Saturday, December 02, 2006

Anatomy Of A False Rape Accusation Comment - Part 1

Someone left an anonymous spam comment on my post "Duke Rape Case: The Danger Of Screaming No Rape" and I rejected the comment since it repeats many myths and distortions about allegations about rape, and those who report being raped.

However, for the same reason I rejected it, this comment is worth analyzing. First, I know it was a spam comment because I've seen variations of this comment before. From reading the full comment, I believe this anonymous person is male and therefore will refer to him as a he.

I find it telling that he posted as anonymous rather than giving his name. He's willing to make accusations, but isn't willing to take ownership of those accusations or his personal motivation. Ironic considering his condemnation of false accusations.

Here's the opening:

False accusations of rape destroys lives (Whether accidental or malicious)
This is an allegation rather than a fact which in many cases are clearly false (Tucker Carlson was falsely accused of rape and his life wasn't destroyed) and it manages to slip in the idea that many girls and women who say they've been raped are delusional. He isn't saying that false allegations can destroy lives and that omission of the word can is not by chance.

By the recommendations made later in this comment (which will be included in part 3), the commenter is willing to destroy the lives of rape victims to help men avoid being convicted of rape.

Rape is a horrible crime, and anyone who commits it should be punished to the full extent of the law.
Here we get the standard disclaimer given by all those who attack rape victims -- alleged and proven -- meant to give the person a free pass to recommend changes that help rapists avoid being punished to the full extent of the law and which harm real rape victims.

This is a very hot and emotional topic, but we must not get so emotional that we lose our objectivity, and create laws that condemn the falsely accused.
Here we get the implication that anyone who disagrees with him has lost objectivity and that he is being purely objective (not a rapist or anyone who was ever or could ever be accused of rape) and nothing he does harms or condemns real rape victims.

His implication is that detachment from the pain of rape is good. Viscerally understanding rape and caring passionately about justice for rape victims is bad and should exclude people from talking about rape laws and the enforcement of those laws.

Once the accusation is made, the "accused" is assumed to be guilty by just referring to the "accuser" as a "victim", and not as an "alleged-victim." This attitude colors the public's, police, and juror's perception as "victim" versus "the accused"; thus implies guilt.
I find it interesting in this claim about the power of semantics that he says calling someone a victim is wrong while leading with the word "accusation" rather "a report of rape." We are supposed to use "alleged victim" but he uses "accuser" which has definite negative connotations and implies her guilt.

The bottom line seems to be that word choice can be used to color perception, but only when it favors the defendant at the expense of rape victims.

Part 2 includes his statements about the number of false rape reports and part 3 includes his positions on rape trials.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 1:03 PM   7 comments links to this post

7 Comments:

At December 03, 2006 2:55 AM, Blogger meh said...

I am really beginning to wonder what the point of all this is, a2h. The bottom line is that american jurisprudence exists to protect the accused (regardless of the crime) from unfair prosecution. Victims do not have a right to justice except that of a civil court. To whit:

“Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer,” 2 says English jurist William Blackstone. The ratio 10:1 has become known as the “Blackstone ratio.” 3 Lawyers “are indoctrinated” with it “early in law school.” 4 “Schoolboys are taught” it. 5

Further, what part of “No means no” do you not understand, a2h? That is what society now teaches both boys and girls, men and women; through this heuristic society grants males the privilege to be aggressive towards mating. “If you don’t want to have sex, JUST SAY NO.” A simple word easily understood by even the most illiterate and by all but the most cognitively challenged. NO! “No means no” is now even more hard and fast a societal rule than the three-date rule, and believe me, like it or not, the three-date rule is widely and generally accepted by females.

Heterosexual human sex rites start, now and always have started, with the word, “Hello.” The human, both males and females, is as sexual as any other animal, and the entire exercise leading to either procreation or recreation starts the instant a male and female make eye contact (research pheromones, readily available in any high school biology text). Males are the aggressors, and females are the choosers (Anthropology 101). If the female does not like what she sees, she says, “no”. If she does not say “no”, then “yes” is the default; that is what “No means no” means.

Also, false accusations of rape do destroy lives (though admittedly not in every instance). Tucker Carlson is a master at spin and can well afford an entire PR agency to respin any negative attributions. Therefore, your use of him as an example is a strawman already well charred.

Would you like a real example? A friend of mine was falsely accused by his exwife of molesting his step-daughter. He spent his entire retirement account defending himself. Between his investigators and the sheriff’s department (who by the way exhausted on this single case almost nine months of overtime budget from this rather poor county), many of his exwife’s friends were discovered to be dealing drugs or having outstanding arrest warrants, a few were discovered to be parole skippers, and one was an escaped convict; many families in a rather small community were ripped apart in less than two weeks, putting a huge strain on the entire community’s social network. Other known associates of the exwife were also spurned by the community. Further, the pressure placed on the supposed child victim to remember the web of lies her mother fed her put her in a mental institution for a short time, and the remainder of the children were taken away and returned to their respective biological fathers (one of whom eventually killed the kid through negligence). These lives were only the first ripple; friends of friends and other relatives were also impacted. In the end, my friend was one of the least affected.

"The bottom line seems to be that word choice can be used to color perception, but only when it favors the defendant at the expense of rape victims or alleged rape victims."

That “word choice” is rooted in the US Constitution. Does it suck for rape victims? Undoubtedly. However, virtually any other change will require an amendment (or will be appealed to the highest court with the same result), and it had better be simply stated like “No means no”, otherwise the hoi polloi on both sides of the gender divide will not understand it, or more probably, simply ignore it.

Instead of playing rhetorical games, a2h, why not rise from your denial of how society (specifically female society) really is and invest your resources toward realizable goals.

 
At December 03, 2006 8:26 AM, Blogger Gracchi said...

Interesting series I'll wait for the later parts before I comment on this. I have no idea what he said cause I didn't see the original comment so I'm on tenterhooks for the horrors to be revealed.

 
At December 03, 2006 9:18 AM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...

Meh, from your explanation of "no means no" it is obvious you don't understand legal consent. The mere absence of no is not a yes. If some boy or man uses your rule to decide he doesn't have to stop, he could be committing sexual assault yet you and he would call the rape victim someone making a false accusation.

That's more than semantics or word games. That's dangerous.

By your example of your friend's experience you are also mixing rape accusations in with reports of suspected child abuse.

Since you've shown that you don't understand legal consent, how do you expect me or anyone to take your word that your friend was falsely accused and not rightly accused?

Further, women are not supposed to make accusations that can't be proven, yet you feel free to make unsubstantiated accusations yourself.

 
At December 03, 2006 6:21 PM, Blogger Faith said...

Meh,

While your whole comment reeks of male privilege and misogyny, I haven't got the notion to pick it apart properly at the moment so be thankful. I am going to respond to this two parts...

"Males are the aggressors, and females are the choosers (Anthropology 101). If the female does not like what she sees, she says, “no”. If she does not say “no”, then “yes” is the default; that is what “No means no” means."

Where do you men come up with your crappy biological arguments? In the majority of my relationships, I was the one who made the first move, not the other way around. I've also initiated sex so much in relationships that my lover actually got angry with me for being so "demanding" simply because he couldn't keep up and needed to attack me to coddle his poor, damaged ego.

“If you don’t want to have sex, JUST SAY NO.”

My goodness, it's that simply, huh?
Clearly you know nothing of sexual coercion. Clearly you know nothing of men who rape women in their sleep. Clearly you know nothing of men who rape women while they are unconscious. Clearly you know nothing of men who don't give women a chance to say "no" before they slap duct tape on their mouth and tie them to a bed. I could keep going but hopefully you're starting to get something of a notion of how flawed your statement truly is...

Get a clue before you start debating with those of us who already have one.

Blessings.

 
At December 03, 2006 8:13 PM, Blogger Gracchi said...

Faith I agree with your attacks on Meh and think you've got it just right. I do think its key that explicit consent is given in some way and I disagree with people who say that isn't important.

Can you clarify one thing though about your boyfriend who you brought up? Men can also not want to have sex. I have on occasion as a man not wanted to have sex and had girlfriends press it on me- reverse your statement about your boyfriend's pathetic ego saying you were too demanding and make it a man saying that his girlfriend gets angry because he wants to have sex and she thinks he is too demanding and is defending her pathetic ego and it does not sound good.

I don't know you and don't understand the dynamics of your relationship but your comment came off wrong in that one sentence. Though the overall point you were making about women wanting sex just as much as men is of course right- some of the most highly sexed people I know are women and some of the most lowly men, and vice versa.

Ultimately we all have the right to have or not have sex when we want to an we have the right to refuse and to have that refusal respected and not questioned. I think that is vital to this whole debate. Sorry if I've misinterpreted you.

Marcella must get round to read part 2 by the way as a sidelight on this whole debate I just came across this disturbing report on rape in Africa- in South Africa apparantly there have been 22,000 child rapes in the last twelve months- it made me sick but I thought I'd share it with you as you almost certainly know more about it than me and would have more to say about it.

Cheers and Faith I apologise if I've misunderstood you- its late at night here in Britain and I might be losing my marbles and misreading what you wrote- overall good attack on Meh but just that one sentence got me a little.

 
At December 04, 2006 12:01 AM, Blogger Mickle said...

Silence does not equal "yes".

The idea that it does is so disturbing that I don't have words for it.

 
At December 04, 2006 7:19 AM, Blogger Faith said...

Gracchi,

"Can you clarify one thing though about your boyfriend who you brought up? Men can also not want to have sex. I have on occasion as a man not wanted to have sex and had girlfriends press it on me- reverse your statement about your boyfriend's pathetic ego saying you were too demanding and make it a man saying that his girlfriend gets angry because he wants to have sex and she thinks he is too demanding and is defending her pathetic ego and it does not sound good."

The only real point to that statement was to point out the flaw in the standard male arguement of male/aggessor and female/passive receiver. That argument always annoys me terribly because it's completely untrue and it is what has led to a great deal of our problems surrounding sex and sexual violence.

As for the rest of the statement, you are totally correct that men can sometimes just not want sex and they should be completely respected and not have to defend themselves. But in the cases that it happened to me they actually verbally insulted me and even pushed me across the room once causing me to land flat on my bottom simply because I initiated sex. It was a case of their male ego bristling because they could not handle my libido and they felt that their perceived dominance was being undermined.

I hope that clears it up a bit.

Blessings.

 

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