Monday, August 13, 2007

Can't Get There From Here: Low Rape Convictions To High False Accusations

From Steph's Blog: Feminism, Fascism & Rape:

Doing away with the presumption of innocence is downright fascist. A presumption of guilt places an impossible burden on the defence because they're being asked to prove negative.

Most men charged with rape are innocent. According to the official Home Office figures only 5% of reported rape accusations result in conviction, most cases are dismissed before trial. This means the majority of rape accusations are false but the feminist lobby rejects the presumption of innocence and due process. Feminists don't need evidence - every woman who says she is raped, was raped. Women are victims and men are abusers.

I believe Steph is twisting and confusing the assumptions I and many others believe people should make when they look at rape cases with the legal process related to criminal conviction. By declaring that most men charged with rape are innocent and that the majority of rape accusations are false, she is violating the very principle she claims feminists violate.

She is, through her generalization based on low conviction rates, mislabeling many victims of undisputed rape -- possibly extremely violent attacks -- where the assailant has either not been identified or has not been captured. Since nobody has been convicted in these cases, they are assumed by Steph to be false reports. Someone who was raped, stabbed and left for dead and now lives with the fear that the man who nearly killed her is still out there has her case used to fight stronger efforts to bring her rapist and other rapists to justice.


Once I point this out, Steph and others like her will often rush to "clarify" but she won't see this as an indicator that her entire approach to labeling alleged raped victims as false accusers is fatally flawed.

A 95% non-conviction rate does not equal 95% false accusation rate. In fact it doesn't tell us anything at all about the rate of false reports of rape. If we used Steph's logic, a murder case that ends with no conviction would then prove there has been no crime. Since this is false, Steph's logic is also.

If feminists are fascists for not assuming that every man is innocent until he is convicted of a sex crime then she is also a fascist for not assuming that every alleged rape victim is telling the truth until that person is convicted of filing a false police report or perjury.

She is against placing an impossible burden on the defense, but is for placing that same impossible burden on rape victims who are assumed by people like Steph to be liars until they can prove to her satisfaction that they were really raped.

People who share Steph's attitude rarely have a problem with the police and the public working from the assumption that someone who reports a car stolen has made an honest report even though people do make false reports of car theft. People would be screaming for reform if the police and the public treated everyone who reported all non-sex crimes the way those who report rape are routinely treated or the way many people want alleged rape victims to be treated.

Imagine having your car stolen by a carjacker and being accused of being a liar who likely sent your car down a steep boat ramp so you could collect the insurance money. Until you prove who stole your car and see them convicted, you are assumed to be the real criminal. Once that happens then an investigator might feel justified into using coercive tactics in order to secure a confession of your wrongdoing.

This attitude cannot have a positive effect on conviction rates for auto theft and likely will send the conviction rate plummetting. And of course that plummetting conviction rate will then be used as further proof that most people who report their cars stolen are liars. If your car is found in a chop shop and the person claims they gave you cash for your car, Steph's logic means that we must assume that person is telling the truth and not put the burden for proving that claim onto the defendant.

Is that what you want to see happen not just in rape and auto thefts, but in all crimes? Do you want to be assumed to be a liar and a criminal every time you call the police in the name of innocent until proven guilty? If that happened, do you really believe that criminals or those who previously restrained themselves wouldn't gleefully exploit this treatment of their victims?

In the crime of rape, as in the crime of auto theft, true guilt isn't something dependant on the result of a jury verdict or plea deal. True guilt comes when someone commits a crime. So in this non-procedural view there is no such thing as innocent until proven guilty. The person who stole your car became guilty at the moment the crime was committed just as the rapist became guilty at the moment he committed rape.

By claiming that feminists don't need evidence, Steph demonstrates that she doesn't know what she is talking about since feminists have been involved in improving investigation processes for decades.

It is Steph who shows that she doesn't need real evidence to back her assertions.

The lazy way to solve the problem of low conviction rates for rape is to claim the problem has been almost completely falsified. For many this is a comforting idea. Trying to stop those "fascist" feminists is easier than dealing with the reality that rape is common and that most rapists get away with rape and that most rapists are men and most of their victims are girls or woman.

Denial is so much more comfortable and comforting for those who have the luxury of not being on the receiving end of that denial. If Steph's denial harms real rape victims she doesn't seem to care because she has found a way to convince herself that they can't be real victims.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:14 AM   1 comments links to this post


At August 13, 2007 1:25 PM, Blogger sailorman said...


Great--now women are MRAs, too.
Here's a 3rd grade logic question for you: if 95% of accusations do not result in convictions, can we conclude from that statistic that 95% of all rape accusations are false?

Logically, it's asking the question: does "not A" imply "B?"

And the answer is.....


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