To testify & jail a man

Also – still on that mind-exploding tweet by the atheist pope – notice what a very peculiar way to describe a rape that is. Notice that it leaves out the rape altogther and just makes it a matter of wanting “to be in a position to testify & jail a man, don’t get drunk.” To jail a man for what? Oooooooh she doesn’t care, that bitch, she just wants to jail a man, because that’s how bitchez are.

.@mrgregariously Exactly. If you want to drive, don’t get drunk. If you want to be in a position to testify & jail a man, don’t get drunk.

Nobody wants any of this. Nobody wants to be tricked into getting drunk, nobody wants to get raped, nobody wants to be in a position to testify about the rape. Women want to not be raped, instead. Giving them advice on how to be in a condition to testify about their rape is no help at all. What about telling the man not to trick the woman into getting drunk and not to rape her? What about that for an idea? What about not implying that women are just champing at the bit to jail “a man” just for the hell of it because they’re all ball-busters? What about not keeping all your concern for “a man” while shitting all over the woman he raped? What about that for an idea?

Ugh. I feel dirty.


  1. says

    What about telling the man not to trick the woman into getting drunk and not to rape her? What about that for an idea?

    Yeah, it’s amazing how easy it is.

    Never having raped anyone, I’ve never had to worry about accusations or covering my tracks — that’s another easy thing a guy can do to protect women around him. It actually simplifies life if you’re not rapey. Amazing how easy these things are – unless you’re a rapist or a defender of rapists.

  2. says

    I don’t get it. I’m a plain ole American male, Anglo-Saxon, football watching, beer* swilling, atheist, yet I’ve never found the concept of “don’t rape” difficult to understand or abide by. Honestly, what’s the point if you have to coerce, or trick someone? Really, it’s much, much, better when both people are enthusiastically participating.

    *The give away: I only drink micro-brewery craft beer.

  3. Al Dente says

    So Dawkins thinks women just want to get men thrown in jail. I’ve been trying to imagine how this scenario is reasonable and I just can’t. Either Dawkins knows a completely different set of women than any I’ve encountered or else he’s talking out of his arse again.

    Sorry Michael Nugent but this time your buddy the Dawk has completely fallen off the logic wagon.

  4. smrnda says

    I have, at times, been pretty drunk. I do not drive, but I would not have been in a position to drive at all. However, I still was with it enough to be able to tell whether or not I actually consented to sex or not. Has Dawkins never been drunk?

  5. says

    Worse and worse and worse. That’s all he keeps getting… worse. I don’t know of any words to describe this anymore. Distressing? Sickening? Disturbing? Disgusting? Maddening? Rage-inducing? Pathetic? They all seem to be understatements at this point.

    The world would be a better place if Richard Dawkins would just get the fuck off Twitter and stick to writing about biology. Fuck him.

  6. nichrome says

    If you want to be in a position to testify & jail a man, don’t get drunk.

    Hey, I can give advice as good as an Oxford professor:

    If you want to be in a position to testify & jail a man for murder, don’t go gettin’ yourself killed!

  7. 2kittehs says

    anthrosciguy @1

    If you don’t want to run into trouble with the TSA, don’t buy honey.

    I splorfled tea all over my monitor, thankyouverymuch.

    renet @7

    “If you want to be in a position to testify & jail a man, don’t wear a mini skirt.”

    I’d go further: if you want to be in a position to testify & jail a man, don’t be a feeeemale.

    All this reinforces why I was surprised Dawkins issued that statement with you, Ophelia – and why I didn’t believe it, and was mildly surprised (because I don’t know you, or how well you know him) that you had any trust in him. I’ve seldom read anything from him that didn’t leave me with the impression of an arrogant bigot, and his near-constant stream of racism, misogyny and specific rape apologia these days does nothing to change my view.

  8. Corvus Whiteneck says

    It’s been said before, but it probably cannot be said often enough, and this tweet is a prime example of it: Look at what’s being done here — he is trying to distract and derail the conversation.

    He tweets like he is trying to get the discussion shifted to intoxication, to testimony quality, to epistemology, to misandry, to misogyny, to slut shaming, to victim blaming, to rape culture, to internet bullying, to clickbait, to whether he is a horse’s ass, anything, anything, ANYTHING other than the question of whether Michael Shermer committed a felonious sexual assault upon a young woman.

    If he can keep us distracted or criticizing what he tweets, or fisking what Coyne or Nugent blog, whatever, then we won’t be writing or speaking about: Shermer; the fact that MICHAEL SHERMER HAS BEEN ACCUSED OF RAPE… WHILE AT A CONFERENCE; who in the JREF knew what, and when; how they continued to invite Shermer to events; who else appeared at events with Shermer (*ahem* Dawkins *ahem*); the JREF’s ethical obligations when an employee is sexually assaulted at a company event; other speakers’ ethical obligations regarding subsequent co-appearances or co-promotions; Shermer’s contradictory accounts of the events in question, varying depending on who he was speaking to; the impossibilities, from a physiology/toxicology standpoint, of some versions of Shermer’s account of the events in question; and on, and on, and on… If we’re talking about Dawkins instead of Shermer then the Dawk is probably feeling smug right now.

    Every attempt to derail or distract should be met with a re-direction back to the issue at hand. Dawkins has an advantage, to be sure. He chooses to change the subject. To bring the conversation back on point we must refer to a serious crime (as well as serious ethical violation), and this may be uncomfortable for us. So be it.

  9. says

    There’s another way in which the drunk driving analogy fails: It conflates different levels of drunkenness. While level of intoxication is a continuum, there are two approximate states, namely being tipsy, and being paralytic.

    When tipsy, various human faculties are dulled, but (barring prior disability) they’re all in place. You can walk, you can talk, your senses function properly, you’re capable of basic reason, and you can make your opinions clearly known. Driving in this state is forbidden not because you’re utterly incapable, but because you’re incapable of doing so to the required very high standard.

    When paralytic, the above faculties are gone or almost gone. You can barely walk, you can only slur words, your eyes can’t track objects, you lose fundamental reasoning abilities, and you can’t meaningfully consent to or object to anything.

    Rape apologists deliberately ignore this distinction. Saying that Shermer and his victim were both drunk is technically true, but what it implies is a mendacious lie. (Dawkins is a master of this technique.) It deliberately ignores the fact that Shermer was tipsy and his victim paralytic. It’s merely an attempt to excuse rape.

  10. Morgan says

    First, what Corvus Whiteneck said.

    Second, consider that in the case Dawkins is tweeting about (and let’s not pretend he’s not; these tweets aren’t being made in a vacuum) the victim’s alcohol intake was deliberately manipulated without her knowledge to make her drunk when she didn’t intend to be. So Dawkins’ advice would have to translate to: “don’t allow Michael Shermer any access to your drinks”. “Don’t turn aside or leave the table or otherwise let your drink out of your view while socializing with a trusted peer.” Perhaps even, “simply don’t drink near men at all”. It’s basically impossible to 100% guarantee your drink won’t be spiked, but Dawkins presents women as 100% responsible for maintaining their perfect witness status, so there’s no room for weighing reasonable risks based on being in a safe environment with trusted people – nope, if in any case that trust turns out to be misplaced, then fuck you because you were successfully made drunk/drugged and you should just shut up and not be a sore loser.

    Want to bet Dawkins would be outraged by the suggestion that women should view all men as potential rapists and therefore unsafe to share a drink with or even near?

  11. latsot says

    I’ve seen people in bars waiting until a someone they’re with goes to the bathroom and then immediately buying them a drink, which was then waiting for them when they got back, regardless of whether they wanted it or had finished their previous drink. Those people were expected to be grateful, I guess and might have drunk the drinks. It would be impolite not to. These manipulative people are relying on social convention to increase their chances of having sex. They might not have been trying to get their target into a barely conscious or unconscious state, but they were clearly using alcohol to make it more likely that they could fuck.

  12. doubtthat says

    Two things:

    1) By the time Dawkins slouched his way to that tweet, he was in full retreat mode. All of initial tweets were from the perspective of concern for the accused: Oh, what an injustice that someone would be jailed with NO EVIDENCE and only on the word of a victim who testifies that they remember nothing (something that has never happened); it’s wrong to rape, certainly, but isn’t it also wrong to accuse someone when you’re drunk…blah blah.

    Then, probably being somewhat aware of how fucking wrong that was, he started to slowly shift his point to glib, disingenuous “concern” that the poor victims just won’t be believed by juries. THAT’S what he’s really worried about — never mind that the behavior of an average jury in the US has nothing to do with whether or not WE believe victims, or, specifically, a particular woman.

    2) I pointed this out on Nugent’s blog as was accused of generating a straw man:

    If you want to be in a position to testify & jail a man, don’t get drunk.

    Notice the contrapositive of that statement:

    If you do get drunk (have gotten drunk) then you’re not in a position to testify or not in a position to jail a man.

    The Dawkins defenders said over and over that No, No, NO, our sweet leader was not suggesting that women who had been drinking should stay silent or should be precluded from testifying, yet there it is. A statement and its contrapositive are logical equivalent, and Dawkins is saying that the only condition under which a woman has been drinking is she’s unable to “jail a man,” meaning that she should either stay silent or expect to not be believed.

    I assume Dawkins understands first order logic, so he is responsible for the contrapositive of his statement.

    As a general rule, if you find yourself arguing that a properly formed contrapositive is a “straw man” or some voodoo like manipulation of a person’s statement, you should either refrain from describing yourself as rational or head over to the local community college for a symbolic logic course before making further claims.

  13. says

    2kittehs @ 12 –

    All this reinforces why I was surprised Dawkins issued that statement with you, Ophelia – and why I didn’t believe it, and was mildly surprised (because I don’t know you, or how well you know him) that you had any trust in him.

    Well it wasn’t really a matter of trusting or not trusting. I simply thought a statement of that kind would do some good, possibly a lot of good. I still think it could have, if it had been allowed to…but then that would have required Dawkins not to say things like what he said in that tweet, so in that sense I guess you’re right.

    But honestly, he’s been getting steadily worse, hasn’t he? He hadn’t said things pre-statement as appalling as the things he’s said post-statement, had he? Except for Dear Muslima and zero bad, that is.

    Maybe I’m wrong, maybe he has, but I can say that at the time of the statement I didn’t know he was as appalling as this. I really didn’t.

  14. says

    If you want to be in a position to testify & jail a man, don’t get drunk.

    wtf? The sheer amount of reframing and…this is just terrifying.

    How about if you don’t want to be testafied against and jailed, don’t “have sex” with someone who is too drunk to consent.

    How can someone get this backwards? Especially when you just finished mentioning impared judgement while driving, you suddenly think a drunk person has good enough judgement for their “consent” to be meaningful?

    Of course, I don’t think these people care about learning how consent works. Same for the people who support these kinds of nonsense tweets. That’s the terrifying part.

    That’s rape culture.

  15. says

    This is just awful… and not surprising…

    One thing that I’d want to add about refusing a drink: I’m male and never have been in the position in which someone tried to trick me into drinking more than I wanted. But I’m not a heavy drinker and so the situation sometimes arose of friends wanting to buy another round and when I asked for a non-alcoholic beverage, I got the usual “come on” and such which are made in good spirit but still… it’s not always easy to refuse a drink (and once again, I’m not even talking about being tricked here).
    With some looser acquaintances I’ve even had to say things like “you do what you want but I won’t drink it” and you can see the weird/Im-a-bit-hurt kinda look… so social pressures don’t always help.

  16. Hj Hornbeck says

    Notice that it leaves out the rape altogther and just makes it a matter of wanting “to be in a position to testify & jail a man, don’t get drunk.” To jail a man for what? Oooooooh she doesn’t care, that bitch, she just wants to jail a man, because that’s how bitchez are. […] What about not implying that women are just champing at the bit to jail “a man” just for the hell of it because they’re all ball-busters?

    The very assertion is ridiculous if you know anything about false accusations.

    We have a fair bit of research on them, but at first blush it seems all over the map. How can research papers false report rates anywhere from 1.5%[1] to 90%[2]? A number of ways, but primarily by having a poor definition of “false.” That 90% study had some weird criteria, when it bothered to broach the subject of criteria at all.

    Stewart gives little information as to the form or circumstances of these retractions. He does, however, refer to one instance in which he claims that the case ‘‘was disproved on the grounds that it was totally impossible to have removed her extremely tight undergarments from her extremely large body against her will’’.[3]

    Another study[4] which found a false report rate of 41% had several flaws, most notably:

    The third and perhaps most significant problem is that Kanin appears to assume that police officers abided by departmental policy in only labelling as false, those cases where the complainant admitted to fabrication. He does not consider that actual police practice, as other studies have shown, might have departed from guidelines.[3]

    And with depressing regularity, that’s exactly what happens.

    In subsequent Home Office research Harris and Grace examined the progress of 483 reports of rape to the Metropolitan Police in 1996. They found that the increase in the number of reports being crimed was offset by the increased numbers that were designated as involving ‘‘no further action’’ (NFA) and that 56% of all reports were either no-crimed or NFA-ed. They found that 25% of cases were no-crimed, but that there was widespread misuse of the criteria, with 57% of complaints being no-crimed for reasons other than them being deemed false/malicious. Consequently, the number of reports no-crimed for being false/malicious in this study was around 10.9%. The problem however, lies in the limitations of this research—we do not know how police officers determined a complaint to be false. Indeed, the recent HMCPSI/HMIC report noted how little we know about the way in which police officers come to their decision to no-crime[3]

    The interviews with police officers and complainants’ responses show that despite the focus on victim care, a culture of suspicion remains within the police, even amongst some of those who are specialists in rape investigations. There is also a tendency to conflate false allegations with retractions and withdrawals, as if in all such cases no sexual assault occurred. This reproduces an investigative culture in which elements that might permit a designation of a false complaint are emphasised (… this also feeds into withdrawals and designation of ‘insufficient evidence’), at the expense of a careful investigation, in which the evidence collected is evaluated. These perceptions and orientations are not lost on complainants. [5]

    police departments have been found to destroy records and ignore or mishandle evidence, which leads not only to undercounting but dismissal of cases. Many of the jurisdictions showing consistent undercounting are also, unsurprisingly, those with rape kit backlogs (there are more than 400,000 untested kits in the United States). Many cities and states don’t even keep accurate track of the number of rape exams or of kits languishing, expired or in storerooms—but when they do, the numbers improve. The arrest rate for sex assault in New York City went from 40 percent to 70 percent after the city successfully processed an estimated 17,000 kits in the early 2000s. However, it is only in the past year, after embarrassing and critical news coverage, that most departments have begun to process backlogs. After being publicly shamed for having abandoned more than 11,000 rape kits, the Michigan State Police began testing them, identifying 100 serial rapists as a result.[6]

    Romney concludes that “Given its inadequacies, much of the current research literature cannot be used to determine the rate of false rape allegations.”[3] In response, David Lisak and his co-authors went on the hunt for studies that had a clear definition of “false accusation,” and did the detective work necessary to establish that. One example:

    In what is the largest and most comprehensive study of false reports currently available, the British Home Office commissioned another major study of attrition in rape cases in response to the continuing decline in the conviction rate for rape (Kelly et al., 2005). Six regions within Great Britain were selected, and 2,643 cases were analyzed over a 15-year period. The researchers collected multiple forms of data that went far beyond a reliance on police reports: case files, forensic reports, medical examinations, questionnaires completed by police investigators, interviews with victims, interviews with victim service providers, and content analyses of victim and witness statements. On the basis of these analyses, the researchers concluded that that there was rampant misuse of the “no-crimed” classification, referring to it as a “dustbin” category.

    Of the 2,643 rape cases reported to the police, 216 (8.2%) were classified by the police as false allegations. However, some of these classifications were based on police skepticism about victims who were mentally ill, about victims whose statements contained inconsistencies, and about victims who had been drinking or using drugs. Classifying a case as a false allegation on these bases, the researchers noted, violated the police agencies’ own classification rules. Those rules stipulate that a case can only be classified as a false allegation if “there is a clear and credible admission by the complainants, or where there are strong evidential grounds” (Kelly et al., 2005, p. 50). Applying those agency rules, the researchers recalculated the frequency of false allegations and found that 67 of the 2,643 (2.5%) cases actually met the criteria.[7]

    There’s an interesting trend visible, too: the larger the sample size, the lower the false report rate. Lisak’s own modest pool of 136 cases found a 6% false rate, while the second-largest study (N=806) found 2.1%.[8]

    So false reports are rare. But do they fit the “drunken regret” model proposed by Dawkins and countless others?

    False reports are quite heterogeneous, with the only clear pattern being gender (93% were women).[9] 46% of false rape reports were made by someone other than the victim, and in many of those cases “the suspect later reported that the whole thing had spiralled out of control and he or she had felt unable to stop the investigation.” Some cases were the result of children just inventing accusations out of the blue; in others, “there may be understandable reasons why a person has retracted what is in fact a true allegation of rape or domestic violence;” and a few were miscommunications, as an example in one case “it was plain that the suspect did not understand the legal definition of consent.” The report concludes:

    It is plain that there were a large number of prosecutions for rape and domestic violence but that only a very small number of individuals were prosecuted for having made a false complaint. It also emphasises the complex issues that can arise in these serious cases. Each case must carefully be examined on its own merits to assess exactly what has been alleged and the background that led to the making of the complaint.[9]

    [1] P. Theilade and J.L. Thomsen, ‘‘False Allegations of Rape’’ (1986) 30 Police Surgeon 17.
    [2] C.H. Stewart, ‘‘A Retrospective Survey of Alleged Sexual Assault Cases’’ (1981) Police
    Surgeon 28, 32.
    [3] Rumney, P. (2006) False allegations of rape. The Cambridge Law
    Journal, 65 (1). 125 -158. ISSN 1469-2139
    [4] Kanin, Eugene J. “False rape allegations.” Archives of Sexual Behavior 23.1 (1994): 81-92.
    [5] Kelly, Liz, Jo Lovett, and Linda Regan. “A gap or a chasm.” Attrition in reported rape cases (2005). pg. 51-52
    [6] Chemaly, Soraya. “How Did the FBI Miss Over 1 Million Rapes?,” The Nation, June 27, 2014.
    [7] Lisak, David, et al. “False allegations of sexual assualt: an analysis of ten years of reported cases.” Violence Against Women 16.12 (2010): 1318-1334.
    [8] Study of reported rapes in Victoria 2000-2003: Summary research report. Office of Women’s Policy, Department for Victorian Communities, 2006.
    [9] Levitt, A. “the Crown Prosecution Service Equality and Diversity Unit.(2013).” Charging perverting the course of justice and wasting police time in cases involving allegedly false rape and domestic violence allegations.

  17. leni says

    It’s a good thing Hitchins was never a crime victim. Apparently he would have made a terrible witness.

  18. leni says

    You laugh now, Silentbob, but don’t forget that he volunteered for those waterboardings.

    Apparently that’s a thing with drunk atheists. They like to talk big about torture when they’re drunk and then act later like it they didn’t enjoy it. Attention-needing atheist vibes, I guess, who knows.

  19. sadmar says

    “If you want to be in a position to testify & jail a man, don’t get drunk.”

    Apparently Richard Dawkins has spent zero time in an American frat house and never heard of “roofies.”

  20. Hj Hornbeck says

    My, I’ve been full of comment fail lately. At least all #25 needs is a summary. [ahem].

    The evidence points to false reports being rare. Of those false reports, when you sift out the cases where the accuser was pushed into making the complaint, or probably was sexually assaulted but was pressured to withdraw the complaint, or had their complaint misfiled as sexual assault through miscommunication, you’re left with a small fraction of a small fraction of all allegations that are both false and made in malice.

    To borrow a phrase: when you hear hoofbeats, don’t assume “zebras.” As nearly all complaints of sexual assault are true, your initial assumption should not be that they are false, let alone false and malicious.

  21. Jacob Schmidt says

    I guess the judge in this familiar-sounding case agrees with Dawkins:

    A lot of the piece I can get behind, but:

    Thorburn said that even if the woman did not or could not consent to a sexual encounter due to her condition, the two doctors could have thought she did.

    “There is an air of reality to the accused’s claim that they had an honest but mistaken belief that (the woman) consented to the sexual encounter,” Thorburn said.

    What the bloody fuck? One can simply assume a woman consents and that’s good enough? I’m sure Thorburn meant better than that (or rather, I’d like to believe that, but I’m not really convinced), but holy shit is that ever fucked up.

  22. Silentbob says

    @ 28 leni

    Can you knock it off already. I have it on good authority that women can’t be funny. So stop being funny. It’s confusing.


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