s in plain English.

    By the way, I’m 71 in less than 20 minutes from now and I’m still waiting to meet this mythical person – so useful to the “yes, but” brigade – who can insert his penis into anything without intending to insert it. Always, the brain is involved in identifying a hole for it to go into.

    _______

    “I’m sorry, Officer, my penis took off under its own power and dragged me behind it.” No way!

  78. Danny Gibbs says

    It is disbelief that sees rape victims being branded liars or sluts by internet vigilantes….
    It is also disbelief that sees the falsely accused branded as rapists despite what the evidence says.

    ….and it is the fear of disbelief that deters many victims from reporting the crime in the first place.
    And also deters the falsely accused from fighting for their innocence.

    If we genuinely want rapists to be convicted for their crimes, saying “I believe her” (or for that matter “I believe him” in around 10% of reported rapes) has to be the default starting position for police, media reporters and social media commentators alike.
    In short I have to say I disagree with this a small bit because starting of believing the accuser is the same thing as starting off disbelieving the accused (and when people start off believing the accused they are starting off disbelieving the accuser).

    To me it seems that rather than starting off with “I believe ___” it would be better to start off with “I have to find out what happened”.

    @62:
    The Duke Lacrosse circus wasn’t a case of “too little skepticism.” It was a case of a DA, probably for political reasons, ignoring exculpatory evidence. Of which there was plenty-the accuser gave multiple accounts, none of which matched any physical evidence. All of the players on the Lacrosse team gave DNA samples, none of which matched any found on the accuser. One of the accused was videotaped by a bank ATM machine across town at the time of the alleged assault, etc, etc. Much of the commentariat at the time insisted the DA must have evidence that wasn’t being made public or he wouldn’t go so far out on a limb, but he didn’t. He lost his job. The new DA (or it may have been a special prosecutor, I’m forgetting some of the details) not only dropped the charges but took the unusual step of publicly declaring the accused players innocent, not “we can’t prove them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt” but “they are innocent.” I’m not sure why the accuser wasn’t charged in that case, but regardless, the problem wasn’t people too willing believe a rape victim but a district attorney not doing his job appropriately.
    Also in that case there was a problem not only with the law enforcement side of things but also on the social media commentary side of things as well. When that case broke people were calling for swift justice because they just knew those three guys were guilty. There was no shortage of outrage and wondering why the innocent black woman had been raped by three privileged white guys and nothing was being done about it.

    As you say the evidence just didn’t fit. Mangum told multiple stories that contradicted themselves, at least one of the guys never even had sex with her that night, and a witness statement from Mangum’s own friend (another dancer who was at the party that night) contradicted what Mangum was saying.

    This is why I think this “believe the victim” or “start off believing her/him” is a bad idea. Sure we can try to lay the blame on NiFong all we want (who by the way even with all his wrongdoing he made a pretty convenient scape goat for people that didnt want to eat their own crow so they just shoved it onto his plate) but let’s be honest.

    NiFong basically saw this case as a chance to make a name for himself. He knew that bringing 3 privileged white guys to justice for committing such a horrible crime against a black woman (and even after they were declared innocent I recall people saying they knew that even if they didn’t attack here they were guilty of something) would have the public eating out his hand. So it doesn’t surprise me that he ignore evidence in order to make his case look good. Well, why did he think that case would be a good chance to make a name for himself? Because of the idea that when it comes to rape the victim must be believed.

    Try to find someone today that will actually admit to prejudging those boys back in 2006. Good luck with that.

  79. Freja says

    @76 Schala

    If investigating wether it was malicious false accusation is removing the presumption of innocence, then just about no man EVER accused of rape has been presumed innocent – after all, they investigated at least a bit (regardless of it going to court, there was probably an investigation of some sort).

    You like your men with straw, right? One, coming through.

    Who talked about investigation? People who disagree with Ally argue that the presumption of innocence should apply to rapists to such a degree that we can’t think/say the accuser is telling the truth until it’s proven in court. And yet, DeepThought (who’re among the people disagreeing with Ally) referred to a case as a false accusation even though no one had been convicted in court of making a false accusation, and you defended that.

    You might think it’s obvious that the woman in the Duke Lacrosse case was guilty. I might even be inclined to agree with you. But legally, she’s innocent, and if talking about a rape as having really happened before it’s proven in court is wrong, then so is taking about a false accusation as if it really happened. Both are crimes, and both the accused should have the same right to a presumption of innocence. And as I mentioned earlier, it shouldn’t be acceptable to say O.J. is guilty either.

    I personally don’t think going to such extremes is useful. The presumption of innocence is a good legal concept because it’s usually better to let someone guilty go free than to convict an innocent. But it’s not very useful in everyday life, when dealing with possible victims, and even in police investigations. And it becomes downright destructive when applied solely to the accused, leading to rape victims being wrongfully convicted or bullied to suicide by people who refuse to presume them innocent like they did to the rapist.

  80. mildlymagnificent says

    If someone freezes up at exactly the wrong moment in an otherwise friendly seduction it is a tragedy, but not a rape.

    The tragedy is the rape.

    There are plenty of examples where the woman/man is justified – by any reasonable standard – in withdrawing previously given consent. The classic example being when they realise that the promised condom is not being used.

    “Freezing up” is another classic example – this time of consent not being given at all. The moment when the not-frozen party should ask “Are you OK with this?”

    And can we please stop using 1950s euphemisms for getting people into bed who really aren’t enthusiastic about the idea. “Seduction” is a weasel word when we’re talking about rape.

  81. Freja says

    @77 Gjenganger

    Yes I read it. And I would not dismiss possibility 8 out of hand as they do (A and B have sex, A thinks it is consensual, B thinks it is rape). That is the one that is most scary for your odd male debater – and incidentally the one that could not possibly happen with a wallet but might with a rape.

    I think a link to the Yes Means Yes article about that subject was posted earlier, and it explains it pretty well. Also, I’m pretty sure a fight could happen because one party felt legitimately provoked/threatened, while the other party disagreed. In fact, that’s how most fights seem to go down. And yet, we don’t presume someone who says they were assaulted must have made it up.

    A missing wallet does not trigger much policework, if the accused is never found nobody cares but the insurance company, and if some particular person is accused, you are not forced to kill either party dead, socially.

    Your first example was a violent robbery, not theft. Remember Bob with the black eye? And people definitely have been wrongfully convicted of robbery. For instance, a woman accused her ex of having raped her, and he responded by paying illegal immigrants to go to the police and tell stories about being robbed. She was thrown in jail, and from what I recall, lost contact with her child and lost her business before the immigrants admitted to what was really going on. Ironically, when I first read that story, the first comment under the article was about how she must have been lying about the rape, because no one who was not innocent would go to that length to prevent himself from being convicted.

    And that’s the issue here. Rape victims are getting accused and convicted of crimes they didn’t commit (if not of robbery, then of making false accusations). Some are driven to suicide when they are bullied and ostracised by their peers for coming forward. Plenty of rape cases are not investigated (I’m sure you’re heard about the thousands of untested rape kits), leading to serial rapists committing more crimes before the reports are taken seriously.

    People are looking for ways to blame victims that are rarely seen in cases of other crimes, from thinking they brought it on themselves because they didn’t follow the rules (for instance, while one of Britain’s worst serial rapists was picking up victims in his taxi (while having already been accused of rape and being let go by the police once), rape victims who were raped while walking home were blamed for not taking a taxi), claiming they’re whores who deserved it, or just plain accusing them of lying. And there’s no way to escape from it, especially because some people see every discussion about rape that isn’t focussed on false accusations as a personal offence.

    In contrast, you recently wrote one of the most stupid things I’ve read all day (mostly because I haven’t checked what MRAs and religious fundamentalists have been saying): “The fact that Bob lost his wallet and got a black eye is pretty strong evidence that a crime was committed.”. Think about it. How on earth do you know Bob lost his wallet? Because Bob said so. How do you know Bob’s lost wallet isn’t lying in a ditch where Bob lost it while being drunk? Because Bob said so. How do you know Bob isn’t inventing his story of an armed robbery to get attention and insurance money? Because Bob said so. You assume the existence of a lost wallet based solely on Bob’s claim, and assume that a black eye is proof of a crime committed against Bob. Because Bob said so. And yet, you claim to not understand why Barb saying she got forced/threatened into having sex should be taken as equal proof that a rape has been committed. Even though Barb said so.

    And I don’t mean to suggest that you’re stupid here. Quite the contrary, most people are even more idiotic when it comes to rape. I’ve heard people seriously asking how a woman accusing a man of rape can be allowed to go free after he is acquitted. Lots of MRAs aren’t even asking, they’re pointing to it as an example of an injustice against men. Schala on this thread seems to strongly believe in the presumption of innocence for accused rapists, but she has no problem declaring someone a false accuser even though that someone hasn’t been convicted. Those are some seriously screwed up standards.

  82. thascius says

    @81-I think Nifong’s actions (and the social media commentary at the time) of the Lacrosse case were motivated as much by race as by gender. Many felt that a black man accused of rape would have been treated far more harshly-with reason it turned out. It was later revealed that the accuser had previously accused three black men of raping her, they were swiftly arrested and jailed-later released when the charges were dropped. Three less privileged men in the exact same position were treated worse than the Lacrosse players. There were people in the media screaming for the Lacrosse players’ heads, but there were others screaming that they were innocent and the accuser was lying long before the information started coming out. But nobody in the commentariat, whether left or right, had any power to decide whether the prosecution would go forward. That decision was in Nifong’s hands, and he had access to more information than anyone in the commentariat did either. The responsibility was his-not the screaming heads on either side.

  83. says

    —-If you can find a few forthright and unequivocal statements of condemnation (basically anything that doesn’t include the word “but…”) from prominent anti-rape campaigns or feminists, I’ll happily retract.—

    If you actually bothered to read the blogs of anti-rape activists, you’d find that virtually all of them have addressed the ‘false rape accusation’ thing and have pointed out that it’s about 2-5%, just like pretty much all other false reports.

    I’ve pointed that out many times in various debates. Shakesville has pointed that out (http://www.shakesville.com/2011/04/pictures-of-woman-charged-with-filing.html). Feministe has pointed that out. Feministing has pointed that out (http://feministing.com/2013/01/07/graph-of-the-day-why-do-we-keep-talking-about-false-rape-accusations/). Several FTBers have pointed that out. I blame the patriarchy has pointed that out. Man Boobz has pointed that out. Shapely Prose pointed that out. The Hathor Legacy pointed that out. It’s been pointed out in the Atheist Plus forums.

    http://cogentcomment.com/2013/03/20/why-i-wont-publish-your-comments-about-false-rape-accusations-2/
    http://kiwianainked.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/no-seriously-please-stop-bringing-up-false-accusations-when-we-talk-about-rape/
    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/05/02/faked-rape-threat-still-does-not-prove-women-cry-rape-to-cover-up-sex/
    http://theenlivenproject.com/the-truth-about-false-accusation/
    http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/sexist/2009/09/17/false-rape-accusations-and-rape-culture/

    It’s been covered over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again.

    And they’ve all condemned it. They’ve condemned it both as ‘it sucks for the accused’ and as ‘it makes things harder for actual victims’.

    It’s been condemned. Repeatedly. All over the internet.

    Here, I’ll condemn it again –

    FALSE RAPE ACCUSATIONS SUCK ASS.

    Oh..you didn’t want a but after it?

    Sorry, it’s a really important but, considering we are talking about a favorite MRA talking point that’s used not to address the actual problem but instead as just one more thing to try to make feminists shut up.

    BUT! the existence of false accusations should no more be used to dismiss claims of rape then the existence of false arson reports, false theft reports, false insurance claims, etc…. should be used to dismiss those claims.

  84. says

    —But there are costs for the accused too.—

    Citation fucking needed

    There are often barely ‘costs’ for those that are actually guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of multiple egregious offenses.

    I’ve seen plenty of cases in which the one making the accusation was turned on by the community while the accused was rallied around. I honestly can’t think of a single time I’ve seen it work out the other way on any sort of statistically significant scale unless there were other issues (the comparative race/class of the accused/accuser) at play.

  85. doublereed says

    @Gjenganger Anyway, the reasonable belief of A is as important as the consent of B. I suppose one could argue about what is reasonable, but a long as it is legal and acceptable for half-drunken complete strangers to meet up and copulate, surely there is no enforceable set of precautions that can avoid the odd, rare, mistake.

    Again, consent is not ambiguous. I have no idea what kind of sexual encounters you have had, but I have no idea where this double standard comes from. Consent is not ambiguous in any other situation, but apparently if I’m inside a woman, I just have no fucking clue if there’s consent? Absolute bullshit.

    I have no idea what you learned in kindergarten about the way consent works. Apparently this really needs to be taught to people in Sex Ed, because to me this isn’t that hard a concept.

    I’d suggest reading this article on the way rapists actually operate:
    Meet the Predators

  86. benco says

    @81
    Believing the accuser when she or he makes an accusation does not imply disbelieving the accused. It means following through enough to even bring the accused into the investigation at all.

  87. Danny Gibbs says

    @85:
    That decision was in Nifong’s hands, and he had access to more information than anyone in the commentariat did either. The responsibility was his-not the screaming heads on either side.
    I’m not saying that Nifong didn’t make that choice or that he should not have been held responsible for what he did. What I’m saying is (I think) that the very reason he made that choice was because the court of public opinion had already declared them guilty (he wouldn’t be the first political figure to make an immoral choice because he thought the public would support it). For the most part the loudest voices were calling them guilty (and also that any who didn’t agree were supporters of rape and violence against women). And when the truth came out almost none of those voices actually copped to what they did. They just blamed Nifong and moved on to the next hot topic.

    @88:
    Believing the accuser when she or he makes an accusation does not imply disbelieving the accused. It means following through enough to even bring the accused into the investigation at all.
    But wouldn’t “Found out what happened” cover that? You don’t have to take a side to start an investigation.

  88. Eristae says

    I don’t understand why people are perfectly comfortable deciding that the woman at the center of the Duke Lacrosse case is guilty of a crime (false accusation of rape) even though she hasn’t even had a trial but they are incredibly upset by the idea that anyone might decide that the men involved in the case were guilty of a crime (rape) even though they hadn’t even had a trial. If we must all believe that all people are innocent until proven guilty, then she is, too. Either we as private individuals (as opposed to members of a jury) can make judgments about cases separately from what the court system does or we can’t.

    I mean, unless she’s been tried and convicted and I missed it. If this is the case, egg on my face. But I don’t think that’s happened.

    I personally am more than fine with letting standards of personal belief be different than the standards of a court of law. This allows me to make judgments about both whether or not the rape occurred and whether or not a false allegation of rape occurred even though no one has been convicted of anything, and I freely admit to having done so.

  89. Jacob Schmidt says

    Ginkgo

    Jacob @ @72 – Are you really giving a dictionary defintion as dispositive? We’re not in the 4th grade here.

    I brought up the dictionary definition to defend my use of the term, since my use was what you objected to. The fact that we’re not in 4th grade doesn’t change the fact that you fucked up 4th grade stuff.

    Incredulity – okay; people should doubt their own beliefs, all the time. It’s just simple due diligence.

    What annoying about this is that I can literally quote word for word my earlier comment on this:

    The problem comes when people display something colloquially called ‘hyperskepticism’. Like being skeptical that an 11 year old rape victim is really a victim (she’s really like a spider trapping her flies, dontchyaknow). Or, in the example I gave above, where the police had video evidence of the gang rape, but instead said that there wasn’t enough evidence. And, despite the evidence being (illegally) circulated through the school, the victims peer constantly harrassed her for being a “slut” until she killed herself. That case is also very similar to the Staubenville case, where the victim was harrassed despite clear and obvious evidence.

    The problem is that people often demand levels of evidence that are unnecessary.

    I know I’ve said this before, but do try to keep up.

  90. Danny Gibbs says

    @90:
    I don’t understand why people are perfectly comfortable deciding that the woman at the center of the Duke Lacrosse case is guilty of a crime (false accusation of rape) even though she hasn’t even had a trial but they are incredibly upset by the idea that anyone might decide that the men involved in the case were guilty of a crime (rape) even though they hadn’t even had a trial. If we must all believe that all people are innocent until proven guilty, then she is, too. Either we as private individuals (as opposed to members of a jury) can make judgments about cases separately from what the court system does or we can’t.
    I guess because its an extreme reaction to the difference where people want rape to be prosecuted but don’t want false accusations to be prosecuted. Let me explain. In the conversations I’ve had and forums I’ve participated when talking about a rape claim there will be argument over whether or not the event in question was rape but at the end of the day the different sides will agree that rape is a horrible crime and needs to be dealt with (in short they may argue over what constitutes rape but they will agree rape is wrong).

    On the other hand when talking about false accusations the conversation usually doesn’t even make it to whether or not the event in question was an accusation because the arguing will get bogged down in whether or not false accusations should be punished or not.

    And there is a matter of the way that its only been in recent years that false rape accusations have even been prosecuted much less convicted.

    In short I think you see what you describe because the folks that have no problem calling Mangum guilty is because for the most part false accusers are never prosecuted (hell even people who say rape is horrible will turn around and argue against prosecuting a false accuser).

  91. Schala says

    Now that you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that penetration by penis without consent is the crime under discussion – no mind-reading required – then you are back at the same place as the rest of us are and where the law is.

    So, the UK and India rape laws – male perps, female victims, using penis, no other configuration possible.

    Love the patriarchy.

    Also love the insinuation that the male asks the female gives permission, and never any other way. Consent is something women give, to men. Because men are in a permanent state of consent. By virtue of owning (or ever having owned) a penis (yes, just check how trans women are treated in rape cases).

    “Freezing up” is another classic example – this time of consent not being given at all. The moment when the not-frozen party should ask “Are you OK with this?”

    What if the accused was the one freezing up? That is, sex act happens, partner A withdraws consent, partner B freezes up and doesn’t withdraw physically at this moment, until they come to their senses (hopefully a few seconds later, but still not when asked).

    Schala on this thread seems to strongly believe in the presumption of innocence for accused rapists, but she has no problem declaring someone a false accuser even though that someone hasn’t been convicted. Those are some seriously screwed up standards.

    Is there another Schala in this thread? Because you seem to say I said things I haven’t said. Aka strawmanning.

    Arguing against fictitious people is so fun.

    I wish I was arguing against fictitious TERFs instead of real ones, sometimes (not now). At least they’d be “gone” after I’m done discussing.

  92. Eristae says

    @93

    What you’re saying is messed up for a couple of reasons.

    1) You say “they may argue over what constitutes rape but they will agree rape is wrong,” but ultimately “they may argue over what constitutes rape” is a code for “they will not all agree that rape is wrong.” If someone asserts that it was fine that those men had sex with her because she got drunk and passed out, they are asserting that rape is not wrong. If someone starts going off about “what did she expect” when she let him into her apartment, they are asserting that rape is not wrong. If someone insists that the man had a right to expect the woman to have sex with him because he paid for something, they are asserting that rape is not wrong.

    Simply, people are willing to condemn “rape,” but they aren’t willing to condemn rape; they are willing to condemn the umbrella term that is “rape” but will only condemn non-consensual sex in certain situations. Rape is non-consensual sex. The fact that people are inconsistently applying the two terms (rape vs non-consensual sex) is not proof of anything except that people have come to have a greater degree of negative association with the term “rape” than they have to the actual action of non-consensual sex. If “rape is bad” is a statement that people take to mean something other than “non-consensual sex is bad,” then asking “is rape bad?” means nothing.

    They actually did a study (which I will go look for if you want) that shows that men are much more likely to admit to having engaged in rape if you call it something other than rape. But no one is interested in working really hard to get people to condemn a generalized, vague, unapplied term. Condemning rape is about condemning actions. If people won’t condemn the actions that are rape, then they do not condemn rape.

    2) You say “on the other hand” as if the underlying form of the two situations are different. They are not. For example, let’s say that a woman passes out at a party and then a bunch of men have sex with her. Will people universally condemn this and assert that the men in in question should be punished? No, they will not. Many will (and do) assert that she had it coming and that they did no wrong.

    And if, despite what I said above, you are still going to try to fall back on “but everyone will say that the generalized “rape” should be punished and not everyone will agree that false accusations of rape should be punished,” then I ask you, if you went to a message board and asked if people felt that a person should be punished for falsely reporting a crime (reporting a crime that didn’t happen), a false report that took up time, energy, resources, and severely damaged someone’s life, do you think people would say “no?” Because I would be shocked if that happened.

    You aren’t comparing the same things; you’re comparing a specific type of false reporting to the generalized term that is “rape.” You are comparing a very specific category to a very broad category that even you say people can’t agree on the definition of.

    3) To expand on what I said above, people most certainly do want false accusations punished. Do all people want all false accusations punished? No. But neither do all people want all rape to be punished. If you doubt me, I shall simply point you to the comment section of any of the articles about the recent spate of incidents where men have felt inclined to sexually assault women, take pictures and/or video, and then distribute the pictures and/or video. Hell, you can simply refer yourselves to how the people of their towns treated them in comparison to how they treated the rapists.

    4) Just because one decided that those men were guilty doesn’t mean that one felt that their treatment in court should be impacted by how one personally felt. What you are arguing against is people deciding that he was guilty when he hadn’t been to trial. If you’re trying to argue is that all people deserve a fair trial before they are punished, I don’t think anyone on this board would disagree.

    To test that theory (and here’s to hoping I’m not just laying out troll bait): is there anyone here who felt that those men should have not received a trial? That they should have been sent to jail without legal process? That the accusation alone is enough to merit judicial punishment?

    Now, I don’t doubt that you can find people somewhere who oppose trials. We find this in pretty much all areas of crime. “We all know that he killed so and so; we should just string him up right now and save the expensive of a trial!” It’s a terrible attitude, but it’s one that doesn’t spring from condemnation of rape.

    5) Are we really going to get into a discussion about the horrors of not prosecuting someone who has committed a crime in a discussion about rape given that rape is absolutely notorious for having its perpetrators not be prosecuted?

    6) If you can’t even get people who condemn “rape” to agree that non-consensual sex is bad, why do you think that you can get people who condemn “rape” to agree on anything in regards to false reporting?

  93. says

    Eristae @92: Freja says a lot of good stuff to just agree with.

    The ‘I believe her’ thing seems pretty straight-forward to me. Rape victims/accusers are ignored, blown off, disbelieved, and outright attacked for accusations. They seem to rarely get the support other victims do, and their cases not investigated or prosecuted properly, as compared to most other crimes.

    We should take rape victims at their word as much as any other crime victims. Both as far as the legal process and also in regards to family, friends, and others in the community supporting them. That appears to me all that’s being asked for.
    Feminists may be focusing more on women as the victims and men as perpetrators, but it’s pretty understandable they would be focusing on that angle (and the stats do indicate that’s the largest problem). But their solutions would seem to benefit all victims anyway. Even if they didn’t, once you get the biggest problem under control it’s easier to notice and work on other pieces/angles.

    It does seem to me that much of the resistance is based on hyperskepticism and some nearly paranoid uncharitable readings of what feminists are saying. There’s plenty of room for improving how we handle false accusations of crimes in general, which could also be worked on separately from trying to improve the lot of rape victims.

  94. Eristae says

    Oh, and just to be clear: I’m pretty sure that people who are against punishing rape allegations that are found to be false are afraid of making the reporting rate for rape even lower.

    Imagine that you’ve just been brutally violated. You’re scared, ashamed, and sickened. You know that prosecution rates for rape are low. You know that conviction rates for rape are low. You know that you will be condemned by some no matter what you did before, during, and after the rape. You know that your attacker, if convicted, will likely face an incredibly minor punishment. You know that some people will call you a liar no matter what the outcome of the case.

    And now you know that if enough of the right people decide you lied, you’re going to jail for reporting.

    Would you report? Because I wouldn’t. I don’t know that I could handle the trauma of a trial even without the threat of jail hanging over my head. Throw in the possibility of going to jail? No. Jail would be the end of me.

    Just how many cases like this do you think it takes before victims decide not to report?

    She reported. She did what I don’t think I could do. And look what that got her.

    If you were back in time, would you have told O’Leary’s Lynnwood victim to report? If she said she didn’t want to report because she thought the police wouldn’t believe her and would punish her, what would you have said? What would you have done when the law turned against her? How do you think she felt about reporting after all of this? Do you think she’d ever report again? Would you blame her if the answer was “no?” What would you do the next time you encountered a victim who was too afraid to report? How could you justify asking that victim to report, knowing that you won’t be the one to suffer if things go wrong?

    I don’t know the answers.

  95. Tamen says

    Maureen @80:

    By the way, I’m 71 in less than 20 minutes from now and I’m still waiting to meet this mythical person – so useful to the “yes, but” brigade – who can insert his penis into anything without intending to insert it. Always, the brain is involved in identifying a hole for it to go into.

    Well, you are about to “meet” one now.

    A woman decided to put my penis into her vagina when I was asleep without my prior consent. An act punishable with up to life in prison in the UK according to Sexual Offenses Act of 2003 Section 4 subsection 4C. An act described as “being made to penetrate someone else” and which accounts for one quarter of all non-consenting penetrative sexual acts and in the last 12 months (2009) it accounted for 50% of the non-consenting penetrative sexual acts according to the NISVS 2010 Report published by CDC (an US federal agency). An act the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) does not collect statistics for.

  96. Maureen Brian says

    No, Schala. In England & Wales the gender of the person raped does not come into the definition. The person penetrated may be a man, a woman or any other identification that person chooses.

    As I remember it, the law was rewritten in 2003 to give men and trans* people precisely the same protection and precisely the same clearly defined crime to report to the police, should it happen.

    There had been some unseemly squabbles in police stations and courts in the years leading up to the change – about whether it was rape if it happened to a man, about whether a trans* person could really be raped, about whether a sex worker could be raped – about anything really except how to proceed with the investigative / judicial process.

    Please read again what the law says.

  97. Eristae says

    Oh, and I wanted to post this gem, too. I found it while looking for the O’Leary case (which I encountered a while ago).

    Fun times, right?

  98. Eristae says

    Okay, I need to go to sleep, but I have this to say regarding female perpetrator and male victim rape because I missed it earlier:

    Men do not control their erections. Men have erections when they don’t want to. Men have erections when it doesn’t feel good to have one. We, as a culture, know this. We, as a culture, make fun of this (oh look that guy got an erection on TV in an inappropriate situation, haha that must be so embarrassing!). I do not understand why people who know that that a young man can get an unwanted, embarrassing, unpleasurable erection in the locker-room shower suddenly lose a handle on this fact if actual sex occurs.

    Orgasm is entirely possible during rape; orgasm is nothing more than an involuntary spasm of muscles which is often (but not always) connected to sexual desire.. Some women experience orgasm during rape. That doesn’t mean it isn’t rape. It’s the same for men.

    Now, I go to sleep. Zzzzzzzz.

  99. winstoncigar says

    ‘Anyway, the reasonable belief of A is as important as the consent of B. I suppose one could argue about what is reasonable, but a long as it is legal and acceptable for half-drunken complete strangers to meet up and copulate, surely there is no enforceable set of precautions that can avoid the odd, rare, mistake.’

    Hence Ched Evans being jailed.

  100. Gjenganger says

    @benco 88

    Believing the accuser when she or he makes an accusation does not imply disbelieving the accused. It means following through enough to even bring the accused into the investigation at all.

    It does mean disbelieving the accused – in normal English. By the rules of logic, “I believe Alice was raped by Bob” is the same as “I believe Bob raped Alice”. If that is not what you want to convey, you have to say something else.

  101. Gjenganger says

    @Freja 84
    I’ll leave it here – I am losing track of exactly what we are arguing about, and we are into diminishiing returns anyway. Thanks for the argument.

  102. Gjenganger says

    @Erista 93
    You are being naughty here

    Simply, people are willing to condemn “rape,” but they aren’t willing to condemn rape; they are willing to condemn the umbrella term that is “rape” but will only condemn non-consensual sex in certain situations. Rape is non-consensual sex.

    All agree that rape is a nasty serious crime of sex without consent. But there are a number of discussions about how far the term extends.
    – Is it rape if B does not consent but A in good faith thinks she does? (that is the one I was having above)
    – What is the minimum requirement for detemining whether somebody (still) consents? (How often should you ask, say?)
    – Is rape equally serious and equally devastating in all circumstances?
    – What does consent mean anyway? That you actively want to have sex, or is it enough that you could have chosen to say no without danger to life and limb? (If you come across because you are sick of being nagged, or afraid your boyfriend might leave you, is that rape?)
    That is the discussion. If you want to engage with it, you have to start from the point that either side could in theory be right, and then argue why you are right and the other person is wrong. But this you do not do. Intead you simply assume a definition of rape that means you are right on all points, and logically deduce that anybody who disagrees with you is not only wrong but dishonest. You may not care too much that this is a dishonest way of debating (after all, your opinions are obviously right). But if you want to convince anybody, you have to engage with their arguments, not just assume that they are wrong by definition.

  103. Gjenganger says

    @WinstonCigar 102

    Hence Ched Evans being jailed.

    What about him? The two footballers had sex with a woman who was drunk, but may or may not have been incapacitated. McDonald was acquitted, because the woman went home with him voluntarily, and witnesses gave evidence that suggested it might well have been a voluntary pick-up. Evans was convicted because he butted in in the middle of the sex and had no witnesses to back him up. Not an unreasonable verdict. It might still be wrong, of course, but unless you really have studied the case in detail you have no basis for dismissing the decision of the court.

  104. Maureen Brian says

    Ched Evans, rich enough and one hopes well-advised enough to engage any team of barristers in the land, was found guilty of rape after a full trial in a Crown Court. After that he was twice refused leave to appeal, the second time by the Court of Appeal itself.

    Perhaps he – and you WinstonCigar – should try to get his head around the idea that he did rape the woman as the jury and any number of judges believe he did.

    Here’s a summary with links to the text of the refusals of leave to appeal – http://ukcrime.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/ched-evans-appeal-refused/ – which is pretty clear! Do read it, please.

  105. Freja says

    @94 Schala

    Is there another Schala in this thread? Because you seem to say I said things I haven’t said. Aka strawmanning.

    Arguing against fictitious people is so fun.

    Go back to your post 15. You defended the idea of calling something a false accusation even though no one had been convicted of making a false accusation. Try sticking to what was replied to, not bring un unrelated points and calling strawmen when they’re not addressed.

  106. says

    Since the problem looks to be with the word “belief”, which, like it or not, has a definite ‘blind faith’ aspect, might the better phrase be: #takeherseriously?

    Because it seems to me that’s what people want. Don’t dismiss the person making the claim, don’t look for reasons to not investigate, don’t look for reasons to be a jerk about it. Someone just made an accusation of rape, *take it seriously*. It’s not even slightly at odds with innocent until proven guilty.

    It would seem to send the right message and avoid the legitimate issues people have with belief, and not require the contextual gymnastics you have to go through with belief.

  107. Eristae says

    You are being naughty here

    . . .
    Did you really just call me “naughty?” A term that is used to describe children and people who are being sexualized in an infantilizing manner?

    I don’t know how offensive you intended to be here, but it’s clear you intended to be offensive. Calling me “naughty” has no purpose other than to sneer at me. It’s purpose is to upset and anger me, and it has succeeded. I do not appreciate it. I dislike this kind of passive aggressive nonsense, and I find your particular choice of nonsense to be so offensive that I considered not replying to your post at all.

    - Is it rape if B does not consent but A in good faith thinks she does? (that is the one I was having above)

    If you put a grocery item in your shopping cart, miss taking it out when you’re paying, and then leave the store with the item but without paying for it, is it still theft, even though you in good faith thought you had paid for all your items? After all you took the item without paying for it, whatever you intended.

    Or, is it still non-consensual sex if B does not consent and A in good faith thinks she does? After all, A had sex with B without B’s consent.

    The fact that you didn’t mean to do something doesn’t mean you didn’t do it. Even if you are not to blame for what you did and should not be held responsible for it, that doesn’t mean you didn’t do it. If you have sex with a woman without her consent while believing you had it, she was raped. The only question is whether or not you can be held accountable.

    And in case you are inclined to decide to flash dictionaries (I can practically feel dictiophiles–and yes, I made that word up–rushing to their favorite website or search engine), I shall refer you here for a discussion on how the law has historically handled (mishandled would be more appropriate) definitions of rape.

    Or, for anyone who doesn’t feel up to going to a website and reading through it, I shall quote one particularly pertinent part:

    “Until recent decades, marital rape was not considered a crime. In fact, rape was defined as forcing sexual intercourse on a person other than the wife of the accused.”

    I am not going to sit here and argue with someone as to whether or not I get to call forcibly having sex with one’s wife (as opposed to a non-wife) “rape” because, look! Dictionaries! If someone can’t understand that forcing his wife to have sex with him is wrong whether or not he admits it is rape, I’m not playing that game and we might as well stop now.

    - What is the minimum requirement for detemining whether somebody (still) consents? (How often should you ask, say?)

    It pains me, immensely, that people think that this is the question we should be asking. It’s the reason that we have so many women getting raped by men who think they aren’t raping. But I’d like to believe that you and I aren’t going to sit here with you fluffling with statements like, “Well, she didn’t say no, she just didn’t say yes while she was lying there not moving as I had sex with her.” If someone is trying to find the absolute farthest they can go without it being rape, we have a problem. If you are about to have sex or are having sex with a woman and you are asking yourself, “Does this meet the minimum requirement for consent?” then you need to be assuming the answer is “no.” This is not a fucking carnival ride where you stand up and see if your height reaches the minimum cutoff line. I’m not pulling out a ruler so we can haggle over things like whether or not one’s hair counts in the height and to what degree (squashed down? normally fluffy? abnormally fluffy in a manner that id designed to make one taller? Do we need a shaved head?). This isn’t a beverage where we set out a percentage and then carefully measure the chemical content to determine if it still counts as “fruit juice” or if we need to pick another name. If a person is not willing to shoot for enthusiastic consent, then they need to not be having sex. If they can’t tell whether or not their partner is enthusiastically consenting, they need to not be having sex. Full stop.

    Here are some things that one can use to determine that a person has consented: have they said, “I want to fuck you” or some such thing? Are they grabbing your penis? Are they sucking your penis? Are they kissing you? Are they moaning or otherwise vocalizing pleasure? Have you communicated with each other as to birth control?

    Here are some things that one can use to determine that one should assume a lack of consent: Are they not moving? Are they not touching you? Are they pulling away from you? Are you asking yourself, “Does this meet the minimum requirement for consent?” Are you unaware of how they are reacting and simply assuming that they want it? Were the aforementioned present at one time but no longer present?

    This is, of course, not an exhaustive list, but if one is truly having trouble with determining consent, it’s a place to start.

    And barring all else, you can ask.

    - Is rape equally serious and equally devastating in all circumstances?

    . . . what does this have to do with whether or not something is rape? That being asked, of course rape isn’t “equally devastating in all circumstances.” If it was, all women would react to rape the same way. They don’t.

    As for “equally serious,” that depends on what you mean by “equally serious.” If you mean “should they all receive the same sentence in a court of law,” then of course not. If you mean, “Do we need to be spending more time and energy on men who clearly violate a woman’s consent–because it’s more serious–than we would on men who want to sit around trying to determine whether or not a current sexual act meets the minimum requirement of consent?” then the answer is no. That kind of mentality has lead to the absurd situation that we find ourselves in now where we run around telling women to avoid situations that they are unlikely to be raped in (by themselves outside at night) while ignoring situations where they are more likely to be raped (in our own place of residence or another person’s residence with someone we trust).

    - What does consent mean anyway? That you actively want to have sex, or is it enough that you could have chosen to say no without danger to life and limb? (If you come across because you are sick of being nagged, or afraid your boyfriend might leave you, is that rape?)

    *covers her face in pain*

    For real? We’re going to do this? We’re going to try to divorce a situation from any possible context and try to judge from this purely hypothetical situation as to whether or not it technically meets the minimum requirement to constitute “rape?”

    I earned a degree in philosophy, and if there is one thing that it endowed me with, it is a deep and profound distaste for this kind of mentality. “If you could go back in time and kill Hitler as an infant, would you?” We can’t go back in time and kill Hitler as an infant! The only possible thing that we could do is kill children who we believe will grow up to do bad things, and if you want to talk about that, then talk about that. The fact that we can never know that a child will grow up to be evil isn’t irrelevant to the conversation, no matter how much people might want to pretend that it is. Don’t set up some kind of disembodied situation that isn’t connected to reality and start trying to pretend that it represents anything.

    The answer to both of your questions is “no.” No, you do not have to actively want sex to consent to it and no, it isn’t enough that you could have chosen to say no without danger to life and limb. The fact that these are the two options you have chosen to present as alternatives horrifies me.

    That is the discussion. If you want to engage with it, you have to start from the point that either side could in theory be right, and then argue why you are right and the other person is wrong. But this you do not do. Intead you simply assume a definition of rape that means you are right on all points, and logically deduce that anybody who disagrees with you is not only wrong but dishonest. You may not care too much that this is a dishonest way of debating (after all, your opinions are obviously right). But if you want to convince anybody, you have to engage with their arguments, not just assume that they are wrong by definition.

    It’s clear that you don’t actually expect or want a response to this paragraph and instead merely desire to sneer at me some more (calling me “naughty” apparently wasn’t enough), so I won’t give one.

    You know, I wrote this up, but upon additional consideration, I’m not even sure I want to be talking to you. I’m “naughty” and “dishonest” and “think my opinions are right” (because we all hold opinions we think are wrong) and you want to sit here talking about the bare minimum that one can get away with before something technically counts as “rape.” I am so sick of trying to talk to people who want to use rape discussions as some kind of cerebral exercise were we can all sit down in our armchairs, safely tucked away in our Ivory Towers, and discuss some kind of disembodied situation that isn’t grounded in reality over a cup of tea. My best friend was raped. My sister was raped. Do you think the men who raped them thought of what they did as rape? No, they did not. Rapists overwhelmingly do not think that what they did counts as rape. They thought that what they were doing at the very least “met the minimum requirement to count as consent.” But none of that stopped my best friend from having stressed induced ulcers, bloody stools, depression, and serious thoughts of suicide. They weren’t interested in their partners being enthusiastic, and that is not okay.

    We need to be demanding enthusiastic consent. We need to be saying, “It’s not enough that she’s just lying there and not saying no. It’s not enough that you aren’t threatening her life or physical well-being. It isn’t enough that you can nag her into it. It isn’t enough that you can emotionally manipulate her into it. You need to do better than that.” If she’s just lying there and not moving, is she consenting? You don’t freaking know, so you need to be stopping and checking in with how she’s doing.

    But I’m sure that you’ll find some way to morph my frustration, disgust, and disinterest in playing head games into me being “naughty.”

    . . .

    There is a very real possibility that I should have read you calling me “naughty” and written you off after all. That did not set a good tone for my response. Not at all. None of this is likely to be productive but I wrote it up so I suppose I’ll post it.

    Considering how angry your incredibly infantilizing and sexualizing (and yes, that’s what it was, whether or not you intended it to be; when was the last time you heard of an adult being referred to as “naughty” in some situation that wasn’t a BDSMesque sex scene?) condescension has made me, there is a very real chance that I will not read or reply to your next post. I’m not saying I won’t, but I may not. It frustrates me immensely when people stop talking to me in a conversation and don’t tell me, so I’m giving you a heads up in case this is a determining factor as to whether or not you spend time writing up a reply. I’m not interested in involving myself in a situation where I get to put up with being called “naughty.” Next up I’ll be a “bad girl” who “needs to be punished.” Gah.

  108. Tamen says

    @John: An approach to find a compromise, a common ground? How novel of you :)
    I like your suggestion, but I have only one nitpick and that is that I’d prefer #takethemseriously rather than #takeherseriously since not only women get raped.

  109. Freja says

    @104 Gjenganger

    I’ll leave it here – I am losing track of exactly what we are arguing about, and we are into diminishiing returns anyway. Thanks for the argument.

    If you’ve lost track of the argument, how about we simplify it and go back to your post 34:

    “The fact that Bob lost his wallet and got a black eye is pretty strong evidence that a crime was committed”

    I think it’s really important that we clarify a few things:

    Why is it a “fact” that Bob lost his wallet?

    Why is Bob’s hypothetical alleged lost wallet “pretty strong evidence that a crime was committed”?

    Ditto for Bob’s black eye?

    Would there still be strong evidence of a crime if the hypothetical alleged mugger instead threatened Bob with a gun, leaving no physical marks?

    Ditto for the hypothetical alleged mugger using physical violence without leaving marks, or Bob being so scared he doesn’t report it until the marks have faded?

    I don’t mean to repeat the same point over and over, but you still haven’t answered it, and it’s quite important. The lack of a wallet is not evidence of a lost wallet, a lost wallet is not evidence of a crime, and neither are injuries that could have been gotten in a variety of ways. So why was it so easy to conclude that when Bob tells the police he’s been mugged, there’s “pretty strong evidence” of a crime, while the same is not true for rape?

  110. Jacob Schmidt says

    John C. Welch

    Since the problem looks to be with the word “belief”, which, like it or not, has a definite ‘blind faith’ aspect, might the better phrase be: #takeherseriously?

    The problem is that people are mistaking a general rule for initial personal reactions for police investigative procedure.

    It would seem to send the right message and avoid the legitimate issues people have with belief, and not require the contextual gymnastics you have to go through with belief.

    What gymnastics? Many people are raped; very very few of them are lying. The victims in question are almost certainly telling the truth. There are no gymnastics.

    Gjenganger

    Is it rape if B does not consent but A in good faith thinks she does?

    Yes, because B does not consent. It’s really that fucking simple.

    What is the minimum requirement for detemining whether somebody (still) consents? (How often should you ask, say?)

    Body language is a thing. I really don’t understand why people assume verbally asking is required. But an occasional “are you enjoying this?” or a variation thereof would be plenty, if you insist.

    What does consent mean anyway? That you actively want to have sex, or is it enough that you could have chosen to say no without danger to life and limb? (If you come across because you are sick of being nagged, or afraid your boyfriend might leave you, is that rape?)

    I’ve seen what can happen in the latter case. The victim ended up crying on my doorstep feeling used and ashamed.

    It does mean disbelieving the accused – in normal English. By the rules of logic, “I believe Alice was raped by Bob” is the same as “I believe Bob raped Alice”. If that is not what you want to convey, you have to say something else.

    You realize that language is mutable, right? We can mean things other than the literal definitions, particularly when our meaning has been explained again and again and again (in the OP, in this thread, and many other places besides). Our meaning has been conveyed, and quite effectively since plenty of people know what we mean, including, it seems, yourself. Your pedantry is unhelpful and, worse, wrong.

  111. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @Gjenganger

    If someone freezes up at exactly the wrong moment in an otherwise friendly seduction it is a tragedy, but not a rape.

    This was quite a way upthread, but I have to call you on it because it’s complete rape-enabling bullshit. Consent can be withdrawn at any time during sex; if your partner withdraws consent and you carry on then that is rape. It really is very simple. If consent is withdrawn during the seduction stage and you still go ahead with sex, then that’s even more cut and dried.

    Your phrasing (“freezes up”) implies non-verbal rejection of what’s happening, but that is still rape. It’s not much to ask that you pay attention to your partner and stop if it sems like they’re not enjoying themselves. That’s just being s decent human being.

  112. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    Body language is a thing. I really don’t understand why people assume verbally asking is required. But an occasional “are you enjoying this?” or a variation thereof would be plenty, if you insist.

    Christ, you could even incorporate it into the dirty talk. “You like that?” wouldn’t seem out of place or unsexy.

  113. Eristae says

    @Jacob Schmidt

    Yes, because B does not consent. It’s really that fucking simple.

    @Thumper; Atheist mate

    It’s not much to ask that you pay attention to your partner and stop if it sems like they’re not enjoying themselves.

    I send you happy, floaty internet hearts.

    I so very badly wish people would spend less time wondering, “Can I be sent to jail for this or can I technically get away with it?” and more time wondering about the effects of what they are doing. It’s like having a pedestrian walk out in front of your car and wondering, “If I run them over, will I be sent to jail, or can I technically get away with it? What is the exact bare minimum number of feet that need to be between me and the pedestrian when the pedestrian steps out into the street before I can be found guilty? What about road conditions? How does the required number of feet change if the road is wet to compared to when its dry? What about if its really wet or really dry? What is the exact moisture level requirement? How much of a difference does it make if the pedestrian in a crosswalk? If the pedestrian is walking against a red light? If the pedestrian is both in a crosswalk and walking against a red light? And how do we factor in the recklessness of the pedestrian? Was the pedestrian in a better situation to see me than I was to see them? Are all situations of running down pedestrians equally serious? What if there is something that makes my brakes less effective to an undetermined degree? Exactly how much do my brakes have to be impacted? How big of a difference does it make if I should have known something was wrong with my brakes? To what degree should I have known that my brakes had something wrong with them?” Just worry about stopping the bloody car so you don’t freaking kill someone. Whether or not you go to jail isn’t going to help that pedestrian.

    Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

  114. doublereed says

    @Gjenganger

    Wow, you really went off the deep end, there.

    This is what happens when you try to defend ridiculous claims. You start by saying “Well is nonconsensual sex really rape?” and now you’re basically at “Well come on, who knows what consent really is, anyway?” In a few posts I wouldn’t be surprised if you say “Well what if my beliefs about consent differ from yours?” and then perhaps “Well belief is a very fuzzy idea…”

    And while I find your dodging quite amusing, this isn’t a laughing matter. You are doing what people do to rape victims all the time: trying to argue that rape is not rape. This is exactly the kind of thing that is referred to as Rape Culture, where rape is equivocated and accepted as inevitable in society.

    We’re talking about real people in real life getting really raped by real rapists.

  115. Copyleft says

    I agree that criminal complaints should be taken seriously. If you define “believe” as “take seriously enough to investigate,” I’m 100% on board.

    But if you define “believe the accuser” as “assume that the accused is guilty,” that’s where we have the problem. The limits of belief are set at investigating the complaint, not rushing to judgments about who’s a victim and who’s a predator.

  116. says

    If we genuinely want rapists to be convicted for their crimes, saying “I believe her” (or for that matter “I believe him” in around 10% of reported rapes) has to be the default starting position for police, media reporters and social media commentators alike.

    And it is the basis of the UK’s adversarial legal system, as I understand it.

  117. Schala says

    They actually did a study (which I will go look for if you want) that shows that men are much more likely to admit to having engaged in rape if you call it something other than rape.

    What did it show of women when they were asked the exact same about their own behavior (as in, engaging in rape, not provoking rape on them, if that’s not clear)?

    Feminists may be focusing more on women as the victims and men as perpetrators, but it’s pretty understandable they would be focusing on that angle (and the stats do indicate that’s the largest problem).

    Feminist theory says rape of women is a tool of domination of class men upon class women, and that men who are raped are collateral damage, usually dominated by men in such a way as if they were women and *insert prison rape as example of this*.

    In such a theory, there is not even room for female on male rape to exist, except as freak accidents by serial-killer-like women, who obviously got traumatized enough by men that they got forced to act it out (ie it’s really not their fault, because patriarchy).

    Feminism has worked HARD to deny male victims and female perpetrators even exist, for decades now. It still does. Any time rape is mentioned, you can be CERTAIN that it will mention female victims, male perpetrators, and how it’s a crime to make women live in fear. Wether it’s from a conservative or a feminist angle.

    Rape culture is said to affect women, victims or not, more than men – even though men are often actively disbelieved rape COULD even happen potentially, just for being male (not for dressing a certain way, behaving a certain way, drinking whatever, trusting whoever – penis is enough). Male victims are invisible to media, uncounted in most surveys and crime studies, rarely even asked if it happens to them, and often switched up categories so they’re uncounted as raped. Victim services, including the UNs, actively disbelieves that there could be a need for male victims, even in war-torn countries where war-rape is used (and it’s ugly, like being penetrated with the pointy end of a rusty bayonet). Governments NEVER run campaigns with female perpetrators, and if they mention male victims at all, its strongly implied, or explicitly said, that it’s almost all rape by men.

    In India, women’s groups were able to oppose a gender-neutral provision on rape laws, on the ground that now men could accuse women of rape, and since it (the rape of men) never happens (what the women’s group said), it would only ever be used to abuse actual female victims by having a counter-accusation of rape towards her. And they won, the government decided against making it neutral. Kept it so that only women can be raped, only by men.

    Tell me again, how rape culture affects women more.

    Even in a country where being female truly is shitty, they can lobby laws their way and against male victims.

  118. Schala says

    I’ll add the same about pedophilia.

    There will be some who will gleefully say that 98% of those arrested for pedophilia are men.

    We call that profiling where I come from.

    Female pedophiles are given a pass of “a woman would never do that”, doubly so if she’s a mother. They, like their male pedophile counterpart, try to convince the victim that they want it, that it’s not abuse or wrong. Except they have a lot more backing and credibility in being able to deny being a pedophile – since no one even LOOKS for them as perps.

    I mean, just look at the means thought to cure pedophilia: chemical castration. I’m sure that works wonders on women. Ergo: It was invented with the thought that pedophilia was an EXCLUSIVELY MALE “maladie”, like pregnancy is almost-exclusively (barring trans and intersex people) a female thing.

    So we work on our prejudicial assumptions, to the point where we deem it normal and reasonable to profile all men who work with children or ever take an interest in a child in any capacity. Whereas those same people won’t assume the worse from natural caregiving nurturing women (even absent any demonstration of caregiving – See how the stern army-like matron with her posh daycare cares about kids (as in nurturing and all that) vs Eddie Murphy and buddies in Daddy Daycare – yet she doesn’t get suspected of anything, while he does (some mothers are initially reluctant to let their kids there)).

    And feminism, while hardly contributing to this, except to deny female pedophilia is even possible, doesn’t help fix it either.

    It would help women, by letting boys and men do caregiving stuff without undue penalty for owning a penis. It would thus lower the burden on those girls and women who would rather not do it. Nagging men to man-up-and-do-it (daily complaints about the second shift) while the penalty is still there is like telling your dog to go touch that electric fence with the power still on. It won’t yield results. It will likely yield resentment at being put in a rock-and-hard-place situation.

  119. says

    Tamen: I agree, but I’m trying to only fight one battle here at a time. As you can see, it’s not going to be easy.

    John C. Welch

    Since the problem looks to be with the word “belief”, which, like it or not, has a definite ‘blind faith’ aspect, might the better phrase be: #takeherseriously?

    The problem is that people are mistaking a general rule for initial personal reactions for police investigative procedure.

    Right. So since it’s a single word creating that problem, let us find another phrase that accomplishes the same goal without the actual baggage that “belief/believe” as a word does. I’m focused on the solvable problem of how law enforcement and the judicial system handle rape in this case. It is something that is important, and a problem that must be solved. If the CJ system were to stop not taking claims of rape seriously, and not, as is so well documented, regularly being jerks about it, then that would do wonders to help reduce the rate of underreporting. If that can be helped by changing “believe her” to “take her seriously”, then why attempt to dismiss it out of hand? Do you want to solve the problem, or kvetch about terminology?

    It would seem to send the right message and avoid the legitimate issues people have with belief, and not require the contextual gymnastics you have to go through with belief.

    What gymnastics? Many people are raped; very very few of them are lying. The victims in question are almost certainly telling the truth. There are no gymnastics.

    However, what you are talking about is a personal reaction issue. That’s not the Criminal Justice reaction. “Innocent until *proven* guilty” is, literally, the bulwark, the cornerstone that any country wishing to be civilized must base its criminal (not civil) justice system on. That’s something that is absolutely critical in limiting the power of the state to jail people who are inconvenient, or preventing the powerful from trumping up charges to manage those they have issue with. This is not contestable, the examples in history, in any country, where “innocent until proven guilty” is not given its proper importance are not small, and they are not good.

    As you see in the comments, the word “believe” has, by its very nature, an assumptive quality that does not work for the CJ system. There is nothing about “takeherseriously” that says “i think you are lying”. Assumption of falsehood sans clear evidence is the opposite of taking someone seriously. “takeherseriously” does not have any of the baggage of “believeher”, and manages to work towards the precise same goal. So given an option that appears to solve actual problems, you seem to be absolutely against it for no reason I can discern. Is it that “takeherseriously” doesn’t have the same emotional power of “believeher”? If that’s it, then I understand your resistance. I completely disagree with it, but I would understand it.

  120. Gjenganger says

    Oh dear, what did I stir up! Well I cannot leave this one dangling, but I think we should aim to get to a stable point and close down. It is an interesting discussion, but we are monopolizing Ally’s blog.

    @Eristae 110
    Sorry about that, it was not my intention to sneer at you. In different words I thought you were being a bit underhand and playing fast and loose with the normal rules for discussion. Wrong, but nothing major, like a mathematician taking an unreliable shortcut in a derivation. I thought ‘naughty’ covered that pretty well – did not expect it would hit a button. As for ‘dishonest way of discussion’, sorry, but that is my opinion. But hey! Just on these two blogs people have told me more or less that what I say is stupid, that I a spouting MRA shite, and that I or my arguments are insane and irrational, not to mention that I am a rape apologist. I guess it goes with the territory. At least I try to be more polite than that.(Any pedants out there: I did not double check the exact wordings. And I am not going to.)

    @Freja 112
    We really need to stop this. And yes, I expressed myself badly. Try this modification, though:“Given that Bob lost his wallet and got a black eye, that is pretty strong evidence that a crime was committed”. It is still imprecise, and it begs the question that he might just have dropped the wallet out of his pocket. I was getting at two diffferences between rape and most other crimes: Rape depends strongly on the mental state of the participants (consent and intent), and there is always a plausible explanation for two people deciding to have sex (Well, they felt like it! People do!). With most other crimes the physical facts speak more strongly: You do not have to consider whether Bob felt a sudden desire for a black eye, or had an irrestisible urge to give his wallet to a random passer-by.
    I do not think I will continue this discussion, and I will certailny not discuss my precise choice of words or their implication any further.

    @Jacob Schimdt 113
    Yes, language is mutable. But if you use a common word like ‘believe’, the message that comes across to most people (and subliminally even to those in the know) is the common meaning. If you tell everybody that you should ‘believe’ people who say they have been raped, people will think you mean that they should believe them. They are not going to double-check the footnotes, unless they are reading a scientific aricle. At best you are innocently misleading everybody. At worst you mean exactly what the words mean, and try to hide behind a technicality when you are called on it. The solution is the same: choose a slogan that will be understood to mean what you say it should mean, not something else.

    Now for the big one:
    There are some things we clearly disagree on, about rape. Can we make clear what they are, and leave it at that? I’d love that discussion another time, but we are getting off topic.

    Rape, as I see it, includes intent. If A behaved responsibly and had no particular reason to think that B did not consent, he is innocent of rape, not just unpunished. That does not help B, of course. But unfortunately you can do a lot of damage to other people without breaking the law. I am convinced that the criminal law of the UK agrees with me there. Maureen Brian, disagrees, though, so either she or I is unable to understand the KIngs English.
    Several people think that intent is irrelevant – which would mean that you had absolute responsability in rape cases? So, if you are careful and keep linstening, and a jury agrees it make perfect sense to think you had consent, but you make a worng call in a tricky situation, you deserve five years in jail? Really? This is what i meant by ‘freezing at the wrong moment’ – even if you are careful you can still get it wrong if the timing is bad enough.. Maybe you just mean that it is equally bad for the victim, and equally important to avoid? I would agree with that, but rape is a serious crime. If it is not a serious crime it is not rape. It does not help to muddy the waters. Then just because something is not a serious crime, that does not mean it is OK, or that you should not try to avoid it. Consider that a traffic accident is just an accident, even if people get killed. We do not have to claim it is murder just to get the point across.

    Finally, ‘minimal requirements for rape’. Just because something is not illegal, or a serious crime, it does not mean that it is acceptable. It would take someone both stupid and an evil to go right to the edge of what constitutes rape. Any decent person would stay well away from the edges. In fact we need behaviour rules that suppress behaviour that falls well short of rape. People have a duty of care towards their bedmates, certainly. But it still matters where the edges are. If anything short of ‘enthusiastic consent’ is a serious crime, we need to train our sons to do a lot better than mere ‘enthusiastic consent’. Which is what, exaclty? Intense passivity?

    That said, ‘enthusiastic consent’ does not work even as a behaviour rule. Neither does ‘only have sex when 100% sober’, more realistic though that is. It might work as a ideal. Our behaviour rules have the double function to enable people to have sex while avoiding bad and damaging experiences. All people some of the time, and some peope all of the time, will be where they certainly have consent, but no enthusiasm. Many people of both sexes prefer a drink or two before they go for sex. They are not going to renounce in the interest of a few people 500 miles away maybe avoiding rape.

    Let me be the first to say one thing: If everybody stuck to sobriety and ‘enthusiastic consent’, there would be fewer rapes. So yes, if we do not insist on enthusiastic consent, that means there will be more rapes than there could be. I do not deny it. Unfortunately, we do, as a general principle have to make trade-offs between common small goods and rare, big evils. If there were no swimming pools, fewer children would drown. Yet we still allow them.

  121. says

    Stern rebuked Harman for not distinguishing between the conviction rate for rape…..

    No she didn’t. A rebuke would at very least have required Harman to have been named in Stern’s report but she wasn’t. What Stern wrote in her report can be read here:

    “The six per cent figure is widely quoted We found in carrying out this review that it was well known and used by almost everyone in the field.”

    Indeed if anything the government response was more harsh than Stern’s:

    In addition, the review was critical of the way in which incomparable statistics had overtaken the debate around rape, the extent to which they had obscured the reality of criminal justice outcomes and their likely impact on the confidence of
    victims to report.

    And the Government “generally agreed” with her recommendation:

    “We recommend that the National Statistician and the Home Office should aim to ensure that the publication of crime statistics is always accompanied by enough explanation to ensure that their meaning can be widely understood.”

  122. Gjenganger says

    @eristae 116
    Traffic is actually a very good example. There are rules, and we more or less follow them, both the rules of the road and general advice like slowing down for fog. The rules are made to keep the number of accidents down, but not at the expense of freezing up traffic. We drive extra slowly when there are children on the pavement. Yet we also rely on other people behaving predictably. If some adult suddenly steps out in front of my car, that is his fault, not mine. Nobody tells me to drive so slowly that no pedestrain could get in front of my car before I could stop. And if somebody does step in front of my car unpredictably, nobody claims it is murder.

  123. Schala says

    People have a duty of care towards their bedmates, certainly. But it still matters where the edges are. If anything short of ‘enthusiastic consent’ is a serious crime, we need to train our sons to do a lot better than mere ‘enthusiastic consent’. Which is what, exaclty? Intense passivity?

    and daughters

    (emphasis mine)

    Training daughters would be a major step forward. We would be working against presumed 100% always-wants-it male consent.

  124. Schala says

    “Until recent decades, marital rape was not considered a crime. In fact, rape was defined as forcing sexual intercourse on a person other than the wife of the accused.”

    Does this mean husband rape was punished, or that it didn’t even enter the realm of possibilities in their tiny little heads that men could be raped by their wives or women in general?

  125. Eristae says

    I just suffered from an extreme bout of insomnia (no seem for me last night, am crashing) but I’ll post one of Lisek’s studies about men who will report having raped if words like “rape” and “assault” weren’t used, even though both of those words accurately described what happened.

    What did it show of women when they were asked the exact same about their own behavior (as in, engaging in rape, not provoking rape on them, if that’s not clear)?

    No women were asked anything in the study I’m thinking of in any capacity (as in, not about engaging in rape, provoking it, experiencing it, identifying or not identifying it, etc). However, the questions themselves were not asked about women alone (the nouns for the victim were ungendered).

    And actually, doublereed seems to have already indicated it or something like it (Lisak has done a bunch of studies on the subject and I’m always having trouble keeping them straight) in comment 87.

    If people want a PDF of the study itself, here it is.

    To paraphrase, when the researchers asked

    1. Have you ever been in a situation where you tried, but for various reasons did not succeed, in having sexual intercourse with an adult by using or threatening to use physical force (twisting their arm, holding them down, etc.) if they did not cooperate?
    2. Have you ever had sexual intercourse with someone, even though they did no want
    to, because they were too intoxicated (on alcohol or drugs) to resist your sexual
    advances (e.g., removing their clothes)?

    6.4% of men would cop to rape. Of that 6.4%, 63.3% would admit to raping multiple times either against the same woman or multiple women. 80.8%, admitted raping women who were incapacitated because of drugs or alcohol. 17.5% admitted using threats or overt force to attempt rape. 9.2% admitted using threats or overt force to coerce sexual intercourse. 10% admitted using threats or overt force to coerce oral sex. And that’s not including any of the other acts of violence (acts against children, etc) which are included in the study.

    And a parallel study (from doublereed’s source) shows that we aren’t having a bunch of men who are accidentally getting themselves into a screwball situation where lack of consent just isn’t being conveyed properly (“mixed messages”)”: “Looked at another way, of the 865 total attempted or completed rapes these men admitted to, a staggering 95% were committed by 96 men, or just 8.4% of the sample.” 95% of rapes and/or attempted rapes in the study came from 8.4% of the men who admitted to raping. 95% by 8.4% of the men.

    I believe they have done studies on male victims of sexual abuse that include male and female perpetrators (“The psychological impact of sexual abuse: content analysis of interviews with male survivors” comes to mind) but I’m starting to get a bit loopy from the “OMFG I need to sleep right now” sleeping pill I took, so things are beginning to make less and less sense, creating a situation where I should probably stop trying to paraphrase or explain articles, or even determine what the article is talking about. I’ll try again later. But Lisak has a lot of good info. I recommend, hopefully from a state of sufficient clarity to do so. I also apologize if my typos (already quite numerous) are even worse than usual.

    Off I go to try to sleep again.

  126. Schala says

    Imagine that you’ve just been brutally violated. You’re scared, ashamed, and sickened. You know that prosecution rates for rape are low. You know that conviction rates for rape are low. You know that you will be condemned by some no matter what you did before, during, and after the rape. You know that your attacker, if convicted, will likely face an incredibly minor punishment. You know that some people will call you a liar no matter what the outcome of the case.

    And now you know that if enough of the right people decide you lied, you’re going to jail for reporting.

    Who is shouting on rooftops that rapists always go free? Not MRAs. So you’re saying feminism is contributing to 99% of the problem, and those evil MRAs who dare want to prosecute perjury (which has to be PROVEN) might make a victim reluctant because he or she doesn’t understand how law works at all.

    If I think I could be arrested for something silly, like crossing the streets not-at-a-street-corner, and I was deathly afraid of cops arresting me at any moment because I did? It would be on me to educate myself. Not on the justice system to take white gloves with me or reduce punishment for stuff they do arrest for.

  127. Pitchguest says

    Jacob Schmidt

    Wow. If only solving murder were this simple, too.

    It doesn’t matter if “very, very few of them are lying.” If, like with murder, there is even a smidgeon of doubt, then the authorities are obligated to take that into consideration. To simply say, “I believe you” is heading down a slippery slope. But if they say, “I take you seriously” then at least it will be given the attention it deserves. That’s how forensic science should operate, not ‘blind faith’ judgements.

  128. Copyleft says

    You nailed it perfectly, Pitchguest @131. People, especially legal authorities, should take criminal accusations seriously–not “believe them” by default, but investigate them and examine the evidence. Prejudicial dismissal is bad, just as prejudicial prosecution is.

  129. Schala says

    However, the questions themselves were not asked about women alone (the nouns for the victim were ungendered).

    Most adult victims of male perpetrators are female, most adult victims of female perpetrators are male.

    It might be roughly about power and control, but it’s still very often within a sexual context, and barring sadists and pedophiles, according to the orientation of the abuser.

    Prison rape in The Shawshank Redemption involved a sadist and his cronies. He might have been gay, or not, but he definitely was a sadist. Most people, and no doubt most rapists, are not sadists. Being a sadist within a specific BDSM context I know pretty much nothing about. I’ll consider them completely separate to give the benefit of the doubt.

    Only asking men might have been an issue though. If we assume maleness, or a part of maleness (6% of maleness) is pathological, while assuming (without proof) that femaleness isn’t, this is NOT science.

    Just like assuming men can have fetishes and sexual fantasies, while women can’t, is NOT science. Yet Ray Blanchard got away with it.

    He “found” that “people-assigned-men who sometimes dressed as women” (which range from occasional cross-dresser to a portion of trans women – since not all trans women have dressed as women prior to transition) were sometimes aroused by their fantasy and/or behavior, while cross-dressed. So he assumed that since women never experience arousal related to them being female, sexy, or dressed in certain ways (something he never proved), that this must be proof-positive that his group under study HAS to be men. Ergo: trans women are not really women, they’re just very perverted men. That’s his theory. Considered as peer-reviewed, and in the DSM. Look up autogynephilia for a laugh.

  130. Eristae says

    Ahh, quick response before I run off because I saw these:

    Does this mean husband rape was punished, or that it didn’t even enter the realm of possibilities in their tiny little heads that men could be raped by their wives or women in general?

    It means that the legal definition was a man raping someone who wasn’t his wife. By definition, raping one’s wife couldn’t occur because rape was by definition forcibly having sex with someone other than your wife.

    @eristae 116
    Traffic is actually a very good example. There are rules, and we more or less follow them, both the rules of the road and general advice like slowing down for fog. The rules are made to keep the number of accidents down, but not at the expense of freezing up traffic. We drive extra slowly when there are children on the pavement. Yet we also rely on other people behaving predictably. If some adult suddenly steps out in front of my car, that is his fault, not mine. Nobody tells me to drive so slowly that no pedestrain could get in front of my car before I could stop. And if somebody does step in front of my car unpredictably, nobody claims it is murder.

    First, you most certainly can be found guilty of a crime if a pedestrian suddenly steps out in front of your car unpredictably. Pedestrians are always assumed to have the right of way no matter what they do, stupid or not (at least where I am). Instead, the question comes down to whether or not you could have prevented hitting the person, not whether or not you decided that it was okay to hit the person because they had stepped off a curb and not met some minimal number of feet. Whether or not it was murder would depend on any number of things, but no one would contest that it was killing. You may not have meant to kill the person, but you did. You may not have meant to rape the person, but you did. Should we send you to jail for either? That we need more information on.

    And I can’t think of a situation where a person knows they are about to rape a person and somehow cannot stop. It’s one of the failings of the analogy: there are any number of things that can stop you from being able to stop the car. What are the things that would stop a person from raping? I don’t know, having a gun held to your head and being ordered to rape someone or you’ll both be shot? You see the pedestrian there and you can’t stop. You see the woman is there about to be raped by you and . . . you can’t stop? I don’t see how that can make sense.

    Furthermore, if you weren’t paying attention and hit that pedestrian (i.e. you didn’t see the pedestrian before you hit them), you wouldn’t be getting off the hook (this is why many states make texting while driving illegal; you are not allowed to engage in behavior that will cause you to not know there is a pedestrian in front of you). If you aren’t paying attention to how your partner is doing, if you aren’t responding to the queues that are being sent out because you are more interested in something else, it’s not different from texting instead of looking at the road because you are more interested in the text than in the road.

    I don’t understand what difference you seem to believe is present between “He had sex with her against her will and without her consent” and “He raped her.” What meaningful difference do you make between the two?

    Sleeeeeeepy Sorry sorry. Also hungry. Will try to come back later.

  131. Schala says

    It means that the legal definition was a man raping someone who wasn’t his wife. By definition, raping one’s wife couldn’t occur because rape was by definition forcibly having sex with someone other than your wife.

    You didn’t answer the question.

    The question was, was marital rape of the husband considered even possible as an act (even if legal), at that time?

  132. Gjenganger says

    @eristae 113

    And I can’t think of a situation where a person knows they are about to rape a person and somehow cannot stop.

    If you know she does not consent (so you know you are about to rape her) there is no excuse. If you think (reasonably etc.) she does consent, you do not know you are about to rape her – you think you are just having sex. That is, like, the point.

  133. Schala says

    And I can’t think of a situation where a person knows they are about to rape a person and somehow cannot stop. It’s one of the failings of the analogy: there are any number of things that can stop you from being able to stop the car. What are the things that would stop a person from raping?

    If the alleged victim tells the alleged perpetrator to stop at any given moment, and they don’t stop exactly at that moment, possibly due to being drunk, stone, or otherwise judgment impaired (but not enough to be unable to consent), then they could be considered a rapist.

    Of course, legally, this is supposed to be gender neutral, but no rape of men due to saying no and her continuing gets taken seriously. He’s assumed to be in a state of permanent consent. By common sense, general everyone’s knowledge and such.

  134. Ginkgo says

    Jacob @ 91 – “I know I’ve said this before, but do try to keep up.”

    I am keeping up. You are not making your case. Try to keep up.

  135. Ginkgo says

    Maureen @ 80 – “By the way, I’m 71 in less than 20 minutes from now and I’m still waiting to meet this mythical person – so useful to the “yes, but” brigade – who can insert his penis into anything without intending to insert it. Always, the brain is involved in identifying a hole for it to go into.”

    Well there’s no fool like an old fool apprently. You have lived this long and still know nothing about the male body? You are ignorant and you have no excuse for it. Don’t bother going on to be 72 unless you bother to learn some basics about the other half of the species. Sexist pig.

    You are also a rape apologist.

  136. Jacob Schmidt says

    John C. Welch

    Right. So since it’s a single word creating that problem, let us find another phrase that accomplishes the same goal without the actual baggage that “belief/believe” as a word does.

    The problem is people being disingenuous in their interpretations. I feel no need to try and appease them. If you prefer to use “I take her seriously”, go ahead. No one is stopping you.

    However, what you are talking about is a personal reaction issue. That’s not the Criminal Justice reaction.

    Right. So why are you whining about the CJ reaction? It’s not relevant, and it’s been addressed repeatedly, notably by Ally at 30, 33, 35, and 46.

    So given an option that appears to solve actual problems, you seem to be absolutely against it for no reason I can discern. Is it that “takeherseriously” doesn’t have the same emotional power of “believeher”? If that’s it, then I understand your resistance. I completely disagree with it, but I would understand it.

    My problem with “take them seriously” is that, ostensibly, the police already do that. It’s clearly not enough.

    Gjenganger

    At best you are innocently misleading everybody. At worst you mean exactly what the words mean, and try to hide behind a technicality when you are called on it.

    What a nice bit of projection. The technicality is your entire argument. I’m asking you to ignore the technicality, since most people don’t bother with precise definitions in every day conversation, and since the actual meaning has been explained ad nauseum.

    Rape, as I see it, includes intent.

    Then you’re wrong. There’s two conditions that must be met: sex and lack of consent. Once both are met, rape has occured.

    If A behaved responsibly and had no particular reason to think that B did not consent, he is innocent of rape, not just unpunished.

    “Innocent of rape” does not mean “rape has not occurred”. In your imaginary secenario, if A does all they can to ensure that B consents, and if A comes to think that B consents, but B doesn’t consent, the best interpretation possible is that A is not guilty of rape. But sex without consent still happened, so rape still happened.

    Several people think that intent is irrelevant – which would mean that you had absolute responsability in rape cases? So, if you are careful and keep linstening, and a jury agrees it make perfect sense to think you had consent, but you make a worng call in a tricky situation, you deserve five years in jail? Really?

    No. Your inability to understand what’s been explained several times is duly noted. The situation is not “tricky”. Stop pretending it is.

    Traffic is actually a very good example. There are rules, and we more or less follow them, both the rules of the road and general advice like slowing down for fog.

    And yet, even if we decide the driver is not guilty, the pedestrian was still hit by a fucking car.

    It’s clear that you’re trying to come up with some imaginary situation where one can have sex with someone without consent and not be held accountable for it. Stop it. It’s disgusting and unhelpful.

    Pitchguest

    It doesn’t matter if “very, very few of them are lying.” If, like with murder, there is even a smidgeon of doubt, then the authorities are obligated to take that into consideration.

    You can always tell when someone hasn’t read the thread yet. Try again, Pitchguest. The thrust of your comment has been addressed many times.

    Schala

    You didn’t answer the question.

    Your question was irrelevant.

  137. Jacob Schmidt says

    Ginkgo

    I am keeping up. You are not making your case. Try to keep up.

    When you actually respond to the arguments presented, I’ll take this claim seriously.

    Well there’s no fool like an old fool apprently. You have lived this long and still know nothing about the male body? You are ignorant and you have no excuse for it. Don’t bother going on to be 72 unless you bother to learn some basics about the other half of the species. Sexist pig.

    You are also a rape apologist.

    Well, that was an overreaction (telling someone to go die is a bit much, don’t you think?), especially since your claim is false.

    Schala

    If the alleged victim tells the alleged perpetrator to stop at any given moment, and they don’t stop exactly at that moment, possibly due to being drunk, stone, or otherwise judgment impaired (but not enough to be unable to consent), then they could be considered a rapist.

    So they kept having sex without someone without their consent. They raped. They’re rapists. Jesus fuck, why is this so difficult?

  138. says

    Jacob @140:

    John C. Welch

    Right. So since it’s a single word creating that problem, let us find another phrase that accomplishes the same goal without the actual baggage that “belief/believe” as a word does.

    The problem is people being disingenuous in their interpretations. I feel no need to try and appease them. If you prefer to use “I take her seriously”, go ahead. No one is stopping you.

    Really? Everyone? If you think I am being disingenuous in my statements, why? If it is only some people, then don’t the non-disingenuous arguments deserve to be taken seriously?

    What makes pointing out there is a problem with the word “believe” disingenuous?

    However, what you are talking about is a personal reaction issue. That’s not the Criminal Justice reaction.

    Right. So why are you whining about the CJ reaction? It’s not relevant, and it’s been addressed repeatedly, notably by Ally at 30, 33, 35, and 46.

    Given that one of the targets for believeher is you know, the people who are tasked with getting rapists off the streets and in a prison where they belong, I’d say the CJ system reaction is HUGELY important. As well, “Whining”? So is it that anyone disagreeing with you in a non-accusatory manner, who even goes and attempts to come up with an alternate solution is “whining”?

    I’m so very glad I tried to treat this as an actual problem and didn’t dismiss your arguments as “whining”. I see how well it works with you.

    So given an option that appears to solve actual problems, you seem to be absolutely against it for no reason I can discern. Is it that “takeherseriously” doesn’t have the same emotional power of “believeher”? If that’s it, then I understand your resistance. I completely disagree with it, but I would understand it.

    My problem with “take them seriously” is that, ostensibly, the police already do that. It’s clearly not enough.

    “Ostensibly” or not, given the actual data on how far too many law enforcement people are dismissive of the accusation/claim, I’d say, no, LE and the CJ system as a whole are not taking women seriously.

    If the first response to “I want to report a rape, my own” is “were you drinking”, that’s not taking the person seriously. If the first response is “what were you wearing” or “did you fight back” or any of the other dismissive responses that LE has been documented as responding with, then clearly there is an actual problem with LE not taking people seriously.

    However, I’m starting to think that, given how dismissive you are of my points, and clearly, not taking them seriously, that you’ve made up your mind that there Can Be Only One Solution, and will not take any alternate methods as naught but whining.

    I see that approach being really useful.

  139. Schala says

    Then you’re wrong. There’s two conditions that must be met: sex and lack of consent. Once both are met, rape has occured.

    Mens rea is intent to commit a crime. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, but not knowing you lack consent is not ignoring law, it’s thinking you observe it just nicely.

    Someone can be victim of rape without having a rapist, then, since you define the act differently than the crime.

    So they kept having sex without someone without their consent. They raped. They’re rapists. Jesus fuck, why is this so difficult?

    Because continuing for 30 seconds because you’re “not all there mentally” is not brutally and violently wanting to use power and control to abuse a victim…it’s just being impaired mentally to the point of accidentally victimizing someone.

    And since we don’t have 3rd degree sexual assault, it’s just regrettable, not rape.

  140. Schala says

    Your question was irrelevant.

    So the fact that society was all too eager to ignore male victims of rape in the past as well (not even considering the POSSIBILITY of husband marital rape) is irrelevant?

    Hey, at least they thought it was POSSIBLE to rape a wife, just that it didn’t count. Then they fixed it, now it counts.

  141. Copyleft says

    Oh, is someone pretending that women cannot commit rape because men are always consenting? That’s just sad… and on a site devoted to skepticism, too! (I guess that’s another example of “not enough skepticism.”)

  142. says

    It’s this simple –

    If she didn’t say ‘yes’, you raped her.

    Knock off this ‘well she didn’t say no in the precise manner I wanted her too so I don’t feel I raped her’.

    The absence of a no is not a yes. The question should never be did he/she say no, the question should always be did he/she say yes.

    The default should be a ‘no’. That means that unless you are getting a ‘yes’, you should assume that the answer is no and not proceed with the sexual act.

    Men and women do not exist in a default state of consent.

    I mean, for fuck’s sake, you can grasp this in every other aspect of your life, or do you regularly just walk into people’s homes and defend yourself with ‘well the door was open and they didn’t come right out and say I couldn’t come in’. Do you regularly walk up to folks and help yourself to the food on their plates and defend yourself with ‘well you didn’t say I couldn’t have that so I thought it was okay?’ Do you defend yourself from the grand theft auto charges by saying ‘well he didn’t say I couldn’t drive his vehicle and he did go ahead and leave it parked right there where I could get at it?’

    Is this really a conversation you think needs to be had? Is it really a concept that hard to grasp? Or are you JAQing off in an attempt to derail and defend rapists?

  143. Jacob Schmidt says

    John C. Whelch

    Really? Everyone? If you think I am being disingenuous in my statements, why?

    Didn’t say everyone, didn’t say you were.

    If it is only some people, then don’t the non-disingenuous arguments deserve to be taken seriously?

    I’ve done so. I won’t object to the use of “I take them seriously”. I understand the reasoning behind it. I’ve already said so.

    As well, “Whining”? So is it that anyone disagreeing with you in a non-accusatory manner, who even goes and attempts to come up with an alternate solution is “whining”?

    “Whining” is my go to description for irrelevant derails. I did not mean it that way. The miscommunication is my fault. My apologies.

    I’m so very glad I tried to treat this as an actual problem and didn’t dismiss your arguments as “whining”. I see how well it works with you.

    Even if I meant “whining” the way you (justifiably) interpreted it, I still addressed your arguments; there was no dismissal.

    If the first response to “I want to report a rape, my own” is “were you drinking”, that’s not taking the person seriously. If the first response is “what were you wearing” or “did you fight back” or any of the other dismissive responses that LE has been documented as responding with, then clearly there is an actual problem with LE not taking people seriously.

    Right. But telling them to do something they already think they do is likely to be very ineffective. The main problem is the initial distrust of the victims account; telling the police (and everyone) to believe them, at least initially, addresses this far better than “take them seriously”.

    Copyleft

    Oh, is someone pretending that women cannot commit rape because men are always consenting? That’s just sad… and on a site devoted to skepticism, too!

    No one did. Schala likes her strawmen, is all. Do you have anything substantive to say, or are you just being a cheerleader at this point?

    Schala

    Mens rea is intent to commit a crime. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, but not knowing you lack consent is not ignoring law, it’s thinking you observe it just nicely.

    Literally didn’t address the argument. I don’t give a shit about legal guilt at this point. Just because you can’t be charged for muder doesn’t mean someone wasn’t killed. Just because you can’t be charged with assault doesn’t mean you didn’t assault somebody. Just because the law decides you aren’t guilty of rape (i.e. marital rape until recently), doesn’t mean you haven’t raped.

    Because continuing for 30 seconds because you’re “not all there mentally” is not brutally and violently wanting to use power and control to abuse a victim…it’s just being impaired mentally to the point of accidentally victimizing someone.

    And since we don’t have 3rd degree sexual assault, it’s just regrettable, not rape.

    Oh, fuck right off. It’s rape. You don’t get to arbitrarily define rape as “brutal use of violence and power to control and abuse”, particularly when most rapes aren’t violent, including the rape of men. What’s disgusting is that you accuse others of diminishing the rape of men, but you’ve just diminished the rape of most victims accross the board.

    This “legitimate rape” bullshit needs to end.

  144. Ginkgo says

    Jacob @ 141 – “Well there’s no fool like an old fool apprently. You have lived this long and still know nothing about the male body? You are ignorant and you have no excuse for it. Don’t bother going on to be 72 unless you bother to learn some basics about the other half of the species. Sexist pig.

    You are also a rape apologist.

    “Well, that was an overreaction (telling someone to go die is a bit much, don’t you think?),”

    No. We old farts do that now and again when there is good cause. Young bigots have the excuse of being young and stupid; she doesn’t. She probably doesn’t need you as a defender anyway, Strong Independent Woman and all that.

    “especially since your claim is false.”

    Obviously you can’t see rape apology when it comes out of a female mouth. For the record, she equated an erect penis with consent. By WithinThisMind’s standard of getting an explicit “yes” that is rape apology – and it is rape if a woman acts on it – and by any decent standard it is too.

  145. Ally Fogg says

    @Schala

    I think you’re misunderstanding mens rea as it is applied in law.

    For starters, drunkenness or drug impairment is not accepted as a mens rea defence in UK law. “I was pissed m,’lud” doesn’t count as a defence.

    A mens rea defence against rape could only work in the type of situation where the “victim” changes her mind without any visible sign of “freezing up” or without saying anything, whereby a reasonable person could presume that consent was still in place. Where there are signs that a reasonable person might be presumed able to detect that consent has been withdrawn, if sex continues it is legally rape.

    Also there was a test case very recently which clarified where the law stands on the specifics of consent. Basically, if you do not have consent at any given moment for any given act, it can be classified as rape.

    I covered this in an article here

  146. Ally Fogg says

    Gingko

    I think you completely misunderstood Maureen’s point at 80. As I understood it, she wasn’t talking about men being forced to penetrate, she was talking about men who were supposedly incapable of distinguishing consent and “accidentally” raping people.

  147. Schala says

    “A mens rea defence against rape could only work in the type of situation where the “victim” changes her mind without any visible sign of “freezing up” or without saying anything, whereby a reasonable person could presume that consent was still in place”

    What if they continued for just 10 seconds because they were out of it? It’s not a defense for continuing as much as its a defense for not stopping at that very moment.

    I’ve been spaced out before, without being drunk or stone. You lose sight of everything around you, notion of time and even what you were doing. It wouldn’t be bizarre if someone under influence of alcohol or drugs would space out sometimes, to the point where they don’t immediately stop (but they still do stop, just too late for some).

  148. Schala says

    “No one did. Schala likes her strawmen, is all”

    I wasn’t replying to someone’s argument to the point that they were. Only the implicit suggestion with “training our sons to get consent”, and the presenting rape as an issue of violence against women.

  149. Eristae says

    @ Schala

    We would be working against presumed 100% always-wants-it male consent.

    We really, really, really need to do this. As it stands, men are having sex with women when they don’t want to have sex with because our society tells them that they must. Our society tells them they must consent to sex or they are not real men, which is not consent at all.

    Our view of consent is fucked. It is not any more okay to create a society that says men must put out all the time than it is to say that women must put out if they do X, Y, or Z.

    Most adult victims of male perpetrators are female, most adult victims of female perpetrators are male.

    Citation?

    Only asking men might have been an issue though. If we assume maleness, or a part of maleness (6% of maleness) is pathological, while assuming (without proof) that femaleness isn’t, this is NOT science.

    Women are always getting left out of studies. It’s one of the incredibly common issues in science, and it sucks. It’s often done to homogenize the population (there may be a difference in the results for males and females, the only have the ability run one study, etc etc)

    And yes, I would say that this is an issue with an underlying assumption about who commits the most rapes. I would have liked to see it if the study was broader in certain areas. I think it would be fascinating to see how many women would self-report as having committed rape if we couched the issue in non-buzzword terms.

    Who is shouting on rooftops that rapists always go free? Not MRAs. So you’re saying feminism is contributing to 99% of the problem,

    Er, I wouldn’t say that, “distributing accurate information about an issue” is a problem.

    and those evil MRAs who dare want to prosecute perjury (which has to be PROVEN) might make a victim reluctant because he or she doesn’t understand how law works at all.

    Or she does understand how the law works (see the example I linked to).

    If I think I could be arrested for something silly, like crossing the streets not-at-a-street-corner, and I was deathly afraid of cops arresting me at any moment because I did? It would be on me to educate myself. Not on the justice system to take white gloves with me or reduce punishment for stuff they do arrest for.

    1) You can be arrested for jaywalking.
    2) If you report that you are dragged across the street against your will outside of a crosswalk, are you going to be arrested for jaywalking? Because you’re ignoring the whole issue: not reporting a crime out of fear of reprisal. People aren’t not reporting crimes out of fear of getting in trouble for jaywalking.
    3) Which brings me down to: We want people to report crime. We don’t want to discourage people from reporting crime. We are perfectly fine with discouraging people from jaywalking; this is in fact the point of anti-jaywalking laws.

    The question was, was marital rape of the husband considered even possible as an act (even if legal), at that time?

    Actually, I did answer the question, although perhaps not clearly enough (drugs and all that): It means that the legal definition was a man raping someone who wasn’t his wife.
    Men would thus not be covered in any situation. If he was raped by anyone (man or woman), it wouldn’t have counted. Feminists have managed to get a lot of this changed in recent years so that rape isn’t just “penis in vagina,” but the rape of men is still a serious issue. Society has consistently said that men aren’t supposed to let themselves be raped, that if they are raped they are weak/pathetic/whinny/secretly homosexuals who wanted it. Rape laws are fucked.

    If you know she does not consent (so you know you are about to rape her) there is no excuse. If you think (reasonably etc.) she does consent, you do not know you are about to rape her – you think you are just having sex. That is, like, the point.

    And as I have said, repeatedly, that whether or not you think she consents doesn’t alter whether or not you are raping her. Does it alter whether or not you can be sent to jail for it? It depends. But that doesn’t change what happens.

    And I’m still really having issues with this “you think (reasonably) that she does consent when she doesn’t.” What kind of situation are you referring to? Like, are you super rich and her parents are threatening to have her beaten to death if she doesn’t have a baby with you (thus ensuring her fortune), thus she used her acting skills to persuade you to have sex with her when she didn’t really want to, or are we talking about and she consented at first but has subsequently stopped moving?

    If the alleged victim tells the alleged perpetrator to stop at any given moment, and they don’t stop exactly at that moment, possibly due to being drunk, stone, or otherwise judgment impaired (but not enough to be unable to consent), then they could be considered a rapist.

    I don’t know what you’re trying to say here. Are you trying to say that if she says stop and it take something like 2 seconds for the neurons to fire in a way that allows him to be understood before he stops, then he’s somehow in danger of going to jail? Because I really don’t think that’s the case, and I don’t think anyone’s arguing that he should be.

    I’ll give a general guideline on how long it should take a one person to stop having sex with another person once the second person says no: about as fast as they would stop if they were having on their parents’ bed and their mom/dad walked in. This is, of course, not universal (maybe some people are into that) but let me tell you, people in general move pretty freaking fast when that kind of thing happens.

    And if you are drunk enough, stoned enough, or otherwise impaired enough that you are going to have significant issues processing that you’ve just been told to stop, you need to not be having sex. You need to be able to stop what you are doing if you want to be having sex. If you’re going to keep going for a minute after she says stop, you’re raping her.

    For example, I had to stop the conversation earlier because the medication I was taking was making my brain slow and keeping it from processing things correctly. This made me decide to stop typing on the internet. If I was in such a state with the prospect of sex, I’d need to wait (although honestly I’m more likely to zone out and stop moving than anything rather than keep doing something) because my ability to respond to my partner’s queues would be severely diminished. If I ended up having sex with my partner against my partner’s will and without consent because of my drug induced haziness, I still would have managed to rape someone. This is why having impaired sex is a very bad idea, for all that our society really wants to be able to hold onto it.

    In that respect, drinking and having sex is like drinking and driving. Sure, most people may manage to drink some amount of alcohol and still manage to drive safely (because they amount they consumed was so small, combined with other things), but if you are drinking to an extent that your reflexes are slowed and you get into an accident, you are not excused.

  150. Eristae says

    Oh, and another side note, I guess:

    I, personally, know and have interacted with a good chunk of women who were raped. I, personally, do not know and have not interacted with anyone who will say that they were treated well by the justice system (generally police, but sometimes lawyers and/or judges).

    . . . and I don’t actually know anyone who has managed to get a conviction against their accuser.

    Oh! But I do know a guy who gave alcohol to a 14 year old and then, according to him, waited until she had drunk so much that she passed out before he had sex with her. She, on the other hand, insisted that she was drunk but still conscious and saying no when he raped her.

    What did he get? Probation and an order to not be around minors for a couple of years. That’s it. Nothing more. Everyone agreed that he’d had sex with her without her consent. Everyone agreed that there was no question that she hadn’t consented. Probation. I was actually in the courtroom when the whole thing was described, the judge made his ruling (it wasn’t a ruling made by a jury), and the sentence applied. I about fell out of the bench I was sitting on.

    To make things even more fun, he was later convicted of doing this twice more, although it was admittedly to adult women this time.

    So, you know, I haven’t had personal experiences that conflict with statistics about the outcome of rape reports. It hasn’t made me excited about reporting. Which is sad, because when I was younger, I really believed that if you got raped, the thing to do was to report. Now I see that the thing to do is report . . . if you are able to deal with going through massive additional trauma for what is likely to be very little payoff.

    If I got raped, my first call would be to 9-1-1. My second would be to a lawyer or a victim’s advocate (if I trusted the later). Under no circumstances would I trust the police alone to handle it.

  151. Schala says

    Er, I wouldn’t say that, “distributing accurate information about an issue” is a problem.

    Certain things don’t need to be told over and over, unless it’s about fear-mongering.

    Conservatives have kept telling women to not go out alone in the dark, not go out alone period, if they could avoid it. That everyone was out to kill, mug or rape them out the bushes.

    So now you have women with a heightened sense of fear outside, while still having a lower rate of mugging, murder and stranger-rape than would merit this kind of paranoia.

    Some women will tell you they have to mold their entire routine around their physical safety, compared with men who don’t, despite having thrice the risk of assault, mugging or murder from strangers. Men are told they have to be intelligent and mindful of what they’re doing and where they’re going, but not told to fear taking any step outside.

    It’s the difference between telling women that it’s possible that with he said/she said stories, it’s harder to get “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard, and the rapist might go free vs telling them they almost all go free and you’re pretty much better off going vigilante about it if you want to see anything done ever.

    The former is reasonable, and although it sucks, plainly states the facts. The latter is telling you the world is out to get you because it hates women.

    1) You can be arrested for jaywalking.

    That’s jaywalking? There’s actually a name for that?

    Is this the kind of crime that arrests a disproportionate amount of black men and is used as a blatant tool of profiling? Because I’ve never been arrested for that, in 30 years. And I probably should have a few dozen times. I’ve crossed streets not-at-corners even in front of police, before. The way was clear anyways.

    What I feared arrest for was crossing a highway (3 lanes in two directions separated by a grassy area in middle) on foot.

  152. doublereed says

    Again, this characterization of rapists making innocent mistakes is a lie. It’s a myth that in society that simply protects rapists at the expense of victims. This attempt at a fuzzy definition of consent is ridiculous and genuinely hurtful to people.

    If this characterization were true, then the rapists themselves would describe it as rape, which they do not. The rapists themselves would even turn themselves in because they would recognize how terrible what they did actually was. But this is not what we see. In reality, rapists are completely dismissive of their victims’ concerns after the fact, even to the point of mocking them.

    You are talking about situations that are completely ridiculous and implausible, and pretending they are realistic.

  153. Ally Fogg says

    WithinThisMind (86)

    It’s been covered over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again.

    And they’ve all condemned it. They’ve condemned it both as ‘it sucks for the accused’ and as ‘it makes things harder for actual victims’

    It’s been condemned. Repeatedly. All over the internet..

    First of all, apologies that your post was in the moderation queue for a while. It was diverted because the number of links flagged it as possible spam, and only just noticed it was there.

    As for what you say, well sorry, but I’m baffled. .

    Of the links you provided:

    1. The Melissa McEwan one is about the case of someone being wrongly punished for making a false accusation. It’s a horrific case and I don’t disagree with a word of the article, but it makes no condemnation of actual false allegations at all.

    2. The Feministing graphic has only one point to make, which is that false allegations are very rare. There is no condemnation of those who make false allegations.

    3. The Cogent Comment blog explains why she refuses to even discuss false allegations, far less condemns them. She says repeatedly that they are “not a problem”

    4. the Kiwiana blog says she’s prepared to discuss the issues of false allegations, but contains precisely zero condemnation of those who make them or acknowledgement of the harm they cause.

    5. the Marcotte Raw story goes no further than saying that ‘Lanker Simmons did a bad thing, but…” – always the but! That article also includes the line: “the widespread hysteria over “false rape accusations”, which anti-feminists are always on about and which they continually fail to prove are a real problem”

    6. The Enliven Project graphic page includes an acknowledgement that false accusations can have “a very real impact” on those accused, which is something but hardly a forthright condemnation of those who do it.

    All you’ve demonstrated is that when feminists write about false allegations it is to stress how insignificant and irrelevant they are, which was my precise point in the first place.

  154. Eristae says

    Conservatives have kept telling women to not go out alone in the dark, not go out alone period, if they could avoid it. That everyone was out to kill, mug or rape them out the bushes.

    I don’t know which side does it more, but it’s not just conservatives who do this. I get this from liberals all the time. It drives me nuts.

    It’s the difference between telling women that it’s possible that with he said/she said stories, it’s harder to get “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard, and the rapist might go free vs telling them they almost all go free and you’re pretty much better off going vigilante about it if you want to see anything done ever.

    But it’s not just “possible that with he said/she said stories, it’s harder to get “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard.” They do almost all go free, and when they do get some manner of punishment, it’s almost always light. Whatever the reason, that’s what happens.

  155. Ally Fogg says

    Schala (152)

    What if they continued for just 10 seconds because they were out of it? It’s not a defense for continuing as much as its a defense for not stopping at that very moment.

    Legally, if that were to happen and the facts were not disputed, it would be classified as rape, in law.

    In practice, if such a case were to be reported to the police, it is almost certain that the CPS would rule it was not in the public interest to proceed, and I certainly wouldn’t argue with that.

    The charge of common assault is similarly vague. If you touch me on the elbow uninvited or even breathe smoke in my face, by the letter of the law you have committed an offence. Likewise if I pick up a penny from a shelf on your kitchen, that is theft in law. In practice such charges are virtually never brought and where they are, there are mechanisms by which they can be dropped. That’s as it should be.

    That’s one of those Devil’s Advocate rhetorical tricks which is based on a logical fallacy – that if a law can feasibly be applied in a nonsensical way then it must be a nonsensical law. Virtually all laws can be applied in nonsensical ways, that is why there is human intervention in the system to maintain a link to natural justice and common sense.

  156. Jacob Schmidt says

    Ginkgo

    For the record, she equated an erect penis with consent.

    No, she didn’t. The closest she came to doing so was this:

    By the way, I’m 71 in less than 20 minutes from now and I’m still waiting to meet this mythical person – so useful to the “yes, but” brigade – who can insert his penis into anything without intending to insert it. Always, the brain is involved in identifying a hole for it to go into.

    She linked putting one’s penis in someone else with intending to do so, while addressing perpetrators only (context matters you know). You do realize that the entire conversation up to that point only addressed perpetrators, right?

  157. Schala says

    If this characterization were true, then the rapists themselves would describe it as rape, which they do not. The rapists themselves would even turn themselves in because they would recognize how terrible what they did actually was.

    So if you do an innocent mistake, you turn yourself in to the cops?

    So, if you go to a store, give 10$ and they give you 20$ back, you go and call 911 and turn yourself in for thievery?

    If you do an innocent mistake, you think what you did was terrible?

    Your arguments make 0 sense.

  158. Schala says

    But it’s not just “possible that with he said/she said stories, it’s harder to get “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard.” They do almost all go free, and when they do get some manner of punishment, it’s almost always light. Whatever the reason, that’s what happens.

    The government and a ton of companies have stolen billions of public dole for years on end, it’s documented. The Premier of the time knew about it, and it was all to finance a big campaign against the Quebec separating from Canada. 9 billion of public money obtained fraudulently.

    What did they get? Just about nothing at all. Not even a slap on the wrist.

  159. Schala says

    I resent the system for being so stupid about certain things. And people being rewarded for playing the system, on top.

    But I refuse to live in fear because there’s a high likelihood my abuser will go free. I’ll just be cynical about the world, in my corner over there.

  160. Eristae says

    So, if you go to a store, give 10$ and they give you 20$ back, you go and call 911 and turn yourself in for thievery?

    If you give a store $10, they give you $20, and you don’t say something alone the lines of “Oh, no, I gave you $10 and you gave me $20″ and return the money, you have stolen from them. If you decide to keep the money because, hey, it was an innocent mistake, that is theft. If the store finds out what you did and seeks to reclaim the money and you insist that the money is rightfully your’s, we have a problem with how you view the taking of other people’s property.

    Also, I think this analogy is incredibly inapplicable. People don’t accidentally rape themselves the way they might accidentally hand over too much money. No one says, “Oh, oops, I wasn’t paying attention and didn’t even realize that I’d gotten myself raped! I feel so silly and embarrassed.” in comparison to the “Oops, I wasn’t paying attention and I gave that person too much money. I feel so silly and embarrassed.” The level of caution that you need to show when exchanging money is not the same level of caution you need to show when having sex with someone. This is especially true when dealing with the small amounts that you put forth (as opposed to if the store accidentally gave you, say, $10,000 instead of $10). Furthermore, you’ve taken the person who was engaging in action (the rapist) and switched them over to the one who wasn’t taking action (the customer). In the case of rape, your situation involves the rapist taking active steps that are in error. In the case of the customer, you have the cashier taking active steps that are in error.

    Raping someone is substantively different than accidentally being given too much money. I really think that the analogy doesn’t work.

  161. says

    Perhaps, Ally, that’s because MRAs like to make claims like ’50-90% of rapes are false accusations’ when the truth is, it’s closer to 2% which is, in fact, pretty insignificant comparatively.

    Let’s start with two facts here, okay –

    A) false rape accusations comprise approximately 2% of cases, just like all other crimes
    B) being ‘falsely accused’ of rape carries with it nowhere near the consequences of being raped, especially being raped and reporting it.

    Find me a time when the whole ‘what about the false accusations’ case has been raised acknowledging those two facts, and you’ll find 99.9999% of feminists agreeing that yes, false accusations suck.

    But you know what? Those links did what you wanted. They acknowledged that false accusations suck and make things harder on everyone, both rape victims and the victims of the false accusations. They did exactly what you wanted.

    They just did it while acknowledging facts A & B, which prevented the whole ‘false accusation’ talking point from being the trump card the MRA movement dearly wants it to be, but that apparently doesn’t get to where you’ve repositioned the goalposts.

    Yes, false accusations suck. A friend of mine was falsely accused. And you know something? The consequences to him being the victim of the false accusation were nowhere near as dire as the consequences to her for making the false accusation. Additionally – she was mentally ill and needed psychiatric help (as is the case with many false accusations) more than she needed a fraud conviction. Additionally, the consequences to him absolutely paled in consideration to the consequences suffered by the several of his friends who were raped and either tried to press charges or hold their silence. Which is something that he, being the actual victim of this particular talking point, is generally one of the first to acknowledge. He got questioned by the cops for about 20 minutes, one of her friends shot him dirty looks for a while, a couple of ‘bros’ tried to high-five him and made him want to scrub his hands with bleach, and that was it, the sum total of the consequences. A year later, he didn’t even remember her name.

    The reason that those blog posts don’t make false accusations out as bad as you think they should is because false accusations really aren’t as big an issue as the MRAs would like them to be.

    So really, why should feminist blogs be addressing the subject of false rape accusations? This is an argument on par with the whole ‘Dear Muslima’ thing.

  162. Eristae says

    But I refuse to live in fear because there’s a high likelihood my abuser will go free. I’ll just be cynical about the world, in my corner over there.

    I never said anyone should live in fear. I said that telling people that most rapists are never charged, are not convicted, and if they are convicted, receive very light sentences is true. It’s true in the same way that having a defect in the BRCA1 gene drastically increases one’s chance of breast cancer. Do I want people cowering in terror at the idea that they may have BRCA1, or that they have BRCA1 and may get cancer? No. I want people to be aware of what’s really going on and making decisions accordingly. I want people making decisions based on accurate information. It’s the same thing regarding how the criminal justice system handles rape. We need to know what is actually going on to even try to make reasonable decisions. If we don’t want to know because we might be afraid, that’s going to cause problems. If you or I am raped and we press charges against the rapist while knowing what that means, great. But if you or I am raped and we press charges against the rapist while having no idea what we’re in for, that’s a problem.

  163. AndrewV69, Visiting MRA, Purveyor of Piffle & Woo says

    @Ally Fogg, #158.

    All you’ve demonstrated is that when feminists write about false allegations it is to stress how insignificant and irrelevant they are, which was my precise point in the first place.

    I was not going to say anything thinking that your article and the various comments covered it all but this prompted me to note a personal observation.

    I seem to have started out with a contrary mind set than many of the people who have commented here. For pretty much my entire life I have always assumed that if a women says she was raped I believed her.

    Nowadays, not so much. In fact I am now very suspicious of all such claims. So far I have not quite put my finger on what exactly caused my change of attitude or exactly when it started to happen, but now I wonder if the attititude alluded to in the above quote has been a factor in my state of mind.

    I will have to think about this.

  164. Jacob Schmidt says

    Schala

    Is this the kind of crime that arrests a disproportionate amount of black men and is used as a blatant tool of profiling? Because I’ve never been arrested for that, in 30 years. And I probably should have a few dozen times. I’ve crossed streets not-at-corners even in front of police, before. The way was clear anyways.

    It’s mostly a crime because it endangers the lives of the drivers (trying to avoid a pedestrian suddenly walking out in front of you is a good way to crash a car).

    So if you do an innocent mistake, you turn yourself in to the cops?

    No. Generally people will try to correct it, if it’s innocent. A co-worker of mine recently walked home with an expensive cell phone under the impression that it was her cousin’s phone. Turns out it was the district health inspector’s (oops). She came back to work the next day to return the phone to a manager, fully acknowledging that she had taken property that was not her’s.

    If you do an innocent mistake, you think what you did was terrible?

    Depends. Something like minor property theft that can easily be returned? No. Something like accidentally shooting someone in the face? Yes. Something like an innocent mistake about whether or not he or she consents? Considering that’s rape, yes.

  165. Danny Gibbs says

    @98:
    Oh, and just to be clear: I’m pretty sure that people who are against punishing rape allegations that are found to be false are afraid of making the reporting rate for rape even lower.
    Oh I’m sure they are but at the same time while I understand that the answers are not easy I wonder about someone that is against punishing false claims on the premise that those who have been raped would be less likely to report. I know you may not agree but that stance is basically saying that some people are more deserving of justice than others.

    Imagine that you’ve just been brutally violated. You’re scared, ashamed, and sickened. You know that prosecution rates for rape are low. You know that conviction rates for rape are low. You know that you will be condemned by some no matter what you did before, during, and after the rape. You know that your attacker, if convicted, will likely face an incredibly minor punishment. You know that some people will call you a liar no matter what the outcome of the case.
    Now imagine being arrested, charged, convicted of a crime that you not only did not commit but did not happen. You know the person that did it to you will likely be protected from prosecution. Your life is in shambles because of what happened to you (and there is a good chance that if you did go to prison you would be the victim of the very crime that you were put in for, despite it never actually happening). And in the event that the true does come out that the crime didn’t happen the media coverage (not just mainstream but even social media and even social justice media) will explicitly say that the harm done is that law enforcement resources were wasted and those who have been raped will be too scared to come forward (which absolutely no mention of the actual person who just had their life wrecked).

    Imagine having such a horrible life altering crime committed against you and the system is quite literally willing to sweep you under the rug for another set of victims.

    I know that the answers are not easy but it seems to me that people are too willing to take a side and declare that their side is right to the point that anyone that doesn’t agree with them is the enemy.

  166. cotton says

    There seems to be an awful lot of conflating the police, say, believing a crime was committed and genuinely investigating it, vs. the police throwing investigatory practices to the wind and arresting the guy who was fingered as the rapist. The problem currently is that police don’t investigate rape as often as they should. Of course I and all sane people would agree the solution to this is NOT to just arrest the guy (generally speaking) accused. That isn’t an investigation either! What is clearly wanted is the INVESTIGATION, not turning away nor a railroading.

    I do see, however, Doublereed picking up the sword for a default position of belief of the accuser and concomitant disbelief of the accused. No. Sorry, that is nuts. Innocent until proven guilty, period. The only person acknowledging this ugly point of view is Schala, who went off the reservation on consent. That’s unfortunate (both in that Schala is wrong as hell, and in that only one person stood up for innocent until proven guilty).

  167. Eristae says

    Oh I’m sure they are but at the same time while I understand that the answers are not easy I wonder about someone that is against punishing false claims on the premise that those who have been raped would be less likely to report. I know you may not agree but that stance is basically saying that some people are more deserving of justice than others.

    No, it’s about saying that doing different things to different groups of people will result in different repercussions. See below.

    Now imagine being arrested, charged, convicted of a crime that you not only did not commit but did not happen. You know the person that did it to you will likely be protected from prosecution. Your life is in shambles because of what happened to you (and there is a good chance that if you did go to prison you would be the victim of the very crime that you were put in for, despite it never actually happening). And in the event that the true does come out that the crime didn’t happen the media coverage (not just mainstream but even social media and even social justice media) will explicitly say that the harm done is that law enforcement resources were wasted and those who have been raped will be too scared to come forward (which absolutely no mention of the actual person who just had their life wrecked).

    Imagine having such a horrible life altering crime committed against you and the system is quite literally willing to sweep you under the rug for another set of victims.

    You have entirely missed the point.

    The point is that all of this can discourage people from reporting a crime. Do I dispute that what happens to people who are falsely accused is horrible? No. Am I going to argue that their suffering doesn’t matter? No. Do I think it is incredibly important that we figure out ways to prevent people from being harmed this way? Yes. Do I think we need to find ways to decrease false reporting? Yes.

    I’m saying that in the situation you describe, the individuals are not going to be deterred from reporting a crime that is committed against them out of fear or repercussions against them. They had no control over whether or not to involve the legal system because the whole basis was that they were dragged into the legal system unjustly.

    Rape victims have the ability to stop involving the legal system if we create a situation where they don’t report out of fear. Rape victims already don’t report out of fear.

    To address your first point, it isn’t that some people are more worthy of justice than others, it’s that one of these two groups can be scared out of even an attempt at justice. We have to figure out how to deal with false accusations without scaring people away from making accusations at all. In addition to not seeing justice done, we are not served if a rapist runs free because people won’t report.

    All of this means that the fact that people are arguing over how to deal with false accusations of rape isn’t strange. Even agreeing that false accusations are horrible doesn’t mean we have an automatic understanding of how to deal with them. Yes, there are people who think that false rape accusations shouldn’t be punished (I’ve talked to them), but the people who I’ve encountered feel that it needs to be this way not because false accusations shouldn’t be punished but because our society is so unable to deal with rape that we are not equipped to create a system that can handle rape allegations. They believe that rape is a crime that doesn’t fit into the other categories we assign to other crimes in a way that means that laws which attempt to deal with false accusations will inevitably end up being entirely misused (unfairly applied in regards to minorities, unfairly applied in regards to the poor, etc etc etc) and not being used in a way that will allow them to reach their intended goal.

    I’m not willing to go that far. I’m not willing to say that false accusations of rape should never be subject to legal sanction. I just don’t know how we go about doing it in a way that isn’t going to end up creating more problems than it solves. Hopefully other people have a better idea than I do.

  168. doublereed says

    So if you do an innocent mistake, you turn yourself in to the cops?

    If my innocent mistake was rape, then at the very least I would plead guilty when accused of rape. Then I would not defend myself and try to disparage the victim’s good name just to get out of due process.

    So, if you go to a store, give 10$ and they give you 20$ back, you go and call 911 and turn yourself in for thievery?

    You relate taking $10 to rape. Fuck you. What the fuck is that shit? That’s exactly the kind of trivialization that makes me think you’re a horrible fucking person. Rape is not trivial. Shut the fuck up.

    If you do an innocent mistake, you think what you did was terrible?

    Yes, if you do an innocent mistake, then I would think what I did was terrible. Of course I would. Because I’m not a horrible human being. Once again, making me you think you are not a decent human being. Are you saying you WOULDN’T think this????

  169. Schala says

    I’m saying that in the situation you describe, the individuals are not going to be deterred from reporting a crime that is committed against them out of fear or repercussions against them.

    Ask black people, especially black men, how trustful they are of the police. Ask them if it has been because the police were unhelpful when they required their help, or because or an occasion where they involuntarily got dragged into it by them (ie racial profiling).

    You got your answer. It WILL discourage the falsely accused of reporting crimes in the future. You don’t trust the one that bit you before (in that case police and the justice system).

    If my innocent mistake was rape, then at the very least I would plead guilty when accused of rape. Then I would not defend myself and try to disparage the victim’s good name just to get out of due process.

    If my innocent mistake has been found out to be rape, but I genuinely did not know at the time that consent wasn’t there, I will not see it as rape, I will not plead guilty to something I believe I am innocent of.

    If a window is broken and I did not intend to break it (and don’t actually remember doing anything towards the window that could break it), I will not cop to having broken it on purpose, when I obviously did not do it on purpose.

    I will not cop to being known as a serial killer “Bloody Face”, and confess to murder, just because everyone thinks I did it and I was found on the crime scene, and my wife was killed. American Horror Story 2: Asylum. Because if I genuinely did not do it, it’s as simple as that.

    You relate taking $10 to rape. Fuck you. What the fuck is that shit? That’s exactly the kind of trivialization that makes me think you’re a horrible fucking person. Rape is not trivial. Shut the fuck up.

    Analogies, learn to use them. They don’t mean what you think they mean. They don’t relate to a given situation in EVERY POSSIBLE WAY, they relate to that other situation in ONE important way, and THAT is enough.

    It related to making an innocent mistake. Something you might not even think of as a real mistake at the time (at least not an intentional one). When you make an innocent mistake, it does not correspond to HORRIBLE CRIMES, it corresponds to an “oopsie”.

    Some people have shot firearms by mistake. Some of them were underage. Some of them killed their target, unintentionally. According to your logic, they should be charged with first degree murder, because they did use and shoot the firearm, even if they didn’t know how to properly do so and the shot went off on its own.

    Mitigating circumstances? Silly rabbit, those are for women (he made her do it, he deserved it, she’s mentally ill, no woman/mother would do that – for ALL types of crimes committed by women, from petty thievery, drug possession, to armed robbery and murder).

    Yes, if you do an innocent mistake, then I would think what I did was terrible. Of course I would.

    Depends on circumstances. Depends on the mistake and its scope. Depends on how I could have done things otherwise in those same circumstances. I’ll be less sympathetic to a mistake that is essentially victimless (store gave me 20$ too much), than to a mistake making someone be beaten up, or killed because of me.

    One such mistake could be that I was raped. And then my family members, some of which are violent, ask me who did it, obviously to make him or her pay (but let’s say they’re less likely to fight off a woman, so let’s make that a him). I misidentify the person. That person gets beaten to a bloody pulp by my relative. That’s a big mistake. I would feel horrible about it.

    I’d even argue it’s a mistake even if it’s the right person, as I don’t believe in vigilante justice – we call that anarchy. I would still feel horrible about it.

    My boyfriend got into a liquor store (state owned here), took a 35$ liquor bottle to the counter and got out two 20$ bills to pay it. He got 60$ change (three 20$ bills), since the guy probably assumed he gave a 100$ (must have been some nice space out moment). My boyfriend kept it. I didn’t denounce him. I know, I’m eeevil.

    But if it makes up for it, when I was 12 years old, I had a bank account at some close-to-home bank. Didn’t have much at all in the account. I deposited 7$ and some change into my account. The cashier misprinted on my booklet that it was 7 hundreds some $ instead. I remarked it immediately and had it changed.

  170. Schala says

    Screwed the quotes in last post, reposting the borked bit:

    You relate taking $10 to rape. Fuck you. What the fuck is that shit? That’s exactly the kind of trivialization that makes me think you’re a horrible fucking person. Rape is not trivial. Shut the fuck up.

    Analogies, learn to use them. They don’t mean what you think they mean. They don’t relate to a given situation in EVERY POSSIBLE WAY, they relate to that other situation in ONE important way, and THAT is enough.

    It related to making an innocent mistake. Something you might not even think of as a real mistake at the time (at least not an intentional one). When you make an innocent mistake, it does not correspond to HORRIBLE CRIMES, it corresponds to an “oopsie”.

    Some people have shot firearms by mistake. Some of them were underage. Some of them killed their target, unintentionally. According to your logic, they should be charged with first degree murder, because they did use and shoot the firearm, even if they didn’t know how to properly do so and the shot went off on its own.

    Mitigating circumstances? Silly rabbit, those are for women (he made her do it, he deserved it, she’s mentally ill, no woman/mother would do that – for ALL types of crimes committed by women, from petty thievery, drug possession, to armed robbery and murder).

    Yes, if you do an innocent mistake, then I would think what I did was terrible. Of course I would.

    Depends on circumstances. Depends on the mistake and its scope. Depends on how I could have done things otherwise in those same circumstances. I’ll be less sympathetic to a mistake that is essentially victimless (store gave me 20$ too much), than to a mistake making someone be beaten up, or killed because of me.

    One such mistake could be that I was raped. And then my family members, some of which are violent, ask me who did it, obviously to make him or her pay (but let’s say they’re less likely to fight off a woman, so let’s make that a him). I misidentify the person. That person gets beaten to a bloody pulp by my relative. That’s a big mistake. I would feel horrible about it.

    I’d even argue it’s a mistake even if it’s the right person, as I don’t believe in vigilante justice – we call that anarchy. I would still feel horrible about it.

    My boyfriend got into a liquor store (state owned here), took a 35$ liquor bottle to the counter and got out two 20$ bills to pay it. He got 60$ change (three 20$ bills), since the guy probably assumed he gave a 100$ (must have been some nice space out moment). My boyfriend kept it. I didn’t denounce him. I know, I’m eeevil.

    But if it makes up for it, when I was 12 years old, I had a bank account at some close-to-home bank. Didn’t have much at all in the account. I deposited 7$ and some change into my account. The cashier misprinted on my booklet that it was 7 hundreds some $ instead. I remarked it immediately and had it changed.

  171. Eristae says

    @Schala

    Analogies, learn to use them. They don’t mean what you think they mean. They don’t relate to a given situation in EVERY POSSIBLE WAY, they relate to that other situation in ONE important way, and THAT is enough.

    Analogies aren’t that simple. They don’t just have to relate to the situation in one important way; they have to be comparable enough to make a point. Your analogy was not. There were simply too many substantive differences between the situation.

    If you need an example, I shall provide a very condensed one:

    Jim: Yes, Rick did get his head smashed in by Tim, but is that really a problem? Let’s say that Rick’s head was actually a rock. Would anyone object if Tim smashed the rock? No, they would not. What Tim did was not wrong.

    This is not an acceptable line of reasoning. Rocks are very like people in many ways, but we aren’t alike in a way that can carry the analogy.

    Furthermore, analogies can be offensive, minimizing, an inappropriate. To be absolutely honest, your’s was all three.

    Ask black people, especially black men, how trustful they are of the police. Ask them if it has been because the police were unhelpful when they required their help, or because or an occasion where they involuntarily got dragged into it by them (ie racial profiling).

    You got your answer. It WILL discourage the falsely accused of reporting crimes in the future. You don’t trust the one that bit you before (in that case police and the justice system).

    Are you agreeing with me, then? Because I’m not sure if you think I oppose this statement that you’ve made (and that’s why you’re quoting what I said) or if what I said simply brought this to mind.

    Regardless, this backs up my point: if we enact policies and/or laws that make people afraid of law enforcement, then they will not report. If we want people to report (and we should), we need to make sure we’re acting in a manner that will encourage rather than discourage reporting.

  172. mildlymagnificent says

    If my innocent mistake has been found out to be rape, but I genuinely did not know at the time that consent wasn’t there, I will not see it as rape, I will not plead guilty to something I believe I am innocent of.

    If a window is broken and I did not intend to break it (and don’t actually remember doing anything towards the window that could break it), I will not cop to having broken it on purpose, when I obviously did not do it on purpose.

    Let’s deal with these in reverse order. The fact that you didn’t do it on purpose, doesn’t mean you didn’t do it at all. The question here for both cases is “What happens next?” In the case of the window, it probably comes down to value. If it’s a shopfront, you probably couldn’t afford to pay for it and insurance would cover it. If it’s a normal household window, then the householder very likely doesn’t want to claim for it because the excess would be much the same cost as the claim anyway. The two of you could come to an agreement for you to contribute a certain amount. After all, it has to be replaced and you did break it.

    The fact that you didn’t see something as rape at the time of the events is not the end of the matter. The real question is how you respond when it’s explained to you that what you did was wrong, that it was rape. For all we know, you might dig in your heels and refuse to listen to explanations, but we’ll presume that you modify your view in some way. (On the “oh, I never thought of that” basis.) Lots of options here.

    You could acknowledge that it was wrong in some way without accepting that it was rape.
    You could say that you accept that it was “technically” rape but that you won’t agree that it was criminal.
    You could take the yes, but option, agreeing that it was rape, but it was her/his own fault or something similar.
    You could accept full responsibility for your criminal conduct.
    ….. and all shades and qualifications and reservations and elaborations and variations within and between those baldly described positions. Probably 20+ options altogether.

    The real question here is, of course, knowing what you now know because of this, would you do exactly the same thing again? If you firmly believe that you’re right in sticking to your initial view, you should say yes to this. If you say no, what’s changed?

  173. SteveF says

    I think the fear boils down to the idea that someone’s lies can get me (not me, specifically) convicted of rape.

    Here’s the thought process that leads to the fear:

    I will not rape someone. The only way I will ever be convicted of rape is if someone lies. If the default position is to believe rape allegations, then that creates a situation where I could be convicted of rape just on someone’s say so. How just on someone’s say so? If false rape allegations occur in just 2% of cases (for, example), does 98% leave room for reasonable doubt? Possibly not, especially if the societal viewpoint — which will invariably find itself reflected in the jury pool — is that people who accuse others of rape should be believed because false rape allegations are so rare.

    I suspect this fear is at the root of the reticence. I suppose you could characterize the position in the following way: many are simply unwilling to pay for a reduction in the number of rapes with an increased chance they could be wrongly convicted of rape. The less likely you believe you are to be raped, the more frequent you believe false accusations actually occur (especially relative to what you believe others believe — which is arguably where feminists minimizing the seriousness of the impact of false accusations undermine their persuasiveness), and the less faith you have in the criminal justice system’s ability to get to the truth, the greater your fear and reticence is going to be.

  174. Gjenganger says

    @SteveF 179
    Exactly right.

    I’d add that the emphasis some people (including me) puts on intent (‘B did not consent but A thought she did”) comes from the same source. The idea that you could be ever so careful and still be judged as a rapist is quite scary – even if the likelihood is rather small compared to the number of rapes.

    many are simply unwilling to pay for a reduction in the number of rapes with an increased chance they could be wrongly convicted of rape

    As, indeed, many are unwilling to pay for a reduction in the number of innocent people convicted with an increased chance that they could be raped. These are trade-offs, and people tend to favour those where they get more of the benefits and others get more of the costs. Can you blame them?

  175. Ally Fogg says

    WtthinThisMind (166)

    Perhaps, Ally, that’s because MRAs like to make claims like ’50-90% of rapes are false accusations’ when the truth is, it’s closer to 2% which is, in fact, pretty insignificant comparatively.

    First of all, you’v e completely moved the goalposts here. I started out by saying it might be helpful if feminists/ anti-rape campaigners would occasionally be more explicit in their condemnation of the act of making a false accusation.

    You loudly insisted that they do it ALL THE TIME then linked to a bunch of articles where they do exactly the opposite. When challenged, you’re now saying “No they don’t, and here’s why they don’t…” That is a completely different point.

    You say: “But you know what? Those links did what you wanted. They acknowledged that false accusations suck and make things harder on everyone, both rape victims and the victims of the false accusations. They did exactly what you wanted.” Except those links do not. At no point in any single one of them does a writer say that false allegations “make things hard on everyone, both rape victims and the victims of the false allegations” or any kind of paraphrase of it. It’s not there. You presume it is, but it isn’t. The closest to it I can find is Amanda Marcotte admitting that the Facebook sock-puppet woman “did a bad thing” and the Enliven page saying false accusations can have “real impacts on the accused.” Both are exceptionally vague and non-committal.

    As it happens I understand the reasons given in those posts, and at no point have I suggested that feminists need to bend over backwards to accommodate the issue every time rape is discussed. I’ve made a very minor point (to my broader position) which is that this debate would get less bogged down if there was the occasional unequivocal statement from high profile voices in the debate.

    As for the details

    A) false rape accusations comprise approximately 2% of cases, just like all other crimes

    that’s not a fact, it is an assertion. From the broad range of research, 2% is generally held to be the lowest possible estimate (see Kelly 2005, A Gap or a Chasm). Most credible research has put the estimates at somewhere between about 2% and 10% (eg David Lisak’s work) – research showing higher figures all has massive demonstrable flaws. My own belief is that the true percentage is almost certainly in single figures. But one of the reasons this topic is so furiously debated is that the figure could be higher, there is literally no way of knowing how many apparently credible and coherent rape reports are in fact fabricated. I personally believe the number is very, very low, but I have to acknowledge that it is a live and unreconciled debate.

    B) being ‘falsely accused’ of rape carries with it nowhere near the consequences of being raped, especially being raped and reporting it.

    this is the kind of statement that makes me irate in this discussion. The two crimes are not comparable. Rape is a terrible crime with devastating consequences. Making a false accusation is a terrible crime with devastating consequences. People have taken their own lives after being falsely accused. Others have spent months or even years in prison as a sex offender. Others have lost jobs, relationships, families as a consequence. We actually don’t know what the “typical” experience of a falsely accused person might be, the extent of social and psychologicial consequences, because nobody has ever done the research to the best of my knowledge. However we do know that the consequences can sometimes be horrific.

    I think it is downright immoral to get into the game of arguing who’s suffering is more severe or more important. It is not a competition, nor does it need to be. Your line of argument here – that false allegations are not serious enough as a problem to be even considered within the debate – is exactly what I’m proposing as a problem in this debate.

    Yes, I know MRAs exploit the issue, vastly overstate the likely extent of the problem, misrepresent evidence and use it to derail and divert discussion the problem of rape. That doesn’t mean that the feminist approach to the issue is above and beyond criticism. .

  176. Ally Fogg says

    SteveF (179)

    If the default position is to believe rape allegations, then that creates a situation where I could be convicted of rape just on someone’s say so.

    No it doesn’t. It creates a situation where you (or I) could be investigated and questioned about a rape accusation. Nobody, I mean literally nobody, is arguing that belief should replace the collection of evidence, testimony and proof, nobody is suggesting that a person should be convicted on say so, nobody is suggesting that we should remove the requirement to prove beyond all reasonable doubt.

    Of course within that, miscarriages of justice can still occur. But it would take a lot more than initial belief in the truthfulness of a complaint for that to happen.

  177. SteveF says

    @Gjenganger 180

    I would not blame them. I do think that some people have fears that are not reflective of the reality, and that perhaps one potential avenue towards progress in this regard is addressing and removing those fears. It’s a really small part of all this, though.

  178. Ally Fogg says

    Bloody hell Bitethehand (170), how many hours did you spend trawling through my commenting history over the past 5 years of so to find examples of me saying pretty much the exact same things I’ve said here?

    Anyone who gives a precise figure for how many rape accusations are false is talking from faith, not evidence. I say that in the article above, I say that in the NS article, and I say that in the comments you quote in your blog.

    That is true whether they say the figure is 3%, 9% or 90%. As I’ve said repeatedly, I personally think 3% is probably closest to it but I accept I cannot prove that. There are people who say things like “90% of rape reports are false.” Google Angry Harry for starters.

    My problem with you is not just that you have creepy, stalky tendencies, but that you are a really, really shit stalker. It’s not even a challenge. Please mate, you’ve been at this for about 5 years. Get a life of your own, eh?

  179. SteveF says

    @Ally Fogg 182

    I respectfully disagree. I don’t believe ideas like #ibelieveher can be compartmentalized in the way you suggest.

    I think, right now, it’s probably quite difficult to actually get a rape conviction on someone’s say so. Why is that? It’s at least partially because of an assumption (likely shared by prosecutors) in the jury pool about the relative frequency of false accusations. (I doubt a case like that would currently even be brought. In saying so, I am not making a judgment about whether or not such cases should be brought.)

    I think changing those assumptions (whether rightly or wrongly) could have an impact on prosecutorial/jury pool beliefs regarding the frequency of false accusations precisely because we don’t know what the real figures are.

    Now, it may be those beliefs become more accurate. If false allegations are extremely infrequent (say 2%) it may actually make sense to convict purely on someone’s say so. (Reasonable doubt essentially guarantees some % of innocent people will be convicted of crimes, so this potential for injustice is built into the system.)

  180. Gjenganger says

    @AllyF 182
    If you campaign for the entire population to believe rape accusations as a matter of course – police, CPS, judges, potential jurors, friends, family, press – it is hard to see how that would not affect the standard of proof that would get someone convicted. With due respect for the professionalism of the justice system, the fact that they believed that the accused was guilty would surely make them more likely to convict whatever the available evidence?

    It could work quite well if you limited it to the Sapphire teams. Police who dealt with rape complaints could be tasked with assuming that all accusations were genuine, and doing their best to gather the necessary evidence to convict. Effectively they would work on behalf of the accusers, as their lawyers, Of course the new Sapphire teams would need special arrangements, and maybe special personnel. They would consume more resources for fewer convictions than the rest of the police, because they did not filter away hopeless cases. Basically they would have a social works goal – ensuring that rape victims felt believed and cared for – in addition to the normal police goal of fighting crime, and they would have to be evaluated on that goal. No problem here, as long as someone further along the pipeline, the CPS, say, had the task of going over the material with a scpetical eye without making assumptions about who should be believed. And as long as society was willing to foot the bill.

    Then, maybe you do not want the entire population to believe rape accusations as a matter of course. But in that case maybe you should not launch a general ‘I believe her’ campaign.

  181. thetalkingstove says

    @Copyleft

    Oh, is someone pretending that women cannot commit rape because men are always consenting? That’s just sad… and on a site devoted to skepticism, too! (I guess that’s another example of “not enough skepticism.”)

    What’s really sad is lack of reading comprehension.

    No one was advocating this position.

  182. says

    @AllyF 184

    Bloody hell Bitethehand (170), how many hours did you spend trawling through my commenting history over the past 5 years of so to find examples of me saying pretty much the exact same things I’ve said here?

    Well about 10 minutes searching my records.

    And you’re not saying the same things, otherwise I wouldn’t have said At last Ally Fogg gets somewhat realistic about False Allegations of Rape“.

    After all you did once state that it was impossible to discuss rape without also discussing false allegations of rape.

    I detect a distinct improvement in your position. And if you think the figure is 3% and that many of those are highly suspect once they’re investigated, for instance they’re made by people who are mentally disturbed, is it not irresponsible to even entertain the possibility that the figure might be 90%?

  183. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @Eristae #117

    I send you happy, floaty internet hearts.

    Thank you, they are well recieved :)

    I also agree with what you said. Who, in that situation, thinks “can I get away with this?”. Surely their primary concern should be for their partner’s safety and enjoyment? I don’t understand anyone who would carry on if their partner isn’t enjoying it. I mean…. seriously, I don’t get it. Are they just unaware that it’s actually another person on the other end of their penis?

  184. Adiabat says

    This threads an interesting read. I have just a couple of minor additions:

    Ally (182): “No it doesn’t. It creates a situation where you (or I) could be investigated and questioned about a rape accusation. Nobody, I mean literally nobody, is arguing that belief should replace the collection of evidence, testimony and proof, nobody is suggesting that a person should be convicted on say so, nobody is suggesting that we should remove the requirement to prove beyond all reasonable doubt.”

    Part of the problem with false rape accusations is that a lot of the damage can be done even without it going to trial or getting a conviction. The damage is usually because the Accused’s local community and acquaintances (and the internet) believes that it happened without proof. The ‘No smoke without fire’ effect is a major part of what can ruin the lives of the Falsely Accused. #believeher would make this much worse, while #takeherseriously would not.

    In General: One worry that seems to be rarely brought up with regard to proposed changes to how rape is treated, such as #believeher, is the possibility that it could actually increase the number of false accusations. The more you reduce the risks and penalties with making a false accusation the more often it may occur. At the same time the measures will improve things for genuine rape victims. This makes it an uncomfortable balancing act.

    Note that at no point am I saying we should therefore do nothing, but it would be nice if there were acknowledgment that it is a balancing act.

  185. doublereed says

    Depends on circumstances. Depends on the mistake and its scope. Depends on how I could have done things otherwise in those same circumstances. I’ll be less sympathetic to a mistake that is essentially victimless (store gave me 20$ too much), than to a mistake making someone be beaten up, or killed because of me.

    One such mistake could be that I was raped. And then my family members, some of which are violent, ask me who did it, obviously to make him or her pay (but let’s say they’re less likely to fight off a woman, so let’s make that a him). I misidentify the person. That person gets beaten to a bloody pulp by my relative. That’s a big mistake. I would feel horrible about it.

    I’d even argue it’s a mistake even if it’s the right person, as I don’t believe in vigilante justice – we call that anarchy. I would still feel horrible about it.

    My boyfriend got into a liquor store (state owned here), took a 35$ liquor bottle to the counter and got out two 20$ bills to pay it. He got 60$ change (three 20$ bills), since the guy probably assumed he gave a 100$ (must have been some nice space out moment). My boyfriend kept it. I didn’t denounce him. I know, I’m eeevil.

    But if it makes up for it, when I was 12 years old, I had a bank account at some close-to-home bank. Didn’t have much at all in the account. I deposited 7$ and some change into my account. The cashier misprinted on my booklet that it was 7 hundreds some $ instead. I remarked it immediately and had it changed.

    Right, how trivial the crime is matters. And apparently you seem to think rape is on par with a victimless or trivial crime. You have compared rape again and again to trivial crimes and say “Well I wouldn’t feel bad about committing some trivial crime so why would I feel bad about rape?”

    Are you starting to understand why I think you’re a horrible person? Your entire argument is based on the idea that rape isn’t that big a deal.

  186. Tamen says

    Eristae @130:

    I believe they have done studies on male victims of sexual abuse that include male and female perpetrators

    Men and Women as Perpetrators and Victims of Sexual Aggression in Heterosexual and Same-Sex Encounters: A Study of First-Year College Students in Germany : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23629691

    Predictors of Sexual Coercion Against Women and Men:
    A Multilevel, Multinational Study of University Students : http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2/ID45-PR45.pdf

    ——————————–Men————Women-
    Forced sex: 2.8% 2.3%
    -forced oral/anal sex: 2.4% 1.6%
    -forced vaginal sex: 2.1% 1.6%

    Verbal Coercion: 22.0% almost 25.0%
    – insisted on sex w/o condom 13.5% 11.0%
    – insisted on vaginal sex 11.7% 14.7%
    – insisted on oral/anal sex 7.5% 8.3%
    – threatend into oral/anal sex 1.9% 1.7%
    – threatend into vaginal sex 1.9% 1.8%

    At least one type of CSA 30.0% 32.0%
    —————————————————-

    This from 1998 has a small sample (2 samples of 200 women): http://www.ejhs.org/volume5/deviancetonormal.htm

    And of course the NISVS 2010 Report from CDC as someone else have mentioned.

  187. N4M says

    Police who dealt with rape complaints could be tasked with assuming that all accusations were genuine, and doing their best to gather the necessary evidence to convict. Effectively they would work on behalf of the accusers, as their lawyers

    Ally, as I read it, this seems to be pretty much the approach you’re advocating yourself. I’m just wondering whether you can see any snag with it at all?

    You can’t reconcile those two necessary positions. They have to both be held simultaneously in different contexts.

    Well ok, but that being the case – that the two positions are irreconcilable within the same context – then there appear to be an awful lot of contexts in which the above piece suggests the presumption of innocent should be completely torn up and discarded . Mentioned in the article are: mainstream media commentary; social media discussion – even the trial itself, up until the point at which a verdict is reached. Would surely require a major rewriting of UK law, apart from anything else, for which the presumption of innocence is said to be an important component. Is this not all a bit reckless?

  188. Gjenganger says

    Following links through other AllyF posts brought me to this article.

    Basically they have interviewed a number of UK policemen and prosecutors who claim that in their personal experience a significant minority of rape accusations include major, provable lies. Of course this does not mean that the rape accusations themselves are necessarily false, and indeed the interviewees admit as much.

    Does this have any relevance for a campaign with the slogan “IBelieverHer”?

  189. says

    —-Imagine having such a horrible life altering crime committed against you and the system is quite literally willing to sweep you under the rug for another set of victims.—

    Citation needed

    Considering that actually committing and being convicted of rape barely qualifies as ‘horrible life-altering’, please provide some sort of evidence for your claim that being falsely accused is ‘horrible life-altering’.

  190. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @Gjenganger

    Rape, as I see it, includes intent.

    The law disagrees. It states that the penetration must intentional, obviously, but it does not state you must intend to committ rape.

  191. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @WithinThisMind

    You’re being silly, I think it’s perfectly obvious that being falsely accused of rape would be horrible and life-altering. You would have a stigma attached to you for the rest of your life and would be treated with suspicion by anyone who knew about it. The idea that false accusations are widespread is unproven bollocks, but that’s no reason to trivialise those false accusations which do occurr.

  192. Soarer says

    @ 194 Gjenganger

    That is an absolutely fascinating document, thanks for sharing it.

    One striking story, of someone who was raped (or maybe had consensual intercourse, it isn’t clear), the complainant named a different man and different location:

    They got the DNA results and it was somebody completely different. So they got her in again and she said, ‘Actually, I was raped but it wasn’t him. It was another boy. And he raped me in a car.’ And she said, ‘The reason that I blamed this boy’—the man who’s now in custody—‘is because I’m scared of the second boy because he said if I tell anyone, he’ll kill me.’ (Page 1165)

    It would not have been very sensible to believe her, in this case.

    As long as cases are thoroughly investigated, and the correct decision made about prosecution, I don’t see that the personal beliefs of any of the participants are important.

    I prefer #takethemseriously to #believeher as it shows that anyone, not just cis females, can be a victim of this crime (which is the position the law takes) and also that it needs to be investigated properly.

    It also avoids to the need to redefine the word ‘believe’ as is attempted in a few posts above.

  193. Gjenganger says

    @Thumper
    Not as I read it. It says that rape requires
    a) intentional penetration
    b) lack of consent
    c) that “A does not reasonably believe that B consents.

    c) does not use the word “intent”, but the concept is pretty much the same: It is a crime only if A is aware of the lack of consent, or unreasonably does not care to find out. I believe that there are laws in other countries that use the equivalent of ‘intent’ in this context (no English-language link available). Anyway, if they meant that “Rape is sex without consent – it is that fucking simple”, as Jacob Schmidt says, they would have omitted c).

  194. Schala says

    Regardless, this backs up my point: if we enact policies and/or laws that make people afraid of law enforcement, then they will not report. If we want people to report (and we should), we need to make sure we’re acting in a manner that will encourage rather than discourage reporting.

    If we don’t investigate (and if highly suspected) prosecute false accusations, it will have the same effects as on black men, on the accused. They will NOT trust the police in the future when they themselves need to report something. After all, the justice system screwed them without any reparation out of something that was highly suspected to be a malicious act (even worse when the accuser recants with a “I wanted attention” or an alibi for adultery).

  195. says

    —I started out by saying it might be helpful if feminists/ anti-rape campaigners would occasionally be more explicit in their condemnation of the act of making a false accusation.—

    And I provided plenty of cases where they do indeed condemn the act.

    Then you moved the goalposts by saying they aren’t allowed to address the truth behind the ‘what about the falsely accused menz!’ question, but must instead condemn it as though it is the thing the MRAs (and apparently yourself) have claimed.

    —Except those links do not. At no point in any single one of them does a writer say that false allegations “make things hard on everyone, both rape victims and the victims of the false allegations” or any kind of paraphrase of it. It’s not there.—

    Except for where it is, and for where each of the writers I linked to has covered the issue before. Except where it’s been answered in the comments, over and over again until like Greta’s 9 questions – the problem has long since ceased to be ‘what about the men who are falsely accused’ and has become ‘how dare you address the 98% of accurate claims, most of which go nowhere and have massive problems for the accuser, instead of these 2%, which incidentally also go nowhere and have massive problems for the accuser.

    I mean, seriously, if you really do want us to address the ‘problem’, show us that it’s a problem. Show us the people who are actually having their lives ruined by ‘false accusations’. Women are committing suicide after the harassment they recieve for reporting their rapists. Show me how it’s a problem for teh menz.

    —My own belief is that the true percentage is almost certainly in single figures. But one of the reasons this topic is so furiously debated is that the figure could be higher, there is literally no way of knowing how many apparently credible and coherent rape reports are in fact fabricated. —

    Except for our ability to extrapolate from available evidence, such as 2% is the fraud rate for pretty much, well, everything.

    Again, if you want us to address the ‘problem’ of ‘false accusations’, show us where the problem is.

    —this is the kind of statement that makes me irate in this discussion. —

    I’m sorry the truth hurts.

    —The two crimes are not comparable. Rape is a terrible crime with devastating consequences—

    Yep

    —Making a false accusation is a terrible crime with devastating consequences.—

    You have a man who was already ill and dying and had someone attempting to blackmail him. He was not charged with a crime. You also have a case in which racism was a factor, which is really the only area in which false accusations really are a problem and an area in which many, many, many feminists and FTBers for that matter have addressed – black people are statistically more likely to be arrested and convicted on trumped up and/or false charges. I’m not going to bother with putting in all the links, suffice to say, if you haven’t noticed that battle occurring, I don’t have enough free time this decade to help you.

    And then you have a case in which the person who made the fraudulent accusation actually went to jail. Wee, the system works. We can all go home now.

    Let’s stack that up against the number of rape victims coping with depression, the suicides, the rape victims like myself who if we are ever attacked again will keep our mouth shut, the people who stay with abusers because they know they won’t be believed, the people who never speak up in the first place, etc…

    We only have so much time in the day, Fogg. I’m fighting for equal pay, fighting for my child to be able to get the medical care he needs, fighting against sexual harassment, fighting for my right to freedom from religion, fighting for my bodily autonomy, fighting to be allowed to rise within the ranks of my chosen career, fighting just to get some fucking service when I go to best buy, fighting for my right to walk down the street without getting ‘holla’d at’, fighting for my right not to be called a bitch when I object to some guy trying to slide his hand down my pants, fighting to be allowed to raise my child as an atheist, fighting to not be slut-shamed for being bi-sexual, etc.. And, in my current free time, I’m also fighting for the rights of some friends of mine to get married, to drive their vehicles while ‘other’, to also get equal pay, to not get deported, to not be called slurs, etc…

    And you are angry because I’m not also fighting this fight, in the express manner you particularly want? Sorry, but I need some time to sleep, eat, and mow my lawn.

    But you want to know something interesting, something that would actually cut down on ‘false accusations’?

    Why, interestingly enough, it’s the same thing feminists can show does cut down on rape – eliminating rape culture. Get rid of the ‘smokescreens’ that hide rapists, get rid of the stigma women face for daring to have sex, stop making sex itself such a dirty, shameful thing, propogate the idea of ‘enthusiastic consent’, so on, so forth. It’s almost like the battle feminists are fighting against the patriarchy would benefit men in all kinds of ways.

    —Your line of argument here – that false allegations are not serious enough as a problem to be even considered within the debate – is exactly what I’m proposing as a problem in this debate. —

    What ‘debate’? Rape is bad is debatable? Rape culture is a problem is debatable?

    —That doesn’t mean that the feminist approach to the issue is above and beyond criticism. .—

    No, of course it isn’t, we feminists are totally in the wrong here for, after years of MRAs exploiting the issue as a trump card rather than actually doing anything towards fixing the problem, we’ve aren’t caring enough about teh menz.

    Tell me, Fogg, was your answer to the 100th time you were asked ‘if you don’t believe in god, why don’t you kill yourself’ as thoughtful, polite, and respectful as it was the 1st time?

    Because the first time the whole ‘what about the falsely accused menz’ thing was brought up, I recall explicitly condemning it. After being bashed about the head with it for the past 33 years whenever I’m trying to address any issue regarding sexism, rape culture, rape, sexual harassment, etc… yeah, my response has slowly become whittled down to two words, the second of which is ‘off’.

    You are addressing this post to feminists and pretending as though the ‘feminist approach’ to the problem is the problem, and that’s bullshit. It’s tone-trolling derailing bullshit. So, here is the post you wanted – http://withinthismind.com/false-accusations/ . Am I now allowed to join a discussion on why treating rape victims with the same respect given to victims of other crimes would be a great thing without having to constantly interrupt the debate to respond to some MRAer whining ‘but what if they aren’t telling the truth’? Please? Can we feminists please be allowed to care about the victims of rape without having to spend add a line to our post saying ‘but if the skanky bitch is lying, throw her ass in jail’? Pretty please, with a cherry on top?

  196. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @Gjenganger

    How you interperet it doesn’t really matter; it’s how judges interpret it and they have consistantly interpreted it in this country to mean that your intent is entirely irrelevant. For example, if someone were to pass out from drink at a party and someone were to digitally penetrate that someone while they were unconcious, that is rape. You would be suprised how many people think it isn’t. So for example:

    Judge: your crime was X

    Defendant: That’s not rape!

    Judge: I’m afraid it is.

    Defendant: Well I didn’t know that! I didn’t mean to rape her!

    Judge: Irrelevant; what matters is that you did rape her.

    That’s why it specifies that the penetration must be intentional, but does not not say you must intend to committ rape. It is well know that ignorance of the law is not a defence in this country, and specifying that you must intend to committ rape would make a mockery of that very central tenet of our law. Imagine if the Judge had turned round in that situation and said “Oh, you didn’t mean to rape her! Well, that’s all right then, off you go.” It would be ridiculous.

    By the way, I’ve just realised that there is a real danger of us getting our wires crossed here, so full disclosure: I am English and am looking at this from the perspective of UK law.

  197. says

    —I think it’s perfectly obvious that being falsely accused of rape would be horrible and life-altering. —

    Except that I know someone who was falsely accused of rape, and as I pointed out, a year later, he didn’t even remember what her name was.

    Hey, incidentally, I know 4 people who actually did commit the rapes they were accused of and…no, wait… it wasn’t horrible and life-altering for them either. Well, except for one. After the third time he went up on charges for rape, he did actually get sentenced to 5 years in jail, and when he got out 6 months later his partner in his drug-dealing sideline shot him over some stolen money. But yeah, totally horrible and life-altering consequences for him, I suppose.

    Show me the evidence that those accused of rape, guilty or not guilty, suffer horrible life-altering consequences. If it’s so ‘perfectly obvious’, you’ve undoubtedly got reams of it, right? It’s amazing how many MRA talking points that are ‘perfectly obvious’, when examined, don’t actually appear to be true.

    —You would have a stigma attached to you for the rest of your life and would be treated with suspicion by anyone who knew about it. —

    Ah, I see. People who are falsely accused have this stigma, even though people who actually do commit rape and are actually convicted somehow often manage to escape it.

    Interesting. I didn’t realize that. Would you explain how that works? I’m…what’s that term… skeptical…

  198. thetalkingstove says

    @Adiabat

    The damage is usually because the Accused’s local community and acquaintances (and the internet) believes that it happened without proof

    Really? That’s doesn’t really match with what I’ve seen, which is that those reporting rape tend to not be believed, and in fact get attacked and shamed, both in meatspace and on the internet, whilst communities and acquaintances rally round the accused and insist xe is not that kind of person.

    Of course, an untrue allegation of rape can be deeply harmful, but it’s really not that case that upon being accused, the person in question will immediately become a pariah.

  199. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @Gjenganger

    And actually I’ve also realised that your argument is uterly ridiculous. What you are rally arguing is “What if you believed it was consensual when it wasn’t?” Give me one situation in which you would have solid grounds for believing your partner consents when in fact they don’t?

  200. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @WithinThisMind

    For a start, I’m fully aware that rapists often get off lightly if they are even punished at all and it fucking sickens me, so please don’t patronise me. I’m also aware of the recent cases in the US where the victim got bullied, and frankly it makes me so angry I could shit.

    But basically my point here is the same as Ally’s: false accusations are a crime that have bad consequences for the victim. They should not be trivialised, no matter how little they actually happen or how often MRA douchebags exaggerate the stats. No, they don’t have the same negative consequences for the victim as rape has, but comparing the severity of one crime to another is not the way to go about this. Essentially what you’re doing is saying “Stop worrying about false accusations, the victims of rape have it far worse!”. See Dawkin’s “Dear Muslimah” for why this is not OK. Both are crimes. Yes, one is more serious and more frequent than the other. That doesn’t mean you get to trivialise the impact of the other.

    I realise that MRAs bring up false accusations a lot in their rape apologist screeds; I realise they lie about them and inflate and exaggerate them, and I realise you’ve probably been dealing with that for a long time, but please don’t assume everyone who has a bad word to say about false accusers must necessarily be a rape apologist. I’m not, and I’m fucking insulted you even implied that I was. Read literally every other post I’ve made on this thread for evidence.

  201. Gjenganger says

    @Thumper 202
    A slight misunderstanding here, I think. The question is not whether you intend to break the law, but whether you intend to do something that happens to be illegal. Ignorance of the law does not come into it, intent to commit the act does. In you example the questions would be:
    a) Did you deliberately penetrate her (with your fingers)? Yes.
    b) Did she consent? Well, she says she did not, but…
    c) Did you believe she consented? Yes certainly!
    d) Did you have a good reason for that belief?
    If the accused can give a good answer to d), he is innocent. Most likely he can not.

    Anyway, paraphrasing legal text is a mugs game – laws are written specifically to give the most unambiguous and concise description possible. It seems clear from c), though, that you are within the law as long as you act within a reasonable belief that you have consent. That does include taking sufficient steps to clarify that you do indeed have that consent, as they say just below your quote.

    As for examples: If you look through the Ched Evans case, you will find that McDonald was acquitted because ‘he could reasonably have believed that the victim consented’ (quoting from memory).

  202. Gjenganger says

    @Thumper 205
    Well, I am arguing that that is what the law says. It either does or it does not.

    As for examples, I will give you two:
    – You are going home and have sex with this girl. She seems a little high, but by all appearances perfectly coherent, willing and cooperative. Only later do you find out that her blood alcohol was sky high and she did not know what she was doing.
    – BDSM. You are both into hard stuff, screaming and crying and so on. You carefully select a safeword, and agree that you can keep going right until she uses the safeword. She never does, and you later find out that she was so distraught that she was unable to remember it. Incidentally, some hard-core practitioners tend to disdain safewords for this very reason, and rely on mutual knowledge and supreme interpersonal skills instead. It would be a brave man to claim that it could never go wrong, though.

  203. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    - Her blood alcohol level is irrelevant, the law states they must be in a position to give informed consent. What matters is not the amount of alcohol which the victim has consumed but the effect it has had on them. This is problematic because it is subjective, but a good rule of thumb is if there is any chance they will regret it in the morning, don’t do it. This again ties into Eristae and mine’s earlier point; why are you so hung up on whether or not it’s rape? Maybe worry about whether or not it’s consensual because you wouldn’t want to have sex if it wasn’t? Focus on whether or not it’s the decent fucking thing to do, and that way you will never commit rape and be a decent person into the bargain. Neato, huh?

    I mean seriously, why would she wake up in the morning and take you to court if she consented the night before? Unless she couldn’t remember, in which case she’d have been utterly fucking hammered, so it would have been obvious she was too drunk to consent.In which case sleeping with her would be immoral. So don’t do it.

    – For a start, citation needed. Everyone I know who’s into BDSM (I admit I don’t know that many who are open about it) stress the importance of safewords. For second, what? Are you seriously suggesting this as a scenario likely to come up in a rape case? Yes I admit I can see the potential for it happening, but possible does not mean probable. It’s entirely possible that all the atoms in a statues arm happen to be vibrating along the same axis at the same time so the statue starts waving, doesn’t mean it’s ever going to happen. Your first example is, I admit, sensible and would be a concern if you are in the habit of pulling on a night out, but this? If you must insist on presenting hypotheticals let’s keep them realistic, shall we?

    Well, I am arguing that that is what the law says. It either does or it does not.

    All right; it doesn’t. Unless you can show me the bit where it says you must intend to comitt rape?

  204. Ally Fogg says

    WithinThisMind

    “Except for where it is, and for where each of the writers I linked to has covered the issue before”

    So quote me the sentences where those writers and campaigners explicitly condemn the act of making a false allegation and state how harmful they are both to the falsely accused and to rape victims? Please, because I’m obviously missing them somehow.

    And you are angry because I’m not also fighting this fight, in the express manner you particularly want? Sorry, but I need some time to sleep, eat, and mow my lawn.

    Nope. I’m not calling on you to fight any fight. If I’m angry at you (to be more accurate, if I’m angry at the line you are arguing) it is purely because of your abject refusal to display any meaningful compassion, empathy or basic humanity towards people to whom dreadful things have happened, including an 82 year old man who took his own life.

  205. Soarer says

    210 Ally Fogg

    If I’m angry at you (to be more accurate, if I’m angry at the line you are arguing) it is purely because of your abject refusal to display any meaningful compassion, empathy or basic humanity towards people to whom dreadful things have happened, including an 82 year old man who took his own life.

    Ally, look on the bright side. Now you have lots more material to inform the follow up to your previous article…

  206. Schala says

    Really? That’s doesn’t really match with what I’ve seen, which is that those reporting rape tend to not be believed, and in fact get attacked and shamed, both in meatspace and on the internet, whilst communities and acquaintances rally round the accused and insist xe is not that kind of person.

    You mean high profile athletes at universities or last year of high school? That must be the norm then… /s

    Because most rapists obviously are extremely popular in a domain praised by their entire town. And this wouldn’t bias them (the townspeople) at all.

  207. Gjenganger says

    @Thumper 209

    Focus on whether or not it’s the decent fucking thing to do

    I fucking generally fucking do.

    and that way you will never commit rape

    Not quite so sure about that – by your definition at least.

    why are you so hung up on whether or not it’s rape

    Since you ask: Because I am not perfect and I am not clairvoyant. So I’ll do my best, but I rather like the idea that as long as I do do my best I will not be deemed a rapist if it goes wrong anyway. Anything else can leave you in a constant state of worry (“but what if…”), and I worry enough as it is. Check out Feminism 201, for the amount of stress that can come just with ‘enthusiastic consent’. Anyway, if you think these things will never come up in a million years, why not just agree to them? I get what I want, and according to you it will never make a real difference in a real case anyway.

    I mean seriously, why would she wake up in the morning and take you to court if she consented the night before?

    Because she was in a fey, self-destructive mood the night before. Because she finds it unbearable to admit to what she enjoyed yesterday now the mood has worn off. Because she is ashamed and blames it on me. Because I said something callous and profoundly offensive to her in the morning. Because she just realised that I do not care for her and am sleeping with other girls in parallel (Assange?). Because she realises I am not really the drummer in her favourite band. Because we have been shagging all night and now I cannot be fucking bothered to lend her the money for a taxi (real case, from memory). Because I just told her I would never see her again. Because she is not up to telling her mother/boyfriend what actually happened. I could think of many others. Some examples leave me looking rather nasty, but being nasty does not generally earn you five years.

    - For a start, citation needed.

    Try this one.
    .

    All right; it doesn’t. Unless you can show me the bit where it says you must intend to comitt rape?.

    I tried already. Over to you. What do you think this means:

    c) A does not reasonably believe that B consents.

  208. Wando says

    @WithinThisMind (203)

    Show me the evidence that those accused of rape, guilty or not guilty, suffer horrible life-altering consequences.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/08/brian-banks-accuser-caugh_n_1581605.html In this case, the “victim” was caught on video confessing that she fabricated the rape charge. According to the article, he served five years in prison for a rape he didn’t commit, and then spent the next five years on parole. I’ve never been to prison but I suspect that five years there covers both “horrible” and “life-altering”.

  209. thetalkingstove says

    @Schala

    You mean high profile athletes at universities or last year of high school? That must be the norm then… /s

    Because most rapists obviously are extremely popular in a domain praised by their entire town. And this wouldn’t bias them (the townspeople) at all.

    If I meant that, I would have said it.

    If you really think the only times women (and men) reporting rape are not believed and that support is instead given to the accused is when the accused are popular athletes then…I just don’t know what world you’re in. Other than an obsessively anti-feminist one.

  210. Schala says

    If you really think the only times women (and men) reporting rape are not believed and that support is instead given to the accused is when the accused are popular athletes then

    You’re right, when it’s men reporting rape 90% of the public, left or right, disbelieves them. Wether they know them or not, wether they’re popular or not, wether their rapist is popular or not.

    I don’t think most people disbelieve most women reporting rape though.

  211. Eristae says

    - You are going home and have sex with this girl. She seems a little high, but by all appearances perfectly coherent, willing and cooperative. Only later do you find out that her blood alcohol was sky high and she did not know what she was doing.

    This is why you don’t have sex with people who are impaired: they may very well be more impaired than you think they are. People know–or should know–that gauging someone’s level of impairment is incredibly difficult.

    Also, even given the above, I really don’t buy that someone can look “a little high” but in reality be so drunk that she did not know what she was doing. I don’t drink much myself, but I’ve been around a lot of drunk people (including people who get drunk a lot), and its supremely clear that they are drunk well before they are so drunk that they don’t know what they are doing. Slurred speech, difficulty walking, bad balance, personality changes, weirdly uninhibited behavior, these are all indications of severe impairment. Talking to someone for even a few minutes should be more than enough time to figure out if someone is so drunk that they don’t know what they are doing. I buy that someone thought they were meeting at least the bare minimum of non-drunkenness to assume consent (bad idea), but “a little high” and “doesn’t know what she’s doing?” That’s too big of a gap for me to get on board with.

    - BDSM. You are both into hard stuff, screaming and crying and so on. You carefully select a safeword, and agree that you can keep going right until she uses the safeword. She never does, and you later find out that she was so distraught that she was unable to remember it. Incidentally, some hard-core practitioners tend to disdain safewords for this very reason, and rely on mutual knowledge and supreme interpersonal skills instead. It would be a brave man to claim that it could never go wrong, though.

    1) I never understand why forgetting one’s safe work should in any way be dangerous. I’m not saying it couldn’t be the case that a sub panics (see below) and freezes up mentally. But safe words aren’t login passwords where you’d better remember it or else; hell, even password protected systems have mechanisms in place to deal with the possibility of a lost password. If nothing else, something like “I forgot my safeword/I forgot the word that would make you stop for real” should be an easy go to.

    Safe words are supposed to be one way, one way to get things to stop quickly. If it’s the only thing you’re relying on to get the whole situation to stop, you’re doing it wrong.

    2) In BDSM, it is a supremely good idea to periodically check in and make your partner is alright. If you are going to engage in actions that are externally indistinguishable from rape (and I’m sorry, but all the BDSM I’ve ever encountered–even the extraordinarily hardcore stuff–is clearly distinguishable from rape unless it’s being done in a way that is dangerous), you need to check in. A lot. If you are a dom and your sub is acting in a manner that you can’t tell if s/he is upset and you say, “Well, s/he would have said the safeword if s/he wanted to stop,” you’re doing it wrong.

    Even if BDSM is indistinguishable from rape to viewers (say, if it’s a porn tape), it should never be indistinguishable from rape to the participants. I know that some people really want it to be, but that’s not safe. It’s like how you aren’t supposed to leave your partner alone while they’re tied up, no matter how hot that may sound to either of you. It’s too dangerous. People have died because the participants were irresponsible during BDSMesque sex. That’s a reason to change the way BDSM is done, not a reason to accept someone getting raped or killed.

    In summary, you shouldn’t do things that are irresponsible and then expect, because you set it up in a way that made it likely to go wrong, to be let off the hook when it does in fact go wrong.

  212. Eristae says

    Oh, and anyone who is going to rely on “mutual knowledge and supreme interpersonal skills” to let them figure out that their partner really means no this time needs to get kicked in the head. It’s one thing to say, “I won’t rely on my sub saying the password to figure out that I should stop” (in fact, saying that is excellent!) but saying, “I purposefully won’t give my sub a clear and unambiguous way to say stop because s/he may not use it when needed” is dumb beyond all measure. That shit is abusive, and every reputable BDSMer I’ve ever encountered would tell you to avoid a person who does like the plague. While I’m sure that not everyone who is stupid enough to say that is a rapist or an abuser, rapists and abusers use that line to manipulate their way into situations where they can rape and then deny responsibility. If one thinks that one’s “supreme interpersonal skills” will allow one to never misread someone, one is arrogant and self-deluded.

  213. Schala says

    Oh, and anyone who is going to rely on “mutual knowledge and supreme interpersonal skills” to let them figure out that their partner really means no this time needs to get kicked in the head.

    It only ever works with a level of trust not found in common play. As in, within a relationship of some kind, where trust is deep, and there is respect and attachment towards the other in a way significant enough to know the other will never willfully harm you. Someone you just met at the club, even the BDSM club? No way.

  214. Jacob Schmidt says

    It only ever works with a level of trust not found in common play. As in, within a relationship of some kind, where trust is deep, and there is respect and attachment towards the other in a way significant enough to know the other will never willfully harm you.

    Missed the point entirely.

  215. Schala says

    “Missed the point entirely.”

    Yawn

    I’m just saying that supremely whatever skills only works in such a tiny little context that it’s not going to be workable in most contexts.

    But keep thinking you’re super intelligent.

  216. Gjenganger says

    @Eristae
    I think it is clear where we are both coming from.

    I believe that sex (like driving and other things) has an inherent risk. Sex with strangers more so. BDSM even more so. A risk that you can reduce but not eliminate. And therefore that you cannot blame people if things sometimes go wrong as long as they follow best practice.
    You believe (?) that you always can and must reduce the risk to zero. And therefore that anything that goes wrong is objectively someone’s fault, and the someone deserves whatever punishment comes his way.

    We are clearly not going to convince each other. I think this is a good place to leave it.

  217. Eristae says

    It only ever works with a level of trust not found in common play. As in, within a relationship of some kind, where trust is deep, and there is respect and attachment towards the other in a way significant enough to know the other will never willfully harm you. Someone you just met at the club, even the BDSM club? No way.

    Missed the point entirely.

    Yeah, Jacob Schmidt said.

    You don’t have to willfully harm someone to harm them. If you are going to deny a person a way to clearly tell you that they are hurting them (regardless of your intention) in favor of touting your “supreme interpersonal skills,” you are being willfully negligent. Maybe you’ll get lucky and you won’t end up raping anyone by accident, just like maybe you’ll get lucky by not having your partner suffocate to death when you leave them alone while they’re gagged and mummified in duct tape, but you’ll still be a dangerous, irresponsible asshole who has no business being involved in BDSM or even sex in general. And any dom who comes to me and says, “Well, yes, my sub may say I raped her/him, but it was an innocent mistake because I wouldn’t let her/him have a safe word and my ‘supreme interpersonal skills’ didn’t manage to tell me that s/he really wanted to stop” will not get any sympathy with me, nay, will get negative sympathy from me. That is setting someone up to get raped, and BDSM requires that people be more careful, not less.

  218. Danny Gibbs says

    Eristae:

    Been thinking about this a bit and I’m seeing where you’re coming from now. But with new thinking comes new thoughts.

    I’m saying that in the situation you describe, the individuals are not going to be deterred from reporting a crime that is committed against them out of fear or repercussions against them. They had no control over whether or not to involve the legal system because the whole basis was that they were dragged into the legal system unjustly.
    What bugs me is in that example they may not be deterred from reporting because of their own fears, they are being deterred because of the fears of others. Even though they had no control over whether or not to involved the legal because of being dragged into it, as we see the legal system is free to drag them into it in the first place and then push them aside.

    Let ask you an example. Let’s say justice is a door. A rape victim may be scared to try to open it because others have tried to bully them out of trying whereas for the falsely accused the door is locked so no matter how hard they try to open it it won’t open.

    To address your first point, it isn’t that some people are more worthy of justice than others, it’s that one of these two groups can be scared out of even an attempt at justice.
    I think what’s happening is that the fear from one of those two groups is actually being used to prevent attempts at justice for the other. And I think this is what comes off as thinking one group is more worthy of justice than the other.

    They believe that rape is a crime that doesn’t fit into the other categories we assign to other crimes in a way that means that laws which attempt to deal with false accusations will inevitably end up being entirely misused (unfairly applied in regards to minorities, unfairly applied in regards to the poor, etc etc etc) and not being used in a way that will allow them to reach their intended goal.
    I do see that belief that rape doesn’t fit neatly so to speak quite often, even though I also often see the matching belief that while rape doesn’t fit neatly false accusations of rape should be treated like false accusations of any other crime. (I think this is a bit odd because it seems to convey the idea that rape itself needs to be dealt with in some vaccum while anything else that relates to it should be dealt with in standard ways).

    As for the misuse I think that there is more to worry about when it comes to misuse then misuing measures to address false accusations. We already have cases where a woman can have a man convicted of a rape that did not happen based on nothing more than her own word.

    I think this is why you see such adamant vocalizing about false accusations.

    Withinthismind:
    A) false rape accusations comprise approximately 2% of cases, just like all other crimes
    Citation please.

    Citation needed

    Considering that actually committing and being convicted of rape barely qualifies as ‘horrible life-altering’, please provide some sort of evidence for your claim that being falsely accused is ‘horrible life-altering’.
    http://www.salon.com/2013/06/11/jesse_friedman_forget_it_i_can_never_forget_it_it_never_ever_goes_away/

    Someone else mentioned Brian Banks.

    In short the fact that a lot of rapists get away with their crimes doesn’t mean that the falsely accused aren’t harmed. Unless you want to say that having years of your life taken from you doesn’t change one’s life?

    Hey, incidentally, I know 4 people who actually did commit the rapes they were accused of and…no, wait… it wasn’t horrible and life-altering for them either. Well, except for one. After the third time he went up on charges for rape, he did actually get sentenced to 5 years in jail, and when he got out 6 months later his partner in his drug-dealing sideline shot him over some stolen money. But yeah, totally horrible and life-altering consequences for him, I suppose.
    I hope you have a citation for someone saying that rapists suffer horribly after they rape someone….

    As for the condemnation….”Falsely accusing someone else of a crime is a shitty thing to do. It makes life harder on everyone, including actual victims.” I’ll give it to you. You really sound like you tried to be sincere. You didn’t mention the crime of rape at all and you still try to put a wall between the falsely accused and ‘actual victims’ as if being falsely accused does not make one a victim (not victims in the same capacity but both victims nontheless).

    Am I now allowed to join a discussion on why treating rape victims with the same respect given to victims of other crimes would be a great thing without having to constantly interrupt the debate to respond to some MRAer whining ‘but what if they aren’t telling the truth’? Please? Can we feminists please be allowed to care about the victims of rape without having to spend add a line to our post saying ‘but if the skanky bitch is lying, throw her ass in jail’? Pretty please, with a cherry on top?
    Funny you say that MRAs are whining in the middle of a paragraph where you sound like a child throwing a tantrum. But please speaking as a pro MRA type it would be really wrong if you called the false accuser a “skanky bitch”. Skanky implies that she has a lot of sex which has no bearing on if she is falsely accusing or not and I’m pretty sure that women don’t like to be called bitches. Now I know you think you are imitating MRAs or something like that and even think you’re being funny. But no you’re actually just imitating a subset of MRAs at best or at worst you’re believing some prejudiced illusion of them.

  219. Eristae says

    @Eristae
    I think it is clear where we are both coming from.

    I believe that sex (like driving and other things) has an inherent risk. Sex with strangers more so. BDSM even more so. A risk that you can reduce but not eliminate. And therefore that you cannot blame people if things sometimes go wrong as long as they follow best practice.
    You believe (?) that you always can and must reduce the risk to zero. And therefore that anything that goes wrong is objectively someone’s fault, and the someone deserves whatever punishment comes his way.

    We are clearly not going to convince each other. I think this is a good place to leave it.

    No, I think that when you take a risk, you can’t declare that the bad consequences didn’t happen. If I hit a pedestrian with my car and kill them, I don’t get to sit here and insist that they aren’t dead because I didn’t mean to kill them. We can’t deny that having killed a person is horrible. The only thing we can decide is whether or not I should be punished for it.

    The problem is that you seem to be okay with excusing behavior that I’m not okay with excusing. You think that if a person has sex with an individual whom they think is drunk but not that drunk, they can’t be held accountable for being wrong about the person’s level of impairment. I think that we should all know that a person’s level of impairment is difficult to judge, so you shouldn’t be having sex with someone you know to be impaired. I think that if you have sex with someone you know to be impaired and who is more impaired than you guessed they were, you did something wrong and need to be held accountable.

    And I’ve said this before but it doesn’t seem to have registered with you, so I’ll repeat myself: Whether you did something (raped someone, stole something, killed someone) is not something that can be debated. It is a statement of fact. Now, whether or not we will punish you is a different manner.

  220. Jacob Schmidt says

    Danny Gibbs

    A rape victim may be scared to try to open it because others have tried to bully them out of trying whereas for the falsely accused the door is locked so no matter how hard they try to open it it won’t open.

    You think there’s no recourse for the falsely accused? If so, then I think you forgot about the whole “proven beyond reasonable doubt” bit of criminal justice. No, it’s not perfect, but nor is it analogous to an always locked door.

    I hope you have a citation for someone saying that rapists suffer horribly after they rape someone…

    No one claimed that. It was claimed that the falsely accused will suffer horribly. Since the rapists often don’t, the worry for the falsely accused seems over blown (before you jump on this, consider the fact that nearly every conversation of rape I’ve seen online, and many elsewhere, got derailed from people banging on about the falsely accused; no other crime get’s this much scrutiny on the matter).

    You didn’t mention the crime of rape at all and you still try to put a wall between the falsely accused and ‘actual victims’ as if being falsely accused does not make one a victim (not victims in the same capacity but both victims nontheless).

    Fucking clueless. “Actual victims” refers to actual victims of rape, as opposed to the rape victims who are lying.

  221. skaduskitai says

    I absolutely agree that the police and the entire legal system should take every allegation of rape seriously and not dismiss it as a false charge without even having examined the case. Furthermore there should also be available shelter and support to victims that need it where the perpetrator sadly cannot be convicted due to lack of evidence or other technicalities. (many victims of rape and abuse actually live with the perpetrator).

    The media however i think should not be involved at all until maybe afterwards to notify the public or if the victim really insists of having a camera team hanging around. If the victim doesn’t want the media attention, and I suspect very few rape victims wants media attention, the court proceedings should be closed for the public until it’s settled.

    As for the recent discussion. I can only say that in my experience most ordinary people don’t even go to court for minor offenses (like minor theft) so it seems that the likelyhood of an ordinary girl to fabricate a rape claim to get some kind of revenge on a one-night-stand for not being the love of her life is very, very slim, especially considering how low her chances are to be believed.

  222. Danny Gibbs says

    No one claimed that. It was claimed that the falsely accused will suffer horribly. Since the rapists often don’t, the worry for the falsely accused seems over blown…
    Then why bring up how rapists fare when the point was about the falsely accused? There have already been a few names mentioned in regards to men that have had life changing things happen to them because of being falsely accused. The fact that a rapist didn’t spend much time in jail doesn’t make the fact that people have been to prison for years for crimes that did not happen any less horrible.

    If you’re willing to say that having years of your life taken from you, possibly suffering the very crime you were falsely accused of, having to live with the fact that family and friends have to move on without you, having your name associated with being a rapist, getting out and then STILL having to fight to get the conviction removed from your record, and still possibly having to register as a sex offender isn’t that horrible then fine.

  223. Jacob Schmidt says

    Danny Gibbs

    Then why bring up how rapists fare when the point was about the falsely accused?

    Really? It was in the sentence you quoted: “Since the rapists often don’t, the worry for the falsely accused seems over blown…

    If there’s an unlikely chance that an actual rapist with evidence to convict him will suffer anything, it’s even more unlikely that a false allegation will go far. No one is denying it can happen and no one is denying it sucks; we’re only denying your ridiculous and over blown hyperbole.

    If you’re willing to say that having years of your life taken from you, possibly suffering the very crime you were falsely accused of, having to live with the fact that family and friends have to move on without you, having your name associated with being a rapist, getting out and then STILL having to fight to get the conviction removed from your record, and still possibly having to register as a sex offender isn’t that horrible then fine.

    Fucking reading; how does it work?

  224. says

    @Ally 184:

    My problem with you is not just that you have creepy, stalky tendencies, but that you are a really, really shit stalker. It’s not even a challenge. Please mate, you’ve been at this for about 5 years. Get a life of your own, eh?

    “Get a life of your own?”

    Not sure where you were last week Ally, Manchester was it? The Peak District of Derbyshire?

    Well my life took me to this place among others.

    And do you still subscribe to this view?

    It is absolutely impossible to debate rape without acknowledging that some claims of rape might be false. That’s what the vast majority of rape cases turn on.

    Or have you moved on in the three years since?

  225. Danny Gibbs says

    we’re only denying your ridiculous and over blown hyperbole.
    What’s overblown and ridiculous about exact examples?

  226. says

    Sorry I messed up the formatting on the previous post so please feel free to delete it.

    @Ally 210

    Is this the same 82 year old man you wrote about here?

    Licentialiquendi wrote:

    AllyF gets 70 recommends for posting two highly dubious ‘case studies’ to back up his defence of rapists. In one report in that bastion of ethical journalism The Sun, an 82 year old with serious physical and mental health problems, walks into the sea to drown himself. In the other the man with a history of alcoholism is the victim of someone who has an intense grudge against him, but appears not to have been arrested for anything, let alone rape.

    To which, Ally, you replied:

    They are not case studies, they are newspaper reports. I linked to the first newspapers that came up from google, but if you don’t believe The Sun, here’s another.

    I’d like to link to a nice liberal lefty source like the Guardian, but as we both know (we’ve been here before, Bitey) the Guardian has a strict policy of never reporting cases of false rape allegations, even when they are proved beyond all reasonable doubt and lead to such horrific, fatal consequences.
    Perhaps you want to deny that Ian Adams or James Bamber even existed? Perhaps you want to deny that they committed suicide after being the victims of malicious false allegations? Perhaps you think they were really guilty of rape? Which is it? Spell it out.

    As for your other comment, I don’t for a moment deny that to be the victim of a horrific crime like rape is a deeply traumatising experience for anyone, and that it leads directly to PTSD and sometimes suicide. That is not even up for discussion.

    All I ask is for blinkered ideologues like Julie Bindel and yourself to accept that being the victim of false allegations can also be deeply traumatic and lead to PTSD and sometimes suicide.

    And do you still feel Julie Bindel is a “blinkered ideologue”?

    And as an aside Ally was there any other reason for identifying Licentialiquendi as Bitey, other than to get me banned from posting on The Guardian’s Comment is Free?

  227. Jacob Schmidt says

    Danny Gibbs

    What’s overblown and ridiculous about exact examples?

    Again, fucking clueless.

    Emphasis mine:

    Imagine having such a horrible life altering crime committed against you and the system is quite literally willing to sweep you under the rug for another set of victims.

    I think what’s happening is that the fear from one of those two groups is actually being used to prevent attempts at justice for the other.

    I know you may not agree but that stance is basically saying that some people are more deserving of justice than others.

    No hyperbole here at all, no siree.

    The problem with your exact examples (did you even have more than 1?) is that seem to pretend they are common.

  228. says

    @Ally 210

    If I’m angry at you (to be more accurate, if I’m angry at the line you are arguing) it is purely because of your abject refusal to display any meaningful compassion, empathy or basic humanity towards people to whom dreadful things have happened, including an 82 year old man who took his own life.

    The trauma and distress suffered by the victims of rapists and those who’ve been sexually assaulted, the vast majority women, are well researched and documented.

    ….according to the National Women’s Study, rape victims are 4.1 times more likely than non-crime victims to have contemplated suicide and 13 times more likely to attempt suicide.

    Could we have some equivalent statistics for those, almost exclusively men, who’ve been falsely accused?

    And incidentally, the 82 year old man to whom you refer, went to a woman’s house, offered to lend her money, according to him fumbled about with her, and according to her raped or attempted to rape her.  And you think she was wrong to report it to the police?

  229. Schala says

    I think that we should all know that a person’s level of impairment is difficult to judge, so you shouldn’t be having sex with someone you know to be impaired

    I’ve had sex while drunk in 95+% of cases where I’ve had sex. I’ve had two sex partners in my entire life. A one-night stand (and yes I was drunk) whom I gave fellatio to, and my current boyfriend.

    I’m nearly always impaired at the time. Sometimes so impaired I don’t even remember being awake at the time (though this is rather rare). The difference? I impaired myself voluntarily, I also had sex voluntarily. I assume all consequences of my acts. The one time I was blacked out, I had pre-consented to the possibility of sleep sex (in essence, mostly after I’m asleep drunk), weeks before it happened. I know it’s not valid in court, but I didn’t bring my boyfriend in court either.

    I also use no safe word, and we sometimes do BDSM play. It mostly comes down to an immense amount of trust in the other (has to be mutual), and communication. Never had a problem. If I have an issue with what we’re doing at that moment, I’ll say so. That’s communication. I expect the same from him. I don’t get hints, or innuendo. It has to be explicit (though not necessarily vocal).

  230. Schala says

    The trauma and distress suffered by the victims of rapists and those who’ve been sexually assaulted, the vast majority women, are well researched and documented.

    The “vast majority women” bit is the one not well researched and documented.

    Most men are not asked if it happened to them (non-consented sex). If they’re asked at all in a survey, they’re asked if someone penetrated them. Patriarchy at work – which says penis (of the perpetrator of course) or it didn’t happen.

    Compare male rape victims to female rape victims please.

    Men are the majority of the falsely accused in large part because they’re the majority of the accused period. It’s still not the counterpart to rape.

    Rape is a bad crime, it happens to both men and women, roughly in the same proportions (according to the CDC last 12 months data).

    False accusation of rape is a bad crime, it happens to both men and women, but since it deals with rape that was actually charged, it affects men in amounts way higher. Women are rarely charged with rape. Even the media rarely calls female rapists as rapists. They’re nymphos, sex maniacs, crazy women, “having a relationship”, anything to avoid the R word.

  231. Schala says

    Patriarchy at work:

    http://i.imgur.com/itdhQqJ.png

    Advice for men on how not to rape.

    Advice for women on how not to be raped.

    Remember kids: Men cannot possibly be raped, and they might have strong instinctual urges to do so to others even. While women can’t rape because *insert excuse which is also misogyny (such as too weak, too moral, too motherly)*

  232. Eristae says

    I also use no safe word, and we sometimes do BDSM play. It mostly comes down to an immense amount of trust in the other (has to be mutual), and communication. Never had a problem. If I have an issue with what we’re doing at that moment, I’ll say so. That’s communication. I expect the same from him. I don’t get hints, or innuendo. It has to be explicit (though not necessarily vocal).

    I’m not sure you understand the point of a safe word. A safe word is for when one is engaging in an interaction where where one ignores a person’s protests and assertions that they want something to stop based on an understanding that the person is not serious about their objections. You know, a sexual situation that involves something like a person yelling, “No! No! Stop it! I don’t want you to do that!” when the protester does not in fact what the behavior in question to stop.

    In the event that one is in a situation where saying something like, “I have an issue with what we’re doing at the moment” is going to be taken at face value, one does not need a safe word because something more mundane such as “no” or “stop that” take the place of a safe word.

    So, if I’m misunderstanding your level of understanding of safe words, I do apologize, but no one is going to argue that you should be using a safe word in the aforementioned circumstances. There’s no reason to come up with a code for “I really mean no” if “no” will be taken as “I really mean no.”

  233. Lowcifur says

    The situation I’ve never gotten a clear answer on, in regard to drunkenness is this:

    Two people meet at a bar, each of them vigorously inebriated, and they go have sex in one of their cars or in the bathroom, or a hotel room, etc. The next day, neither can remember very well, and one of them accuses the other of rape after the fact. What’s the right way to handle that situation?

    Based off what I’ve read in these comments, some think that having sex with an impaired person is always wrong. If that’s the case, then if both participants are impaired to a roughly equal degree, did they rape each other?

    How do you determine who was impaired to what degree, a day after the fact? In terms of alcohol, your window for getting an accurate BAC measurement is measured in hours.

    If the accuser genuinely can’t recall the previous night then, from their perspective, they were raped because they don’t recall consent.

    What if the accused actually does remember getting consent, in spite of their personal impairment at the time? Whose word trumps whose?

    My disagreement is with the assertion that “consent is unambiguous”. For most people, in most situations, that’s true. But, in some places, where the alcohol flows like water, ambiguity does creep in.

  234. Ally Fogg says

    Bitethehand

    And do you still feel Julie Bindel is a “blinkered ideologue”?

    Yes. On some topics more than others, and victims of false allegations are high on the list. JB and I actually get on quite well, considering, but I don’t regret writing that under the circumstances.

    And as an aside Ally was there any other reason for identifying Licentialiquendi as Bitey, other than to get me banned from posting on The Guardian’s Comment is Free?

    I honestly have no idea, since I’m not in the habit of compiling detailed files on people with whom I’ve argued on the internet several years previously. But if I was to hazard a guess, I’d imagine I was seriously pissed off with you for harassing people, keeping files on them, quoting them out of context, misrepresenting them and otherwise behaving like a stalky, creepy freak.

    Could we have some equivalent statistics for those, almost exclusively men, who’ve been falsely accused?

    No, we couldn’t. One point made by Baroness Stern in her review was that neither the British government nor the main academic funding agencies had ever funded research into the extent, the nature or the consequences of false rape allegations, and she called for that to be rectified. I’d wholeheartedly support that but in the meantime the research simply isn’t there, so we must depend on anecdote.

    And incidentally, the 82 year old man to whom you refer, went to a woman’s house, offered to lend her money, according to him fumbled about with her, and according to her raped or attempted to rape her. And you think she was wrong to report it to the police?

    So now you are completely ignoring the findings of a police investigation and cororner’s inquest and proceeding to defame a dead pensioner who took his own life after a serious crime was committed against him. You’re a classy act Bitey, seriously fucking classy.

  235. Eristae says

    @Lowcifur

    I’m about to try to sleep (again; stupid insomnia) so we’ll see how coherent this is:

    Based off what I’ve read in these comments, some think that having sex with an impaired person is always wrong.

    I’m not sure that “wrong” is the word I’d use. “A bad idea?” Yes. It’s rather like how playing Russian Roulette isn’t always fatal, but it’s always a bad idea. Maybe you’ll be fine. Or maybe not. By the time you’re sure, you’ve either blown your brains out or you haven’t.

    If the accuser genuinely can’t recall the previous night then, from their perspective, they were raped because they don’t recall consent.

    What if the accused actually does remember getting consent, in spite of their personal impairment at the time? Whose word trumps whose?

    In the event that your partner was so drunk that they can’t remember giving consent, then they didn’t give what would legally amount to consent. And it’s not just with sex that we say people can’t consent while mentally impaired. Giving tattoos to a drunk person, having a drunk person sign a legal document, performing non-medically necessary medical procedures (like breast implants) on a drunk person, all are just asking for the legal system to come beat on you.

    My disagreement is with the assertion that “consent is unambiguous”. For most people, in most situations, that’s true. But, in some places, where the alcohol flows like water, ambiguity does creep in.

    Actually, I think that there are good chunk of situations where consent is ambiguous, and that in those situations, one needs to assume that consent is lacking because of that ambiguity. After all, the fact that the situation is ambiguous means we aren’t sure, and if we aren’t sure, assuming that consent is present is a bad idea. The lack of clarity isn’t something to be ignored, it’s something that should motivate and shape our decision making.

    It actually confuses me that people have this kind of trouble with ambiguous sexual consent. If Jane sometimes put dog feces in her brownies, would people anyone eat the brownies she made? If I put 10 glasses of yellow liquid on the table and said that 9 were lemonade and 1 was urine*, would people drink a glass? No. Instead, people would recoil at the very idea. In fact, if you take 100% chocolate and simply shape it like dog feces, people freak out, even though its chemically the same as any other chocolate. Yet this same horror, this same inclination to recoil, somehow doesn’t transfer over to the idea of raping someone. I don’t understand.

    As for the rest of it (who raped who, was one participant sober enough to be responsible, how do you determine all this, how does BAC factor in, how does tolerance factor in), this is why you don’t want to be having sex in ambiguous situations. None of these answers are going to be easy to determine, and even assuming we aren’t taking into consideration the well being of both the participants (bad, bad idea) spending lots of time in court trying to get at these answer isn’t going to be fun for anyone.

    Now, let’s see if I can sleep . . .

    *And urine is sterile! People freak out about it more than is medically justifiable.

  236. Ally Fogg says

    Lowcifer (239)

    The situation I’ve never gotten a clear answer on, in regard to drunkenness is this:

    Two people meet at a bar, each of them vigorously inebriated, and they go have sex in one of their cars or in the bathroom, or a hotel room, etc. The next day, neither can remember very well, and one of them accuses the other of rape after the fact. What’s the right way to handle that situation?…

    Why do you want to know?

    That’s not a snide rhetorical question, but an important one.

    Are you asking what police and the judicial system should do under those circumstances? The answer to that is that they should proceed on the assumption that the reported rape happened, interview all parties, collect evidence, investigate as they should for any crime. If there is no convincing evidence that a rape took place and there is no more to it than she said/he said, then there is no option but to drop the case and the suspected man walks free.

    Or are you asking a philosophical, moral question – is it objectively true that a rape occurred, irrespective of whether it can be proved in legal action?

    The answer to that question is that (assuming you don’t believe in an omniscient deity) nobody knows, possibly not even the people involved.

    Personally I think the more important question, especially for men, is how do you prevent yourself getting into that situation?

    That comes back to active and enthusiastic consent.

    I’ve had drunken sex on many an occasion, including on occasion pretty random sex with virtual strangers.

    There have also been times when I’ve walked away from sexual opportunities because the other person’s drunkenness has gone beyond a point of sensibility – where she literally could not talk or stand up unsupported, and there was a high probability that the next day she would have no memory of what had happened or how.

    A lot of this debate gets lost in the technicalities of legal definitions, as if something is only a rape if it could be proved to be a rape in a court of law, and anything short of that is, by default, just AOK.

    I think that’s shite myself. There are certain behaviours relating to sex and consent that one must or must not observe in order to avoid being coinvicted on a charge of rape.

    There are many, many more behaviours that one should avoid in order to be a decent human being with respect for the autonomy and rights of other human beings.

    I’m much more interested in discussing the latter than the former. Too much emphasis on the first question quickly becomes a search for loopholes, which I think is pretty fucked up.

  237. Soarer says

    240 Ally Fogg

    So now you are completely ignoring the findings of a police investigation and cororner’s inquest and proceeding to defame a dead pensioner who took his own life after a serious crime was committed against him. You’re a classy act Bitey, seriously fucking classy.

    Good rant, and I agree it is disgraceful, but after all Bitethehand is only taking you at your word – #believeher

    Now perhaps you see the problem with the phrasing used.

  238. Ally Fogg says

    @Soarer

    Sigh. How many times do I have to say it?

    At no point have I argued that belief in a rape report should persist beyond all investigation and proof. I said it should be the default starting position.

    Got that? Starting position.

    Is is really so difficult?

  239. Soarer says

    @ Ally Fogg

    Is is really so difficult?

    No – not difficult at all, for me, thee and all other people of goodwill.

    But we are not everyone, and maybe not even the majority. There are more Bitethehands out there, who will deliberately misconstrue if given the chance. And their equivalents on the t’other side too.

    Let’s not give them any more ammunition, is all I am saying.

  240. Gjenganger says

    @AllyF 242
    I think there are three levels of behaviour, actually.
    – There is what you do to avoid getting convicted. That includes wearing gloves and avoiding CCTV cameras.
    – There is what you do to avoid being a rapist, even if you will not get caught.
    – And there is what you do to avoid being an asshole.

    Now I would rather not be an asshole, but we all are, sometimes. Not being a rapist I take rather more seriously. So it does make a difference to me where rape ends and selfishness begins. That is why I want to know. Your side of the debate systematically refuses to make the distinction, which makes any sensible discussion impossible. To compare with driving, deliberately targeting pedestrians is illegal. Texting while driving is less illegal, and driving while tired is legal. All are bad and all are risky or worse. It still does not make sense to say that anyone involved in a lethal accident is a murderer, regardless of what he was actually doing beforehand. In fact I suspect you (plural) refuse to make the distinction because it makes it easier to establish your own rules for sexual manners if you can claim that anyone who disagrees is a rapist.

    Another point is that any kind of sex carries some risk that one or both participants will regret it in the morning. Plain consent is more risky than enthusiastic consent. Sex while drunk, or with strangers, is more risky. Unprotected sex is risky. BDSM is more risky than straight sex. Now both sides have the right to make an informed decision on how much risk they wish to take on. On their own behalf, of course, not on behalf of their partner. You can choose to outlaw certain behaviours as such – sex while over the drink-and-drive limit, say. But it really does not make sense to say that the behaviour is just frowned upon, but the unlucky few who run into the bad consequences are major criminals. If you have had drunken sex with random strangers, do you think of yourself as a rapist who just got lucky? If one of your bedmates had woken up devastated, would that have made you a rapist, other things being equal?

    The example of two drunken strangers illustrates why unpleasant consequences do not necessarily equate to rape. For better or worse, the responsibility in practice falls on the man. But let us assume for the moment that they are both male. Let us also assume that neither can remember what happened, and both go to the police and complain of being raped. Now which one is the evil rapist, and which one is the abused victim? Are they both evil rapists? Or would it make more sense to say that they engaged in risky behaviour and both got caught out?

  241. says

    @Ally 240

    I honestly have no idea, since I’m not in the habit of compiling detailed files on people with whom I’ve argued on the internet several years previously. But if I was to hazard a guess, I’d imagine I was seriously pissed off with you for harassing people, keeping files on them, quoting them out of context, misrepresenting them and otherwise behaving like a stalky, creepy freak.

    So it’s ok for you to quote in this article something that “Prisoner Ben” Gunn has written but not for me to quote what you’ve written?  And incidentally you’ve got some pretty decent files here – yes? Isn’t that the very nature of the internet and the web? I suggest you try getting used to it as it’s not going to go away.

    I’ve challenged you before to produce evidence of me harassing people – unless you’re going to classify as harassment, the very essence of this and other interactive fora that the internet has encouraged? Same goes for me quoting people out of context – always the defence of scurrilous  politicians that one. No evidence Ally, just tittle tattle designed to attract those with too little inclination to undertake so basic investigation.

    Unlike you Ally I have never used expressions like “she spouts the ravings of a paranoid fruitloop” as a means of abusing those with whom I disagree, so I suggest if the cap fits….

    And as you know very well while Baroness Stern did call for more funding for research on false allegations of rape, which is yet to be forthcoming, it isn’t true that “the research simply isn’t there”, as she and her team who compiled the report did some:

    It was suggested to us that women often make false allegations of rape.
    Beliefs that many allegations are false are said to affect the way rape complaints are dealt with by police, prosecutors and juries. The research that is available on false allegations gives a wide range of figures for how many there are, although those we spoke to in the system felt that there were very few. Nevertheless, the effect on those who are falsely accused can be severe. The public holds very strong views about sex offenders, and those who have been under suspicion of rape are likely to suffer considerably from the allegation having been made, even when they have been cleared and the allegation has been established as false. The penalties for making false allegations and persisting with them through the legal process can be commensurately severe. The complainant making false allegations can be given a substantial prison sentence. Since the subject of false allegations comes up so often in discussions about rape, and the information about the prevalence of false allegations is so scanty, we have recommended that research be undertaken to establish their frequency.

    And

    How common are false allegations? It is not possible to establish an exact figure and the research that is available gives a wide range of suggested percentages. Some research suggests that a figure of eight to ten per cent of reported rapes could well be false reports. However, those we spoke to in the system felt that there were very few. A Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) lawyer told us, ‘They are extremely rare. I have been prosecuting for 20 years, and have prosecuted for a false allegation once.’ The judges we talked to said these cases occur very infrequently. An experienced police officer had come across two such cases in 15 years.

    Now you might call the work of these researchers “anecdote” but it’s a serious allegation to make against the professionalism of those social scientists who work for the British Government’s Home Office and were in Baroness Stern’s team

    As for the 82 year old man with cancer who walked into the sea, do you think the woman who he admitted to “fumbling with” was wrong to go to the police with what she considered to be a sexual assault? Or should she have just put up and shut up?

  242. gftngidsndg says

    @Ally Fogg

    Why do you want to know?

    That’s not a snide rhetorical question, but an important one.

    This is the kind of destruct testing that goes on around all laws but for some reason rape is the one that people object to. You can see exactly this conversation happen around self defense in the case of murder and genuine need creating justifiable theft. The reason people have this discussion is that there are quite big loopholes that aren’t explicitly covered by the wording of the law but that people handwave by adding a subjective moral judgement. Essentially the problems with the law are being papered over by people saying that you’ll not fall afoul of them if you’re not an asshole. Well what constitutes assholeish behavior is variable and people are justifiably worried about an important law being broken. Laws are written the way they are to remove all wiggle room and this law has plenty of wiggle but people are being discouraged from honestly appraising it because of the crime it describes and accusations of being insensitive.

  243. Jacob Schmidt says

    This is the kind of destruct testing that goes on around all laws but for some reason rape is the one that people object to.

    Nobody objects to the testing the wording of rape laws in different scenarios to find any problems. People object to using the ambiguity inherent in drunken consent as an excuse to claim that the rape isn’t real, and she’s lying (which is the context for most of these conversations).

  244. N4M says

    Well it’s certainly an interesting approach, but I still think that if police start out with a pre-conceived notion of what has happened with regards to an alleged crime, and they then set about trying to gather evidence to match that conviction, it’s not really such a great approach. Lines of enquiry which may establish the truth would very likely get neglected, and for that reason alone, the police and CPS should surely owe a duty of equal consideration towards all parties in the case, not just the needs of the complainant.

    As for tearing up the presumption of innocence in social media and newspaper commentary, I’m really amazed this is considered desirable. After all, Levenson was full of cases where this type of trial by media occured and it damaged ordinary people’s lives irreversibly.

    Strikes me the presumption of innocence is there for a reason, not just legal, but for causes relating to ‘fairness’ and ‘morality’ as well..

  245. Schala says

    In the event that your partner was so drunk that they can’t remember giving consent, then they didn’t give what would legally amount to consent.

    What if you were just as drunk and just as unable to judge consent of the other (not like it always falls on you to obtain consent, either – at this level of inebriety – still conscious but far gone, lack of non-consent can be enough for many)?

    Because there isn’t always someone who is less drunk and/or more mature and/or more responsible. Sometimes people fuck up and do stuff they shouldn’t have (like binge drinking). Not something to redo in the future, really. But not a crime either.

  246. gftngidsndg says

    People object to using the ambiguity inherent in drunken consent as an excuse to claim that the rape isn’t real, and she’s lying (which is the context for most of these conversations).

    That’s a fairly important question though; is drunken consent viable consent? That question will entirely determine whether a rape has taken place or not so in a way the rape’s status as rape is dependent on how drunk they were when consenting. Drunkenness is a factor that’s covered inconsistently in laws, in some cases being no mitigating factor in determining responsibility and in some cases nullifying contracts. I have a feeling it’d be an easier situation if alcohol wasn’t consumed so frequently and so intertwined with sex and socialising.

    I don’t think many of the people who question whether this is rape are specifically pro rape or anti woman, I suspect you’d get a similar breakdown of responses if you asked them a question like “are you obliged to honour agreements made when drunk?” It’s an interesting moral question actually and not something I think is as easy to polarise as it’s sometimes made out to be.

  247. Jacob Schmidt says

    gftngidsndg

    That’s a fairly important question though; is drunken consent viable consent?

    Legally speaking, no. Morally speaking, it can be impossible to tell. The responsible thing to do would be to assume no. If you totally and honestly thought you had consent and it turns out you didn’t, you still raped somebody.

    I don’t think many of the people who question whether this is rape are specifically pro rape or anti woman, I suspect you’d get a similar breakdown of responses if you asked them a question like “are you obliged to honour agreements made when drunk?” It’s an interesting moral question actually and not something I think is as easy to polarise as it’s sometimes made out to be.

    That may be so, but the wrong place to ask it is during a practical conversation about responses to rape victims, especially considering such cases are very much the minority. It’s known that rapists use alchohol to subvert consent. It’s known that our society has a double standard with respect to victims and perpatrators, and this double standard becomes more glaring once alchohol is involved. The polarization you’re seeing is in response to people trying to obfuscate the issue.

    You don’t need to be pro-rape to help rape culture; you just need to propogate some disgusting cultural attitudes towards victims and alchohol (there are probably many other ways I’m forgetting).

    Schala

    What if you were just as drunk and just as unable to judge consent of the other (not like it always falls on you to obtain consent, either – at this level of inebriety – still conscious but far gone, lack of non-consent can be enough for many)?

    Under this incredibly specific and narrow scenario, both paries fucked up.

    But not a crime either.

    Why do these conversations always come to this? Why are people so concerned about the exact line? Why do people need to know just how far they can go while still being able to claim innocence? And why the fuck isn’t it a crime to act on someones body without their consent? And why the fuck are you more concerned about legal guilt than being a decent person towards your partner?

    You go on about male victims a lot. Do you realize that many of the women that rape men depend on attitudes like yours to protect themselves? They claim things like, “Oh. we were drunk, shit happens, it’s no big deal.” Fuck off with this shit.

  248. Eristae says

    What if you were just as drunk and just as unable to judge consent of the other (not like it always falls on you to obtain consent, either – at this level of inebriety – still conscious but far gone, lack of non-consent can be enough for many)?

    Because there isn’t always someone who is less drunk and/or more mature and/or more responsible. Sometimes people fuck up and do stuff they shouldn’t have (like binge drinking). Not something to redo in the future, really. But not a crime either.

    I’m going to refer you back to what I also said in that post:

    As for the rest of it (who raped who, was one participant sober enough to be responsible, how do you determine all this, how does BAC factor in, how does tolerance factor in), this is why you don’t want to be having sex in ambiguous situations. None of these answers are going to be easy to determine, and even assuming we aren’t taking into consideration the well being of both the participants (bad, bad idea) spending lots of time in court trying to get at these answer isn’t going to be fun for anyone.

    This is starting to feel like a conversation about drunk driving where I’m being asked
    “What is the exact legal BAC that a person needs to be legally drunk so that they can’t drive? Why is it .08%? What about if a person’s BAC is .079%? That’s only .001%, so it’s not really different. And what about if a person who has a high tolerance for alcohol (is less impacted by having a higher BAC than normal) has a BAC of .08% and a person with a low tolerance as a BAC of 0.079%? The person with the low tolerance is going to be more impaired, but they won’t be counted as have committed a crime despite being more dangerous. What about if a person who is a good driver has a BAC of 0.08% and a person who is a bad driver has a BAC of 0.079?% What if the state takes a person with a BAC of 0.079% and rounds up to 0.08% even though the person is actually under the limit? What about places that don’t even have the equipment to measure 0.079% compared to 0.08%? What about places that have BACs limits of .10%? It’s not geographical location determines how dangerous it is for someone to drive with a certain BAC . . .” and so on and so forth.

    I have a very simple policy when it comes to driving while impaired by alcohol: don’t do it. In fact, don’t do it even if you’re under the legal limit because what’s important isn’t whether or not you can sent to jail but is instead trying to keep you from killing someone. As far as I’m concerned, if you have a BAC of 0.079% and that causes you to be impaired, you are driving while drunk even though you haven’t hit the legal limit of 0.08%. In fact, if you have a BAC of 0.079% and you are impaired, you are driving drunk even if you are in a place where the legal limit is 0.10%. I get to say this even if I can’t or am not interested in answering every single question that I just listed. It is not necessary for me to be able to describe the legal status of every single possible scenario involving alcohol and driving to say, “Don’t drive drunk.”

  249. says

    Jacob Schmidt:

    Why do these conversations always come to this?

    Probably because feminists like you are inveterate liars who can’t see an opposing argument without trying to twist it into some kind of moustache-twirling evil on their opponents’ part.

    I’ll try to break it down for you. If a man and a woman, bothy drunk and both consenting, have sex, then it is a sexist double standard to call him a rapist and her not. It depends on the sexist assumption that sex is something men (active) do to women (passive), rather than something both sexes do (active) with each other, and the sexist belief that a woman is not responsible for the decisions she makes while drunk, but a man is responsible, not only for the decisions he makes while drunk, but for the decisions his female partner makes while drunk. It is one law for men, and another, much less stringent, law for women.

  250. Eristae says

    Patrick Brown:

    Probably because feminists like you are inveterate liars who can’t see an opposing argument without trying to twist it into some kind of moustache-twirling evil on their opponents’ part.

    I’ll try to break it down for you. If a man and a woman, bothy drunk and both consenting, have sex, then it is a sexist double standard to call him a rapist and her not. It depends on the sexist assumption that sex is something men (active) do to women (passive), rather than something both sexes do (active) with each other, and the sexist belief that a woman is not responsible for the decisions she makes while drunk, but a man is responsible, not only for the decisions he makes while drunk, but for the decisions his female partner makes while drunk. It is one law for men, and another, much less stringent, law for women.

    I find it to be absolutely fascinating that you picked a post where the writer explicitly wrote in favor of male victims* and how hyperspecific arguments impact them just like said arguments impact women and then somehow made it into an assertion that the “inveterate liars” that are “feminists” always say that men are at fault and women are not.

    *And I quote from the very post that you quoted:

    Do you realize that many of the women that rape men depend on attitudes like yours to protect themselves? They claim things like, “Oh. we were drunk, shit happens, it’s no big deal.” Fuck off with this shit.

    The comments section of this particular blog article is full of posts that say nothing about male victims, but you went and picked one that did. Did you not read to the end of Jacob Schmidt said, are you being sarcastic and I’m misunderstanding you, or is this situation really so ironic that you used a post which speaks against female perpetrators and in favor of male victims to go off about how “feminists” always blame men?

  251. says

    That was, frankly, the most disingenuous thing I have read on this thread. Women who rape men don’t need to rely on attitudes like that to get away with it, because there is no law against women raping men to begin with.

  252. Ginkgo says

    “Did you not read to the end of Jacob Schmidt said, are you being sarcastic and I’m misunderstanding you, or is this situation really so ironic that you used a post which speaks against female perpetrators and in favor of male victims to go off about how “feminists” always blame men?”

    Probably none of the above, probably in specific response to a specific question:

    “Why do these conversations always come to this?”

    Just guessing.

    Because these conversation always do come to this, especially when it consists of this kind of question-begging:

    “I have a very simple policy when it comes to driving while impaired by alcohol: don’t do it.”

    What does consent consist of legally – and in a discussion of a legal question like rape where the state can impose physical violence on someone, that is the only relevant standard; what does “impaired” actually mean? You can’t just blow by these questions as if the answers are obvious and expect everyone to just go along with it. It’s not on.

  253. Maureen Brian says

    Oi! Ginkgo!

    ***Definition of consent
    noun
    [mass noun]
    permission for something to happen or agreement to do something:
    no change may be made without the consent of all the partners
    verb
    [no object]
    give permission for something to happen:
    he consented to a search by a detective
    [with infinitive] agree to do something:
    he had consented to serve as external assessor on the panel
    Phrases

    by common consent
    with the agreement of all:
    it was, by common consent, our finest performance
    informed consent
    permission granted in full knowledge of the possible consequences, typically that which is given by a patient to a doctor for treatment with knowledge of the possible risks and benefits:
    written informed consent was obtained from each patient
    Origin:

    Middle English: from Old French consente (noun), consentir (verb), from Latin consentire, from con- ‘together’ + sentire ‘feel’***

    Note, in particular, the derivation of the word.

    Source: http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/consent

    What is so fucking difficult about two or more people being in agreement or reaching an agreement about what should happen next?

    We dreadful feminists often use the phrase “enthusiastic consent” in an attempt to get into the duller brains the idea that we are talking about active agreement rather than simply a failure to resist or to complain loudly enough.

    I have always found sex to be much more fun when all parties present are enjoying themselves. Not your experience? Sad.

  254. Eristae says

    That was, frankly, the most disingenuous thing I have read on this thread. Women who rape men don’t need to rely on attitudes like that to get away with it, because there is no law against women raping men to begin with.

    Is that so?

    To use just one example for the USA (the country I live in) that isn’t state specific (and most rape laws are state specific):

    Uniform Code of Military Justice

    Uniform Code of Military Justice [USC Title 10, Subtitle A, Chapter 47X, Section 920, Article 120] defines rape as:
    “ (a) Rape.— Any person subject to this chapter who commits a sexual act upon another person by—

    (1) using unlawful force against that other person;

    (2) using force causing or likely to cause death or grievous bodily harm to any person;

    (3) threatening or placing that other person in fear that any person will be subjected to death, grievous bodily harm, or kidnapping;

    (4) first rendering that other person unconscious; or

    (5) administering to that other person by force or threat of force, or without the knowledge or consent of that person, a drug, intoxicant, or other similar substance and thereby substantially impairing the ability of that other person to appraise or control conduct;

    is guilty of rape and shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.[53]

    Note the lack of reference to either “men” or “women,” which is how it should be. I particularly like this definition because it doesn’t fall back on “penetration” being required for rape, which can wrongly exempt certain kinds of sexual acts from being counted as rape (example: forcing someone to receive oral sex rather than force someone to give it) for both men and women.

    Rape laws have been and often continue to be fucked up. This is why it has historically the case that the legal definition declared that it wasn’t possible for anyone (man or woman) to rape a man (because he didn’t have a vagina), and that forced oral sex and forced anal sex didn’t count as rape for anyone (because it did’t involve the vagina). But what you just said? It’s simply not true. Furthermore, I (a feminist) assert that any and all laws which declare that men cannot be the victim of rape are unjust and should be changed. It is a horrible, hateful, disgusting thing to deny that men can be raped, and I say this without reservation. Saying that a man can’t be raped by a woman is no different than saying a wife can’t be raped by her husband. It’s grabbing on to some weird, technical, dictionary definition instead of what rape laws are supposed to be about: stopping people from having sexual contact forced on them against their will.

    Lastly, you’re arguing against a position that Jacob Schmidt never actually put forth. You’re equating “protect themselves” to “protect themselves from the legal system.” While this can be the case, it is also possible for “protecting themselves” to apply to “protect themselves from social stigma.” We see this in rapists all the time; they aren’t just interested in avoiding legal repercussions (although they certainly are) they’re also interested in avoiding social repercussions.

    But, you know, maybe that’s just my mustache making funny noises as I twirl it wickedly. Or maybe it’s Jacob Schmidt’s mustache? It’s difficult to tell given that feminists are a hivemind, like the Borg.

  255. Eristae says

    @Ginkgo

    “Did you not read to the end of Jacob Schmidt said, are you being sarcastic and I’m misunderstanding you, or is this situation really so ironic that you used a post which speaks against female perpetrators and in favor of male victims to go off about how “feminists” always blame men?”

    Probably none of the above, probably in specific response to a specific question:

    “Why do these conversations always come to this?”

    Just guessing.

    Because these conversation always do come to this, especially when it consists of this kind of question-begging:

    “I have a very simple policy when it comes to driving while impaired by alcohol: don’t do it.”

    What does consent consist of legally – and in a discussion of a legal question like rape where the state can impose physical violence on someone, that is the only relevant standard; what does “impaired” actually mean? You can’t just blow by these questions as if the answers are obvious and expect everyone to just go along with it. It’s not on.

    Aaaaaaand you just ignored everything I said. I could rewrite what I said, but surely that wouldn’t be helpful, so I’ll just redirect the same post to you.

    Seriously. I don’t know how to respond to someone saying that I said something other than I what I said than to respond by saying that . . . what you’re saying I said doesn’t correspond to what I said. So, you know . . . what you’re saying I said doesn’t correspond to what I said. Sorry.

  256. Schala says

    Rape laws have been and often continue to be fucked up.

    Their application even moreso, if we end up with a 90/10 gender ratio.

  257. Ginkgo says

    Maureen Brian @ 259

    “What is so fucking difficult about two or more people being in agreement or reaching an agreement about what should happen next?”

    ….and here you flaunt your female privilege, which immuniizes you from ever having to worry about asking for any kind of consent from your make partner since that’s always his worry, since he’s presumed to be the one making all the advnaces whether he actually is or not. It’s not something oyu ever have to worry about getting wrong. It isn’t like white women have ever gotten liynched for rape.

    You have an almost 100% certianty that he would get laughed out of any police station, and which sets up the whoel consent thing so you never even have to think about.

    And by the wya, just so you know, giving a dictionary defintion when the issue is the legal definition shows you’re not really serious about the discussion anyway. Try arguing in good faith and we might just get somewhere.

    Ersitae @ 261
    “Aaaaaaand you just ignored everything I said.”

    I quote you exactly and you say I ignore everything you say. Is there any point, really?

    And then there’s this:
    “To use just one example for the USA (the country I live in) that isn’t state specific (and most rape laws are state specific):”

    And then you quote the UCMJ! Could you find a more obscure reference/ He’s referring to UK law, law that governs 60 million peiople, and you counter law that covers a little over a million.

    Okay, you are not nitpicking and trying to disporve his rather totalizing assertion; there really is a great deal of US law in many states that at least tries to say the right things that sound kind of like gender equality in the statute. That doesn’t do much for the actual adminsitration of law, that’s not the same thing as actual law on the gournd, but it is movement in the right direction.

  258. Jacob Schmidt says

    Patrick Brown

    Probably because feminists like you are inveterate liars who can’t see an opposing argument without trying to twist it into some kind of moustache-twirling evil on their opponents’ part.

    Even assuming this is true, it doesn’t address the question at hand. Honestly, if you’re gonna insult people, at least be coherent about it.

    If a man and a woman, bothy drunk and both consenting, have sex, then it is a sexist double standard to call him a rapist and her not.

    And here’s what I said on the topic: “Under this incredibly specific and narrow scenario, both parties fucked up.” Do you even know what you’re arguing about?

    That was, frankly, the most disingenuous thing I have read on this thread. Women who rape men don’t need to rely on attitudes like that to get away with it, because there is no law against women raping men to begin with.

    First of all, even in countries where rape is defined as penetration, it’s still illegal for a woman to have sex with a man without his consent (sexual assault). I’d be willing to grant that the law isn’t well enforced (I don’t know the statistics for successful prosecution of female perpetrators; last I checked, they were low), but it is illegal in most countries.

    Second of all, what in bloody fucking hell are you talking about? Do you honestly think things like rape culture and victim blaming propagate through specific attitudes? There’s many attitudes through which these ideas spread. The idea that women are too weak, or that men are too strong erases male victims and female perpetrators. The idea that men are always consenting erases male victims. The idea that for women “no means yes” encourages us to ignore what a women is actually saying. And the idea that once alcohol is involved it’s no longer rape and not a big deal erases both male and female victims.

    There’s some I’m forgetting, and probably more I’ve had the privilege of never encountering. All these damaging attitudes need to go, not just the ones that are convenient for your argument. That post was nothing but ignorance.

    Ginkgo

    What does consent consist of legally – and in a discussion of a legal question like rape where the state can impose physical violence on someone, that is the only relevant standard; what does “impaired” actually mean? You can’t just blow by these questions as if the answers are obvious and expect everyone to just go along with it. It’s not on.

    Consent is legally defined. In fact, most countries define it within their criminal or civil code. You may find the definitions inadequate, but they do exist.

    As for “impaired”, jesus fuck. The whole point of it all is that this questions can be difficult, so she abides by a policy that makes it irrelevant: if they’re drunk, don’t do it. What exactly constitutes “impaired” doesn’t matter when your partner isn’t.

    ….and here you flaunt your female privilege, which immuniizes you from ever having to worry about asking for any kind of consent from your make partner since that’s always his worry, since he’s presumed to be the one making all the advnaces whether he actually is or not.

    I’m somewhat lost for words. Are you seriously lecturing Maureen on her experiences? Maureen cares about her partner’s consent (for that matter, everyone’s consent) because it’s the basic, decent thing to do.

  259. Eristae says

    I quote you exactly and you say I ignore everything you say. Is there any point, really?

    You quoted one sentence consisting of 18 words out of a post of 390 words. Quoting one sentence out of a multi-sentence post does not mean that you addressed what I said. You did not. But since you object, I’ll try this again.

    As far as I can tell, this is how our conversation is going:

    Me: I can say it’s wrong to drive while drunk without getting into an argument about things like what the exact BAC should be to count as legally impaired, why it should be that exact number, and how to deal with the fact that different people handle different BAC levels differently. I’m not a doctor, or a lawyer, or a judge, so I’m not intimately acquainted with the physiological differences between a BAC of 0.06%, 0.08%, and 0.1%, but I don’t have to be to condemn drunk driving.

    You: You are begging the question by condemning drunk driving without getting into an argument about things like what the exact BAC should be to count as legally impaired, why it should be that exact number, and how to deal with the fact that different people handle different BAC levels different.

    I’m not asserting that the legal BAC should be 0.08% and not 0.1%. I’m arguing that one’s BAC level can render one unfit to drive. Asking me why the BAC should be 0.08% and not 0.1% isn’t helpful and I’m not interested in trying to rush off and gather information to back that the legal BAC limit should be either 0.08% or 0.1%.

    I have been over numerous hypothetical situations involving consent in this thread, and I’ve finally gotten tired of it. It’s incredibly clear that dealing with incredibly specific, hypothetical situations isn’t going to move us any closer to an understanding than it already has. What does this particular question even entail? Are we talking about one person whose BAC is 0.08% and the other person is passed out drunk? Are talking about two people who’s BACs are 0.08% and this impairs them equally? Are we talking about two people whose BACs are 0.08% but one person is more severely impacted than the other? Are we talking about one person who is a total lightweight who is put down by one beer and another person who can toss back a 6 pack and still walk like a sober person? Is a BAC of 0.08% even meaningful when it comes to consenting to sex, or is it only meaningful when it comes to driving? And if we manage to answer all these questions, what have we accomplished? My ultimate answer is going to be the same whether or not we hammer out if we agree on these specific questions: You can be impaired enough to not be able to consent, you can be functional enough to consent to sex, and you can be at a state where it is hard to tell whether or not you can consent. Of these three situations, no one should have sex with you unless you are functional enough to consent to sex. If you are in the area where it’s hard to tell if you are functional enough, one should err on the side of not fucking you.

    We’ve been over what consent is. We’ve been over when consent can be assumed. We’ve been over when consent is ambiguous. Repeating this with slightly different situations could go on forever, and I don’t have forever.

    And then you quote the UCMJ! Could you find a more obscure reference/ He’s referring to UK law, law that governs 60 million peiople, and you counter law that covers a little over a million.

    Okay, you are not nitpicking and trying to disporve his rather totalizing assertion; there really is a great deal of US law in many states that at least tries to say the right things that sound kind of like gender equality in the statute. That doesn’t do much for the actual adminsitration of law, that’s not the same thing as actual law on the gournd, but it is movement in the right direction.

    Oh for the love of . . .

    1) Where, exactly, does he say that he is referencing UK law? Patrick has made two posts that I see in this thread, and neither have “UK” anywhere in their text. I had to pick a location, which is why I went with “the country I live in, but not the state.” There are no worldwide laws on rape, so I can’t reference worldwide laws, but arguing about any specific state’s laws seemed too restrictive

    2) If I said, “Husbands who rape wives don’t need to rely on attitudes like that to get away with it, because there is no law against husbands raping wives to begin with,” would this be an accurate statement? No. If I said the above statement but put something alone the lines of “in country X,” then it could be true. But there’s a reason I said “in the country I live in” and “that isn’t state specific,” and that’s because I know that laws are different in different places.

    3) Nowhere did I say anything about the application of law, only the existence of it. From where I stand, Patrick just argued that application of the law wasn’t relevant because there were no laws. That is what I’m arguing against.

    4) I could try to speak to UK laws, but I don’t know that this would be a good idea. For example, this website would seemly contradict Patrick’s claim (as it references only “the victim” and not “the man” or “the woman”), but I’m not particularly familiar with UK laws. Maybe the governmental website for The Crown Prosecution Service isn’t being entirely accurate. I certainly don’t know.

  260. Maureen Brian says

    Ginkgo @ 263. No, matey. Not in the world in which I live. I have never believed – since I was about 14 anyway – that sex is something which a woman graciously gives to a man, like a cookie, but only if he’s good. Nor is it something which a man asks permission to do to a woman while she lies there and allows him.

    Sex, as I understand it, is something that people do together – repeat that, TOGETHER – each sometimes initiating and sometimes responding, each equally free to to suggest going to bed rather than to the movies, each equally confident saying they’re not comfortable or they’d like to take a five-minute break. See the difference? They’re talking to each other as if both were human.

    If sex is happening at any given moment between people of equal value, with equal status in the event and equally free to express an opinion then most of the worries which keep you up at night would disappear in a little puff of smoke.

    OK, I accept that it doesn’t always work out perfectly – you might find yourself in the sack with someone totally lacking in skill or in imagination. You might wonder the next morning why you bothered. It happens to all of us!

    But this is why Eristae is right about the drink. Too much impairment of cognitive function and you cannot understand the messages you are getting, let alone concentrate enough to pleasure your partner. Which is entirely different from deliberately getting drunk with someone you know and/or love because drunken sex can be a different sort of fun.

    Are you sure, Ginkgo, that you’re meeting enough enabled women, the ones who don’t have to trade unwilling sex for minor favours?

  261. Eristae says

    I’ve been puttering around looking for good legal definitions of rape that might accurately portray about how I view the issue (haven’t found any that I’m satisfied with yet), but I thought I’d share a definition from Yale:

    Sexual Consent

    Sexual activity requires consent, which is defined as clear, unambiguous, and voluntary agreement between the participants to engage in specific sexual activity. Consent cannot be inferred from the absence of a “no”; a clear “yes,” verbal or otherwise, is necessary. Although consent does not need to be verbal, verbal communication is the most reliable form of asking for and gauging consent, and individuals are thus urged to seek consent in verbal form. Talking with sexual partners about desires and limits may seem awkward, but serves as the basis for positive sexual experiences shaped by mutual willingness and respect.

    Consent cannot be obtained from someone who is asleep or otherwise mentally or physically incapacitated, whether due to alcohol, drugs, or some other condition. Consent cannot be obtained by threat, coercion, or force. Agreement given under such conditions does not constitute consent.

    Consent must be clear and unambiguous for each participant throughout any sexual encounter. Consent to some sexual acts does not imply consent to others, nor does past consent to a given act imply ongoing or future consent. Consent can be revoked at any time. For all of these reasons, sexual partners must evaluate consent in an ongoing fashion and should communicate clearly with each other throughout any sexual encounter.

    I’m pretty sure this is Yale’s policy and not a legal policy, so I’m not satisfied with it as a matter of law, although I like it from a moral standpoint. Even if it’s not just Yale’s policy, it’s Yale’s summary, so clearly one would have to look elsewhere for something that is going to hold the full force of law.

    I’m also aware that many people in this discussion will not accept it because it doesn’t address some specific situation that they’d like it to. But if you want me to summarize how I view consent, the above does a pretty good job.

  262. Tamen says

    Eristae
    @265:

    I could try to speak to UK laws, but I don’t know that this would be a good idea. For example, this website would seemly contradict Patrick’s claim (as it references only “the victim” and not “the man” or “the woman”), but I’m not particularly familiar with UK laws. Maybe the governmental website for The Crown Prosecution Service isn’t being entirely accurate. I certainly don’t know.

    The website you linked to contains the sentencing guidelines for rape according to Sexual Offenses Act of 2003 Section 1 which defines rape as:

    Rape
    (1) A person (A) commits an offence if—
    (a) he intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person (B) with his penis,
    (b) B does not consent to the penetration, and
    (c) A does not reasonably believe that B consents.

    So in the UK a woman cannot be guilty of rape with accessory to rape being (TW) the exception.

    Someone else have pointed out that it is illegal to make a man penetrate someone without his consent and that it falls under sexual assault. Yes and no. It is covered in SOA 2004 Section 4 subsection 4 c) and d) and is labelled with the cumbersome, but descriptive title: “Causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent”.
    Funnily enough section 4 subsection 4 a) and b) seem to cover rape as defined in section 1 as well so there seem to be some redundancy (perhaps from a reluctance to do remove the legal term rape and call it all sexual assault like the Canadians have done?).

    Both rape and “being made to penetrate” are punishable up to life according to the text in the law. The sentencing guidelines for rape and Causing sexual activity without consent appear to be equal for aggravated offenses while it differs for non-aggravated offenses:

    * Rape (4-8 years, with 5 being the standard).

    * Causing sexual activity without consent (2-5 years, with 3 being the standard).

    In the US we know that CDC defines rape as requiring that the victim is penetrated. In most people’s opinion the FBI’s definition of rape also requires the victim to be penetrated. As you say it varies by state laws. In New York the definition requires a penetration of the vagina for it to be rape – making anal rape not rape as well as “being made to penetrate” not rape. Some have done away with the legal term rape and just uses sexual assault (which usually have gender neutral definitions which includes being made to penetrate).

    @267
    It needs clear definitions of “incapacitated” and “coerce” if one want to know exactly where the line in the sand is. Personally I err on the side of caution and don’t need a crystal sharp line. On the other hand I more and more often find that I have a more stringent definition of consent and rape than some feminist. I also note that discrepancy most often come to surface in discussions around male rape.

  263. Gjenganger says

    @Eristae 254
    Drunk driving is a very good example of the problem we are discussing. Saying ‘do not drive if you are too drunk’ may be right, but it is not very helpful, because it is not clear how drunk is too drunk, nor how you decide where you are. It is all a sliding scale: you get gradually more impaired as you drink more, how much depends on your physiology and your skills, and exactly which point to stop is an arbitrary decision anyway. So the law sets an arbitrary limit, 0.8ppm or whatever, and we all know: if you are above the limit you are in the wrong, and if you are below the limit you are OK, except for a few specific medical conditions. No what if’s, but’s or maybe’s. If you feel you are too drunk to drive safely you should not drive, whatever your blood alcohol, but you are entitled to make your judgement and the rules of society are clear. And the actual limit chosen gives you an indication of how much impairment a given society thinks is acceptable.

    Underage sex is another example. It is wrong to have sex with people who are too immature to handle it. Again, different people mature at different rates, maturity is hard to estimate, and the cutoff is arbitrary anyway. So we have an arbitrary age of consent, 15 I believe. There will surely be a few 14 year olds who are perfectly mature enough to handle their own sex life, just like there will be 18 year olds who are not, but it does not matter. Above 15 the law says you can do it, and you are morally entitled to use your judgement and have sex if you judge it is OK. Below 15 you are committing a crime and should expect to go to jail, and it does not matter how mature the girl happens to be.

    With rape we have another sliding scale: How strongly the person does / does not want sex, how free and able to decide the person is, and how sure is the potential aggressor that he understands the situation correctly. Here the situation is too complex to impose a clear arbitrary limit. There are a few: If someone is asleep or unconscious, the situation is pretty clear. In general the limit can not be precisely defined, but we still need to have one. So where should it be? The classical one, and the legal one as I understand it, is consent. If the person accepts having sex, and is sober enough to know what she is doing, you are clear with the law, and morally have the right (and the obligation) to judge whether this is an acceptable thing to do.

    So my question is, what are you proposing instead? Enthusiastic consent? Note that if enthusiastic consent is the minimum for acceptable sex, anything less than that is unacceptable, whatever the outcome. If I say ‘should we? Please?’ to my long-time girlfriend, and she answers ‘Well, OK’, that is not enthusiasm. Are you really saying that I am objectively a rapist if I continue, as I would be if I was having sex with a 14-year-old? Whether or not my girlfriend finds the entire proceedings acceptable afterwards? There is nothing illogical in this attitude, but it is a very restrictive rule, and it would mean that a large proportion of everyday sex is actually rape, even if the participants do not realise it. If that is really what you are saying I would like to hear it explicitly. And discuss it.

    If that is not the rule you propose, what do you propose? Note that any rule you select has to be a limit on people’s behaviour, not on the consequences of that behaviour. If it is immoral to roll a six, it is immoral to roll dice at all. And please do not tell me that it ‘would be better’ if everybody stuck to enthusiastic consent. It might be, but that is not the question I am asking.Once it is actually clear what limits you are proposing, we can discuss decent, cautious behaviour afterwards. Quite likely we will agree – you do not need to convince me that someone of my age ought to stay away from 16-year-olds, for instance. Only let it be clear what we are talking about.

  264. says

    Gjenganger @ 269:

    I thought Eristae, among others, was pretty clear about that. If you stop and notice that your girlfriend isn’t enthusiastic about the idea of sex just then you can proceed to decide that maybe it’s not a very nice thing to pressure her in to having sex anyway. And then you completely avoid any chance of committing rape. Which means you don’t have to worry about how fine she’ll be with it afterward, much less whether you pushed the boundaries of what might legally be rape.

    Start with the general rule of waiting until your partner is clearly interested in sex with you at that time and you stop having to worry about exactly how rapey your sex was and, magically, you even appear to be a decent human being who cares about others’ feelings more than your immediate desires.

    See, I think that’s your problem summed up there. You’re coming at it from entirely the opposite direction, trying to find the exact line to avoid a conviction of rape. But the point of Eristae and other feminists I see is that if you take the decent, ethical stance of making sure you have enthusiastic consent first then your question about the exact placement of a line is completely moot.

  265. says

    Jacob: the legal definition of rape, in every jurisdiction with the apparent exception of the US army, requires penetration. Which means there is no law in existence that says a woman who has sex with a drunk man has raped him. There are laws that say if a man has sex with a drunk woman he has raped her.

    If two people, both drunk and both consenting, have sex, no rape has taken place, and laws that enable prosecution for rape in that scenario, which exist, are wrong, and not only because they’re sexist. They’re about making the sexes enemies, and giving weapons only to one. Both parts of that need to be opposed.

    Maureen: you’re totally ignoring the fact that if you have sex with someone and “it doesn’t … work out perfectly”, you don’t have to have the slightest concern that your partner might go to the police. You can put it down to experience. Since “drunk consent is not consent” laws were passed, he can’t.

    And of course you add the obligatory “maybe you’re not meeting the right women” rider, erasing women’s responsibility for their behaviour and loading into onto men. Ginkgo’s right, you’re Marie-Antoinetting.

  266. Eristae says

    Before I start this, I’m going to reiterate that the Yale website does a really good job of explaining how I feel about all this. It’s much shorter than what I’m about to write and possibly a good bit clearer, so, you know, whatever.

    And I’m off!

    With rape we have another sliding scale: How strongly the person does / does not want sex, how free and able to decide the person is, and how sure is the potential aggressor that he understands the situation correctly. Here the situation is too complex to impose a clear arbitrary limit. There are a few: If someone is asleep or unconscious, the situation is pretty clear. In general the limit can not be precisely defined, but we still need to have one. So where should it be? The classical one, and the legal one as I understand it, is consent. If the person accepts having sex, and is sober enough to know what she is doing, you are clear with the law, and morally have the right (and the obligation) to judge whether this is an acceptable thing to do.

    So my question is, what are you proposing instead?

    I’m not proposing anything instead. I fully support the aforementioned system, unless I am misreading it, which is always possible.

    However, I am saying something that I don’t think is explicitly covered above. Let’s say that we have a number line, where 100 is clearly bad and 1 is clearly good, with 50 being the number where good turns into bad. I hold that setting 49 (ambiguous) as your goalpost is unacceptable because if you misjudge and hit 50, you will be in the wrong, and I will not be sympathetic because, hey, you really meant to hit 49 instead. Rather, you need to shoot for something well below 50, giving yourself leeway to mess up in a manner that bumps you higher into the ambiguous rather than into the unacceptable.

    In essence, I’m saying that I have no sympathy for someone who went into what they knew to be an ambiguous situation and came out on the bad side of ambiguous. Don’t go into situations that you know to be ambiguous. Don’t push the line and then expect me to feel sorry for you when you fall off the cliff. I’m not interested in sitting here and arguing over whether or not you were justified in thinking you were going to score 49 and then you scored 50 by mistake.

    So when people say something like, “What about this incredibly specific, unlikely to occur, and not actually determinable in reality (i.e. we couldn’t actually know in reality everything we know in the hypothetical) situation that is also wildly ambiguous?” my answer is, “If you really, honestly don’t know the answer to that question and aren’t just asking me to be weird or make a point or something, then you shouldn’t be having the sex, and no, I will not sit here and try to parse out if it’s 49 or 50.”

    So my question is, what are you proposing instead? Enthusiastic consent? Note that if enthusiastic consent is the minimum for acceptable sex, anything less than that is unacceptable, whatever the outcome. If I say ‘should we? Please?’ to my long-time girlfriend, and she answers ‘Well, OK’, that is not enthusiasm. Are you really saying that I am objectively a rapist if I continue, as I would be if I was having sex with a 14-year-old? Whether or not my girlfriend finds the entire proceedings acceptable afterwards? There is nothing illogical in this attitude, but it is a very restrictive rule, and it would mean that a large proportion of everyday sex is actually rape, even if the participants do not realise it. If that is really what you are saying I would like to hear it explicitly. And discuss it.

    I don’t know that I understand what you think “enthusiastic consent” is. “Enthusiastic consent” isn’t “and sex is the thing that s/he most wants to be doing in the whole world.” Let’s say I’m tired and I really want to take a nap. Conversely, my hypothetical significant other really wants a blowjob. Is it some terrible evil if I decide to put off my nap and give him a blowjob? No, and nothing about the aforementioned situation is contrary to enthusiastic consent. What would not be enthusiastic consent is if I went in for a nap but, before I was asleep (and as such I was not unconscious), my boyfriend came over and put his dick in my mouth. I haven’t said no, but neither have I said yes.

    Basically “enthusiastic consent” is a response to the “no means no” campaign wherein a person had to take active steps to indicate a lack of consent. Enthusiastic consent holds that “yes means yes,” by which a person needs to take active measures to consent. It shifts the viewfinder (if you will) from the idea that consent is the default view to the idea that non-consent is the default view. With enthusiastic consent, the mere lack of objection isn’t enough.

    But it’s not just active consent because the other thing that enthusiastic consent holds is that if your partner is saying yes but is also clearly hesitant and/or unsure, you need to stop and talk about it. This is a shorter way to put my number line example. Don’t shoot for 49 people, don’t shoot for 49.

    Or, to quote a website

    The idea of enthusiastic consent is quite simple. In a nutshell, it advocates for enthusiastic agreement to sexual activity, rather than passive agreement. Many of you may be familiar with the book Yes Means Yes!, which popularized the idea. The concept also requires that consent be given to each piece of sexual activity, meaning that a yes to one thing (such as vaginal penetration) does not mean consent to another (like anal penetration). Basically, we’re saying, “Yes! I want this!” or, “No, I don’t think I want to do that,” and we’re asking “Is this ok?” To do these things is to be respectful of not only your own bodily autonomy, but also your partner’s. It’s just common courtesy, really. To give enthusiastic consent isn’t exactly to scream that you want it at the top of your lungs; it’s more that an unsure or hesitant yes is not enthusiastic consent, and needs to be considered.

    Note the bolded, which I think is especially applicable to your question.

    If my boyfriend wants a blowjob and I’m willing to give it to him because I love him, we’re good. But if my boyfriend wants a blowjob and I’m waffling about whether or not I’m willing to do it, we’re not good. If it’s clear that the blowjob isn’t just something I don’t find particularly enjoyable (like brushing my teeth) but instead is clearly something I don’t want to be doing (like getting a root canal), we’re not good.

    If that is not the rule you propose, what do you propose? Note that any rule you select has to be a limit on people’s behaviour, not on the consequences of that behaviour. If it is immoral to roll a six, it is immoral to roll dice at all. And please do not tell me that it ‘would be better’ if everybody stuck to enthusiastic consent. It might be, but that is not the question I am asking.Once it is actually clear what limits you are proposing, we can discuss decent, cautious behaviour afterwards. Quite likely we will agree – you do not need to convince me that someone of my age ought to stay away from 16-year-olds, for instance. Only let it be clear what we are talking about.

    I don’t really know that I have anything to say here that really fits in with what you’re asking (I think I already covered it above), but it might be applicable for me to say that I think something can be rape even if we know can’t get it through a court of law. A person can be guilty of something even if we can’t prove it. Of course, we absolutely should not punish someone if we can’t prove it, but we also don’t have to say that any and all sex that can’t be proven to be rape in a court of law isn’t rape. Rape as a term isn’t something like “criminal sexual assault in the 3rd degree” that has no meaning outside of the courtroom.

    Hopefully that made sense. I suppose we’ll see.

  267. Eristae says

    See, I think that’s your problem summed up there. You’re coming at it from entirely the opposite direction, trying to find the exact line to avoid a conviction of rape. But the point of Eristae and other feminists I see is that if you take the decent, ethical stance of making sure you have enthusiastic consent first then your question about the exact placement of a line is completely moot.

    ^This! [insert happy, floaty internet hearts]

    Also

    you stop having to worry about exactly how rapey your sex was

    This made me snicker, but it’s also sad because it’s true.

  268. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    You can put it down to experience. Since “drunk consent is not consent” laws were passed, he can’t.

    Nonsense. He can also put it down to experience and not be in danger of “false rape accusations”…

    Unless the person he had sex with was drunk, in which case erring on the “rather not have sex” side is safest for all parties involved, including the dude worried that she might take him to the police in the morning.

    Like, if you don’t know someone well, and they had two (or one, or five, or however many) drinks, but they assure you they are fine to drive, do you get in the car with them?

    No? You say you only get in the car with people you KNOW are NOT too drunk to drive, basing that on your prior knowledge of the person and their limits?

    Why is it different with sex, then? Shouldn’t we be safer rather than sorrier for all parties involved?

  269. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    And yes before we get to BUT WHAT IF ONE IS A GUY AND THE OTHER ONE IS A GIRL WHAT THEN!!?!??, I do mean that to apply to both men and women and also those who don’t identify as either.

    Whoever you are, of whatever gender or orientation, having sex with someone (whoever they are, of whatever gender or orientation) who may be drunk is a BAD IDEA. This is true even you drank too, regardless of the amount of alcohol involved, unless you actually KNOW the person well enough that you know for 100% certain that they are not too drunk to consent.

    Just like getting into the car driven by someone who drank, regardless of the gender of anyone involved or the exact amount of alcohol involved, is a BAD IDEA, even if you are drunk too, unless you know the person well enough that you know for 100% certain that they are not too drunk to drive.

    Otherwise the risk in BOTH scenarios of hurting someone or getting hurt is Just. Too. Fucking. Much.

    We managed to change the culture with regards to drinking and driving, I don’t see why we can’t change it in terms of drinking and sex too.

  270. says

    Gen, Uppity Ingrate: stop being so fucking obtuse. It’s different with sex because it’s a responsibility that only falls on men. I have no difficulty knowing what the rules are and keeping myself on the right side of them. I have never raped anyone, nor have I ever done anything that could be misconstrued as rape. But the rules are sexist and unfair, so I object to them and think they should be changed so they apply equally to both sexes.

  271. Maureen Brian says

    Patrick Brown,

    No-one of any gender has to be worried about their sexual partner calling the police in the morning if they follow the model set out in the Yale notes – which are good, thanks Eristae – because any accusation of rape can be met with your description of the steps you took to ensure that the other person was enjoying what was happening and wished to continue.

    The reasons why and the benefits thereof have been explained at length. If this “get as close as you can to raping without being arrested” thing is a fetish then fine. De gustibus, as they say. But surely there are fora or networks for finding people to whom that is also their idea of fun.

    All other considerations set aside, it would be rude and ill-mannered to impose upon someone a style of sex which might be both dangerous and scary to them without even discussing it in advance.

  272. says

    Maureen, you’re still not getting it. Without that threat, nobody female has to worry about following any rules, so it’s still one law for men and another, less stringent, one for women.

  273. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    It’s different with sex because it’s a responsibility that only falls on men.

    And I am saying that while this may be true of how society IN GENERAL view relationships, it is NOT true of how FEMINISTS view relationships. To a feminist, all the responsibility most assuredly does NOT fall on the man. Not for the “chasing”, not for the “asking”, not for the “initiating”. None of that.

    So if you have a problem with other people’s view that men must try to convince as many people as possible to sleep with them in order to “win” or whatever, feminists got your back on that one.

    If what you have a problem with is that there ARE no clear lines and therefore everyone SHOULD embrace the concept of following enthusiastic consent in all sexual situations OR finding someone who (enthusiastically) consents before any sexual situation to deviate from the enthusiastic consent model if that’s y’all’s kink, well, that’s where we have a problem.

  274. Gjenganger says

    @Eristae 272

    Basically “enthusiastic consent” is a response to the “no means no” campaign wherein a person had to take active steps to indicate a lack of consent. Enthusiastic consent holds that “yes means yes,” by which a person needs to take active measures to consent

    That makes a certain amount of sense, though I still have some problems with it. It is clearly wrong to think that people consent by default until they say no explicitly. But then did anybody ever think that? The alternative to ‘enthusiastic consent’ is not ‘consent is the default’. Depending on the situation some actions seem obviously OK, some you might try out tentatively to check the reaction, and some are obviously not on the table. Depending where you are on the curve, it would seem excessive to insist on an explicit yes – especially when you quite correctly emphasize that what was OK an hour ago is not necessarily OK now.

    A worse problem is that what you describe would be better named ‘active consent’. Once you call it ‘enthusiastic consent’, it will always be understood to mean that your partner should be – well – enthusiastic. As with #IBelieveHer, this is not a word game. Words mean what the people hearing them think they mean. ‘Enthusiastic consent’ communicates a much stronger requirement than ‘active consent’, whatever the official definition. I am sure this is not a coincidence, but rather a deliberate attempt at manipulation – demanding a minumum of 200 in order to force through 120. Which I do object to.

    Your number line example is very good. But the first thing it shows is that you are judging on outcomes, not on behaviour. You do not always hit what you aim for in an uncertain world, and the thing you can control is the aiming point, not the point you hit. If the exact limit of rape (not that those words make sense) is 50, the legal limit might be to aim at 58, and the decent and cautions person would aim no lower than 65. The drink-and-drive limit also is well below the point where everybody becomes incapable of driving safely. Your message is that if I aim at 60 and hit 49 I am an evil swine because I should have aimed at 65. But then if aim at 65 and hit 49, wold you not tell me that I am an evil swine and should have aimed at 80? It does rather look like your real criterion is a perfect outcome, or absolute reponsability as they call it.

  275. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    Once you call it ‘enthusiastic consent’, it will always be understood to mean that your partner should be – well – enthusiastic. As with #IBelieveHer, this is not a word game. Words mean what the people hearing them think they mean. ‘Enthusiastic consent’ communicates a much stronger requirement than ‘active consent’, whatever the official definition. I am sure this is not a coincidence, but rather a deliberate attempt at manipulation – demanding a minumum of 200 in order to force through 120. Which I do object to.

    You see, I do not agree with this. Yes, if sex is participatory and healthy, no one should just “give in”. Everyone involved *should* be enthusiastic (not just unresisting, but actively enthusiastic) about what’s happening.

    I don’t see why that’s a problem.

  276. Maureen Brian says

    To expand on the “dangerous and scary” notion for a moment.

    There are people walking about the planet who have been raped, who have PTSD for that or another reason, who are triggered by particular actions or sounds, who have asthma or an irregular heart rhythm, who are allergic to feathers. And that’s not an exhaustive list by any means.

    There are so many of these people that you, whoever you are, undoubtedly already know several of them. If you are going to have sex with someone wouldn’t you want them to have space to tell you where their red lines are before you have to call an ambulance or find yourself up on a manslaughter charge, never mind rape.

    And don’t take the simpleton’s way out! If you say that such people people should not have sex at all then the supply goes down – perhaps by as much as 50%.

  277. Maureen Brian says

    Then, Patrick Brown @ 279, do what I have always done,

    * have sex only with people who are of average intelligence or above and articulate with it

    * have sex with people who may not be fully paid-up feminists but can grasp the idea that I expect to enjoy it and to have a full say in how it happens

    * have sex only with people who are not so busy rules lawyering that they become boring

    * this has to be a trial and error thing but as far as possible have sex only with people who recognise that good sex takes skill, skills have to be learned and who better to teach you than the person you have sex with – provided that s/he is free to express an opinion, suggest an alternative action and to call a halt to anything not being enjoyed.

    Now for my own purposes I have always added “socialist” to that list but that’s a personal thing. I hate awkward silences in the morning and a compatible worldview makes conversation over coffee at least possible, sometimes an extension of the pleasure.

    Btw, I am totally boring. I have only ever had heterosexual sex with one person at a time. I don’t feel I missed anything, though!

  278. Jacob Schmidt says

    Patrick Brown

    Why the hell are you going on about law anyway? It’s been said again and again, legal guilt isn’t the concern here. Not raping your partner is, regardless of whether or not the law will hold you accountable.

    Jacob: the legal definition of rape, in every jurisdiction[1] with the apparent exception of the US army, requires penetration[2]. Which means there is no law in existence that says a woman who has sex with a drunk man has raped him[3].

    1) Except in Canada (where rape isn’t defined at all), in Greece (where it’s defined as sexual activity attained through violence or threat), or Norway (where it’s defined as in Greece, with the addition of cases where the victim is incapacitated).

    2) While this is false on it’s face, penetration isn’t gender specific (yes, I know it’s heavily slanted towards men). Though they’re very much the minority of victims, there are male victims who were penetrated by women (using objects or fingers).

    3) This was your claim: “Women who rape men don’t need to rely on attitudes like that to get away with it, because there is no law against women raping men to begin with.” Again, this is false on it’s face, since there are laws that oppose the rape of men specifically as rape. Regarding the others, it would be more accurate to say that the laws against the rape of men do not recognize it as rape (this is problematic in itself, for the reasons Tamen described).

    They’re about making the sexes enemies, and giving weapons only to one.

    You are hilarious. I’m surprised you managed to actually write that.

    And of course you add the obligatory “maybe you’re not meeting the right women” rider, erasing women’s responsibility for their behaviour and loading into onto men. Ginkgo’s right, you’re Marie-Antoinetting.

    She’s literally doing the exact opposite and saying women should take responsibility for sex. I mean, Jesus fuck, what’s with the reading comprehension in this thread?

    But the rules are sexist and unfair, so I object to them and think they should be changed so they apply equally to both sexes.

    Are the rules we’re proposing sexist and unfair? We’re saying everyone should take responsibility for sex, and not to do it when someone is drunk (at all).

    Gjenganger

    But then did anybody ever think that?

    I am reminded of this women’s experience teaching highschool kids, where one of them said, “How can she be raped?She wasn’t awake to say no.” Yes, the idea that we can assume consent is within the general population.

    Once you call it ‘enthusiastic consent’, it will always be understood to mean that your partner should be – well – enthusiastic. As with #IBelieveHer, this is not a word game. Words mean what the people hearing them think they mean.

    What the bloody fuck is wrong with thinking your partner should be enthusiastic? If that’s the idea that seeps out in the general population, good.

    Your message is that if I aim at 60 and hit 49 I am an evil swine because I should have aimed at 65. But then if aim at 65 and hit 49, wold you not tell me that I am an evil swine and should have aimed at 80? It does rather look like your real criterion is a perfect outcome, or absolute reponsability as they call it.

    Look, if you aim high enough, there’s no realistic chance of fucking up. Even if you aimed as high as you could and you fuck up, you fucked up. It’s still your responsibility even if you had the best of honest intentions.

  279. Schala says

    Unless the person he had sex with was drunk, in which case erring on the “rather not have sex” side is safest for all parties involved, including the dude worried that she might take him to the police in the morning.

    As long as I have temporary cissexual privilege (ie being seen as cissexual), I will benefit from the slanted application of rape laws, and in effect, don’t have to worry about obtaining consent from men I have sex with. They have to worry about obtaining mine, however. I can have sex with them while completely smashed, without even thinking about the next day, they have to worry.

    Barring going for minors, intoxicating someone against their will (including with rape drugs) or physical threat/coercion, I’m on the clear from ever being accused of the rape of a man.

    So, all I have to do is avoid sex with women. I can have the most unsafe sex with men in the worst conditions. Besides “doing the right thing”, there is zero incentive for me to aim higher than that, since no one will ever punish me for it.

  280. says

    Gen, Uppity Ingrate:

    feminists got your back on that one

    And this is the level of bare-faced dishonesty feminists are prepared to stoop to. My experience of taking to feminists about the double-binds and double standards men face in the dating game consists of (a) condescending laughter, (b) accusations of whining and entitlement, and (c) homophobic insinuations that I must be gay. My experience of feminists is that they are, complacently and knowingly, attempting to increase the obligations on men, absolve women from any responsibility whatever including the responsibility to communicate clearly, and insulting and dishonestly characterising the motives of anyone who thinks that’s not on. Anybody who doubts me can read this very thread.

    Sorry Ally, I’ve tried to engage with your new audience despite my reservations. But this kind of “war is peace, freedom is slavery” shit is too much for me. It’s worse than CiF ever was – at least there were some decent feminists there. Let me know when you go back to independent blogging, maybe I’ll follow you again, but hanging around sites like this isn’t good for me.

  281. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    I can have the most unsafe sex with men in the worst conditions. Besides “doing the right thing”, there is zero incentive for me to aim higher than that, since no one will ever punish me for it.

    Except if you are too unsafe, and you end up “getting yourself” raped, and then not believed because OBVIOUSLY it wasn’t rape, you were drinking and laughing with the guy just 5 minutes before.

    So no, there’s plenty of incentive for *women* to aim higher, too.

  282. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    *Disclaimer: There is no “safe” behaviour to avoid rape, in case it wasn’t clear, I was explaining how society views rape and rape victims, and why most women are cautious in the “game” of sex.

  283. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    *Moar disclaimer: Yes, men get raped too, I’d never deny that. Women’s risk is higher and women are made painfully aware of that in everything they do, from how they dress to how late they’re allowed to stay out. Once again, this is about how society at large views rape and rape victims.

  284. Schala says

    *Moar disclaimer: Yes, men get raped too, I’d never deny that. Women’s risk is higher and women are made painfully aware of that in everything they do, from how they dress to how late they’re allowed to stay out. Once again, this is about how society at large views rape and rape victims.

    Women’s risks are essentially the same in our society, unless they do prostitution or are part of a persecuted minority (and no, female is not a minority, it’s a majority).

    Patriarchy likes to infantilize women by making them paranoid about the REAL actual risk of violence of any kind being met at them. This is why VAWA even exists. This is why women are told to not go out too late, or wearing too risqué clothing, or *insert thing women are told and men aren’t*.

    We should FIGHT those attitudes, not reinforce them.

    We should say that, yes, everyone be careful, but don’t be paranoid either, or you’ll be so neurotic about being a victim in the future that you’ll be unable to really live your life at all.

    Take Back The Night stuff don’t do that, though. They essentially say “yes, you’re right to be paranoid, but during this one event you are safe”.

    Society views rape as something that can’t do harm to men. It will either harden them up, which is a good thing for society up to a point (they don’t complain, it’s like a good whipping). Or it will be a favor to them, because every man likes pussy or he’s a pussy himself, so he shouldn’t complain about free pie.

    It views rape as something that can do harm to women, and uses the fear and paranoia generated by calls against rape into an hysteria (non-gender intent behind the word), so as to control women as a group better.

    See how the Middle East does it is say that any skin shown to non-family male members is provoking men to rape. If that’s not fear-mongering against women, I don’t know what is.

    How we do it is by defining rape as something that happens mostly or only to women, and then saying stuff like “it can happen all the time” and “it’s an epidemic!”, while telling men “don’t rape” as if it was their default programming.

  285. Ally Fogg says

    Patrick (287)

    I’m sorry if you feel like that. I don’t want anyone to feel unable to comment here, or to speak their minds within the (very broad) guidelines I request. Obviously it is your decision whether or not to comment here.

    But I have to say it strikes me as a rather odd point on which to bow out. GUI wasn’t abusive or even disrespectful. He (?) set out his viewpoint, you set out yours, you disagree, ho hum. Everyone has the right to express their opinions here. They have no right to have those opinions accepted or acquiesced to. (That’s equally, or even especially true for me.)

    FWIW I think this is one of those arguments where people are talking across each other from slightly different perspectives and then getting frustrated because the other person doesn’t seem to understand their point.

    I don’t disagree with GUI that feminists reject the patriarchal model of dating and relationships where the man takes the dominant role, and tend not to live their lives by those rules in my experience. I also accept your position (I think) which is that you also reject the patriarchal model of dating and relationships (although I’m sure you wouldn’t put it in those terms.)

    The problem, it looks to me, is that feminists refuse to believe that men’s activists truly do want to reject those norms, asserting that MRA-types want to maintain the privileges of patriarchal dominance, while MRAs refuse to believe that feminists are prepared to relinquish the benefits of having their meals paid for and doors held open for them or whatever.

    It’s actually one of those conversations that I think would benefit from men’s activists and feminists discussing / debating with each other, but it does need to be done on the assumption of good faith on the other side. That assumption of good faith is sorely lacking on both sides, IMO.

  286. Ally Fogg says

    Schala

    Women’s risks are essentially the same in our society,

    You sure about that? What are you basing it on?

    Even the famous CDC report that gets quoted here constantly puts a lifetime incidence of rape / made to penetrate as 4.3% for men and 18.6% for women.

    Which would still make the proportion of forced intercourse at more than 4:1 women:men.

  287. Tamen says

    Ally: As yourself have noted; the prevalence of rape against women have decreased quite a lot the last decades. Given that one could argue that the ‘last 12 months’ numbers from the NISVS 2010 Report which indeed shows a parity between male and female rape (including being made to penetrate) victims would be a good indication for the current risk of becoming a victim.

  288. Ally Fogg says

    that’s a fair point Tamen.

    We should also bear in mind that we’re talking very small proportions of the sample (1%) or so, which creates huge margins of error.

    I’m not being dismissive when I say this – I take the problem very seriously whether we are talking one victim or a million – but I will want to see several repeated studies giving similar results before I’m entirely convinced about the exact scale of the problem.

  289. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    My experience of taking to feminists about the double-binds and double standards men face in the dating game consists of (a) condescending laughter, (b) accusations of whining and entitlement, and (c) homophobic insinuations that I must be gay

    Patrick

    And yet here I am, a real, live feminist (radical feminist according to the strict academic definition, even!) and I did none of that, nor do I desire to do so nor do I think such conduct is acceptable.

    I see that you wish to leave the conversation and if that’s your decision, of course that’s okay, but I am not the other feminists you talked to before and I don’t think that the things you are mentioning are okay.

  290. Schala says

    I’m not being dismissive when I say this – I take the problem very seriously whether we are talking one victim or a million – but I will want to see several repeated studies giving similar results before I’m entirely convinced about the exact scale of the problem.

    Let’s hope there are more studies that count the rape by envelopment of men. They’re rare enough as it is.

  291. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    Ally, Tamen, Schala,

    What y’all say is true. I agree with you, Schala, about the Patriarchy gaining through trumping up the risk of rape and the punishments the victim suffer for it.

    I was avoiding commenting on the numbers of men raped vs women raped, not to dismiss the numbers, but simply because for the purposes of my argument, they are not relevant.

    Women (and transwomen) are told to fear and do literally anything to avoid sexual violence (or else they obviously wanted it, even if they were 11, and yes I have a link for a court case of a gang rape where the rapists of an 11 year old girl went free because she dressed provocatively), including fight to the death, from the time they are old enough to understand.

    So to the lay man or woman or genderqueer person on the street who goes out for drinks and may be looking to hook up with someone of whatever gender, the actual numbers are not the factor that guides their risk assessment and/or decision making, the societal norm is, and that norm place a disproportionate responsibility on women to avoid being raped, so that is the “punishment” that women most often envision for failing to be safe in terms of sex.

    That’s the point I was making.

  292. Eristae says

    That makes a certain amount of sense, though I still have some problems with it. It is clearly wrong to think that people consent by default until they say no explicitly. But then did anybody ever think that? The alternative to ‘enthusiastic consent’ is not ‘consent is the default’. Depending on the situation some actions seem obviously OK, some you might try out tentatively to check the reaction, and some are obviously not on the table. Depending where you are on the curve, it would seem excessive to insist on an explicit yes – especially when you quite correctly emphasize that what was OK an hour ago is not necessarily OK now.
    1) Other have pointed out that recent weeks have explicitly shown that there are people who argue that actually being unconscious means consent because you aren’t awake to say, but I’ll reiterate it. People actually admit this publicly to news reporters. Furthermore, I actually ran across a law (which I could try to refind, if you’d like) which specified that the victim of rape had to have said no for it to be rape. The idea of consent being the default is enshrined not just in people’s minds, but in law.

    2) I cannot think of any situation in which it is excessive to insist on an explicit yes. Do I think you need a spoken yes? No. But I do think you need an explicit yes.

    A worse problem is that what you describe would be better named ‘active consent’. Once you call it ‘enthusiastic consent’, it will always be understood to mean that your partner should be – well – enthusiastic. As with #IBelieveHer, this is not a word game. Words mean what the people hearing them think they mean. ‘Enthusiastic consent’ communicates a much stronger requirement than ‘active consent’, whatever the official definition. I am sure this is not a coincidence, but rather a deliberate attempt at manipulation – demanding a minumum of 200 in order to force through 120. Which I do object to.

    I just explained in my last post why it isn’t called “active consent”: it requires more than just getting a person to say yes, it means getting a person to mean yes, and if it isn’t clear that the person means yes, one needs to stop and check in.

    Furthermore, if we’re going to talk about the kinds of feelings that a word invokes, then I’d ask you to consider how people feel about “unenthusiastic.” If I said that Joe was unenthusiastically doing his job, it would be clear that I’m not just saying that Joe could go either way. I’m saying that Joe doesn’t want to be doing his job and it shows.

    Or, to quote a dictionary:

    showing little or no interest or enthusiasm [my suggestion that we go to see the new action flick was greeted with an unenthusiastic shrug]
    Synonyms halfhearted, lukewarm, uneager, unenthusiastic
    Related Words apathetic, disinterested, dispassionate,emotionless, impassive, indifferent, neutral, uncaring,uninterested; lackadaisical, languid, listless, perfunctory,undemonstrative, unemotional, unresponsive; unfeeling,unsympathetic; chill, chilly, cold, cool, frigid, frosty, glacial,icy, unfriendly, wintry (also wintery

    It’s one thing for your partner to unenthusiastically go to a movie (although I admit I don’t know why you’d want that, either). It’s another for your partner to unenthusiastically have sex with you. It is entirely possible for someone to enthusiastically do something that they wouldn’t pick for their own personal pleasure. For example, my mother used to enthusiastically go to my swim meets even though she wasn’t interested in swimming in general and she certainly wasn’t enthusiastic about grade-school swimming in particular. She was not unenthusiastically enduring what I was doing despite the fact that she’d really rather be doing something other than watching a bunch of kids swim (which was true); she enthusiastically supported me in what was (to her) an incredibly boring endeavor before she loved me. The fact that I wanted it made it important to her. If my mother had been unenthusiastic about going, it would have ruined the whole thing for me. I wouldn’t have wanted her there if she was going to be unenthusiastic. It would have made me sad. We all understand that a parent’s lack of enthusiasm can ruin a child’s experience. That this attitude wouldn’t transfer over to sex baffles me; how can anyone be any happier having unenthusiastic sex than I would have been if I’d been receiving unenthusiastic support from my mother?

    So I’m going to back what Gen, Uppity Ingrate said:

    You see, I do not agree with this. Yes, if sex is participatory and healthy, no one should just “give in”. Everyone involved *should* be enthusiastic (not just unresisting, but actively enthusiastic) about what’s happening.
    I don’t see why that’s a problem.

    @Patrick
    If you don’t want to continue this discussion, that’s fine, but I just sat here and, without reservation, condemn the rape of men. I, without reservation, said that laws that define rape as being something that happen to men are unjust. I, without reservation, said that it was wrong to require “penetration” for something to be counted as rape. I, without reservation, said that this is a problem that is enshrined in our culture by history and thus is not a new or limited problem. I, a self-described feminist, just did that. I don’t know what else you want from me.

  293. Schala says

    Women (and transwomen) are told to fear and do literally anything to avoid sexual violence (or else they obviously wanted it,

    Trans women are told that yes, quite literally. They’re also considered, in the collective consciousness, to be hypersexual (more than most men, even, yes) failed men. Trans women in general, are on the level of prostitute, which would have less concern and sympathy for it if not for sympathy-for-being-women. Trans women get very little sympathy-for-being-women, so they get contempt-for-being-seen-as-men. Hence trans women get misandry since much of their mistreatment comes from seeing them as men.

    I’m not sure cis women are told “you obviously wanted it” by everyone after a rape happened. The perpetrator, their family, their boyfriend/husband, all their friends (not acquaintances or beer buddies, friends). Maybe a minority of loonies who are very right-wing minded, Ned Flanders without the compassion.

    Men same as trans women, of course.

    Why don’t men fear it, if they can have the almost-certainty that no one will lift a finger if it ever happens? Why do women fear it if they know at least some people are likely to believe them and/or do something about it (and services available for them – and don’t tell me rape crisis centers are going to victim-blame their female clients)?

    and that norm place a disproportionate responsibility on women to avoid being raped

    Compared to the responsibility placed on men to avoid being raped? Seriously?

    I can understand genderqueer and other transgender people fearing it more. Their risk IS higher. Of all types of violence, including rape and murder.

  294. Tamen says

    Since the discussion back and forth a bit on the wording “active consent” versus “enthusiastic consent” I’ll just leave this here:

    I agree – active consent is just as useful a term as far as I’m concerned.

    -Jaclyn Friedman author of the Yes means Yes book who is credited for coining the term enthusiastic consent.

    Eristae:

    I, without reservation, said that laws that define rape as being something that happen to men are unjust.

    Surely that’s a mistype?

  295. Eristae says

    Surely that’s a mistype?

    Er, yes, *cough*.

    It should have been

    “I, without reservation, said that laws that define rape as being something that doesn’t happen to men are unjust.”

    I hate it when I do that. *peers about*

  296. Schala says

    ” Trans women in general, are on the level of prostitute, which would have less concern and sympathy for it if not for sympathy-for-being-women. ”

    It might not be clear.

    Here I mean that prostitute cis women get more sympathy than trans women, because they still get chivalry and deference and a desire to protect them (from the men).

    Trans women known to be trans get the low social status of prostitute (and god help them if they prostitute too), with none of that positive chivalry and desire to protect them.

    Personally, I don’t think prostitution merits this kind of condemnation, legal or social, from society.

    I wouldn’t pay for the services myself. Or offer them. But I can understand that it’s a service like another, and it doesn’t merit the kind of contempt it currently has. Small-time drug dealers who deal with non-hard drugs like marijuana are comparable to me. Both do something to live off, that is considered illegal and in contempt by society.

  297. says

    To everyone who’s commented on my little crack-up, thank you. I still need to back out. I have a tendency to depression, my mental health is is my first priority, and the warning signs are pretty clear.

  298. Jacob Schmidt says

    This statement really rankled me (emphasis mine):

    My experience of feminists is that they are, complacently and knowingly, attempting to increase the obligations on men, absolve women from any responsibility whatever including the responsibility to communicate clearly, and insulting and dishonestly characterising the motives of anyone who thinks that’s not on.

    It’s the old “women just don’t communicate clearly” victim blaming horseshit. Look at what the evidence says:

    Drawing on the conversation analytic literature, and on our own data, we claim that both men and women have a sophisticated ability to convey and to comprehend refusals, including refusals which do not include the word ‘no’…

    [Y]oung women responding to unwanted sexual pressure are using absolutely normal conversational patterns for refusals: that is, according to the research literature (and our own data) on young women and sexual communication, they are communicating their refusals indirectly

    Indeed it is evident that these young men share the understanding that explicit verbal refusals of sex per se are unnecessary to effectively communicate the withholding of consent to sex.

    It is also clear that the men can hear both ‘little hints’ (l. 278) and ‘softened’ refusals as refusals—thus statements like ‘it’s getting late’ (l. 273) or ‘I’m working early in the morning’ (l. 276) are not taken at face value as comments by women on the time or their employment schedule—but rather as indicators that, in the moderator’s words, ‘sex is not on the cards’. Of note here is that in none of the examples given do the men indicate that the explicit use of the word ‘no’ is necessary for a woman’s refusal of a sexual invitation to be understood as such.

    Women are communicating their refusal’s just fine. This “women need to communicate better” bullshit does nothing but defend rapists.

  299. Ginkgo says

    Maureen @

    “Ginkgo @ 263. No, matey. Not in the world in which I live. I have never believed – since I was about 14 anyway – that sex is something which a woman graciously gives to a man, like a cookie, but only if he’s good. Nor is it something which a man asks permission to do to a woman while she lies there and allows him.

    Sex, as I understand it, is something that people do together – repeat that, TOGETHER – ”

    That’s good, but that’s you (and me). Your attitude is what the 70s were all about and we have lost something very precious since then. But neither you nor I set the cultural norms or write laws based on the norms that exist, and those norms are what I am addressing.

    If sex is happening at any given moment between people of equal value, with equal status in the event and equally free to express an opinion then most of the worries which keep you up at night would disappear in a little puff of smoke.

    OK, I accept that it doesn’t always work out perfectly – you might find yourself in the sack with someone totally lacking in skill or in imagination. You might wonder the next morning why you bothered. It happens to all of us!

    “Are you sure, Ginkgo, that you’re meeting enough enabled women, the ones who don’t have to trade unwilling sex for minor favours?”

    For sex, you mean? Been there, done that, got the kid. Down off that cross now and happily gay. And as disgusted as so many female MRAs are with this assumption of male hyperagency and female hypoagency that informs so many comments on this thread. If not yours, then good for you, but then that means I have been misreading your comments. But I am not the only one – One male rape victim at least here has read your comments the same way i have.

    We both remember the state of the rape laws, and of the enforcement of those laws 50 years ago where basically every effort was made to let rapists go free. The situation wa s abominavble,m but in mre ways than one. This weekend I saw To Kill A Mockingbird again, and frnakly on that front we have not come nearly as far as we have on dealing decently with [female] rape victims.

    JS @ 264 – “I’m somewhat lost for words. Are you seriously lecturing Maureen on her experiences? Maureen cares about her partner’s consent (for that matter, everyone’s consent) because it’s the basic, decent thing to do.”

    You have a problem with reading compehension because of your ideological filter, so I will help you out. At no point am I referring to her experiences; they are of no interest. I am referring to cultural norms as they inform legal norms and enforcement.

  300. Cicero says

    I haven`t read all the comments so I might be saying stuff that already has been said.

    “This does not imply that belief trumps evidence. I don’t think anyone is suggesting we “throw out the judicial process.” Nobody is suggesting police, prosecutors and juries abandon the collection and analysis of evidence and testimony, or the requirement that someone be proved guilty beyond all reasonable doubt.”

    Actually they are. There have been several suggestions to reverse the burden of evidence. And in US colleges there is only a preponderance of the evidence standard in cases where a college decides to expel a man for rape or sexual Assault. A related trend is this utterly shocking sexual harashment Law:

    http://www.cotwa.info/2013/05/most-shocking-federal-policy-yet-sexual.html

    That is just a sign of where we are moving in general.

    The Danish Government has done a study of false rape accusations and used as data all the rape accusations in Denmark in a two year period. Amongst these 7,3% where found to be almost certainly false. THat does not mean there where not more false allegations it just means that those where the number of cases they had solid proof, the woman admitted she lied or evidence very strongly suggested a false accusation. In addition to whatever number of false allegations there are a large number of reported rapes are actually found to be what is called “unfounded”. My understanding is that this means the woman does not lie but what she explained happened, even if taken as 100% truthfull, is not rape according to the Law.

    There are several other studies that have found high numbers of false allegations:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_accusation_of_rape

    The 2% numer has been shown to come not from Research at all but rather loose claims sometimes in the seventies that then found its way into a Research paper, which was then cited and recited for decades without anyone checking the origin. I have the link the study revealing this stored somewhere and can try to find it at some later point.

  301. Cicero says

    “Obviously you can’t see rape apology when it comes out of a female mouth. For the record, she equated an erect penis with consent. By WithinThisMind’s standard of getting an explicit “yes” that is rape apology – and it is rape if a woman acts on it – and by any decent standard it is too.”

    If an erect penis is consent then an engorged clitoris is consent.

  302. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    For the record, she equated an erect penis with consent.

    What? Where?

  303. Maureen Brian says

    Gingko,

    I have no wish to argue with you. We have never met each other so you don’t know whether I’m talking bollocks and I don’t know whether you’re talking bollocks. Let’s leave it at that, shall we?

    All I know is that the laws against sex crimes are better enforced in England and Wales than they used to be, that the maximum sentences for such crimes have been increased, that the law has been re-written to help make it clearer – not perfect yet! – and that a woman is a bit more likely to be believed when she reports rape.

    I think now is better than the 1970s but that can only be an opinion.

    Today we saw a man in his 80s sentenced to 15 months in custody for sexual assaults, long ago, against girls as young as 9. Other sexual offences were left to lie on the table. As the judge made clear in his sentencing remarks, the fact that he had abused his celebrity status to manipulate his victims and the vicious tirade against his victims when first charged both disinclined the bench to leniency.

    The story is here – http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2013/jun/17/stuart-hall-sentence-attacks-review

  304. Jacob Schmidt says

    Ginkgo

    You have a problem with reading compehension because of your ideological filter, so I will help you out. At no point am I referring to her experiences; they are of no interest. I am referring to cultural norms as they inform legal norms and enforcement.

    Says the man who told another women to go die because of failed reading comprehension. I understood your main point.

    …and here you flaunt your female privilege, which immuniizes you from ever having to worry about asking for any kind of consent from your make partner since that’s always his worry, since he’s presumed to be the one making all the advnaces whether he actually is or not.

    This only applies if Maureen doesn’t actually care about obtaining enthusiastic consent. Since she does, this bit about “culture immunizes you from worrying” is asinine. She’s clearly hasn’t been immunized. Our culture may protect her from certain repercussions.

  305. says

    Nice article. I write one of the only Web sites in the world that gives voice to the wrongly accused. Among the biggest obstacles to justice for the wrongly accused is the inevitable public outcry when it is perceived that rape claims are not taken seriously (current examples: India, and the US military). Public outcries breed hysteria, and, too often, wrongful claims. Every rape claim must be taken very seriously. Every rape accuser should be treated with the utmost dignity and respect. While an accusation should be “believed” in the sense that it must be taken with the utmost seriousness, investigators need to do a thorough and unbiased investigation: their goal should not be simply to build a case for conviction, because that sometimes encourages them to overlook evidence suggestive of innocence.

    The following was brilliant:

    “I’ll confess that it does frustrate me that many commentators and rape campaigners seem to refuse to engage with the existence of false allegations or suggest that they are so rare they are not worth considering. The possibility that an allegation may be false is a hugely important factor in the prosecution equation and can’t be ignored as an inconvenience. I also wish some feminists would refrain from suggesting that being falsely accused is no big deal, when it is often devastating for those affected. Making a malicious false allegation is a horrible crime, and no one should be reluctant to say so. This debate desperately requires nuance and balance, but is often marked by factional polarisation.”

    THANK YOU! Finally, an adult discussion about this terribly complex issue.

  306. says

    Ally,

    I have long held that the penalty for a false accusation (I mean the kind where the accuser is knowingly, deliberately attempting to have someone convicted for something they did not do) should be equal to the sentence that the accused would have received had they been convicted of said crime.

    In other words, if you falsely accuse someone of murder, you will incur whatever sentence they would have received had they been wrongly convicted. Same for any crime.

    Is this a policy you would endorse? If not, what would you endorse as a fitting penalty for attempting to have someone falsely convicted of rape?

    (To be clear: I hold that rapists and those who falsely accuse others of rape ought to receive the same sentence.)

  307. says

    kacyray, only a small percentage of false rape claims are made for that most vicious of motivations, revenge. A fair number of false rape claims are made without any intention of getting someone in trouble. A perceived need to cover up an illicit sexual encounter is a primary motivation for false rape claims. Feminist gadfly Amanda Marcotte, once wrote that “the idea that it’s shameful to just have sex because you want to” is “the reason that you have false rape accusations in the first place.” Amanda Hess similarly talked about women who make false claims to defend their “femininity.” There is much truth in what they say. Without excusing the false accuser (who, like the rapist, must be held accountable for her actions), false rape claims are largely culturally induced.

    Once unleashed, a rape lie takes on a life of its own. To deter rape lies, there needs to be a punishment for even slight prevarications. But not every rape lie is deserving of a punishment as great a rape sentence. If a person is targeted by law enforcement for a rape lie, there needs to be more serious consequences to the accuser than a lie where no one is targeted, and the punishment ought to be commensurate with the harm caused. A woman who lets a man sit in jail for years for a rape lie she told ought not to be excused because the statute of limitations expired (my blog has covered that very situation — the liar was rewarded because her lie had its intended effect), and she should never receive a punishment less than her victim received (yet, we have covered many cases where the false accuser served less time than her victim).

  308. says

    Reply to Eristae:

    The only test that works in discerning whether there was consent in the context of sexual assault is the one the common law developed for contracts: a person can’t read another person’s mind to determine if she really “means” yes. The only thing that matters are her objective manifestations of assent, which can be demonstrated in a variety of ways. Consent really does mean consent, but loose and amorphous concepts like “enthusiasm” have nothing to do with it.

    Harvard University recently debated a policy requiring “clearly enthusiastic” consent for sex. It’s a great concept, and every sane person would encourage it, but it can’t be used as part of a criminal test. Who, on earth, will decide if consent was “clearly enthusiastic” anyway? Men and women do not carry “enthusiasm” meters into the bedroom. How can a disciplinary board tell the difference between ordinary consent and consent that is “clearly enthusiastic”? There is no mistaking midnight for noon, but at what point does twilight become night? It’s a line as indistinct as a dense New England fog. From a legal perspective, consent is like pregnancy: women aren’t just a little pregnant, and likewise, there either was consent or there wasn’t.

  309. says

    Pierce @316

    Fantastic response, thanks.

    I think that, although you have been much more detailed in your approach than I was, you and I agree in principle – someone who makes a false accusation of rape ought to be held accountable, and it should be proportionate to the amount of damage done (whether it was to an individual falsely accused, or to efforts of law enforcement to find a non-existent perpetrator, etc…)

    I remember hearing about your site. A friend pointed me to it a few years back. A very unique advocacy position, and one that is well needed. Because rape is such a terrible crime, to be falsely accused (or god forbid, convicted) of it makes it that much worse. I couldn’t imagine living with that.

  310. Ally Fogg says

    @Pierce Harlan

    Much appreciated thanks .

    @kacyray

    I disagree with the equal sentencing thing. Every crime has different circumstances, different contexts and different sentences on conviction. That’s why the punishment for rape in the UK can (theoretically) stretch from a discharge to a life sentence while the sentence for perverting the course of justice (ie false allegation) can stretch from a discharge to eight years (if I recall correctly).

    More to the point, making malicious allegations is a profoundly different crime to committing a serious sexual assault, they are literally not comparable (which is not to say that both / either don’t have devastating outcomes)

    I would also wholeheartedly echo what Pierce says about how complicated the circumstances might be. If you click on the link near the end of the article above, it takes you to a piece I wrote for the New Statesman about a Crown Prosecution Service report into false allegations.

    That study was very badly reported IMO – the headlines were that it demonstrated that false accusations are very rare, in fact it did no such thing. However it was excellent at highlighting the messy, complicated nature of false allegations, who typically makes them and why.

    So in short, I agree that making a false allegation should be considered a serious crime and punished as and when appropriate, but I wouldn’t be prescriptive as to what a suitable sentence should be, as it will entirely depend upon circumstances of the case.

  311. whiskeyjack says

    You know… If I went to the police and told them that my house had been burgled, they’d believe me. It’s totally possible that I’d staged the break-in, and it’s even possible that someone would be wrongfully convicted of the robbery.That doesn’t change the fact that I could walk into a police station tomorrow and be reasonably certain that they’d take my report of a robbery seriously and investigate it thoroughly.

    It also doesn’t change the fact that knowing that I’d be believed does NOT make me more likely to go to the cops and report a break-in that never happened. Reading between the lines in a lot of the comments here, that seems to be the big concern: If word gets out that women who make rape allegations can expect to have their reports taken at face value until they can be proven or disproven, hundreds of women will suddenly start reporting all kinds of non-existent assaults.

    Do people make false rape accusations? Sure. They also commit insurance fraud and do other underhanded and dishonest things that can ruin the lives of innocent parties. That doesn’t actually make a difference as to how reports of crimes ought to be handled — with the presumption that the allegations are legitimate until an investigation (or trial) proves otherwise. And if there’s compelling evidence that the allegations were false (or the insurance claim was fraudulent) then the guilty party needs to be prosecuted.

    It’s very simple. I don’t understand, 300 comments later, what all of the fuss is about.

  312. Cicero says

    “clearly enthusiastic” consent for sex.”

    I used to read a lot in the sexuality section of webforum. I think most of the people who posted there had at several or many instances had sex with their partners that was aboslutely consent but far from enthusiastic. That standard would make all those people, which includs the women, rapists. In fact I think most of the poppulation would end up in jail if that was the law.

  313. says

    whiskeyjack, the difference is that with rape claims, there are often two sides of the story, the accuser’s and the presumptively innocent man’s. To suggest that law enforcement should start by assuming one is lying and the other isn’t, based on who is making the accusation, is fundamentally unjust and, I’d respectfully suggest, not especially good police work. Why is it too much to ask law enforcement to do a thorough, objective investigation without bias? From what I can tell, most police do exactly that; to the extent they don’t. it needs to change.

  314. says

    Ally,

    Every crime has different circumstances, different contexts and different sentences on conviction.

    Your response is appreciated, but I want to clarify something, because your response seemed to indicate that I may not have been clear enough when I originally asked the question…

    I account for the fact that all cases are unique in the proposal. My contention is that the penalty for levying a false allegation should be equal to whatever the penalty that specific defendant would have incurred for those specific charges.

    In other words, it would be a tailor-made case each time, and it would be based on the unique facts of the case each time. So it would meet your requirement, wouldn’t it?

    And here’s why I think the idea is defensible – when you levy a false charge against someone for which they go to trial and face prison time for a crime they did not commit, you are, in a very literal sense, attempting to use the force of law to deprive them of a very specific period of time in their life. In essence, it’s using the government to kidnap someone.

    If one were to make an effort to have you kidnapped for 10 years (arbitrary example), would you not agree that 10 years is an appropriate sentence for that individual?

    So if the facts of a rape case were such that a defendant faced 10 years for the crime, and during the trial it was revealed that the accuser (be it a man or a woman) deliberately levied a false charge and put the defendants future in jeopardy…. how does that *not* merit 10 years as an appropriate sentence for the culprit?

    I think that if the leveling of false accusations is viewed as tantamount to using the government to kidnap another citizen (which I believe it is), then the principle becomes more clear.

    More to the point, making malicious allegations is a profoundly different crime to committing a serious sexual assault, they are literally not comparable (which is not to say that both / either don’t have devastating outcomes)

    Oh, absolutely! In fact, as I’ve pointed out, a false accusation is more akin to attempted kidnapping.

    Remember… the nature of the crime for which someone is falsely accused is irrelevant. The outcome is the same – a penalty is incurred if convicted. That’s why I’m not just suggesting this policy for false rape accusations, but for demonstrated false accusations of any crime for which a prison sentence may be issued

    So in short, I agree that making a false allegation should be considered a serious crime and punished as and when appropriate, but I wouldn’t be prescriptive as to what a suitable sentence should be, as it will entirely depend upon circumstances of the case.

    Which, as I’ve pointed out, is part of my proposal. The sentence faced by the false accuser would be entirely dependent on, and ultimately equal to, the amount of time faced by the falsely accused.

    I don’t know if this clarification makes any difference to you… and I don’t expect to change your mind. I just wanted to ensure that my proposition was clearly understood. Cheers.

  315. whiskeyjack says

    322 Pierce Harlan:

    So if I say you stole my car, and you say you didn’t steal my car, is it unjust for the police to investigate whether or not you stole my car because it’s my word against yours?

    The police HAVE to believe the accuser in order to even begin to investigate. That’s the whole point.

  316. says

    “So if I say you stole my car, and you say you didn’t steal my car, is it unjust for the police to investigate whether or not you stole my car because it’s my word against yours?”

    This is the silliest debate. Sorry, I don’t even know how to speak on that level. You would do well to educate yourself on these issues before parading your, um, free-wheeling opinions. You can start with this one — an Innocence Project attorney wrote to me raving about it: http://www.cotwa.info/2012/06/bygones-be-bygones-unspeakable.html And this one: http://www.cotwa.info/p/lambs-to-slaughter-hofstra-false-rape.html

    These are very serious issues and there is no room in the public discourse for dogmatic twits who don’t understand them.

  317. says

    Rape is such a unique crime in that the commission of rape and the act of consensual sex are potentially indistinguishable to all except those involved.

    If you can prove someone slashed your tires (for example), there very little room for interpretation. I know of no one who enjoys having their tires slashed. There was very clearly an injurious act there. But with sex… people have sex consensually all the time. They seek it out in fact.

    What’s worse, for those holding more hardline stances, a man could literally find himself transformed from making love to becoming a rapist at the whim of the woman he’s with. All she has to do is withdraw consent during the act of sex… and abracadabra! One thrust too many and you’re now a rapist. Whoops.

    If you have a guest at your house and you were to suddenly decide you don’t want them there… I don’t think that they would legally be considered an “intruder”, even if they briefly protested your attempts to remove them. But trespassing is hardly as sinister a crime as rape, so no one really gives it much thought. Rape is among the worst crimes someone can commit.

    For those reasons, rape claims hold a unique potential for abuse. They can be a legitimate weapon against men (and possibly women …. according the Rebecca Watson’s definition, I’ve been raped on several occasions by several women). There is no easy, cookie-cutter method for determining where rape-claim abuse has taken place.

    Kudos, Pierce, for refusing to stoop to the typical sandbox level of dialogue you find among garden variety FTB commenters.

  318. Ginkgo says

    Ally,

    “More to the point, making malicious allegations is a profoundly different crime to committing a serious sexual assault, they are literally not comparable (which is not to say that both / either don’t have devastating outcomes)”

    Here you are attempting to distinguish violence from proxy violence as somehow being qualitativiely different. What actual difference is there betwenn attacking someone physically or getting someone else to do it for you? The fact that you get the state to do your violence for you doesn’t magically make that violence legitimate and therefore different.

  319. RICH says

    Right now I am being accused of rape by a girl I have known for 6 years on and off. % years ago she acused me of abusing my Daughter of which I was completely cleared, my Daughter is now 17 and still lives with me. We have a great relationship and are very close.

    However after the accusation I did not see the girl for a few years. I wish I had changed my number to be honest because she came to me heavily pregnant with a hard luck story, was seemingly full of remorse for what she did .
    Until recently we were just occasional sexual partners and I knew she had others. That didnt really bother me as I just saw it as a bit of fun.However I always treated her with respect, helped her out with food etc and know she stole money from me on one or 2 occasions which I once actually managed to get het to admit, It was £80 although I did get £40 back from her once I challenged her

    Recently we got a bit closer and I asked her to stop playing about, btw she is bisexual and was living by this time with a couple but was also9 having an affair with the man without her Girlfriends knowledge.

    . To cut a long story short, she is highly active sexually and eventually I had enough. She had her daughter taken away from her 2 years ago and during one argument she, (BTW she is half my age),
    she was telling me how much I needed her more than she needed me and other nasty stuff, I admit I got annoyed and said at least I have my child with me still. She went nuts and swore to ruin me and everything I held dear. I didn’t take it to seriously at the time but after that we stopped seeing each other.

    She also fell out with the couple and they kicked her out but had her stuff there.

    The girl owned a dog, which 2 weeks ago the girl asked them to look after for a day but did not return for it. I was friendly with the couple by this time and as I knew the dog agreed to take it home as it had been tied up all day and had not been collected. They also put her stuff on the street and told her to pick it up. It was still there the next day and the bin men came that day and threw it all away.

    A day or so later she rang me and asked me to look after the dog until she could take it home, she had moved back in with her parents and said they had a new kitten. I had been told by a mutual friend though that they had said no to the dog.

    Lasty Sunday I agreed she could come over for 2 hours to see the dogm, at 10 30 she rang her dad to say was on the way home.

    On Tuesday she txt me and asked ” can you ring me please” I did and she said was cutting all ties and would I take the dog, which I agreed.

    The next day I was arrested for Rape.

    I have been living hell since, it appears i can be arrested and charged with no evidence. I HAVE BEEN TOLD I MAYBE CHARGED EVEN WITHOUT DNA EVIDENCE and that at the moment because of recent events police are not doing the investigation part of an enquiry and sending nearly all cases to court to decide. This means I may have to go to court, have my name published, maybe lose my job, and if I’m acquitted, and its a big if, even though I am innocent apparently, she is unlikely to be prosecuted, and her name will never be published even if I am cleared.

    It is all wrong, I am guilty until I can prove my innocence? what even happened to justice and the principal of innocent until proven guilty. I am terrified right now, my daughter is scared she will lose her dad, and the police won’t even take into account about the previous false accusation.

    It will cost me 1500 for a good lawyer as legal aide has been slashed, which I will not get back win or lose. This will be hard to find.

    How is any of this fair?

  320. says

    The case of Eddie Shah (and Aggro Santos along with Clayton McDonald) show that anonymity must be granted to rape trial defendants. See also R v Blackwell and R v Donnellan.

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