Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The 'under-reporting' canard

Among the more despicable prevarications of what can aptly be called the sexual grievance industry is the assertion that our college campuses are cisterns of male sexual misconduct.  It is a lie, pure and simple, but a lie that is repeated so frequently that it has assumed a life of its own.  The myth of rampant male predatory sexual behavior is the engine that drives the so-called "rape culture," and false rape claims are its noxious emissions. 

But how is rampant male predatory sexual behavior "proven"?  It is not, of course.  The purveyors of this lie can only "support" it by positing the related falsehood that underreporting of rape, especially on campus, is of Biblical proportions. This claim has the advantage of not having to be proven, because it can't be proven.  We are left with this logic: Rape is rampant even though few women report they've been raped. We know rape is rampant because of rampant underreporting. We know underreporting is rampant because no one is reporting all these rapes that must be occurring.

Get it? Neither do I.

Prior to the great wave of rape reforms starting in the 1970s, rape advocates reported, with seemingly infinite invention, that women were too scared, too embarrassed, too certain of its futility to report their own rapes. So they began to claim that huge percentages of rapes were not being reported.  Although the percentage of alleged underreporting varied from source to source, the sexual grievance industry claimed to know an exact percentage of rape claims that were not being reported.

Down the rabbit hole we tumble: the percentage of actual rapes among rape claims that are reported is unknown, and unknowable. See here.  That is an irrefutable fact.  Yet, mirabile dictu, the sexual grievance industry can tell us the exact percentage of rapes that are never reported. They can do this because they credit every blithe, untested assertion of rape made to a pollster as an assault that must have occurred solely because a woman said it did.  They can also do this because they engorge the definition of "rape" to include garden variety sex accompanied by "psychological coercion," which, of course, is not the test for "rape."  And none of these claims are investigated -- the male's side of the story is presumed to be non-existent. Either the female respondent who cries "rape" is automatically believed, or, if she doesn't cry "rape," her "experience" is recharacterized as a rape, because she is so brainwashed by patriarchal lies that she wouldn't know rape if it struck her about the head.

The logic is as maddening as it is dishonest.

Here is reality:  no one -- no one -- knows the precise extent of underreporting, and no one ever has. In fact, the politicization of rape renders it impossible to discern whether underreporting even exists. See, 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).

But like other political issues where one noisy group cares greatly about a matter while the majority has no dog in that hunt, we took the word of the sexual grievance industry that rape was grotesquely under-reported, and that reforms were needed to do justice to countless women who supposedly suffered in silence the brutal indignity of rape. In other words, our politicians kowtowed to the sexual grievance industry to solve a problem that no one can prove even exists.

So, we adopted laws that eliminated the requirement of corroboration.  Sounded fair, since other crimes had no such requirement.  All the while we ignored that rape isn't like other crimes. In many cases, the sole evidence of the crime is precisely the same as the sole evidence of the most common act of love, performed innumerable times throughout the world every day.  That act of love can be transmogrified into an alleged crime merely by claiming it was performed without consent. In practice, the elimination of corroboration essentially flipped the old law on its head: now, women don't need any corroboration of their claims, but men and boys accused of rape are arrested, jailed, charged, and sometimes tried and convicted, solely on even the far-fetched say-so of any woman or girl if the men and boys can't produce corroborating evidence of their innocence. It is literally guilty until proven innocent.

That wasn't enough, they said. So we adopted rape shield laws that barred the admission in a rape trial of almost any evidence of the accuser's prior sexual history with persons other than the accused, a rule that resulted in innumerable innocent men and boys being sent to prison for alleged rapes that never occurred.

That wasn't enough, they said. So we adopted laws that eliminated the requirement of force, and innocent men and boys who mistook the acquiescence of a woman as consent were sent to prison.

That wasn't enough, they said. So we enacted laws that eliminated the mens rea requirement for rape. Historically, in a rape prosecution, the guilty defendant must have had the intention to have intercourse with a woman without her consent. Too stringent, said the sexual grievance industry, and the requirement was lightened or dropped altogether.

That wasn't enough, they said. So we enacted laws in the UK and a handful of US states that legally forbade naming rape accusers. In the US, the news agencies and outlets have, by common consensus, agreed not to name rape accusers. The mere allegation of rape by the anonymous 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 to the details of his humiliation.  In contrast, his accuser's identity is guarded with all the tenacity that Clark Kent uses to shield Superman's.

That wasn't enough, they said. So we enacted laws that lengthened and even eliminated statutes of limitations for rape, and now, men are sometimes accused of and charged with alleged rapes that occurred 20, 30, 40 or more years after they supposedly occurred, effectively foreclosing the accused from mounting a meaningful defense because the evidence that might have proven them innocent -- corroborating witnesses, after-the-fact letters suggesting consent, receipts showing he was actually out of town that day -- has long disappeared.

That wasn't enough, they said. So we enacted VAWA which, among many other things, pays the legal bills of alleged victims of sexual assault. VAWA pays none of the legal bills of men accused of rape, the presumptively innocent -- even the falsely accused.  In the UK, it's worse. They compensate alleged rape victims, even the ones not subjected to any physical force, no matter how slight their injuries; the UK does not compensate men falsely accused of rape, no matter how egregious their harm. And, yes, sometimes false rape accusers are compensated.

That wasn't enough, they said. So we enacted laws that exempted rape accusers from taking polygraph tests as a condition to proceeding with the investigation of their rape claims. But polygraphs are considered just fine -- when they are used on men accused of rape.  If men refuse to submit to them, often 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 a refusal to take the polygraph will land the refusing party in jail.)

That wasn't enough, they said. So we enacted draconian Federal Rule of Evidence 413, and many states adopted similar laws. With this law, unlike any other criminal charge, including murder, robbery, 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 of sexual assault to show that he has a propensity for committing the crime at issue. This rule, which is unique in all of American jurisprudence and widely condemned by legal scholars, allows the jury to hear about the defendant's prior acts, whether or not the defendant takes the stand. Even mere accusations of prior sexual offenses that occurred years before -- and even criminal allegations for which the defendant was acquitted -- are admissible if the alleged prior act is proven by just a preponderance of the evidence (far lower than beyond a reasonable doubt).  This law was enacted specifically to nab more rapists -- you know, show the jury smoke, and they'll assume there must be fire -- even when there isn't.

That wasn't enough, they said. So we enacted rules on college campuses making it easier and easier to expel males accused of sexual wrongdoing, with kangaroo courts that forbid confronting accusers and employ inquisitorial, as opposed to adversarial, hearing processes that dispense with silly things like due process. Many college campuses also adopted rules that forbid charging rape accusers with underage drinking in connection with their accusation, thus providing young women looking to evade an underage drinking charge yet another motive to lie about rape.

On and on it goes, with seemingly no end.

But surely these massive reforms must have cut into underreporting of rape? Surely after decades of one reform cascading upon the next to encourage women to come forward, the women must be lining up, right?

Well, no, we are told.

In fact, the sexual grievance industry insists that nothing has ever worked to curb alleged underreporting, and it is supposedly still rampant. After all that.

As but one example, on college campuses, the supposed hotbed for modern rape, we are told that more than ninety five percent of students who are sexually assaulted supposedly remain silent.  They tell us this with a straight face.

You see, all the rape reforms, all the bending over backwards to get victims to "come forward," have been a waste of time.

Can this be so?  What's really going on here?

Here's the reality: it's all nonsense.  The sexual grievance industry needs rampant "underreporting" to perpetuate the rape cottage industry.  So they manufacture it from whole cloth. There are powerful and entrenched financial interests at work that depend on rape hysteria.  That's a fact.

The "proof" proffered for underreporting ranges from unreliable to nonexistent, and the truth is held hostage by radical feminist ideology.

Yet underreporting remains the Excalibur of the sexual grievance industry, the secret weapon with magical powers that is whipped out and wielded any time someone suggests adding protections for the presumptively innocent who, too often, were falsely accused.

So what's the answer?  The answer is an honest, objective look at both rape and false rape claims, which likely will show that the former is not nearly as prevalent as the sexual grievance industry insists, and the latter not only is far more common, but becoming more and more prevalent because it is not deterred. An honest look at these issues will promote a greater respect for the rights of the presumptively innocent, many of whom are, in fact, falsely accused; moreover, it will enhance the credibility of actual rape victims, which has been badly hurt by decades of doing nothing about false rape claims.

What the sexual grievance industry has never been able to explain is this: if rape victims are refusing to come forward, how do we explain so many false rape claims?  The liars seem to have no difficulty "coming forward," do they?