Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Dissecting The Defense Of Attacks On Victim Credibility

Again an anonymous commenter is revealing patterns of thinking and illogic which merit serious analysis since this sort of thinking comes up repeatedly in attacks on those who focus on fighting the crime of rape.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Father Of Boy Accused Of Gang Rape Speaks":

Of course rapists will usually lie about rape, why would that surprise you? Anyone with a sickness like that would. The only thing I see is you are bundling rapist with men as a whole, and not every accusation of rape is actually rape each time. If you cannot prove that it is, I cannot prove it is not, that is the where problem lies. I tend to believe there are cases of each, you show you believe there is no such thing as false rape claims. That to me is dangerous, and belittles the agony of the women who have suffered.

There are many troubling elements in this short comment. The biggest is that this man is defending the making of unfounded claims with no credible supporting evidence as long the target is someone who reported rape. He is trying to repackage baseless speculation as openmindedness. Those who disagree with him are repackaged as dangerous and demeaning to real victims.

The idea that all rapists are suffering from a sickness conveniently gives every rapist a built-in excuse. It also gives them a false defense so that an alleged rapist who proves lack of sickness can be seen as proving lack of rape which likely would also "prove" that the alleged victim is a false reporter.

I very much doubt that this anonymous man would make the same assumptions about the intruder who shot pro-footballer Sean Taylor and led to the Washington Redskins' player's death. Just like rapists, intruders have selfish and quite rational motives for their crimes and they have selfish and rational motives for harming those who get in their way.

What's different is the contrast between the belief that all of us need to take all reports of gun-toting intruders seriously and the belief held by people like anonymous who want us to look at all reports of rapes by girls and women with cynicism and baseless disregard for the testimony of victims.

Gun-toting intruders are seen as a public-safety issue while rape is often dismissed as an overblown women's issue.

The accusation that I am bundling rapists with "men as a whole" is a projection I see frequently from those who are obsessed with attacking those who report rape simply because that girl or woman (many times these people will exclude boys and men from their attacks) reported a rape that this person wants to deny.

The denial of real rape is what mixes rapists in with men as a whole. I'm not the one doing that.

My opposition to unfounded attacks against those who report rape gets twisted into a denial that there are ever cases where the person who reported rape has lied about the facts.

By this man's logic the fact that some people deliberately get rid of their own property then report the items stolen should mean that everyone who has ever had their property stolen should be assumed to be guilty of insurance fraud without the need for any credible supporting evidence. They should all automatically be denied insurance benefits which will be reinstated only when the person provides overwhelming proof of their innocence -- in the form of a criminal conviction. No conviction -- no insurance payment. Maybe even the cancelation of the entire insurance policy because of potential fraud. All without any credible supporting evidence.

By this logic used against those who report rape, anyone, including those who refuse to identify themselves, should be allowed to smear the character of victims of property crimes.

Tellingly, the widespread attack on girls and women who report rape isn't reflective of attitudes about all those who report being non-sex-crime victims.

Those who make unfounded claims against those who report rape are the ones who are truly and actively belittling the agony of those who have been raped.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 4:45 PM   0 comments links to this post


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