Lame-duck U.S. Senator "Snarlin'" Arlen Specter, the architect of the "single bullet" theory who switched from Democrat to Republican, then back again (to no avail: last May, Democratic voters saw through his ploy and told him it was time to retire to the City of Brotherly Love), recently held a Senate hearing on under-reporting of rape.
Now, I'm not suggesting that Arlen is a grandstander, but consider this: he once called for a Senate Judiciary Committee investigation into the NFL's "Spygate" incident involving the New England Patriots and coach Bill Belichick. (Because a U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania has nothing more important to think about than whether a New England football team cheated.)
Anyway, the roster of witnesses who testified at the rape hearing reads like a sexual grievance industry convention -- about as "mainstream America" as the characters in the bar scene from "Star Wars." Amanda Hess live-blogged the hearing.
Under-reporting is a controversial subject because, among other things, it is impossible to prove. We've written here many times (see e.g., here) that significant under-reporting of rape can't be accepted as fact because the entire public discourse surrounding it is so terribly gender-politicized that the truth is elusive at best.
But among the more intriguing aspects of the Specter rape hearing was the testimony of Scott Berkowitz, President and Founder of the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN). Mr. Berkowitz, of course, buys into under-reporting, but, surprisingly, he blew the lid off the myths about why women don't report their rapes.
Berkowitz rejected the common consensus that women don't report because they legitimately fear they won't be believed by the law enforcement and judicial systems that have failed them, or because false rape reports are given inordinate attention and news coverage. According to Ms. Hess's summary of Mr. Berkowitz's testimony:
"On reporting: More victims may not be reporting their rapes, but the reasoning has changed over the past few decades. 'A generation ago,' the reasons were things like, 'fear of not being believed; fear of being interrogated about and blamed for their own behavior, and what they were wearing. In short, they feared that they would be the one on trial.' Today, 'the perception of many victims has evolved.' Now they don't report for these reasons: 'they don't want their loved ones to know what happened; they're ashamed themselves; they just want to put it all behind them.' Today, 'fear and shame of how the police wil [sic] treat them' has moved down on the list of reasons victims provide for not officially reporting the crime. As much as we need to educate police to take reports seriously, Berkowitz says, we also must 'educate victims on the importance of reporting.'"
Mr. Berkowitz's take on under-reporting is a noteworthy assessment, and if it gains widespread acceptance, it should help put a stop to the thirty-plus-years trend of chipping away at the rights of men and boys accused of rape. We've explained on this site that the under-reporting canard is primarily responsible for virtually every major rape reform that has put presumptively innocent men and boys at ever greater risk of wrongful incarceration for rape. For thirty years, the theory has been that the patriarchal system, concocted and controlled by men, is stacked to turn a blind eye while males rape with virtual impunity. Women know they aren't believed and that they can't get a fair shake, so they don't even bother to report their rapes. To correct this horrible state of affairs, one rape reform after another was enacted, from the elimination of corroboration to rape shield laws and all sorts of other things.
And none of it has been enough. Because they still insist, after decades of these innovations, that under-reporting of rape is still rampant. It is enough to make the testicles to shrivel to think what further "reforms" they might enact to attack the "problem." Indeed, some feminist legal scholars have suggested flipping the burden of proof on its head just for rape (presuming guilt on the basis of an accusation), and replacing the adversarial system with an inquisitorial system when it comes to rape.
But now, at long last, the sexual grievance industry might just be acknowledging what anyone with common sense already knows -- that under-reporting is not due to problems that are systemic to the law enforcement and judicial systems. And that under-reporting can't be cured by further tinkering with the rules of evidence or by writing more and more draconian, anti-male statutes. Reducing the due process rights of the men and boys charged with rape isn't going to prompt more women to report. The head honcho of RAINN essentially admitted that under-reporting is due to choices women make.
And here's the scary part: the purported reasons Berkowitz gives why some women don't report their rapes mirror the reasons some women make false rape claims. Women allegedly don't report their rapes because they don't want anyone to know and they are ashamed, just as women who make false claims often do so because they are ashamed and don't want anyone to know that they participated in a consensual but illicit sexual encounter.
It's all about choices. Except the choice not to report a rape doesn't send an innocent person to prison the way the choice to make a false rape accusation does.
Alas, Berkowitz ends by noting that we must educate rape victims to report the vile crimes committed against them. This is typical of the view of the sexual grievance industry that women are nitwits, too stupid to make a rational decision. Women, as a class, should be insulted that persons who deign to speak for them regards them with such disdain. Oh,well. Just another progressive who thinks the best way to empower women is by pretending they are powerless.