Sunday, October 19, 2008

Debunking The Debunking Of 2 Percent False Rape Report Claim: Part 2

This is the second part of my analysis of the article: The Truth Behind Legal Dominance Feminism's "Two Percent False Rape Claim" Figure by Edward Greer given as proof that the claim that only 2% of rape reports are false reports (the person who reported being raped lied about having been raped) has been debunked.

I showed in part 1 that while Greer's paper claims to disprove the estimated 2% rate of false rape reports it fails in that claim. There is no proof that the rate of false rape reports is higher than 2%.

Further, Greer's claim that "roughly half of accused rapists are convicted" can easily be proven to be a false claim. According to RAINN statistics, only 23.6% of rapes successfully reported to the police result in a plea deal or a conviction. Greer conflated the outcome of prosecuted rape cases with the outcome of all reported rape cases. Either he's being deliberately deceptive or he is incompetent.

I believe it is deception since Greer needs that inflated rate of convictions to create a false sense of the reality of what happens after someone reports having been raped.

The supposed proof that the rate of false reports is far higher than 2%, based in part on substituting data from prosecutions and calling it the data for accusations, then gets used by Greer to attack feminist efforts to improve rape laws and rape law enforcement.

At the extreme, the felony would be defined such that its elements reduce to sexual intercourse plus retroactive nonconsent. [...]

Perhaps the silent woman is afraid to object; perhaps her consent is unvoiced. Many of the cases that LDF points to as horrible miscarriage of justice fall into this latter scenario. However, such a characterization of these cases rests on the assumption that the woman's complaint is valid. Absent this unsupported assumption, one could readily infer either consent or non-consent.

This is the tired old argument about date rape being nothing more than morning after regret.

The problem with the premise that a boy or man's assumption about consent should trump the reality of a girl or woman's reported lack of consent is that boys and men interested in sex don't need to rely on assumptions or on perhaps.

If in a situation a woman's consent is not absolutely clear and free of generic assumptions ("my buddies told me that when a woman asks you in for coffee she's asking you in for sex and she invited me in for coffee so I'm falsely accused") then there is no consent.

The idea that the entire area between scratching a man's eyes out in self-defense while screaming, "No!" and saying, "Yes, yes, please!" must be treated as if consent were given -- even if it wasn't -- is to deliberately support allowing most rapists to rape with the full support of the law.

This opinion means that a rapist should not be treated by the law as a rapist as long as that rapist didn't use a knife or gun and didn't leave the victim with such severe physical injuries that they can't be dismissed in Greer's mind with any defendant's claim that goes something like, "I assumed she consented when I decided to have rough sex with her. Lots of women like rough sex."

Justifying the protection of most rapists in the name of protecting those genuinely falsely accused of rape is a sham because it is a direct contributor to the taint which will follow the truly innocent rape suspect.

As Greer said, "one can readily infer either consent or non-consent." which means that, "one can readily infer either he's a rapist or he's not." This means that any claim that a man in this situation is proven to be innocent is false. By Greer's standard there is only a failure to prove that man guilty.

This means that the innocent man's claim of innocence in this scenario can never be trusted since it is in a permanent state of unknowability. The result is that by Greer's own standards this type of case can never be included in the count of proven false accusations.

That causes the voice of the genuinely falsely accused saying, "I'm innocent," to be drowned out by all the rapists singing that same tune.

If a boy or man takes a girl out to the woods as described by Greer with the intent to have sex with her, he has the specific obligation to make sure she isn't complying out of fear of what he will do if she doesn't comply. He isn't forced to infer anything and neither is the jury. The jury can assess the defendant's efforts to ensure that genuine legal consent was present.

If the defendant did nothing to ensure that the girl or woman was giving him genuine legal consent and his behavior could lead her to believe that her lack of consent wouldn't be respected, the truthfulness of his claim of consent cannot be inferred and the truthfulness of the alleged victim's testimony has been confirmed.

There was no legal consent because the defendant never sought genuine legal consent.

Yet Greer wants jurors and the public to ignore credible evidence of rape based on nothing more than his unsubstantiated guess that up to 20% of rape reports are false.

Even if the rate of false rape reports is 0.000001% no defendant should have the evidence in his case ignored in favor of having the verdict based on the probability that alleged victim was really raped. A defense which says that the wrong person has been identified needs to be considered by the jury with an understanding that this can happen without the victim telling a single lie. And it can happen just as easily in non-sex crimes where victim or witness identification is just as much of an issue.

In defining retroactive consent, Greer seeks to misuse victims ignorance of the sex crime statutes in their jurisdiction or their shock and disbelief that someone they trusted could be a rapist as proof that genuine legal consent was given.

If a rape victim doesn't realize that what happened was a crime then Greer believes the criminal justice system should pretend that no crime was committed.

If this methodology is sound then it must be retroactive nonconsent on the part of a man who was poisoned by his wife.

He never told his wife, "No, please don't poison me," and he once told her, "I don't care what you feed me as long you do all the food preparation." And when told he'd been poisoned, the husband denied even the possibility of his wife being guilty of any crime.

These statements clearly give the wife unlimited consent according to Greer's model of legal consent.

I doubt that Greer would view this wife's arrest on attempted murder charges to be a wrongful arrest because this husband is evoking retroactive nonconsent. Yet under Greer's model we must respect that man's initial statement that his wife isn't guilty. To do anything else is to show a basic disrespect for men.

If what Greer classifies as proof of retroactive non-consent were applied to all crimes, that would impact the application of this statement from page 15 of the pdf:

However, LDF's essentially static view of false rape claims simply does not take into account that as the sanctions and costs of bringing rape charges are reduced, an individual's calculation of whether to deliberately make a wrongful charge correspondingly shifts. LDF exponents do not acknowledge that if the "second rape" disappears, so to does the very disincentive which is advanced as the main reason underlying the existence of few false reports.

Wow, with respect like that for the innocent who needs disrespect?

This statement shows that the needless trauma inflicted on rape victims from the process of reporting and going through a trial is intentional as is the support for this needless trauma. Greer believes that all rape victims should be sanctioned and should be subject to additional costs as well.

For the good of the innocent [men], of course.

His support for revictimization of rape victims means he provides moral support for men who love Afghanistan's policy of putting rape victims in jail because this injustice means there aren't likely to be any false rape reports in Afghanistan.

Our constitutional bill of rights bans cruel and unusual punishment, but Greer thinks that when it comes to rape victims that our constitution should be willfully ignored.

I disagree. Thankfully, more and more law enforcement agencies also disagree.

I also disagree with the prediction that treating rape victims who report with as much respect as offered to the most respected type of crime victim will result in an increase in false reports. What it would result in is an increase in the number of true reports -- many of which Greer clearly doesn't want to see reported to law enforcement.

The key to preventing injustices -- all of them -- is to have sex crime investigators follow best practices in gathering all relevant evidence and to then have prosecutors and juries do the same in the evaluation of that evidence. If all a defense attorney has is a narrative about an epidemic of lying women to counter the prosecution's case, then the case must be decided on the evidence to avoid injustice.

But Greer doesn't focus on accuracy of assessing rape reports.

In the stronger version, any act of intercourse that occurs in the absence of oral consent is rape. Most within the LDF do not seriously dispute that currently a large portion of women fail to meet this proposed standard of behavior; and they probably even agree that it would be unjust currently to imprison the male sexual partners.

Apparently, none of the men who have been accused of rape have ever been propositioned by women and these guys never wait to give their own yes in response to women who consent to have sex with them.

If a woman who consented non-verbally feels it is unjust to imprison her male sexual partner on the charge of raping her, she isn't going to file a rape report and she isn't going to testify that she didn't consent.

But let's not get confused by basic logic.

More commonly within LDF there are calls for public policy implementation of the weaker version: that "no means no," i.e., that once the woman has rhetorically expressed nonconsent, sexual intercourse is rape. [...]

but in a society in which numerous women say "no" when they mean "yes," it suffers from the same practical defect as the stronger version.

So not only does Greer want an alleged rape victim's silence to be assumed to be consent, he wants an alleged rape victim's "no" to be assumed to be consent as well.

The claim Greer is making is that in our society numerous women say "no" when they mean "yes" but then report having been raped. This statement of fact relies upon taking the unfounded claims of "it was consensual" given by alleged rapists and treating them as if they are proven claims.

The more accurate claim is that in our society numerous men hear women say "no" and proceed on the assumption that they mean "yes" or they proceed on the assumption that nobody will be able to prove that women who say "no" actually meant what they said.

By what Greer writes about consent and intoxication, he seems to reject, "unconscious means no" as well.

The result is that under Greer's preferred model that nothing a woman who was raped says in her testimony can be viewed as evidence that she was raped no matter how credible she is. But you can bet that everything she says and everything she has done -- and everything that the defense baselessly claims she said or did -- will be viewed by Greer as evidence that she has filed a false police report.

A telling element is contained in footnote 95.

... some tenured law faculty have gone so far as to argue that rape prosecutions should lie against married men regardless of whether the wife "consented to the sexual contact with positive words or positive conduct" so long as the husband had ever previously physically assaulted his wife.

What Greer is doing is ignoring how a physical assault, or a series of physical assaults, impacts a wife's feeling that it is safe to say, "no." For Greer it doesn't matter what crimes a husband commits to get a "yes" from his wife.

That speaks volumes about Greer's sexual ethics.

In the last section, Greer uses current and past convictions for rape to try to prove that feminists who want all types of rapes, including those committed by intimate partners, prosecuted are racists.

While the evidence is not conclusive, it appears that black men are no more likely to rape than white men. The radical disproportion in rape imprisonment rates can then be seen as a key marker as to just how racist the criminal justice process, as deployed, actually is.

The ugly reality is that the rapes that Greer and those like him don't deny disproportionally have black men as the perpetrator.

In footnote 111 Greer writes:

The extent of selective enforcement is staggering.

The irony is that Greer's entire article advocates for a continuation of selective enforcement of rape laws. Using his own standards, the fact that he doesn't mention race in those previous sections is meaningless. His ideal process, which is pre-feminist reforms, has by his own admission discriminated against black males.

His claim that the changes he opposes would make this bias worse is unfounded.

Greer declares that feminists who want better rape law enforcement and better rape laws are advocating change from a safe position so that their proposals can never harm them and therefore should be ignored.

The women who agree with Greer's position generally fit the demographics of the feminists he attacks. So by using demographics to dismiss policies he disagrees with, Greer has declared the opinions and the desired changes to the legal system given by women he agrees with to be just as invalid.

The same argument can be applied to Greer himself. As an adult male he is at the lowest risk of becoming a victim of rape. Therefore, according to Greer's own logic his advocated positions on the treatment of those who report rape throughout the criminal justice process must be ignored.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:17 AM   6 comments links to this post


At October 19, 2008 10:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You do not address the fact that Greer did, in fact, debunk the two percent figure. There is no historical basis for it, and he proves it by tracing it to its source. The remainder of your argument is fairly incomprehensible and merits no serious rebuttal.

At October 19, 2008 2:25 PM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...


Sorry, you are non-crebible. If you could rebut my arguments you would.

Greer did NOT debunk the 2 percent figure. All he did was highlight that it wasn't proven in the sources he cited. There is a difference.

His alternative percentages are clearly based on switching what is measured and on data obtained through provably invalid methodology which makes his higher percentages provably invalid.

Yet Greer calls the invalid data more reliable than the unproven data and bases the rest of his positions on invalid data.

That's either incompetence or dishonesty.

There is no proof that the rate of false rape reports is higher than the average number of false reports for non-sex crimes. None.

Greer doesn't even try to provide any evidence of this yet his support for the "second rape" is predicated on this belief.

At October 19, 2008 4:55 PM, Blogger JENNIFER DREW said...

The lengths to which rape apologists go to in attempting to deny rape is endemic is almost unbelievable. Thank you for concisely debunking Geer's claims and also for providing evidence as to why Greer's logic is so flawed.

Here in the UK it is widely believed that most women lie when they report a man/men has raped them and yes the statistics for false reporting have remained between 2-10% for decades now. Yet still it is widely held that women are liars and men are the only ones who can be trusted to tell the truth. This is despite official UK government statistics and official UK Government funded research on false reporting. All of which consistently prove false reporting of rapes has not increased. What has increased though is the fact we only have 5% convictions for rape. This means rape in the UK is one of the easiest crimes to commit with the least likelihood of the male perpetrator(s) being charged, let alone convicted.

At October 24, 2008 6:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you have any comment on the scenario in which the wrong man is charged with the crime?

Darryl Hunt was convicted of a rape which he did not commit, convicted, and spent 18 years or so in prison. DNA found on the victim matched another man. That other man ultimately confessed to the crime. That was a miscarriage of justice.

I am saying, there was no false allegation of rape here. The issue is, someone other than the perpetrator was punished. It is neither apologizing for rapists nor questioning false rape statistics to wonder why an innocent man and not the perpetrator was punished for a crime.

Rape is a most heinous, despicable crime. But not even rape justifies the punishment of an innocent man. I emphasize, I am not apologizing for rapists. I am speaking up for men who did not rape.

At October 24, 2008 9:48 AM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...


I've had plenty of comments about scenarios where the wrong person was charged with a crime. They are too many to list here.

I have never justified the punishment of truly innocent men. If you think I have you are reading what I've written through a distorted filter.

How about speaking up for all those falsely accused of any crime, men and women, and not just for men falsely accused of rape?

Women have also been falsely accused and falsely charged with a crime they didn't commit -- including the crime of filing a false police report when they rightfully reported having been raped. Sometimes women have also been convicted. This includes murder convictions.

Yet many of those who talk about wrongful charges and wrongful convictions never mention that this happens to women.

This is important because when there is a rape involved in the crime where the wrong person was convicted, many people immediately assign responsibility for wrongful convictions onto the victim.

They hear that Darryl Hunt was exonerated on charges including rape and say, "See women do lie about having been raped." But that statement is based on a false assumption.

In the conviction of Darryl Hunt there was no allegation of any type made by the victim since the victim, Deborah Sykes, was raped and murdered.

That's just one of the reasons why the line, "women lie about rape" which Greer defends is so destructive. It blames the victims and ignores the systemic problems which are in no way unique to rape cases and which are out of the victim's control.

The key elements in Hunt's conviction were 1) faulty witness ID process (involving 2 male witnesses) 2) a coerced recanting by Hunt's girlfriend of Hunt's alibi and a coerced statement that Hunt confessed to her.

Those who respond to Hunt's girlfriend's statement with, "see, women lie about rape," are showing their ignorance.

Boys and men can be coerced into making false statements including false confessions so the problem doesn't have anything to do with gender.

The problem is not with the person coerced, it is with the thinking of investigators who coerce incriminating statements or confessions as a substitute for thorough investigations.

At October 24, 2008 3:28 PM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...


For an example of an exoneration of a woman, read my post about a mother who was exonerated after being wrongly convicted of murdering her own daughter.


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