Sentenced to Death for Self Defense

A teenage Iranian girl has been sentenced to death by hanging for accidentally killing a man who was attempting to rape her and her niece.

The state-run daily Etemaad reported on Saturday that 18-year-old Nazanin confessed to stabbing one of three men who had attacked the pair along with their boyfriends while they were spending some time in a park west of the Iranian capital in March 2005.

Nazanin, who was 17 years old at the time of the incident, said that after the three men started to throw stones at them, the two girls’ boyfriends quickly escaped on their motorbikes leaving the pair helpless.

She described how the three men pushed her and her 16-year-old niece Somayeh onto the ground and tried to rape them, and said that she took out a knife from her pocket and stabbed one of the men in the hand.

As the girls tried to escape, the men once again attacked them, and at this point, Nazanin said, she stabbed one of the men in the chest. The teenage girl, however, broke down in tears in court as she explained that she had no intention of killing the man but was merely defending herself and her younger niece from rape, the report said.

The court, however, issued on Tuesday a sentence for Nazanin to be hanged to death.

Last week, a court in the city of Rasht, northern Iran, sentenced Delara Darabi to death by hanging charged with murder when she was 17 years old. Darabi has denied the charges.

In August 2004, Iran’s Islamic penal system sentenced a 16-year-old girl, Atefeh Rajabi, to death after a sham trial, in which she was accused of committing “acts incompatible with chastity”.

The teenage victim had no access to a lawyer at any stage and efforts by her family to retain one were to no avail. Atefeh personally defended herself and told the religious judge that he should punish those who force women into adultery, not the victims. She was eventually hanged in public in the northern town of Neka.

There isn’t much else to say about this one, is there? It’s disgusting beyond words.

But of course, I shouldn’t take this girl’s word on its face. I mean, we all know that women lie about rape for fun and no one lies about other crimes, and this girl especially had something to gain. Perhaps we should consider a higher legal bar in evaluating rape charges. Right?

via Feministing.


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176 comments for “Sentenced to Death for Self Defense

  1. February 16, 2006 at 4:45 pm

    Perhaps we should consider a higher legal bar in evaluating rape charges. Right?

    There’s a whole lot of conflating of issues going on in this post that really should be disentangled so that fruitful discussion can proceed on each issue.

    1.) The Iran story is a travesty.
    2.) Jeff’s story deserves serious commentary.
    3.) Higher bar for evaluation is better than a lower bar, which reminds me of what happened in Canada back in the 90s. Spurred on by the writings of feminist “scholar” Catherine McKinnon, Canada tried to institute a double standard of responibily where a man and woman who were both intoxicated, and had mutually consensual sex, would be treated differently if the women, in the cold light of day recanted her consent. She would have been deemed incapable of giving informed consent due to her intoxication and the man, who would be charged with rape, would be unable to use his own state of intoxication as a defense of diminished capacity. I wasn’t around to see the outcome of that debate but I understand that there was an uproar by all the talk-radio extremists and this “progressive” piece of legislation died. Here’s more.

    The problem with a lot of rape cases is that the criminal offense hinges on consent, which is difficult to prove. So, in the Iran case, it clearly looks like the evidence abounded that rape was attempted and the girls acted in self-defense. So, let’s talk about how awful the Iranian justice system is and how miserably they treat women in Muslim lands. Jeff’s posting speaks to the issue of false charge and the disparity between the sentencing guidelines for rape and false reporting. As for higher legal bar for rape, yes that’s a good thing, because the alternative is to lower the bar, and then you get into potential idiocy like that advanced by the Canadian feminists.

  2. February 16, 2006 at 5:01 pm

    As for higher legal bar for rape, yes that’s a good thing, because the alternative is to lower the bar

    …how about if we use the same bar that we use for every other criminal case?

  3. February 16, 2006 at 5:04 pm

    the same bar that we use for every other criminal case?

    Absolutely agree, but to get there we actually need to raise the bar so that all the standards are the same.

  4. Bravo Romeo Delta
    February 16, 2006 at 5:08 pm

    I regret the fact that the discourse has gotten to this level, but for crying out loud, you can get just about everyone in the PW-sphere to agree that this is a vile, vile travesty. When your response, however, can’t avoid being flip and comparing those who disagree with you to the mullahs, you’re just going about merrily alienating potential converts and allies. I don’t know if you saw my response to your post, but I quote it here to save you the click:

    Before you scoot off, I think that what’s being argued here is that the same legal standards be applied to rape as are applied to other crimes. The gripe is that quite often in crimes (or bad behavior) that have a he said/she said component, the pendulum has swung far enough over that it is perceived by some that in a number of cases, the simple fact that a female made an allegation is sufficient to demonstrate that the guy is axiomatically a bad guy, and probably guilty to boot.

    If I understand the underlying point is not so much that this one incident occurred, but rather identity politics has evolved to the point that a cynical manipulator could put 6 guys in jail for life while, at most, risking a misdemeanor.

    I am really beginning to resent the notion that equal opportunity, protections and rights under law makes me some sort of misogynistic patriachial phallus oppressor.

    Come to think of it, this also reminds me a bit of the derision presented to a poster in a long ago thread who dared to ask what modern feminism was doing for oppressed women elsewhere in the world…

    But when I read through blogs and see things like this, I get very briefly irritated and then just come to realize that no matter how far I may go to try to meet folks halfway, the most vocal will stand there with feet anchored without moving.

    Let’s say, just for sake of argument, that all guys are part of some sort of evil power structure. Wouldn’t then make A LOT of sense to co-opt those who can be persuaded with some courtesy and reason.

    Oh, wait. Sorry, I forgot. I’m like a mullah sentencing a girl to death. Or something

  5. February 16, 2006 at 5:09 pm

    How, in any conceivable way, does your derisive link match the questions I raised in my post, where I asked whether those who level FALSE CHARGES OF RAPE — a form of power — shouldn’t be subjected to harsher penalties, particular in an ethos where we wish to give rape victims the benefit of the doubt?

    Why the cheap shot? For providing an example in which this actually happened as a way to raise the question? For pointing out that those who engaged in a gang bang were in the legal position of being FORTUNATE for having videotaped it?

    You dodged the question yesterday, and your swipe here is just remarkably silly and remarkably classless. If this kind of thing marks the depth or your thinking — or of your willingness to actually debate any issues that involve both men and women with men and women who don’t accept as dogma all of your political and ideological premises — you may as well give up your phony pretext of free-speech absolutism and close your site down to all but those who are able to pass some sort of test gauging their commitment to “the cause.”

    For what it’s worth — and not surprisingly — the only real answer I got to my perfectly reasonable (and delicately raised) questions, came from Cathy Young, which I address here in a follow-up post.

  6. February 16, 2006 at 5:27 pm

    I wasn’t comparing anyone to mullahs.

    We don’t give rape victims “the benefit of the doubt” any more than we give other crime victims the benefit of the doubt.

    I’m perfectly willing to debate issues, but it’s exhausting to debate people who argue that rape survivors should have to meet a higher standard than other crime victims.

    The post about the Iranian girl wasn’t a response to your post. I linked to your post because it involved similar issues, and it’s part of a wide-ranging conversation about rape. If this happened in the United States, and we used your “higher standard,” this girl wouldn’t have been hanged, but may not have gotten off for killing this man — after all, there isn’t even a “he said” in this, is there?

    To make rape shield laws clear, because I think that’s what we’re talking about when we say “raising the bar,” they only block unrelated, prejudicial evidence from entering the courtroom — that’s the same standard that’s used for all other crimes.

    I write about this because I believe we live in a rape culture. I think the Iranian example illustrates this particularly well. I think the disproportionate focus on false rape accusations, the suggestion that rape survivors should be treated differently under the law than any other crime victim, and the argument that women who commit perjury with regard to rape should be punished more severely than others who perjure themselves is part of that culture. Doesn’t make you a rapist, doesn’t make you a mullah, and they’re far apart on the spectrum — but they’re both worth pointing out.

    Classless it may have been. I’m reconsidering the wisdom in posting it along with the Iranian story, if only because it draws the conversation away from that. I am just very, very tired of constantly hearing about how all these lying women make up rape stories, and then seeing rape and assaults on women’s rights — when they’re perpetuated by brown people — used for Muslim-bashing. I should not have been so flip, and for that I apologize. I’m keeping it up for now, simply because this conversation won’t make any sense without it. If you’d like me to take it down, I will — I posted it in haste, in a moment of anger.

  7. Bravo Romeo Delta
    February 16, 2006 at 5:43 pm

    Jill,

    I’m going to assume that much of your reply to Jeff applies to my comment as well. I appreciate your response.

    In passing, I think this whole thing points to two interesting elements:

    1) My, my, don’t we (as a species) get awful touchy, awful quick on gender issues?

    2) Perhaps what you may see as Muslim-bashing, is just a much more moderate version of feminism than the one to which you may subscribe.

    For my part, I am all for a straight-up inalienable rights endowed to all peoples kind of thing, and I’m not picky about who those people are (I do get a bit pickier in some cases based on certain behaviors – like the guy who gets into the 15 items or less line with 23 items, but that’s another story). In both the case that Jeff notes, and the one you note above, it just looks like people are getting screwed all over.

    Regards,

    BRD

  8. February 16, 2006 at 5:47 pm

    it’s exhausting to debate people who argue that rape survivors should have to meet a higher standard than other crime victims.

    Truly, who has argued that?

    I’m serious. As far as I have seen in my small corner of CA judiciary charges of rape are treated like other crimes. So who is arguing for higher standards?

  9. February 16, 2006 at 5:52 pm

    I consider myself a feminist yet I agree that penalties should be very high for accusing someone of a crime they did not commit. I cant speak for others, but I didnt respond on your blog for a few reasons.

    1. Id be happy to discuss this but it’s suspicious when the conversation about unfair penalties begins with talking about a higher standard for rape cases. It’s wrong no matter what the charge.

    2. In your comments section are highly unenlightened people who posit that rape must be accomplished with violence or it’s not rape. Unless that was some sort of joke.

    3. I would venture (on a purely anecdotal basis) to say that Ive never heard of a life sentence for a rape of any kind nor do I think the burden has shifted from women getting justice when raped to men being subjected to constant injustice over this issue.

    4. When your commentors also start talking about some kind of “conspiricy” between women, the legal system and the courts in the case of divorce/custody I hesitate to comment (or engage) with these kind of nutjobs at all. So I can understand Jill’s reluctance to engage them. If anyone thinks Jill is a fanatic I suggest you meet Twisty.

    5. I think the case of male rape is very underreported in a big part by the refusal of many men to define their abuse as rape. Part of a true feminist perspective is recognizing these facts and trying to change hearts and mind by discussing the very framework of what rape is. Trying to explain male rape to someone who believes that rape=force is too wide a gap to bridge in a simple post or comment.

  10. piny
    February 16, 2006 at 5:53 pm

    it’s exhausting to debate people who argue that rape survivors should have to meet a higher standard than other crime victims.

    Truly, who has argued that?

    Um, Jeff G. The linked post wonders–rhetorically–if there shouldn’t be a higher standard of evidence for bringing rape charges than the testimony of the victim.

  11. piny
    February 16, 2006 at 5:54 pm

    5. I think the case of male rape is very underreported in a big part by the refusal of many men to define their abuse as rape. Part of a true feminist perspective is recognizing these facts and trying to change hearts and mind by discussing the very framework of what rape is. Trying to explain male rape to someone who believes that rape=force is too wide a gap to bridge in a simple post or comment.

    And the same people decrying the invisibility of male rape are the people ridiculing the idea that a woman brought up in the same culture can “decide” it’s rape days after it happens.

  12. February 16, 2006 at 6:04 pm

    piny

    Did you not read the case Jeff linked to? Do you not find it eggregious that a false charge that would have had those men in state prison would only be a misdemeanor for the false accuser?

    He is asking a straight forward question. He is not calling for a HIGHER standard.

  13. February 16, 2006 at 6:05 pm

    Um, Jeff G. The linked post wonders–rhetorically–if there shouldn’t be a higher standard of evidence for bringing rape charges than the testimony of the victim.

    Ah, no. The core sentence of Jeff’s post is “I do wonder if, given the potential for abuse, the laws against filing false sexual assault / rape charges shouldn’t be much higher”

    This has literally nothing to do with the standard of evidence for bringing rape charges.

  14. Bravo Romeo Delta
    February 16, 2006 at 6:09 pm

    One thing worth considering VERY BROADLY with respect to language is when a word is defined with sufficient broadness as to lose it’s emphasis. Take, for instance, the word “literally” the word has been stretched for perfectly innocent reasons to the point that it almost means anything but literally.

    With respect to what is or is not rape, if we can say, at least in those cases such that rape=>force, or rape=>credible use of violence, at least be referred to in those terms. It doesn’t diminish the magnitude of the crime in other cases of rape, but I would imagine that it’s at least worth locking down a mutually agreeable point before marching off into the semantic morass or what really is or isn’t rape.

  15. OHNOES
    February 16, 2006 at 6:13 pm

    Um, Jeff G. The linked post wonders–rhetorically–if there shouldn’t be a higher standard of evidence for bringing rape charges than the testimony of the victim.

    PINY BEAT ME AND CUT OFF MY HAND!

    Testimony? Check.

    Alright, Piny, expect the police to show up at yer door any second now.

    Ooh, wait, he also violated me, so if he’s convicted, he’s a sex offender. Sorry, forgot that much.

    When your commentors also start talking about some kind of “conspiricy” between women, the legal system and the courts in the case of divorce/custody I hesitate to comment (or engage) with these kind of nutjobs at all. So I can understand Jill’s reluctance to engage them. If anyone thinks Jill is a fanatic I suggest you meet Twisty.

    Conspiracy? I bet it is easier to dismiss your opponents as conspiracy theorists by addressing caricatures of their ideas.

    In your comments section are highly unenlightened people who posit that rape must be accomplished with violence or it’s not rape. Unless that was some sort of joke.

    *Sigh* Force, violence, ah, hell, let’s just start redefining words so that our opponents look like nitiwts.

    With all due respect, That Girl, I’d say the conversation on PW would be better off without you.

  16. Bravo Romeo Delta
    February 16, 2006 at 6:13 pm

    Robert,

    That’s a bit of a different take than I had (or at least in terms of emphasis). The salient bits were, in my mind:

    This, of course, is not a new question—and I suspect (in fact, maybe I’m even hoping) to get some response from the internet feminists (of all stripes)—but what I wonder is, how, if at all, can the legal system guard against such potentially egregious miscarriages of justice that occur when, say, six men don’t have the good sense to videotape their gang bangs and the present the tape to the police as exculpatory evidence?

    and further down…

    Is there a balance? A fix? And if, as the saying goes, we’d rather see 100 guilty men go free than one innocent man imprisoned—particularly for life—does this concept not extend, too, to sexual assault and rape convictions?

    That sounds to me like a drive to apply human rights standards equally to all, regardless of gender.

    BRD

  17. OHNOES
    February 16, 2006 at 6:15 pm

    Note, of course, That Girl, that last blunt dismissal comes from your desire to parody your opponents rather than engaging their actual rhetoric. Your reading of what they are saying is sloppy at best and definitely relies on redefining words to better suit YOUR ideas of them. Granted, it is a net positive when everyone is involved in the discussion, but there is nothing gained when folks like yourself cannot see the dissenters as anything but cartoon characters.

  18. February 16, 2006 at 6:19 pm

    BRD, my impression is that the problem Jeff is describing is one where standards of evidence do come into play somewhat, but the solution he discusses is to ensure that there are substantial penalties for false allegations.

    But perhaps I have misread his intent.

  19. OHNOES
    February 16, 2006 at 6:19 pm

    Easy, but disingenous, response to my comment prediction: “Well, OHNOES, you should tell that to all the fundies at PW!”

    My preemptive response: I have been. I’m not there to play mother to them. I call them nitwits as tactfully as I can when the situation calls for it.

  20. piny
    February 16, 2006 at 6:19 pm

    That a lie worthy only of a misdemeanor charge could have in effect ended the lives of six men is bothersome enough; but what I worry about here is this: how are we to be sure that those women (and men) who make accusations of sexual assault and rape are telling the truth in legal situations that redound to he said / she said (in this particular case, for instance, I’m sure the woman had gathered plenty of physical evidence that mimicked a rape and assault)—and more importantly, is there an institutional bias to believe the story of the abused, particularly if the abused is female, at the expense of the lives and reputations of the accused?

    No, he’s also talking about the standard of evidence being too low. These men were not convicted, according to him, because they videotaped the encounter. Had they not done so, they would very likely have been convicted–according to Jeff, these days, we give the victim the benefit of the doubt–even when it’s just one alleged victim and six accusers who all protest their innocence! Since most encounters aren’t videotaped, higher penalties for false rape allegations alone aren’t going to solve that alleged problem unless we either raise the bar for bringing charges or penalize women for failing to make a rape charge stick. Either way, women who make rape allegations will be held to a higher standard than other plaintiffs.

  21. Bravo Romeo Delta
    February 16, 2006 at 6:23 pm

    Robert,

    Perhaps, between the two readings we might, just might, get to that “in the balance” thing he was mentioning. ;)

    This would make for a fantastically interesting game theoretic study, provided, of course, that someone felt like destroying their career.

    BRD

  22. February 16, 2006 at 6:26 pm

    Piny – perhaps that’s a reasonable interpretation; I just don’t know. Maybe Jeff will clarify what he meant.

  23. OHNOES
    February 16, 2006 at 6:26 pm

    according to Jeff, these days, we give the victim the benefit of the doubt–even when it’s just one alleged victim and six accusers who all protest their innocence!

    You say that with undue incredulousness.

    Since most encounters aren’t videotaped, higher penalties for false rape allegations alone aren’t going to solve that alleged problem unless we either raise the bar for bringing charges or penalize women for failing to make a rape charge stick. Either way, women who make rape allegations will be held to a higher standard than other plaintiffs.

    This was handled in the subsequent discussion, but… who really reads discussions, anyway? Nobody wants to penalize women who cannot make the charge stick. What is asked for is a higher penalty for the false accusation crime, which ITSELF requires proof that the fake-victim outright lied, which is a difficult thing to pull off, I would say.

  24. piny
    February 16, 2006 at 6:26 pm

    Why are these discussions always about adult women and not, say, people who allege child sexual abuse? I don’t remember anyone worried that any ex-altar boy with a grudge and a lust for publicity would victimize some hapless priest.

  25. Josh
    February 16, 2006 at 6:26 pm

    The PW people aren’t arguing that rape convictions should require a higher standard of proof, but rather that those who make false accusations of rape should be punished more severely than those who falsely accuse people of other crimes. Of course, if a woman falsely accuses someone of rape, she can be punished for filing a false police report. If she testifies and lies, she can be charged with perjury. Just like anyone else who lies to the police or on the stand in any other context. But because man-hating feminazis have seized control of the court system or something, those who make false accusations of rape should be punished more severely than everyone else who lies to the police or under oath.

  26. Nobody
    February 16, 2006 at 6:27 pm

    Are you saying that, if you sat on the jury of a case in which a woman accused six men of raping her, you wouldn’t be inclined to believe her? Especially if she had physical evidence consistant with the carge? And the men’s defense was, “but she was into it”? I sure as hell would.

  27. Bravo Romeo Delta
    February 16, 2006 at 6:28 pm

    Piny,

    On some level, regardless of the manner in which blame is arrayed, I can only thing that it’s a awfully messed up system in which I really should have a prospective sexual partner call and leave a message on my voice mail as a hedge against potential prosecution. And even in so doing, knowing that it wouldn’t be enough, in and of itself, to save my butt in the case of an later change of heart.

    EDITED FOR SNARK – when one hears about an invisible culture of rape in which what, evidently, at the time can be seen as a consensual sex act between two informed people able to give consent can magically become rape a week later, it sets my nerves on edge.

    Regards,

    BRD

  28. piny
    February 16, 2006 at 6:29 pm

    This was handled in the subsequent discussion, but… who really reads discussions, anyway? Nobody wants to penalize women who cannot make the charge stick. What is asked for is a higher penalty for the false accusation crime, which ITSELF requires proof that the fake-victim outright lied, which is a difficult thing to pull off, I would say.

    I read that discussion. The best comment was probably the first one, about how date “rape” is a piece of cake compared to the real thing.

    Which means that we won’t solve the problem Jeff insists is there–namely, that women who allege rape are given the benefit of the doubt to the detriment of hapless male defendants–unless we hold women to a higher standard of evidence. We have to correct that reverse sexism, or more men will suffer.

  29. OHNOES
    February 16, 2006 at 6:29 pm

    And why would I talk about insurance fraud—which generally doesn’t carry a life sentence and carry with it the honorific “sexual predator” when the question I’m asking here is should not the penalty for filing false reports that can be so damaging—and where courts have been conditioned, through social advocacy, to give the accuser the benefit of the doubt—be more severe?

    From Jeff Goldstein himself. I add it here because people like Piny would never have read it. What it adds? Not a whole lot, but when analysis of Jeff’s post occurs here, then I’d like to see every word he has written brought up.

  30. OHNOES
    February 16, 2006 at 6:31 pm

    Which means that we won’t solve the problem Jeff insists is there–namely, that women who allege rape are given the benefit of the doubt to the detriment of hapless male defendants–unless we hold women to a higher standard of evidence. We have to correct that reverse sexism, or more men will suffer.

    Jeff never proposed a solution. Please quit pretending he did. He wrote that post to try to open debate and get questions asked and answered from feminist types, a goal he has had for quite a while. But, for all intents and purposes, keep reading into his post to ascribe bad faith. It does make you look SO reasonable, my friend.

  31. Bravo Romeo Delta
    February 16, 2006 at 6:32 pm

    Piny, OHNOES,

    Without prejudice to your reading, might I suggest going back to the original post where it sez “Is there a balance? A fix?” and work from there with the aim of actually trying accomplish something?

  32. piny
    February 16, 2006 at 6:33 pm

    Are you saying that, if you sat on the jury of a case in which a woman accused six men of raping her, you wouldn’t be inclined to believe her? Especially if she had physical evidence consistant with the carge? And the men’s defense was, “but she was into it”? I sure as hell would.

    Same here. It’s pretty uncommon, after all, for women to gather fake evidence to support a fake rape allegation. But then, I’m a man-hating feminazi. What I love is the argument that since one woman–the accuser–was believed over six men–all accused of the same crime, and all insisting that they didn’t do it–a woman who alleges rape is given the benefit of the doubt over a man who protests.

  33. OHNOES
    February 16, 2006 at 6:34 pm

    BRD, Piny’s ascribing motives that Jeff is proposing some sexist solution. I’m just trying to keep good faith on the table here. Save the snark. ;)

  34. February 16, 2006 at 6:35 pm

    Why are these discussions always about adult women and not, say, people who allege child sexual abuse? I don’t remember anyone worried that any ex-altar boy with a grudge and a lust for publicity would victimize some hapless priest.

    For the same reason that there aren’t a lot of cartoons about cats versus penguins: the two groups are not populations that organically generate a great deal of conflict. Men and women are two such populations.

  35. OHNOES
    February 16, 2006 at 6:36 pm

    What I love is the argument that since one woman–the accuser–was believed over six men–all accused of the same crime, and all insisting that they didn’t do it–a woman who alleges rape is given the benefit of the doubt over a man who protests.

    Well, I would give her the benefit of the doubt, but I guess I’m the exception to Piny.

  36. Bravo Romeo Delta
    February 16, 2006 at 6:36 pm

    OHNOES,

    Sorry, had a bumper crop this year. Can’t get rid of the stuff fast enough. I’m out there with the truck farmers and at every farmer’s market within a hundred miles. Snark. Snark syrup. Snark bread. Dried snark. Snark butter. Still can’t get rid of the snark fast enough.

    Since you got your dose early this year, I guess that means I don’t have to completely ruin your holidays, so I’ll take you off the Snark-Fruit-Cake list.

    Cheers!
    BRD

  37. OHNOES
    February 16, 2006 at 6:38 pm

    BRD, well-played.

  38. Bravo Romeo Delta
    February 16, 2006 at 6:38 pm

    W/r/t 6 v 1,

    If given a reasonable explanation and some manner of physical evidence, yeah, I would give the woman in that hypothetical case the benefit of the doubt. Maybe that benefit of the doubt is why more than a few guys are irate – its sort of a betrayal of trust, of sorts.

  39. OHNOES
    February 16, 2006 at 6:41 pm

    Well, honestly, if the woman claims all six guys raped her, and all six deny it, they all have a vested interest in it. Especially because we can prove that they all had sex with her, and they all claim “she was into it.” Heck yeah, I’d throw the book at them without the tape!

  40. zuzu
    February 16, 2006 at 6:41 pm

    Here’s what the woman was charged with:

    They indicted her for filing false police reports, committing perjury and stealing funds from a taxpayer-funded victims’ program.

    It’s the same charge that anybody who falsely reports a crime gets. Jeff appears to be arguing for a separate charge for lying about a rape:

    It may sound as though I’m being flip, but in fact I do wonder if, given the potential for abuse, the laws against filing false sexual assault / rape charges shouldn’t be much higher

    So, unless he’s arguing that ALL false reports should be treated more seriously, he’s in essence arguing that false rape reports should be held to a higher standard than false reports of other crimes.

    There is potential for abuse in any situation involving a crime. People file false claims all the time, sometimes to get back at someone, sometimes to throw suspicion off themselves (Charles Stewart), sometimes to get themselves out of a potentially sticky situation (the runaway bride), sometimes because they’re just plain evil (the guy who got half of Tulia, Texas thrown in jail), sometimes because they’re paranoid and stupid (the McMartin satanic-daycare case).

    In this case, these guys weren’t even charged. The cops had a duty to investigate her claims, and investigate they did. It’s hard to tell from the story whether they were even arrested, since it just says they were identified and the cops didn’t file charges. Which pretty much means they didn’t get arrested.

    The system worked, in other words. So why all the spluttering outrage from the OC Weekly and Jeff? They got the benefit of being considered innocent until proven guilty. I also wonder if they would really have been convicted, because frankly, this woman sounds like a nutbar and I’m sure their attorneys could have dug something up on her that was admissible.

    It’s important to remember that the reason for punishing perjury and false reports is to protect the integrity of the system, not to protect or avenge the person falsely accused. The system is no more compromised by a false rape allegation than it is by a false allegation of car theft or pickpocketing. The falsely accused has other remedies available, such as civil suits.

  41. Bravo Romeo Delta
    February 16, 2006 at 6:43 pm

    Zuzu,

    Perhaps then what is needed is a difference between gross false charges and false charges. Gross filing of false charges being false charges for, let’s say, felonies, or sufficiently grave crimes. Aggravated gross filing of false charges might be as above, but with malicious intent.

    Would that make sense?

    BRD

  42. OHNOES
    February 16, 2006 at 6:44 pm

    It’s important to remember that the reason for punishing perjury and false reports is to protect the integrity of the system, not to protect or avenge the person falsely accused. The system is no more compromised by a false rape allegation than it is by a false allegation of car theft or pickpocketing. The falsely accused has other remedies available, such as civil suits.

    A false allegation of car theft does not come with the painful title of “sex offender.” The parallels you are drawing just don’t stick that tightly.

  43. piny
    February 16, 2006 at 6:45 pm

    Jeff never proposed a solution. Please quit pretending he did. He wrote that post to try to open debate and get questions asked and answered from feminist types, a goal he has had for quite a while. But, for all intents and purposes, keep reading into his post to ascribe bad faith. It does make you look SO reasonable, my friend.

    I didn’t say he proposed a solution. And, fuck that “open debate” shit. If Jill is met with that much scorn but the “Date rape isn’t actually rape” woman isn’t even responded to, he’s not “open.”

    It was a rhetorical question: I asked whether those who level FALSE CHARGES OF RAPE — a form of power — shouldn’t be subjected to harsher penalties, particular in an ethos where we wish to give rape victims the benefit of the doubt?

    If I said, “Isn’t it time you took a running leap off a short pier?” you wouldn’t think I was honestly trying to open up debate, would you? He’s clearly coming down on the side of harsher penalties for false rape accusations. In his followup, he affirms the idea that rape cases operate under a system of reverse sexism:

    after years of being lobbied by establishment women’s rights activists (itself a powerful political identity group), has lowered evidentiary standards for proof of rape, and has engaged in an unstated (and perhaps even unconscious) institutional bias toward comforting accusors (the vast majority of whom are women).

  44. OHNOES
    February 16, 2006 at 6:49 pm

    In his followup, he affirms the idea that rape cases operate under a system of reverse sexism:

    To which I say… “Yeah, is that unreasonable?”

    And, fuck that “open debate” shit. If Jill is met with that much scorn but the “Date rape isn’t actually rape” woman isn’t even responded to, he’s not “open.”

    THE SIGHT OF ONE PERSON ON THE INTERNET SAYING AN ASININE COMMENT IS COMPLETE PROOF OF A HOSTILE DEBATE ENVIRONMENT OHH NOES

  45. Josh
    February 16, 2006 at 6:50 pm

    A false allegation of car theft does not come with the painful title of “sex offender.”

    What about “murderer”? “Carjacker”? “Thief”? “Con man”? “Drug lord”? “Cop killer”?

  46. February 16, 2006 at 6:51 pm

    I never argued rape convictions required a higher standard. To suggest that I believe that is insulting, and speaks more to your biases than mine.

    Instead, I argued that there was a frightening disparity between the sentencing for those who might have been convicted of rape had they not had the “good sense” to tape a gang bang (life), and the person who used the accusation of rape as a weapon (a misdemeanor). And I found it ironic that “gentleman” gang bangers — those who didn’t have the poor taste to videotape the event — might have been up shit’s creek.

    The point was always this: because the stakes are so high, and because we don’t treat rape as just any other crime (identity politics, gender / power roles, and other attendant societal biases apply — and these pro-victim biases are codified, oftentimes, in law, as Allah points out in the thread), should we not therefore make the stakes for purposely misusing what amounts to special considerations much more severe for offenders?

    I asked this question in good faith. And I asked it within the context of a case that raised these very questions. Had the case been about an 18-year old altar boy making false allegations of rape against six priests who fortunately videotaped the gang bang and were able to use that tape as exculpatory evidence, my position would be the same. Ditto if the logistics had been reversed, and the accusor was a man and the gang bangers 6 women.

  47. OHNOES
    February 16, 2006 at 6:52 pm

    What about “murderer”? “Carjacker”? “Thief”? “Con man”? “Drug lord”? “Cop killer”?

    We got national registries for those? SWEET!

  48. zuzu
    February 16, 2006 at 6:53 pm

    Perhaps then what is needed is a difference between gross false charges and false charges. Gross filing of false charges being false charges for, let’s say, felonies, or sufficiently grave crimes. Aggravated gross filing of false charges might be as above, but with malicious intent.

    Would that make sense?

    Not really, because a lie’s a lie, from the system’s perspective.

    A false allegation of car theft does not come with the painful title of “sex offender.” The parallels you are drawing just don’t stick that tightly.

    The system doesn’t avenge the falsely accused. It really doesn’t matter, from the system’s perspective, what the title of the accused is, because that’s not what it’s redressing.

    And again, if the accused suffers damage to his reputation, he can always sue for slander or libel, among other things.

  49. zuzu
    February 16, 2006 at 6:55 pm

    We got national registries for those? SWEET!

    You *do* realize that the reason we have those registries is because of pedophiles, not rapists of adult women?

  50. OHNOES
    February 16, 2006 at 6:56 pm

    The system doesn’t avenge the falsely accused. It really doesn’t matter, from the system’s perspective, what the title of the accused is, because that’s not what it’s redressing.

    This is quite logical, but, still, the system is RESPONSIBLE for the lifelong branding of the accused as a sex offender, complete with listings in government run registries. I mean, if we extend the system to engage in that business, surely we can create a symmetry for that…

  51. OHNOES
    February 16, 2006 at 6:58 pm

    You *do* realize that the reason we have those registries is because of pedophiles, not rapists of adult women?

    Really, I seem to remember from the Brian Peppers ordeal that he was not actually a pedophile, yet was in an online registry of sex offenders…

  52. OHNOES
    February 16, 2006 at 7:00 pm

    I could be completely wrong, but I was under the impression that all sexually based offenses carried the title of “sex offender”. If not ALL do, I would like on some level if practical to see them all do… but that’s just me.

  53. February 16, 2006 at 7:01 pm

    Not really, because a lie’s a lie, from the system’s perspective.

    Would love to hear where you stand on hate crime legislation…

  54. zuzu
    February 16, 2006 at 7:03 pm

    Instead, I argued that there was a frightening disparity between the sentencing for those who might have been convicted of rape had they not had the “good sense” to tape a gang bang (life), and the person who used the accusation of rape as a weapon (a misdemeanor).

    There’s good reason for the disparity. Rape is a violent crime; false reporting is not. And, at least in this case, the false report did not do much harm to the accused because they never had charges brought against them.

    This is quite logical, but, still, the system is RESPONSIBLE for the lifelong branding of the accused as a sex offender, complete with listings in government run registries. I mean, if we extend the system to engage in that business, surely we can create a symmetry for that…

    You only get placed on the registries if you’ve been convicted or plead out. If you are never charged, or if you can show during discovery, at trial or on appeal that you were falsely accused, you never get put on them.

  55. zuzu
    February 16, 2006 at 7:06 pm

    Really, I seem to remember from the Brian Peppers ordeal that he was not actually a pedophile, yet was in an online registry of sex offenders…

    We *have* the registries because of pedophiles. Adult women have been raped for millenia, but nobody ever pushed to get sex offenders registered until some children were raped and murdered by pedophiles.

    And yes, all kinds of sex offenders are on the registries. Flashers, too.

  56. zuzu
    February 16, 2006 at 7:06 pm

    Really, I seem to remember from the Brian Peppers ordeal that he was not actually a pedophile, yet was in an online registry of sex offenders…

    We *have* the registries because of pedophiles. Adult women have been raped for millenia, but nobody ever pushed to get sex offenders registered until some children were raped and murdered by pedophiles.

    And yes, all kinds of sex offenders are on the registries. Flashers, too.

  57. Josh
    February 16, 2006 at 7:12 pm

    We got national registries for those? SWEET!

    I thought this was about social stigma, not registries.

    Would love to hear where you stand on hate crime legislation…

    Would love to hear your stand on different punishments for premeditated murder vs. aggravated manslaughter. Punishment depends on the mental state, not just the actus reus. It’s been that way for centuries. WHY DOES LORD BLACKSTONE WANT TO PUNISH THOUGHTCRIME!!?!

  58. February 16, 2006 at 7:15 pm

    zuzu —

    I guess it’s easy to say false reporting isn’t a violent crime if you aren’t the one who goes to prison for life because of it. But my question was, should it not be treated more seriously — especially in cases that often come down to he said/she said, with the accusor required to meet lower evidentiary standards of proof than in other criminal prosecutions.

    And sorry, but the argument that the false accusation did “not do much harm to the accused because they never had charges brought against them” strikes me as a lame attempt to avoid the problem. Which is, what if they had been charged and convicted based on false testimony — and, say, the tape surfaced, oh, ten-years into their prison time later?

    Would a misdemeanor offense or perjury offense seem right to you? Or is something more serious called for?

    This was the crux of the question.

  59. piny
    February 16, 2006 at 7:17 pm

    To which I say… “Yeah, is that unreasonable?”

    No, you say, “He never said that! How dare you insinuate he said that!”

    THE SIGHT OF ONE PERSON ON THE INTERNET SAYING AN ASININE COMMENT IS COMPLETE PROOF OF A HOSTILE DEBATE ENVIRONMENT OHH NOES

    No, the fact that he talks to Jill that way but lets this woman’s comment pass is proof that he’s no reasonable moderate. He doesn’t care about rape victims or about women, or he’d complain about someone on his blog saying something so hateful towards them.

  60. February 16, 2006 at 7:22 pm

    Josh —

    Mental state in re: to the intentional planning of the crime of murder in advance vs. socially defined mental state that may have contributed in some way to the dislike of the victim, or may have potentially acted as a catalyst for the murder?

    Well, In the case of hate crimes, the aggrevating factor is presumably present for more than just the day of the crime. So the question becomes, why was the crime committed on that day and not one of the thousand other days that same hate was present — assuming other opportunities presented themselves?

    Apples / oranges, as far as I’m concerned.

  61. piny
    February 16, 2006 at 7:24 pm

    I guess it’s easy to say false reporting isn’t a violent crime if you aren’t the one who goes to prison for life because of it. But my question was, should it not be treated more seriously — especially in cases that often come down to he said/she said, with the accusor required to meet lower evidentiary standards of proof than in other criminal prosecutions.

    Look:

    You’re arguing that there is a bias in favor of the accuser such that the defendant’s right to due process is violated.

    If we assume that bias makes it more difficult to defend a rape allegation, we must assume that it makes it more difficult to prosecute a false rape allegation.

    Therefore, that problem cannot be solved without attaching more scrutiny to the accuser’s testimony, that is, “raising the bar” for evidence introduced to prove the accuser’s case, and treating that plaintiff differently than the victim of any other crime.

  62. February 16, 2006 at 7:24 pm

    zuzu

    So, do you believe the $18 mil award given to the teacher falsely accused of kidnapping and sexual assault is wrong?

  63. February 16, 2006 at 7:25 pm

    No, the fact that he talks to Jill that way but lets this woman’s comment pass is proof that he’s no reasonable moderate. He doesn’t care about rape victims or about women, or he’d complain about someone on his blog saying something so hateful towards them.

    Actually, it means I don’t take responsiblity for every thought every commenter has.

    To make a leap from that to “He doesn’t care about rape victims or about women” is the height of arrogance, ignorance, and offense.

    You are simply beneath contempt. And you have the audacity to complain about the commenters at MY site?

    Fuck yourself.

  64. piny
    February 16, 2006 at 7:25 pm

    Would a misdemeanor offense or perjury offense seem right to you? Or is something more serious called for?

    Except that you aren’t asking this question about any other kind of accusation. Only women who accuse men of rape.

  65. February 16, 2006 at 7:28 pm

    Look:

    You’re arguing that there is a bias in favor of the accuser such that the defendant’s right to due process is violated.

    If we assume that bias makes it more difficult to defend a rape allegation, we must assume that it makes it more difficult to prosecute a false rape allegation.

    Therefore, that problem cannot be solved without attaching more scrutiny to the accuser’s testimony, that is, “raising the bar” for evidence introduced to prove the accuser’s case, and treating that plaintiff differently than the victim of any other crime.

    Wrong. I’m saying that if bar is to be lowered for accusors, it needs to be raised for false accusors. Simple as that. If that is inconvenient, then let’s just go back to an even bar all around.

  66. February 16, 2006 at 7:32 pm

    Except that you aren’t asking this question about any other kind of accusation. Only women who accuse men of rape.

    Or men who accuse women of rape, or 18-year old altar boys who accuse priests of rape. Or haven’t you been following?

    60-something comments in and you still want to make this about misogyny. You’re a dishonest and disingenuous person, piny. And you have no intention of letting anything I’ve actually said penetrate your hideous narrative of me.

  67. piny
    February 16, 2006 at 7:38 pm

    Actually, it means I don’t take responsiblity for every thought every commenter has.

    To make a leap from that to “He doesn’t care about rape victims or about women” is the height of arrogance, ignorance, and offense.

    You are simply beneath contempt. And you have the audacity to complain about the commenters at MY site?

    Fuck yourself.

    This is what you didn’t bother to comment on:

    All the trouble began when the idea of “date rape” started. One of my college room mates was Rape raped (at gunpoint.) To me, it simply isn’t the same thing as a woman who had to much to drink, and had the misfortune of being taken advantage of by a man she met at a bar, or some such nonsense.

    Are you saying you didn’t see it? Or are you saying you read it and felt no obligation whatsoever to respond?

    Say I wrote a post about hate-crimes legislation, ostensibly to “open up debate.” The first comment is by some homophobic asshole who says that Matthew Shepard and every other murdered gay man deserved it for daring to proposition straight men. Maybe some choice comments about how things were so much better before the gays had to get in everyone’s faces about it. If I didn’t even respond to the effect of, “I don’t think that’s true,” would you expect any gay person to believe that I gave a shit about anti-gay violence?

    If someone dared to make that comment in any space mediated by me, I would say something. Just as I would say something if someone showed up and started arguing that spousal rape isn’t really rape, or that spousal abuse is a contradiction in terms. That comment was beyond the fucking pale, and it was the first one that appeared in comments on a post no less manageable than this one. You let it go. That says something about your stance on this issue, namely, that you don’t care about women or rape victims. Why would any feminist bother debating this issue with you? Why would any woman listen to you? You say you’re worried about bias, but this commenter’s belief that rape isn’t rape if you know the guy don’t bother you in the least.

  68. piny
    February 16, 2006 at 7:39 pm

    Or men who accuse women of rape, or 18-year old altar boys who accuse priests of rape. Or haven’t you been following?

    Wrong. You don’t believe there’s any bias in favor of male victims of rape.

  69. February 16, 2006 at 7:52 pm

    piny

    You don’t believe there’s any bias in favor of male victims of rape.

    How do you conclude that about Jeff?

    You really don’t believe he offers his arguments in good faith, do you?

  70. Josh
    February 16, 2006 at 7:57 pm

    Mental state in re: to the intentional planning of the crime of murder in advance vs. socially defined mental state that may have contributed in some way to the dislike of the victim, or may have potentially acted as a catalyst for the murder?

    As an aside, premeditation is not the same as intentional planning in advance. Premeditation can occur in the amount of time it takes to pull the trigger. Embarrassing cause celebre Mumia Abu-Jama, now passe, is well-acquainted with this legal nuance.

    Well, In the case of hate crimes, the aggrevating factor is presumably present for more than just the day of the crime. So the question becomes, why was the crime committed on that day and not one of the thousand other days that same hate was present — assuming other opportunities presented themselves?

    I’m not sure I see why that is the crucial question. I think the key question is, if the same act occurs, why is the presence of X mental state a permissible reason to lengthen the sentence but Y mental state is not?

  71. piny
    February 16, 2006 at 7:59 pm

    and more importantly, is there an institutional bias to believe the story of the abused, particularly if the abused is female, at the expense of the lives and reputations of the accused?

    Cathy Young takes the time to answer my query from yesterday which asked how we might better treat false rape charges in a political and legal ethos that, after years of being lobbied by establishment women’s rights activists (itself a powerful political identity group), has lowered evidentiary standards for proof of rape, and has engaged in an unstated (and perhaps even unconscious) institutional bias toward comforting accusors (the vast majority of whom are women).

    Also, the feminists, the feminists, the feminists ad nauseum. Nary a reference to victims’ rights groups, period, even though there are certainly other advocacy groups for victims of rape, sexual assault, and sexual abuse. He’s talking about women.

  72. February 16, 2006 at 8:00 pm

    Piny,

    To me, it simply isn’t the same thing as a woman who had to much to drink, and had the misfortune of being taken advantage of by a man she met at a bar, or some such nonsense.

    Your objection to the diminishment of this type of rape is noted but please inform me as to how this is different from the issue that was raised in the Canadian context in my first comment. The way I interpret this scenario, is that both the man and the woman were drinking, he used her lowered state of inhibition to have a sexual encounter that she wouldn’t have consented to if she wasn’t inebriated and he should be charged with rape because he is expected to maintain his decisionmaking skills while inebriated but the woman is given a pass.

    You want Jeff to respond with outrage to this scenario, but I’m not certain why outrage should be mustered. Please explain why you find the above example so toxic.

  73. February 16, 2006 at 8:04 pm

    If someone dared to make that comment in any space mediated by me, I would say something

    Well, no doubt. But why would you expect Jeff (or any other non-feminist) to enforce feminist orthodoxy?

    The opinion expressed by the commenter is simply that rape-at-gunpoint and date rape aren’t really the same thing. Feminist orthodoxy vehemently disagrees – and makes a fairly good case for their position, in my view. But it’s nonetheless not a majoritarian position, and the commenter’s opinion is eminently mainstream. Most people think that finding a drunkenly unconscious woman and fucking her is morally wrong. Most people think that getting a woman at gunpoint and fucking her is morally wrong. Most people think that these two morally wrong things are not the same wrong thing.

    Those people may well be wrong. But it seems absurd to expect Jeff to further a cause that (to my knowledge) he hasn’t bought into.

  74. piny
    February 16, 2006 at 8:22 pm

    The way I interpret this scenario, is that both the man and the woman were drinking, he used her lowered state of inhibition to have a sexual encounter that she wouldn’t have consented to if she wasn’t inebriated and he should be charged with rape because he is expected to maintain his decisionmaking skills while inebriated but the woman is given a pass.

    The opinion expressed by the commenter is simply that rape-at-gunpoint and date rape aren’t really the same thing.

    Wrong. This woman disputes the very idea of date rape, and complains about its entrace into our lexicon. Stranger rape is rape rape, or real rape. Date rape doesn’t even count:

    All the trouble began when the idea of “date rape” started. One of my college room mates was Rape raped (at gunpoint.)

    Jeff is attempting to present himself as a moderate who cares about the sexual victimization of women. If he doesn’t think that having sex with a woman who is passed out is rape rape, then he doesn’t really care about the sexual victimization of women. If he doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with saying so, or if his concerns about “bias” extend to evidentiary rules but not to “rape rape,” then he’s not moderate.

  75. February 16, 2006 at 8:34 pm

    As I suspected, these men were not going to get life in prision for rape, but for kidnapping, and for rape with a handgun. But in order to make this seem even more horrific PW wants to pretend that they would have been sent to jail for life for rape.
    This case never even got to an arrest stage because the evidence was so sorely lacking. Even if (which I dont accept) the majority of people would automatically give the woman’s story more weight, it doesnt follow that the prosecution could prove kidnapping at gunpoint or rape at gunpoint even if the jurors automatically believed the woman was raped.
    Since obviously you DONT get it, if I kill/assault one person in a room as an example of what happens if you dont sleep with me, Ive never used violence against YOU yet I have certainly raped you if I subseqentially have sex with you.
    What Jill means about a “rape culture” is something a lot of people (especially men) have a hard time understanding -Internalized powerlessness is even more scary than having a gun pointed at your head.
    Ive had both.
    And as women we are indoctronated into powerlessness every day. Witness – by your definition, violence or threat of violence is a “worse” rape than one which just ignores a “no”, or god forbid, gets crying/verbal-protesting compliance. So in this scenario, fighting back, and therefore provoking assualt is the way to go – then you can charge a rapist with a “worse” offense and have the bruises/death to “prove” it.
    Yet dead women are frowned over “If she had just handed over the pussy she wouldnt have gotten hurt” or “If she hadnt been engaging in an unsafe activity like [insert any activity undertaken at night] she could have avoided this,” or my personal favorite “if she was raped, where are the signs of violence?”
    That is what lving in a rape culture means.
    And I would venture to say, that much like the pro-lifers we could find common ground in many injustices (lack of free birth control for them sexual equality for all you) but mysteriously the injustices are all about reversing CORE BELIEFS first.
    So instead of engaging first in a discussion about how to make women generally safer from rape the discussion is going to start with how unfair and biased rape accusations are.
    It’s enough to make a woman suspicious.

    And 2 other things:
    I also find all this head-shaking and “im going to demand a voiemail message” amusing. You know what we say to that? GREAT!! Anything that causes people to be sure of each others intentions/beliefs in the sexual arena is a GREAT IDEA! We applaud you forward thinkers and we hope that you WILL get your partners consent. Have her sign it in triplicate if you want to. Really. We approve.
    Im not really sure Ive ever split gang-bangers into “gentleman” and “crude” catagories but whatever gets you through the night. If crude gang-bangers are those that tape a gang-bang showing a woman’s consent to her own gang-bang (and to the taping albeit with caveats), once again, i say Bravo! It’s all about communication.

  76. CraigC
    February 16, 2006 at 8:35 pm

    If someone dared to make that comment in any space mediated by me, I would say something. Just as I would say something if someone showed up and started arguing that spousal rape isn’t really rape, or that spousal abuse is a contradiction in terms. That comment was beyond the fucking pale

    Let’s take two different situations: In the first, a man sets out with the intention of raping a woman, chooses his victim, and forcibly rapes her, either with a weapon, or the threat of physical violence.

    In the second, two people meet at a bar and go home together. They’ve both been drinking. She’s not really sure whether she wants to have sex, even though she accompanied him to his apartment, which, whether you like it or not, sends a message. He manages to wheedle and cajole his way into her pants, without her ever saying something to the effect of, “NO, NO, NO. If you continue this, it will be rape.”

    Are you seriously saying that those two things are exactly the same?

  77. kate
    February 16, 2006 at 8:43 pm

    I will say this, but probably no one will read as it its now post number 70 or something.

    Somehow I just have a problem with 6 men engaging in a ‘gang bang’ and everyone thinking that is ok. To me the act of a ‘gang bang’ in and of itself is exploitive of a women and I somehow have a hard time feeling bad for men who find themselves at the wrong end when its all over.

    I mean, what’s wrong with righteous outrage over the behavior of these men? Why should I care? When, as popular social sentiment consistently reveals that women may possibly ‘bring on’ a rape, why can’t a man be responsible for their own scurious behavior? If they can get me because I wear a miniskirt and no bra, why are men who engage in a GD gang bang so innocent?

    Also, the notion that rape must reveal some kind of violence is absolute bullshit. When I was 14 and raped and the guy said to me, “Shut up bitch or I’ll kill you.” I wasn’t about to fight with him. Capisce?

    Also, no one here has any evidence to show that women are putting men into jail left and right based on false charges, or that in fact, women who are actually raped are overwhelmingly successful in putting men in jail for even a year, much less their whole lives.

    The fact that Jeff Goldstein gets all worked up because these men “faced” a possible life sentence in jail doesn’t get me too worried that they actually would spend much time behind bars even if they DID rape the said woman.

    I also have a serious problem with why everyone gets all worked up over false charges of rape, but say, not false charges of treason, robbery, murder? Hell, there are men who’ve spent most of their lives in jail thanks to overzealous prosecutors, should we place those prosecutors up to trial to look into the extent of their erroneous ways, possibly put them in jail, charge them with felonies?

    Why do people so often scream injustice when in the forum of women seeking justice against the wrongs committed to them by men?

    Also, there is plenty of evidence to refute the notion so popular among men that family courts are tilted to women. Read up and think outside the established parameters for just a minute.

  78. February 16, 2006 at 8:48 pm

    If he doesn’t think that having sex with a woman who is passed out is rape rape, then he doesn’t really care about the sexual victimization of women.

    And now you’re moving the goalposts. I imagine that Jeff thinks that having sex with an unconscious woman is rape (and therefore, in your test, can be presumed to care about women’s sexual victimization.) What he hasn’t done, however, is vehemently defend this point of view against any and all rhetorical assaults or simple disagreements. The very first comment on his thread, expressing that disagreement (“To me, it simply isn’t the same thing…”) was also a substantial derailment of the thread.

    Do you seriously submit that in order for Jeff to be taken as a person starting a good-faith conversation, he has to derail his own argument by engaging in rhetorical combat on separate topics with every commenter who comes along?

    This woman disputes the very idea of date rape, and complains about its entrace into our lexicon. Stranger rape is rape rape, or real rape. Date rape doesn’t even count

    Perhaps she does think this; I don’t know her. However, it is not empirically discernable that she holds these wicked views from her brief comment on Jeff’s site. It seems that you are drawing conclusions about someone’s position based on scanty evidence (if it’s based on any evidence at all), then recasting the person’s statements in the light of these arbitrary conclusions, and using that recasting as evidence of the rightness of the conclusion. The logic is completely circular.

    I like many of the things that you have written, Piny, but Jeff’s thesis that you have constructed a narrative where he is a misogynistic monster, and no data to the contrary can be permitted to modify that narrative, appears very credible. If you find Jeff’s good faith questionable, or simply don’t want to engage the questions he’s raised, that’s entirely fair. If you disagree with his argument and want to vigorously present your counter-case, that’s even more fair. But pretending that Jeff is some kind of untouchable entity and his arguments so much gutter slime on the grounds that he didn’t vigorously prosecute a misguided commenter is patently unfair.

  79. February 16, 2006 at 8:51 pm

    To me the act of a ‘gang bang’ in and of itself is exploitive of a women and I somehow have a hard time feeling bad for men who find themselves at the wrong end when its all over.

    Why are you attacking this woman’s right to make choices about her own body?

  80. February 16, 2006 at 9:03 pm

    Piny

    If he doesn’t think that having sex with a woman who is passed out is rape rape,

    Please give me a quote of Jeff’s where he said it.

    If a woman is passed out…YES it is rape. If both parties to sex are both drunk when they climb into bed, then it is NOT rape.

    Just like when a couple slugs each other, it is mutual combat and we do NOT file DV charges on that.

    Kate

    Anytime anyone moderate or right of center dare whisper about proprieties about consensual sex, they risk being tarred as frigid sex-ophobes.

    Personnally, I think the hookin’ up culture, with group sex IS sending a lot of bad signals on how we should treat/value sex. As I heard someone else say … we treat sex as if it were a happy meal toy. Something to be momentarily enjoyed then discarded. These guys are pretty scummy, and so is the gal for even thinking this group thing was cool. But don’t please argue that the character of the people involved is not supposed to be taken into account in rape cases then say it should be. Cuz it looks like the guys were with victims in this case, regardless of their morally reprehensible behavior.

    And you make assumptions that Jeff is not exercised about false charges on anything but rape. That’s deflection.

  81. OHNOES
    February 16, 2006 at 9:09 pm

    Wow… the “rape must entail violence” straw man sure sticks, doesn’t it?

    That and Piny is still riding that “OMG HE DIDNT BABYSIT THE INTERNET BY PERSONALLY RESPONDING TO EVERY ASININE COMMENT I GUESS THAT MEANS HE HATES WOMEN” horse for all it is worth, as though it meant something.

    I’m going to say this once. Jeff doesn’t respond to all of the posts on his site. He has no obligation to babysit the vast multitude of idiots on his blog. Where I come from, only the nitwits try to tie a blog writer to his or her commenters. Some of them do, but that’s what they are. You, my friend, are… if Mr. Goldstein will excuse my borrowing of some of his invective, are a disingenuous jackass, and eternal proof that they let just anyone on the internet.

    Meanwhile, I shall converse with the adults for a bit longer.

    We *have* the registries because of pedophiles. Adult women have been raped for millenia, but nobody ever pushed to get sex offenders registered until some children were raped and murdered by pedophiles.

    And yes, all kinds of sex offenders are on the registries. Flashers, too.

    How is the first paragraph relevant to the second. Or, rather, how is the cause related to the effect. I am fairly pleased with the effect, to be honest.

    I thought this was about social stigma, not registries.

    You think that “car jacker” carries the same stigma as “sex offender?” Not in MY neck of the woods it doesn’t, that’s for sure.

    And… come on, where’s your Scarlet Letter knowledge? The registries don’t make that sort of stigma stand out, perpetuated by the State, as it were?

  82. OHNOES
    February 16, 2006 at 9:11 pm

    kate, yeah, if it were me saying that about group sex here, I would get a response nearly identical to Robert’s response. Darleen has it on the money.

  83. February 16, 2006 at 9:30 pm

    Funny how OHNOES cant leave a post that is not personally offensive. He cannot carry on a logical, rational conversation that is not peppered with personal insults yet he considers himself an “adult”. No doubt he also considers himself a masterful debator. Most teenagers think that dismissing someone else’s arguments somehow makes their arguement stronger.

    So sad.

    Note my condescending, belittling tone and how I insinuate OHNOES is a child and then dismiss him? Im so clever!

  84. OHNOES
    February 16, 2006 at 9:42 pm

    Man, it sure is a pity how That Girl hates men and really would rather see a hundred thousand innocent men go to jail than a single rapist go free. That sort of attitude sure makes me queasy about joining debates that she is party too.

    See, That Girl can debate like me, I can debate like That Girl. This is a fun game.

  85. February 16, 2006 at 10:05 pm

    really would rather see a hundred thousand innocent men go to jail than a single rapist go free

    What?

    You know, for all this good faith/bad faith shit…

  86. zuzu
    February 16, 2006 at 10:07 pm

    Jeff:

    I guess it’s easy to say false reporting isn’t a violent crime if you aren’t the one who goes to prison for life because of it. But my question was, should it not be treated more seriously — especially in cases that often come down to he said/she said, with the accusor required to meet lower evidentiary standards of proof than in other criminal prosecutions.

    The evidentiary standard is the same for all crimes. I’m guessing that you’re failing to distinguish between the investigation and the trial, which is the only point at which the evidentiary standard comes into play.

    And sorry, but the argument that the false accusation did “not do much harm to the accused because they never had charges brought against them” strikes me as a lame attempt to avoid the problem. Which is, what if they had been charged and convicted based on false testimony — and, say, the tape surfaced, oh, ten-years into their prison time later?

    Would a misdemeanor offense or perjury offense seem right to you? Or is something more serious called for?

    Jeff, I don’t know how many times I can say this: the false accusation is not considered a crime against the accused. It is considered a crime against the criminal-law system. It also exists entirely independently of the crime for which the defendant stands accused. Remember Martha Stewart? She wasn’t found guilty of insider trading, but she did go to jail — because she lied to the investigators. Scooter Libby is under indictment for lying to the grand jury.

    The criminal-law system just doesn’t get involved in redressing the damage to reputation that might follow from a false accusation, of any kind. That’s the job of the civil law system. If someone has been falsely arrested, they have a civil-rights claim for false arrest (against the cops, because of course they’re the ones who arrested him). If they’re wrongly convicted and later cleared, they have false imprisonment and malicious prosecution claims. And that’s in addition to any libel or slander or other claims they can bring against the accuser. It’s up to the civil courts to assess the damage to the reputation and the compensation for that.

    In short, there’s just nothing different or special about a false rape charge in terms of the criminal law system. This case isn’t even that special, certainly because the accused men were apparently never arrested and never had to stand trial or face jail time. You can talk all you want about “what if,” but it just doesn’t matter. They suffered no damage.

  87. Dustin R. Ridgeway
    February 16, 2006 at 10:15 pm

    Somehow I just have a problem with 6 men engaging in a ‘gang bang’ and everyone thinking that is ok. To me the act of a ‘gang bang’ in and of itself is exploitive of a women and I somehow have a hard time feeling bad for men who find themselves at the wrong end when its all over.

    Wow.

  88. Josh
    February 16, 2006 at 10:17 pm

    You think that “car jacker” carries the same stigma as “sex offender?” Not in MY neck of the woods it doesn’t, that’s for sure.

    Good to see you’ve abandoned the silly registries non sequiter. If you don’t like carjacker, I suggested others. Murderer and cop killer seem pretty stigmatizing.

    At any rate, not only is a false accuser at risk for a criminal prosecution for perjury or filing a false report, but the falsely accused would have an action for libel and possibly malicious prosecution.

  89. kate
    February 16, 2006 at 10:18 pm

    But don’t please argue that the character of the people involved is not supposed to be taken into account in rape cases then say it should be. Cuz it looks like the guys were with victims in this case, regardless of their morally reprehensible behavior.

    Yes, I understand your point Darleen, but I couldn’t help but point out that these men in their obviously exploitive and horrid behavior will get full mileage and sympathy while a woman who speaks rape must expect to be judged by her behavior at every angle in the press, the courts and among her peers.

    And you make assumptions that Jeff is not exercised about false charges on anything but rape. That’s deflection.

    Since Mr. Goldstein uses the rape example exclusively, instead of drawing on other examples of injustice done due to false accusations, I feel comfortable in drawing the conclusion that the object of his outrage is more in the form of a female accusing rape over other forms of false accusation.

    I would also posit to say that Mr. Goldstein’s outrage serves to qualify the stereotype still so ever-present that any rape charge must be viewed with suspicion because women are really just lying, vindictive bitches waiting for the chance to ‘get back’ at some man who has committed some wrong against them.

    Which then leads to his claim that ‘there should be a law’ to make them damn bitches shut up and leave those good ‘ole boys to have their fun.

    Sorry, I just don’t see how Goldstein has his raised argument any farther than that.

  90. zuzu
    February 16, 2006 at 10:19 pm

    Darleen:

    So, do you believe the $18 mil award given to the teacher falsely accused of kidnapping and sexual assault is wrong?

    I think it’s a little high for a compensatory award, but it will probably be reduced later. But it’s apples and oranges — which you should know, working in a DA’s office.

    First, we’re talking about criminal penalties for making a false accusation. This is a civil jury award.

    Second, and most importantly, it wasn’t the person reporting the rape who got this guy convicted (and there seems to be no dispute that she was, in fact, raped and kidnapped — this is a straight-up case of the wrong guy getting ID’d, and that’s common enough with visual IDs). The real wrongdoer was the detective, who knew it wasn’t the right guy but built a case against him anyway.

    Finally, the whole story just serves as an example of what I’ve been saying — while the criminal-law system isn’t interested in redressing the loss of freedom and reputation, the civil-law system is.

  91. OHNOES
    February 16, 2006 at 10:33 pm

    You know, for all this good faith/bad faith shit…

    Way to keep up, Lauren. Gotta love her. She never let a bit of sarcasm go over HER head. ;)

    Go reread the LAST stuff I said to That Girl in this thread, then put two and two together, please?

    Or, don’t. It isn’t like any PWers can hope to get a fair shake here anyway.

    Kate’s last post being a BEAUTIFUL example.

    Josh, not nearly so much as sex offender… unless cause du jour Stanley “Tookie” Williams doesn’t count.

    Hey, I still say that the registries are still an example of state propagated airing of ones stigma. If you want to pretend that the state registries have no affect on the airing or severity of this iniquity, that is your perogative my friend.

  92. zuzu
    February 16, 2006 at 10:45 pm

    Fun(?) fact: the town of Quantico, Va., which lies entirely within Marine Base Quantico, has one of the highest population densities of registered sex offenders in the country.

  93. OHNOES
    February 16, 2006 at 10:46 pm

    You know what, forget it. If even Lauren is down to cherry-picking and snark, then there is no point in being here. Complete waste of everyone’s time. I shall bow out.

    I salute Josh and zuzu for providing a good faith discussion. Your arguments from the strictly legal standpoint were relatively reasonable and well-founded, though I still maintain that the crime of rape carries specific social (and social also by means of government policy) connotations, that there should be some consideration of that. What consideration? I have no clue, honestly. Just wanting to shoot the breeze, but, I guess… well, you see how these gender issues get. ;)

  94. kate
    February 16, 2006 at 10:46 pm

    I wanted to quit refreshing this, but I am posting hoping that OHNOES is still lurking….

    What the hell is a PW?

    Slam me if you wish for my ignorance, but please enligten me.

    Post Women?
    Pole Wrangler?
    Penis Wrestler?
    Pristine Warbler?
    Piss Whiner?
    Peg Winger?

    What? what?

  95. February 16, 2006 at 10:53 pm

    Postmodern Wunderkind.

  96. zuzu
    February 16, 2006 at 11:00 pm

    though I still maintain that the crime of rape carries specific social (and social also by means of government policy) connotations, that there should be some consideration of that.

    And to the extent those stigmas and connotations damage the accused, the civil courts are far better positioned to assess and redress the damages than the criminal courts.

  97. kate
    February 16, 2006 at 11:03 pm

    Postmodern Wunderkind.

    Thank you Robert.

    Now I can shut this thing off and go back to reality. Such a shame he/she has left us. I missed that post announcing his/her departure.

    Please Ohnoey come back!

  98. zuzu
    February 16, 2006 at 11:13 pm

    Kate, it’s actually Protein Wisdom, Jeff G.’s blog. Though “Protein Wisdom” makes just as much sense as anything else.

  99. Nobody
    February 16, 2006 at 11:22 pm

    Maybe this is stupid, but reading through the thread, a couple of people have made the point that false rape allegations are rare. What is this based on? Is it just an assumption? What percentage of rape allegations are false?

  100. February 16, 2006 at 11:27 pm

    OHNOES, reread your first comment and analyze how you set the tone for how people will receive you for the rest of the thread. Then get righteous.

  101. February 16, 2006 at 11:29 pm

    Nobody, the research I have read shows that false rape allegations are in the same range of numbers for all false allegations of crimes, and that number is low. I’ll have to search to find the data, but I think I can reproduce it.

  102. zuzu
    February 16, 2006 at 11:29 pm

    Nobody, false allegations of any crime are rare. And making an allegation of rape subjects the accuser to a level of scrutiny that other accusers don’t go through.

  103. February 16, 2006 at 11:41 pm

    zuzu

    I do understand that false charges as a misdemeanor in the criminal court setting are about a crime against The People of the state and not the person falsely accused. That’s how it exists, even if the false charges are for rape or child molestation or theft or trespass are all treated the same.

    Should it be that way? Should someone, anyone, be allowed a slap on the wrist for using the judicial system as an instrument of revenge?

    And don’t get me wrong. I’m glad there is a civil system to assess compensatory and punitive damages, and I believe the jury in the teacher’s case was correct in its slap at LA Cty Sheriff’s Dept for the deliberate acts of its detective. If the girl who falsely identified the teacher had done it deliberately, rather than just mis-identification which happened, I would want her right next to the detective.

    Whenever there is a miscarriage of justice, all sorts of people get hurt. This gal who kept insisting on falsely accusing these guys damages other women who have been raped. When cops go out of control and do something wrong, they smear all cops (which is why I believe cops who do wrong under color of authority should face stiffer charges).

  104. February 16, 2006 at 11:46 pm

    Zuzu

    to the extent those stigmas and connotations damage the accused, the civil courts are far better positioned to assess and redress the damages than the criminal courts.

    Not necessarily. Back to the teacher case I linked to, the criminal court in that instance actually gave the teacher a factual finding of “innocent”. Without such, even a “not guilty” would still carry a certain stigma that may he DID sexually assault the girl and just got away with it on a technicality.

  105. Nobody
    February 16, 2006 at 11:46 pm

    101- Thanks! That’d be really great.

    I’ve been poking around, but coming up with numbers that seem completely implausible (41%) and are based on sample sizes of 109, or 64, etc. It doesn’t seem (instinctively) that there would be a way to design a good test, though, since: which category do you put the ones with no evidence either way, and both parties insist opposite things happened?

    But whatever numbers you have I’ll appreciate.

  106. zuzu
    February 17, 2006 at 12:13 am

    Not necessarily. Back to the teacher case I linked to, the criminal court in that instance actually gave the teacher a factual finding of “innocent”. Without such, even a “not guilty” would still carry a certain stigma that may he DID sexually assault the girl and just got away with it on a technicality

    I’m not familiar with California criminal law, so I don’t know what the distinction between “innocent” and “not guilty” is. But I also don’t know what the difference in stigma would be between the two.

    No doubt this guy has suffered from stigma, particularly since he was a teacher and the accuser was a student at his school. But he’s been well-compensated for his damage by the jury, safe to say far more than anyone else in LA, since this is the highest damage award against the sheriff’s department.

    For a little perspective, the teacher got more than twice what Abner Louima got, and *he* was sodomized with a toilet plunger handle and lost portions of his intestines. Louima, at least as far back as a couple of years ago when I was still on top of these things, had the highest single payout in a police brutality case in New York City history. False arrest and mal pros cases usually came in well under the $1M mark, even in “Dirty 30” cases, where it was established that the cops were completely bent.

    In any event, for purposes of a civil rights claim for malicious prosecution, an acquittal or win on appeal is necessary.

  107. February 17, 2006 at 12:33 am

    zuzu

    point of clarification. In CA PC851.8 a finding of factual innocence allows full destruction of all arrest records and reports. It’s as if it never happened. When a person then fills out any form that asks “have you ever been arrested?” they can legally answer “no” No background check will find an arrest record and it has to be expunged from a rap sheet.

    ‘Not guilty’ is just that. One is ‘not guilty’ beyond a reasonable doubt in criminal proceedings. Doesn’t mean one is factually innocent. And as we’ve seen in the OJ and Blake cases, civil trials can find people culpable for damages even if criminal charges were not realized.

  108. piny
    February 17, 2006 at 1:55 am

    That and Piny is still riding that “OMG HE DIDNT BABYSIT THE INTERNET BY PERSONALLY RESPONDING TO EVERY ASININE COMMENT I GUESS THAT MEANS HE HATES WOMEN” horse for all it is worth, as though it meant something.

    I’m going to say this once. Jeff doesn’t respond to all of the posts on his site. He has no obligation to babysit the vast multitude of idiots on his blog. Where I come from, only the nitwits try to tie a blog writer to his or her commenters. Some of them do, but that’s what they are. You, my friend, are… if Mr. Goldstein will excuse my borrowing of some of his invective, are a disingenuous jackass, and eternal proof that they let just anyone on the internet.

    One comment that was particularly offensive in a post wherein Mr. Goldstein insists that he would love to open up dialogue with feminists, and that he understands that this is an incredibly sensitive issue. In which comments thread he then proceeds to say extremely harsh and quite elaborate things to every one of the feminist commenters who say things he doesn’t agree with–and then proceeds to attack them for having the temerity to impugn his good faith. Vast multitude? C’mon, now. He’s hardly the Emperor of Orange, and he had more than enough time to engage most of the people commenting on that thread.

    This is not about babysitting, it’s about responding when someone trivializes rape in front of you. The content of the comment also speaks directly to the position Mr. Goldstein is attempting to argue: namely, that our society’s bias works in favor of women who file rape charges.

  109. piny
    February 17, 2006 at 2:08 am

    Darleen:

    Piny

    If he doesn’t think that having sex with a woman who is passed out is rape rape,

    Please give me a quote of Jeff’s where he said it.

    If a woman is passed out…YES it is rape. If both parties to sex are both drunk when they climb into bed, then it is NOT rape.

    Just like when a couple slugs each other, it is mutual combat and we do NOT file DV charges on that.

    Read all the comments before you respond to one of them, will you? Robert argued that “rape rape” vs. “date rape” was a mainstream view in this country, and that Jeff shouldn’t be expected not to hold it. I explained why I disagreed with that. And as to “YES it is rape,” that’s precisely what the comment on his blog denied.

  110. February 17, 2006 at 2:17 am

    Robert argued that “rape rape” vs. “date rape” was a mainstream view in this country, and that Jeff shouldn’t be expected not to hold it.

    No, Piny, that’s not what I argued. Please stop mischaracterizing me.

    I argued that “rape rape” vs. “date rape” is a mainstream view in this country, and that Jeff shouldn’t be expected to go after its rhetorical promoters in a thread not designated for that topic. Not holding the view, and not aggressively defending the feminist rhetorical position on that view, are not the same thing.

    Not even close, and you know that.

  111. piny
    February 17, 2006 at 2:30 am

    And now you’re moving the goalposts. I imagine that Jeff thinks that having sex with an unconscious woman is rape (and therefore, in your test, can be presumed to care about women’s sexual victimization.) What he hasn’t done, however, is vehemently defend this point of view against any and all rhetorical assaults or simple disagreements. The very first comment on his thread, expressing that disagreement (”To me, it simply isn’t the same thing…”) was also a substantial derailment of the thread.

    Do you seriously submit that in order for Jeff to be taken as a person starting a good-faith conversation, he has to derail his own argument by engaging in rhetorical combat on separate topics with every commenter who comes along?

    No, I’m responding to the “mainstream” argument that you just made, Robert.

    And no, he doesn’t have to have a blog-comment battle to the death with every random misogynist shitwad who shows up at his blog. Who’s moving the goalposts, again? He should, however, respond when someone trivializes rape–worse than that, really: bemoans the fact that certain kinds of rape are called rape at all. Especially if the comment is in the context of a post that seeks not to trivialize rape and insists that this society doesn’t trivialize rape. A simple “that ain’t right,” would have done, from the man who wants to have “a serious, honest open, discussion on false accusations of rape.”

    Perhaps she does think this; I don’t know her. However, it is not empirically discernable that she holds these wicked views from her brief comment on Jeff’s site. It seems that you are drawing conclusions about someone’s position based on scanty evidence (if it’s based on any evidence at all), then recasting the person’s statements in the light of these arbitrary conclusions, and using that recasting as evidence of the rightness of the conclusion. The logic is completely circular.

    She says, “All the trouble began when the idea of “date rape” started. One of my college room mates was Rape raped (at gunpoint.) To me, it simply isn’t the same thing as a woman who had to much to drink, and had the misfortune of being taken advantage of by a man she met at a bar, or some such nonsense.”

    She doesn’t think the idea of “date rape” is a good one. She thinks it’s started all this trouble–and I think we can assume she doesn’t mean that rapists are treated with too much lenience. Violent stranger rape “simply isn’t the same thing” as date rape, which is “nonsense.”

    The implications of her comment are pretty clear.

    I like many of the things that you have written, Piny, but Jeff’s thesis that you have constructed a narrative where he is a misogynistic monster, and no data to the contrary can be permitted to modify that narrative, appears very credible. If you find Jeff’s good faith questionable, or simply don’t want to engage the questions he’s raised, that’s entirely fair. If you disagree with his argument and want to vigorously present your counter-case, that’s even more fair. But pretending that Jeff is some kind of untouchable entity and his arguments so much gutter slime on the grounds that he didn’t vigorously prosecute a misguided commenter is patently unfair.

    Do you, now, Robert? I don’t think you’ve ever managed to offend me more. As to everything else: Oh, for fuck’s sake. Yeah, this is totally fair.

  112. piny
    February 17, 2006 at 2:35 am

    I argued that “rape rape” vs. “date rape” is a mainstream view in this country, and that Jeff shouldn’t be expected to go after its rhetorical promoters in a thread not designated for that topic. Not holding the view, and not aggressively defending the feminist rhetorical position on that view, are not the same thing.

    Sorry about the misunderstanding. I didn’t intentionally mischaracterize you. You, however, are mischaracterizing me.

    The thread was designated to discuss the issue of institutional bias in favor of rape victims. The “mainstream” view–although Jeff G’s position would contradict that one–that “date rape” is less bad than “rape rape” is relevant to that debate.

  113. Tuomas
    February 17, 2006 at 8:18 am

    To answer Jeff G’s question on whether there should be a higher penalty than misdemeanor on false rape accusations: (IMO) Yes. As long as the same high standards of evidence are used for determining a false accusation as other crimes. That is, the false accusation charge should be tried and prosecuted separately from the rape case, making it possible (and in cases where evidence is shoddy: “He said-she said”) even likely that no one gets punished, as nothing is proved beyond reasonable doubt. It would be quite hard to prove, in most cases, that a woman was making a malicious, intentionally false charge of rape.

    piny:

    Why are these discussions always about adult women and not, say, people who allege child sexual abuse? I don’t remember anyone worried that any ex-altar boy with a grudge and a lust for publicity would victimize some hapless priest.

    Few (if any) are worried about children making false accusations, many (at least who do not fear straw man accusations of “Why do you want to protect child abusers!?”) are worried about ideological crusaders using children to further a “greater cause”, thus the “repressed memories” -hoaxes etc.

    For example:
    Jan Guillou’s book Häxornas försvarare (I’m not sure if this is translated in English. Great book if you are interested in the Christian “witch”-hunts in Scandinavia. Guillou draws parallels from the witch hunt tactcs to some [fishy] child abuse scandals)

  114. Tuomas
    February 17, 2006 at 8:39 am

    Oops, clicked submit too early.

    Also, see Ed Friedlander’s (MD, professor of pathology) work on false accusations on child abuse:

    Now, about the Iranian case: I just love Jill’s pre-emptive ad hominem on everyone who would see this as and indicator of deep problems infesting the current Islamic culture as:

    and then seeing rape and assaults on women’s rights — when they’re perpetuated by brown people — used for Muslim-bashing.

    Considering her alternative approach seems to be using rape and the subsequent execution perpetuated by Iranians (who happen to be brownish) for American Conservative-bashing.

    Again -and I realize I’m beating a dead horse here- (just file stubborness under the file of my character flaws alongside “racism” and “anti-feminism”) best way to help Muslims who live under oppression is to take of the kiddy gloves of PC multiculturalism and have an open, frank discussion about the problems that current Islamic culture has. Some will get angry. Pro liberty, pro human-rights Muslims will appreciate the support. Feminism wasn’t stopped by the fact some men got angry that their “right” to rape a wife. etc. was being taken away. This does not mean that the own culture is beyond criticism, it just means focusing on the injustice everywhere, and thus, why not where it is strongest? Simply saying “It’s disgusting” and then taking the magnifying glass to Jeff G’s alleged misogyny will not make much of a difference.

  115. Tuomas
    February 17, 2006 at 9:06 am

    For Nobody, on the subject of prevalence of false accusations, here.

    Personally I suspect false accusations of rape are quite rare. They just don’t make much sense, since rape victims are subjected to lot of social ostracism for getting raped (never made much sense to me, but this appears to be some sort of psychological defense mechanism), including the suspicion that “she’s just lying to get even” and yes, this includes modern, enlightened Western societies.

  116. piny
    February 17, 2006 at 9:41 am

    Few (if any) are worried about children making false accusations, many (at least who do not fear straw man accusations of “Why do you want to protect child abusers!?”) are worried about ideological crusaders using children to further a “greater cause”, thus the “repressed memories” -hoaxes etc.

    Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. Why aren’t people as worried about either children lying about abuse or adults lying about having been abused as children? That comes down to witness testimony, too, and the stigma is equal if not greater. And if victim-advocacy groups have created an institutional bias in favor of adult women, they’ve created one against men accused of child rape. And since there are apparently people that make spurious allegations of child abuse, which do result in accused abusers spending time in jail, why is this debate always about adult women who accuse men of rape?

  117. piny
    February 17, 2006 at 9:43 am

    To answer Jeff G’s question on whether there should be a higher penalty than misdemeanor on false rape accusations: (IMO) Yes. As long as the same high standards of evidence are used for determining a false accusation as other crimes. That is, the false accusation charge should be tried and prosecuted separately from the rape case, making it possible (and in cases where evidence is shoddy: “He said-she said”) even likely that no one gets punished, as nothing is proved beyond reasonable doubt. It would be quite hard to prove, in most cases, that a woman was making a malicious, intentionally false charge of rape.

    False rape accusations or false accusations, period?

  118. Tuomas
    February 17, 2006 at 9:47 am

    Piny:

    False accusations, period, but the severity would depend on the severity of crime the false accusation is made of (thus, murder would be worst, rape following close.)

  119. Tuomas
    February 17, 2006 at 9:49 am

    And since there are apparently people that make spurious allegations of child abuse, which do result in accused abusers spending time in jail, why is this debate always about adult women who accuse men of rape?

    You’re the feminist: You answer that. I will listen and ponder.

  120. Tuomas
    February 17, 2006 at 10:06 am

    Hmm, my comment #118, now looking at it, is rude. Truth is, I suspect that people fear being labeled as supporters of child abuse more than they fear questioning feminist dogma (I use the word dogma because I lack a better one.)

  121. Tuomas
    February 17, 2006 at 10:08 am

    I mean #119.

  122. zuzu
    February 17, 2006 at 10:10 am

    That is, the false accusation charge should be tried and prosecuted separately from the rape case,

    That’s the way it works already.

  123. Tuomas
    February 17, 2006 at 10:13 am

    Zuzu:

    Ah, good.

  124. February 17, 2006 at 10:21 am

    Tuomas, thanks for the link, that’s the one I’ve been thinking of partially because it shows how elusive the actual numbers really are.

    Funny, I think one of the sociologists mentioned in that article — Purdue University sociologist Eugene J. Kanin (FYI, Purdue’s campus is, oh, about two blocks away from me) — used the statistics for here in Lafayette/West Lafayette Indiana (think East Egg and West Egg) and I suspect IU-Bloomington to be the other unnamed university judging by the cited college city populations. For some reason, we have at least two publicized false rape reports here every year and it drives me batshit nutjob bizarro crazy.

    By false rape reports, I mean a college-aged woman reports a rape and unknown rapist to the police and her account completely falls apart under scrutiny without anyone actually being charged or arrested. Coincidentally, we also have around the same number of college-aged men in this town falsely report random assaults on campus that are later recanted. We also tend to have false bomb threats called into the science buildings during test dates. Curious that.

    Anyhow, for a good exploration of false rape reporting statistics from a feminist perspective, see Amp, and as usual, you must read the comments as well.

  125. February 17, 2006 at 10:24 am

    I guess the point of me offering this anecdotal evidence is that the highest numbers of “average” false rape reports happen to be from a single, small, Midwestern town with an unusually high population of young people under unusual financial and professional pressure. It just isn’t a fantastic study for hopefully obvious reasons. I’m far more likely to go with the 8% posited by the FBI or the 2% by rape advocate groups.

  126. Tuomas
    February 17, 2006 at 10:34 am

    I’m partial to the 8 %, too.

    I suspect, from the anecdotes, that there is a genuine movement to discredit practically all feminism in America (this may be a bit of a doh -comment for many), and those opponents are grasping all straws to discredit feminism. Partisan politics, in other words.

  127. Thomas
    February 17, 2006 at 11:32 am

    Kate, I’ve been avoiding posting on this thread because I’m temporarily a little burned out from fighting with conservatives on rape issues, and because I think addressing the occasional false allegation sidetracks discussion from all the unreported rapes.

    I did want to respond to what you said about group sex. I don’t like the term “gang bang,” as I think it implies use and disrespect. I’m just talking about the term, however. While these guys may well be a bunch of misogynist assholes, I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong or anti-woman about one woman having multiple partners at a time, or whatever gender. I have women friends who have had multiple-partner penetrative sex with both men and women, and so have I. If the folks involved have anti-woman attitudes, then it will be a misogyny-fest. If the folks involved just like kinky sex and respect each other, then it’ll be respectful kinky sex.

    Darleen is also correct: when a conservative suggests that there is a “moral” or “propriety” consideration to how many sexual partners or sexual interactions one enters into, I start off assuming that the conservative in question is a prude. I don’t believe there is a “correct” number of sex partners to a woman to have, other than exactly as many as she wants, whether that is zero or as many as she can find.

  128. February 17, 2006 at 12:12 pm

    I suspect, from the anecdotes, that there is a genuine movement to discredit practically all feminism in America (this may be a bit of a doh -comment for many), and those opponents are grasping all straws to discredit feminism. Partisan politics, in other words.

    Pretty much. In fact, as much as I like Jeff, I’m surprised he and his commenters were as shocked as they were to get the responses they did, in part because the call for discussion is partially a call for the “other side” to undermine liberal (small L) feminism. I don’t even think it’s about doing so with bad faith (a term that is starting to lose meaning for me), but that nearly all liberal feminist argument that results from the discussion is met with suspicion because it is termed “feminist” and “liberal,” or like you said, it’s all partisan politics.

    The issue for those who agree with Jeff is the idea that the punishment for false rape accusations doesn’t match the crime. I think Zuzu has made a good argument that criminal courts see all false allegations essentially the same, whereas false allegations can be prosecuted under civil law. Perhaps the solution, then, is to raise the level of punishment on all false allegations (not mistaken allegations) that feature provable ill intent.

    The charge of rape does wield significant power over others, but I’m skeptical of the number of accusations that actually happen and the number that are reported by partisan groups of all sides. Again, the FBI cites this at around 8% and as far as I can tell, this is false reports, not false convictions and not false allegations, which would logically come in lower numbers considering that they follow false reports. Hell, every false report of rape is published in my local newspaper, whereas rape cases (other than serial) are rarely publicized because of victim’s rights and rape shield laws. That alone leads to an imbalance to the public mind — and despite wanting to uphold rape shield laws, I fear that it may have an adverse effect for the feminist cause because it furthers the pretty common thought that women are inclined to lie about rape for personal or financial gain without much recourse.

    I don’t doubt that some women lie about being raped, but it’s pretty clear that most false allegations of ill intent are sniffed out long before any arrests are made, thus these “what if” arguments are little more than window dressing.

  129. piny
    February 17, 2006 at 12:42 pm

    I did want to respond to what you said about group sex. I don’t like the term “gang bang,” as I think it implies use and disrespect. I’m just talking about the term, however. While these guys may well be a bunch of misogynist assholes, I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong or anti-woman about one woman having multiple partners at a time, or whatever gender. I have women friends who have had multiple-partner penetrative sex with both men and women, and so have I. If the folks involved have anti-woman attitudes, then it will be a misogyny-fest. If the folks involved just like kinky sex and respect each other, then it’ll be respectful kinky sex.

    I agree with this. I have very little respect for men who use that term, myself, and would admittedly be suspicious of an accused rapist who described the encounter in that kind of language, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have the right to due process. And the multiple-partner thing has historically been used to discredit women who allege rape. “She wouldn’t do that,” is dangerous for the same reason as, “If she did that, she’d do anything.”

  130. Thomas
    February 17, 2006 at 1:34 pm

    Piny, to put a finer point on it, I suspect that these guys are a bunch of assholes. They apparently met this woman while all of them were out drinking. I’m guessing that the amount of negotiation was about two sentences, and that’s a bad way to go about it. I just don’t want to paint with too broad a brush. If a bunch of adults want to get sexual in a big group, the fact that they number more than two or three is, to my mind, an unremarkable fact. I hold such encounters to the same standards that I would two-person sex: consent equals enthusiastic participation; raise forseeable issues before everyone’s naked; anyone can say stop at any time; and if you don’t respect the person you’re doing it with, you ought not to do it.

  131. Nobody
    February 17, 2006 at 2:01 pm

    Thanks Tuomas! Reading through the links the 2% number doesn’t seem to have a citation to a real study. There are books and articles cited for using the number, but not the original study. Still looking on my own, but haven’t found where 2% came from.

    I agree with Lauren that there probably isn’t a way to really know the number. But, if the FBI is right (which, if it were, would be much more a matter of luck than skill) then false rape allegations are four times more common than false allegations of other crimes, on average. That’d be pretty significant, right? So, even if no solution offered is particularly good (likely to succeed, likely to not have worse side effects than the problem it seeks to correct), it doesn’t seem out of bounds to take a special look at it. Obviously, most of the people who will take that look do so in bad faith. But it isn’t inherantly so; seems like, anyway. I’m not sure I’ve ever qualified so many statements in a single paragraph.

    To say that most of those false allegations don’t end in conviction is fine, as far as it goes, but are they four times less likely than the average falsely alleged crime to end in conviction? Could be, but I don’t understand why that should be assumed.

  132. piny
    February 17, 2006 at 2:36 pm

    Piny, to put a finer point on it, I suspect that these guys are a bunch of assholes. They apparently met this woman while all of them were out drinking. I’m guessing that the amount of negotiation was about two sentences, and that’s a bad way to go about it. I just don’t want to paint with too broad a brush. If a bunch of adults want to get sexual in a big group, the fact that they number more than two or three is, to my mind, an unremarkable fact. I hold such encounters to the same standards that I would two-person sex: consent equals enthusiastic participation; raise forseeable issues before everyone’s naked; anyone can say stop at any time; and if you don’t respect the person you’re doing it with, you ought not to do it.

    I didn’t mean to imply that your comment was just knee-jerk. I don’t want this, of all threads, to get derailed onto this subject, so I’ll just say that I agree with this emphasis on consent in general and with your description of the guys involved in this particular situation.

  133. February 17, 2006 at 3:00 pm

    On false reporting – there’s no reason to think that women are any more or less inclined to falsely report rape than people are inclined to falsely accuse for any other crime. The difference, however, lies in the nature of the crimes, and in the nature of the investigative process for the crime..

    Rape is one of the few crimes where saying “he did it” can be sufficient to justify an investigation. To credibly falsely report, say, a car theft, I have to do a bit of legwork. I have to move my car somewhere, and hide it against detection. To credibly falsely report a burglary, I have to break a window somewhere and strew some drawers on the floor. But to credibly falsely claim rape, all I have to do is have a victim who is known to have spent time alone with me. So the investment required to credibly accuse someone varies between crimes, and is pretty low for rape.

    In terms of the investigative process, if I call the cops and say my neighbor stole my car, but it’s sitting in the driveway when they pull up, they aren’t going to bother my neighbor. Whereas if I call the cops and say my neighbor raped me, they’re going to come talk to both of us regardless of the physical evidence. It’s going to be very difficult to get a conviction in the fake-rape case, just as in the fake-car case, but the investigation of the victim of the false accusation will be different.

    As noted by others here, there’s a stigma to sex crimes absent from many other offenses. To personalize it, it wouldn’t cause me any substantial embarassment if someone told my neighbors that I had been accused of a bank robbery; I would deny it calmly and move on. If my neighbors heard I’d been accused of a rape, I’d be very upset. (And regardless of the outcome of the investigation, the harm to my reputation is likely to be much greater in the case of the rape accusation.)

    So rape accusations have two big advantages for the malicious person who wants to accuse someone (presumably an enemy) falsely: they can be credibly made without much investment, and they can cause real damage to the victim even if there’s absolutely no evidence to support the charge. This could very well lead to a higher incidence of false reports than for other crimes; it isn’t that women are likely to cry “rape”, it’s that dishonest people have incentives to use rape as the crime of choice for false accusations. And half of the dishonest people in the world are women.

    I think that the penalties for maliciously falsely crying rape ought to be more severe than for falsely accusing people of other crimes. The reason is not protection of us special penis people; we can take care of ourselves. (Tape those gang bangs, fellows.) The reason is that rape victims already have to climb a high mountain to get justice. I am old enough to remember when the universal presumption was that a woman who accused someone of rape was more likely to be lying than not. It took decades of painstaking work – at a great cost to the psyches of thousands of innocent rape victims – to educate police, prosecutors, juries, and the larger society that this is not really true, that most rape accusations are real and the women telling the truth. The job’s not half-done yet, but amazing progress has been made.

    And anybody who pisses on that social transformation by reinforcing the lie that it had to overcome, ought to be strung up from the lamp-posts.

  134. February 17, 2006 at 3:02 pm

    To say that most of those false allegations don’t end in conviction is fine, as far as it goes, but are they four times less likely than the average falsely alleged crime to end in conviction? Could be, but I don’t understand why that should be assumed.

    Considering that rape ends in conviction far fewer times than in other serious crimes, I suppose it follows that all rape reports, true and false, are less likely to end in conviction overall than another crime.

    (So, yes???)

  135. mythago
    February 17, 2006 at 3:04 pm

    To credibly falsely report, say, a car theft, I have to do a bit of legwork.

    No. You just have to tell the police that you never told me I could borrow your car (when, in fact, you handed me the keys and told me to make sure I filled it up when I was done).

    The stigma also goes both ways.

  136. February 17, 2006 at 3:37 pm

    No. You just have to tell the police that you never told me I could borrow your car (when, in fact, you handed me the keys and told me to make sure I filled it up when I was done).

    I have to get your cooperation to do that. You have to take the car. Something has to be done with the car, so that it isn’t sitting in my driveway when the cops show up. In other words, legwork – whether it’s getting you to take the car, or towing it to Pueblo, or whatever.

    The stigma also goes both ways.

    This is true. I had a section in the comment about this, but I cut it out because it was already too long.

    There’s definitely a stigma to being the accuser, for most people. My suspicion is that with the people for whom being a rape accuser would carry a stigma, there are relatively few false accusations of rape.

    Falsely accusing people of crimes is not something that most people have in their arsenal of daily problem-solving tools. Once you get to the point where “hey, if I say he stole my car, that’ll teach him a lesson!” seems like the best option, you are probably already hurting. I suspect that most false rape accusations come from people who feel they have nothing left to lose – the stigma is just a teacup of water poured on a drowning person.

    Obviously I have no way of proving that; all I can offer is my own empirical experience. The only person I’ve ever known to bandy about false accusations of anything (rape among them) was a woman who was pretty disturbed. A social stigma wouldn’t have bothered her; she had already alienated everyone she knew, and was locked into a short-term problem-solving mode. Very sad – but her mental illness shouldn’t be allowed to make life harder for real rape survivors.

  137. Nobody
    February 17, 2006 at 3:46 pm

    Using the USDOJ‘s numbers 1981-1996, it looks like the probability of an offender being convicted varies drastically by crime. Rape (of women; men’s rapes aren’t counted in the spreadsheet) is horribly low at an average of 15.2% (climbing from 9.7% to 18.8% over the period). But assault is 1.9% (climbing from .9% to 2.5% over the period). Murder is at 43.2% (climbing from 34% to 48.7%). Robbery is at 2.1% (climbing from 1.7% to 2.2%).

    Since there were, on average, twice as many reported robberies, and twice as many reported assaults, per year as reported rapes, and about a quarter as many murders, it seems like the rape conviction rate is a little better than average. If (honestly) heartbreakingly low. Of course, things almost certainly have change in the last ten years. But it doesn’t seem likely that they would have drastically changed, relative to each other. At least, I don’t know of a reason to assume that they have.

  138. Nobody
    February 17, 2006 at 3:56 pm

    On false reporting – there’s no reason to think that women are any more or less inclined to falsely report rape than people are inclined to falsely accuse for any other crime.

    Well, there is a reason to, just not a really good one. The FBI says so. They don’t (probably can’t) know that to be the case, but there is some reason to think it.

  139. February 17, 2006 at 3:57 pm

    The FBI is measuring false reports. I am discussing the inclination to file false reports – as mediated by the actual costs and benefits of doing so.

  140. zuzu
    February 17, 2006 at 4:04 pm

    There’s a social stigma attached to filing a rape report at all, so the fact that the percentage of false reports for rape is higher than for other crimes could simply be a reflection of the fact that there’s pretty much no shame attached to reporting your car stolen, nor do you have to struggle with the very idea that your car got stolen, nor will anyone call you a slut for having your car stolen.

    IOW, the rate of reporting rapes is markedly lower than that of other crimes. Someone who is going to make a false accusation is likelier than other rape victims to file a report — in fact, they’re 100% likely to file a report, since of course that’s what starts the whole ball rolling.

  141. Nobody
    February 17, 2006 at 4:11 pm

    If the FBI is right in the measurements across the board, wouldn’t a higher incidence of false rape reports indicate a higher inclination to file them? Unless false rape reports are much more likely than average to be committed by the same people, over and over. That could be, but I don’t know why it ought to be assumed.

    I take your point, overall, that it doesn’t make sense to do it. But, if it is the case (an assumption that is not sufficiently supported, but the one we’re left with) there must be some reason for it to which we aren’t privy. Finding that reason (if one exists) and disincentivizing it was the point of Jeff’s post–his prescription was harsher punishment for false reporters; I’d be surprised if that were worth much, but there you go.

  142. randomliberal/Robert
    February 17, 2006 at 4:18 pm

    Re: faking a theft, it actually isn’t all that hard. There’s a good chance a woman on my college campus either lost or stole her friend’s laptop, but she reported that a random swarthy looking guy accosted her from an SUV and reached into his jacket while telling her to hand over the laptop. It took the campus police a couple of days to figure out that the story was less than creditable.

  143. Nobody
    February 17, 2006 at 4:33 pm

    zuzu is more clever and more quick than I am.

  144. Magis
    February 17, 2006 at 5:20 pm

    Jezusweeps:

    Just once, please, just once I’d like to see a thread on rape not hijacked. WAAAAAA but what about false charges WAAAAA.
    But that kinda rape isn’t as bad WAAAAA.

    Rape: Sticking your dick inside somebody who has not or cannot give consent. Easy enough for ya?

  145. February 17, 2006 at 6:12 pm

    I dated a guy who practically made his living off of insurance fraud, and got me and his friends complicit in it by staging thefts. I fell for the first one, but the second time it happened? Shit, this isn’t a bad neighborhood by any stretch.

  146. badteeth
    February 17, 2006 at 8:22 pm

    Jezusweeps:

    Just once, please, just once I’d like to see a thread on rape not hijacked. WAAAAAA but what about false charges WAAAAA.
    But that kinda rape isn’t as bad WAAAAA.

    Mythago,

    This thread wasn’t hijacked. Jill linked up to the ProteinWisdom blog right in the original article.

  147. February 17, 2006 at 8:36 pm

    Tag faux pas!

  148. Alison
    February 17, 2006 at 10:01 pm

    But sometimes women do lie about rape. Are you denying that? As a teacher, I have seen many female students cry “sexual harrassment” with their male teachers. Of course, there are male teachers, and other men, who rape and sexually harrass. But it has become a new power to be the accuser and like any other power, can be used falsely and manipulatively.

  149. MS
    February 17, 2006 at 10:32 pm

    UCLA law prof. Eugene Volokh has two posts on rape and false claims:

    In this one he shows that a very low percentage of women being prepared to make false claims is entirely consistent with a high percentage of claims being false
    http://volokh.com/archives/archive_2005_04_10-2005_04_16.shtml#1113597035

    In this one, he examines the demographics of rape victims to dispute the claim that rape is a crime of violence and not a crime of sex.
    http://volokh.com/posts/1089842691.shtml

  150. zuzu
    February 17, 2006 at 11:05 pm

    Alison, are you seriously drawing an equivalence between rape and sexual harassment? Because you first say women lie about rape, and then to offer proof, you bring up students who’ve lied about sexual harassment by their teachers.

    The hell?

  151. Nobody
    February 18, 2006 at 2:05 am

    149- I read those. Volokh doesn’t really address whether rape is more often falsely reported than other crimes. Only that it could be without meaning that there’s something wrong with women. Which wasn’t really in dispute. Interesting piece, though.

    I’ve been thinking over the zuzu postulate, that rape is (perhaps) more often falsely reported because, while actual rapes are less often reported, the sort of people who would falsely allege a crime are a constant. I really like this explanation. But, for this to work, you have to assume that the population of people who falsely claim a crime has been committed somehow, organically, mimic the actual crime rate, by crime. Which could be, but I’m not sure why it would be.

  152. piny
    February 18, 2006 at 2:22 am

    Okay, everyone ready to play the anti-feminist straw man drinking game: rape edition?

    But sometimes women do lie about rape.

    Drink!

    Are you denying that?

    Drink!

    As a teacher, I have seen many female students cry “sexual harrassment” with their male teachers.

    Chug! But we’re not done yet! Pour yourself another!

    Of course, there are male teachers, and other men, who rape and sexually harrass.

    Embittered laugh, and drink!

  153. kate
    February 18, 2006 at 3:02 am

    Darleen is also correct: when a conservative suggests that there is a “moral” or “propriety” consideration to how many sexual partners or sexual interactions one enters into, I start off assuming that the conservative in question is a prude. I don’t believe there is a “correct” number of sex partners to a woman to have, other than exactly as many as she wants, whether that is zero or as many as she can find.

    You know Thomas, it would be nice to think that women enjoyed the same sexual freedom in the eyes of a jury as a man, but unfortunately, as proven in the Big Dan’s rape case in Danvers, Ma in the early eighties– and many others before and after that one — a woman who doesn’t have sexual encounters in the traditionally established ways will usually find herself discounted, dismissed and ignored should she speak up about abuse that may have occured during such a happening.

    And, regardless of your sexual behavior personally, I stand by my assertion that ‘gang bangs’ just by the nature of their name are titillating to most males because of the way that a woman is reduced to nothing more than a vessel for the pleasure of the participating men, the woman as a thinking, feeling entity is not part of the usual picture.

    Kate, it’s actually Protein Wisdom, Jeff G.’s blog. Though “Protein Wisdom” makes just as much sense as anything else.

    Ejaculate is high in protein. I see.

    Whoever posted the FBI estimates of false reporting, I knew someone would and had heard the 2% number before. Either way, whether 8% or 2% that’s a pretty small number.

    What percentage of persons in this country suffer from mental illness? What percentage is estimated to suffer from dillusions or other mental disorders that may predispose them to irrational behavior such as falsely reporting a crime done to them?

    False reporting is most often done by persons with serious mental health issues. So to offer severe punishment for offenders I think would be regressive, wasteful and would not serve as any kind of deterrent.

    UCLA law prof. Eugene Volokh has two posts on rape and false claims:

    The sites are a typical pathetic effort to crunch numbers in order to ‘prove’ presupposed beliefs, stated quite clearly through all the writing. I’d suggest you read some of the vast stores of true scientific research on the issue of rape and its related dynamics.

    THe numbers of false accusations are always estimates and can only be estimates. The true number of women who chose to recant their claim out of fear or other motives, we will never know, but to deny that such occurs and escapes scrutiny would be silly.

    But sometimes women do lie about rape. Are you denying that? As a teacher, I have seen many female students cry “sexual harrassment” with their male teachers. Of course, there are male teachers, and other men, who rape and sexually harrass. But it has become a new power to be the accuser and like any other power, can be used falsely and manipulatively.

    And of course you’re there at every incident, through every occurance of harrassment or sexual violation from beginning to end to be able to judge which is truth and which is not.

    I would say that teachers (male and female) don’t exemplify a standard higher than the general public and I’d go farther to say that those attracted to children or teenagers will often puruse careers that make such pursuits easier.

    If the FBI is right in the measurements across the board, wouldn’t a higher incidence of false rape reports indicate a higher inclination to file them?

    Possibly, Nobody, but it seems an estimate based on faulty or shaky ground, when we haven’t figured out what rape really is, nor have we completely removed the higher than average (compared to other false reporters) fear of shame or retribution on the part of the victim.

    I would be delighted to find our society willing to truly understand what motivates the rapist and how to stop the problem of rape and violence as whole, and make it a high social priority to end it, truly treat it and end it. Just half the energy the public uses to deny the gravitude of the problem would be an improvement.

    What really gets in my craw about people like J.G., is that in their rallying for their victim/victimizer/accused brethren they lose sight of the big picture and fall into discounting and trivilizing the crimes of violence and rape against children, women and men. In their support of offenders or accused, they tend to adopt many of the same rationalizations of the offender and the oppressive patriarchy that grows them.

    Their claim that they wish to have constructive dialogue with feminists rings rather hollow.

  154. Nobody
    February 18, 2006 at 5:05 pm

    The sites are a typical pathetic effort to crunch numbers in order to ‘prove’ presupposed beliefs, stated quite clearly through all the writing. I’d suggest you read some of the vast stores of true scientific research on the issue of rape and its related dynamics.

    Right. It’s the vast stores of true scientific research that we’re looking for, although only centered on the issue of false reporting, since that’s what we’re talking about. Do you have links?

  155. February 18, 2006 at 5:42 pm

    The sites are a typical pathetic effort to crunch numbers in order to ‘prove’ presupposed beliefs, stated quite clearly through all the writing. I’d suggest you read some of the vast stores of true scientific research on the issue of rape and its related dynamics.

    There’s nothing like arguing against proof by assertion. Who needs to make a case for anything when a simple assertion is thought to be just as convincing. Give me a break.

    I would be delighted to find our society willing to truly understand what motivates the rapist

    I have my doubts that there is much delight in the feminist community with the challenge to the rape is a crime of violence ideology when the evidence clearly shows that a women over 30 is less likely to be raped than a girl under 16. The incidence of rape is strongly correlated with youth/fertility and there is also a high pedophilic component which probably speaks to a combination of sexual deviance and abuse of power moreso than attraction.

    I really don’t thnk feminists would welcome a more thorough understanding of the rape process if it violates their ideology of rape being a means of enforcing “patriarchal” power structures or whatever is the favored theory of the day.

    What really gets in my craw about people like J.G., is that in their rallying for their victim/victimizer/accused brethren they lose sight of the big picture and fall into discounting and trivilizing the crimes of violence and rape against children, women and men. In their support of offenders or accused, they tend to adopt many of the same rationalizations of the offender and the oppressive patriarchy that grows them.

    Eyes rolling back into my head. Ouch, that hurts! Yes, I see how it is evil to support people accused of a crime because we all now that accusation is tantamount to guilt. And to support people who are falsely accused of rape is the same as trivializing rape against children. Thankfully the straw farm you own is bringing in its crop. That should keep you busy for a while still.

  156. Magis
    February 18, 2006 at 6:14 pm

    Tango:

    First of all, false reporting and false accusation are two different things. Using rape/harassment as an excuse for whatever is one thing but quite another to say “that man raped me and I want him charged.”

    The reason what you’re doing is being called trivialization is because every time we want to talk about the million you want to talk about the thousand. Every stinking time.

    Goddamit, just once, try and be sensitive to their suffering. If you want to be fair about it, if you’re serious, think of it this way. Yes, let’s do talk about the man. Every act of rape should be felt as an affront to the dignity and goodness of males everywhere. It should be our number one priority weed these sub-humans posing as males out of our society. To me, THAT is the male viewpoint.

  157. February 18, 2006 at 6:32 pm

    Magis,

    First of all, false reporting and false accusation are two different things.

    I haven’t waded into that debate, I hope you’ve noticed. My response was very specific to the point that there are a lot of generalities being thrown about, more as a means of ideological self-affirmation than a a vehicle to convince others of a point.

    The reason what you’re doing is being called trivialization is because every time we want to talk about the million you want to talk about the thousand.

    I get the feeling that I’m a handy scapegoat for this charge because I don’t quite see what I just wrote that warrants this charge, nevertheless, here’s my reponse: if you want to talk about the million then don’t attempt to take away the rights of the thousand because doing so draws people to the defense of the thousand. Make your case for one group without hurting the other group. Those accused of a crime are presumed innocent, so if you don’t want me to come to their defense, simply don’t presume them to be guilty and instead make your case for the principle you wish to advance.

    Yes, let’s do talk about the man. Every act of rape should be felt as an affront to the dignity and goodness of males everywhere

    How do you reconcile your suggestion above with the principle you advocated below:

    Any time you judge a group as a whole instead of an individual it’s racism, sexism or some kinda “ism.” Now matter how convenient it is for modeling; it is wrong.

    Why would you think that the dignity and goodness of males everywhere is tarnished by the actions of a few bad apples? Why that almost seems like sexist thinking.

  158. zuzu
    February 18, 2006 at 8:30 pm

    So, what’s your point in challenging the crime-of-violence idea? To prove that it’s “really” a crime of passion? Is that any better, really?

    I don’t like the idea that rape is a crime of violence myself, necessarily. Because violence is not required for rape — just ask my friend who was raped last year after a guy put something in her drink. No bruises, no scrapes, but one minute she was in a bar, and the next she was alone in a hotel room on the other side of town, and there was semen in her panties.

    I think that framing rape as a crime of violence allows the rapist-in-the-bushes myth to persist, frankly. As long as the perception exists that it’s only rape if it’s violent, or violence is threatened, then it’s going to be hard to convince people that date rape is rape, that marital rape is rape, that acquaintance rape is rape, etc.

    What rape is is a crime of power. The rapist is asserting power over the victim, whether it’s done through violence, threat, taking advantage of incapacity, taking advantage of children, using the power to hire/fire/promote, or even taking advantage of social conditioning not to get angry or fight. Maybe women over 30 are less likely to be raped because they usually have more power than women under 30, and are therefore less likely to be seen as easy marks.

  159. February 18, 2006 at 9:26 pm

    So, what’s your point in challenging the crime-of-violence idea?

    To point out that some feminist theory is constructed upon false axioms. The axioms are often interlocking. Rape is a crime of violence. “Patriarchy” is a a means of violence against women. Rape is a tool of the “patriarchy.” Too much feminist dogma feeds on itself.

    To prove that it’s “really” a crime of passion? Is that any better, really?

    No. I agree with your assessment that there is a strong power element to rape cases, but I think that the data supports the “attraction/fertility/ease of opportunity” argument (if you exclude the pedophiliac rapes)

    So, violence plays a part, so does power, so does attraction and so does opportunity that results from wider social circles and more stranger interaction.

    it’s going to be hard to convince people that date rape is rape

    A nomenclature change would probably help. Date rape to some people certainly evokes situations like that which befell your friend, while to others they think of women changing their mind in the morning after consenting the night before. Both are date rapes, or rapes if you prefer, but many people attach varying degrees of seriousness to rapes, much as they do to murder. It’s just that there is no formalized judicial distinction of “degree of rape” (is there?) so if you want more people to equate what happened to your friend as rape, then calling it date rape might not be helping the issue when some people think date rape involves more ambiguity.

    Maybe women over 30 are less likely to be raped because they usually have more power than women under 30, and are therefore less likely to be seen as easy marks.

    I certainly think this has a veneer of plausibility to it and I’d need to read a more detailed analysis on what you propose before I could be swayed to give it more weight. For now though, seeing how most reported rapes usually don’t involve large age disparity (excluding pedophilic rape) I think that the power imbalance between men and women in their teens and twenties is pretty uniform. What’s far more likely is that the period of greatest rape vulnerability for women coincides with the period of highest aggresiveness for males and highest libido. Femininst theory, being an off-shoot of post-moderist social constructivism, abhors entertaining biologic notions being responsible for behavior. It’s certainly plausible that as male libido and aggression decline with age that these changes in male life patterns would decrease the statistical likelihood of men commiting acts of rape. If fact, that’s exactly what we do see. Perhaps this is a “just so” coincidence, but I happen to think there is a causal relationship at work.

    If the primary factor leading men to rape is to exercise power or violence, in accordance with the role as enforcers of “patriarchial norms” then, to be really crass about this, there are plenty of mentally challenged women, senile women, old women, physically handicapped women, obese women, who are in a weakened mental or physical state and thus create less threat and resistance to the crime, yet we don’t see these “easy marks” being the dominant category of victim. They certainly do fall victim, but not in accordance with what we’d expect from feminist theory.

  160. zuzu
    February 18, 2006 at 10:01 pm

    I’m sorry, obese women are in a weakened mental or physical state? Hello?

    Look, I don’t dispute that desire and attraction has something to do with selection of targets, but the problem, and the patriarchy, comes in when men who see something or someone they covet feel that they are entitled to it. Women (or young boys) become objects to possess, or at the very least become inconvenient obstacles to the satisfaction of the rapist’s own desires. Instructive is this bit of dialogue from The Silence of the Lambs:

    Ardelia Mapp: Is this Lecter’s handwriting? “Clarice, doesn’t this random scattering of sites seem desperately random – like the elaborations of a bad liar? Ta, Hannibal Lecter.”
    Clarice Starling: “Desperately random.” What does he mean?
    Ardelia Mapp: Not random at all, maybe. Like there’s some pattern here…?
    Clarice Starling: But there is no pattern or the computers would’ve nailed it. They’re even found in random order.
    Ardelia Mapp: Random because of the one girl. The one he weighted down.
    Clarice Starling: Oh, Fredrica Bimmel, from… Belvedere, Ohio. First girl taken, third body found. Why?
    Ardelia Mapp: ‘Cause she didn’t drift. He weighted her down.
    Clarice Starling: What did Lecter say about…”First principles”?
    Ardelia Mapp: Simplicity…
    Clarice Starling: What does this guy do, he “covets”. How do we first start to covet?
    Ardelia Mapp: “We covet what we see -”
    Clarice Starling: ” – every day.”
    Ardelia Mapp: Hot damn, Clarice.
    Clarice Starling: He knew her.

    And it’s not always that the rapist covets the woman, or wants pussy, but that she stands in the way of something else that he wants — money, respect, the upper hand, a sense of his own masculinity, whatever.

    Rape as assertion of power is most starkly obvious in a prison setting. Adult men rarely are raped outside of prison, possibly because in no other setting are they subject to the power of other men to such a degree. The men at the top of the prison food chain are the ones who can covet and act on that. While that usually means that the weakest prisoners will be the targets, it doesn’t mean that the other prisoners, the ones lower down on the food chain but higher than the victims, aren’t living with the constant awareness that they could have to fight off an attack at any moment.

    What those men are aware of in prison is what women — free women, women on the outside — are aware of every moment of their lives. When the men in prison are released, they don’t have a credible fear of being raped anymore, because on the outside, they’re much higher up.

  161. February 18, 2006 at 10:47 pm

    obese women are in a weakened mental or physical state?

    Funny. You certainly have a talent for concocting outlandish statements by conflating separate categorizations so that some become descriptive of others. Har de har har.

    Rape as assertion of power is most starkly obvious in a prison setting.

    Indeed. However, I think I’d assign greater signficance to the fact that the rape phenomonon is tied to prison than to all men. There are plenty of male hierarchies in which dominance issues are played out where rape is not used as a tool. With prison you’re taking a very biased sample of social deviants and extrapolating to a conclusion that the power dynamic, and rape as a means of enforcing that dynamic, is a universal feature of life. There are obvious problems with this analysis.

    I think it woud be more fruitful to separate out the universal human dynamics of status seeking/dominance and the tools used to achieve those ends.

    I’m not certain where you see this conversation going. I think we agree that using rape as a tool for exerting power, fulfilling desire, exercising aggression or removing an obstacle (women in the way) is to be punished. Obviously. Do you want to extend the analysis to the actual motivations, and go beyond the illegal means? For instance, are you objecting to humans playing dominance games, engaging in aggression or acting on desire, so as to achieve their aims? Can you sketch this out for me because what I see is that rape is a uniquely male tool for acting upon human impulses. Women don’t have such a devastating tool, but they do nevertheless act on the same impulses. So what’s to be done – engineer away the impulses, sever the connection between the impulse and the action, or punish the action?

    The way I see it men will always have the ability to rape women. No amount of socialization can take away that ability. What socialization can do though is to condition men to lower the incidence (I’m agnostic on the degree of success though) and to severely punish transgressors. Normally this shouldn’t have to be spelled out so explicitly but I recognize the high likelihood that someone will misinterpret what I just wrote, so – just because men can rape doesn’t mean they have to, or that we have to just shrug our shoulders to the problem, rationalize it or excuse it. If the long play here is to eventually eliminate rape as a phenomona then I’m curious how you think that will come about.and what specific measures will move society towards that end state.

  162. zuzu
    February 18, 2006 at 11:02 pm

    there are plenty of mentally challenged women, senile women, old women, physically handicapped women, obese women, who are in a weakened mental or physical state and thus create less threat and resistance to the crime

    No conflation here, unless you think that following standard rules of sentence construction is so outlandish.

    You say:

    The way I see it men will always have the ability to rape women. No amount of socialization can take away that ability.

    but you also say:

    However, I think I’d assign greater signficance to the fact that the rape phenomonon is tied to prison than to all men. There are plenty of male hierarchies in which dominance issues are played out where rape is not used as a tool. With prison you’re taking a very biased sample of social deviants and extrapolating to a conclusion that the power dynamic, and rape as a means of enforcing that dynamic, is a universal feature of life. There are obvious problems with this analysis.

    It’s not the existence of deviants, it’s the opportunity. When these guys who are raping men on the inside get released, they don’t continue to rape men. They rape women or children. Likewise, once the victims are released, they move up the food chain and have a lot less to fear from rapists.

    After all, deviants rape women on the outside all the time, and there’s no particular concentration of them like there is in prison.

  163. February 19, 2006 at 12:35 am

    How about grossly obese being equivalent to a physical impairment. If that helps clarify matters. I’m not talking BMI 30.

    It’s not the existence of deviants, it’s the opportunity.

    No, how much male rape and outright violence occurs in POW camps? They’re prisons but the imprisoned men aren’t cut from the same cloth as criminals.

  164. zuzu
    February 19, 2006 at 4:22 pm

    Prisoners in POW camps generally follow the same military rules and chains of command that they followed prior to being imprisoned, and the same rules that they’ll follow when they get out and return to their militaries. It’s not at all the same situation as prison, where there are different rules on the inside than there are on the outside.

  165. Sally
    February 19, 2006 at 4:47 pm

    If the primary factor leading men to rape is to exercise power or violence, in accordance with the role as enforcers of “patriarchial norms” then, to be really crass about this, there are plenty of mentally challenged women, senile women, old women, physically handicapped women, obese women, who are in a weakened mental or physical state and thus create less threat and resistance to the crime, yet we don’t see these “easy marks” being the dominant category of victim. They certainly do fall victim, but not in accordance with what we’d expect from feminist theory.

    Really? I’d love to see a cite. Everything I’ve read suggests that disabled women are much more likely than other women to be victims of sexual assault.

  166. February 19, 2006 at 5:40 pm

    It’s not at all the same situation as prison

    The military can enforce a code of conduct through various procedures such as court martials, military imprisonment, demotion, etc. In a POW camp, the coercive tools available to senior officers have been removed. Severe misconduct can’t be punished by sending a POW to prison. It is the character of the men and the customs and traditions that they uphold that distinguish POW who are in prison from criminals who are in prison.

    If you want another example, look at the incidence of rape in Youth detention centers compared to prison. The whole military angle is absent, and instead you have many misguided youth who are all incarcerated together – the car thief, the rapist, the arsonist, the murderer, along with chronic shoplifters, druggies, and whatever minor crimes qualify for incarceration. The incidence of rape is far, far below what is seen in prison. Prison has the real dregs of humanity and they are a larger contributor to incidence of rape than is the institution of prison.

    much more likely than other women to be victims

    “Dominant category of victim” speaks to aggregate levels whereas “much more likely” speaks to per capita levels. If the targeting mechanism was dominated by power imbalance, then the per capita rate should have a huge spike which translates into actual group level dominance, ie. mentally retarded women, though a small proportion of the population, had more rapes committed against them than any other group.

    What we see instead is that the victims of rape are normal women more likely to be within a certain age range. These women are being targeted for some reason other than power imbalance.

  167. Sally
    February 19, 2006 at 6:14 pm

    If the targeting mechanism was dominated by power imbalance, then the per capita rate should have a huge spike which translates into actual group level dominance, ie. mentally retarded women, though a small proportion of the population, had more rapes committed against them than any other group.

    That would only make sense if all potential rapists had access to women with disabilities. They don’t. But anyway, it’s a big leap to go from “rape is about the exercise of power” to “rapists will always choose the most disempowered victim.” In fact, it could work the other way. It could be much more satisfying to exercise power over someone whom one found powerful and threatening.

    If rape is just about fertility and attraction, how do you explain the fact that elderly women sometimes get raped?

    What we see instead is that the victims of rape are normal women

    It is taking a whole lot of self restraint not to tell you to fuck yourself.

  168. February 19, 2006 at 6:50 pm

    If rape is just about fertility and attraction,

    Huh? Just? Go back and reread the conversation that Zuzu and I were having. Nowhere do I take the position that rape is driven just by fertility and attraction. What I’m saying is that it plays an important part and feminist theory simply igores that reality (I’d appreciate a feminist reference which acknowledges this factor because I haven’t read any) and instead posits that rape is some “patriarchal” tool to exercise power and violence and this position is taken because it’s nicely congruent with, and bolsters, feminist ideology. Forget about falsifying the theory or checking it against data, because doing that would make the ideological house of cards come crashing down.

    As for my usage of the word normal, get used to it. I don’t subscribe to PC thought control. You can play word games so that mentally retarded becomes “special people” or “differently abled” but the meaning remains the same. They’re not special in any fashion nor do they possess different abilities from the population at large. Sorry if your sensitivities are so fragile – perhaps you should temper yourself for the hothouse of debate.

  169. Sally
    February 19, 2006 at 7:24 pm

    That’s pretty funny, Tangoman. What you’re saying is that you’ve decided a proposition is true, and therefore everyone who disagrees with you must be ignoring the evidence that it’s true. And I’m pretty sure that you believe it to be true because it fits with your particular word view, about which you’re pretty rigidly doctrinaire. Do you think you’re any more flexible about your beliefs than the average feminist?

    I don’t subscribe to PC thought control.

    You may think of it as “PC thought control,” but I think of it as good manners. It’s also accurate. Disability isn’t abnormal: most people either have or will have a disability.

    Sorry if your sensitivities are so fragile – perhaps you should temper yourself for the hothouse of debate.

    My sensitivities aren’t at all fragile. I just think you’re being an asshole.

  170. February 19, 2006 at 7:54 pm

    What you’re saying is that you’ve decided a proposition is true, and therefore everyone who disagrees with you must be ignoring the evidence that it’s true

    Maybe rape statistics compiled in Rape in America: A Report to the Nation, National Victim Center, 1992 have some part in helping to establish the truth value of a proposition:

    60% of the women who reported being raped were under 18 years old
    29% were less than 11 years old
    32% were between 11 and 17
    22% were between 18 and 24
    7% were between 25 and 29
    6% were older than 29
    3% age was not available

    Exclude pedophilic rape, which I’ve commented on above, and what are we seeing here? I think it would really be insightful to look at a detailed breakdown of the over-29 category to see if the victims are more heavily skewed into the early-30s group or are uniformly distributed for age. I’ll stake my guess that there is a skewing towards younger members of that demographic rather than a uniform distribution. Do you wish to take an alternative position? Perhaps you wish to champion the large unreported Granny rape demographic?

  171. zuzu
    February 19, 2006 at 8:18 pm

    In a POW camp, the coercive tools available to senior officers have been removed. Severe misconduct can’t be punished by sending a POW to prison. It is the character of the men and the customs and traditions that they uphold that distinguish POW who are in prison from criminals who are in prison.

    Nope. They’re still in the military. And they’ve been drilled on unit cohesion. They form units in POW camps. Plus, they know that if they’re wildly insubordinate, they’ll get court-martialed when they get out. Because they’re only held for the duration of the war.

    Limited duration of confinement also explains your next example:

    If you want another example, look at the incidence of rape in Youth detention centers compared to prison. The whole military angle is absent, and instead you have many misguided youth who are all incarcerated together – the car thief, the rapist, the arsonist, the murderer, along with chronic shoplifters, druggies, and whatever minor crimes qualify for incarceration. The incidence of rape is far, far below what is seen in prison. Prison has the real dregs of humanity and they are a larger contributor to incidence of rape than is the institution of prison.

    Juvie is by nature time-limited. You don’t stay in past age 18, but there’s always the chance that you’ll be transfered to adult prison if you don’t behave. Which is a very, very different situation from the penitentiary. You have a mix of hard-core criminals who have little to no hope of seeing the light of day and first offenders in for short sentences. The one thing prison has that POW camps and juvie don’t have is a lot of people with nothing to lose.

  172. February 19, 2006 at 9:00 pm

    Why is there an assumption that rape has anything to do with fertility? Even if we assume that the age of rape survivors is accurate (something I highly doubt, as most rapes still remain unreported, and the stigma associated with rape is much higher for women over the age of eighteen, as we are expected to “know better” than to “get ourselves raped”)—it still doesn’t follow that rape stems from the desire (conscious or subconsious) of the rapist to get a woman pregnant.

    Why not the assumption that younger women are more likely to be in situations where the opportunity for rape is greater? Why not the assumption that rapists assume younger women are more likely to be trusting, and they stage the scene in order to take advantage of the relative naiveity of younger women?

    I’m calling bullshit. If age was any statistical form of protection against rape, law enforcement agencies would be advising women to disguise themselves as “older” women when walking after dark—you know, the same way they advise us to wear walking shoes in case we need to run. They don’t—and it’s not because of the Feminist Agenda of law enforcement.

    As to the “large unreported Granny rape demographic”, apparently you need to be reminded that most of the women who are beaten and raped by their long-term boyfriends or husbands don’t report their rapes out of (1) fear of retaliation by those men, (2) no safe place to go to escape the retaliation, and (3) the strong stigma attached towards rape survivors—because out here in the “heartland”, women still aren’t believed. (So. Now you know why us “grannies” in our thirties aren’t going to the police.)

  173. zuzu
    February 19, 2006 at 9:34 pm

    Why is there an assumption that rape has anything to do with fertility?

    Well, it looked like to me that the list of women that Tango Man gave as “mentally or physically impaired” pretty much constituted the list of “women Tango Man isn’t interested in fucking.”

    The problem is that too many people think that rape is all about fucking someone you’d normally want to fuck, instead of thinking that it’s using sex as a weapon to control whatever woman (or, in rare cases, men) so that you get what you want. Which is not necessarily the woman you’re raping, but something she has control over.

    Again, it’s the problem of seeing rape as a crime of passion vs. rape as a crime of abuse of power.

  174. February 19, 2006 at 10:47 pm

    The one thing prison has that POW camps and juvie don’t have is a lot of people with nothing to lose.

    True, but you also need to look at other inmate characteristics to see how they differentiate from the population at large. There are a host of correlated behaviors and features that distinguish these guys – temperment, IQ, mental illness, education, various social pathologies, etc. They often feel themselves less bound by social practices and customs and as I said above, its highly unlikely that anyone can socialize these types of guys to never rape again.

    Opportunity to commit rape is a necessary, but not a sufficient condition. Inclination is what kicks these guys over. Only a subset of men have the inclination to rape. There are a number of variables that act as deterrents, things like empathy, morals, aversion to violence, unwillingess to risk consequences, etc. which is why you see in the psychological literature experiments which test people’s character by creating situations which they can commit a crime without fear of consequence and yet, given such an opportunity many people still do not transgress. Opportunity is not a sufficient condition.

    Even if we assume that the age of rape survivors is accurate (something I highly doubt, . .

    Let’s see . . I’m trying to come to an understanding on the basis of data that we all have access to. You don’t like that line of reasoning so you conjure up scenarios built on a foundation of supposition with no supporting evidence. Hey, I can explain away a lot of things in this world by relying on your technique.

    Why not the assumption that younger women are more likely to be in situations

    Because the relationship between reported rapes and fertility tracks pretty closely. Where is your research that women’s age and dangerous situations track in such a highly correlated fashion?

    One can postulate anything they’d like, but all postulates are not equal simply from the act of postulating. What distinguishes the stronger postulates from the weaker is the supporting evidence and quality of the argument offered in support.

    apparently you need to be reminded that most of the women who are beaten and raped by their long-term boyfriends

    The impediments you list are not unique to rape victims over the age of 30 and are fairly universal across age groups.

    “mentally or physically impaired” pretty much constituted the list of “women Tango Man isn’t interested in fucking.”

    ? ? ? ? OK, I certainly don’t claim to speak for all men, but I’d be surprised if there are large segments of men who would chose women from those groups versus younger, healthier and more attractive women. Do you have an argument you want to make here? It sure looks to me that you’re seeking to belittle the argument by personalizing it in a mocking fashion rather than refuting it. That doesn’t surprise me though.

    The problem is that too many people think that rape is all about fucking someone you’d normally want to fuck, instead of thinking that it’s using sex as a weapon to control whatever woman

    What I’m doing is addressing the act of rape and attributing many different motivations to the crime. You’re trying to frame it as a unitary act (ie the exercise of power.) I’m saying that it’s complex and while a marital rape may be a exercise of power in a marriage that a date rape may be an acting out on sexual attraction and a pedophiliac rape may be an acting on sexual deviancy which is stoked by feelings of innocence, fear, delusions of equality and love, or whatever is running through the mind of the pedophile. The act of rape is pretty easy to specify while the motivations that lead to the rape can be quite varied.

    Perhaps you and La Lubu should spend some time with the academic literature rather than the ideological literature. Here’s a good place to start, The Causes of Rape:Understanding Individual Differences in Male Propensity for Sexual Aggression published by the American Psychological Association:

    Theories about rape have an unfortunate history of being unconstrained by empirical knowledge, sometimes with the harmful consequence that solutions to the problem of rape are ineffectual.

  175. February 19, 2006 at 10:54 pm

    Well, it looked like to me that the list of women that Tango Man gave as “mentally or physically impaired” pretty much constituted the list of “women Tango Man isn’t interested in fucking.”

    Yep! I also have a hard time reconciling the statistics he cited (which, like I said before, already have issues) with the conclusion that fertility has anything to do with it. Girls who are eleven years old and younger are not more likely to be fertile than the 18-24 year olds, y’know?

  176. February 20, 2006 at 12:39 am

    If I’m “conjuring up scenarios”, I’m certainly not the only one; you’d be hard pressed to find any law enforcement officers, judges, or therapists who think the number of reported rapes is anywhere close to being the number of actual rapes. And as long as cultural tropes like “rape is a crime where the victim has some culpability” and “rape is the result of poor communication—she was sending “mixed signals”, you’re unlikely to get better hard statistics. No other crime carries the stigma to the victim that rape does.

    Because the relationship between reported rapes and fertility tracks pretty closely.

    You honestly believe that (by your own statistics) girls eleven and younger are more likely to be fertile than 18-24 year olds? Or that female fertility takes a dive after 29? Get real.

    Where is your research that women’s age and dangerous situations track in such a highly correlated fashion? First of all, I didn’t say “dangerous situations”. I said, “situations of opportunity”. Whether or not it is a “dangerous” situation depends on, oh, let’s say….the presence of a rapist. Most rapes don’t happen in public, or with witnesses present. Most rapists are known by their victim—the situation under which the rape occurred would not normally be considered a “dangerous” situation, but a normal, everyday scenario—like a date, or a “let me walk you home” offer. Being on a date and being raped tracks pretty goddam high, and I’ll just go out on a limb here and say that teenagers and young women are probably significantly more likely to be on a date than some granny in her thirties. Perhaps you can direct me to a study that proves that 35-year-old women date a helluva lot more than 20-year old college students, hm?

    Frankly, I’ll go with the statistics offered up by RAINN that say 44% of rapes are of those under eighteen, and 80% are of under age 30. But again, it’s not fertility—it’s opportunity. Few rapes are the result of strangers breaking in at night—which is about the only likely scenario of ol’ granny here getting raped. I’m not likely to get raped at work. I’m not likely to get raped at the gym or dojo. I’m not likely to get raped picking my little girl up from school or Girl Scouts. I’m not likely to get raped at a union meeting, trades/labor meeting, neighborhood meeting or Democratic club meeting. Not likely to get raped at the grocery store or library. That pretty much covers it, ‘cept for those once-in-a-blue-moon trips to Mass with my mother, and I’m really not likely to get raped there.

    But when I was in my twenties? Without a car? And casual male buddies I kinda-sorta knew asked me if I needed a ride home? Or when I walked home from work, or to the grocery store or laundromat? Or the fact that I went out to bars frequently and *gasp* occasionally accepted drinks from friendly male strangers? And even let them walk me to my car at closing time? Yeah, I could have been raped on all those occasions and more. But I wasn’t. Because those aren’t inherently dangerous situations—unless there happens to be a rapist present.

    And I’ll pass on your rape-apology text—the updated version of “A Natural History of Rape.” I’m not really interested in the clinical assessment and treatment or rapists; I’m interested in their long-term incarceration with no parole.

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