Wednesday, October 19, 2011

'Chickens have come home to roost': Some taxi drivers think twice about picking up young women because of false sex claims


"Good," read a comment under the news report that some St. John's, Canada, taxi drivers are thinking twice about picking up young women due to fears of false sex claims. "The chickens are finally coming home to roost." Story here. (Participate in the poll to the right of the story.)

But no, it's not good. It was, however, just a matter of time before men in professions vulnerable to false rape claims (and that includes law enforcement and the clergy) started to openly voice the terribly politically incorrect sentiment that they are concerned about false rape claims, and for good reason.

According to the story: "A taxi company official in St. John's says some of his colleagues are thinking twice about who they pick up downtown because they fear they'll be falsely accused of doing something wrong. 'It's unfortunate but today, young single females or even two females in the car... bad news. Especially if they're intoxicated,' said Doug McCarthy, general manager and a driver with Co-Op Taxi in St. John's."

It is well to remember that it is not in the taxi company's interest to pass up a fare without good reason. There is a strong business incentive for taxi drivers to pick up young women, and anyone else willing to pay for a ride. There is also a strong business incentive to not publicly express sentiments that will anger a large segment of your potential customer base.

Unfortunately, the fear of false rape claims trumps the monetary benefits of a fare, and the fact that this fear is now being openly expressed is an indication of how prominent it has become.

The chief problem seems to be young women and alcohol. "McCarthy said some young women are drunk and pass out on the way home. He said that when the driver wakes them up, they can't remember where they are going. In some cases, he said they threaten to make false accusations against the driver to avoid paying their fare. 'You touched me or you did this or that or you made a proposition,' said McCarthy, describing what drivers have reported being told."

We have reached the stage where taxi drivers now feel safer with men in their cabs.  "McCarthy said fear that they'll be the victim of a false accusation, such as assault of inappropriate touching, has left some drivers struggling with the decision to pick up a young girl and bring her home if she is alone.  'Rule of thumb used to be pick up young girls first, take them home, pick up couples seconds and last, pick up the guys and take them home. Now, it's reversed,' he said."

Judging by the comments beneath the news report, the story has already drawn some outrage. The headline of the story alone --"St. John's taxis leery of young women" -- probably would be more socially acceptable if it read: "St. John's young women leery of taxi drivers." 

To say that taxi drivers have reason to worry is not to suggest that taxi drivers never sexually assault young women. Some do. My guess is that assault stories get far more publicity than the stories about false rape claims lodged against taxi drivers. Nevertheless, just as some women have openly, and without public censure, expressed the need for "women only" taxis (not to mention "women only" hotel floors, gyms, beaches, buses, and train cars), the legitimate concerns of taxi drivers about false sex claims should also be respected.

It needs to be remembered that relatively few young women make false rape claims.  Yet, all it takes is one to destroy a driver's life. It would be wrong to punish all young women for the actions of a few, just as it is wrong to punish all men for the actions of a few. Perhaps the only viable solution is cameras in taxis.

This blog has covered a fair number of false rape claims lodged against taxi drivers:

A drunken young woman trying to avoid paying a fare falsely alleged that a taxi driver attacked her, that he pulled off your leggings and knickers, and then chased her. See here.
 
A kind taxi driver agreed to give a drunken 17-year-old a ride even though she had no money and no other driver would pick her up. He even allowed her to pay her fare the following day. She repaid his kindness with a wicked lie that caused him to be arrested in front of his colleagues. Intimate samples were taken, and he was kept in police custody for 12 hours.  See here.

A teen falsely reported to police she had been sexually groped by a taxi driver while she took a local cab home from a friend's house. See here.
 
Four young women falsely accused a taxi driver of sexual assault after he told one to put a cigarette in his cab. See here.
 
A teenager lied that a taxi driver tried to rape her, causing him to be arrested and held in custody for nine hours, because she didn't have the fare. The father-of-three broke down in tears in the witness stand when he gave evidence about the night, an image the judge said will "haunt the memory of the jury for a very long time." See here.
 
A young woman falsely accused a cab driver of raping her, apparently out of revenge over a fare dispute that occurred the week before.The part-time cabbie was arrested at his home and taken to the police station where intimate samples, DNA and fingerprints were taken. See here.
 
A 23-year-old woman was jailed after falsely claiming she had been raped by a taxi driver who tried to be a Good Samaritan to her in a bid to obtain £10,000 from him. See here.
 
Two women were willing to destroy the life of a cab driver with a rape lie because they didn't want to pay a fare. See here.
 
A taxi driver was locked up for almost a day and had his licence suspended for several weeks after an alcoholic drug abuser claimed he had raped her. See here.
 
A girl falsely accused a cab driver of rape to justify her long absence at home to her parents. See here.
 
A young woman told him that if he didn't give her money, she would scream and say he had attempted to rape her. The taxi driver called her bluff and threatened to call the police. Then she and her friends grabbed the taxi driver and pulled him back against the seat while one of them ripped his pocket and stole money. See here.
 
And we can't forget Clive Bishop. Mr. Bishop lost his taxi business and was shunned by the community as a result of a false rape claim that sent his false accuser to jail for ten months. He sought compensation for his ordeal by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). After all, Britain pays crime victims, including women who claim they've been raped, substantial sums of money as "compensation." Victims of alleged rapes need not have been subjected to violence to trigger the payments. Unfortunately, since Mr. Bishop wasn't raped -- only destroyed by a rape lie -- he was denied compensation because his victimization wasn't violent. See here.
 
Last year, Mr. Bishop told False Rape Society: ". . . sexual offences that are alleged are the only crime where innocent people are arrested locked up without any evidence to back up what someone has alleged. . . . Don't forget while I was arrested for a crime that never occurred and locked up, my freedom and liberty denied, she was in a comfortable suite being befriended and pandered. My emotions were ignored and I was arrested, judged and convicted without any compassion or evidence. Believe me when I say that I am still suffering!"

Thanks to Bill for the story.