Monday, December 04, 2006

Anatomy Of A False Rape Accusation Comment - Part 3

I analyzed the opening of an anonymous comment in part 1 and the supporting statistics, quotes and studies in part 2, now this 3rd and last part of the comment includes his claims about rape trials.

Note: For anyone wondering why I didn't simply delete this post when I rejected it, read this report about college students who were suspended because of their insistence on filing a complaint about a detective investigating a reported rape.

Now to the remainder of anonymous' comment:

Making it too easy to convict a person of rape, while at the same time making it difficult, if not impossible, to defend against it is wrong! False accusations will destroy a person's life and reputation. A false conviction will lead to long prison sentences and having to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
And where are we given even a shred of evidence that is it impossible to defend anyone against rape charges or that it is easy to convict a person of rape? The only supporting material from this comment (in part 2) that could be related to convictions is mismatches in DNA evidence.

The supporting evidence from prosecutors and studies of police departments suggest that the majority of false or unsubstantiated accusations don't result in criminal charges. In the cases that are deemed unfounded none will be prosecuted unless new evidence comes to light that changes the case's status.

Certainly the rape case that was dismissed because the prosecutor was late doesn't sound like it's part of a system designed to give those accused of rape the shaft 100% of the time.

If this claim were true there would be no acquittals in rape trials yet they happen regularly and too often in cases where there was solid evidence of rape and solid evidence that the defendant committed the crime. Only the juries in each of those cases knows why they believed there was a reasonable doubt.

As the Duke rape case shows, plenty of people will jump in to make blatant accusations of wrongdoing against alleged rape victims -- including using the word hoax -- long before the case gets resolved in the criminal justice system. In a variety of cases, conviction of the alleged rapist does nothing to stop the personal attacks against rape victims.

Give authority to make an accuser's past medical and sexual history admissible at the judge's discretion if it's relevant to the case.

It's interesting with the cited statistics relating to DNA mismatches that the use or omission of DNA evidence isn't at the top of his list of needed changes. But this is his only recommended change to the criminal justice system. He isn't recommending changes to the process of identifying suspects in stranger rapes or asking for changes in the way officers gain confessions. Neither is he advocating to make it easier for convicted rapists to have additional DNA testing done so those who can be proven innocent will be given the chance they need.

He only wants defense attorneys to be able to use more information about the alleged victim.

Since he is asking for a change from the current rules of evidence, I suspect this man believes that information about the alleged rape victim (notice repeated use of accuser) is always relevant as long as it doesn't make the defendant look bad in some way. He seems to have no problem with a seek and destroy policy toward someone in a rape case as long as it isn't the defendant.

If there is a concern of further potential trauma to the "alleged-victim", then further counseling should be encouraged.

By his wording, he makes it clear that he isn't concerned about the trauma to rape victims. He doesn't even seem certain why anybody else should be concerned about the trauma to rape victims. Then there's his use of scare quotes that calls into question the term alleged victim.

If he isn't sure any alleged victims who are to be cross examined are real rape victims, it makes me wonder if he believes that the only real victim is a dead one or one injured so badly that she can't remember being raped.

While this man is opposed to men's lives being destroyed by rape accusations, he seems to dismiss the trauma of being raped and the trauma of pursuing justice through the courts. A little therapy is the most "alleged-victims" might need.

A speedy means just to convict anyone should never be an option.
I don't know what he's referring to here unless it's a general implication that rape suspects are denied due process.

Rape is a horrible crime, but false accusations of rape are every bit as horrible. They are a form of psychological rape that can emotionally, socially, and economically destroy a person even if there is no conviction. The stigma attaches to the falsely accused for life. Few believe them and few care.
Of course, he has to close his comment with the disclaimer that he's not dismissing the severity of real rape while at the same time minimizing rape by saying it's never worse than being falsely accused of rape.

But that equality between true rape victim and alleged rapist isn't enough. He goes one further and turns men accused of rape into rape victims, but he details the additional trauma of this type of rape while describing real rape in one word: horrible.

Would this man tolerate a girl or woman accusing a boy or man or society at large of psychologically raping her and claiming that was as traumatic as physical rape? I don't think so.

Nowhere in this comment does he acknowledge that men who say they aren't real rapists might be the true liars. He either doesn't know or doesn't care that being in denial about guilt (publicly and/or privately) is not the same as being not guilty.

Comments like this one do nothing to further true justice for those who really are falsely convicted of rape or those accused when their actions never strayed into exploitive or criminal behavior. And that's a shame.

Update: Q grrl caught something that I missed in my analysis and that is that he makes all of the false accusers female. Further, people who share his belief will often posts comments that men can be victims too and that we should never refer to rape victims as she since that unfairly excludes males.

That logic implies that he is unfairly excluding males from the ranks of false accusers.

Part 4 gets into a type of false accusation this anonymous comment doesn't attack.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:06 AM   5 comments links to this post


At December 04, 2006 7:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL! You should do stand up! Are you serious? Are you really serious? You've put a spin on so many archaic stereotypes I bet you're still dizzy. LOL!

At December 04, 2006 11:56 AM, Blogger Kaethe said...

Excellant series of posts.

At December 04, 2006 1:13 PM, Blogger Faith said...

"The stigma attaches to the falsely accused for life. Few believe them and few care."

Wonder what he thinks about the rape victims who often carry shame and guilt for the rest of their life because people do not believe they were really victims.

At December 06, 2006 10:06 AM, Blogger The Speaker said...

Thank you for doing this. I have sent it to members of my family and others I know who have a "she cried 'rape'" attitude. Thank you so much. I too wonder if he realizes how many times people don't believe rape survivors or if he understands the stigma that is associated with being raped. I would guess from everything I'm reading, he does not. I also find it ironic the anonymous comments people are leaving on you blog. Thank you again for this series of post.

At December 07, 2006 9:37 AM, Anonymous james said...

Very interesting series of posts. I haven't read them as carefully as I might have, so I don't know if you actually brought up this point, but I thought it was worth pointing out that this whole discourse of 'real' or 'false' rape accusations, black or white, objective or subjective, is a very male one too. It's a classic move. Control the discourse and you're most of the way there already. Power/knowledge and all that. Catherine Mackinnon puts it far better in her excellent piece "Feminism, Marxism, Method, and the State: Toward Feminist Jurisprudence". I'll quote the passage in full if I may:

"But the deeper problem is the rape law’s assumption that a single, objective state of affairs existed, one which merely needs to be determined by evidence, where many (maybe even most) rapes involve honest men and violated women. When the reality is split - a woman is raped but not by a rapist? - the law tends to conclude that a rape did not happen. To attempt to solve this by adopting the standard of reasonable belief without asking, on a substantive social basis, to whom the belief is reasonable and why - meaning, what conditions make it reasonable - is one sided: male-sided. What is it reasonable for a man to believe concerning a woman’s desire for sex when heterosexuality is compulsory? Whose subjectivity becomes the objective of ‘what happened’ is a matter of social meaning, that is, it has been a matter of sexual politics. One-sidedly erasing women’s violation or dissolving the presumptions into the subjectivity of either side are alternatives dictated by the terms of the object/subject split, respectively. These are alternatives that will only retrace that split until its terms are confronted as gendered to the ground."


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