Monday, March 28, 2011

Five Ways Rape Victims are Hurt when Rape is Politicized

On college campuses across America, angry young feminists, in connection with the financially interested sexual grievance industry, insist that sexual assault is a massive unresolved problem despite the absence of evidence to support this conclusion.  They write blatantly dishonest pieces in their college newspapers about it. They hold seminars, spearhead indoctrination sessions for men, print brochures, and hold useless "Take Back the Night" and "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes" rallies.  After more than thirty years of rape reforms, both underreporting of rape and rape itself, we are told, are still rampant.

Put aside that the dishonesty of these attitudes is breathtaking. To the extent rape is a problem, in significant ways, anti-rape feminists are the authors of their own discontent.

(1) If rape victims are not "coming forward," it's because of feminist scare tactics

Feminists insist that rape victims are not coming forward because they believe that women do not receive justice, and that they are subjected to a "second rape" when they report their victimization.

Put aside that no one can say if underreporting is a serious problem because the rape milieau is so terribly politicized, it's impossible to trust the "studies" that supposedly support serious underreporting. 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). Put aside that the head of RAINN recently explained that women are not principally failing to report rape due to a fear of being disbelieved. Put aside the fact that it's foolish to combat one form of criminality, namely rape, by ignoring another form of serious criminality, namely false rape reporting. 

If rape victims are not coming forward because they believe that women do not receive justice, who is spreading this dire warning, and is it accurate? 

This dire warning is being spread by politicized purveyors of misandry: anti-rape feminists and the paid sexual grievance industry. No one else is chanting it.

A blatant example, and a microcosm of this dishonesty, is found in the UK. Last year, the Stern Review, decidedly sympathetic to feminst concerns, said that it is a misrepresentation to insist that rape is not taken seriously, and that such insistence might actually put women off from reporting.  The Stern Review explained the basis for its assertion: in the UK, for a long time, when discussing the success rate in prosecuting rape, the Home Office and politicians allied with anti-rape activists have cited the attrition rate for alleged rape, which is the number of convictions as a percentage of number of reported crimes. That rate is 6% or slightly less. 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 – murder, assault, robbery, and so on.  In fact, the conviction rate for rape is 58%Stern Review, see page 45.

The chasm between 58% and 6% represents dishonesty of Biblical proportions. The result of such dishonest advocacy has made it appear that law enforcement is terribly, and uniquely, ineffective when it comes to rape.

Importantly, the Stern Review noted that use of the attrition rate instead of the conviction rate "may well have discouraged some victims from reporting." Id.

Despite the Stern Review's well-publicized report, the prominent UK rape activist group, Women Against Rape, continues to wrongly state that "the conviction rate for rape is 5.7%."

It is only fair to question that organization's motives in light of the concerns raised by the Stern Review.

(2) Their fight to keep false accusers from being charged hurts would-be rape victims and innocent women

For every other crime, our criminal justice system is premised on the notion that criminal sentencing deters criminality.  Generally, the more serious the harm caused by the criminal act, the more severe the sentence --except when it comes to false rape reporting. 

The less we deter women who lie about rape, the more likely are women make false claims, thus reducing the integrity of every legitimate rape claim.

In false rape case after false rape case after false rape case, judges and law enforcement personnel bemoan the fact that every rape lies diminish the integrity of every legitimate rape claim.  Yet, some prominent feminists have made it clear that they don't want any false rape accuser even to be charged for their crimes, much less subjected to a custodial sentence.

Lisa Longstaff of Women Against Rape has been quoted as saying the following: “Every prosecution [of false rape claims] puts women who have been raped off reporting it.” Another time, she called efforts to prosecute women for making false rape claims “a concerted witch-hunt.”

In New Zealand, when a 17-year-old New Zealand girl was arrested after falsely claiming that she was dragged off by three youths and sexually assaulted at knifepoint, Dr. Kim McGregor, director of New Zealand’s Rape Prevention Education, was quoted regarding false rape complainants: “I would recommend some form of therapeutic intervention rather than charging them.” Dr. McGregor claims that “someone needed to be ‘pretty distressed’ to make a false allegation of sexual assault,” and that “very few women made false complaints as a form of revenge.”

If women are permitted to lie about rape with impunity, what is to stop other rape liars?  And what will that do to the integrity of every legitimate rape victim?

Aside from other rape victims, feminists have no concern about the effects of rape lies on those innocent women who love and depend on the men and boys destroyed by rape lies. Rape lies do not occur in a vacuum.  Almost every man or boy snagged in a false rape claim has a wife, girlfriend, daughter, mother, female employees who depend on him, or female friends and relatives. When a male loved one is falsely accused, few women dismiss it as "just desserts" for an undeserved beneficiary of privilege and patriarchy. Almost uniformly they are appalled.  It is for good reason that we include "women" in the subtitle of this blog -- most of the notes we receive telling us that a man or boy was falsely accused of rape are from desperate mothers suffering immensely because of the the rape lie. 

Never once have I heard an anti-rape feminist express the slightest concern about those women. Never once.

(3) Their insistence on naming men accused of rape often hurts rape victims

Anonymity for men accused of rape is a controversial subject. Naming men on the basis of even far-fetched accusations is sufficient to destroy them forever. The problem of false claims when it comes to rape far outweighs the problem of false claims for any other crime, both in volume and in terms of the stigma.  In contrast, anonymity for women who cry rape is taken as a given.
But naming men probably actually hurts many legitimate rape victims, and it is likely that more women would "come forward" if the men they accused were anonymous. Why is that?  When a woman accuses a male acquaintance of rape and he is publicly identified, it often isn't difficult to infer who the accuser is.  It is reasonable to assume that most rape victims would prefer not to have their identities revealed even by inference when they accuse an intimate acquaintance of rape. It is also reasonable to assume that the benefits accruing to women by keeping the accused anonymous would outweigh the benefits of naming men accused, despite feminists' repeated citation to a serial rapists named John Worboys.
But this problem has never been seriously explored and there is no public discourse about it because the primary intention on the part of those who insist that even factually innocent men accused of rape be named seems to be punitive, a twisted sort of "get-evenism" for the past sins of actual rapists.

(4) They make clear to rape victims that they have no civic duty to report their rapes, thus endangering other women

When bystanders watch as a woman is being gang raped, any person of good will is appalled, and we question what mentality prompts people to do nothing when someone is being hurt. In some countries, there exists a legal requirement for citizens to assist people in distress. 

Yet, when it comes to rape victims, we hold them to no duty to report. Everyone appreciates that a rapist is typically a serial perpetrator, and that it is likely that most rapists will repeat their assaults on other innocent women. Yet consistent with the current philosophy to treat rape as a "different" kind crime, feminists have created a culture where it is the height of insensitivity and political incorrectness even to suggest that rape victims have a civic duty to report their rapes.  Instead, they take steps to assure rape victims that there is no imperative to immediately report their rapes when they should be preaching the opposite. (Among many other things, they extend or eliminate altogether statutes of limitations, signaling that a rape victim may sit on her claim for a long time, before bothering to report it.) 

But every failure to report a rape means that a rapist is at large, likely taking new victims. Is it not at all troubling that there is so little concern for these other would-be victims?

(5) They create a culture that encourages women to take reckless chances with their own safety.

We need to teach both young men and young women that the alcohol-fueled hook-up culture is a disaster for too many young people. Unfortunately, the prevailing feminist mantra is for young women to "party like the guys," without bothering to tell them about the "regret asymmetry" that separates the genders: 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."

Asking the police, a judge, or a jury to sort out what happened in an alcohol-fueled tryst based on a "he said/she said" account can put an impossible burden on our law enforcement and judicial apparatuses. Nobody ever wins in that scenario. See here. Even true believer feminists, like prominent feminist legal scholar Aya Gruber, admit that the criminal justice system is not equipped to deal with date rape.

Yet when these irrefutable points are posited, puerile far left ideologues -- whose idea of effective argumentation is to shout "BULLSHIT!" and to cite financially interested "studies" by the sexual grievance industry -- trot out the "victim blaming" label, as if their inapt and childish incantation could somehow shame the truth.