Friday, December 12, 2014

When this writer lumps "rape denialists" with people who express concerns about "due process" for men accused of rape, I am not sure what he means

Freddie deBoer writing in The Week posits this: "The insistence that every rape accusation must be presumed to be true inevitably means that the credibility of those opposing rape will always be bound up with the least credible accusation."

That is correct, Mr. deBoer, but when you write things like this -- "The ways in which terms like 'rush to judgment' and 'due process' have gotten lumped into rape denialism does the movement against rape no favors" -- you raise some thorny questions. I mean, this is the only place in your entire article where you even mention "due process" -- the same spot where you're talking about "rape denialism."

Hmm.  You insist that there is "a committed group of rape denialists active in our culture . .  . ." So tell me, Mr. deBoer, can someone tout the importance of due process for men and boys accused of rape without being a "rape denialist"? What exactly does "rape denialism" mean? Those of us concerned about silly things like "due process" and the "rush to judgment" are sometimes called "rape denialists" (because, you know, it's easier to call people names than to deal with the substance of their arguments), and we fervently hope you aren't referring to outlets like this. Are you?

We agree that there are nutty outliers who think rape is pretty much non-existent, and there are extremely backward people who think women who dress like "sluts" bear responsibility for being raped. But I don't think that's who you mean, because nobody really takes those folks seriously.

Do you mean those of us who insist on keeping an open mind in the face of a rape accusation? That's the overriding theme of this blog. Your own article counsels something to that effect, if I'm reading it right, so if we're "rape denialists," you are, too.

Do you mean those of us who think that there is a hostility to due process on campus when it comes to men accused of sex offenses? Count 28 (mainly liberal) Harvard law professors, law professors from Yale and George Washington University, the American Association of College Professors, and Brett Sokolow, the head of NCHERM and the foremost advocate for rape victims on American college campuses, among them.

Do you mean the idiots who insist that women are responsible for their own rapes if they drink themselves to oblivion? Read what we said about the Steubenville case and tell me if that's "rape denialism."

Do you mean us backward people who think Blackstone's formulation retains its validity even in rape cases?

Do you mean those of us who don't buy into the one-in-five stat? Count the Dept. of Justice, the Washington Post, and the head of RAINN among them.

Do you mean those of us who don't buy into "rape culture" meme? Count RAINN among them.

Do you mean those of us who counsel against using the Bill Cosby accusations as a reason to eliminate statutes of limitations in rape cases? That's a position the ACLU and defense counsel generally take. I understand it's not very popular, but there are important reasons for it that extend far beyond the Cosby scenario. (Please note that, personally, I can't even fathom why a multitude of unrelated women would all make up the claim that they were raped by Bill Cosby.)

Do you mean those of us who don't like treating presumptively innocent guys like rapists (even though we personally may not think that guy is a shining example of masculinity)?

Do you mean those of us who think that when it comes to rape claims, the system is rigged against young minority men? See here and here.

Do you mean those of us who speak up for women who are wrongly charged with making false rape reports?

See, Mr. deBoer, that "rape denialism" meme is tossed around a little too freely, without definition, and it's often directed at outlets like ours that believe every civilized society must strive to eradicate heinous criminality by punishing offenders, but that every society must also insure that the innocent aren't punished with them.

Because if you think that's "rape denialism," then we're got a serious problem with you.