Monday, July 6, 2009

Rape double standards: a primer

*According to the radical feminist sexual assault metanarrative, which has dominated the public discourse about rape for several decades, any assertion that tends to support finding a male guilty of rape is to be believed; any assertion that tends to exonerate a male of rape is suspect and should not be believed. Women must be believed when they say they were raped; men who deny they committed rape are not to be believed; women's recantations of rape claims should be regarded as suspect; and men who confess that they committed rape must be telling the truth.

*The mere allegation of rape by any female, without any other evidence and no matter how far-fetched, invites a man's name to be splashed all over the newspaper, TV, radio and Internet for the world to titillate at the details of his humiliation. Men and boys falsely accused of this vile crime have been beaten and killed and have killed themselves; they've been fired from their jobs and lost their businesses; they've lost their wives, their girlfriends and their long-time friends. Rarely do they ever come out of it whole, and for many, the ghost of a false rape claim trails them for the rest of their lives. In contrast, the accuser retains lifelong anonymity, either by law (UK) or the agreement of news sources (U.S.).

*When a female claims she was raped but a male denies it and claims she's committed the crime of making a false police report of rape, there are conflicting claims of criminality, yet on the basis of no other evidence the male alone is arrested and often subjected to humiliating medical procedures. Even if the male is acquitted, it is most unlikely that any charges will ever be filed against her.

*Rape is treated with a solemnity unique among all crimes, unless the subject is prison rape of males, in which case it's a punchline. The rape of males in prison might be more prevalent than the rape of females in general.

*If a woman's false rape claim has its intended effect, the male might serve a life sentence, depending on the jurisdiction; in contrast, a female convicted of the crime of false reporting of rape will receive a minimal sentence, typically not exceeding two years and usually considerably less -- if she is charged, convicted and sentenced to any jail time at all, depending on the jurisdiction.

*Even if a woman's false rape claim does not have its intended effect, a man who is falsely accused and not convicted nevertheless often serves more jail time than his false accuser.

*Various U.S. states are extending and even abolishing statutes of limitations for rape; in contrast, false reports are often subject to a limited statute of limitations that will bar most claims if the woman's lie has its intended effect and if her fraud is not discovered for several years -- during which time the male is typically serving an unjust prison sentence because of the lie.

*Using polygraphs to test the credibility of rape claimants is verboten. Feminists and sexual assault advocates object to their use on women who allege rape. To be eligible for VAWA funds, states and territories must certify that they prohibit polygraph testing of victims. VAWA provides: "No law enforcement officer, prosecuting officer, or other government official shall ask or require an adult, youth, or child victim of an alleged sex offense ... to submit to a polygraph examination or other truth telling device." In contrast, using polygraphs on men accused of rape is routine, and often if men don't submit to them, even flimsy charges won't be dropped. Moreover, polygraphs are routinely used to insure that sex offenders (predominantly male) are adhering to the terms of their probation, and this is considered sound public policy. A refusal to take the polygraph will land the person refusing in jail.

*The persons who dominate the public discourse about rape insist that the percentage of rape claims that are "false" is limited to those that are categorically declared "false" (e.g., those that are quickly dismissed as patently "false" due to rectantations and overwhelming evidence that they didn't happen) and that the remainder of all rape claims are, in fact, most likely actual rapes. In fact, the opposite inference is more logical. On one end of the spectrum, there are a certain percentage of claims that are very quickly dismissed as "false," due usually to recantations coupled with overwhelming evidence that they didn't occur. On the other end of the spectrum, a small percentage of rape claims end in convictions. In between the obviously false and the claims that end in convictions, the majority of rape claims are dismissed somewhere along the way, often because of some fatal infirmity, including insufficient evidence (which means there was not enough evidence to make out one or more elements of the crime, even if a trier of fact believed the evidence -- hardly a technicality) or the accuser decides not to pursue the claim or the jury just doesn't buy it. To suggest that all of these rape claims that fall between the obviously false and those that end in conviction are, by necessity, "rapes," is dishonest in the extreme (and, yes, that's what radical gender feminists suggest). It is more logical, and just, to assume that most of the dismissed rape claims in this middle ground were not actual rapes.

*In a rape trial the woman is fully protected by rape shield laws that prohibit any admission of evidence regarding the woman's prior sexual history with persons other than the defendant; in contrast, in a trial of a false claim, the male would not enjoy any of the rape shield protections his false accuser enjoyed when he was on trial for rape. His entire sexual history is often "fair game."

*VAWA pays the legal bills of alleged victims of sexual assault. VAWA pays none of the legal bills of men accused of rape, the presumed innocent -- even those who were falsely accused.

*Unlike any other criminal charge, including murder, assault, even planning the World Trade Center attacks, a rape trial in federal court and in various states allows evidence of the defendant's commission of prior offenses (specifically, his prior offenses of sexual assault) to show that he has a propensity for committing the crime at issue. Under this rule, which is unique in all of American jurisprudence and widely condemned by legal scholars, the jury is to be informed of the defendant's prior acts whether or not the defendant takes the stand. Even accusations of prior sexual offenses that occurred years before -- and even crimes for which the defendant was acquitted -- are admissible if the alleged act is proven by just a preponderance of the evidence (far lower than beyond a reasonable doubt). This is sometimes all a jury needs to convict the man or boy of the crime at issue.

*Sexual assault advocates complain that only a small percentage of "rapists" are brought to trial or convicted, and the news media often repeats these assertions as if they were factual. The statistics provided, of course, are culled from polls that count certain incidents as "rape" that are not legally rape; moreover, the statistics assume that the women must be telling the truth in furnishing their answers. The polls from which these statistics are culled typically do not bother questioning males or take their defenses into account.

This list is by no means exhaustive -- please help me add to it.