Friday, December 10, 2010

How to avoid a false rape claim

Sometimes there is nothing an innocent guy can do to avoid a false rape claim. Sometimes he is just in the wrong place at the wrong time. But a significant number of false rape claims can be avoided by exercising caution and staying clear of situations where the likelihood of a false rape claim is enhanced.

When it comes to rape, political correctness gone mad tells us we should not even suggest advising our daughters to avoid certain situations where rape is more likely to occur (they call it "victim blaming" -- as if the mere admonition to "be careful" transfers blame for a rape from the rapist to the victim). It would be unfortunate if we similarly hesitated to urge our sons to minimize the risk of false rape claims out of some warped, politicized sense of principle. The long-term damage from a false rape claim is so potentially enormous that every reasonable effort should be taken to avoid one. Make no mistake, the onus for a false rape claim is on the false accuser, just as the onus for rape is on the rapist. But failing to discourage our young people from putting themselves in harm's way just to make a political point is something no sane parent should ever do.

Having closely studied the false rape phenomenon for a considerable period of time, we have compiled a short list of situations where the likelihood of a false rape claim is enhanced. We've run similar lists in the past, and we are constantly updating it. A lot of it is common sense.  Sometimes, more than one of these situations is present in a given instance, thus increasing the likelihood of a false rape claim.

One important point needs to be made at the outset: the vast majority of women would never tell a rape lie under any circumstance, just as the vast majority of men would never rape under any circumstance.

Here are the situations to watch for:

Where the woman will feel a need to deny her consensual tryst to someone important in her life.

This one can't be overstated. It is the foremost reason why women lie about rape. In Prof. Kanin's first landmark false rape study, he found that the motive to cover up a sudden illicit encounter was the primary motivation for false rape claims. It is manifested in a variety of ways, but if you remember the general principle, you should be able to spot the warning signs.

If a woman feels a need to keep the affair from someone important to her, she is more likely to falsely cry rape because she fears the tryst will become known. How will it become known?  She might fear that she has become impregnated, or that she has contracted a sexually transmitted disease, or that you will reveal the affair to someone and that it will get back to the person(s) she wants to keep it from. In light of these fears, some women figure that the only way to avoid blame is to make a preemptive false rape claim.  It is cruel and heartless to the falsely accused male lover, but, sadly, it is more common than we'd like to think.

Specific situations where this occurs:

(1) Having sex with a woman who has a husband or a boyfriend.  Aside from the moral considerations of interfering with someone's marriage or committed relationship, you should avoid this at all costs because it is ground zero for a false rape claim. Even if you think the woman is estranged from her husband or boyfriend, you may not know for sure, and there is always the possibility they will get back together soon. Too often, the innocent male won't know that she's married or has a boyfriend -- a cautionary tale about the dangers of bedding a woman you don't know well.

(2) If the woman is young, or if she is still under her parents' emotional thumb and they either disapprove of you or of her having sex. If a girl needs to hide the fact that she's having sex with you from a parent, as most teen girls below college age do, you are playing with fire.  Moreover, sex with college-age women or older is sometimes problematic if she is still under her parents' financial or emotional thumb, and if they disapprove either of her having sex, or of you.

(3) If the woman would be embarrassed to let her friends know she is serious about you. If you are the quarterback of your school's NCAA division one football team, chances are, this won't be a problem. If you are a geek who's not very popular but who "gets lucky" one night while you're both drinking, you stand a greater chance of a false rape claim the next morning.

(4) Group sex where there was one woman and multiple guys. Think Hofstra.  This is a recipe for a false rape claim. Ground zero, in fact.  We've seen this multiple times. The reasons are obvious: how on earth can she possibly explain this to a boyfriend, a parent, or a friend? How will she hold her head up on campus? Most sane young women will deeply regret that encounter after-the-fact and will worry that if word got out, it would destroy what's left of her reputation. The fear of "slut shaming," as the feminists call it, seems to spawn off-the-charts regret, and that is a false rape claim waiting to happen.  Men should never, ever put themselves in this awful situation.

Nasty break-ups. 

Divorce and custody disputes spawn false rape claims in order for the woman to gain the upper hand in the dispute.

Spurned ex-lovers sometimes use false rape claims as a tool of revenge.  If you are cheating on a wife or a girlfriend, a false rape claim is more likely, and many people will view it as a sort of justified payback.

These situations are sometimes difficult to avoid and give men even more reason (1) not to cheat, and (2) to do a much better job of getting their know the woman before getting serious with her.

Where it will be confusing as to whether rape occurred.

The alcohol-fueled hook-up culture is a disaster for both men and women. To suggest that couples should never drink and fool around denies eons of accumulated knowledge about gender relations.  Couples often drink to lower inhibitions, knowing full well where it will lead. It's drinking to excess that's the problem, especially for college-aged couples and slightly older. Asking the police or a jury to sort out what happened afterwards based on a "he said/she said" account puts an impossible burden on our law enforcement and judicial apparatuses. Young men looking to "score" in that situation need to understand that (1) when women drink to excess, at some point, they lose the ability to factually and legally consent, and the breaking point is very difficult to discern; and (2) women experience much greater after-the-fact regret than men do. Sometimes feelings of regret are translated into feelings of "being used," and sometimes feelings of "being used" are misinterpreted or purposefully misconstrued as "rape." Unfortunately, it is the politically correct thing to urge young women to party like the guys -- without bothering to tell them about the regret asymmetry that separates the genders. 

Big age differentials.

Older male, much younger female. A false rape claim is less plausible when it involves peers around the same age because the likelihood of a consensual relationship is greater among same-age partners. When a teen girl below the age of consent accuses a middle-aged man of rape, there is no possibility of legal consent, and actual consent seems less likely than if she was having sex with a same-age boy. Moreover, the older man/young girl allegation is generally viewed as so terribly loathsome that the mantra "guilty until proven innocent" is truly a reality for this one.  Even when a young woman beyond the age of consent accuses a middle-aged man of rape, the initial inclination is to assume he's a lecherous old man, and that she would have no desire to have consensual sex with someone like that.

Teen boy, older woman. Sometimes women (they are often teachers) who statutorily rape teen boys will twice victimize them by falsely accusing them of rape. Such tactic has facial plausibility, given the male-as-predator stereotype and the exploding hormones of teen boys. It is especially disturbing that a woman would, as the cliche goes, throw her callow young lover under the bus in order to save herself.  This is almost always a situation where the woman will feel a tremendous need to deny the tryst to someone important in her life -- often her husband, her children, her friends, the principal at the school where she works, and the school board, all at once.

Certain professions more readily lend themselves to false rape claims.

If you are male and are a school teacher, a police officer, an ambulance paramedic, or a cab driver, you need to be especially vigilant.

Police officers are at risk because some women charged with crimes lie about rape out of revenge or to claim that the charges were trumped up.

Ambulance paramedics and cab drivers are sometimes targeted by delusional women or women looking for an excuse for some indiscretion (refusing to pay a cab fare is a big one).

Teachers are forced to interact with many girls who are experiencing significant emotional and hormonal changes and whose immature judgment allows them to do things a more mature person wouldn't do. The ease with which a false claim can be made is a concern for male teachers, and that profession, more than the others, is attuned to these dangers.

The woman is unstable or ovulating.

This is often impossible to spot, at least initially. We've reported here on a woman who sent a man to prison for five years because she was bored.  Another woman tried to destroy the life of a man she didn't even know with a rape lie because he wouldn't give her a beer. A girl accused another man of rape for throwing a flower at her. Innumerable women tell rape lies for attention or sympathy.  Some women are just plain nuts, and men who are close to them stand a greater chance of being smeared by a rape lie.

Sometimes, the reason has a biological basis: ovulating women shift their perceptions, according to one study, "to decrease false negative errors at the expense of making more false positive errors." Thus, women perceive men as more sexually coercive at fertile points of their cycle than at non-fertile points. If a conflicted, ovulating woman has sex with a man, even though her outward manifestations of assent reasonably suggested that consent was present, she is more likely to convince herserlf that the encounter was "coercive."

The woman has no compunction about lying.

This one surely overlaps with the others. If a woman is sufficiently selfish that she has no difficulty lying -- to extricate herself from trouble or for other reasons, she may not even need one of the reasons noted above to tell a rape lie.  Some women will tell rape lies to avoid getting into trouble for being late for work.   Liars are dangerous, and are to be avoided at all costs. Again, this personality type will almost always be impossible to spot immediately.
______________________

The best way to avoid a false rape claim is not to engage in sexual relations outside a committed relationship. In my belief-system, that means a stable marriage to someone you trust. I fully realize that this will strike some as old-fashioned and moralizing; I also appreciate that in this no-fault divorce era where 70% of all divorces are initiated by women who are afforded significant advantages in family law courts biased against fathers, that a happy marriage is all too often elusive. I merely point out that false rape claims are virtually non-existent in a happy marriage.  Here endeth the sermon.