Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Misinformation from the Clothesline Project hurts innocent men and boys

One of the more gender-divisive annual events held in various communities and college campuses across America is the Clothesline Project. The goal of raising awareness about violence against women is good but pretending that men are hardly ever victims of domestic violence is a falsehood. The theme of pitting gender against gender is palpable in the Clothesline Project. See the photograph above from one such event. Can you read the angry words on the orange shirt? That is anger directed at an entire gender. It is astounding that we find it necessary to note that the vast majority of males neither rape nor condone violence against women. And, no, that anger is not justified regardless of what one male might have done to the author of the saying on that shirt. For the purposes of this blog, it is important to take issue with one particular aspect of these events: They are bent on distorting the truth in a manner that hurts innocent men and boys who do not rape, as explained below. The following tidbits are from http://www.clotheslineproject.org/:

When someone says, "I was raped ..." BELIEVE them - It is not your role to question whether a rape occurred. The fact is that false rape reports are no more nor less common than false reports for other crimes.

COMMENT: This is a falsehood. According to FBI statistics, the average false reporting for crimes is 2 percent. All of the serious studies put false rape claims at multiple times that percentage. In fact there are anywhere from four to upwards of 25 times more false reports for rapes than crimes on average. See our discussion here. When you insist, contrarty to the facts, that women don't lie about rape, and invent special rules to jack up convictions based on that lie, you jeopardize the liberty of innocent men and boys wrongly accused of rape.

On the "NO" Means "NO" page, this appears:

COMMENT: Incorrect. False rape claims thrive in a culture that teaches young women that they are being sexually tyrannized by men, and that even sexual encounters considered consensual, both under law and by social compact since the beginning of time, are tantamount to sexual assault. Among other things, young women are being wrongly taught that sexual relations not accompanied by a woman's oral affirmation is rape (some insist that the affirmation must be “enthusiastic” -- as if “enthusiasm” is capable of being objectively quantified). This is flat-out wrong.

In fact, valid consent to intercourse can be manifested in a variety of ways -- by oral affirmations or by non-verbal conduct; that it need not be “enthusiastic”; and that it may be effective even though – horrors! -- the woman previously had said “no” (this falls under the legal principle that women are permitted to change their minds). A woman’s secret, undisclosed intentions are impertinent to the question of whether she manifested consent. All that matters are her outward manifestations of assent. Likewise, a woman’s after-the-fact regret has no bearing on whether consent was manifested at the time the sex act occurred. A young woman can validly consent after imbibing alcohol so long as she is capable of making a rational decision.