Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The government can tell you how many women ages 45-54 suffer 'typing or key entry' injuries but doesn't care how many men and boys are falsely jailed for rape

The Bureau of Labor Statistics gathers all manner of information, with varying levels of specificity, about every type of  occupational injury imaginable. The title of this post is true.  The government can tell you how many women in a select age group, on average, miss work due to carpal tunnel syndrome, and how many days they miss.  Another government bureau keeps track of stats on every sort of traffic fatality imaginable. Another keeps track of the number of fatalities caused by cancer causing compounds in meat.  And on and on it goes.

The government gathers this information because it is essential to understand the risk in order to be able to control it. If the risk rises to unacceptable levels, the government steps in and regulates the activity.  Risk management is big business for private businesses -- McDonalds can tell you how many people are burned by its coffee every year -- and it is important public policy for government.  It is crucial to know how dangerous a thing or an endeavor is -- whether it be the workplace, the Toyota Avalon we drive, the elevators we ride in at work, the air we breathe, the step ladder we climb on -- so that the risk of harm is kept at the acceptable threshold level. 

If, for example, fatalities are three times more likely to occur from riding in a certain model and make vehicle than from riding in the average vehicle, that likely would play an important role in the government's or the manufacturer's decision to recall it. Short of a recall, it would be important to the decisions to buy, to insure, and to continue to manufacture that particular car.  (Indeed, evidence that a manufacturer knew of an inordinate risk of a product but proceeded to sell it is often damaging evidence in a product liability trial.)

Yet, somehow -- incredibly -- we allow innocent men and boys to have their lives destroyed by being jailed and imprisoned for supposed rapes they didn't commit, and no one can say with any level of confidence how frequently that occurs.

Worse, the government and the persons who control the public discourse on this issue, don't care about having an accurate picture.

The entire field has become so politicized that most of what is written about it is unreliable.  Organizations such as NOW and RAINN rely on the U.S Department of Justice's National Crime Victimization Survey 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. . . ."  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 that are not rape, including "I'll take your mother to the doctors tomorrow if you make love to me tonight."

All reliable indicators show that false rape claims are a significant problem. See, e.g., footnote one in this post.  But no one -- not RAINN, not NOW, and not the FBI -- knows how prevalent false rape claims are. Politicized representatives of the sexual grievance industry pretend to know, but they really don't.  A leading feminist legal scholar recently acknowledged: ". . . the statistics on false rape accusation widely vary and 'as a scientific matter, the frequency of false rape complaints to police or other legal authorities remains unknown.'" A. Gruber, Rape, Feminism, and the War on Crime, 84 Wash. L. Rev. 581, 595-600 (November 2009) (citation omitted).

Have you ever noticed that every time a feminist discusses false rape claims, she becomes an actuarial?  False rape claims, she posits, are an acceptable risk because there are so few of them and because there are so many actual rapes -- especially of the unreported variety.  "I'll start to become concerned about false rape claims," she gushes, "when false rape claims become half the problem rape is." Then she'll support her rant by trotting out statistics that are, again, wholly untrustworthy.

Mind you, many of the same people who are perfectly OK classifying even some innocent males as "acceptable risks" in the war on rape would be among the first to bellyache about "the greedy capitalists" if a manufacturer put a product in the stream of commerce knowing that even a few people would be injured by it. 

But the false rape problem is being permitted to fester without regulation, and no one is stepping in to say that the risk has exceeded acceptable levels because no one, aside from a few of us, even wants to know how serious the risk is. Seriously, isn't it time to insist on an independent government panel to give an accurate picture of the false rape problem?  A panel comprised of persons who are not connected in any way with the sexual grievance industry? 

Instead, we are kowtowing to rape feminists. And they are content to cover their eyes to the risk. Let us be honest: they would insist that no matter how egregious the false rape epidemic, it will always be acceptable risk.