Thursday, June 10, 2010

If rape were as rampant as activists claim, then rape shouldn't be a crime

The headline got your attention, didn't it?  We'll get to that, but first things first. 

How did rape supposedly become rampant?

Twenty years ago, the federal Bureau of Justice statistics estimated that .05 percent of women had been raped.  But rape activists insisted this had to be too low, and in connection with the passage of VAWA, some testified in Congressional to change the laws to treat rape far more seriously. 

One such activist testified that the real percentage of women raped was more than 25 percent.  Please sit down before I tell you who it was:  it was Mary Koss.  Koss, many readers know, was instrumental in molding the perception that rape is rampant.  Her landmark study that 27% percent of all American women have been raped has been discredited by non-feminist writers, see here and here.

The Koss Report

It is beyond question that the Koss report was fatally flawed. Among other things, 73 percent of the women whom Koss characterized as rape victims said that they hadn’t been raped.  But thankfully, those women had Mary Koss to tell them they were victims as they might have gone through their entire lives not knowing it.  More important, forty-nine percent of the women Koss says were sexually assaulted labeled the experience a "miscommunication." Others said it wasn't a crime.

But the "miscommunication" label alone is an insurmountable problem for declaring that the women were raped. It raises serious questions about whether there was an absence of "consent," which does not refer to an accuser's subjective or secret desires, whims, or beliefs, but to her outward manifestations of willingness to engage in sexual relations. If a person in the position of the male reasonably understands there was consent, there can be no rape (some states credit his belief subjective).  The Koss and similar surveys are invalid because they fail to assess whether the female's conduct or verbal expressions were reasonably understood by the male as consent. Period. End of story. Young women sometimes feel used and sometimes really don't want to have sex, and sometimes they transmogrify those angry or regretful feelings into a belief that they were raped.   But to find out if a rape actually occurred, you'd need to actually look at each alleged rape and survey both the female and the male involved.  In fact, only one in 12 college men responding to the same Koss survey admitted committing acts that met the legal definition of rape or attempted rape. We never hear about the males who responded to the Koss report.  Is it not the height of sexism to assume that only women are trustworthy in rape surveys?

The Gospel of rampant rape is institutionalized

But fatally flawed or no, in 1990, the author of that report, Mary Koss, testified as an expert before a committee chaired by then-Senator Biden.

Moreover, the thoroughly debunked canard that only two percent of all rape claims are false was used to justify the passage of VAWA. Pub. L. 102-199, S. Rep. 102-197 n.48 (Oct. 29, 1991). To understand the two percent canard, see, e.g., E. Greer, The Truth Behind Legal Dominance Feminism's 'Two Percent False Rape Claim' Figure, 33 Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review 947, a scholarly law review article that painstakingly traced the two percent canard to its unreliable source. See also "Until Proven Innocent," the widely praised (praised even by the New York Times, which the book skewers, as well as almost every other major U.S. news source) study of the Duke Lacrosse non-rape case. Authors Stuart Taylor and Professor K.C. Johnson explain that "[t]he standard assertion by feminists that only 2 percent" or sexual assault claims "are false, which traces to Susan Brownmiller's 1975 book 'Against Our Will,' is without empirical foundation and belied by a wealth of empirical data." (Page 374.)

Following that, the Gospel of rampant rape was institutionalized.  Numbers are concocted to reach a pre-determined outcome that is the product of an ideological agenda.  So, today, organizations such as NOW and RAINN rely on the U.S Department of Justice's National Crime Victimization Survey (see here) to insist that rape is rampant and largely underreported.  What those organizations do not publicize is that this survey, conducted by in-person and telephone interviews, defines rape as follows: "Forced sexual intercourse including both psychological coercion as well as physical force. . . . Includes attempted rapes . . . Attempted rape includes verbal threats of rape." (Emphasis supplied.)  You need to scroll to page 131 out of 133 to find that definition.  Putting aside other problems with the definition, "psychological coercion," of course, can mean all manner of things, including "I'll take your mother to the doctors tomorrow if you make love to me tonight," and that is not rape.

These faulty, politicized surveys are used because real crime stats supposedly can't be relied on due to the alleged underreporting of rape. Underreporting is a handy, all-purpose word to discredit any suggestion that rape is rare. But a recent law review article in the New England Journal on Criminal and Civil Confinement explained that the politicization of rape renders it impossible to discern whether underreporting even exists, much less the extent of it. J. Fennel, Punishment by Another Name: The Inherent Overreaching in Sexually Dangerous Person Commitments 35 N.E. J. on Crim. & Civ. Con. 37, 49-51 (2009).

If rape were that rampant, it shouldn't be a crime

What can aptly be called the sexual grievance industry tells us that one-in-four women in their lifetimes are victims of rape or attempted rape. Or is it one-in-three? Or is it one-in-four college women? Or is it one-in-four Freshmen college women before Thanksgiving break? Or is it one-in-six women in general? Or is it one-in-seven women in general? Pick a single digit number and you'll find some "support" for it among the politicized purveyors of misandry. It doesn't seem to bother these zealots that they can't even get their stories straight. (Nor do they seem to notice that that there is one hell of a difference between one-in-three women overall, one-in-four college women before Thanksgiving of Freshman year, and one-in-seven women overall.) And when you try to reconcile their claims about underreporting with the above numbers, which is also a moving target, your head starts to spin.

The point is, if any these people were correct, every family would likely have at least one rapist (and perhaps multiple rapists) and likely double that number of rape victims.  If we punished all the males who committed this crime, we couldn't build enough jails in a nation that is already the prison capital of the world.  Colleges and the military would be almost entirely female because rapists skew young.  The economy would be devastated because there wouldn't be enough men to do the jobs men do. 

The implications are mind-boggling.  The only solution, aside from outlawing maleness (save it, ladies -- that isn't going to happen) would be to surrender and declare most forms of alleged "rape" a natural human activity that ought not be illegal.  Absurd?  No more absurd than locking up for many, many years huge percentages of the teen and twenty-something male population.  After all, all manner of physically invasive acts inflicted on others are legal precisely because they are widely accepted.  Circumcision of infant boys -- which does cause pain, and blood, and sometimes death -- is still widely practiced in the United States. Corporal punishment is also allowed in most places, although the majority of states have outlawed it in schools. If rape were that common -- despite the avalanche of reforms to try to curb it over the past 30 years -- then the only solution is to throw up our hands and surrender to it.

But, you see, that's not reality.  Let's get this straight: the politicized, fear-mongering numbers suggesting rape is rampant insult our intelligence and slander an entire gender. Rape is still too common, but two points are self-evident: (1) Rape is not anywhere near as rampant as sexual assault activists insist; and (2) rape is properly classified as a crime.  To deny either assertion is nutty.