Saturday, May 31, 2008
Judy Benitez obviously thinks that false claims should not be part of the public discourse about rape
She did not acknowledge that men are falsely convicted of rape and obviously does not believe that false claims should be part of the public discourse on rape. That's because, to people like Judy Benitez, false claims are so rare.
Many sexual assault counselors call false rape claims a "myth" or a "bugaboo."
And that's why we have this Web site, to insist that false rape claims -- which are not rare, which are not a myth or a "bugaboo" -- must be part of the public discourse about rape. This public discourse, sadly, is dominated by persons who have a financial interest is transmogrifying rape into a national epidemic. One of the ways they do this is to minimize any suggestion that a rape claim could be spurious. These persons fit the classic definition of "biased" because of their financial interest, but they are routinely trotted out by the news outlets as if they were impartial experts.
Friday, May 30, 2008
It's time we did. We now know that false rape claims are not uncommon, and the potential harm to innocent men stemming from them is enormous. Thus false rape claims should be viewed not through a gynocentric lens but rather as atrocities that only victimize men; atrocities that nobody is talking about, but that need to be stopped.
A recent news story brought a chilling reminder of the potential harm of convicting an innocent man.:
Colin Campbell Ross was hanged 86 years ago after being convicted of the murder and rape of 12-year-old Nell Alma Tirtschke, whose naked body was found in an alley. Ross, who ran a small wine bar near the alley, was found guilty after jurors were told hair samples taken from his house matched those of the dead girl. After two quashed appeals, he was hanged just 115 days after Tirtschke's death. Now research has confirmed the hair was not a match, and found evidence compromising a key prosecution witness. "Let us be an example," said Mr. Ross' niece Betty Everett. "Let's hope it never happens again."
Thursday, May 29, 2008
A rape law will go into effect next year that could hurt innocent men.
Beginning in 2009, states will have to pay for so-called "Jane Doe rape kits" to continue receiving funding under the federal Violence Against Women Act, which provides tax dollars for women's shelters and law enforcement training. These kits will be used to collect evidence for use by police and prosecutors. It consists of microscope slides, boxes and plastic bags for storing skin, hair, blood, saliva or semen gathered by a specially trained nurse. The victim's injuries are also photographed. The "Jane Doe" rape kits are sealed with only a number on the outside of the envelope to identify the victim. Police do not open the envelope unless the victim decides to press charges -- possibly years later.
The "Jane Doe" rape kits may, indeed, serve a legitimate purpose of giving women who are reluctant to make a formal rape claim the ability to take a sort of half-step -- to preserve evidence without actually making a report.
But one thing is certain: the new law does not adequately protect innocent men because it could leave them at a significant evidentiary disadvantage. It is troublesome that we are allocating state resources to help a woman prepare a possible criminal case against a man who is not even advised that he's been accused of rape , then we allow her to sit on the evidence, possibly for years, without giving the man a similar opportunity to preserve evidence.
Why is it troublesome? Simple. Every lawyer knows that one's ability to defend against most claims diminishes with the passage of time -- memories fade; evidence is lost (e.g., if the man and the woman were involved in a consensual relationship, there may be no evidence to prove it after several years -- he probably deleted any voice mails or emails tending to show a consensual relationship); and alibi witnesses disappear and sometimes die. After having sat on the evidence for years, at trial, the woman might paint a vivid picture of a rape; in contrast, if the man is innocent, the most he might be able to honestly say is, "I would never rape a woman, but I have no strong recollection of that night." He may have no recollection whatsoever of where he was on the night in question; whether he was drinking; whether she was drinking; where they were prior to or after the sexual encounter; what they discussed prior to or after; or with whom they spoke prior to or after. In short, he may recall nothing whatsoever about that night and at trial would be like the warrior of old entering battle stripped of his shield and sword.
Is that fair to an innocent man? The question scarcely survives its statement.
The only fair and equitable solution is this: when she preserves the evidence, the man should be promptly alerted that he has been accused of a rape so that he, too, can preserve evidence crucial to defending against this most vile charge. This would do nothing more than put him on an equal footing with his accuser. Otherwise we allow the woman, and the state, to ambush him with a rape charge years after the fact -- years after his ability to fairly defend has been diminished, perhaps fatally.
In other contexts, the law does not regard as "fair" similar purposeful prosecutorial delay that prejudices the accused. If the state waits to indict a man in order to obtain a tactical advantage, and if such delay prejudices a man's ability to fairly defend himself, his due process rights are said to be violated and the charges are dismissed. Why would this situation with the rape kits be any different since we are allowing -- indeed the state is paying for -- a woman to do that very thing? And lest there be any doubt, although the state decides whether to bring charges, in so-called acquaintance rape scenarios (the vast majority of rapes fall in that category), the prosecution's case rests on the word of the accuser. There often is no other evidence of the alleged crime.
What is needed is a serious dialogue that includes discussion of the innocent, not a witch hunt to jack up rape conviction rates. Again, removing false accusations from the public discourse about rape, as the sexual assault counseling industry has done, and blinking at the victimization of falsely accused men, is not merely dishonest but morally grotesque. It is as hurtful as the ludicrous assertion that “she asked for it.”
And one other point deserves serious discussion: Should the state be in the business of countenancing delay when it comes to rapists on the loose? If there really was a rape -- the second most serious of all criminal offenses short of murder -- why are we not insisting that the criminal be apprehended? Would the state countenance delay for a robber if it had the evidence necessary to identify him? A burglar? Of course not. Are we saying that rapists, most of whom are of the acquaintance variety, are not as serious a threat? Are we not elevating the fears, the concerns and the emotions of purported victims over the public's safety? Shouldn't we be telling victims they must report, not giving them excuses not to? With the rape shield laws, the availability of rape counselors -- often paid for, in part, by the accused man's tax or tuition monies, and the sensitivity training police receive with respect to women who claim they have been sexually assaulted, there is little more, if anything, that we, as a society, can do to encourage women to "come forward." Why should we coddle them with "Jane Doe rape kits" if there really is a rapist on the loose? And what if he rapes another woman, all because we allow evidence that could have put him away to be kept from the police?
In any event, when you cast your net too wide, as this law does, you will snag innocent men. Some in the sexual assault counseling industry have no concerns about this. But some of us are very concerned about not convicting the innocent, even though they happen to be men, and even though the alleged crime is rape.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
In addition, false claims are often made to cover up something from a parent, husband or boyfriend. Here, the false accuser was trying to cover up something -- but not, as in the typical case, an illicit affair. Here she was trying to cover up a stupid mistake where she accidentally shot herself in the knee -- among the more bizarre reasons I've seen for lying about this extremely serious matter.
And finally, we see the police complaining about the real harm she's done -- wasting police time. This, too, is sadly typical of these cases. Never mind that she disparaged an entire class of men, likely making women fearful of Hispanic males because of her lies. Never mind whatever anxiety she might have caused local Hispanic men when the police were investigating whether one of them should be arrested. And never mind deterring this false accuser from making similar unfounded claims against innocent men.
And that's a point that's so obvious, it's easy to overlook. Yes, men are the exclusive targets of this crime, lest this fact be forgotten. The false accuser is careful to discriminate -- it's men, and often foreign or black men. While contrary to the feminist cries that rape should be classified a "hate crime" because it supposedly singles out a gender (it really does not -- ever hear of prison rape? Rape of boys?), false accusations of rape really should be classified a "hate crime" -- because its targets really are exclusively male.
Here is the story:
Woman pleads guilty to false rape
Dirk Vanderhart • News-Leader • May 27, 2008
The wife of a founder of the Ozarks Minutemen has pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about being raped and shot by three Hispanic men, court records show.
Angela D. Wilburn, 44, appeared in Greene County Associate Circuit Court today and pleaded guilty to making a false report, a class B misdemeanor.
Wilburn — the wife of Brian Wilburn, who helped form the Ozarks Minutemen — was charged with the crime in December, after calling 911 reporting someone had shot her.
In interviews with a detective at St. John’s Hospital, Angela Wilburn said three Hispanic men broke into her home. One of the men sexually assaulted her in the hallway of her mobile home, then shot her in the knee with a handgun, she said.
News of the attack generated discussion on the Ozarks Minutemen Web site, where Brian Wilburn gave members updates on his wife’s condition.
But the woman soon retracted her tale.“Angela eventually stated to me that she had accidentally shot herself in the knee,” Detective Kenny Weatherford wrote in a probable cause statement.
“She stated that she heard a noise and grabbed her husband’s gun and was reaching for a flashlight when the gun went off.
“She stated to me that no one broke into her house and that she was not raped. She stated it was an accident and she made it up because she was scared and embarrassed.”
But by the time Angela Wilburn made the admission, Greene County deputies had already spent more than 100 man-hours investigating the fictitious attack. The Greene County Sheriff’s Department said in December it will seek restitution from Angela Wilburn for the wasted time. Such repayment could be part of her sentence, said Greene County Chief Deputy Jim Arnott.
The woman is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 3. She could face up to six months in prison and a $500 fine.
The false report wasn’t the first time Angela Wilburn reported being attacked by Hispanic men. On June 6, she told deputies three Spanish-speaking men in a white van attempted to abduct her as she walked on Farm Road 156 west of West Bypass. She reported she was able to fight off one man and flee on foot.
The report later led to a Crime Stoppers bulletin and statewide alert. Though detectives are not actively pursuing the case, the sheriff’s department has left it open, Arnott said.
“It’s one of those things where we can’t prove it one way or another,” he said.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Innocent man spent eleven months in jail based solely on claim of girl with history of false allegations of abuse
Yet this case was brought to trial? How? Thankfully the jury saw through the lie.
Why are we, as a society, affording young girls with sometimes wild and sometimes evil imaginations so much power over men? Why are we giving them the ability to destroy the lives of men and boys in this fashion?
This is a travesty. It underscores the false rape culture we are living in -- a culture that pretends things like this do not happen because they don't fit the feminist sexual assault metanarrative. A culture that pretends lies like this, which are common, are a "myth."
Here is the story:
Man found not guilty in teen rape case
By ANDREW WOLFE
Staff Writer email@example.com
NASHUA – Anthony Santiago spent 11 months in the Hillsborough County jail for crimes that a jury found he did not commit.
Santiago, 23, formerly of 24B Wilder St., was acquitted on Thursday on all charges alleging that he had sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl last year.
Santiago had been jailed since his arrest last June, unable to post $25,000 bail. He could have faced up to 10 to 20 years in prison on each of two aggravated felonious sexual assault charges, if convicted.
Santiago denied assaulting the girl, and his lawyer, public defender Ed Cross was able to present evidence that the girl had a history of raising false allegations of abuse, and lying.
The girl told police that she told her mother of Santiago's alleged assaults on the night after the second alleged assault, but the girl's mother recalled no such disclosure, Cross said.
"If you're a mother, you would never forget that conversation," Cross said.
It is not unusual for people charged with sexual assaults to be jailed while awaiting trial, Cross said, because judges tend to set high bail in such cases due to the severity of the crime.
Cross said he feels sympathy for the girl, despite Santiago's suffering.
"This young girl has had a very difficult life. I feel very badly for her. I wish her the best," he said Friday.
Assistant Hillsborough County Attorney Cassie Devine had told jurors that various evidence and details in the girl's statement would corroborate her accusations and the allegations.
Santiago was accused of assaulting the girl at his home, during a St. Patrick's Day party last year, while he and his fiancée were baby-sitting for the girl and other children. He also was accused of assaulting her on June 10, while visiting her home.
Devine argued that Santiago was drunk on both occasions, and smoked marijuana with the girl before the first assault.
Santiago agreed to speak with police when they approached him, and he emphatically denied ever having touched the girl inappropriately, with the exception of one incident when they were horsing around and slap-fighting in a store, Cross said.
Cross argued that police kept pressuring Santiago to confess, and he eventually admitted that he had been drunk at the time, and it was possible that something happened that he couldn't remember. Police recorded only the last half hour of the interview, after Santiago admitted the possibility of a lapse in his memory, Cross said.
Innocent men must not only worry about the false accusers but about obstructionist prosecutors as well
We may not know all the facts and we won't assume the prosecutor is culpable. But if he was, why would a prosecutor be bent on convicting an innocent man as opposed to a lying false accuser? Sadly, I think I know the answer, and it's a painful one. Rape is a politically correct crime to prosecute. False accusations of rape are not -- they are the district attorney's little dark secret, the crime whose name must not be spoken lest we conjure up the wrath of the radical feminist sexual assault lobby.
In any event, here is the story:
Investigator testifies before state bar that Santa Clara County deputy DA withheld information
FIELD FACES STATE DISBARMENT IF ACCUSATIONS HOLD
By Leslie GriffyMercury News
Article Launched: 05/24/2008 01:39:21 AM PDT
An investigator for the defense in a controversial rape case testified Friday that she was unable to find a witness before an important 2003 hearing. State bar attorneys say the prosecutor could have provided that information, but withheld it on purpose.
Investigator Sandra Coke's testimony about her difficulty finding witness Stephen Smith is key to the state bar case against Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Ben Field, who faces misconduct charges that could lead to his disbarment.
State bar attorney Donald Steeman alleges that Field intentionally withheld Smith's whereabouts from the rape defendant's lawyer because he feared it would hurt his own case. When Smith was eventually located, he provided information that helped lead to dismissal of the rape charge.
But Field's attorney, Allen Ruby, has suggested throughout the unusual hearing this week that Coke and Cliff Gardner knew where Smith was all along, and that he could prove it.
State bar attorneys also allege Field used false or misleading information to arrange several search warrants that were not allowed under the law, and that he disobeyed a judge who ordered Field not to conduct searches without the judge's approval.
The state bar is responsible for evaluating misconduct charges against lawyers in California. While the bar investigates hundreds of complaints against lawyers every year, officials said charges against a prosecutor are extremely rare. Field could be forbiddento practice law if a state bar judge agrees with the charges.
Speaking in a San Francisco bar court Friday, Coke detailed how she and attorney Gardner spent months fruitlessly searching for witness Smith.
Coke acknowledged she interviewed Smith in 2002, but said she then lost track of him and didn't find him again until about a week after Damon Auguste's appeal of a rape conviction had been continued.
Coke said she visited a Fremont address she had found for Smith, tried to contact his mother and interviewed his ex-wife.
Auguste was convicted of raping a 15-year-old girl. In 2002, Coke said Smith told her that, in a conversation with him, the girl recanted her accusation that Auguste raped her. Auguste was eventually released from prison and had his charges reduced to misdemeanors.
On July 18, 2003, Field and Gardner met in Judge James Emerson's chambers to discuss the Auguste case. Gardner told Emerson they weren't ready for a July 28 hearing because they hadn't located Smith.
Field allegedly failed to tell Emerson or Gardner that he and his investigator had already found and interviewed Smith.
But using a July 11, 2003, fax that a research company had sent to Coke with Smith's address, Ruby sought to prove the investigator did know where Smith was at the time of the July 18 hearing.
"When you talked to Mr. Gardner on the 14th you would have told him you had an address for Smith," Ruby asked Coke.
"I may have," she replied, but went on to say that the address faxed to her July 11 was one of many she had been given since she started trying to re-locate Smith in June 2002
"This was not the first address that came out," she said. "This one would not have stood out."
Coke is working for Auguste's family in a civil suit related to the case.
Friday, May 23, 2008
A teenage girl panics a community by conjuring up an imaginary rape. Thankfully no man was arrested because of her lie. People, especially children, lie for all manner of reasons. Yet it is fair to assert that the general public instinctively believed her prevarication. Another cautionary tale.
Here is the story:
Reported rape in Silver Spring Township prowler incident proved false
14-year-old female's report to TV station was questioned by police
By staff reports, May 22, 2008
Last updated: Thursday, May 22, 2008 4:03 PM EDT
A reported rape on ABC27 involving the prowler in Silver Spring Township was deemed to be false by Silver Spring Township police.
On May 16, a 14-year-old female reported to the TV station that she had been raped in January of this year by a man she believed to be the prowler, for whom police had notified residents to be on the lookout, according to police.
Police questioned the validity of the report since the incident was never reported to them, according to police.
After learning the girl’s identity, which was not released to the public, police interviewed her about the allegation, police say.
The female juvenile admitted that she was not raped as previously reported to the news media, although she still claims that she was confronted by the “prowler,” according to police.
The police department has determined that based upon interviewing the juvenile, something may have occurred, but there is no evidence other than her statement to substantiate it, police say.
No charges are being filed against the female juvenile.
Silver Spring Township Police Department will continue to search for the prowler suspect.
The police describe the subject as a while male between 5-foot-7 and 6-foot tall, weighing 150 to 175 pounds.
Most of the complaints involved the subject peering into windows, according to police. He has been spotted in the following developments: Mulberry Crossing, Walnut Point Phase I and II, Trindle Springs, Silver Meadows, Stone Crest, North Road, South Road, Rife Drive and Longview Drive.
Woman at the center of false rape allegation dies
By Times Staff and Wire Reports
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Cathleen Crowell Webb, the woman who in 1977 accused a man of a rape that never occurred, died of cancer last week.
David Webb, Crowell Webb's husband and a former Homewood-Flossmoor High School classmate, said the 46-year-old school receptionist died of breast cancer Thursday in their home in Harrisville, N.H.
On July 9, 1977, a Homewood police officer saw Crowell Webb near the former Washington Square Mall at the intersection of Halsted Street and Ridge Road. Then a 16-year-old student at Homewood-Flossmoor High School, Crowell Webb told police she was approached by three men in a car, one of whom tore her clothes, raped her and scratched letters into her stomach with a broken beer bottle.
Police took Crowell Webb to a Hazel Crest hospital to gather evidence. Later, from a photo lineup based on a fabricated description of her attacker, she eventually singled out Gary Dotson, a then-22-year-old Country Club Hills resident.
Later that year, police arrested Dotson, who was charged with kidnapping and rape. Dotson was convicted based on Crowell Webb's testimony and forensic evidence such as hair samples that prosecutors argued matched the defendant's.
But in 1985, after confessing to her pastor that she lied about the crime, Crowell Webb admitted to making up the entire story because she had consensual sex with her boyfriend at the time and believed she may have become pregnant. She also said she borrowed the idea for the rape alibi from a book she'd recently read titled, "Sweet Savage Love."
Charges against Dotson were dropped in 1989. He was pardoned by then-Governor George Ryan in 2002.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
False rape report results in charge
THOMASVILLE, May 22, 2008 (Thomasville Times-Enterprise - McClatchy-Tribune
Information Services via COMTEX) -- -- Thomasville and Thomas County lawmen spent five hours looking for a rape suspect who did not exist.
The search began after a 31-year-old woman reported being raped Wednesday, May 14, at her North Egg and Butter Road home.
About 5 p.m. that afternoon, the victim told Thomas County Sheriff's Department deputies she answered a knock on her door.
"A black male asked if someone was there. She was not familiar with the name," said Lt. Tim Watkins, sheriff's office chief investigator.
The woman, Mary Ann Wilder, told officers the man forced his way into her home and sexually assaulted her on a sofa in the living room.
The sheriff's office forensic division, Thomasville police and sheriff's criminal investigation divisions responded and established perimeters.
The scene was processed, and the Thomasville police canine unit tracked the area.
"We discovered a semi (tractor-trailer) had been parked at her residence most of the day," Watkins said. Neighbors told investigators the vehicle had been parked at the house from that morning to midafternoon.
Further investigation showed Wilder's ex-husband had stopped by to pick up a CB radio.
"Apparently, they engaged in consensual sex," the chief investigator explained.
Wilder was later charged with false statements and writings, a felony. On Wednesday, she was being held in the Thomas County Jail in lieu of a $5,600 bond.
The manpower spent on the alleged rape was costly. Expenses are being compiled.
Watkins said prosecutors will ask that the expenses be made part of the case and considered at sentencing.
Twenty-six years behind bars for a rape he did not commit.
No commentary can possibly underscore the tragedy of this story, or the importance of raising awareness about wrongful convictions for rape.
Man walks out of prison 26 years after wrongful rape conviction
Santiago Esparza and George Hunter / The Detroit News
DETROIT -- Walter Swift walked out of the east entrance of Wayne County Jail a free man Wednesday, 26 years after being convicted of a brutal rape he says he did not commit.
As he walked into the arms of a crush of tearful family members and other supporters at about 12:30 p.m., Swift asked, "What is all this?"
Audrey Mills, who was 1 year old when her father was imprisoned, was thrilled to see Swift freed.
"I've done so many things he wasn't there for," she said. "I found myself praying to God why.
We have someone here who is a prisoner for something he did not do. But God hears prayers. God answers prayers."
Wayne County Circuit Judge Vera Massey-Jones vacated Swift's conviction after the Innocence Project argued his innocence and the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office said it would not retry him.
"I am gratified to have had an opportunity like this and I'm happy to grant the motion for release," Massey-Jones said before wishing Swift good luck.
The small, crowded courtroom broke into applause.
"Please inform the sheriff that the Michigan Department of Corrections has no jurisdiction over this man," Massey-Jones said to another round of applause.
The victim was four months pregnant at the time of the Sept. 2, 1982, rape and robbery in her home on Seminole.
Swift was arrested and convicted of the rape, even though he did not match the description of the suspect, had a solid alibi and key evidence introduced at trial was false, project officials said.
"The victim's identification of Mr. Swift was tragically wrong and was the result of erroneous police procedures," said Olga Akselrod, attorney for the Innocence Project.
Swift's girlfriend at the time, who now is a police officer, said he was with her at the time of the attack and has maintained he was innocent since then.
The project also maintains that Swift received ineffective legal counsel from his attorney.
Following the judge's actions, Swift's sister Diane Powell said "God is good. That's all I can say. God is good."
You can reach Santiago Esparza at (313) 222-2127 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Note the following passage from this article by Tom Suiter, which likely would be overlooked by any casual reader:
"It’s hard to believe that just two years ago, this [Duke Lacrosse] was a program in shambles after false allegations of rape at an off-campus party brought national attention to Duke University for all the wrong reasons.Now, Duke lacrosse is back in the news and this time for all the right reasons. . . . .The humiliations of two years ago and the lessons learned won’t be forgotten by any of those players who lived through it. But the chance is at hand for them to get some kind of positive closure."
Did you get that? Men falsely accused have "lessons" to be "learned." Is that offensive to anyone? Of course not. The young men likely will think twice about putting themselves in a situation where they can be falsely accused again. And they should. Would anyone think this is "victim blaming"? Again, of course not.
Then why aren't the radical feminists challenged when they denounce as "victim blaming" good faith suggestions that women should not put themselves in harm's way?
There are bad men out there. And bad women. We would all do well to avoid falling prey to them. Does that mean that a woman "asked" to be raped? Or that a man "asked" to have a false accusation made against him? The fact is, few people believe that. Many people do believe that some women who are raped are stupid or foolish. And so were the Duke Lacrosse boys.
Just another example of how the feminist sexual assault lobby's mantras, which they repeat with cookie-cutter redundancy, don't always hold up when exposed to the harsh light of logic and rationality.
Toronto Star repeats the bow-wow of the radical feminist sexual assault industry that false rape claims are a "myth"
First my letter, then the actual article.
For the falsely accused who have written to me and who read this blog, warning: this hurtful article likely will trigger some unwanted emotions.
Letter to the Editor
Your story “Police report on rape fails all of our Jane Does” (Star, May 21) wrongly dismisses the victimization of countless innocent men by repeating the canard of the feminist sexual assault counseling industry that false rape claims are a “myth.”
The article itself notes that fully one-in-six (16%) of all such claims are “unfounded.” While this, in itself, hardly supports the characterization of “myth,” researchers in this area recognize that the precise number is, in fact, unknowable but likely greater than one-in-six. In “Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case,” the widely acclaimed (acclaimed even by the New York Times, which the book criticizes) and painstaking study of the Duke Lacrosse non-rape case, the authors examine the major studies in this area and explain that the exact number of false claims is elusive but the empirical data suggest that “probably closer to half of all rape claims are false.” (Page 374.)
While it is imperative to appreciate the concern that false accusations not dominate the public discourse about rape at the expense of dismissing prejudices true rape victims still face, removing false accusations from the dialogue and dismissing the victimization of falsely accused men as a "myth," as your article does, is morally grotesque and breathtaking in its misandry. It denigrates innocent men, substitutes a factually incorrect feminist mantra for truth, and is as hurtful as the ludicrous assertion that “she asked for it.”
Now, the actual article:
Police report on rape fails all of our Jane Does
May 21, 2008 04:30 AM Antonia Zerbisias
Early Sunday, a young woman walking her dog near the Balmy Beach Club was sexually assaulted.
Police issued a warning and the media dutifully picked it up, telling women "to be vigilant of their surroundings" and "to be aware of a possible sexual predator in the area."
Gee. Thanks. We'll keep that in mind next time we dare venture out alone after dark.
Which is just one reason why "Jane Doe," the woman who successfully sued the Toronto police for negligence and sexual discrimination in their investigation of her 1986 rape by the "Balcony Rapist," is angry right now.
"What `warnings' like that do is focus on women's actions; they regulate women's movements," she says. "Don't go out. Don't walk the dog. Don't go in the park. It's hysterical. It's fear-mongering."
Yes, but wasn't a major part of her winning case against the cops that they didn't warn women in her downtown neighbourhood that a knife-wielding rapist was on the loose? That the police used her as bait?
"What police (and media) need to focus on is the perpetrators of the crime, on the men. Those men need to know that the police have them covered, that they're going to get them," Doe insists. "Otherwise they're giving the rapists a power surge, a power hard-on. They think `Look what I've done. I have an entire community of women under lockdown. Even the police are telling them to be afraid.'"
Doe is very frustrated with how the Toronto Police Services Board and the Toronto Police Service recently shut down the Sexual Assault Audit Steering Committee, struck in 2005 to change how the system deals with rape.
As reported by the Star's Michele Henry yesterday, board chair Alok Mukherjee thinks the committee's work is done.
Toronto cops are tops.
His report concludes: "I believe that the Steering Committee has successfully fulfilled its mandate and its recommendations will lead to real, substantive change in the way in which sexual assaults investigations in cases involving adult women are carried out by the Toronto Police Service."
But that's not the way the community-based committee members – experts in the field of sexual assault – see it. They have published a much more comprehensive report, to be released today, which not only criticizes the official document but comes up with concrete recommendations based on solid research and their years of experience.
What's more, Doe tells me on behalf of the community members, the police report signs off on all sorts of practices that were never even discussed, let alone approved by all members of the committee.
They also maintain that current police training and practices are sexist, racist, rooted in "rape mythology" and the notion that women make "false allegations."
That despite the evidence, collected by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics' Juritstat, that one in six sexual offences reported to police in 2002 was declared "unfounded."
But then, the onus is on the woman to prove she was raped.
Hence the use of the police "rape kit," a highly invasive and painful procedure that requires intimate physical examinations, performed without lubricants.
"It goes to the myth that women lie about being raped," says Doe. "It's experienced as a second assault by women."
The thing is, the overwhelming majority of rapes go unreported for so many reasons: fear, shame, self-blame, the fact that two-thirds of the perpetrators are known to the victims.
Of those that do get reported, notes Juristat, they get "cleared by police at a lower rate than other types of violent offences."
In other words, rapists get away with rape. Still.
As Doe ruefully notes, "Things are worse than they have ever been, worse because we know better now."
Round Lake coed charged with filing false report
CLC student claimed prof raped her
May 21, 2008
NEWS-SUN STAFF REPORT
GRAYSLAKE -- A College of Lake County student who was angry that an indecency complaint against a professor wasn't being handled promptly, falsely claimed she was raped as well, police said.
Grayslake police say Antoinette Taylor, 38, of 30 Glenwood Drive, Round Lake, was lying when she told CLC police she was raped by a professor.
Taylor reported being assaulted after filing an initial report that claimed a professor exposed himself to her, said Grayslake police Cmdr. Matt McCutcheon. Taylor apparently felt police were not taking her first complaint seriously, McCutcheon said.
Grayslake police got involved in the assault investigation in March after college authorities asked for assistance.
During the course of the investigation, certain elements of the case began to fall apart, including negative DNA results.
When police brought Taylor in for questioning last week, she admitted she made up the story, McCutcheon said.
She was charged with four felony counts of filing a false police report.
And police are not pursuing the investigation into whether the professor actually exposed himself, McCutcheon said.
"It's his story versus her story. She lacks credibility because of the (assault accusation)," McCutcheon said.
And note that in the story -- despite the fact that no criminal charges are being brought, and despite the fact that the police department determined the claim was that of a "woman scorned" -- it does not mention the accuser's name. The name of the accused -- the innocent man -- is freely reported without compunction. And this doesn't hurt the man's reputation, Ms. Kim Smith, author the story? The question scarcely survives its statement. When will these double-standards end? Yes, accusers need to be protected (to a point, at least), but why aren't accused men, whose reputations are often destroyed by this foulest of allegations, afforded the same dignity? Why are you not concerned about that, Ms. Smith?
Story linked here.
Woman who claims rape by deputy sues county, Dupnik
By Kim Smith
Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Arizona Published: 05.20.2008
A Three Points woman who says she was raped by an on-duty Pima County Sheriff’s deputy has filed a lawsuit against Pima County, Sheriff Clarence Dupnik and the deputy.
The woman told authorities Deputy Michael Boria came to her home last May and asked to speak with her about gunshots that had been heard in the area. Once he was let in, the woman says Boria sexually assaulted her.
According to the lawsuit, the Pima County Sheriff’s Department insisted on speaking with the woman immediately following her call for help despite there being a conflict of interest. In addition, the lawsuit says Boria himself tried to respond to the woman’s 911 call.
The lawsuit further alleges a fellow deputy recalls telling Boria “We’ll get all the facts. We’ll, um, just trust us, we’ll figure it out one way or another. Uh, we’ll punch holes in her story or whatever.”
Prior to filing the lawsuit, the woman tried to settle her dispute with the county by filing a claim asking the county for $1.6 million. In the claim letter, her attorney, Robert Truman Hungerford, alleged deputies refused to allow the paramedics to treat her for two hours because they wanted to interrogate her first.
She was also questioned another hour hours at the hospital before being examined, according to the claim letter.
The claim letter further states the case was turned over to the Tucson Police Department, but detectives determined she was a “woman scorned.”
Prosecutors declined to file criminal charges against Boria because “there was no substantial likelihood of conviction,” said Deputy Pima County Attorney Susan Eazer.
Boria’s attorney, Michael Storie, proclaimed his client’s innocence.
“This woman is trying to take innocent and appropriate on-duty conduct and turn it into a cash grab,” Storie said.
Boria resigned from the department only because he realized law enforcement officers will always be the subject of false allegations, Storie said. At the time of the incident, Boria had been with the department three years.
The Pima County Attorney’s Office, which represents the sheriff’s department, has a policy of not commenting on pending litigation.
∫ Contact reporter Kim Smith at 573-4241 or email@example.com
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
College student falsely claimed instructor raped her, cops say
Link to the story
Antionette Taylor, 38, of 309 Glenwood Drive, Round Lake, was charged with one felony county of making a false police report.
Taylor first told CLC police she'd been sexually assaulted earlier this year by the teacher, Grayslake police Operations Cmdr. Matt McCutcheon said. She said the attack occurred in a classroom, he said.
CLC police contacted Grayslake police in early March and asked for assistance with the investigation, McCutcheon said.
Police took DNA samples, gathered other evidence and conducted several interviews during the ensuing investigation. Some physical evidence contradicted Taylor's story, police said.
Her accusation unraveled last week during an interview at the police station, during which she admitted making up the story about the assault, McCutcheon said.
"We don't believe there was any sex, consensual or non-consensual," he said.
McCutcheon was not sure why Taylor concocted the story. He said she's filed a lawsuit against the college, too, but he didn't know the nature of the complaint.
Taylor was scheduled to appear in Lake County circuit court Monday afternoon for a bond hearing.
The CLC board held a closed-door hearing about the accused teacher in March, a spokeswoman said earlier this month. The teacher was suspended and his contract was not renewed for the 2008-09 year, the spokeswoman said.
Nancy McNerney, CLC's interim vice president for administrative affairs, declined to comment on the student's arrest Monday. She also declined to say whether the college will reconsider the teacher's dismissal.
This is another manifestation of society encouraging rape claims but doing precious little to protect men from, or to discourage women from filing, false rape claims. Again this is because the crime of false reporting of rape has become embroiled in the feminist sexual assault milieu that doesn't recognize the existence of false claims. Given the prevalence of false rape charges, the only fair approach is to keep the name of the accused anonymous until a final "guilty" verdict is entered and his appeal rights have been exhausted.
Move to have rape charges against doctor dropped
THE defence lawyer of a prominent King William’s Town doctor accused of raping a patient told the Zwelitsha Regional Court yesterday he would apply for the charge to be dropped.
This came after the State closed its case yesterday with testimony from police officers who took statements from the alleged victim.
The 33-year-old woman, who cannot be named , accused Dr Sizwe Mxenge of raping her at his Bhisho Hospital cottage on October 30, 2006.
Defence lawyer Thembekile Malusi told the court he was preparing for an application to have the rape charge dismissed.
“I have prepared the application for the discharge of the accused but there was some evidence led today that I intend to incorporate. I will also address the court that the complainant was present in court during the entire proceedings today,” said Malusi.
The Lovedale College student claimed she visited Mxenge’s surgery to be treated for abdominal, breast and neck pains. She alleged that after examining her, the doctor gave her injections and five tablets to take, after which she fell asleep.
When she awoke , she claimed the doctor offered to drive her home as it was after office hours. Instead , he drove her to Bhisho where he allegedly raped her before releasing her later that night.
Earlier this year Malusi accused the woman of instituting false charges against the doctor with the hope of being paid some compensation.
He based this claim on a transcript of a telephone conversation between Mxenge and the woman days after the alleged incident.
In the transcript the woman admitted to the doctor that she had only laid the rape charge against him because he “did not care” about her.
Mxenge has denied one charge of indecent assault and that of rape.
The defence’s first attempt to have the charges dropped against Mxenge was turned down last year.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Dr. Ferguson, who actually knows what he's talking about, debunks these myths. His comments about rape are especially illuminating: ". . . pornography is no more linked to rape than violent games are to violent crimes. Researchers have long known that rape rates have gone down in the U.S. as pornography consumption has increased. Rapists typically consume less pornography and are exposed to it later than non-rapist men."
Among other things, Dr. Ferguson notes:
First, violent video games do not cause violent behavior. There are no good data at all to suggest that they do. GTA might be brutal, and perhaps offensive to some, but it is not going to spawn a horde of little would-be murderers. In fact, as the consumption of violent video games in our society has skyrocketed, violent crimes, including those among youths, have plummeted to low levels not seen since the 1960s. We can be sure that violent video games are not sparking a youth violence epidemic because there is no youth violence epidemic.
In my own research, I have found that family violence exposure as a child and the individual’s innate (probably genetic) personality are related to violent criminal behaviors, but that violent video game exposure is not. A recent Secret Service report found that school shooters, far from being soaked in violent video games, had relatively low interest in such games. For example, the recent Virginia Tech shooter was not a violent game player.
Second, equating video games with pornography is a pointless comparison. It ignores that video games have evolved to include distinct artistic elements. GTA has itself been compared to “The Sopranos” in regard to its story line, quality and violent content. If you like (or allow your kids to watch) “The Sopranos,” you’ll probably be content with GTA (likewise if you don’t like one, you may not like the other). For the record, however, pornography is no more linked to rape than violent games are to violent crimes. Researchers have long known that rape rates have gone down in the U.S. as pornography consumption has increased. Rapists typically consume less pornography and are exposed to it later than non-rapist men.
Third, we need to give the current generation of youths more credit. Today’s youths are healthier in most respects than any other group of youths since the 1960s. Today’s youths are less likely to engage in violent crime, use drugs or alcohol, get pregnant, commit suicide or drop out of school than were youths of previous generations. The major health concern for today’s youths is obesity, which is on the rise; otherwise, the youths of today are doing well.
Last, the current hysteria over violent video games is merely part of a long historical pattern of society blaming media for problems real or imagined. Media, from novels to comic books, to music such as jazz, rock and rap, to television and movies to “Harry Potter” and “Dungeons and Dragons” have inflamed public turmoil over behavioral crises that never came to pass. Even translating the Bible into English set off waves of hysteria back in the 1500s. Such moral panics are popular as they deflect blame for our own behavior or the behavior of our children onto “straw men” that we can revile for providing the violent and sexual media that we crave. Ultimately, we have responsibility for ourselves and for our children. If things don’t go the way we want, let us look not to the media but inward, to ourselves.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Colorado rape victims benefit from new law
By Erika Stutzman (Contact)
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Colorado is among several states in the country that require rape victims to report the crime to police before a medical exam. That will change come January, and the change is a good one for future victims.
Some colleges, rape centers and the state of Massachusetts had already offered so-called Jane Doe rape kits. The kits are rape exams that store physical evidence such as semen, skin, blood and hair, and are sealed listed with a number, keeping the victim anonymous. A new federal law requires that states pay for the kits starting in January.
It buys victims a little time to decide whether to file charges. If a victim in Colorado chooses to wait to file charges now, it can be too late to collect physical evidence.
We can't really see a down side. There are some realities about rape that makes it different than other assaults. Some victims are drunk or using drugs and are afraid authorities won't believe them. Most rapes are by people the victims know, which can make victims feel conflicted. Some believe their reputations or lives will be destroyed by a perpetrator who pleads innocent.
Those who believe false reports of rape are epidemic -- which is countered by the U.S. Department of Justice, which reports that rapes are vastly underreported -- say they fear Jane Doe kits will increase false reports. But if someone is intent on making a false report, complete with a medical exam, he or she is intent on going to the police, anyway. The fear is bogus.
It would be nice to live in a world where rape victims weren't filled with shame and fear, along with their other injuries. It would be better to live in a world without rape.
But we live in this one. Which is why we think the Jane Doe kits will benefit future rape victims.
-- Erika Stutzman
OUR COMMENT IN REPLY
The author states that a belief that "false reports of rape are epidemic . . . is countered by the U.S. Department of Justice . . . ."
This dismissal of the prevalence of false accusations of rape is disappointing and inaccurate. In "Until Proven Innocent," the widely praised (praised even by the New York Times, which the book skewers) and painstaking study of the Duke Lacrosse non-rape case, Stuart Taylor and Professor K.C. Johnson explain that the exact number of false claims is elusive but "[t]he standard assertion by feminists that only 2 percent of rape claims are false, which traces to Susan Brownmiller's 1975 book "Against Our Will," is without empirical foundation and belied by a wealth of empirical data. These data suggest that at least 9 percent and probably closer to half of all rape claims are false . . . ." (Page 374.) Whatever the exact number, it is significant.
Removing false accusations from the public discourse about rape and blinking at the victimization of falsely accused men is not merely dishonest but morally grotesque. That position not only denigrates the innocent, it substitutes factually incorrect feminist mantras for truth, and is, in fact, as hurtful as the ludicrous assertion that “she asked for it.”
The "Jane Doe" rape kits may, indeed, serve legitimate purposes. But there needs to be a serious two-way dialogue about them. For example, it is troublesome that we allocating state resources to help a woman prepare a possible criminal case against a man who is not being advised that he's been accused of rape. Then we allow her to sit on the evidence for, say, two years -- without giving the man a similar opportunity to preserve evidence, because he is given no notice that he has been accused of rape. This may place the man at a serious evidentiary disadvantage. Every lawyer knows that with the passage of time, memories fade, evidence is lost (e.g., he probably deleted any emails supporting a consensual sexual relationship), alibi witnesses disappear. At trial, the woman might paint a vivid picture of a rape, and even if the man is innocent, the most he might be able to say is, "I would never rape a woman, but I have no strong recollection of that night."
Is that fair to an innocent man? The question scarcely survives its statement.
If the state waits to indict a man in order to obtain a tactical advantage, and if such delay prejudices a man's ability to fairly defend himself, his due process rights are said to be violated. Why would this be any different since we are allowing -- indeed we are paying for -- a woman to do that very thing?
What is needed is a serious dialogue, not a witch hunt to jack up rape conviction rates. When you cast your net too wide, you will snag innocent men. Some of us are very concerned about not convicting the innocent, even though they happen to be men, and even though the crime is rape.
See my Web site: http://falserapesociety.blogspot.com/
Saturday, May 17, 2008
HERE IS THE NEWS ACCOUNT
2 sisters accused of false rape reports against relatives
By Shawn Cohen
The Journal News • May 17, 2008
SLEEPY HOLLOW - A retired Westchester County correction officer and her sister took a family feud to new heights when they falsely reported that two child relatives were raped, police said.
Joyce Armstrong, 49, the retired officer and a Greenburgh resident, and sister Debra Washington, 50, of Sleepy Hollow were charged with endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor.
Washington also was charged with falsely reporting an incident; Armstrong is expected to be charged with that crime as well, Westchester County police spokesman Kieran O'Leary said yesterday.
Washington is alleged to have made an anonymous call to the state's Child Protective Services hotline and claimed that a pre-teen girl in the family was raped by a male relative.
As a result, the little girl was examined by doctors and interviewed by detectives, "all over something that never happened," O'Leary said.
Washington was arrested May 1.
Armstrong was arrested Wednesday, accused of falsely reporting that the girl's teenage sister was raped by another male in the house. Armstrong made that claim to the girl's school.
The special victims investigations team, the county's version of a sex-crimes unit, determined that both allegations had been fabricated.
"Some sort of family feud seems to be the motive for making the false allegations," O'Leary said.
NOW, EXCERPTS FROM SOME OF THE COMMENTS
These two should face jail time for what they did to these little girls.
These women should be convicted of their crimes and punished with jail time. They should be held responsible for their actions for what they put these innocent girls threw.
Any time a false rape claim comes from someone as � creditable� as her it hurts all other rape victim. The two sisters should be out in jail for as long as the false rapist was facing.
First, the article. Then, a letter to the editor properly calling attention to this error.
Man won't face new rape trial
Chance to question accuser was denied
By Margot Sanger-KatzMonitor staff
May 13, 2008 - 6:36 am
County prosecutors have opted not to retry a man whose rape conviction was overturned by the New Hampshire Supreme Court. Karl Kornbrekke of Concord, who has been out on bail since March, is now free.
The court found that Kornbrekke should have had the opportunity to question his accuser about a previous rape allegation that she recanted. Prosecutors had the option of trying Kornbrekke again, allowing this new evidence, but opted against it.
Merrimack County Attorney Dan St. Hilaire said that after reviewing the case, he was not confident he would be able to convict Kornbrekke in a retrial. Kornbrekke's first trial ended in a hung jury. He was convicted in a second trial after lengthy jury deliberations. Kornbrekke served 18 months in the state prison, but he has been out on bail since the Supreme Court decision in March.
"It was very difficult, even with the suppressed evidence," St. Hilaire said. "Now with the evidence coming in, and reviewing our past two trials, we just determined that we may not be able to prevail the third time around."
There were no witnesses to the alleged rape, and there was no definitive physical evidence of assault, according to the Supreme Court decision. Kornbrekke's lawyers argued that sex between the two was consensual and that the accuser became angry later, after Kornbrekke refused to buy her drugs.
The accuser, whom Kornbrekke met a few days before the alleged rape, had made a previous rape allegation, then recanted that accusation. Because some details of the older incident were similar to those alleged in the Kornbrekke case, the justices found that evidence of the previous accusation should have been allowed at trial.
"Given the nature of this case - a sexual assault case with no eyewitnesses other than the complainant and the defendant - the complainant's testimony, and thus her credibility, is crucial," said the opinion, written by Justice Gary Hicks.
Defense attorneys and prosecutors interviewed at the time of the decision said the court clarified a standard that had been uncertain but only applies in a small number of cases. The decision does not expose victims to cross-examination about their sexual histories, but it does allow defendants to question victims about previous accusations of rape that may have been false, said Ted Lothstein, a Franklin Pierce Law Center professor who handled Kornbrekke's appeal.
"We're not interested in the details of someone's sex life, we're interested in honesty," he said in March.
Now, the letter to the editor properly correcting the improper terminology:
Accuser is not necessarily a victim
Tim Murray, Pittsburgh
May 17, 2008 - 12:00 am
Re "Man won't face new rape trial" (Monitor front page, May 12):
A minor point, but an important one: Your article notes: "The [state Supreme Court] decision does not expose victims to cross-examination about their sexual histories, but it does allow defendants to question victims about previous accusations of rape that may have been false, said Ted Lothstein, a Franklin Pierce Law Center professor who handled Kornbrekke's appeal."
Please do not refer to the accuser as "the victim" until the defendant in a rape case is finally adjudicated guilty - especially in this classic "he said/she said" case where a man faced substantial prison time on the basis of nothing more than a woman's complaint. Why is it not just as likely here that the defendant was "the victim" of a false rape claim?
Your newspaper protects the rights of the accuser by not naming her. The defendant, on the other hand, has already served substantial prison time for a crime he may not have committed, and his reputation has been marred, probably beyond repair.
Your newspaper has freely named him as it does anyone else accused of a crime. In any event, we really need to better respect the rights of innocent men who are accused of this foul crime. The implicit assumption that the accuser was a "victim" is unwarranted until the man's due process rights have been exhausted. Here, the "victim" moniker for the accuser is wholly inappropriate.
Friday, May 16, 2008
First Baptist Church thanks CPD for quick investigation
An investigation by the Clarksville Police Department determined that a rape reported Sunday at First Baptist Church, 435 Madison St., didn't actually happen, according to CPD spokeswoman Sgt. Cheryl Anderson.
"The case is assigned to Detective Nick Newman, who has been aggressively investigating the allegation since it was made," Anderson wrote in a press release. "Through his investigation, it has been discovered that the person making the allegation did fabricate the events which were reported."
The woman has apologized for the false report, Anderson wrote.
Police wouldn't release any other information about the case Thursday night, and Anderson would only say the investigation is ongoing.
The Rev. Roger P. Freeman of the church, in a written statement, expressed his and the church's appreciation for the CPD and Newman, "who worked tirelessly to bring this investigation to a swift, yet conclusive end within this week."
"The final police report indicates that there was no abduction and no rape as had been earlier reported," Freeman wrote.
Freeman added that the campuses of the church are well-patrolled, safe and secure.
"We open our arms of love, support, acceptance and welcome to every person involved in the events of this past week," Freeman wrote. "We pray that First Baptist Church will continue to minister redemptively, effectively and with grace to all people in our community."
In what has been a stressful week for the church, Freeman thanks the members of the church and the deacon body who stood by the pastoral staff throughout the incident.
"We thank the pastors and members of other churches who called to express their love, support and prayers," Freeman wrote.
About the case
The woman told police on Sunday that a man grabbed her from behind around 12:20 p.m. that day and pulled her into a building on the church's property, according to a police report.
The woman told police the man was a stranger, according to the report, and that he raped her in an unknown room. She said she fought off the man.
The attack was reported to 911 at 12:41 p.m.
Jamie Dexter covers crime and entertainment and he can be reached at 245-0216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Morally grotesque: The denigration of the falsely accused by insisting their victimization is a 'myth' or a 'bugaboo'
Could it be correct that men’s fears about false accusations are, indeed, exaggerated and that the only significant harm from false accusations is to innocent women who might be deterred from making legitimate rape claims?
Such a view denigrates the men who have been falsely accused. Consider some of the news reports from the mainstream news media over the past several months. Devin LaSalle wouldn’t think false accusations are a myth. He’s the 32-year-old man who, on December 11, 2006, was having consensual sex with his lover Mrs. Tracy Roberson when Mrs. Roberson’s husband interrupted them. Mrs. Roberson told her husband that Mr. LaSalle was raping her so the husband shot Mr. LaSalle dead. On May 2, 2008, Mrs. Roberson was convicted of manslaughter. Armand Villasana wouldn’t think it’s a myth, either. He served 21 months in prison for a rape he didn’t commit, and for which his false accuser’s perjury couldn’t be punished because the statute of limitations had expired. Cleveland Kennedy wouldn’t think it’s a myth. He spent 75 days in jail for a rape he didn’t commit while his young accuser was treated to a holiday abroad to get over her “ordeal.” After the girl’s lie was finally exposed, she served no time for it. The Stockholm man who was apprehended after 14 police cars surrounded his apartment for a rape he didn’t commit wouldn’t think it’s a myth. His accuser spent no time in jail for her lie. The college professor who spent nine days in jail and was suspended from his job wouldn’t think it’s a myth. His accuser served all of eight days in jail for her lie. The man who was hauled into custody within just 30 minutes after Kara Dison fabricated a tale that he raped her wouldn’t think it’s a myth. The two men arrested because of serial false accuser Tracy Brooks’ false accusations wouldn’t think so, either. What happened to Ms. Brooks? Suspended sentence – no jail time. Timothy Wagner wouldn’t think it’s a myth. He spent 97 days in jail based on a rape charge that was neither reliable nor credible. No charges were lodged against his incredible accuser. Andrew Honeywell wouldn’t think it’s a myth, either. He was jailed for 12 hours based on his wife’s lie that he raped her. John Mullholland, the 27-year-old father of two who was arrested for rape based on a woman’s lie, wouldn’t think it’s a myth. The step-father jailed for four days based on his step-daughter’s false rape allegation wouldn’t think it’s a myth, either.
Two percent – or closer to 50%?
Clearly false accusations of rape happen, but how prevalent are they? The crime has become so embroiled in the gender-politicized sexual assault milieu, where serious dialogue grounded in fact is displaced by vituperative rants and politically motivated misstatements of fact, that most reports about the prevalence of such false claims are inherently untrustworthy.
This gender-politicization stems from the era when rape-shield laws, which do serve a legitimate purpose, were enacted. In days gone by, it was not uncommon for rape trials to dissolve into a de facto trial of the accuser’s sexual proclivities. Starting in the 1970s, feminist legal scholars began to successfully advocate for changes in rape laws to insure that victims not be blamed and to make it easier to convict men accused of rape. As a result, rape laws were amended to exclude evidence of the accuser’s past sexual conduct; a conviction for rape no longer required a showing that the accused used force to resist; married men could be convicted of raping their wives; and a man could be convicted of rape with no evidence beyond the testimony of the accuser.
In advocating for these changes, however, some feminist legal scholars engaged in a sort of disingenuous scholarly overkill by sprinkling their rationales with shibboleths about how women don’t or hardly ever lie about rape. As a result, the legal literature is replete with references to the “fact” that only two percent of all rape clams are false, consistent with the purported average for other crimes. It is not uncommon in this literature for men’s fears about false accusations to be dismissed as a rape “myth,” with almost derisive references to Potiphar’s wife, who, according to the Bible’s Book of Genesis, wrongly accused Joseph (of “coat-of-many-colors” fame) of rape.
In Until Proven Innocent, the widely praised (praised even by the New York Times, which the book skewers) and painstaking study of the Duke Lacrosse non-rape case, Stuart Taylor and Professor K.C. Johnson explain that the exact number of false claims is elusive but "[t]he standard assertion by feminists that only 2 percent of rape claims are false, which traces to Susan Brownmiller's 1975 book Against Our Will, is without empirical foundation and belied by a wealth of empirical data. These data suggest that at least 9 percent and probably closer to half of all rape claims are false . . . ." (Page 374.) The authors’ conclusion seems credible because, among other things, it doesn’t hide from the uncertainty as most persons writing in this area do. Yet the two percent mantra is repeated in the feminist rape milieu with cult-like devotion. As explained in an earlier post on this Web site, the two percent claim has been thorougly debunked.
Whatever the exact figure, it is reasonable to conclude it is significant, and that false accusations are not a “myth.” This is supported by common sense. People lie about everything under the sun for all manner of reasons, good, bad and indifferent -- except, according to some radical feminists, when it comes to rape. In that singular instance, mirabile dictu, one gender essentially is incapable of telling a lie while the other is comprised of pathological liars. The very discussion of rape becomes a sort of truth serum for women, they would have us believe, which forces anyone not possessing a Y-chromosome to utter incontrovertible fact. Is this in any sense plausible to a fair-minded person? The question scarcely survives its statement.
In fact, accounts from the mainstream news outlets as set forth in this Web site routinely recount motives for false accusations that ring true – often the recanting false accuser was motivated to lie by a desire to provide a husband, a parent or boyfriend a plausible explanation for an illicit sexual relationship.
Branding false claims a “myth” seems more insidiously dangerous than the position of some radical feminists who assert that they don’t care if men are falsely accused. At least these fanatics are up front with their bigotry. On one radical feminist blog, the hostess proposed to make all heterosexual sex criminal if the woman decided, even retroactively, that it was rape. One especially vile commentator to this proposal chimed in: “I think the central point that the dudes ‘don’t get’ is that the majority of [advocates of this bizarre proposal] genuinely don’t care if [the] proposal is ‘not fair’ to the hypothetical falsely accused rapist of the post-revolution future.” No commentary is necessary to underscore both the evil and inanity at work there, where innocent men convicted of rape are deemed acceptable collateral damage in some twisted gender war with fanatics bent on overthrowing the “patriarchy.”
A call for balance
What is woefully lacking from the public discourse about rape and false accusations is balance. Somewhere in the midst of the smoke generated by the invective, the truth – far too nuanced to appeal to fanatics – has been discarded. Two propositions are eminently reasonable and are not inconsistent: First, it is imperative to appreciate the concern that false accusations not dominate the discourse at the expense of dismissing prejudices true rape victims still face in certain respects. Second, removing false accusations from the discourse and dismissing the victimization of falsely accused men as a "myth" is not merely dishonest but morally grotesque. That position denigrates innocent men, substitutes factually incorrect feminist mantras for truth, and is, in fact, as hurtful as the ludicrous assertion that “she asked for it.”
Thursday, May 15, 2008
HOW WOMEN BECAME THE 'VICTIMS' OF A CRIME THAT ONLY TARGETS MEN: FALSE RAPE CLAIMS IN THE FEMINIST 'RAPE CULTURE'
The Judge’s reaction is typical: Although false reporting of rape is a crime whose victims are almost exclusively male, it has become so embroiled in the feminist sexual assault milieu that discussing it as a potentially significant problem for men is verboten because such view does not conform to the feminist rape metanarrative.
In fact, this crime may be unique among all crimes because virtually the entire public discourse about it is dominated by persons who insist it is not a serious public threat. At least not to men. If it is a threat at all, it’s to women, they insist.
Sexual assault counselors and feminist legal scholars routinely refer to false rape claims as one of the so-called rape “myths.” Some even assert that when a woman recants her rape claim, it is “often” the case that she really was raped but simply wants to avoid the prosecutorial ordeal. It is, of course, impossible to engage in constructive dialogue with persons who purport to refute facts with assertions that cannot be tested.
False claims, in fact, are not a “myth.” The feminist mantra that only two percent of all rape claims are false, which they repeat with cult-like devotion, has been thoroughly debunked. “[E]mpirical data . . . suggest that at least 9 percent and probably closer to half of all rape claims are false . . . ." Stuart Taylor, K.C. Johnson Until Proven Innocent at page 374. Removing false accusations from the public discourse about rape and denigrating wrongly accused men by dismissing their victimization as a "myth” is not merely dishonest but morally grotesque.
In any event, when the crime of false reporting is discussed, as in the McKenning case, it is typically viewed through a gynocentric lens that blinks at the harm it causes innocent men. News reports about false rape claims take on an almost surreal cookie-cutter redundancy. Police typically adopt an indifference to the male victims, instead choosing to chide the false accuser for wasting police time. More disturbing is that news accounts often report a police officer, sexual assault counselor or judge chiding the false accuser for the "real" harm she's caused -- not to the man wrongly accused or to other potential men she might accuse -- but to hypothetical, unknown, even unborn women whose reports of real rapes might be looked upon with suspicion because of the lie. The one thing that a judge is never heard to say in these cases is the following: “I need to make an example out of you so that women will stop falsely accusing men of rape.”
A sampling of news reports from this year alone illustrates that women are viewed as the real victims of a crime that only targets men:
After a judge found a woman’s rape claim incredible, the newspaper report about it made sure to quote a representative of the local rape crisis center – and this is verbatim: “It takes a tremendous amount of courage for a person to go to the police and say they've been raped. Men and women should not be put off by this case.”
When the lies of two women who cried “rape” were exposed, the news report included the following: “National organisation rape crisis today said that the women's actions could put genuine victims off reporting attacks. A spokeswoman said: ‘Every false allegation that is made and reported is not going to do anything for those women who have reported it or who are considering reporting a rape or assault. It is going to put people off reporting even more, if they think there is a potential they won't be believed.’”
After police learned that a woman had lied about being abducted and sexually assaulted, the news account of the incident was substantially devoted to the real problem created by the lie – the fact that false claims are blown out of proportion and the chilling effect this has on legitimate rape victims. This is directly from the article:
While she [Cheryl Regehr, a professor of social work at the University of Toronto] said false rape charges are "exceedingly rare," they usually draw a disproportionate amount of publicity. "They become highly sensationalized and highly publicized, because they're so rare," said Prof. Regehr.
"And usually they're pretty lurid stories."But the effect they can have on real victims of sexual assault can be chilling, she said.
"Since the dawn of time there's been this urban myth about how women make up rapes," she said."Every time a case like this comes out, it feeds that … and it really dissuades the real victims from disclosing."
She said sexual assault is the least reported major crime, because women -- who are almost always the victims -- are afraid that they will not be believed. Cases like this weekend's non-existent abduction and assault in Etobicoke only make those fears worse.
"They think that because this woman was found to be lying then everyone will think that they're lying," she said.
Det. Flis, whose unit deals with the most difficult sex-crime cases, agreed. "There's no doubt that for a victim to come forward in a sexual assault case is a difficult thing," she said."There's a lot of guilt, shame, self-blaming.… It's a heavy burden to go through."
Krtutika Mediwala, a sophomore at Clemson, lied to police that two men knocked her down and assaulted her from behind in a dark parking lot on campus. After her lie was exposed, the news report of the incident zeroed in on the real harm from the fabrication: “[R]ape crisis counselors say lies like that make it bad for real rape victims. ‘Technically it can silence the person to report,’ said Kelly Scurry of the Foothills Alliance. ‘That compels fear which is a greater concern.’"
Even when a judge branded a woman’s false rape claim a “wicked” lie, the judge made clear that the person most victimized wasn’t the man she wrongly accused but rather the hypothetical rape victim whose ordeal might be less likely to be believed because of her lie: “The most serious aspect is that you have done womankind no good at all. Every time a woman makes a false allegation of rape you let down the women that make true allegations and cause suspicion that another person is making it up. That is the evil of what you did - it undermines the whole process.”
After a young woman’s lie that she’d been raped at Duke University was exposed, a school official stated: "Sexual assault is a very serious matter, and I hope this unfortunate incident will not deter anyone who is a victim of such a crime from reporting what happened and seeking assistance."
After a 17-year-old recanted her rape claim, the local sheriff’s office issued a statement: “This girl obviously needs professional help and we hope that is made available to her. The valid claims of sexual assault are not to be diminished by this teenager’s action. She has also done a disservice to this community as a whole.”
After a teen’s lie was exposed that she’d been raped by three masked men, the school used the incident as a teaching lesson – not about the harm in lying about a matter as serious as rape, but rather about rape itself: "Unfortunately, we had to go through this because of a charade, but it did give us a chance to go through this academically rather than in reality," Palm Beach County Schools Superintendent Art Johnson said. "In this particular case it didn't happen, but that doesn't mean we don't need to prepare like it did happen." Mr. Johnson apparently saw no utility in preparing for future false claims.
When a jogger’s claim that she had been raped along a trail turned out to be a lie, the news report of the incident used the woman's lie as an occasion for fear-mongering – not about false rape claims, but about rape. The executive director of a local sexual assault service was quoted as saying that this false report “doesn’t mean this could not have occurred . . . . It’s always a good idea to take precautions.”
When a teen’s lie that she had been raped was exposed, the police went out of their way to note the persons most in need of protection: "We need to protect those who have genuine complaints . . ..” Oh, “and we also need to discourage this kind of behaviour in the community," he said.
After a woman recanted her report that she had been raped at a mall, local police made sure to announce that victims of sex crimes should not be afraid to call police and that all claims will be thoroughly investigated.
A 20-year-old woman falsely reported to police on May 2 that she had been raped in an alley. The detective who led the investigation proudly declared: “I am satisfied that no criminal activity took place.” But he made sure to add: “I do not want to discourage genuine reports of this kind . . . .”
After it was revealed that a 14-year-old girl lied when she claimed she was attacked by a group of “foreign man” (scary “foreign” men are a favorite target), a police detective made sure to announce: "I would like to assure people we deal with all allegations of rape very seriously.” And, oh, he added: “We will also deal robustly with any false allegations."
When will a case involving a false rape accusation be used as an occasion to teach women about the harm their lies can cause innocent men?
It won’t happen so long as false rape claims are looked upon as nothing more than an embarrassing aberration to the accepted norm – that women are essentially incapable of lying about rape.
These news accounts ought to be seen as a sort of Rorschach inkblot of a culture in the grip of serious, even hysterical, fear mongering about rape – a fear mongering that insists one out of four college women are raped when, by way of example only, in 2006, University of Pittsburgh Campus Police received one report of sexual assault -- from a campus of roughly 18,000 young women. (If the one-in-four statistic is correct, that is under-reporting of Biblical proportions.)
In fact, women do lie about rape, and often. Men are frequent victims of false claims. But until this fact seeps into the public consciousness, until the public discourse on this issue is not dominated by professionals in the feminist sexual assault industry, this crime will not be treated seriously. And its primary victims – men – will continue to be ignored.