Thursday, July 21, 2011

Woman who admitted fabricating a rape claim is still 'the victim' in news report

A 20-year-old woman admitted to fabricating a rape claim, and Door County Sheriff Terry Vogel said: "The incident never occurred."  The story is found here:

Nevertheless, she's still "the victim" according to Door County Advocate reporter Ramelle Bintzat (  The woman is being referred to the Door County District Attorney's office for criminal obstruction charges. Bintzat does not name the accuser, despite the fact that there is no evidence that she was a victim of anything.

The woman committed a potentially devastating crime. Legion are the cases where rape lies end up destroying hapless men and boys.  Even though most are not convicted, their lives are forever altered for the worse. Yet, reporter Bintzat uses the incident as an occasion to report on the horrors of an entirely different crime: rape. Bintzat seeks out quotes from -- guess who? -- the director of the local sexual assault center, that's who. A woman named Susan Lockwood.  The story promptly tumbles down the rabbit role. Let us examine Lockwood's assertions:

▲"One of the most frequent fears of victims is they think they aren't going to be believed," Lockwood said. "It's one of the reasons juries let people off — because they don't believe the victim."

First, Lockwood assumes her hypothetical accuser is a "victim."  Her assertion is not challenged by reporter Bintzat. (Read this sentence from the story: "In her experience with hundreds of cases, she said the victim is not always intentionally lying but may be mentally ill." Sorry, reporter Bintzat, but how is a false rape accuser ever a victim? How on earth do you write things like that? It's called "sloppy journalism.")

Second, Lockwood's assertion about "victims" fearing they won't be believed is suspect. At the Specter Hearings in Congress last autumn, Scott Berkowitz, President and Founder of the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) -- an organization that Lockwood likely wouldn't take issue with -- said that alleged underreporting of rape is mainly due to reasons other than the one posited by Lockwood: Mr. Berkowitz said that 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, women feared that they would be the one on trial. Today, Mr. Berkowitz explained, 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."

▲"Lockwood, who has worked with sexual assault victims for the past 30 years, said false sexual assault reports are no more frequent than false reports of other crimes. Crime statistics provided by the FBI show about three percent of sexual assault reports later prove to be false, she said."  And: "These false reports are very rare," Lockwood said

Did reporter Bintzat ask for a source for these assertions?  Did reporter Bintzat conduct independent research? I study this area closely, and I am not familiar with these purported "facts."  Three percent is a figure I've never heard. (For many years, of course, members of what can aptly be called the sexual grievance industry posited that only two percent of rape claims are false. An authoritative law review article debunked the canard that only two percent of all rape claims are false. The author traced this number to its baseless source. See Moreover, when the FBI last compiled pertinent statistics, they showed that women lie far more often about rape than other crimes. The Politics of Sexuality, Barry M. Dank, Editor in Chief, Vol. 3 at 36, n. 8. The exact percentage of false rape claims is unknown and likely unknowable. Moreover, objective studies put the prevalence of false rape claims much, much higher than three percent. See "False Rape Allegations," by Eugene Kanin, Archives of Sexual Behavior Feb 1994 v23 n1 p81, (41 and 50 percent of rape claims studied were false. Kanin, incidentally, was a feminist darling whose work was cited and relied on without question by feminists, including being cited by the infamous Koss Report. He suddenly became a nitwit who forgot how to do research when his studies upset the narrative of the radicals who dominate the public discourse about rape.) In addition, a landmark Air Force study in 1985 studied 556 rape allegations. It found that 27% of the accusers recanted, and an independent evaluation revealed a false accusation rate of 60%. McDowell, Charles P., Ph.D. “False Allegations.” Forensic Science Digest, (publication of the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations), Vol. 11, No. 4 (December 1985), p. 64. See also, "Until Proven Innocent," the widely praised (praised even by the New York Times, which the book skewers -- as well as by most other major U.S. news sources) and painstaking study of the Duke Lacrosse non-rape case. Authors Stuart Taylor and Professor K.C. Johnson explain that the exact number of false claims is elusive but "[t]he standard assertion by feminists that only 2 percent" or sexual assault claims "are false, which traces to Susan Brownmiller's 1975 book 'Against Our Will,' is without empirical foundation and belied by a wealth of empirical data. These data suggest that at least 9 percent and probably closer to half" of all sexual assault claims "are false . . . ." (Page 374.)

Did reporter Bintzat report on any of that? 

Give the devil her due: sexual assault counselor Lockwood does "believe in prosecuting for obstruction of justice in these cases."

Bravo!  Rare is the sexual assault counselor who advocates prosecution.  But her reasons are curious: "They truly are obstructing justice: They hurt every other victim who comes in the door."  True, true. But you forgot to mention something, didn't you, Lockwood?  You forgot to mention the actual victims of false rape claims: innocent men and boys. The fact that they are not even an afterthought to you is most telling.

The fact that reporter Bintzat doesn't bother to mention them, either, is both disgraceful and not surprising.