Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Anatomy Of A False Rape Accusation Comment - Part 4

Parts 1, 2, and 3 analyzed the comment itself, but there is a problem related to false accusations that anonymous didn't attack. I touched upon it in my analysis, but it deserves more attention.

False and/or unfounded accusations against rape victims and those who advocate on behalf of rape victims.

Ironically, those who are most vocal about the problem of false rape accusations against men are often the worst offenders. I'm sure some people will see my analysis of the anonymous comment as an accusation or an attack, but I didn't attack him, I challenged his statements and his insinuations about those who identify themselves as rape victims or survivors. If he didn't want me to respond to his comment he could have chosen not to comment on my blog.

I was even accused of lying about receiving this comment and accused of writing it myself as a straw man I could then prove wrong. Because the comment calling me a liar crossed the line into an attack it was deleted -- as the person who made the accusation stated would happen -- I'm sure there will be those who consider me a double liar because I didn't approve the spam comment on my post about the Duke rape case and because I deleted the personal attack.

Hey, I wish no real people spouted the beliefs contained in that anonymous comment, but they do and that is no false accusation. The person making the accusation against me apparently didn't bother to follow the link I gave in part 1 to this comment or to do even a single search on chunks of that comment to find other copies of it with slight variations. In this linked variation of the comment anonymous has no problem making an accusation against the alleged victim in the Duke rape case and no problem deciding on her punishment.

Apparently, for anonymous due process is for men only.

When there is a report about the percentage of primary rape suspects whose DNA did not match the DNA from the actual rapists, there are plenty of people who will twist that data to make the accusation that the same percentage of rape victims have made a false accusation. They frequently go further and give that percentage of rape victims a motive like "gotta blame someone."

When it comes to attacking rape victims and those who advocate for them, no proof is needed. All they need is something they can distort and turn into an accusation. On occasion, a few will take on the identity of an alleged rape victim such as in the Duke rape case in order to reveal the "truth" about that person.

Telling malicious lies with the intent to hurt others isn't limited to those who file a police report. It's a convenient myth that only women make false accusations about rape. But every time a rapist lies and says, "she asked for it," he's making a false accusation. If that accusation results in him escaping accountability (through no charges being filed or through a not-guilty verdict) and her being called a liar, real damage has been done and it shouldn't be shrugged off as if it were nothing. It's even worse if his lies result in his victim being charged with a crime.

We all deserve better than that.


The reason many of the descriptions about women who lie about rape is so narrow when they bother to define it at all is they want to exclude all the common scenarios where men are known to lie about rape and other sex crimes. But the claim (and so-called proof) that girls and women lie about rape is not limited to occurances where a girl or woman goes to the police and says, “I’ve been raped and I’d like to file charges.”

Somehow the lies men tell about rape and alleged rape victims are seen as being far less dangerous than a girl or woman deliberately lying and saying a rape occurred when she knows it did not.

Even spoofing an alleged victim's identity can be dangerous when unchallenged in that it reflects and confirms many people’s stereotypes about alleged rape victims. Some of those people will end up being jurors in rape trials. The attacks on alleged rape victims can also escalate to direct criminal behavior by someone who reads this sort of nonsense where it is treated as truthful and decides to act outside the law.

A man was convicted of trying to hire someone to murder the alleged victim in the Kobe Bryant trial. Other alleged rape victims have been murdered. Many others feel it is their right to make anonymous death threats against alleged victims.

If you think rapists and those who support rapists don’t feed off the lies men tell about rape, rape victims and rape advocates to excuse continued criminal behavior, you are wrong.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:06 AM   6 comments links to this post


At December 05, 2006 10:27 AM, Blogger Holly Desimone said...

Dear Marcella,
I totally agree with we all deserve better than this!! Great Article
take care Holly Desimone

At December 06, 2006 5:11 PM, Blogger sailorman said...

I think this is an excellent series f posts, and agree with the vast majority of your conclusions.

Regarding the statistics arguments (false acusations etc), you also might want to consider the possibility of the "name debate": There are a lot of things which probably feel like rape from the perspective of the victim, but which are not (unfortunately) legally rape.

So if you're in a state where drunken consent is still consent, and you accuse someone of rape because they tricked you into sex when you were shitfaced drunk, are you "falsely accusing" someone? IMO it's not a false accusation because it's not malicious and the public use of "false accusation" is usually synonomous with malicious intent. I would not call it a "false accusation".

But it is technically false: insofar as even if the truth were perfectly known--no defense lawyers, no presumptions, etc--the perpetrator wouldn't be convicted.

So how to "count" that example? Many rape advocates would consider the accusation to be accurate, and would count the inevitable result under the category of "rapes which didn't result in a conviction."

What a lot of anti-advocacy folks do is deliberately blur the line between accusations which are HONESTLY made but are not criminal rape, and accusations which are MALICIOUSLY made. this is backhanded behavior, because there's no evidence to suggest that any large number of accusations are malicious.

At December 06, 2006 6:20 PM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...

Sailorman, I understand your point, but rather than saying experiences that are not covered by sex crime statutes are not real rapes (and only feel like rape), sometimes what's seen as a false accusation is a genuine accusation that either can't be proven or isn't acknowledged.

When so-called drunken consent is not a crime, it is not because the alleged victim gave real consent, but because the laws don't acknowledge how rapists can use alcohol and other things to gain what to many people looks like genuine consent when it is no such thing.

At December 06, 2006 7:21 PM, Blogger The Speaker said...

I think at the end you made a very strong but never spoken of point. Rape victims often do recieve threats and are often harrassed for simply speaking out about what has happened to them. In the testimonial period of my case, the family of the man who sexually abused me went to great lengths to harrass me,to the point I had to have my phone number changed. It is a crazy assumption that men who are falsely accused of such things recieve anymore pain, burden, shame, harrassment, or assumed guilt than rape victims themselves. Many times these false allegation statistics are based on cases that can not be proved. Not cases in which a women or man has openly said, "I lied." Many times, for various reasons, cases like this can not be proved...that doesn't mean it never happened. These anonymous cowards need to take a hike. I know that sounds cliche- but it is so true. The only thing they are doing is reenforcing the disgusting idea that women lie about rape.

At December 06, 2006 11:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marcella I agree with exactly what you wrote in your last comment about the distinction between genuine accusation adn proved accusation. Having served on a jury last year in the UK, I was faced not with a rape charge but with a charge of intimidation, I didn't think it could be proved, ultimately I just did not know who was telling the truth and so found the accused not guilty. That doesn't mean that I view the victim as a liar- just that I couldn't prove that they weren't. In a sense to say that someone can't be proved to do something isn't to say that their victim is proved to be a liar- its just saying that you can't prove that someone did something and that is a key distinction.

All this is fascinating- I trust you are aware of teh UK debate about taking down the standard of proof in rape cases from reasonable doubt. Personally I don't think that's a sensible idea- but think that the kind of stuff you say above about increased good policing and better collection of DNA is the way forwards- but I'd be interested in your view.

Great series of posts- this idiot is looking like- well an idiot.

At December 07, 2006 9:12 AM, Blogger sailorman said...


you know (I hope) that I entirely agree with you re the drunken consent issue--I was using that as an example of a typical and IMO IMPROPER "false accusation"claim.

I think a lot of the other side's power comes from deliberately confusing the issue. I think very little of rape advocates' power comes from confusing the issue: we don't need to be disingenous, because the truth is plenty compelling if anyone will listen.

So when someone starts spounting drivel about "false" accusations, i like to pin them down a little. they can't usually really defend themselves then ;)


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