Friday, January 28, 2011

Alarm Spreads: Prosecuting Rape Lies Strongly Criticized by Anti-Rape Campaigners

A follow-up to our previous post here. The conviction of a 16-year-old girl for falsely claiming she was raped by a younger boy is causing massive alarm among anti-rape campaigners, The Guardian reports: "The case has caused alarm among anti-rape campaigners and legal experts who believe it is yet another example of the increasing readiness of the police and the Crown Prosecution Service to pursue women – or in this case a girl – who in their eyes falsely claim rape."

The Guardian continues: "Campaigners strongly criticised the decision to prosecute the girl and said such cases put women off reporting rape." Lisa Longstaff, of Women Against Rape, said: "Every prosecution [of false rape claims] puts women who have been raped off reporting it." She added: "We ask the DPP, when over 90% of rapists go free, is prosecuting a 16-year-old justice?" See here. Ms. Longstaff said it was "awful" that this girl was prosecuted. See here.
Down, down, down the rabbit hole we tumble. A teenage girl was convicted for lying about one of the most serious matters imaginable -- that a boy raped her -- yet, we are told, she should not be prosecuted. Women should be free to lie about rape without fear of prosecution in the interest of getting actual rape victims to come forward. (Presumably, Lisa Longstaff, quoted above, would not want a 15-year-old rapist to be let off with just a caution because of his tender age or for any other reason. She once said this: "It is pretty shocking that anyone is cautioned for rape." See here.)

The campaign to stop prosecuting women who make false rape claims isn't new for Ms. Longstaff. She once called such efforts "a concerted witchhunt." See here.  Yet, in case after case after case that we report here on this blog, false rape claimants typically are not prosecuted; and if they are, they are afforded the most lenient of punishments. It is often the case that the the men and boys they've falsely accused spend more time behind bars than they do. Ms. Longstaff is also on record as opposing anonymity for men accused, but not convicted, of rape. See here.  But of course, she favors anonymity for women who make rape accusations. See here.

Let us examine the rationales posited by the Ms. Longstaff/the sexual grievance industry supporting the argument that this case should not have been prosecuted: 

Women are not reporting because false rape claims are being prosecuted. 

This would mean that we we can only combat one form of criminality, namely rape, by ignoring other serious criminality, namely lying that a male raped a female. We can only wage the "war on rape" by elevating the victimization of one group of our citizens, our daughters, over that of another, our sons. Our sons are just unfortunate but necessary collateral damage in the "more important" war on rape. In other words, we must not only tolerate but tacitly encourage women and girls to lie about rape with impunity as the price of encouraging women, in general, to come forward and report their rapes. 

Such advocacy is not merely unjust, it is morally grotesque.

If anything more needs to be said about this premise, which is grounded in a sort of ugly feminist bloodlust --payback for the perceived past sins of the patriarchy -- it should be noted that it is not even accurate. Recent scholarship shows that the unnecessary gender politicization of rape renders it impossible to discern whether underreporting even exists, much less its extent. 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).

If underreporting does exist, there is no evidence whatsoever to support the proposition that holding a liar accountable for her lies will significantly deter women from reporting legitimate rapes. The head of RAINN recently explained that women are not principally failing to report rape due to a fear of being disbelieved. They are principally not reporting because "they don't want their loved ones to know what happened; they're ashamed themselves; they just want to put it all behind them." See here. But why let facts get in the way of a good feminist victim narrative?
Over 90% of rapists go free.
This is dishonest in the extreme. Last year, the Stern Review in the UK said that claims such as this -- by rape advocates -- might actually put women off from reporting.  Here is why:
In the UK, the Home Office, and politicians seeking to jack up rape convictions, have long cited the attrition rate for rape, which is the number of convictions as a percentage of number of reported crimes. That rate is 6%. But, the Home Office, and everyone, uses the conviction rate (the number of convictions secured against the number of persons brought to trial for that given offence) for all other crimes.
In fact, the conviction rate for rape is 58%.
The result of such dishonest advocacy has been to make it appear that law enforcement is terribly, and uniquely, ineffective when it comes to rape.
Please re-read that and make sure you understand it: the feminists who dominate the public discourse about rape in the UK have long insisted that only 6% of "rapists" are convicted, as opposed to the correct figure: 58%. Stern Review, see page 45. Rape is the only crime judged by the attrition rate. All others – murder, assault, robbery, and so on – are assessed by their conviction rates. That is dishonesty of Biblical proportions.
And -- pay attention to this -- the Stern Review noted that use of the attrition rate instead of the conviction rate "may well have discouraged some victims from reporting." Stern Review, see page 45 (emphasis added).
You want to know who is discouraging rape victims from coming forward? The same people complaining about this girl being prosecuted.

Refusing to prosecute false rape claimants will hurt innocent men and boys.

The advocacy is unconscionable because it fails even to acknowledge, much less address, the harm to innocent men and boys accused of false rape claims. False accusations of rape have severely stigmatized more human beings than false accusations of any other crime. The public scorn from false rape claims has caused innocent men and boys to be killed and to kill themselves; to be beaten, to be chased, to be spat upon, and to be looked upon with suspicion long after they are cleared of wrongdoing. They lose not only their good names but often their jobs, their businesses, and their friends. It is often impossible for the falsely accused to ever obtain gainful employment once the lie hits the news: for the rest of his life, a falsely accused man will have prospective employers Googling his name and discovering the horrid accusation.

If you want example of these atrocities, you need not look back to the hanging trees of the Deep South. Spend a week or two scrolling through this site.

So why was this case against the teen girl prosecuted? According to The Guardian, because of the harm to the boy. And it's about time a victim of a false rape claim isn't treated as flotsam:

"The police insist they were right to pursue the girl, partly to help restore the boy's reputation.  Forest of Dean Detective Sergeant Mark Stenhouse said: 'We take all rape allegations extremely seriously and thoroughly investigate any that are brought to our attention. . . .. We are very conscious of the needs of youngsters which is why we also had to consider the impact on the 14-year-old boy who had been accused. The impact on his life has been terrible and the case has caused great distress to him and his family. With his reputation cleared we hope he can go on to rebuild his life and get over this period.'" 

"A CPS spokesperson said it had carefully considered whether it was in the public interest to prosecute the girl. 'We concluded it was as she made an extremely serious allegation which was strongly undermined by the evidence, including witness statements. And her victim suffered serious repercussions as people he knew believed he was a rapist, and treated him as such.'"

"The boy's parents told the Guardian they believed the trial had helped. 'She put us through hell,' his father said. 'My son has had threats and abuse from other kids. He tends to keep himself to himself more and when he does go out we're worried about him.

"'It was terrible when he was arrested. His mum was in hysterics. All we wanted was for her to admit it didn't happen but she never has. The case has given us some sort of closure.' Would he welcome a custodial sentence for the girl? 'If it stops someone else doing the same thing, yes.'"

Refusing to prosecute false rape claimants will hurt rape victims.

For every criminal act, our society accepts the notion that punishing the wrongdoer will promote, among other things, deterrence.  In false rape case after case after case, judges and law enforcement officials bemoan the harm to actual rape victims done by the lies of false accusers.  So how do we stop the lies? That's a great question since the sexual grievance industry does not want us to deter rape liars. The liars should be permitted to lie with impunity, thus encouraging other women and girls to lie about rape. And with every rape lie, the integrity of rape victims is diminished.

News stories about the conviction: and