FRS: Always controversial, AfOR's essay is intended to spark discussion.
Why “He said / She said” is inapplicable in alleged non-stranger rape.
By “non stranger” I mean any two people who commonly live together at the same address or who are in an on-going (at the time of the allegations) relationship.
Ex-spouses and ex-partners are not included. Nor are casual acquaintances or friends.
This alleged scenario is at the root of all alleged rapes between persons who know each other (e.g. not “stranger rape”) and is always cited as the reason “we cannot be sure” and therefore why we must start with an open mind, and (in contradiction to this) why we must accept that a rape might indeed have taken place.
Let’s skip ahead a bit, the rape allegation has been made to the Police, the Police have arrested the alleged suspect, and he (for it is almost always a he) is sat in the Police interrogation room being “interviewed” (as the Police prefer to call it) by a specialist Rape Squad police person.
Speaking as someone who has sat in that chair, I can tell you that as the alleged rapist the arrest and subsequent procedures and then the interrogation(s) itself feel like what can only be described as emotional, spiritual and mental rape.
No man who has sat in that chair will disagree with this.
The Police person, however, will describe something quite different, they will describe a formal, polite and careful interview process, conducted in a clean, dry, warm room.
No police person who has sat in the other chair will disagree with this.
“Hang on a minute..” says the reader, “I thought you were supposed to be arguing against this being a rape, not proving it was?”
Bear with me.
This difference in perceptions between the Police person and the alleged rapist is essentially a philosophical difference as much as a difference of perception.
Two men look up into the sky and see a single cloud, one man says “That cloud looks like the face of Jesus!”, and the other man says “That cloud looks like the face of Mohammed!”
Is this a difference of religion, or perception, or philosophy, or of all three?
Instead of two men, one thousand men look at the same cloud, now (because of geographic location) 999 say it looks like Jesus, and 1 says it looks like Mohammed. Does that make the majority right?
Nevertheless, all religions worldwide agree on a few basic tenets. They all hold that theft is wrong, that murder is wrong, and so all those men will agree that whatever it may look like, it is indeed in fact a cloud, and it is indeed in fact drifting along serenely in the heavens.
The cloud drifts on, serene, completely unconnected to the perceptions of men, its own physical reality is the fact, just as the actual events are the facts in an alleged rape.
Rape is not something that may or may not exist depending on philosophy or perspective, like the actual identity of a face in the clouds. Rape is a physical reality, there is either a cloud, or there is not.
So, back to the Police station.
We have established that the Police person and the alleged rapist can both, quite honestly, and quite genuinely, hold completely different opinions about the same thing.
Let us move on to power, because without exception in all these “he said / she said” cases it is alleged that the power differential between the male alleged rapist and the female alleged rape victim is an intrinsic part of the alleged rape itself.
Speaking again personally of my own experiences, I was not handcuffed, manhandled, maced, tasered or anything else.
The arresting officer was polite and formal, “I am arresting you...” was all it took to ensure my compliance.
Sure, the implicit threat of the other six police officers in attendance, backed up by the might of the Court and Prison system, was of course ever present, if unspoken.
Power, violence, force did not have to be used on me to assure my meek compliance. Nor was the threat of any of these things required. I believed that it was there, and that was sufficient to assure my meek compliance with the arresting officer’s wishes.
“Hang on another minute..” says the reader, “I thought you were supposed to be arguing against this being a rape, not proving it was?”
The fact is that I am making a damned good case for my extreme emotional, spiritual and mental abuse, at the hands of an (relatively) all powerful abuser, so much so that I did not dare do anything but comply and submit to my terrible experience.
But, there is a problem.
It is not a small problem.
It is an insurmountable problem.
It is not a problem of philosophy, or a problem of perception.
The problem is that the Police person, being the arresting officer, knows damned wall that the only reason I am sat in the Police station is because they arrested me.
As a result of this the Police person knows for a fact that I do not wish to be there, and knows for a fact that I am going to find the experience extremely unpleasant.
To make this case for my own extreme abuse at the hands of the Police person, I have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Police person genuinely believed that I was sat there of my own free will.
I have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that all I had to do at any time was simply say “No.” And walk away.
I have to do this because the essence of a “he said / she said” case is always one of differences of perception.
No-one has any hope of mounting a successful defence to a “he said / she said” allegation of rape if the power differential in his favour is as great as the one between my arresting officer and myself, e.g. absolute. My arresting officer had all the power, I had none.
In an alleged non-stranger “he said / she said” rape this means the man must be a millionaire with a castle and guards and his own dungeon, and the woman must be a non status illegal immigrant kept chained up in the dungeon 24/7.
If the woman goes out by herself daily, has her own transport, own door keys, own mobile phone, own email, it is the same as the Police station having doors with no locks, and no powers of arrest.
To have any hope whatsoever of proving beyond a reasonable doubt I that I was emotionally, spiritually and mentally raped by the Police person I must therefore prove beyond a reasonable doubt, to a Judge and / or Jury, that the Police person despite having personally arrested me, despite the locks on all the doors, despite all the Police training, despite the six other Police officers who accompanied to my home, despite all common sense, not merely genuinely believed that I was in that Police station of my own free will, but is able to actually prove it.
It is not sufficient to prove that the Police officer saw Mohammed in the cloud, when everyone else saw Jesus, I must prove that there was in fact no cloud in the sky at all.
If I can only show that (however great a stretch if the imagination this is) the Police person genuinely believed that I was there of my own free will, then I have only shown a philosophical difference, I must show a factual difference.
Rape is not a question of philosophy, it is a question of fact.
Questions of philosophy, differences of perception, states of mind, these things apply to trivial things like one person selling a used laptop to another, it is quite possible for the seller to genuinely think the buyer has had a good deal, and for the buyer to genuinely think they have been ripped off.
Questions of philosophy, differences of perception, states of mind, these things do not apply to major things like Rape or Theft, it is not possible for the seller to hand over an Dell box containing an old brick for weight and genuinely believe that the buyer is getting a good deal.
If you think that this argument leads to the conclusion that “he said / she said” rape allegations are simply impossible to prove one way or another, the Schrödinger’s Cat of Criminal Law, you are mistaken.
There is only one logical deduction, and that is that BY DEFINITION, “he said / she said” non-stranger allegations of rape are simply NOT POSSIBLE. By definition, ALL such allegations are false.