Friday, January 14, 2011

Add ovulating women to the list of 'things to avoid' to prevent a false rape claim

Among the thornier and most troublesome kinds of false rape claims are those stemming from what might be charitably called "misunderstandings." More accurately, these aren't "misunderstandings," just falsehoods that are in part manifestations of unreasonable female paranoia. They are especially problematic because there is typically no discernible motive for the lie and present the classic "he said/she said" problem. One reason for female overreaction is ovulation, according to a piece in today's Slate:

Ovulating women overestimate strange males' probability of being rapists. Add this one to a growing list of adaptive cognitive biases—evolved psychological distortions that orient people toward strategic decision-making. These findings come from a 2007 report by Christine Garver-Apgar and her colleagues. "When the costs of being sexually victimized are highest," reason these investigators, "women should shift their perceptions to decrease false negative errors at the expense of making more false positive errors. Thus, we predicted that women perceive men as more sexually coercive at fertile points of their cycle than at non-fertile points." The researchers showed 169 normally ovulating women videotaped interviews with various men and asked them to rate the men on several dimensions, including their tendencies toward sexual aggression, kindness, or faithfulness. The more fertile the woman was at the time of her judging, the more likely she was to describe the men as "sexually coercive." Ovulating women didn't see these men as being less kind, faithful, or likely to commit—only more inclined to rape them.

Darwin's Rape Whistle: Have Women Evolved To Protect Themselves From Sexual Assault? And here is the study referenced: http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xuebao/qikan/manage/wenzhang/070317.pdf
 
Sounds so clinical and proper, doesn't it? ". . . women should shift their perceptions to decrease false negative errors at the expense of making more false positive errors."  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."