It Is a Terrible and Traumatizing Thing to Be Raped

Comments

1
The terrible thing about a false rape accusation is that it victimizes not just the accused, but all of the people who have been raped and need to be believed.

In the end we need to remember that our system of justice is structured the way it is for a reason. The accuser is granted the benefit of the doubt, but the accused is given a chance to defend themselves in court.
3

Most of us aren't out to "score" using tricks, drugs, money or subterfuge.

We are constantly probing for The Rules.

And The Rules obviously change, all the time.
4
False accusations hurt everybody, women as well as men. The blame for harming all women needs to be put where it belongs - on the false accuser. The next victim who is reluctant to come forward knows who is joining her rapist in harming her - a fellow woman who wants attention, or who regrets the consensual sex of the night before.
5
While I have no idea what happened here, but I do know that, on very rare occasions, rich and powerful people can use their wealth and influence to deflect accusations of wrongdoing.
6
@4) I hope you're joking. I personally would rank rapists (yes, they do exist!) a bit higher on the continuum of "people to blame for harming all women."

@5) True, but I'm pretty sure that Mr. Oberst is not nearly at that level of wealth and/or influence.
7
Dan, you should really give us early warning for posts like this. You've caught me entirely without popcorn, and I'm going to have to make an unscheduled supermarket run now.
8
@2
If only there were a system of due process to determine guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.


If only. In modern America, unless you have wealth, there really isn't such a system is there.

Any interaction with our so called "justice system", regardless of your guilt or innocence, is bound to ruin you emotionally or financially.

Or both.
9
@ 2, 8 - The truth is that if we really applied the standard "beyond a reasonable doubt" to rape cases, there would be no way to convict in the vast majority of so called "he said, she said" cases. Because there is always a possibility that the accuser is lying. These cases remind us of that and are thus troubling and uncomfortable for everybody.
10
A festival of false equivalence from an anti-feminist hack libertarian. Do better, Dan.
11
false accusations are more terrible than the crime falsely accused of.
12
Very well articulated, Dano, nicely done!

@1 has the most intelligent comment, and . . .

In the Daily Dot, pop culture critic Chris Ostendorf decried the lawsuit, arguing that it could intimidate real victims of rape and that it promoted the idea of men as victims of false accusations—even though that’s exactly what Oberst was.

Guess that explains why I've never bothered reading pop culture critics!
13
@ 6
I personally would rank rapists (yes, they do exist!) a bit higher on the continuum of "people to blame for harming all women."


Except that nothing in @4's comment equivicated the two. Just that both were harming women who are the victims of sexual assault. And that seems pretty undeniably true, no?
14
In hostile work situations when women are in positions of authority or management, and men are subordinate, it has become quite common for false accusations along similar lines to occur (just check out labor law textbooks sometime).
15
I hereby accuse all of the above commenters of rape. They each individually raped me at one point or another. I can't remember when or where. But they did it.

There, that's all it takes.

Now give me my automatic presumption of telling the truth and burn them at the stake. ;)
16
Some years back, I forget the exact date, a female liberal arts professor at the University of Maryland (Jewish-American female from a wealthy background, believe there's some sort of nickname for that category) published a list of on campus rapists --- which turned out to be a list of undergrad males, as this professor later stated that all men are rapists, and should be labelled such.

Funny, some men and women believe all women are ........ (fill in the blank, please).

(Not me, though, I judge everyone by the dual traits of intelligence and character.)
17
@13) Rapists were glaring in #4's comment by their omission, or is that just me?

@15) I was out of town that day.
18
He should sue her. Let a court decide. An assault is an assault, whether it's an assault on one's character or body.
Let a court decide. This is where some feminists and I part company.
19
It's a very valid issue, but that article was very poorly written, in my opinion. It will not help the situation at all. She pulled all of the usual tricks in making an article sound more enlightened than it really is: using interesting anecdotes to illustrate her bias, questioning stats & studies by concocting equally incomplete conclusions of her own, using the broad term "feminists" when only referring to a small group with a minority opinion... I am not impressed. She could have done a much more intelligent job of presenting this issue (and maybe not as if she's the first person ever to care about the damage false rape accusations cause). This will do more harm than good.
20
@17 - Maybe, I read it more as the feminists who are out there on this issue need to realize that women who falesly accuse are on the same side of the harm equation as the rapists (if not in equal amounts) and that it is deplorable to defent this woman or to equivicate her experience to the man she falsly accused. I am willing to give the benefit of the doubt anyways.
21
I think the real point here is to get away from Identity Politics/Identity Rhetoric. If you are an anti-rape crusader, or a women's rights activist, or an NFL fan, or fighting racism, or advocating for 2nd-amendment rights; whatever - your allies, closest compatriots, the people whose causes you are championing, are sometimes bad people, or make bad choices, or are looking out for themselves at the expense of their brothers and sisters.
Don't be fooled. Some of your heroes are dirtbags; the people you'd like to help the most might not care to be helped. There are villains everywhere, on the other side of the line and in your corner.

OF COURSE there are false accusations of rape. There are false accusations of everything. And maybe they happen because someone wants to hurt someone else, or maybe they want attention for themselves, or maybe they have agreed that it's OK to sacrifice someone else for the greater good. There are a million reasons why it happens.
22
With what other crime do we take such concern with "false accusations"? Why are we so obsessed with the idea of a woman who lies to get ahead? Indeed - if a woman wanted to ruin a man's life, accusing him of rape is likely to have the opposite effect - she's likely to be disbelieved from the start, and to have her character asassinated right back. The only reason for an article like this is sexism - we love men and fear that sometimes on an off chance they may be hurt. We teach men to fear women, who are liars and not to be trusted! This is very sad, and I am very sad to see Dan Savage pedaling this garbage. Did you notice the part where she says that rape victims being disbelieved and treated badly is in the past? Are you kidding me? What trash this is.
23
"After Oberst dropped the suit, Bustle’s Caroline Pate praised his decision and referred to the saga as “a roller-coaster for both parties”—treating the false accuser and the wrongly accused as morally equivalent—and called the revelation of Oberst’s innocence “crushingly disappointing.”

To be fair, if you read the entire article from which the quote about "crushingly disappointing" was taken, it is pretty clear that the writer is crushingly disappointed in the behavior of the false accuser and its fallout among actual victims of rape -- not disappointed that Oberst was cleared of wrongdoing.

It takes a special brand of wrongheaded to be crushingly disppointed that a rape didn't in fact occur. Apparently only slightly less wrongheaded to be disappointed that the falsely accused wasn't nailed to the wall despite being innocent, as the exceedingly stupid writer of the Daily Dot article -- who is bound and determined to find fault on the part of the accused, because rape -- did.
24
@ 19 - And it doesn't ever get to the point. The reason that this is so relevant is because right now there is a big push to convict a higher percentage of rapists. And the activists that are trying to make that happen don't like to admit that it will also make it much easier to send a man to prison by false accusation. And, on the flip side, people who argue for the status quo don't like to admit that a strict application of "beyond a reasonable doubt" makes rape a crime that is fairly easy to get away with, especially when the victim knows or has a sexual history with the rapist. Neither side wants to talk about the trade-offs and this article doesn't touch on any of that complexity.
25
@23, the quote from Pate is this:

The news that Faircloth’s accusations are false is crushingly disappointing. It’s been said before, but it bears repeating: false rape accusations are incredibly harmful to rape victims. They make it easier for real rape victims to be disbelieved. And having such a high-profile case of a false rape accusation only gives more ammunition to those who want to discredit all rape victims.

So Pate would prefer that a woman was raped instead of being caught falsely accusing. That's problematic, to say the least. "Fucked up," is also a reasonable description of that attitude.
26
@10, claiming that there's "false equivalence" in that article is admitting to either not reading it or being dishonest about it, perhaps due to the trauma of discovering the writer has different opinions regarding unrelated government policies.

You should do better before telling others to.
27
@25: I am having trouble following the logic that leads from the quote you included to your interpretation of it.

Women get raped all the time. That is not a preference, it's an observation. This example of a completely fabricated allegation against Oberst is going to hurt the chances for justice of these women who have been raped in actuality. I don't see how that translates to "Pate would prefer that a woman was raped instead of being caught falsely accusing." I'm pretty sure that Pate would prefer that a woman was NOT raped in the first place.
28
True, there is still quite a bit of wrongheadedness in Pate's article:

"It’s already difficult for rape victims to come forward. They’re often disbelieved or harassed. So those who later reveal that their accusation was false receive that same kind of anger and scorn, tenfold. Creating a safer space for people to retract their statements is nearly as important as creating safe space for actual rape victims. It’s incredibly wrong for people to give false rape accusations in the first place, but making it easier for people to retract false accusations can stop more damage from being done to all parties involved. "

Making it easier to for people to retract false allegations will make it easier for people to MAKE false allegations, because they know they can retract them with impunity later, and pretend no damage was done. That's patently false. Try telling someone who has been dragged through the court system or through the court of public opinion "no harm, no foul." The consequences for knowingly making a false allegation should be severe.
29
Also, this: " Oberst’s forgiveness allows us to step back and see that that bigger issue is not the few who make false accusations of sexual assault, but the fast-growing numbers of those who have been raped and sexually assaulted here in the U.S."

This attitude of "my case doesn't matter because it is just one case amidst a sea of something related but far bigger" is damnfoolery. Cases are prosecuted one at a time. This logic is the equivalent of saying I should decline to prosecute the guy who burglarized my house, because that leaves society free to pursue the larger issue of desperate income inequality.
30
Yes because no rape victim has ever been harassed and intimated into dropping charges. And no rapist ever claimed they were innocent or used sexism as a way to getting in trouble.

And remember all women are liars and manipulators.

31
@30: Who are you attempting to address with this straw-man?
32
This thread sucks.
33
@31 everyone who's acting as if the threat of the 'lying woman' is somehow more important then dealing with rape.

@32 This post sucks. This crap is why I have a hard time believing Dan when he says he's on women's side. I guess he's with us as long as we're not lying about rape, which we do as hobby.
34
@33 - who's suggesting that its more important than dealing with rape?

I think the discussion is trying to determine what legitimate recourse a person has in the rare instances of false accusations.

Dealing with rape and dealing with false accusations don't have to be mutually exclusive.
35
Congratulations, Savage. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!
36
"After Oberst dropped the suit, Bustle’s Caroline Pate praised his decision and referred to the saga as “a roller-coaster for both parties”—treating the false accuser and the wrongly accused as morally equivalent—and called the revelation of Oberst’s innocence “crushingly disappointing.”

To be fair, if you read the entire article from which the quote about "crushingly disappointing" was taken, it is pretty clear that the writer is crushingly disappointed in the behavior of the false accuser and its fallout among actual victims of rape -- not disappointed that Oberst was cleared of wrongdoing.

It takes a special brand of wrongheaded to be crushingly disppointed that a rape didn't in fact occur. Apparently only slightly less wrongheaded to be disappointed that the falsely accused wasn't nailed to the wall despite being innocent, as the exceedingly stupid writer of the Daily Dot article -- who is bound and determined to find fault on the part of the accused, because rape -- did.


This is exactly the kind of hackish bullshit misrepresentation you should except from Cathy Young, and stands as a good reminder why promoting her work as a "must read" is pretty much always a terrible idea.
37
I think the Talmud got it right. If you bear false witness, the penalty you sought to have inflicted on someone should be inflicted on you.
38
@33 you're implying that you're on women's side even if they're falsely accusing someone of rape. On the contrary, "I guess he's with us as long as we're not lying about rape" is a CORRECT FUCKING POSITION.

39
@ 32 - This issue sucks, not that there aren't some things we can and should do to improve things. But the sad fact is that you will always either have a system that lets a significant of percentage of rapists off the hook or one that allows people to be convicted and thrown in prison on a mere accusation.
40
@38: Beware unintentional quote-mining. The complete quote is:
"I guess he's with us as long as we're not lying about rape, which we do as hobby." (emphasis mine)

The intended message is to claim that that Dan and others are NEVER on womens' side because anyone who claims lying about rape happens AT ALL is effectively saying that women lie about rape as standard operating procedure -- in 33's words, "as [a] hobby." Hence my characterization of that argument as a straw man.

But I don't think the quote was intended to say that lying about rape is in any way a defensible practice, as if people should be on the side of those who do lie about rape.

So, @33, who on this board has said that women lie about rape as a matter of course? (Other than you?)

41
What a shitty, nasty thing to do. The guy should have continued suing this woman. Might then discourage other women from such behaviour.
Hope that Professor also got sued.
42
@16; ".....all women are HumanBeings" ?
43
@32

This thread seems heavy with the mansplanations.
44
My god, why can't we just acknowledge the facts that are sitting in plain view on this matter:

Rape is far more common than false accusations and represents a much more urgent and tragic crisis for women than false accusations do for me.

ALSO

False accusations are horrible, not only for the victim who is accused, but also because they undermine the entire movement to help protect women from this violence.

These are both true. How is this so fucking hard?
45
There are false accusations with every crime. People are uncomfortable with it concerning rape because a lot of women already do not go to the police or accuse their rapist due to the fact that people's default is disbelief. Or it was someone they thought they could trust and they don't think that anyone will believe them. Look at the thousands upon thousands of untested rape kits. The percentage of rapes that occur is probably much higher since woman are so often shamed by society that they some how brought it upon themselves.

Obviously the false accusers are awful people, and I believe they should be punished. Let's not pretend though that people don't lie about all sorts of crimes all the time.
46
Haha, I knew that an article titled 'Rape is totally bad!' would be immediately followed by some twattish concern trolling about how much worse false allegations are. More fool me for clicking on it in the first place.

For the record, false allegations happen with every crime. But only rape gets this reaction. Maybe stop pretending this is a legitimate discussion and admit you're fucking sexist.
47
What a mess. I (somewhat) recently read that college students believe 50% of all rape claims are false. 50%. Meanwhile, the real number is somewhere in the 1%-2% range. And the percentage of those rape claims that are coupled with an accusation against a specific person is even smaller. In most cases, it's like some bizarre, extra twisted version of Münchausen syndrome - sympathy seeking by making up something horrible.

Obviously this woman is vile, as is anyone who accuses an innocent person of sexual assault. But I have no idea what the answer is. If we go after people like her tooth and nail, we create a profoundly nasty catch 22: any real rapist who isn't proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt could, if accused, punish his or her victims in a court of law for the "crime" of seeking justice. And if we think rape is underreported now...

Of course, if we do nothing, we allow people like this woman to do harm both to the victims of their false accusations and to real victims of rape.

So shitty on every possible level.
48
@ 44 "False accusations are horrible, not only for the victim who is accused, but also because they undermine the entire movement to help protect women from this violence."

The thing is, there's no reason why they should undermine any movement to protect women from violence.

False allegations of looting don't cause people to hate looting victims and automatically disbelieve all reports of looting. False allegations of car theft don't cause people to hate people who've had their cars nicked and automatically disbelieve all car theft reports. Etc.

Sexists believe that false rape allegations undermine the entire concept of fighting rape. Because they're awful fucking people who want an excuse.

Don't be an awful fucking person by needlessly connecting these unrelated crimes.
(Not specifically aimed at @44, just the thread in general.)
49
@ 46/48 - I think you are missing the connection to the conversation about improving the way we deal with rape allegations and prosecutions. There are obviously lots of fixable problems in the way we deal with allegations of rape. But, even if you fixed all of those, a very sizeable percentage of rapists would not be convictable under our legal system as it has traditionally existed. That is because in most instances of rape the only evidence is the allegation of the victim. A single allegation by an involved party is usually not enough to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. As a result of this, there has been something of a push to make it easier to convict rapists. And a lot of pressure on prosecutors to prosecute cases where the only evidence is an allegation. All of this makes false allegations of rape different from other types of false allegations--even if they aren't more common. Nobody is really out there suggesting the prosecutors should persue drug charges everytime anyone claims to have seen someone buying or selling drugs. False allegations of rape aren't relevant because people think there aren't false allegations of other types of crimes, they are relevant because we are having a conversation about whether we should be sending more people to prison on an allegation alone.
50
@40 You're right only I'm saying that. And I agree that making false accusations is a heinous thing. But here's the thing. Victims of sexual violence have a long history of not being believed. For being belittled and blamed for what happened to them. And what bothers me is that the article takes an attitude that says rape is bad, but what's really bad is these false accusations even though I doubt that false accusations are as much a issue as rape itself it.

But I think the bigger problem is as #45 and #48 pointed out, the belief that the actions of one liar should be allowed to undermine the cases of past and future rape victims. I mean why should one disturbed individuals actions make a completely different person in a completely different situation a liar?

We don't do this for other crimes? Why is rape the crime where someone else's actions have a say in whether or not you're believed?
51
@32 I agree Hobbes.
52
No one seems to doubt her when she says she hasn't been raped. Save 5.

I've heard of more false accusations of assault, with accompanying 'evidence'. I kind of like the idea that all contested accusers of assault, sex or otherwise, be screened for psychosis. Our judicial system could use improvement. And our mental illness screening.

All young women should tape any private encounter with a man. There's gotta be a better solution to convicting rape.

The title is totally off and defensive. And the conclusion of the mythical completely honest woman is bullshit. Everybody lies. Ill people lie about ill shit.
53
@47:"In most cases, it's like some bizarre, extra twisted version of Münchausen syndrome - sympathy seeking by making up something horrible."

I think this is what underlies a lot of what's really going on here. Keep in mind that the accuser didn't go to the authorities or seek counseling. She went straight to the comments section of what she knew would be a sympathetic website.

Character assassination and some munchausen variant are usually the reasons someone bypasses the police and goes straight to slandering the other person. (It's also why these people don't want the story to get to the police, which means the number actually tried is going to be noticeably smaller.) It's an interesting social question how you remain supportive of accusers without forming a lynch mob against the accused, but this is a social question instead of a legal one.
54
@ 49 - OK, but why do you believe that scores of innocent guys are being put in jail/will be put in jail because of a crackdown on rape convictions? I mean, the guy in this article was only ever accused in the comments of a website. The police never even got involved. What evidence do you have that they would have swooped in and railroaded the guy right into a prison cell?

I see a lot of hand-wringing about this possibility but no actual case studies presented showing it happens.

Any in-depth (or even surface) glance at the way rape cases are actually handled reveals the same shit every time: police mishandle/don't bother collecting evidence, smear the victim, pressure the victim into recanting, juries don't convict in what should be open and shut cases, prosecutors don't prosecute because the victim was wearing Spanx, etc.
55
@47 what is your evidence that only 1-2% of accusations are false? Read the article Dan quoted. No one really knows what the rate of false allegations is, but there's good reason to believe it is 8-10% or higher. That's at least 4X what it is for other crimes.
56
@49 Nobody is talking about changing the standard for a criminal conviction to anything other than proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Because of the constitution and all (I know, I know. The phrase "reasonable doubt" doesn't actually appear in the constitution. But it's been established for a long time that proof beyond a reasonable doubt is a requirement for due process under the 5th and 14th amendments).

Some states have tried to limit the damage done by traditional victim-blaming stuff, for instance by banning evidence about the victim's sexual history. This sort of reform is a good thing, and in no way changes the burden of proof placed upon the state.
57
@52: "I kind of like the idea that all contested accusers of assault, sex or otherwise, be screened for psychosis."

So the accused is innocent until proven guilty, while the accuser is apparently guilty until proven innocent.
58
The solution is ridiculously simple:

The number of TRUE accusations needs to increase to the point where the false ones lose their statistical significance, which wasn't all that great to begin with.

The article includes a direct reference to an accusation made by a woman who engaged in sexual activity while blacked out on alcohol. Video showed that she was conscious and functional throughout the activity.

This opens a huge can of worms about impaired responsibility and alcohol. The journalist seems to have made NO attempt to learn anything about blackouts and alcoholism. This has been consistent in every case that has hit the media.

A blacked-out individual can decide to drive, start a fight, pick up a stranger, fly a passenger jet etc. without being recognized as drunk. More typically, a blackout drunk can pour in more alcohol and incapacitate themselves.

90+% of drinkers will NEVER experience a true blackout. They'll puke or pass out without going into the twilight-zone stage. Pouring alcohol into vulnerable women is no better than dosing them with rohypnol. In fact, it may be worse. If the predators have been scouting and grooming victims, women alcoholics are being targeted for a vulnerability that most people don't share, and refuse to comprehend.
59
@56: The criminal situation IS potentially changing. Witness the recent law concerning affirmative consent in California that just passed the legislature and is on the way to the governor's desk now.

First, it enshrines in law certain concepts regarding affirmative consent, but does a shitty, vague job of defining them, in my opinion. (At least it did last time I checked the text of the proposed law, about six weeks ago.) There is enough there for a very long digression, from which I will refrain at present.

Second, it places pressure on universities not only to increase rape-awareness education (which is a very good thing), but also to step up their internal investigations. (Not so good a thing, in my opinion, as they aren't good at it, and they aren't bound to the criminal statute standards like "beyond a reasonable doubt". What they should do is refer cases more proactively to the police.)
60
@59 legislatures may change the definition of consent for criminal purposes (although recently I've only seen universities changing their definitions of consent for disciplinary purposes) and they may change the definition of the crime of rape. But they cannot change the requirement that, in order to convict someone of a crime, the state must prove each element of that crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
61
@60: True, but being thrown in jail is not the only consequence worth considering. Being expelled from your degree program and having that follow you around on your transcripts is a pretty good way to fuck up your future. The schools in California are being directed by law to follow a standard of "preponderance of the evidence" rather "beyond a reasonable doubt."
62
@61 It is true that the standards of conduct for California universities exist, and are changed, by law. That's how the universities got there to begin with, by law.

In regards to this policy change, I think that it is not too severe to kick someone out of school if it can be proved that it is more likely than not that said person raped someone
63
I disagree. I object to a standard that says, well, we can't prove it enough even to send him to court, let alone to jail, but we can ruin his life anyway.

Either he raped someone or he didn't. There is no middle ground. The correct response is a full investigation, in which he is either convicted or acquitted. If you find enough evidence to justify expelling him from school, then you should remand him to the criminal authorities.

But if you acquit someone, you don't turn around and give him just a little bit of jail, just to show you are tough on that sort of thing.

Add that on top of some very vague language in the law for what affirmative consent is supposed to be and when and how often one is supposed to ascertain it, and it adds up to a situation where enforcement is arbitrary and inconsistent. I'm a big fan of due process and clear, enforceable standards -- both of which are sadly lacking right now, often to the detriment of victims, I will freely admit; but the current efforts to address it didn't hit the mark, in my opinion.

For what it is worth, in its sexual issues training for students, UC Berkeley seems to be promoting a sensible standard of what affirmative consent means. (E.g. nonverbal positive body language such as a smile, a nod, as well as an actual verbal yes.). In the past, other schools have been less successful in that regard.

It also looks like the language of the law has been improved somewhat in the weeks since I last checked it, but it could still use some work.
64
@63 Ugh. You are either intentionally missing the point or are woefully uninformed. The preponderance of the evidence standard is the burden of proof for any civil case. If I can prove that it is more likely than not that a person assaulted me then I am entitled to successfully sue that person (and potentially ruin that person's life, I guess, since your definition of a ruined life appears to be one in which any major disappointment happens)
65
@ 64 - It is true that the standard is still technically "beyond a reasonable doubt." But, it is also true that people are much more likely to be convicted solely on the accusation of the victim when it comes to sexual assault vs. other crimes. And that wouldn't traditionally be enough to meet that burden. If all you have is one witness, there is always reasonable doubt that the witness is lying. But if judges started throwing out bunches of cases and convictions for lack of evidence that would probably not go over well. On top of that there is a lot of pressure on prosecutors to bring more of the cases to trial when there is only an accusation. I mean there is undoubtedly a push to convict more people in "he said, she said" type cases. How do you do that without tweaking the way the standards are traditionally applied? You might still call it "beyond a reasonable doubt," but it isn't quite the same as the type of "beyond a reasonable doubt" required to convict someone of murder.

I am not saying that any of these are bad things. But they do make false allegations of rape different from false allegations of, say, drug dealing or murder.
66
@64 Yes but: in pursuing your hypothetical civil lawsuit, you would not have the benefit of a quasi-prosecutorial investigative body doing the work for you. You'd have to prove your own case, muster the evidence, bear the expense. You'd be subject to counter-suit as well as possible sanctions if your suit is found to be frivolous, meaning you'd have skin in the game. And the person you were suing would have the right to put on a vigorous defense, including deposing and cross-examining you and other witnesses.

I'm not sure what the right way to handle these claims is. The preponderance of the evidence standard may be the right one. But what college men (mostly) face nowadays is being investigated by campus authorities; subjected to a hearing, not before a judge but before campus personnel who may be biased and/or poorly trained; and being thrown out of school without representation by a lawyer, cross-examination of the accuser, or the right to present his side of the case, based on a mere 50.01% likelihood of guilt.

This should make us pretty uncomfortable. I mean, suppose your neighbor sued you, claiming your dog bit him. But your neighbor did not have to hire a lawyer or pursue the lawsuit himself. Instead government authorities swooped in based on his word and investigated the case. Not only were you not allowed to depose him, you were ordered to vacate your house and have no contact with him until trial. At trial he testified, but you were not allowed to ask him questions. Other evidence against you was presented by anonymous written statements from his friends. You were not allowed to have a lawyer, and it was completely up to the discretion of the 'court' whether you could present any evidence. And, if you lose, you have no right to appeal.

Oh, and the consequences of losing are not just that you have to pay money, but that you must move to a different town...if you can find one that will take you, given that you will forever after be identified as someone who raises dangerous attack dogs.

Not every campus process may be this bad for the accused. But from the accounts I have read of men who are suing their universities (good for them), all these flaws are present in at least some campus systems, and some suffer from all of them.
67
@50: "But I think the bigger problem is as #45 and #48 pointed out, the belief that the actions of one liar should be allowed to undermine the cases of past and future rape victims."

It's not that people believe that these actions "should" undermine the cases of past and future rape victims. It is that they do undermine those cases, because they support a world view which holds that women lie about sexual abuse.
68
@57 Checking for mental illness is not branding someone guilty. I think it's important to check the accuser to avoid frivolous or malicious lawsuits. Checking the accused is important too, I agree. And creating better checks. Motives beyond material gain, I mean emotional or irrational motives, seem to throw a wrench into the judicial works.

In a your word against mine situation, even with proof of bruises or sexual contact, investigation should be thorough.

If false accusation is a widespread problem like rape, men should tape their sex, as well as young women taping their private encounters with men.

Any better way to convict rapists and avoid false accusation? This solution isn't great but I can't think of another.
69
55, it's not 8-10% false accusations, as noted anti-feminist author Cathy Young would like readers to believe in the Slate article. 8-10% refers to the FBI's estimate of the number of cases that are "unfounded" not "false." That means insufficient evidence, or contradictory information, or the investigators don't believe the accuser. That's a very different category than "definitively proven to be lying." Yes, false accusations are a problem, but they aren't common.
70
@66 Your concern for the poor men being accused is tone deaf at a time when colleges are largely failing rape victims. And your nightmare hypothetical about a dog bite claim grossly mischaracterizes the quasi-judicial process that colleges use for disciplinary purposes. The only similarity is that the state does pursue dog bite claims, either criminally or through animal control. Because the state has an interest in preventing dog bites, and it has an interest in preventing rape.
71
@70 I love how you call me 'tone-deaf' but don't actually attempt to prove me wrong. These articles gives examples of some of things I listed: students evicted from dorms based on accusation alone, denied legal representation, college authorities acting as both judge and prosecutor, accused persons being allowed to see the evidence against them, etc.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/08…

http://www.npr.org/2014/09/03/345312997/…

You're obfuscating the issue by nitpicking my dog bite example. I specifically said "your neighbor sued you," not "animal control came after your dog." But change it to an accusation that you backed into your neighbor's car. The due process concerns are the same.

@69 I am well aware the the 8% figure refers to the FBI's "unfounded" findings. You are correct that some of those cases may be real rapes. But keep in mind that 8% is only the number that the FBI feels have been affirmatively established as unfounded (defined as a "false or baseless allegation". How many of the other cases are false, but their falsity cannot be established? We don't know. We do know that some false allegations make it all the way through the criminal justice system undetected, with the falsely accused man spending years in prison.

I fully agree that we don't have good data in this area. Feminists claim a falsity rate of 2% (unsourced). Small-scale studies by academics have found falsity rates up around the 50% mark. My best guess is that 8% is more like a floor than a ceiling. Hence my statement that "No one really knows what the rate of false allegations is, but there's good reason to believe it is 8-10% or higher."
72
@71 I don't intend to waste my time trying to prove to you that colleges should be more responsive to victims of rape and sexual assault. If sticking up for rapists is the hill you want to die on, that's your business.

I will point out that those links you posted don't prove anything. They just recount the uncorroborated allegations made by one angry dude who got expelled from UMass for sexual assault.
73
"I don't intend to waste my time trying to prove to you that colleges should be more responsive to victims of rape and sexual assault."

See comment #34. There is no reason for it to be mutually exclusive. A well-designed process would be rigorous about how all parties are treated. I have no idea why you would be against that.

I also have no idea why you think that daring to talk about this side of the issue means that people can't possibly give a fuck about victims' rights, either.

"If sticking up for rapists is the hill you want to die on, that's your business."

Are you even paying attention? We've been sticking up for people who AREN'T rapists. That's what "false accusation" means.

"I will point out that those links you posted don't prove anything. They just recount the uncorroborated allegations made by one angry dude who got expelled from UMass for sexual assault."

They are a pretty good narrative of a lack of due process. I'm pretty sure you aren't claiming that the process ISN'T broken currently. Most likely you also understand how a shitty process hurts victims, and you wouldn't hesitate to say that improvements in process are currently needed. Less sure why you think the improvements need to be solely to the benefit of victims, with no improvements to safeguard the accused. The aim is not simply to increase the number of convictions. If that was what was wanted, we could do away with process entirely, and expel on accusation. It's to reliably get at the actual truth.
74
@ 55 - Sorry for assuming you could read a Wikipedia article for yourself. (And you really should go back and read it. You seem to be referencing it with a very limited understanding of what is written there.)

The 2% statistic, which is similar to the rate of false accusations for other violent crimes, comes from the United States Justice Department.

Maybe you should look up Occam's Razor on Wikipedia, too.
75
@74: Occam's Razor suggests that you and msanyonymous spend a lot of time lying about rape, actually.

But let's make this more simple: @15 accused you both of rape. Either your life should be ruined, or you're a liar. Which is it?
76
@74 I am so glad you read a Wikipedia article and are now an expert on the subject. I'm just wondering which Wikipedia article it was.

Was it this one? "Other studies have suggested that the rate of false allegations in America may be much higher. A nine-year study of a small metropolitan area in the Midwestern United States found that 41% of rape accusations were false." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape#False_…

Or this one, citing studies showing rates of false reporting ranging from 1.5% all the way to 90%? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_accus…
77
Women who falsely accuse anybody of rape most hurt other women, women who were really raped. So-called feminists should pile on this woman.

As for children : children don't lie about rape. But they can retract later, because what happened is too painful to keep on remembering. This is why children should be videotaped during their testimonies close to the crime, instead of being made to repeat the facts years later.
78
@73 Let me see if I understand your thought process here.

A guy gets accused of rape, and your (collective) response is something like "We must conduct a thorough and robust investigation, making sure that the rights of the accused are given the utmost respect. Until such investigation is complete, the accused may not suffer any consequence, or even any inconvenience (such as being forced to move) even though it might further traumatize victims to daily face, and maybe reside in the same dorm with, their attackers. Oh, and we should probably have that victim go through a mental health inquest, because bitches are crazy."

A guy (who has been expelled for sexual assault) accuses a school of inadequate due process and your thoughts are "Well, that young man certainly seems to have a reasonable and valid complaint. I'm convinced, the disciplinary procedures are obviously kangaroo courts that are biased against men. Oh, and we should ignore the fact that the justice department, having conducted an investigation, has concluded that universities are categorically failing the victims, rather than the accused."

That is some top-notch thinking there.

79
@77 Children absolutely lie about rape. Often but not always when they are pressured by overzealous investigators. Examples: the Wenatchee sex ring case, and the case documented in the movie Capturing the Friedmans. Also see Cosio v. U.S., 927 A.2d 1106 (DC, 2007) (15-year-old girl alleges that her older half-brother raped and abused her for years, but that she did not report it before because she was afraid of him. Reversed and remanded for new trial because defense counsel failed to present numerous independent witnesses who saw the girl with her brother and reported that she seemed happy around him, not afraid at all, and sought out his company. Allegation may have been in retaliation for brother's pressure on the younger children to do their homework and chores.)
80
@77 I agree with your first sentence. Not the rest though.

Rape is a bigger problem, false accusation of rape is riding on it's coattails, Dan doesn't post much about dismissing rape culture or rape prevention, that I have seen, but he does post things like this without even giving his opinions, so I'm not going to pile on his bandwagon. This thread is all infighting. The spanking thread looks like Princeton compared to this community college crap.

And children lie too.

I'd like to see mental health treated more like physical health. We have our standard annual physical with a GP, but not an annual mental with an... LPC I guess?

The relevant irrational crimes:
"I'll rape you to hurt you."
"I'll rape you because I lack human respect for women and it feels better than beating off."
"I'll rape you because I am otherwise irrational," or
"I'll accuse you to hurt you."
"I'll accuse you because I am irrational."

These are pretty ill reasons.
Checking mental illness seems appropriate to both establish guilt and rule out a frivolous/malicious suit.
I personally don't think people rape for material gain very often, although wallets might be picked through. Accusing for a payoff happens more frequently, I think. So men should stop paying off women to drop lawsuits. No one mentioned this particular simple solution.
81
@78 you got an inside line on the Justice Department investigation? Because as far as Google knows the results of that investigation haven't been released yet. Your willingness to jump from 'under investigation' to 'guilty' speaks volumes. At least some colleges, e.g. Occidental, are pushing back against the allegation they don't do enough on sexual assault.

"A front-page article in the Los Angeles Times on Dec. 7, 2013, was incorrect in reporting that Occidental College failed to disclose 27 alleged sexual assaults that occurred in 2012. [...]

Occidental representatives approached The Times early this month to seek a correction. Documents reviewed by The Times this week show that the 27 incidents did not fall under the law's disclosure requirements for a variety of reasons." http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-edito…
82
@81 You're right, the investigation is not over. I'm sure that the Justice Department's decision to release the names of those schools being investigated says absolutely nothing about whether there appears to be validity to the accusations that schools are ignoring and demeaning victims of sexual violence.
83
@80 Dan does give some good advice to prevent being raped, though. Like asking buddies to keep an eye on you and your drink, and not drinking to excess, and risk awareness. He doesn't seem to speak to men directly about it. Promoting GGG helps. And dissing sex shaming. Being an outspoken feminist helps -- I mean outspoken about equal treatment by gender. I'd rather hear this sentiment in his column instead of reposted with little context, but I don't think Dan acts very bigoted like it seemed in 80.
84
Gah this is awful. Seems like we have a choice:

1. Er on the side of disbelieving somebody who's telling the truth about a terrible and traumatic thing
2. Er on the side of believing somebody who's telling a lie about a terrible and traumatic thing

I'm going with #2, because I can't live with the consequences of #1.
85
@84: Given comment #15, the consequences of #2 are that you go to jail right now.

If you aren't lying, you need to go to jail. Right now.
86
@85 You seem to be misinterpreting. I believe the Canadian would rather
#2 Err on the side of believing somebody who's telling a lie about a terrible and traumatic thing, because the consequences of
#1 Erring on the side of disbelieving somebody who's telling the truth about a terrible and traumatic thing
are too severe.

I do think that rape is of more social concern. But instead of thinking about reasonable biases, I prefer to think about improving the investigation process and standard safety advice, but mostly picking apart the cultural cliches that support rapists. Like only men need sex, or women don't like sex, or sexual conquest is a symbol of masculinity, etc. General confusion about consent, desire, mutually fun sex, and sexual fulfillment.

Because I think that if rape were treated more seriously by our culture, it would naturally follow that false accusations of rape would be treated more seriously.
87
@86: @85 You seem to be misinterpreting. I believe the Canadian would rather
#2 Err on the side of believing somebody who's telling a lie about a terrible and traumatic thing, because the consequences of
#1 Erring on the side of disbelieving somebody who's telling the truth about a terrible and traumatic thing
are too severe.


I know. I was pointing out that, given the false accusation made in #15, 84 either does not mean what they're saying, or 84 believes he or she should be sent to prison immediately. The line of thinking 84 is using depends on thinking that you will never be the person being lied about. 15 called your bluff, guys.

The question is this: Do you think we should believe 15, or do you think we should not believe 15?
@84: If the former, you're a rapist, and we should do to you what we do to convicted rapists. If the latter, then the content of #84 is false, and you know it. Choose.

Because I think that if rape were treated more seriously by our culture, it would naturally follow that false accusations of rape would be treated more seriously.

This is a pleasant thought. History doesn't support it, though. Google the word "lynching;" we've tried what you're suggesting, and it didn't end up the way you're hoping. What happens when we start taking rape "seriously" isn't that false accusations become rare, it's that--since they are now much more strongly incentivized--they become much more common, usually as a murder weapon against the powerless.

@86, oddly, I think your middle paragraph--which I'm thinking is the point you're making--basically unobjectionable, though incomplete. Also, it might be worthwhile to look up what RAINN recently said about "rape culture;" if you actually want to do something about rape, it's not enough to indulge in mythmaking.
88
@87 Ok, so you misread 15 as "all commenters" and missed the "above". And you'd like to imply that the Canadian would prosecute a rape based on word of mouth. I wish you'd stop putting words in people's mouths, the Canadian sounds more reasonable. This coming from someone who strongly dislikes the words "reasonable bias".

Your lynching point is convoluted, I have no idea what you are trying to say. Apparently it's something arguing my conclusion, like "when lynching was treated more seriously by our culture, false accusations of lynching were treated less seriously."

"oddly, I think your middle paragraph ... basically unobjectionable, though incomplete."
Wow, you can create a backhanded compliment! Want a cookie? You need to work on your backhand, though, you don't say why my thoughts are incomplete so your criticism comes across as churlish.
89
@88: Thanks for pointing that out; I'd missed the word "above." To correct the error, I hereby accuse all commenters, above and below, of raping me.

All of you who think that proof shouldn't be required for rape accusations now have the options of either turning yourself in or admitting that you don't actually believe what you're saying.
Choose.

Your lynching point is convoluted, I have no idea what you are trying to say.
Idiots who think that the world will end if rich people have to pay taxes above a couple percent in the highest bracket are failing to notice that this actually happened in the 1950s and the world didn't end. Like them, you seem unaware of the fact that there actually was a place and time where due process wasn't considered important when it comes to rape, as you'd know if you'd actually googled lynching. You guys advocate treating an accusation of rape like a conviction of rape; we tried that, and the results were horrific.

Wow, you can create a backhanded compliment! Want a cookie?

Are you an adult?

You need to work on your backhand, though, you don't say why my thoughts are incomplete so your criticism comes across as churlish.

Your thoughts assume that men are only ever perpetrators, and women are only ever victims. I omitted the explanation because it triggers a cycle of lies from people who very much want to support your assumptions, but nodded in that direction to avoid offending people who care about truth. In the real world, the victims are 50/50, and the perpetrators are 60/40, and correcting the bad ideas about sex that you're criticizing is a half measure.
90
@87: You do know that it is possible to adopt a policy short of "automatically imprison anyone accused of rape," while still taking such accusations seriously, don't you? I mean, it is an impressive straw man that you and @15 have constructed, but it isn't really anybody's position in this conversation.

Put another way: If @15 is sincere in his belief that he has been raped by @1 through @14, I would encourage him to take make a complaint to law enforcement and allow the justice system to do its work.
91
@89: Further to @90, if you sincerely believe that I have raped you, I encourage you to contact law enforcement. As it is not a crime in progress (I do not appear to be raping you at this moment) you probably don't need to call 911, but if you ask I will happily provide you with my local police department's non-emergency number so you can let them know. Good luck with your case.
92
@89 Yes let's start calling each other children and screaming our opinions in a loud voice without reasonable explanation. Very adult productive behavior. Yes, this is more sarcasm, yes adults use sarcasm when they are unable to patiently deal with stupid shit, no it's never the best choice, yes people are imperfect.

" You guys advocate treating an accusation of rape like a conviction of rape"
source?

"Your thoughts assume that men are only ever perpetrators, and women are only ever victims."
Yes I generally define rape as the forced penetration of a vagina with a penis, as the potential damages of pregnancy, STI transmission, internal physical damage, and future aversion to sexual contact are generally most pronounced in this extreme case. Thus we gave it it's own special name "rape". Yes all sexual assault is nasty, and sure forcing person A to give oral to person B may be more damaging than an individual case of date rape with a condom, but all these nitpicking points you could raise don't change the relative risks I mentioned.

I wasted a little time googling "RAINN" to see what you could be talking about and only found a critical article about the dangers of dismissing concern about rape culture on Slate:
http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/201…
93
@92: Most legal definitions of rape do not limit it to forced penetration of a female by a male.

Which is why @89 is wrong to say "Your thoughts assume that men are only ever perpetrators, and women are only ever victims... In the real world, the victims are 50/50, and the perpetrators are 60/40."

From Sex Offenses and Offenders, by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 99.1% of convictions for rape and sexual assault were of men. For those convicted, almost 95% of the victims of rape and almost 85% of the victims of sexual assault were female.
94
@84 Fortunately there is another option:
3. Treat rape accusations seriously, investigate, while treating accused fairly and in accord with long-established principles of due process. That second part requires ending the feminist myth that women never lie about rape, which is the point of the article Dan quoted.

@90, 91, 92: You ask who is advocating automatically believing rape claims. From the article:
"Feminism is built on believing women’s accounts of sexual use and abuse by men.” Feminist Professor Catharine MacKinnon
Women lying about rape is a "myth"--Susan Estrich
"believe victims en masse"--Jessica Valenti.

These are mainstream feminist voices.

95
@93 I kind of hate how forced internal penetration is almost synonymous with rape in the law. I can see them being nearly the same standing, with the highest risks of sti transmission and internal damage, probably sex aversion too. But criminal maliciousness or insanity about creating a pregnancy, with how we as a society are supposed to value human life, deserves its own category imo. I also have strong feelings about women criminals who poke holes in condoms or won't let a guy pull out or lie about being on the pill or otherwise try to forcibly impregnate themselves. That and attempted semen theft. I want those to be felonies too.

@95 I never said all feminists are intelligent and ethical, even though I believe it's intelligent and ethical to be a feminist.
96
Er that was supposed to be @94 not self reference.
97
@94: There is considerable disagreement even among feminists on a lot of topics, including this one. I wouldn't say that Catherine Mackinnon, for example, is a mainstream voice; she certainly has had her share of disagreements with other feminists (e.g. around pornography).

In any case, the emphasis on believing female victims came about as a response to the routine disbelieving and victim-blaming that was quite routine for most of the 20th century. This pattern, though reduced, persists to this day. For no other crime are the victims so frequently questioned as to what they did, or did not do, that might have led to being victimized. For no other crime is there such concern about the veracity of the complaints.
98
@78: "@73 Let me see if I understand your thought process here."

Well, you failed spectacularly at understanding it, though you did a first rate job of mischaracterizing it.

You were not terribly far off in your first paragraph. No, I don't think that people should be subjected to sanctions until such time as they are actually convicted. If you think you have a good enough case for a criminal prosecution, take it to a judge, who will have the accused removed in a timely fashion. Short of that, however, you are advocating for casually damaging people, and if they turn out to be innocent after the fact, too bad. Name any other crime where sentencing precedes conviction. You want to use civil suit as your model? The court doesn't assess damages until the suit is resolved, and does not jail civil defendants during proceedings.

"A guy (who has been expelled for sexual assault) accuses a school of inadequate due process and your thoughts are"

Note the presumption of guilt in your formulation. You pointedly note that sexual assault was what he was expelled for, as somehow being evidence in itself of lack of credibility. In the very act of claiming it doesn't ever happen, you do it yourself.

" I'm convinced, the disciplinary procedures are obviously kangaroo courts that are biased against men."

You yourself are claiming the university procedures are hopelessly fucked up when it comes to handling the women's side of the process, and yet magically their process for dealing with the men is beyond reproach?

"Oh, and we should ignore the fact that the justice department, having conducted an investigation, has concluded that universities are categorically failing the victims, rather than the accused."

That right there is the part where you look like a complete liar. Point out where I said we should ignore ANYTHING. A complete and thorough investigation is antithetical to ignoring ANYTHING.
99
@91: The implication of your comment is that you fully expect law enforcement to summarily dismiss 89's accusation of rape as a ridiculous waste of time. Ironic, no?
100
I'm in the middle of having an escalating set of false allegations of rape made against me by the mother of my children. The threat has been leveled at me intermittently over many years and I did not take it seriously.

It has now reached the stage of being presented to the family court in an affidavit. It began as a threat to claim I was a kiddie fiddler but the kids are too old for that to work now. So she has chosen to claim I raped her. She comes from a family of serial accusers. Some in the current generation have had their claims taken seriously. She hasn't gone to the police yet, but given her personal and family history there is little doubt that she will.

It is utterly terrifying being accused of this century's unquestionable crime.

If you are actually raped you do not have to fear losing your children, your career, and your liberty. If you are actually raped there is a chance your abuser will be punished.

It is at least as terrible and traumatizing a thing to have a false allegation of rape leveled against you.
101
@99: All of the people like that seem to take for granted the idea that there are police with supernatural powers of determining truth, and that these police are both personally infallible and omnipresent. If any of that were true, I agree that the world would be a much nicer place, but that's frequently the case with fantasy.

@100: I'm so sorry. I wish I could help more than just hassling your disgusting ex's enablers on the internet.