Friday, July 29, 2011

'. . . It’s a wonder I allow myself near my sons'

Iconoclast Chad Hermann has no use for ideological purity, political correctness, or partisanship. His political views are all over the map, and his Pittsburgh Post-Gazette blog can best be described as a repudiation of bullshit.  He's the guy who demolished the one-in-four lie: see here.  Among other things, this is what he wrote today:

"• This past Tuesday in Pocatello, Idaho, some parents saw an old man taking pictures of children in a public park. They approached him, yelled at him to stop, and immediately called the police. When officers arrived, they discovered the man had been taking pictures of his grandson, whom he had brought to the park to play. An updated media report — that’s right; a local television station ran a story about a suspicious man before anything had been confirmed or investigated — eventually declared that police [were] no longer worried about the man, and he is not suspicious. Which is doubtless a relief to grandfathers, aged uncles, and prematurely gray-haired men everywhere.

"• Forget that none of those paranoiacs bothered to talk to the old man before calling the cops or verbally assaulting him, and just ask yourself: what was the more likely outcome there? That the man was related to one of the children? Or that he was some sort of stark-raving, playground-stalking pedophile?

"• It’s a wonder I allow any of my male friends or relatives near my sons. For that matter, it’s a wonder I allow myself near my sons."

'. . . It’s a wonder I allow myself near my sons'

Iconoclast Chad Hermann has no use for ideological purity, political correctness, or partisanship. His political views are all over the map, and his Pittsburgh Post-Gazette blog can best be described as a repudiation of bullshit.  He's the guy who demolished the one-in-four lie: see here.  Among other things, this is what he wrote today:

Nafissatou Diallo's Media Blitz For "Every Other Woman in the World": Lady Justice Weeps

"Flanked by members of women's rights groups and advocates for Latinos and blacks," including a member of the New Black Panther Party, Nafissatou Diallo--who accused former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexually assaulting her--held what the New York Post called a "press conference/rally/image makeover" in which she announced that she was standing up for "every other woman in the world." (See here and here.)  Diallo declared: "You have to remember this guy [Strauss-Kahn] is a powerful man."  (See here.)

The press conference, the latest in a series of high profile attempts to cast Diallo in the role of victim, came hot on the heels of her Newsweek and ABC interviews.

The New York Post suggested that Diallo had gone Hollywood. "She was unrecognizable," at the press conference. "Gone were the baggy, gray slacks and lime-green, shapeless blouse she wore in that ill-advised interview on ABC. Gone was the lifeless hair."  (See here.)

What is this media blitz really about? As the reporter for the Post explained:

"The DA has suggested the case is in trouble. Not because of Diallo's race, but because she previously lied about being gang-raped and discussed Strauss-Kahn on the phone with a jail inmate accused of drug trafficking. And then, there's the matter of $100,000 that was reportedly funneled into her bank account by unsavory types.

"None of this, of course, has to do with whether she was sexually attacked, but it undermines her credibility and ability to testify.

"So change the subject. Make it about race. And while you're at it, buy a glamorous wardrobe and glittery lip gloss and attract an adoring fan club.

"It's one way to succeed."  (See here.)

Reuters reports: ". . . some experts said her lawyers were pushing [District Attorney Cyrus] Vance not to drop the case because otherwise Diallo's supporters might not vote for him if, as expected, he seeks reelection in 2013."  (See here.)

"Top defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz has called Diallo's media interviews, 'a desperate gambit to try to put pressure on the prosecution to consider not dropping the case.'" (Id.)

Diallo's lawyer threatens to file a civil suit against Strauss-Kahn. Asked when such a civil suit would be filed, he responded, "I said soon. Soon is soon." (See here.)  He added: "If it wasn't for race, if it wasn't for class, do you think [Diallo] would be treated this way?" he said. (See here.)

The implication of the media blitz is that law enforcement--specifically, the people who unnecessarily photographed Mr. Strauss-Kahn naked, denied him bail, held him in solitary confinement, subjected him to a most humiliating "perp walk," and boasted to the press how he was strip-searched multiple times a day--that law enforcement, isn't taking her claim seriously. And that's not even to mention the fact that because law enforcement rushed to arrest Strauss-Kahn and to essentially declare him guilty, Strauss-Kahn was forced to step down from one of the world's most important jobs and likely has been deprived of any realistic chance to be elected president of France.

In short, the suggestion that Diallo's claim wasn't taken seriously is at odds with the facts. Prof. Alan Dershowitz summed it up: "They shouldn’t have presumed him guilty from the beginning." Feminist Naomi Wolf  said: "Whatever happened in that hotel room, Strauss-Kahn’s career, and his presumption of innocence, was effectively over — before any legal process had even begun." Defense lawyer superstar Roy Black chimed in with a stinging indictment of how the presumptively innocent are deprived of critical rights in rape cases. (See here.)

Perhaps worst of all, once again, a serious charge of criminality has been reduced to crass identity politics as interest groups wishing to further a dubious race/class/gender agenda are backing Diallo even though the criminal investigation is ongoing, and not even a scrap of evidence has been admitted at trial.

It's as if Duke lacrosse never happened.

For one, Susan Brownmiller, best known for popularizing the assertion that only two percent of rape claims are false, declared: "I believe her story." Brownmiller's proof? "Rape victims remember some facts vividly," she asserted, "but often get confused about exact timelines." (See here.) That might be so, but Brownmiller doesn't bother to note that rape liars also often posit narratives that are a hodgepodge of clarity, confusion, and vagueness. See, e.g., J. Savino, B. Turvey, Rape Investigation Handbook,  at 286-87 (2d ed. 2011). Brownmiller's advocacy for Diallo would be laughable in any non-politicized setting, but she's a guru of the sexual grievance movement, so her prejudgment-by-gender is afforded respect in the twisted world of rape politics.

It isn't just gender warriors who are backing Diallo. "Khadijah Shakur, a member of the New Black Panther Party, was among the roughly two dozen supporters who joined Ms. Diallo near a small stage in the lobby, assembled behind red velvet rope. 'She is being blamed, but she is the victim,' Ms. Shakur said before the news conference."  (See here.)  How Ms. Shakur knows Diallo is a victim is anyone's guess.

Fortunately, their efforts have not yet attracted widespread support. "Notwithstanding Thursday's show of support, Diallo's case has not brought a groundswell of public support or led to widespread outcries about Vance's handling of the case.  'In my political travels around Manhattan, I don't hear any of the woman activists jumping up and down that much,' said Arthur Greig, a lawyer and former New York County Democratic Committee counsel. 'I haven't seen or heard any groundswell.'"  (See here.)

Lost in the circus is the fact that a serious allegation about a potentially serious crime deserves to be handled in a serious manner, even if it appears that the accuser has serious credibility problems. And handling a rape claim seriously does not mean treating the accuser like a Kardashian or destroying the presumptively innocent man accused of the crime in the court of public opinion.

Nafissatou Diallo's Media Blitz For "Every Other Woman in the World": Lady Justice Weeps

"Flanked by members of women's rights groups and advocates for Latinos and blacks," including a member of the New Black Panther Party, Nafissatou Diallo--who accused former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexually assaulting her--held what the New York Post called a "press conference/rally/image makeover" in which she announced that she was standing up for "every other woman in the world." (See here and here.)  Diallo declared: "You have to remember this guy [Strauss-Kahn] is a powerful man."  (See here.)

The press conference, the latest in a series of high profile attempts to cast Diallo in the role of victim, came hot on the heels of her Newsweek and ABC interviews.

The New York Post suggested that Diallo had gone Hollywood. "She was unrecognizable," at the press conference. "Gone were the baggy, gray slacks and lime-green, shapeless blouse she wore in that ill-advised interview on ABC. Gone was the lifeless hair."  (See here.)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Susan Brownmiller on DSK accuser: "I believe her story."

Let your comments be heard on Salon: http://www.salon.com/news/crime/?story=/mwt/feature/2011/07/28/rape_assange_dsk_response

My comment is here:

Prejudging by gender:

". . . I believe her story."

Thank you--thank you very much--for parading your bias for all the world to see and for not even putting up the pretense of impartiality.

Your predisposition isn't a rush to judgment, it's a 60-meter sprint in record time.

It is, in fact, inane statements like that (and the two percent canard -- ever hear of that one?) that not only engender disrepute of the entire feminist movement, but that prompted me to start what is now the nation's leading site dedicated to giving voice to persons falsely accused of rape, False Rape Society.

Personally, I do NOT know whether DSK is guilty, or if Nafissatou Diallo was actually raped. But, you see, I refuse to label her claim a lie because, unlike Ms. Brownmiller, I don't prejudge people by gender.

Susan Brownmiller on DSK accuser: "I believe her story."

Let your comments be heard on Salon: http://www.salon.com/news/crime/?story=/mwt/feature/2011/07/28/rape_assange_dsk_response

My comment is here:

Woman is victim of elaborate revenge plot, and the lessons for false rape cases

This isn't a false rape case, it's the story of a classic rush to judgment that is, in many ways, typical of the cases we feature here. It holds an important lesson for the kinds of cases we normally cover here, but you have to read to the end to get to it.

The New York Times reports that a woman named Seemona Sumasar accused her ex-boyfriend of raping her, and in retaliation, he concocted "one of the most elaborate framing plots" police had ever seen that left Ms. Sumasar's life in tatters.

"One night, Ms. Sumasar was pulled over by the police. Before she could speak, detectives slapped handcuffs on her. 'You know you did it,' she said one later shouted at her. 'Just admit it.'” Sumasar was charged with carrying out a series of armed robberies, supposedly based on credible witness statements and proof that her car was the getaway vehicle. A despondent Sumasar sat in jail for seven months, helplessly watching as she lost her restaurant franchise and saw her house go into foreclosure. 

Finally, the plot unraveled. It was, of course, all a lie.  Prosecutors defended their actions in proceeding against her by noting "that the web of false evidence presented by [the ex-boyfriend] was so detailed they had little reason to doubt it."

Anthony Grandinette, Ms. Sumasar’s former lawyer, said law enforcement was negligent, and he posited an explanation that is instructive for this case, and others: "Why would a tiny woman with no criminal record, who worked 10 years on Wall Street, randomly hold up people at gunpoint at night dressed as a policewoman?” Mr. Grandinette asked. 

That is a plausible explanation in Ms. Sumasar's defense, but it's also instructive for the typical false rape cases we feature here: the sort of explanation proffered by Mr. Grandinette is simply not readily available to the vast majority of men and boys featured on this blog.  When an ex-girlfriend, ex-wife, or acquaintance accuses a guy of rape, we never hear this excuse:  "Why would a guy with no criminal record, who worked 10 years on Wall Street, want to rape this woman?”  The widely held, albeit markedly dubious, presumption, which is actually a shared cultural tenet, is exactly the opposite--"men will hit on/screw/f*ck anything that moves."  And not just for consensual sex.  Professors, legal scholars, and people taken seriously by mainstream news outlets instruct us that rape is rampant and, in fact, "normalized to the point where men who are otherwise decent guys will rape and not even think that it's wrong." (Jessica Valenti)  Throw all that together and what you're left with is that the rape of any female by any male above a certain age is deemed plausible.

And that plausibility is why false rape claims are much more common than cases like Seemona Sumasar's.

Woman is victim of elaborate revenge plot, and the lessons for false rape cases

This isn't a false rape case, it's the story of a classic rush to judgment that is, in many ways, typical of the cases we feature here. It holds an important lesson for the kinds of cases we normally cover here, but you have to read to the end to get to it.

Lies, Damned Lies, and Dr. Phil

I read a startlingly inaccurate assertion that is repeated, in one form or other, in many places:

"There is no empirical data to prove that there are more false charges of rape than of any other violent crime. Estimates indicate that only 2 percent of all rape reports prove to be false, a rate comparable to the false report rate for other crimes." M. Torrey, "When Will We Be Believed? Rape Myths and the Idea of a Fair Trail in Rape Prosecutions" (forthcoming 24 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 1013 (1991)); Parrot and Bechholder, eds., "Acquaintance Rape" at 28 (1991) ("(A)ccording to police records, false reports are no more likely for rape than they are for other serious crimes.")

Sound familiar? Of course it does. Anyone who advocates for persons falsely accused of rape and similar offenses encounters it routinely.  It is as offensive as it is dishonest, and even though it was debunked long ago, it is repeatedly trotted as fact. See, e.g., E. Greer, The Truth Behind Legal Dominance Feminism's 'Two Percent False Rape Claim' Figure, 33 Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review 947 (2000), a scholarly law review article that painstakingly traced the two percent canard to its baseless origin.

No, I didn't copy the above quote from the literature of a college's women's center.

It's from the Congressional Record. It was introduced during the first wave of hearings over VAWA.

Specifically, it was in a Report by the Committee on the Judiciary in connection with the Violence Against Women Act. Senate Report 102-197 (102 S. Rpt. 197), Pub. L. 102-197 n. 48 (Oct. 29, 1991). Even though it was as wrong as can be, it was accepted as evidence to justify passage of VAWA.

Why is this important today? Because we are in danger of having history repeat itself. 

Dr. Phillip McGraw, a/k/a Dr. Phil, made claims at a recent Senate committee hearing that some are calling "reckless and false."  http://www.sacbee.com/2011/07/25/3792668/dr-phils-testimony-was-reckless.html

"During his testimony, Dr. McGraw made repeated statements about violence against women, but glossed over the widespread problem of abuse against men. McGraw made a number of claims that were flatly wrong, SAVE alleges."

"Dr. McGraw asserted that 'Domestic violence is now the most common cause of injury to women ages 15 to 44.' But the actual leading causes of injury to women are falls, overexertion, and car accidents. McGraw told the senators that 'In too many situations violence against women, young and old, is almost treated as an 'acceptable crime.'"' But that statement ignores research showing over 90% of Americans abhor domestic violence."

Id.

If this is correct, then we're about to see more lies about men and women find their way into the Congressional Record. 

Will things be different this time?

Incidentally, I found something else in that same Senate report, a tidbit dripping with irony:

Testimony before the committee reported that "(m)ost of the NCS (National Crime Survey) crime screening questions are very concrete." For example, victims are asked, "Were you knifed, shot at, or attacked with some other weapon * * *?" For rape, the person is asked, "Did someone try to attack you in some other way?" As the National Crime Survey itself puts it, "No one in the survey is ever asked directly if she has been raped." "Women and Violence," hearings before the Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. Senate, 101st Cong., 2d sess. 29 (Aug. 29, 1990) (testimony of Dr. Mary Koss) (quoting National Crime Survey).

Why is this ironic? Because in the infamous Ms. Magazine/Koss study, where Mary Koss that found 25% of women are raped, "rather than asking female students about rape per se, Koss asked them if they had experienced actions that she then classified as rape." See here. It turns out that only 27 percent of the women Koss said had been rape actually believed they had been raped. See here. As Heather MacDonald put it: "In short, believing in the campus rape epidemic depends on ignoring women’s own interpretations of their experiences—supposedly the most grievous sin in the feminist political code."

That did not find its way into the Congressional Record.

Lies, Damned Lies, and Dr. Phil

I read a startlingly inaccurate assertion that is repeated, in one form or other, in many places:

"There is no empirical data to prove that there are more false charges of rape than of any other violent crime. Estimates indicate that only 2 percent of all rape reports prove to be false, a rate comparable to the false report rate for other crimes." M. Torrey, "When Will We Be Believed? Rape Myths and the Idea of a Fair Trail in Rape Prosecutions" (forthcoming 24 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 1013 (1991)); Parrot and Bechholder, eds., "Acquaintance Rape" at 28 (1991) ("(A)ccording to police records, false reports are no more likely for rape than they are for other serious crimes.")

Sound familiar? Of course it does. Anyone who advocates for persons falsely accused of rape and similar offenses encounters it routinely.  It is as offensive as it is dishonest, and even though it was debunked long ago, it is repeatedly trotted as fact. See, e.g., E. Greer, The Truth Behind Legal Dominance Feminism's 'Two Percent False Rape Claim' Figure, 33 Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review 947 (2000), a scholarly law review article that painstakingly traced the two percent canard to its baseless origin.

No, I didn't copy the above quote from the literature of a college's women's center.

It's from the Congressional Record. It was introduced during the first wave of hearings over VAWA.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Please add your comment to Roy Black's article at Salon

Here: http://www.salon.com/news/crime/?story=/mwt/feature/2011/07/27/dsk_kobe_assange_flatley

Here is my comment:

My Web site, False Rape Society, is dedicated to giving voice to the community of the falsely accused, and I find many of the comments here -- which seem to insist that men and boys falsely accused of rape arent't even worthy of discussion -- to be morally grotesque.

We have the utmost respect for our sisters who have been raped, many of whom have told us they share our loathing of false accusations. We believe that rape is a problem; we also believe that false rape claims are a problem. It isn't "either/or." Mr. Black's article happens to be about false rape claims, but I suppose one article about the falsely accused is one article too many.

On my site in the recent past, we've reported on women who've made false rape claims for the following reasons: the accuser’s boyfriend took too long to buy cigarettes; several women didn’t want to pay cab fares, so they accused innocent cab drivers of rape; a girl wanted to get back at her teen ex-boyfriend — her rape lie not only got him convicted, but two of his friends as well; a woman wanted to get back at her ex-boyfriend for breaking it off, so she falsely accused him of rape and candidly admitted: “I just wanted him to be hurt because of what he’d done”; a young woman said she wanted her young ex-boyfriend “to feel extreme pain”; a woman sent a man to prison for five years because she said she was bored; a woman was bent on revenge after a road rage incident; a man refused to give his false accuser a beer; a maid falsely accused her employer of rape because she didn’t like her workload; a girl falsely accused a man of rape for throwing a flower at her; a woman caused three men to be interrogated for rapes they didn’t commit because she wanted a day off from work; and an 18-year-year-old young man was hauled out of class, arrested, and jailed for a month on a random false rape claim by a girl he had never even met.

What's the harm to men falsely accused who aren't convicted? It ranges, but at the very least, most are forever tainted by the accusation. Some extreme examples are unspeakably awful:

There was the woman who lied to her cousin that her boyfriend had raped and beat her. She asked the cousin to shoot him in the penis "so he don't use it no more." In the end, the boyfriend and his friend were shot to death.

Then there was the case of six young men who beat a man with a claw hammer at a false accuser's request while the false accuser sat in a van outside.

A girl lied to a 17-year-old boy that another youth raped her. The boy confronted the youth, and during a confrontation, the youth's father accidentally shot the boy dead.

A 15-year-old girl falsely told her boyfriend that an 18-year-old man raped her. The girl, the boyfriend, and another man drove to the innocent youth’s apartment, and one of the men shot him through a peep hole.

Two teenage girls lied to a 19-year-old man that another 19-year-old had raped one of them, so the first man broke into the accused man's home and beat him to death with a baseball bat while he was sleeping.

A 47-year-old prominent businessman suffered devastating brain injuries in a vicious attack after a woman's brother was wrongly convinced the man had raped his sister, so the brother thrashed him. So terrible was the man's beating, he had to “learn everything again.”

A man came home unexpectedly from a trip when he found his wife and her lover together. To cover up her affair, the wife falsely told her husband she had been raped. The husband killed the wife's lover.

And we could go on and on. But, you see, the falsely accused don't deserve ANY advocacy on their behalf. In the minds of some, they aren't worth discussing.

Please add your comment to Roy Black's article at Salon

Here: http://www.salon.com/news/crime/?story=/mwt/feature/2011/07/27/dsk_kobe_assange_flatley

Here is my comment:

JUST. READ. IT.


This might just be the best piece ever on behalf of the falsely accused.

JUST. READ. IT.


This might just be the best piece ever on behalf of the falsely accused.

Justin Sallis sues after false rape arrest

Just came across this story from last year. It appears that it all took place in 2010.

On March 14th, Justin Sallis had sex with the woman he was dating. The next day she reported to police that she had been raped. The kicker to it, the description she gave, didn't match Mr. Sallis. 

There was DNA recovered, and it matched Sallis. Of course, since they both agree there was consensual sex, this shouldn't be a problem, should it? Think again. Police, in response to her report of rape, never showed her a photo of Justin, nor did they even ask if he was the attacker.

The police presented information to the attorney's office of Ramsey county, who then filed charges of third-degree criminal sexual conduct against Mr. Sallis. There is no information given on how long this took, but during this process, Justin moved to Chicago. On August 17th, six U.S. Marshals arrested him.

The suit states that Mr. Sallis didn't resist arrest, but the marshals beat, tasered and repeatedly kicked Justin in the head. It was bad enough that he lost consciousness and was taken away by an ambulance.

Justin then spent 25 days in jail, the suit claims, in a cell that was only intended for 2 men, but had at least two other men at all times in the cell. He was then extradited to Ramsey County on the 10th of September, where he learned the details of what he was charged with.

It wasn't until the 24th of September, over six months after the initial report of rape, that a member of the public defenders office showed the complainant a photo of Justin. It was at that point that she agreed, Justin wasn't the rapist and that they had had consensual sex around the time she was actually raped by another man.

With this information, and with the complainant reiterating that the man who raped her was much older than Justin, Sallis' lawyer presented the finding in court and the charges were dismissed.

Sallis claims deprivation of liberty and infliction of emotional distress, among other things. The lawsuit names the city, county and the U.S. marshals (who are unnamed), as well as Catherine Pavlak, the lead St. Paul police investigator; Elaine Ashbaugh, the assistant Ramsey County attorney who signed the criminal complaint; St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington; and Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner.

Link: http://forum.minneapolisfinder.com/about12206.html

Justin Sallis sues after false rape arrest

Just came across this story from last year. It appears that it all took place in 2010.

On March 14th, Justin Sallis had sex with the woman he was dating. The next day she reported to police that she had been raped. The kicker to it, the description she gave, didn't match Mr. Sallis. 

There was DNA recovered, and it matched Sallis. Of course, since they both agree there was consensual sex, this shouldn't be a problem, should it? Think again. Police, in response to her report of rape, never showed her a photo of Justin, nor did they even ask if he was the attacker.

The police presented information to the attorney's office of Ramsey county, who then filed charges of third-degree criminal sexual conduct against Mr. Sallis. There is no information given on how long this took, but during this process, Justin moved to Chicago. On August 17th, six U.S. Marshals arrested him.

The suit states that Mr. Sallis didn't resist arrest, but the marshals beat, tasered and repeatedly kicked Justin in the head. It was bad enough that he lost consciousness and was taken away by an ambulance.

Justin then spent 25 days in jail, the suit claims, in a cell that was only intended for 2 men, but had at least two other men at all times in the cell. He was then extradited to Ramsey County on the 10th of September, where he learned the details of what he was charged with.

It wasn't until the 24th of September, over six months after the initial report of rape, that a member of the public defenders office showed the complainant a photo of Justin. It was at that point that she agreed, Justin wasn't the rapist and that they had had consensual sex around the time she was actually raped by another man.

With this information, and with the complainant reiterating that the man who raped her was much older than Justin, Sallis' lawyer presented the finding in court and the charges were dismissed.

Sallis claims deprivation of liberty and infliction of emotional distress, among other things. The lawsuit names the city, county and the U.S. marshals (who are unnamed), as well as Catherine Pavlak, the lead St. Paul police investigator; Elaine Ashbaugh, the assistant Ramsey County attorney who signed the criminal complaint; St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington; and Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner.

Link: http://forum.minneapolisfinder.com/about12206.html

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Nafissatou Diallo's claim against DSK is "like multiple choice—pick a version"

From the Atlantic Wire:

This week's media blitz by the maid accusing Dominique Strauss-Kahn of rape has seriously jeopardized her own case, sources at the Manhattan district attorney's office tell the New York Post. In a move that many legal analysts described as risky, Nafissatou Diallo shared her rape allegations against the former International Monetary Fund chief with Newsweek and ABC News. "There's so many inconsistencies now it's incredible," said a source. "It's like multiple choice—pick a version." At issue is a conversation Diallo said she had with DSK during their encounter. She told Newsweek that when he emerged naked from the bathroom she said, "Oh, my God. I'm so sorry." And he responded, "You don't have to be sorry. You're beautiful" as he grabbed her breasts. The tell-all interview includes more dialogue between the two, but this conflicts with statements Diallo gave to a hospital counselor hours after the alleged attack in which she said he did not speak. Post sources say there are "many" other discrepancies but they were not mentioned in the article.

According to The New York Times, the decision by Diallo and her legal team to appear in print and on television signals that prosecutors may be giving up on the case. "Lawyers not involved in the case said it was virtually unheard of for someone alleging sexual assault in a highly publicized case to come forward — name, face, and all — to speak to the news media while prosecutors were still investigating," reports The Times. Raymond R. Castello, a defense lawyer and former deputy chief of the Manhattan district attorney's trial division, says, "My expectation is that she’s now speaking to the press because she has an expectation that the prosecution is not going forward with her case.”

SOURCE: http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2011/07/maids-media-blitz-jeopardizes-dsk-case/40397/

Nafissatou Diallo's claim against DSK is "like multiple choice—pick a version"

From the Atlantic Wire:

This week's media blitz by the maid accusing Dominique Strauss-Kahn of rape has seriously jeopardized her own case, sources at the Manhattan district attorney's office tell the New York Post. In a move that many legal analysts described as risky, Nafissatou Diallo shared her rape allegations against the former International Monetary Fund chief with Newsweek and ABC News. "There's so many inconsistencies now it's incredible," said a source. "It's like multiple choice—pick a version." At issue is a conversation Diallo said she had with DSK during their encounter. She told Newsweek that when he emerged naked from the bathroom she said, "Oh, my God. I'm so sorry." And he responded, "You don't have to be sorry. You're beautiful" as he grabbed her breasts. The tell-all interview includes more dialogue between the two, but this conflicts with statements Diallo gave to a hospital counselor hours after the alleged attack in which she said he did not speak. Post sources say there are "many" other discrepancies but they were not mentioned in the article.

According to The New York Times, the decision by Diallo and her legal team to appear in print and on television signals that prosecutors may be giving up on the case. "Lawyers not involved in the case said it was virtually unheard of for someone alleging sexual assault in a highly publicized case to come forward — name, face, and all — to speak to the news media while prosecutors were still investigating," reports The Times. Raymond R. Castello, a defense lawyer and former deputy chief of the Manhattan district attorney's trial division, says, "My expectation is that she’s now speaking to the press because she has an expectation that the prosecution is not going forward with her case.”

SOURCE: http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2011/07/maids-media-blitz-jeopardizes-dsk-case/40397/

Can we please stop trying rape cases on the pages of Newsweek Magazine?

COMMENTARY: Last May, Newsweek showcased the "understaffed, underfunded, and overworked" cops of the NYPD Special Victims Division -- the cops who specialize in sex crimes -- by featuring their unit in a celebratory spread in the wake of "the most sensational alleged sex crime the NYPD has handled in years," the Dominique Strauss-Kahn rape claim. ("To Catch a Creep.")

The Newsweek piece quoted the spokesman for the New York City Police Department who said, "in his best authoritative voice, 'Experienced detectives found the complainant’s story to be credible and continued to find it so.'” The story left no doubt that these extremely hard-working, knowledgable professionals had correctly adjudged DSK guilty.  It even suggested that the dastardly defense might actually go after the accuser's character.
 
The Newsweek piece did not discuss the fact that Mr. Strauss-Kahn had been photographed by police naked, initially denied bail, held in solitary confinement, and subjected to a most humiliating "perp walk" to satisfy amoral media types, much to the horror of our European brethren who thought it all barbaric. Nor did it note that the Police Commissioner even boasted to the press that Strauss-Kahn was strip-searched multiple times a day.

Naomi Wolf, for one, found it all troubling: "If Strauss-Kahn turns out, after a fair trial, to be a violent sex criminal, may his sentence be harsh indeed. But the way in which this case is being processed is profoundly worrisome. In 23 years of covering sex crime — and in a city where domestic workers are raped by the score every month, often by powerful men — I have never seen the New York Police Department snap into action like this on any victim’s behalf." 

And that was before the case all but imploded on the prosecutor.

The Newsweek piece last May contained a quote that proved to be ironic: "The last thing any detective wants, says Lt. Robert Johnson of Brooklyn Special Victims, 'is to paint someone with that rapist brush and find out they are not, because the paint never comes off.'”  If that is, indeed, the "last thing" any detective wants, then it is fair to ponder why the detectives were, in Newsweek's words, "quick to believe the maid’s story," in light of what happened later.

Prof. Alan Dershowitz just shook his head. "The story," he wrote, "is almost never what it appears to be on first impression."  But, too often, cops in sex units "are . . . agenda driven. Too often they believe they’re on a mission . . . . They’re zealots; I call them Nancy Grace prosecutors. She behaves on her TV talk show as if there’s no such thing as innocence; everybody arrested is guilty."

So what was the problem here?  Law enforcement did the right thing in treating the maid's claim seriously. Law enforcement did the right thing in investigating it thoroughly.  But law enforcement did not do the right thing in treating a presumptively innocent man as guilty. As Prof. Dershowitz put it bluntly, "the prosecutor messed up in speaking to the press, publicly vouching for the truth of the woman’s account and for her character." 

First, with a megaphone heard 'round the world, the prosecutor announced that he had nabbed a rapist. And DSK's life was ruined.

Then, when troubling information about the maid's credibility came to light, the prosecutor quickly distanced himself from her and un-vouched for her character, once again, in a public way. And Nafissatou Diallo (DSK's accuser) was ruined.

And now, to counteract the prosecutor's act of hanging her out to dry, Diallo has gone to -- who could have guessed it? -- Newsweek, where she tells her side of the story.  ("The Maid's Tale.")

In a case that likely will come down to credibility, Diallo's is more than a little suspect, and that might well be the end of the case.  But that's not even the point. The point is the rush to judgment that has become not just common but routine for the amoral news media and the Nancy Grace-like law enforcers when it comes to rape cases.  We saw it in Hofstra and in countless others.

Before a scrap of evidence has even been introduced, much less admitted, in a courtroom, the DSK case has been twice tried on the pages of Newsweek

Lost in the circus is the fact that a serious allegation about a potentially serious crime deserves to be handled in a serious manner, even if it appears that the accuser has serious credibility problems. And handling a rape claim seriously does not mean destroying the presumptively innocent man accused of the crime in the court of public opinion.

We would do well to recall an event that happened five years ago this coming December, when a North Carolina prosecutor was finally taken off the Duke lacrosse rape case. The North Carolina State Bar filed an ethics complaint against him -- his name was Mike Nifong -- citing more than 100 examples of public statements Nifong made to the media that had "a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused."

What legitimate purpose was served by destroying this man before he had his day in court?

I'll answer it:  none.  What happened to DSK was a travesty, and all persons of good will need to admit it.

Can we please stop trying rape cases on the pages of Newsweek Magazine?

COMMENTARY: Last May, Newsweek showcased the "understaffed, underfunded, and overworked" cops of the NYPD Special Victims Division -- the cops who specialize in sex crimes -- by featuring their unit in a celebratory spread in the wake of "the most sensational alleged sex crime the NYPD has handled in years," the Dominique Strauss-Kahn rape claim. ("To Catch a Creep.")

Monday, July 25, 2011

Lara Ailis McLeod charged with filing false rape report

While no reason for the rape lie in the linked story is given, it appears that the false accuser knows the person she accused. After investigating the claim, it was revealed that Lara Ailis McLeod had lied about the "incident," and no rape actually occurred.

McLeod, who lives in Gathersburg, on the 21700 block of Glendaluough Road, has been charged with filing a false police report..

She is being held on a $10K secured bond. No court date is currently available.

Source: http://www2.insidenova.com/news/2011/jul/22/2/md-woman-charged-lying-about-alleged-rape-ar-1190325/

Rep. David Wu's opponent says Wu should resign over 'He said/she said' allegation of nonconsensual sex: "There is nothing that can be explained that makes this situation right."

Seven term Congressman David Wu, D-Ore., has been accused of having an "unwanted sexual encounter" with a barely legal young woman. The Oregonian quoted sources as saying that a distraught young woman called Wu's Portland office earlier this year and left a voicemail accusing him of an unwanted sexual encounter in Southern California three weeks after last year's election.

But The Oregonian also reported that Wu told senior aides that the sexual encounter last November with the young woman in California was consensual. The paper said the woman decided not to press changes because there were no witnesses and it would have been her word against Wu's.

The congressman has fought accusations of unrelated strange and erratic behavior during his re-election campaign last year. Members of his re-election campaign quit in January because of behavior that included sending a photo of himself in a tiger costume to a staff member and an angry public speech.  And according to a news account: "In a 2004 re-election bid, Wu acknowledged a decades-old college incident in which he tried to force an ex-girlfriend to have sex."

Wu is in the process of divorcing, but that is not related to the latest accusation.

One of Wu's opponents in next year's primary for his congressional seat refused to rush to judgment about Wu, and his take on the matter seems prudent: "I'm saddened to hear this news. David owes the citizens he represents a detailed explanation," said State Rep. Brad Witt. "If this accusation proves to be true, it's time for David Wu to resign and get the help he needs." 

Tom Chamberlain, Oregon AFL-CIO president, said "it's too early" to say whether Wu should step down.

But another challenger for Wu's seat doesn't think it's necessary to wait to find out what happened, and by his comments, he suggests he knows Wu is guilty: state Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian, said Saturday Wu should resign immediately.  "I think any 56-year-old man, especially a 56-year-old Congressman, that asserts himself like this on an 18-year-old girl, has got no business serving in Congress," Avakian said at a news conference. "There is nothing that can be explained that makes this situation right. He's got to resign."

Some of the calls for Wu's resignation are being made by persons who cite his earlier erratic behavior, even though it is unrelated to the current allegation.

This is just the latest of several high profile Beltway sex scandals in recent months, generally ending badly for the men involved.  In February of this year, Rep. Christopher Lee, R-N.Y., abruptly resigned after a gossip website reported that he had sent a shirtless photo of himself to a woman he met on Craigslist.  Last month, Congressman Anthony Weiner stepped down after getting caught sending suggestive pictures of himself on his Twitter account.

Last year, police ended an investigation into a several-years-old "he said/she said" claim of sexual misconduct involving Al Gore. Police did not bring charges.  It is interesting to note that women's advocate and author of "Real Rape," Susan Estrich, discussed the Gore case on a Fox News program hosted by conservative Sean Hannity. Note that Mr. Hannity appeared to want Ms. Estrich to call for charges against Mr. Gore. Ms. Estrich refused:

Transcript of "Hannity," June 29, 2010.

SEAN HANNITY: But, Susan, it's one or two scenarios. Either what she is saying is true or she's lying, which in it of itself would be a crime, right?

ESTRICH: Well, yes, but, you know, the problem is we just don't know and there's no way to determine. All we know for sure is that the police at the time, who were charged with investigating things like this, did not think there was substantial evidence enough to move forward and she chose not to file a civil suit. So what have you got?
. . . .
HANNITY: . . . you have openly talked about you have been a victim of rape. This crosses a very serious line, these allegations. So the question is, what should we do with them?

ESTRICH: Well, you know, Sean, I'm the mother of a son and a daughter. And I would hate like heck for my daughter ever to be in a position where she faces an unwanted sexual advance.

I mean this is obviously not rape, but I mean I was scarred by being a rape victim, there's no question about it. But I'm also the mother of a son. And you and I both witnessed, for instance, in the Duke case, a number of young men whose lives were — for all intends and purposes —

HANNITY: Yes.

ESTRICH: — ruined by a false accusation.
. . . .
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,595627,00.html
Sources re: the Wu story: http://news.yahoo.com/wu-talks-pelosi-sex-allegation-024700805.html and
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0711/59734.html

Lara Ailis McLeod charged with filing false rape report

While no reason for the rape lie in the linked story is given, it appears that the false accuser knows the person she accused. After investigating the claim, it was revealed that Lara Ailis McLeod had lied about the "incident," and no rape actually occurred.

Rep. David Wu's opponent says Wu should resign over 'He said/she said' allegation of nonconsensual sex: "There is nothing that can be explained that makes this situation right."

Seven term Congressman David Wu, D-Ore., has been accused of having an "unwanted sexual encounter" with a barely legal young woman. The Oregonian quoted sources as saying that a distraught young woman called Wu's Portland office earlier this year and left a voicemail accusing him of an unwanted sexual encounter in Southern California three weeks after last year's election.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

First woman to command ship in navy: White males tend to commit the sexual assaults in the military because they 'seem to think that the world -- and all its contents -- revolve around them'

Retired Navy Commander Darlene Iskra, the first woman to command a ship in the U.S. Navy, writes a piece on a Time.com blog touting the end to the military's ban on gays serving openly in the military.  Iskra uses the occasion to assert that sexual assault and harassment in the military are not committed by women, gays, lesbians, or, by implication, blacks, but by white males -- "who," she asserts with a broad brush, "seem to think that the world -- and all its contents -- revolve around them." 

Iskra further suggests, without citing any supporting authority, that the fear of false rape claims is one of several fears that accompanied the integration of women into the military that proved to be unfounded. 

Iskra's piece can be read here: http://battleland.blogs.time.com/2011/07/19/dont-ask-dont-tell-on-off-on-again-off-again-back-on-again/

First woman to command ship in navy: White males tend to commit the sexual assaults in the military because they 'seem to think that the world -- and all its contents -- revolve around them'

Retired Navy Commander Darlene Iskra, the first woman to command a ship in the U.S. Navy, writes a piece on a Time.com blog touting the end to the military's ban on gays serving openly in the military.  Iskra uses the occasion to assert that sexual assault and harassment in the military are not committed by women, gays, lesbians, or, by implication, blacks, but by white males -- "who," she asserts with a broad brush, "seem to think that the world -- and all its contents -- revolve around them." 

Iskra further suggests, without citing any supporting authority, that the fear of false rape claims is one of several fears that accompanied the integration of women into the military that proved to be unfounded. 

Iskra's piece can be read here: http://battleland.blogs.time.com/2011/07/19/dont-ask-dont-tell-on-off-on-again-off-again-back-on-again/

"The Noble Lie, Feminist Style: False accusations of rape are more common than you think," by Cathy Young

". . . the fact is that some women do make false claims of rape [because they are mentally ill and vindictive and for] . . . other reasons, just as some men commit rape because they are mentally ill or violent sociopaths."

Read the entire piece here: http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/noble-lie-feminist-style_577309.html?page=1

"The Noble Lie, Feminist Style: False accusations of rape are more common than you think," by Cathy Young

". . . the fact is that some women do make false claims of rape [because they are mentally ill and vindictive and for] . . . other reasons, just as some men commit rape because they are mentally ill or violent sociopaths."

Read the entire piece here: http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/noble-lie-feminist-style_577309.html?page=1

Friday, July 22, 2011

Gender 101: Biden is Biden

by Connie Chastain*

For several weeks, I've been the recipient of some emails from a group called change.org. I don't remember signing up for these emails, although maybe I did. The two or three notices I've received have been about issues I care not one whit about. Until the latest.

It was about our illustrious vice-president's April comments about rape. "Rape is rape is rape," he said at the University of New Hampshire. I admit to being awed by such perspicacity. And I always thought Joe Biden was as dumb as a box of hammers.

Biden cited a story about a college freshman he called "Jenny" who was raped after a campus party and met with resistance from the university when she tried to pursue a case against her "assailant" (the word used in the email).

Now, pardon my skepticism, but that's not enough to go on. All we have is her word for it -- or his claim of her word for it. I know there are people who swallow this stuff without blinking, but I'm not one of them. Aside from the fact that I've heard this one before -- and heard it and heard it -- I'm also a reader of the FRS blog, and I know things that true believers don't know -- and wouldn't believe if they were told.

Rape -- as terrible as it is -- simply isn't that prevalent, certainly not on college campuses. Which explains the next part of the change.org email. They want to redefine rape, to include more ... things.

According to the email, the "FBI omits hundreds of thousands of rapes from its Uniform Crime Report (UCR) because it’s using an 80-year-old definition of rape. ... The FBI’s outdated definition of rape is limited to 'the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.'"

Well, golly. That's what I always thought it was. What has happened in the past 80 years that would make folks want to change the definition of rape? Well, how about feminism? How about women demanding "sexual freedom" so they can be just like men (or how they imagine men to be, although they hate men, so why would they want to be like them? I know.) -- only to find out it's not all its cracked up to be.

Anyway, change.org wants me to sign a petition to tell the FBI to "update" its definition of rape.

Ah, no. Rape is what it has always been -- a crime and a horrible experience. It is NOT drunken consensual sex that a woman regrets afterward. Attempting to redefine rape is just another salvo in the feminist war against men -- an effort that also relegates women to helpless victimhood, without responsibility for themselves or their actions.

Naturally, the e-mail from change.org says not one syllable about how such consensual sex gets called rape, and some man then gets arrested and investigated, and called "rapist" in the newspaper, and maybe TV reports -- for doing what? For doing the same thing the woman with him did. It says not a word about the outright false accusations of rape that get reported in this blog day after day after weary day.

Being a rightwing religious fundamentalist, I frankly disapprove of premarital and extramarital consensual sex. But I'm not so blinded by the light that I can tell the difference between that and rape.

 So, no. I'm not signing anything that seeks to equate some sorority chick's morning-after regret with the experience of a woman (or a man) who has been brutally raped, by the real definition of it. I don't hate men, so I'm not enthusiastic about making laws designed to make criminals out of men whose behavior is no different than their partners.

Yes, Joe. Rape is rape. Lies are lies. Parts is parts, and stupid is stupid.

*Connie is an FRS contributor. Her personal blog is http://conniechastain.blogspot.com/

Gender 101: Biden is Biden

by Connie Chastain*

For several weeks, I've been the recipient of some emails from a group called change.org. I don't remember signing up for these emails, although maybe I did. The two or three notices I've received have been about issues I care not one whit about. Until the latest.

MSNBC adds Tawana Brawley advocate Al Sharpton to its line-up

MSNBC is reportedly handing the Reverend Al Sharpton its coveted 6 pm timeslot "in a move bound to cause a storm."  See, e.g., http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2017378/Controversial-civil-rights-campaigner-Reverend-Al-Sharpton-gets-MSNBC-TV-show.html

Sharpton remains unapologetic about his role in the Tawana Brawley case.  This report appeared in the New York Daily News last May:

"A quarter-century later after he whipped up racial tensions over the incendiary [Tawana Brawley] case, Sharpton still stands by a story that the courts of law and public opinion long ago ruled a hoax."

"Back in 1987, 15-year-old Brawley claimed she had been abducted and raped for four days by a group of white men, at least one a cop. She was found in a garbage bag, covered in feces and charcoal-scrawled racial epithets.

"Sharpton, a brash young activist and minister, took over publicity for Brawley and made inflammatory accusations of a massive cover up, naming an assistant district attorney as one of the rapists.

"The case fell apart when the grand jury refused to indict, citing no physical evidence of rape and witnesses who saw Brawley when she was supposed to have been held captive."

Source: http://articles.nydailynews.com/2011-05-19/local/29579330_1_tawana-brawley-group-of-white-men-racial-tensions

Sharpton was found liable for defamation in connection with his advocacy for Brawley: "Sharpton . . . was . . . sued for defamation by former Dutchess County assistant district attorney Steven Pagones, after Sharpton and other advisors to then-15-year-old Tawana Brawley falsely accused Pagones of kidnapping and raping Brawley in 1987. In 1998, Pagones was awarded $345,000 in damages, $65,000 of which Sharpton was to pay. Sharpton refused to do so. However, in March 2001, a number of black business leaders including Johnnie Cochran, former Manhattan borough president Percy Sutton, and Earl Graves Jr., the president of Black Enterprise magazine, agreed to pay Pagones on behalf of Sharpton. Pagones did not return a call for comment." 

Source: http://dir.salon.com/story/news/feature/2003/06/20/sharpton/index.html?pn=2

On a side note, Sharpton is facing repurcussions in the wake of the judgment entered against an associate of his who was recently found liable for sexual harassment and battery: "Tony Wafford, the West Coast Coordinator for the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network (NAN), has lost a sexual harassment and battery lawsuit that was filed last fall by his employee, Sharon Song Byrd.  . . . . [A] coalition of African American women’s groups have angrily called for the resignation of Wafford and have threatened Sharpton with a possible boycott of his radio sponsors if demands are not met." 

Source: http://www.eurweb.com/?p=118664

Another cable channel, HLN, formerly known as CNN Headline News and CNN2, is home to Nancy Grace. Following the infamous Duke Lacrosse false rape claim, before Duke suspended the lacrosse team's season, Grace famously said: "I'm so glad they didn't miss a lacrosse game over a little thing like gang rape!"  See, e.g., http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/07/09/casey-anthony-trial-nancy-grace-interview-on-tot-mom-hln-special.html

MSNBC adds Tawana Brawley advocate Al Sharpton to its line-up

MSNBC is reportedly handing the Reverend Al Sharpton its coveted 6 pm timeslot "in a move bound to cause a storm."  See, e.g., http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2017378/Controversial-civil-rights-campaigner-Reverend-Al-Sharpton-gets-MSNBC-TV-show.html

Coming this Autumn

FRS is going to be implementing sweeping changes this coming fall in a significant push to give the community of the wrongly accused a more effective and potent voice. You will gradually notice these changes starting in the coming weeks.  The audience for this blog is large, but given the importance of our message, it needs to be much larger.
 
Our message remains the same as it has been since this blog was started, but sometimes that message has not been delivered with the clarity and care it both requires and deserves. That is our fault. Our core mission is grounded in notions of justice and fairness so fundamental and sound that there shouldn't be any plausible controversy about it.

The goal of holding sexual offenders accountable for their misconduct is one that is universally shared by all civilized people, but in pursuit of that goal, society too often allows presumptively innocent persons accused of rape and sexual assault to be unnecessarily harmed in significant ways. That harm becomes most apparent in cases of wrongful (including false) claims. We will single-mindedly and narrowly deal with issues related to that harm, without politically charged rhetoric, and without veering into peripheral areas that are both controversial and unnecessary to our message.  We are open to including discussion of other alleged crimes where the presumptively innocent are harmed by the proverbial rush to judgment.

Our transformation will include, among other things, a careful examination of our links section. Most sites are currently included because of individual post(s) that support our mission, but the impression we convey is that we are endorsing the totality of the site. One possibility is to link to specific posts that are consonant with our message on both the sites currently listed and others, including even sites that otherwise contain views we might disagree with.  We would merge these links with the links on our "informative sources" page, which contains citations to the Innocence Project and many other sites and articles (that page is routinely ignored by our readers). Steve and I are currently brainstorming these and many other issues.

Please be patient with us.  Thank you.

Coming this Autumn

FRS is going to be implementing sweeping changes this coming fall in a significant push to give the community of the wrongly accused a more effective and potent voice. You will gradually notice these changes starting in the coming weeks.  The audience for this blog is large, but given the importance of our message, it needs to be much larger.
 
Our message remains the same as it has been since this blog was started, but sometimes that message has not been delivered with the clarity and care it both requires and deserves. That is our fault. Our core mission is grounded in notions of justice and fairness so fundamental and sound that there shouldn't be any plausible controversy about it.

The goal of holding sexual offenders accountable for their misconduct is one that is universally shared by all civilized people, but in pursuit of that goal, society too often allows presumptively innocent persons accused of rape and sexual assault to be unnecessarily harmed in significant ways. That harm becomes most apparent in cases of wrongful (including false) claims. We will single-mindedly and narrowly deal with issues related to that harm, without politically charged rhetoric, and without veering into peripheral areas that are both controversial and unnecessary to our message.  We are open to including discussion of other alleged crimes where the presumptively innocent are harmed by the proverbial rush to judgment.

Our transformation will include, among other things, a careful examination of our links section. Most sites are currently included because of individual post(s) that support our mission, but the impression we convey is that we are endorsing the totality of the site. One possibility is to link to specific posts that are consonant with our message on both the sites currently listed and others, including even sites that otherwise contain views we might disagree with.  We would merge these links with the links on our "informative sources" page, which contains citations to the Innocence Project and many other sites and articles (that page is routinely ignored by our readers). Steve and I are currently brainstorming these and many other issues.

Please be patient with us.  Thank you.

Trial date set for Meghan Franks

Meghan Franks will go to trial on September 19th for falsely accusing a police officer of rape when she was 17. As she was a minor at the time, I'm surprised she is named.

Police began an investigation, but changing statements and physical evidence led the Lake Arthur police to believe the claims were false.

She was arrested in April after an investigation that lasted nearly three months. When confronted, she admitted she lied about the incident and that she had inflicted injuries upon herself to make the claims more believable.

She pled not guilty on May 2nd, of filing a false police report. She faces a fine of up to $1,000 as well as up to five years in prison.

Link: http://www.americanpress.com/lc/blogs/wpnewssum/?p=24022

Trial date set for Meghan Franks

Meghan Franks will go to trial on September 19th for falsely accusing a police officer of rape when she was 17. As she was a minor at the time, I'm surprised she is named.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

DSK's French accuser shaping up to be a flake and a loose cannon

See here: http://globalspin.blogs.time.com/2011/07/21/revelations-in-frances-dsk-attempted-rape-case-get-surreal-and-really-icky/

Rape claims generally come down to credibility. When the accuser has none (and in both DSK's American and French cases, it now appears there are two incredible accusers), is it fair, under those circumstances, to allow law enforcement and the media to crucify a presumptively innocent man, as has been done here? 

Can we ever do justice for rape victims by tramping on the rights of presumptively innocent men accused of rape?  The question scarcely survives its statement.

DSK's French accuser shaping up to be a flake and a loose cannon

See here: http://globalspin.blogs.time.com/2011/07/21/revelations-in-frances-dsk-attempted-rape-case-get-surreal-and-really-icky/

Rape claims generally come down to credibility. When the accuser has none (and in both DSK's American and French cases, it now appears there are two incredible accusers), is it fair, under those circumstances, to allow law enforcement and the media to crucify a presumptively innocent man, as has been done here? 

Can we ever do justice for rape victims by tramping on the rights of presumptively innocent men accused of rape?  The question scarcely survives its statement.

More tiresome gender hypersensitivity

People who focus on "gender" issues invariably start to view the entire world through a gender lens, and too often they start to see "gender" where they shouldn't, and they become hypersensitive to innocuous conduct. This is unhealthy for a multitude of reasons.

And, yes, at times we are guilty of such hypersensitivity here.  We resolve to try not to be.

When gender hypersensitivity happens with politicians, as in the story below, it distracts focus from real issues. And here we go again.

Cong. Allen West sent an angry missive to DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz about a medicare debate, telling her, among other things, that she was not "a lady." So, of course, a petition was started to protest West's "outrageous" and "despicable" and, of course, "sexist" behavior, claiming that his comments were evidence of "the Republican war on women."  See here: http://emilyslist.org/action/standwithdws_20110720hp/

Oh, my, oh, my. When will this end?

When former Democratic Senator Arlen Specter told Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann to "act like a lady," he was widely chastised for his "sexist" remark and was forced to apologize.

When hecklers told Hillary Clinton to "iron my shirt," it was grossly sexist, and everyone agreed that it was. But not every attack or criticism on a female politician is sexist. Just as not every criticism of President Obama is indicative of racism.  By turning the West-Wasserman Schultz encounter into a gender issue, the far more important debate over Medicare is being obscured.

And when people conclude that accusing West of misogyny is a silly overreaction -- and they will -- they will be more likely to accept West's policy position than examine it on its own merits.

Sexism is unacceptable, every sane person agrees. By the same token, it is silly to pretend that politicians are genderless. If a politician behaves in an offensive manner, it is not sexist to accuse him or her of not acting like a "gentleman" or a "lady" depending on his or her gender.  But a politician's gender should never be used as a sword to hold her or him to standards not applicable to the other gender (e.g., "iron my shirt").

I think we're all agreed on that. So let's take this a step further: a woman has no more right to dictate that a male politician live up to her notions of masculinity than a man has the right to dictate that a female politician live up to his notions of femininity.

Makes sense? Of course. Then why does the mainstream media allow women to hold men to gender standards, while it condemns men who do the same to women?

During the last senatorial campaign, Sharron Angle, Robin Carnhan, Christine O'Donnell and Jane Norton -- all women -- verbally attacked their male opponents by telling them to "man up."  See here.  Sarah Palin has also used the term "man up" and has questioned the president's “cojones.” I saw no one attack that as sexism.

Holding male candidates to some invisible standard of masculinity is nothing new. Can you say "Edmund Muskie"? In 1972, Senator Muskie was the Democratic front runner for president until the Manchester Union-Leader attacked his wife, Jane. When Senator Muskie defended his wife in an emotional speech, he appeared to cry. That was the end of his campaign, and his chance to ever be president.  Muskie, you see, had violated an almost universal standard of manhood.

Do we really think much has changed since Muskie's implosion? 

And, of course, female candidates are not routinely attacked for legally avoiding military service as male candidates are. I doubt this will change in the next 25 years, if ever. Not serving is considered at least a minor violation of some standard of manhood.

Let's say this: I "get" why sexism is potentially more damaging to female than male candidates. Women are still breaking into a man's game, and any hint that women are inferior because of their gender should not be tolerated.

But that's not the point. The point is that it's absurd and a harmful distraction to imagine sexism where it doesn't exist, as in the West-Wasserman Schultz debate. 

And beyond that, the point is that it's an inappropriate double-standard to allow a female politician to attack a male politician for not living up to an invisible standard of masculinity, while it's wholly unacceptable to hold female candidates to any gender standard. 

When we tell our kids that it's fair to hold men to some gender standard or other, they won't understand that it's not fair to do the same to women.  Because, you see, kids don't understand these fine-line distinctions adults invent to rationalize bad behavior.

If every attack on a female politician is going to be transmogrified into "sexism," then I'd say this nation isn't ready for a female president (I'm ready for one, the rest of the nation isn't).  That's because we need a president we're allowed to criticize. Even those of us with penises.

More tiresome gender hypersensitivity

People who focus on "gender" issues invariably start to view the entire world through a gender lens, and too often they start to see "gender" where they shouldn't, and they become hypersensitive to innocuous conduct. This is unhealthy for a multitude of reasons.

And, yes, at times we are guilty of such hypersensitivity here.  We resolve to try not to be.

When gender hypersensitivity happens with politicians, as in the story below, it distracts focus from real issues. And here we go again.

Cong. Allen West sent an angry missive to DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz about a medicare debate, telling her, among other things, that she was not "a lady." So, of course, a petition was started to protest West's "outrageous" and "despicable" and, of course, "sexist" behavior, claiming that his comments were evidence of "the Republican war on women."  See here: http://emilyslist.org/action/standwithdws_20110720hp/

Oh, my, oh, my. When will this end?

When former Democratic Senator Arlen Specter told Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann to "act like a lady," he was widely chastised for his "sexist" remark and was forced to apologize.

When hecklers told Hillary Clinton to "iron my shirt," it was grossly sexist, and everyone agreed that it was. But not every attack or criticism on a female politician is sexist. Just as not every criticism of President Obama is indicative of racism.  By turning the West-Wasserman Schultz encounter into a gender issue, the far more important debate over Medicare is being obscured.

And when people conclude that accusing West of misogyny is a silly overreaction -- and they will -- they will be more likely to accept West's policy position than examine it on its own merits.

Sexism is unacceptable, every sane person agrees. By the same token, it is silly to pretend that politicians are genderless. If a politician behaves in an offensive manner, it is not sexist to accuse him or her of not acting like a "gentleman" or a "lady" depending on his or her gender.  But a politician's gender should never be used as a sword to hold her or him to standards not applicable to the other gender (e.g., "iron my shirt").

I think we're all agreed on that. So let's take this a step further: a woman has no more right to dictate that a male politician live up to her notions of masculinity than a man has the right to dictate that a female politician live up to his notions of femininity.

Makes sense? Of course. Then why does the mainstream media allow women to hold men to gender standards, while it condemns men who do the same to women?

During the last senatorial campaign, Sharron Angle, Robin Carnhan, Christine O'Donnell and Jane Norton -- all women -- verbally attacked their male opponents by telling them to "man up."  See here.  Sarah Palin has also used the term "man up" and has questioned the president's “cojones.” I saw no one attack that as sexism.

Holding male candidates to some invisible standard of masculinity is nothing new. Can you say "Edmund Muskie"? In 1972, Senator Muskie was the Democratic front runner for president until the Manchester Union-Leader attacked his wife, Jane. When Senator Muskie defended his wife in an emotional speech, he appeared to cry. That was the end of his campaign, and his chance to ever be president.  Muskie, you see, had violated an almost universal standard of manhood.

Do we really think much has changed since Muskie's implosion? 

And, of course, female candidates are not routinely attacked for legally avoiding military service as male candidates are. I doubt this will change in the next 25 years, if ever. Not serving is considered at least a minor violation of some standard of manhood.

Let's say this: I "get" why sexism is potentially more damaging to female than male candidates. Women are still breaking into a man's game, and any hint that women are inferior because of their gender should not be tolerated.

But that's not the point. The point is that it's absurd and a harmful distraction to imagine sexism where it doesn't exist, as in the West-Wasserman Schultz debate. 

And beyond that, the point is that it's an inappropriate double-standard to allow a female politician to attack a male politician for not living up to an invisible standard of masculinity, while it's wholly unacceptable to hold female candidates to any gender standard. 

When we tell our kids that it's fair to hold men to some gender standard or other, they won't understand that it's not fair to do the same to women.  Because, you see, kids don't understand these fine-line distinctions adults invent to rationalize bad behavior.

If every attack on a female politician is going to be transmogrified into "sexism," then I'd say this nation isn't ready for a female president (I'm ready for one, the rest of the nation isn't).  That's because we need a president we're allowed to criticize. Even those of us with penises.

Woman who admitted fabricating a rape claim is still 'the victim' in news report

A 20-year-old woman admitted to fabricating a rape claim, and Door County Sheriff Terry Vogel said: "The incident never occurred."  The story is found here: http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/article/20110716/ADV01/107160351/False-accusation-may-lead-criminal-charges

Nevertheless, she's still "the victim" according to Door County Advocate reporter Ramelle Bintzat (rbintz@doorcountyadvocate.com).  The woman is being referred to the Door County District Attorney's office for criminal obstruction charges. Bintzat does not name the accuser, despite the fact that there is no evidence that she was a victim of anything.

The woman committed a potentially devastating crime. Legion are the cases where rape lies end up destroying hapless men and boys.  Even though most are not convicted, their lives are forever altered for the worse. Yet, reporter Bintzat uses the incident as an occasion to report on the horrors of an entirely different crime: rape. Bintzat seeks out quotes from -- guess who? -- the director of the local sexual assault center, that's who. A woman named Susan Lockwood.  The story promptly tumbles down the rabbit role. Let us examine Lockwood's assertions:

▲"One of the most frequent fears of victims is they think they aren't going to be believed," Lockwood said. "It's one of the reasons juries let people off — because they don't believe the victim."

First, Lockwood assumes her hypothetical accuser is a "victim."  Her assertion is not challenged by reporter Bintzat. (Read this sentence from the story: "In her experience with hundreds of cases, she said the victim is not always intentionally lying but may be mentally ill." Sorry, reporter Bintzat, but how is a false rape accuser ever a victim? How on earth do you write things like that? It's called "sloppy journalism.")

Second, Lockwood's assertion about "victims" fearing they won't be believed is suspect. At the Specter Hearings in Congress last autumn, Scott Berkowitz, President and Founder of the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) -- an organization that Lockwood likely wouldn't take issue with -- said that alleged underreporting of rape is mainly due to reasons other than the one posited by Lockwood: Mr. Berkowitz said that a generation ago, the reasons were things like, "fear of not being believed; fear of being interrogated about and blamed for their own behavior, and what they were wearing." In short, women feared that they would be the one on trial. Today, Mr. Berkowitz explained, the perception of many victims has evolved. Now they don't report for these reasons: "they don't want their loved ones to know what happened; they're ashamed themselves; they just want to put it all behind them."

▲"Lockwood, who has worked with sexual assault victims for the past 30 years, said false sexual assault reports are no more frequent than false reports of other crimes. Crime statistics provided by the FBI show about three percent of sexual assault reports later prove to be false, she said."  And: "These false reports are very rare," Lockwood said

Did reporter Bintzat ask for a source for these assertions?  Did reporter Bintzat conduct independent research? I study this area closely, and I am not familiar with these purported "facts."  Three percent is a figure I've never heard. (For many years, of course, members of what can aptly be called the sexual grievance industry posited that only two percent of rape claims are false. An authoritative law review article debunked the canard that only two percent of all rape claims are false. The author traced this number to its baseless source. See http://llr.lls.edu/volumes/v33-issue3/greer.pdf.) Moreover, when the FBI last compiled pertinent statistics, they showed that women lie far more often about rape than other crimes. The Politics of Sexuality, Barry M. Dank, Editor in Chief, Vol. 3 at 36, n. 8. The exact percentage of false rape claims is unknown and likely unknowable. Moreover, objective studies put the prevalence of false rape claims much, much higher than three percent. See "False Rape Allegations," by Eugene Kanin, Archives of Sexual Behavior Feb 1994 v23 n1 p81, (41 and 50 percent of rape claims studied were false. Kanin, incidentally, was a feminist darling whose work was cited and relied on without question by feminists, including being cited by the infamous Koss Report. He suddenly became a nitwit who forgot how to do research when his studies upset the narrative of the radicals who dominate the public discourse about rape.) In addition, a landmark Air Force study in 1985 studied 556 rape allegations. It found that 27% of the accusers recanted, and an independent evaluation revealed a false accusation rate of 60%. McDowell, Charles P., Ph.D. “False Allegations.” Forensic Science Digest, (publication of the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations), Vol. 11, No. 4 (December 1985), p. 64. See also, "Until Proven Innocent," the widely praised (praised even by the New York Times, which the book skewers -- as well as by most other major U.S. news sources) and painstaking study of the Duke Lacrosse non-rape case. Authors 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" or sexual assault 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 sexual assault claims "are false . . . ." (Page 374.)

Did reporter Bintzat report on any of that? 

Give the devil her due: sexual assault counselor Lockwood does "believe in prosecuting for obstruction of justice in these cases."

Bravo!  Rare is the sexual assault counselor who advocates prosecution.  But her reasons are curious: "They truly are obstructing justice: They hurt every other victim who comes in the door."  True, true. But you forgot to mention something, didn't you, Lockwood?  You forgot to mention the actual victims of false rape claims: innocent men and boys. The fact that they are not even an afterthought to you is most telling.

The fact that reporter Bintzat doesn't bother to mention them, either, is both disgraceful and not surprising. 

Woman who admitted fabricating a rape claim is still 'the victim' in news report

A 20-year-old woman admitted to fabricating a rape claim, and Door County Sheriff Terry Vogel said: "The incident never occurred."  The story is found here: http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/article/20110716/ADV01/107160351/False-accusation-may-lead-criminal-charges

Nevertheless, she's still "the victim" according to Door County Advocate reporter Ramelle Bintzat (rbintz@doorcountyadvocate.com).  The woman is being referred to the Door County District Attorney's office for criminal obstruction charges. Bintzat does not name the accuser, despite the fact that there is no evidence that she was a victim of anything.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Another Rape Urban Myth: What Fuels These?

The horror flick Candyman (1992) had an intriguing premise: what if a frightening urban legend could literally take on a life of its own by the sheer psychic weight of widespread belief in it?

If you saw the film, you will recall that a couple of plucky female grad students, studying modern urban folklore, set out to study the origins of, with the goal of ultimately debunking, one such particularly nasty legend: that of the murderous, hook-handed Candyman, believed to terrorize a crime-ridden Chicago housing project.

But because the grad students are threatening Candyman's very survival by casting doubt on him, he assumes corporeal form and appears to one of them. "I am the writing on the wall," he explains. "The whisper in the classroom. Without these things, I am nothing." Because of her lack of faith in him, he decides he needs to fuel the legend, so he devises a gruesome death for her. "Your death," he tells her, "will be a tale to frighten children, to make lovers cling closer in their rapture. Come with me and be immortal."

North Dakota Rape Myth

Is the premise of Candyman so outlandish? We've seen time and time again on this site that rape urban legends often take on a life of their own. In one North Dakota town, there's an urban legend circulating that tells women they shouldn`t go to the local Walmart after 8 pm because men are using chloroform to knock them out and rape them. A similar legend says that gangs of oil riggers are harassing women outside Walmart.

Police say it's a lie. “No reports have been received by the police department that anybody was chloroformed or assaulted while at Walmart," said Sergeant Dave Wilkie of the Dickinson Police Department.  See here: http://www.kfyrtv.com/News_Stories.asp?news=50989

Date Rape Drug Myth

The most prominent of the rape urban myths we've reported on involved the date rape drug hysteria that was all the rage a couple of years ago. It was so strong that people even believed a viral e-mail that claimed men were passing a powerful date rape drug to women merely by handing them their business cards. The drug supposedly incapacitated women just by touching it. Of course, the email was a hoax, an urban myth.

A study published in the British Journal of Criminology a couple of years ago found that three-quarters of students surveyed identified drink spiking as an important rape risk – more than alcohol.  More than half said they knew someone whose drink had been spiked.  And it was all a lie. Hokum. Despite popular beliefs, there is no evidence that rape victims are commonly drugged with such substances, researchers say. None. Yet it is doubtful that the purveyors of misandry in the sexual grievance industry will ever remove this hoax from their rape "facts" catalog, along with the two percent canard, and the one-in-four lie. One of the authors of the study referenced above explained: “Young women appear to be displacing their anxieties about the consequences of consuming what is in the bottle on to rumors of what could be put there by someone else . . . .”

What Fuels Rape Myths?

Rape is a particularly fertile subject for urban legends because there are few prospects scarier than being dragged into a dark alley and raped by someone more powerful than you, or having someone incapacitate you with the intention of ejaculating inside you, possibly impregnating you. The fact that such incidents are relatively rare (although, of course, one rape is one too many), especially outside the inner city, hasn't lessened the fear of the possibility. 

Rape urban legends are fueled by several things. For one thing, a culture of misandry has erupted on our national landscape in the past 30 years that makes it socially acceptable for women to be irrationally fearful of men and boys but of no other class of citizens. Law and order types, like Bob Dole and his Fed.R.Evid. 413, are largely responsible for this.

Sometimes rape fears are purposefully fomented by what is aptly called the sexual grievance industry. Some members of that industry teach our daughters that rape has become "normalized" in society's traditional notions of masculinity -- a concept that would be terribly insulting if it weren't so patently absurd. Rape is too common, to be sure, but blind outrage over rape, and a desire to protect women at all costs, are traits far more closely associated with masculinity than is a propensity to commit the crime of rape.  The vast majority of people understand this, but the sexual grievance industry keeps beating the tom-tom, seemingly in an effort to insult our collective intelligence.

Sometimes, the misinformation machine is blatant. In Britain, for example, the Stern Review last year debunked feminist claims that rape is not taken seriously and took issue with the government's long-standing use of the 6% attrition rate for alleged rape (the number of convictions as a percentage of number of reported crimes) as opposed to the 58% conviction rate (the number of convictions secured against the number of persons brought to trial for that given offence) that the government uses for all other crimes – murder, assault, robbery, and so on. The chasm between the rate that the government should have been using versus the one it was using -- 58% versus 6% -- represents a politicized dishonesty of Biblical proportions.

Importantly, the Stern Review noted that use of the attrition rate instead of the conviction rate "may well have discouraged some victims from reporting" their rapes. Read that again if it didn't sink in. Despite the Stern Review's well-publicized report, the prominent UK rape activist group, Women Against Rape, continues to wrongly state that "the conviction rate for rape is 5.7%."

Finally, an honest assessment about such rape urban myths also has to include this: they are largely fueled by the reports of real-life, and often frightening, rapes splashed across the news. If we want to reduce rape and rape fear mongering, and if we want to make false rape claims less plausible, we need to attack the root causes of rape itself.

Unfortunately, that's easier said than done. One thing is for certain: it won't be done by forcing college boys to attend rape indoctrination shame-fests that instruct them to subvert their imaginary socialized urges to harm women. Preaching to innocent young men never prevented a single rape. Yet, the persons who control the public discourse about rape are intent on channeling scarce resources to places where they are needed least: college campuses. The fact is, rarely do rapists resemble Ted Bundy or the clean-cut college boy home on Christmas break. 

The vast majority of rape offenders come from lower socioeconomic classes and are under-educated, under-employed, and under-skilled. See, among many others, Thornhill and Palmer, A Natural History of Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion; Batten, Sexual Strategies: How Females Choose Their Mates. In Against our Wills, Susan Brownmiller demonstrated that disadvantaged blacks comprise a greatly disproportionate percentage of rapists.

Why is that?  There is an unmistakable correlation between the absence of fathers from inner city homes and the prevalence of every social pathology that affects inner city kids, including rape. It turns out that when it comes to rape, "masculinity" isn't the problem at all; the problem is the absence of masculine role models. Some woefully misguided Great Society programs played a big part in removing fathers from inner city homes, but that's beyond the scope of this post.  The point is, if we want to reduce rape, we need to tackle, at long last, our great national shame: the social pathologies of the inner city. But neither political party seems to have much interest in doing that. A cynic might suggest the reason for this is that the one party is content to keep the inner city as cistern of dependence because it buys that party votes; and the other party is no less culpable as some of its members don't give a damn and see no political advantage to it in even addressing the problem. The truth is probably a tad less cynical: the problems of the inner city are so daunting, nobody knows what to do.