A recent post at Today's Chicago Women regurgitated one of the venerable feminist straw man arguments about rape, a chestnut that has been trotted out for decades to reaffirm perpetual female victimization, and to "prove" purported underreporting of rape and that rape supposedly is rampant. The post describes how Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan helped draft her state's Sexual Assault Sexual Submission Act that mandates that law enforcement must submit untested rape kits for testing within 10 business days of receiving the kit from the hospital and that labs must analyze the kits within 6 months of receipt. Moreover, it calls for all outstanding rape kits in local law enforcement to be tested.
Here's the straw man argument: "When pressed about why so many rape kits were allowed to sit in the pipeline of the proper channels for so long, Madigan gave a frank response: 'I fear it's because our law enforcement doesn't take crimes against women seriously.'
"Madigan succinctly addressed the elephant in the room head-on: toay [sic], there is still a stigma against those who accuse others of rape. They are called liars; they are called sluts; they are called drunks; they are called teases; they are said to have been asking for it; they are questioned on their outfit, their makeup, their sexual histories. But in fact, false allegations of rape account for about 2-8% of rapes reported to law enforcement agencies - the same percentage of false reports for other violent crimes. As Sharon [Dimitrijevich, a SANE-certified nurse] pointed out, the public expects rape victims to be 'beaten with an inch of their life,' for there to be immediate visual assurance of the crime; the more common scenario is a nondescript-looking woman or man approaching an ER nurse and stating, 'I've just been raped.' One only needs to look to recent high-profile rape and sexual assault cases in the news for confirmation that an outsized burden of proof is still placed on rape victims."
As the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts."
The notion that, in America in 2010, there is a "stigma" about rape accusers is offensive by any measure. When a lone college woman accused four men of rape, despite the men's uniform denials and consistent accounts refuting the claim, the men were arrested and treated as likely rapists -- by law enforcement, by the college, by their peers, and especially by the local media. Lambs to the Slaughter: The Hofstra False Rape Case.
Hofstra was a microcosm of the way men and boys accused of rape are treated in our purportedly enlightened society. As we have proven time and time and time again on this blog, rape accusers who tell even far-fetched rape lies are nearly universally believed while men and boys accused of rape are nearly universally vilified. Once unleashed, a rape lie can destroy lives with a stunning, tragic swiftness. And, no, dear readers, these stories aren't confined to the hanging trees in the Old South. They are ripped from the recent news files of FRS. See here.
A rape accuser is only called a "liar" when she recants her claim and there is substantial evidence supporting the fact that the claim was a lie.
A rape accuser is rarely called a "slut" or a "drunk" or a "tease" even after they've behaved in that manner. Example: even though Ben Roethlisberger's drunken rape accuser arguably fit that description -- she repeatedly tried to get the quarterback's attention at a bar earlier in the evening of the non-rape and pinched him while she was prancing about wearing a sexually suggestive nametag "DTF" ("down to fuck") -- it was Roethlisberger who was suspended for four games (even though he was never charged with a crime), vilified by football fans across America and nearly driven out of Pittsburgh. The woman's conduct was almost universally given a pass.
And now the big one: a rape accuser is not accused of "asking for it" unless, of course, the person saying it means the woman consented to have sex and wasn't really raped. If you need evidence that women say they were rape when they really weren't far more often than we'd like, spend several weeks reading through the true life recent false rape news accounts on this blog.
While I am sure it is possible to find someone who will insist that rape victims deserve to be raped, I am equally sure it is possible to find someone who will espouse any loony position. To suggest that such thinking is typical is the equivalent of suggesting that the typical Dallas citizen wanted to kill President Kennedy on November 22, 1963, simply because Lee Harvey Oswald pulled the trigger.
The only rape stigma is that which sticks to falsely accused men or boys: the stench of a false rape claim is more difficult to remove than skunk odor, and it often trails false rape victims for life.
So please, Ms. Madigan, don't talk to advocates of the falsely accused about "stigmas." We know all about stigmas. And your fidelity to an old feminist straw man that flips reality on its head is offensive.