flewellyn: (Default)
[personal profile] flewellyn
I posted this on this blog, discussing the 17 year old Oregon girl who, after accusing her boyfriend and two of his friends of raping her, was convicted of filing a false police report; the apparent reasoning by the judge was that, since the prosecution couldn't find enough evidence that the rape had taken place, she was obviously lying. Several commenters on the blog proceeded to do the usual misogynist bashing of women, feminism, and the notion that rape actually happens all that often, and went off accusing women of lying about rape as often as 25% of the time.

Several other people, of course, took them to task for their nonsense, and cited actual statistics showing that the number of rape reports which turn out to be falsified is around 1.6%; nonetheless, I felt compelled to respond, thus:

Aside from the statistics cited above showing that women lie about rape charges in as few as 1.6% of reports, there is a simple, logical reason why assuming that women will lie about rape just doesn't make sense.

Look at what happens to a woman who accuses a man of raping her. Her name is dragged through the mud, her sexual history is questioned, she is slandered with all sorts of vile names by the defendant's supporters, lawyers, and by men of society at large. She is told that it was her fault, that she shouldn't have been doing whatever she was doing when her attacker raped her. She is accused of making it all up, of lying to be vengeful or (if the rapist is rich, such as Kobe Bryant) of seeking money. She faces long odds of getting a conviction; in Oregon, apparently 10% of reported rapes result in a conviction. Rape being one of the most underreported crimes there is, the real numbers are surely much higher.

She receives all kinds of "advice" from people which can be summed up as "don't have a social life, don't ever drink, don't go out of your house, and if you still get raped, it's still your fault". Her family and friends may well abandon her, or even turn against her. Her religious community may well turn their backs on her, as well.

Given all of this, what sort of logical reason would there be for women to lie about being raped? The 1.6% who apparently do, I would surmise, are probably mentally ill; otherwise, anyone sane would realize that accusing a man of rape is extremely difficult and has all kinds of social and psychological penalties, whether he is convicted or not. The man accused, or even convicted, of rape has many allies in society, many people trying to excuse what he did, or blame it all on the woman. Look at how many people today still think Desiree Washington was just a golddigger, even after Mike Tyson was, in fact, convicted.

Quite simply, sane people do not lie if there is no benefit to them in doing so. And the simple fact is, lying about rape has no benefit for women. So, given these facts...who would benefit from lying about rape? If it's not women, then who?

Date: 2005-12-06 09:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mcpatti.livejournal.com
Ah, fuck. Don't even get me started.

I'll leave it at this:

People are fucking retarded. You win!!

Date: 2005-12-06 09:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fantom07.livejournal.com
I am going to say that Rape is never as cut and dried as we want it to be. And it will always, ALWAYS end in controversy unless the evidence is so blatant that there is no doubt.

But I know a case where she called rape long after it occured and during the whole relationship she was always the instigator in the sexual acts. It pretty much destroyed the guy's life and it's hard to say exactly who was at fault.

It's easy to champion women and throw out figures and stats, but in the end it's a situation where there will always be another side to the story that counters it all.

Is rape wrong? Oh hell yes. Is it all her fault? Good god no! BUT - I know that there are MANY cases where rape could have been prevented if wiser choices were made ON BOTH parts, and yet men get all of the blame. That, to me, is just as unfair as a woman's name being dragged through the mud.

Date: 2005-12-06 11:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cherrypep.livejournal.com
...surely if a woman's name is being dragged through the mud, then the woman is generally getting some blame? If not, then I'm confused.

Date: 2005-12-06 11:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fantom07.livejournal.com
I'm just saying that it's a situation in which there can be blame and fault on both sides, and both sides will get a share of what's going on. Not all cases of rape are publicised, not all women will get the attention as high profile cases, but no matter what - falsy accusused or rightly - the rape charge will be with the man forever, and that can have serious, life destorying results.

My whole point, though, is that rape is not as simple as "he's guilty, she's not" in every case.

Date: 2005-12-07 01:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cherrypep.livejournal.com
*shrug* True. But "and yet men get all of the blame"? :)

Date: 2005-12-07 04:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flewellyn.livejournal.com
My whole point, though, is that rape is not as simple as "he's guilty, she's not" in every case.

Yeah it is. If a man has sex with a woman, and she doesn't say yes or otherwise clearly signal consent, it's rape. He's guilty, she's not. End of story.

The only way I can see any ambiguity is if she says yes, they have sex, and only after the fact does she change her mind. The only time she can't change her mind is after the act is completed. If she says "stop" or "no" halfway through, and he doesn't stop, it's rape. He's guilty, she's not.

If they have sex, she said yes, and all, and only afterwards does she decide she should have said no...well, that is not rape. It's unfortunate, but it's not rape. However, I only know of one case where this happened, and the woman tried to bring rape charges...and, like I said below, she recanted after the prosecutors started asking too many questions.

Date: 2005-12-07 04:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fantom07.livejournal.com
But here's the thing - what if he doesn't hear her? What if she thought she said stop but really didn't? People, while drunk, have bad memories. If he's been drinking, he may not be able to comprehend. What it comes down to is a VERY BAD SITUATION in which it's one word against another.

I feel bad for any judge in this situation. It's hard to determine what really happened. I'm not saying every case is like this, but there are cases like this that happen.

*shrugs* Some situations really aren't as black and white as we want them to be.

Date: 2005-12-07 04:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flewellyn.livejournal.com
If he genuinely thought she consented, and she couldn't remember whether she said no or not...I would not want to be a judge in that situation either. I would have to look at the man's record; were there any other accusations made against him? Does he have a history of sexually harrassing women? How does he behave in the courtroom, and what kind of attitude does he display towards the woman?

The legal standard for consent in common law countries, such as the US and UK, generally holds that intoxication makes a person unable to legally consent. I think this should work both ways: if a perpetrator is drunk, he should be held incompetent to ask.

Otherwise, what we have is a situation where the man's drinking makes him less responsible, but the woman's drinking makes her more responsible.

Date: 2005-12-07 04:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fantom07.livejournal.com
aaaah, but then we make it crime to have sex if there has been any form of mood/descion altering substance, and that's starting to take away from our civil liberties.

What it comes down to is that it's a situation that sucks for all parties involved.

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Date: 2005-12-07 05:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] achanchinou.livejournal.com
rape is not as simple as "he's guilty, she's not"

Men can be raped too.

Date: 2005-12-07 05:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flewellyn.livejournal.com
I should have figured someone would say this. I'm distressed that it would be you, though.

Men can be raped too, yes. This is rare. And in most such cases, the perpetrator is also a man.

Last I checked the stats, male rape accounted for around 3-5% of rape cases. Rape is predominantly male on female, so that is where I focus my attention.

Date: 2005-12-07 05:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] achanchinou.livejournal.com
Let me clarify for others too, that I said that not to distract, but as a (potentially misunderstanding) response to the reference to the woman instigating things previously. I have seen cases before where the guy was blamed for raping the woman, when in fact it was the other way around and HE was the one who went to jail for raping her, when it fact it was he who had been raped.

Very unfair all around in that case.

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Where the hell did this come from?

Date: 2005-12-07 03:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flewellyn.livejournal.com
It does not matter what she was wearing, what she had to drink, who she was out with. If there was no consent, then it's rape, and it's wrong, and it's the fault of the rapist.

Also, last I checked, it is not at all easy to champion women in this society. And figures and stats are pretty much the only weapons against pernicious falsehoods of our culture.

As far as the person you know who was falsely accused, I'm very sorry to hear that. I too know of a case where this happened.

It doesn't change the general point at all.

Re: Where the hell did this come from?

Date: 2005-12-07 04:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fantom07.livejournal.com
It comes from some one who has seen a different side of a rape issue.

I think that some (not all, NOT ALL) rape situations could have been prevented by making better choices BY BOTH PARTIES. That doesn't mean it's all her fault, but I think we don't stress the whole "hey, you know - if you booze it up and lose conciousness, this could happen to you and it will suck a whole lot, so let's make some more educated choices when out there."

Women are just as responsible for putting themselves in bad situation. This doesn't mean I can't go out to a bar and drink it up, but it does mean hey, maybe I shouldn't go out with strangers or drink until I black out.

And I think it is easy to champion women in this society. We are a lot stronger than given credit for. But I feel that we let ourselves get taken advantage of because of it. The only time I have ever felt like society has betrayed me was when someone says something like "look how much she, a woman, has accomplished!"

I'm just saying - and this is my whole point - is that rape is never a simple court case.

Re: Where the hell did this come from?

Date: 2005-12-07 04:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flewellyn.livejournal.com
Alright, I will grant you that boozing it up and losing consciousness are never good ideas. For either sex.

Of course, 50% of rapes have sober victims. So avoiding alcohol will not prevent it.

You might find reading [livejournal.com profile] ginmar helpful. She has some perspective and information on this issue (and many others) that I think you'd find valuable. And it might even change your mind a bit.

Re: Where the hell did this come from?

Date: 2005-12-07 04:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fantom07.livejournal.com
What a polite way to imply that I haven't thought about this on my own, or haven't discussed this before with other people on the other side previously.

Just because you think I'm wrong, doesn't mean that my argument has merit. I'm just presentiing a different side.

Re: Where the hell did this come from?

Date: 2005-12-07 04:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flewellyn.livejournal.com
I know it's a different side, Meg. I just think it's incorrect. Whether or not you thought about it on your own, or discussed it with others, doesn't matter from where I sit: what matters is, is your argument right? I would say, on balance, mostly not.

Date: 2005-12-07 03:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] momily.livejournal.com
The only thing I'd like to say is that there are plenty of women for whom the rewards of reporting a false rape outweigh the cost. Revenge on a man can be very sweet reward indeed, and worth all sorts of shit in the meantime.

That doesn't mean I condone this, just sayin'.

Date: 2005-12-07 03:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flewellyn.livejournal.com
Yes, but rape is a very bad charge to use for a vengeance report. Drug possession is far easier; you can report that anonymously, and nobody calls you evil for doing so.

In pretty much all of the cases I know of in my community where people try to get revenge via false crime reports, the charge is either drug possession or theft of some kind. Or, these days, having suspicious looking weapons or substances in their homes. I have only once ever seen a woman levy a false rape charge for revenge purposes, and she recanted after the prosecutors started asking too many questions.

Date: 2005-12-14 07:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kimmaline.livejournal.com
That was wonderful.

In the most horrible, terrible, I wish that NO ONE ever had to write what you just did, wonderful.

Thank you.

False Accusations of Rape

Date: 2006-01-25 09:23 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
First, let me start by saying that I will stand up for anyone, man or woman, that has been violated in any way. But in response to everyone who believes that women don't lie about rape, I want to enlighten you.

2 years ago as I was preparing to leave for a trip while my house cleaner was there. It was obvious to her that I was leaving due to the suitcases laying out. She began questioning me as to where I was going?how long would I be gone? was my husband going with me? I later found her in my room flirting with my husband and acting very provoctively with him.

After I left the house, the two of them got to drinking and one thing lead to another. She wanted him to give her $1,000 and she would pay him back with sex. She is a minority and apparently in her country, prostition is legal. They proceeded to drink until an entire fifth of liqour was gone.

To make a long, long story short, when she was coming back down the stairs, she fell and injured her wrist, that's it. Later she began vommitting and two of my friends came to clean her up (unknown to me until later). When they showered her, she had no injuries, bruises, nothing, except a swollen wrist from the fall. After several phone calls, my husband was able to find her a way home by her landlord because she was to drunk to drive.

There were five different people that came in contact with her, 2 of which were her landlord and had known for 10 years. SHE NEVER CRIED RAPE. She was extremely drunk. (.22 6 hours after quiting drinking).

She never cried rape until she couldn't explain to her boyfriend why she was so drunk, why her vaginal area was somewhat red, so on and so on. While giving a statement to the police, she changed her story 4 times. She claimed she was forced to drink, given a date rape drug (bloodwork confirmed she had nothing in her system BUT alcohol), kept against her will even though she spoke with her boyfriend on the phone(in her language) during the time she claimed she was being held.

All this being said, she "cried rape" out of fear of losing her boyfriend, with whom she has 3 children with. She was drunk, had sex with another man, and trying to cover her own butt.

There is so much more to this story that would boggle your mind as to how someone can create one lie right behind the other and try to destroy someone else's life only to protect themselves.

It put a tremendous amount of pain my family's life. We work with the public everyday and it did hurt our business for sometime. Anyone who has known my husband, who was in law enforsement over 23 years, knew it had to do something with money. The support we received was overwhelming. Try putting yourself in a position with 2 felony charges hanging over your head and see how easy it is to carry on.

For any of you who think he's still done it, my husband passed two separate polygraphs, one being with a man who does it for the FBI.
As for her, she has gone on with life like nothings ever happened. She's gone on to have another baby, something that is rare of a true victim.

Woman can lie, and they do. Unfortunately, we're part of the 2% who did. I've learned one thing through this whole process, you better listen to the WHOLE story and review ALL of the evidence and statements before convicting anyone of a crime.

Re: False Accusations of Rape

Date: 2006-01-25 09:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flewellyn.livejournal.com
Okay...so that's a case. A case. Singular. Please remember, anonymous person, that the plural of "anecdote" is not "data".

You must note that I didn't say it was impossible or literally unheard of...just extremely rare (far rarer than anti-feminists would have you believe), and most of the women who did do this were mentally ill.

I also would point out that no one, least of all me, was suggesting that rape not be tried according to the same standard of "beyond reasonable doubt" as other crimes. The problem, I argue, is that all too often women are not believed even when there is no reasonable doubt.

And finally, who are you? Do you have an LJ account? I would ask that you log in when posting. If not, then please at least sign a name or appropriate pseudonym.

Re: False Accusations of Rape

Date: 2006-01-26 02:58 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Obviously, you missed my first line. I am a woman who would fight for ANYONE who has been violated, especially another woman. I am not, and would never, suggest that every woman who claims to have been raped is lying, that would be ludicrous. I understand the fact that it is rare for cases of rape to be false.

My intentions were to share with others, like yourself, that there are cases where women have lied, and the effects their lies have on their accusers and their families. You will never unstand the pain in our life unless a simular situation personally effects you or someone you love. You can't even imagine the horror we've had to face in all of this. Just like a true rape vicitm, our entire families have suffered emotionally, physically, and financially. That is all the more reason why I will always fight for the "true victim" in any case.

I understand that our situation is rare, but it happened. Please don't misunderstand my stand on rape victims. I would be the first to "flip the switch" on someone who has violated any man, woman or child.

Last of all, I don't appreciate your tone with me, especially about "who am I anyway?" If I want to remain anonymous, what does it matter? I am a real person with thoughts and feelings just like you. I simply wanted to tell my story, but in no means insinuate there are not real victims out there. I am not personally attacking you or your views nor trying to challange any facts about rape victims.

Re: False Accusations of Rape

Date: 2006-01-26 03:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flewellyn.livejournal.com
I'm very sorry that your family suffered because of what happened. It doesn't change a thing about what I said, though. Your story was terrible, what you went through, horrendous, and I've no doubt that the woman who brought the false accusation against your husband was in dire need of treatment; but, I'm sorry to say, your family's experience was not relevant to the discussion, or to my point.

My point was simply this: in any rape case, one of two things must be true. Either the man is lying when he denies that he committed the crime, or the woman is lying when she accuses him. Ignoring the statistics, which is more likely? Well, why do people lie? Sane people lie either to escape some punishment or bad outcome, or to gain something: either way, the desired consequences are of some benefit to them.

When a woman accuses a man of rape, the personal consequences for her are almost always emotionally, financially, and socially damaging to her; sometimes they are even physically damaging, either due to poor health brought on by stress, or to reprisals from others. A sane, non-mentally ill woman has no good reason to lie about being raped.

On the other hand, a man accused of rape who is guilty has every reason to lie: to escape punishment. This is a morally reprehensible thing to do, but it is a sane, rational response. He's still innocent until proven guilty, and I would not seek to change that; the problem is, as I said before, that our society and (often) our courts will acquit a man who is clearly guilty beyond all reasonable doubt. Whereas women, even though we know from the statistics that false accusations are extremely rare, will still be assumed to be lying by juries, judges, prosecutors, and police.

Because this belief is diametrically opposed to reality and reason, and because it denies justice to so many, it is a great evil that must be fought. That cause won't be served, and in fact will be hindered, by dwelling upon the tiny minority of false accusations, when so many true accusations are not taken seriously.

Re: False Accusations of Rape

Date: 2006-01-26 01:53 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I fully agree with you that so many true accusations are not taken seriously, especially woman and children. It seems as though society will not give them a voice, insinuating their story doesn't matter. That infuriates me.

You hit the nail on the head when you stated "one of them is lying". Obviously, it is more likely that a man would lie to escape punishment. Unfortunately for my family, she lied to escape punishment from her boyfriend. As far as her being mentally ill, I'm not sure I can buy that in her case. I'm sure the majority of false cases, the women are mentally challanged, but not always. Keep an open mind that men and women will lie to escape punishment, no matter who's looking to punish them.

To state that my story has "nothing to do with the discussion" would be completely untrue. Is this discussion about false accusations of rape? when is it rape? Clearly, I was reporting a single incident where a woman lied about rape.

I'm sure I will continue to stay outraged with the system in how they handle sexual assult cases for women and children.

Just so you understand, I personally know the fear of telling someone about being sexually assualted. I was a victim when I was a child. I can, and do, sympathize with assult victims. I would stand and fight with you for victims rights. Just as I hold animosity towards the man who violated me, I hold the same amount of animosity towards a man or women who would lie to protect themselves from punishment and destroy an innocent persons life.


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