Rape: When Politics Replaces Evidence

One of the saddest characterizations seen in a long time appears in Kansas lawprof Corey Yung’s post at Concurring Opinions on George Wills and the politicization of rape.  He wrote:

George Will joins the chorus of conservative authors writing about rape on college campuses. As with other recent articles, Will’s piece downplays the problem of rape on campuses.

What makes this so unfortunate is that Yung seemed to be one of the few lawprofs who showed a sincere interest in an empirical analysis of the “problem,” rather than simply assuming it to be a huge problem in the absence of evidence that it was a problem at all.  The irony, of course, is that he complains of its politicization by conservatives, as though it hasn’t been politicized by feminists up, down and sideways.  It’s always the guy who strikes back to defend himself who gets caught.

Will raises a 2013 case out of Swarthmore College, where a student “was in her room with a guy with whom she’d been hooking up for three months”:

“They’d now decided — mutually, she thought — just to be friends. When he ended up falling asleep on her bed, she changed into pajamas and climbed in next to him. Soon, he was putting his arm around her and taking off her clothes. ‘I basically said, “No, I don’t want to have sex with you.” And then he said, “OK, that’s fine” and stopped. . . . And then he started again a few minutes later, taking off my panties, taking off his boxers. I just kind of laid there and didn’t do anything — I had already said no. I was just tired and wanted to go to bed. I let him finish. I pulled my panties back on and went to sleep.’”

Six weeks later, the woman reported that she had been raped.

George Will then relates this to the White House’s recent task force report about the epidemic of sexual assault on campus, except Wills puts sexual assault in scare quotes.

Will’s decisions to surround “sexual assault” with quotation marks and emphasize the passage of six weeks before the victim reported the rape belies a disbelief that substantially colors his judgment. Will leaves it to the reader to guess why he doesn’t view the alleged events as rape. I find that omission to be notable. As is often true in rape trials, certain arguments work better when implied than when explicitly stated.

And that Yung finds “that omission to be notable” reveals his colored judgment.  There are two indisputable empirical problems with claims about “sexual assault” and “rape.”  The first is that there are no reliable statistics to show their incidence, which the task force report, despite assuming them to be problems in need of solutions, fully concedes.  The second is that there can be no reliable statistics because these claims have been untethered from viable definitions.

It is impossible to gather reliable statistics of the incidence of an offense when the question asked is “have you been sexually assaulted,” where sexual assault is anything the self-reported victims deems it to be?  An unwanted gaze from a guy in a bar can be a sexual assault. A whistle from a construction worker can be a sexual assault.  They can be every bit as much of a sexual assault as a stranger’s touching a woman’s breast on a subway, if it’s left to the sensibilities of the respondent.

Will’s involvement, as well that of the AEI, is notable. With recent media attention, it seems that rape has become a political football. And that fact is a disservice to victims and innocent defendants alike.

It is indeed notable, primarily for the fact that the long-held assumption that more liberal thinking people would be more protective of constitutional rights and less “tough on crime” that touches only their sacred cows.  But what is even more notable is how the prism of politics has affected any rational view of evidence.

In a comment to Yung’s post, Brett Bellmore provides an incisive reaction to Yung’s political myopia.  The comment is so good that I reprint it in its entirety (with apologies to all involved):

1. The only basis we have for believing the allegation, IS the allegation. All the circumstantial evidence (Mentioned in the account, anyway.) is perfectly consistent with no rape having taken place. We’re going to convict people of serious crimes on the basis of unsupported allegations?

The prior sexual relations DID create a presumption of consent, just as “Didn’t know him until they met in the alley” creates a presumption of no consent. So does the not immediately reporting it.

2. All acts exist on a continuum. Sex exists on a continuum from voluntary to rape. THIS incident, even if the account is accurate, is awfully close to the transition point. And yet, we’re supposed to treat it as just as serious as an act as unambiguous rape?

3. Believing her, she knew of a rapist at large, and didn’t bother warning anybody for six weeks? We’re supposed to treat this as a serious crime, even though SHE didn’t?

We can’t have a system where you can have sex, and six weeks later decide it was rape, and the guy gets nailed for a major felony on your bare word. That’s insupportable. That’s half the population being given a license to jail the other half.

4. It was, if we believe her, a “prior” relationship by a matter of minutes. “Prior” to nobody else’s knowledge. Possibly not even prior to the guy’s knowledge. Like nobody has ever changed their mind. She broke up with him and then climbed into bed with him? Said no, and then let him have sex with her?

Doesn’t she have any responsibility to make things clear on her end? Saying “no” a second time was too much trouble? Not getting into the bed, or even getting back out of it, an impossible demand?

What conservatives are complaining about is a demand that, essentially, women be given power without responsibility, the power to jail men, and no requirement that they behave prudently or responsibly, or even in a manner consistent with the claim they’re making.

Had it been any subject other than rape and sexual assault, and had the “victim” or “survivor” been anyone but women, there would be little question but that all the prawfs would rally around the need for evidence, due process, viable definitions and the knee-jerk demand for vengeance.

Has the subject of sexual assault been politicized? You bet it has, making it “a disservice to victims and innocent defendants alike.”  But blaming George Will and conservatives is the product of the politicization.

Aside:  Reason’s Cathy Young has done an extraordinary post about the Brown rape case at the Daily Beast.  For anyone interested in this issue, it is must-read stuff.

 

 

49 comments on “Rape: When Politics Replaces Evidence

  1. Corey Rayburn Yung

    Hi Scott,

    I think you are taking a pretty uncharitable reading of my post. I do think that Will and others are “downplaying” rape on college campuses, but that doesn’t mean I support any particular assessment regarding the magnitude of the problem. My point is that the authors are either assuming their conclusions or cherry-picking data among conflicting reports. That is downplaying regardless of the true level of rape on campuses.

    “Politicization” isn’t a precise word, but what I’m criticizing is a bit different than what you associate with feminists. The authors attribute college rape to political liberalism. That’s nonsense just as it would be to blame political conservatism. You also see political pundits/authors like Will and Sowell talking about rape, something outside of their wheelhouses, in a manner that shows only a regard for politics. I find that form of politicization to be dangerous and, in recent weeks, it is attributable to a few prominent conservative writers.

    I would say that you are both right and wrong that there is no good data for the incidence of rape on college campuses. The 1 in 5 number is actually “good” data if you focus on what it is measuring. The CDC study wasn’t concerned with the legal definitions of rape or sexual assault. Instead, they were assessing the public health ramifications of a wide range of “non-consensual” sexual contact. That’s helpful for determining rate of emergency room visits, social service needs, etc. However, you are right that there is no good data on the rate or incidence of “legal” rape. Measuring “legal” rape is particularly problematic because, as you know, the definition of rape varies. However, you are wrong that the survey data is based upon self-identified sexual assault. In fact, the criticism is more often made that the data includes incidents that the victims specifically state is not rape. Rape is an incredibly hard subject to survey. And the self-assessment of people is usually not helpful at all because personal definitions can be all over the map.

    As for Brett’s response, I’m a bit baffled by what you think is helpful about his reply. Will gives a story and, for implicit reasons, believes the event is not sexual assault. Most of Brett’s points simply introduce new facts or explanations that go well beyond the story presented by Will. If I responded that she was probably threatened with violence, it would be equally not helpful. What we add to Will’s story, in my opinion, says more about us than the actual facts. The one exception is Brett’s reasoning about the six week delay. However, even there is making a lot of unwarranted assumptions about the reasons for that delay and why it makes the complaint less credible. This isn’t a criminal trial where we have evidentiary and burden of proof issues. Will tells a story that I think is clearly rape in jurisdictions without a force requirement. The actual case may very well be unwinnable in court. If there were more facts or reasons to believe the victim was not credible (beyond the delay), I could change my view.

    The goal of my research in this area is to fill in gaps in our knowledge about sexual violence. I do take for granted that rape is a serious problem in that each incident creates substantial harm. However, I also believe that knowing the actual magnitude, nature, and causes of (campus) rape is essential to any policy shift.

    Corey

    1. SHG Post author

      I think we have a foundational disagreement that I see grounded in the neo-feminist political agenda. Definition matters to me. I don’t mean to be uncharitable, but rape (forget legal definition, and substitute any cognizable definition) isn’t something to be decided the next day, or a week later or in the secret imagination of a person who never said no but has an excuse that makes perfect sense to her, or based on absurd rules (any intoxication negates consent) that only apply one way. Does no mean no, it must it be yes, or an emphatic yes, and only if the woman is sober? Are all women who claim rape victims, and all men presumptively rapists? Are claimants too delicate for due process? If it’s rape, it must mean something.

      The sides aren’t legal definition versus whatever any woman says it is at any given moment. Making up ad hoc claims can’t be sufficient for rape or sexual assault, despite the feminist fashion trend of the words being untethered from any meaningful definition. You don’t seem to share my concern for definitions, which I see as being as politicized a view as Will’s.

      As for Brett’s comments, they deal with the facts presented, but raise very real questions that are material and relevant, but not politically popular to consider because they don’t support the ideology. He gave what I consider a very clear, cogent explanation, which you were/are unable to see. Again, I attribute your inability to recognize, if not agree with, his points political myopia.

      If we’re ever to know anything about rape and sexual assault, then we have to have clear, meaningful and viable definitions. There are no such definitions anymore, and while the words are thrown about wildly, and do enormous harm to real people, these words have become meaningless. It’s an unacceptable situation.

      1. tgt

        Where did Corey suggest definition does not matter or that rape was determined by post hoc rationalization? Corey explicitly explained that your worst fears aren’t part of the dataset, yet the entire point of your response, that ‘rape ‘ is an ill-defined boogeyman, is built on those false beliefs.

        Did I miss something?

        1. SHG Post author

          Corey stated in his (IIRC) comment to his OP that, if the facts were true, this was a rape. There is no cognizable definition that would make this a rape, particularly her inconsistent choices and the inordinate delay in her coming forward to level the accusation. The idea of questioning this is outrageous to neo-feminists, but the idea that accusers are insulated from challenge, but only when it comes to rape and sexual assault, is outrageous.

          Corey thus accepts the “definition” of rape that it is whatever a woman decides it is, and that’s not a definition. Moreover, Corey’s acceptance of this open definition is an embrace of a politicized definition, revealing that he’s as subject to the politicization of rape as Will.

          And going to your other comment, about the significance of the problem, when rape becomes whatever the woman decides it may be, then it calls any claim to how serious a problem it is into question.

          1. tgt

            “Corey stated in his (IIRC) comment to his OP that, if the facts were true, this was a rape. There is no cognizable definition that would make this a rape, particularly her inconsistent choices and the inordinate delay in her coming forward to level the accusation.”

            Your issues are inconsistency and time until report. While those are likely factors that would block a prosecution, they don’t change what happened. If a confession is coerced, it might matter to the law that it wasn’t challenged in a certain time frame, but that doesn’t change the statement that coercion occurred. Same goes for her saying no, and then not physically stopping him. Corey made this distinction, and in no way suggested that women’s word be given special treatment in law. Again, he said the opposite of what you claim he said.

            1. SHG Post author

              Those were examples. They don’t prove lack of coercion, but they similarly don’t prove coercion just because you want to adopt the woman’s side. If the burden is on the accuser, then the accusers fails. You don’t want to accept this because you feel rape is different. Got it. But please stop comparing it to the police. The analogy is false, no matter how many times you repeat it.

              What’s written is all there to be read. Your continuing to argue it doesn’t change it, and it’s really not interesting to rehash ad nauseum. It’s neither more nor less convincing the third time you say so, or tenth time. You’ve made your point. I reject it, but it’s all here for everyone to see. It’s done now.

  2. tgt

    You seem to have a consistency problem. Your promotion of Brett Bellmore’s comment displays it quite well: “Doesn’t she have any responsibility to make things clear on her end? Saying ‘no’ a second time was too much trouble? Not getting into the bed, or even getting back out of it, an impossible demand?”

    If this wasn’t about rape, you’d jump all over that. What if it was police blocking entrance to one’s building? Doesn’t the accused have any responsibility on their end? Saying ‘I live here’ a second time was too much trouble? Not trying to enter their house, or even walking away, an impossible demand?

    Here’s another bit: “Said no, and then let him have sex with her?” What if that was “Asked for a lawyer, then answered the cops questions?” You’d believe that occurred in a second. How many times does someone need to invoke their fifth amendment rights before a confession is coerced?

    Assuming the woman’s story is true, a sexual assault occurred. That said, there isn’t evidence to prosecute, but that doesn’t mean her story doesn’t make sense, and it doesn’t suggest that the problem of rape on campus is fabricated.

    We don’t need ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ proof in every case to know a problem exists. Our evidence that that there’s a problem with police abuse of authority parallels our evidence that there’s a problem with sexual assaults on college campuses. You are engaged in classic special pleading, and you’re better than that.

    1. SHG Post author

      “Said no, and then let him have sex with her?” What if that was “Asked for a lawyer, then answered the cops questions?”

      Two kids having sex isn’t state action, doesn’t involve police coercion (and no, police coercion is not the same as male coercion of a female to have sex, unless he’s using a gun and shield), doesn’t implicate constitutional black letter rights. You’re mixing apples and Fords.

      We don’t need ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ proof in every case to know a problem exists. Our evidence that that there’s a problem with police abuse of authority parallels our evidence that there’s a problem with sexual assaults on college campuses. You are engaged in classic special pleading, and you’re better than that.

      There is no “our evidence.” There is your sincere belief. That’s not proof beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s not proof at all. It’s just your strongly held feeling which you which you want other to adopt because you really, really believe so.

      1. tgt

        “Two kids having sex isn’t state action, doesn’t involve police coercion (and no, police coercion is not the same as male coercion of a female to have sex, unless he’s using a gun and shield), doesn’t implicate constitutional black letter rights. You’re mixing apples and Fords.”

        This is textbook special pleading. Either both are coercion or neither are coercion. State coercion is much worse than personal coercion, but that’s irrelevant. State sanctioned murder is much worse than murder by an individual, but we don’t need less evidence to claim the state committed a murder than to claim an individual did (logically, not legally).

        “There is no ‘our evidence.’ There is your sincere belief. That’s not proof beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s not proof at all. It’s just your strongly held feeling which you which you want other to adopt because you really, really believe so.”

        Don’t prosecutor and police boosters say the same about your beliefs about police abuse? Again, you’re engaged in textbook special pleading. The evidence for wide scale police abuse is built on personal stories that have repeated so often that they show a clear pattern. The same goes for rape being a problem. That some reporters are not sympathetic and some are vindictive does not imply that the problem is nonexistent. That some allegations are made on a delay is normally proof that the defendants are scared of retaliation or think their claims will fall on deaf ears, not a suggestion they’re made up.

        —-
        I apologize for any spellingnor grammar errors; my FIOS went out and I’m typing this on a phone while waiting for the tech to come.

        1. SHG Post author

          No points off here for typos.

          Sorry, but I think your “special pleading” argument is totally, completely, flagrantly wrong. Your analogies fail. In any event, you’ve made your argument. I’ve disagreed completely. And anyone reading can decide which is the better point.

          On a side note, I do not argue that there is “wide scale police abuse,” and never have. What I do argue is that there is police abuse, when before there was video there was none, and that the arguments that used to be made, that it never happened, can no longer be made. Anecdotes prove something happened. They cannot prove their scale. Please don’t attribute an argument to me that I never made so you can use it against me to support your own unfounded claim.

          1. tgt

            I apologize on the “wide scale police abuse” comment. That is my interpretation of your comments on the matter, but I don’t think I overstated it that much. Police abuse is a problem, and I believe you have called it standard and routine. We have video now that proves it occurs, but you have said you knew it occurred before there was video. You have said that you heard the same stories from your clients over and over, and that the excuses and demurrals of the police didn’t make sense. Rape on campus is like pre-video police abuse. Campus counselors, and others have heard the same stories over and over, and the excuses of the men’s behavior don’t make sense.

            I think we’re generally in agreement on the law and prosecution of sexual assault allegations. I think we differ in that you demand legal proof to say there’s a problem, while I think the circumstantial case is compelling. It seems to me that you assume that if someone thinks rape is a problem on campus, they also believe that women’s words on the matter should not be challenged in court.

            I strongly believe that intoxicated sex is not, per se, a crime committed by the male and that a woman can not post hoc decide an encounter is rape. The crazies who back such positions are not representative of feminism or those of us who say that campus rape is a problem.

            1. SHG Post author

              I think we differ in that you demand legal proof to say there’s a problem, while I think the circumstantial case is compelling.

              Still not quite my position. It’s not now, nor has it ever been, a matter of legal proof. It’s a matter of definition. And you’re not promoting a circumstantial case, but an anecdotal case. Moreover, what’s “compelling” is purely subjective, a recurrent theme in the politicization of all this. You say it’s compelling? I say not so much, especially when I have no clue what the accusers of rape are talking about, since they are entitled to cry rape about anything since it’s no longer subject to definition.

              Notice how we come back to the original point? Now it’s done.

              [Ed. Note: Subsequent comment/argument by tgt deleted. 5 is enough, and repeating the same stuff is pointless.]

            2. tgt

              My deleted comment was only a repeat in that it called you out for errors you repeated, namely, attacking straw men and claiming a distinction without any difference.

              I understand that you’re the authority on your blog, but when you misrepresent dissent, it suggests that you can’t win your argument on the merits. As I have said before, you’re better than that.

            3. SHG Post author

              Comments like this and the one deleted are tedious. No one cares to read you harping on yourself over and over. You made your point. The world didn’t flip-flop because it changed everything, so you needed to do so again because I obviously didn’t get it the first time or I would have conceded your genius.

              Protip: That’s not how real world argument works. Nor do you impress anyone by stomping your feet and saying the same thing over and over. Nor to you win by declaring yourself the winner when you’ve become tedious. Now, you’re just tedious.

              As I tried to tell you before, you make your point, put it out there for anyone who cares to read, and they then decide whether they are persuaded or not. Repeating it does not make it more persuasive. You may not be persuaded to change your position to my view, and that’s fine. I’m not persuaded by yours. And then it ends. You don’t get to persist ad nauseum, or demand that I continue to spend my time repeating myself in return.

            4. tgt

              You seem to be treating this as an adversarial proceeding, but I’m not sure why. Opinions are not clients. They don’t need to be zealously defended, whatever the facts. If the facts don’t back an opinion, the opinion should be questioned.

              This argument isn’t about me. Like you, I couldn’t care less if someone thinks I’m an egotistic, self-entitled asshole. I think there are flaws in your argument. I said so. I saw more flaws in your responses, so I pointed those out, too. I don’t believe I simply repeated myself.

              The one issue in particular is hard for me to let go of: my comparison between the elements of state coercion and the elements of individual coercion.

              You have much more experience with state coercion than I do. I know I’m not entitled to anything from you, but could you please explain how my comparison fails?

              I believe that the state is a massive beast that needs to be checked however and whenever possible. I believe that state coercive power has much farther reaching consequences than an individual’s coercive power. I believe that the state should be punished more than individuals for coercion. What I don’t understand is why overriding a “no” is coercive if the state does it, but not coercive if an individual does it. Why is one “no” sufficient to respond to the state, but repetition and more action are required when responding to an individual? Am I even asking the right question?

            5. SHG Post author

              When you begin a comment with “you seem to be treating this as an adversarial proceeding,” you are either trying to goad me or load the dice. Either way, it suggests to me that you’re not sincere in your “I just want to ask a question” claim. But I’m going to ignore your opening and answer your question, because that’s the kinda guy I am.

              What I don’t understand is why overriding a “no” is coercive if the state does it, but not coercive if an individual does it. Why is one “no” sufficient to respond to the state, but repetition and more action are required when responding to an individual? Am I even asking the right question?

              The government has a broad array of weapons, tools, mechanisms, at its command to compel compliance despite an individual’s desire to be left alone. We all know this about the government. If a cop says jump, people jump. Not because the cop threatened a beating and arrest, but because the inherent fiat of the government is omnipresent and influences our perception of commands and choices. Because of this, we have a Constitution and laws that gives us specific rights to limit the power of the cop and government.

              There is no similar (by any stretch of the imagination) implicit coercion involved in ordinary interpersonal relationships. There are other power imbalanced relationships: Parent/child, yes. Teacher/student, yes. Employer/employee, yes. But regular guy/gal, no.

              I’m going to make a wild assumption that you already appreciate why the coercive power of the state differs from the coercive power of an ordinary person, so we can get to your real question, which is why saying “no” once, and then engaging in conduct inconsistent with that “no,” isn’t sufficient to establish rape.

              In the real world, people can try to persuade others to change their minds. People are allowed to change their minds on their own (and that cuts both ways). People sometimes play coy or manipulative. This is just normal human interaction, not the power of the state coercing a person, and we are all responsible for how we conduct our normal human interactions between regular folks. The state is different because it’s the state, and has its broad array of weapons, tools, mechanisms to coerce us to do what they command against our will. Regular folks don’t.

            6. tgt

              My opening was an attempt to civilly respond to the aspersions you cast on my character and suppositions you made as to my motives. I originally wrote up a long passage defending myself and suggesting that your comments were dangerously close to ad hominem, but then I realized that such a response wouldn’t move us forward on anything substantial, and I did want to understand your thinking. My butthurt, fair or unfair, isn’t important.

              I do appreciate your taking the time to respond with content and your ability to get past the clearly affected obsequiousness of my question. I’m somewhat ashamed how thick I laid it on.

              I need to think on your response. Something doesn’t gibe right with it to me, but I can’t tell if it’s a flaw in your response, or just that it overturns a position I’d dug in on. Thank you.

            7. SHG Post author

              No rush. Give yourself some time and I’m sure you will come up with a good reason why I must be wrong.

              Edit: I was going to ignore your precatory intro, but have decided to make a point, largely because I’m trying to help you to better understand. This is a real lawyer blog, not an academic blog where mitigated language prevails. We say what we mean, smack each other around some, and move on.

              Some think this is “uncivil,” because it doesn’t conform with the dulcet tones of positivity that prevails in academic circles. It may be uncivil to others, but not here. You’ve been around here enough to know this. If it’s not to your liking, your options are not to comment or to accept the way real lawyers behave. It is not up to you to demand that I (we, if I include ExCop, for example) conform to your way.

              You are the guest here. If this was an academic blog, I would expect an apology. Because it’s not, I don’t and wouldn’t care much either way if you did. I don’t need a concession from you, but what I would appreciate is your not trying to scold me for not conducting my blog in a way that pleases your sensibilities. I hope this helps you to understand. Feel free to call me an asshole, which is fine around here, but don’t try to dictate the rules of engagement. That’s not your place.

  3. ExCop-LawStudent

    I’m sorry (and this will probably get the feminists in an uproar), but if the alleged victim waits more than three days to report the sexual assault, the likelihood that it is a bogus charge rises exponentially.

    I’ve seen too many cases of it. She’s afraid her boyfriend will find out, was seen on the walk of shame, buyer’s remorse, sobered up (from intoxication, not intoxication to the point of non-consent), etc.

    If it is past a month old, 95% of the reports are bogus.

    1. John Neff

      I think it would be more professional if the police were to say we did not have probable cause to make an arrest in this case.

      1. SHG Post author

        I don’t think he was suggesting that cops would say that, but rather that’s the reality of his experience.

    2. tgt

      “[I]f the alleged victim waits more than three days to report the sexual assault, the likelihood that it is a bogus charge rises exponentially.”

      You have some evidence of this? Aren’t false reports prosecuted, or, at least, tallied somewhere?

      “If it is past a month old, 95% of the reports are bogus.”

      If you can defend that number with a legitimate source, I’ll buy you dinner.

        1. tgt

          Just like a cop that’s lived furtive glances and odors of marijuana. Are reports of those accurate now? Your appeal to authority here is way out of character. Is it because this guy agrees with you?

          People are horrible at accurately determining patterns, and even worse at judging their own ability to determine patterns. This guy’s statement is not evidence. It’s a conclusion presented without evidence.

          1. SHG Post author

            Sigh. You missed the point. You don’t have to believe or agree with him. You just can’t demand that the world present itself in your paradigm. The basis for his comment was his experience, not because a study said so. So take it for what it’s worth, just as others take your comments and mine for what they’re worth.

            I have no clue if he’s accurate or not, but no basis to dispute it either. It’s his observation based on his experience. Since I know he’s not a liar or dishonest, I accept that this reflects his honest view, but that doesn’t mean it’s true just because he says so. He’s put it out there and people can either accept or reject it for what it is. Just as they can with your comments or mine.

            I do, on the other hand, have extensive experience with claims of furtive glances and marijuana odor. so I have a basis to dispute it. That, among other things, explains why I didn’t challenge him. That he agrees with me makes no difference at all. I regular tell people who agree with me, but for the wrong or false reasons, that they’re wrong, which tends to make them very angry with me since they assume we’re “on the same team.”

            1. tgt

              ExCop supplied a verifiable and falsifiable statement of fact, not a simple opinion. ExCop said X was true, not that he or she believes X.

              Even if ExCop had supplied an opinion, if it differed from mine, it would still be appropriate to ask how it was derived. I’d like to know if I was wrong and need to correct my thinking.

              “I have no clue if he’s accurate or not, but no basis to dispute it either.”

              That’s flat out false. His lack of proffered evidence for his statement is basis to dispute it. Nothing else is required.

              I understand that judges’ often require more from a defense attorney challenging a statement, but outside of a courtroom, logic is still valid.

            2. SHG Post author

              He has evidence to support his statement of fact. His experiences as a cop. Whether that is sufficient proof to persuade you is up to you. Yet again, you don’t have to accept his statement of fact as true, but then again, that too is up to you. And if you don’t, that’s fine. This isn’t hard stuff.

            3. tgt

              I think its appropriate to challenge statements of fact that are not supported. Apparently, you don’t here.

            4. SHG Post author

              You didn’t challenge them. Had you, that might be different, but demanding to know the source is merely facile.

            5. tgt

              Asking for evidence IS challenging a statement.

              If I claim that there’s a real, live, pink unicorn in my basement, you don’t have to supply counter evidence to challenge it.

            6. SHG Post author

              And capitalizing the word “IS” makes it true. Notice how you’re repeating yourself, but in a way that is more emphatic as if that makes it more convincing?

            7. tgt

              I think, again, that you’re going off of judicial logic, not valid logic.

              I apologize for the double post.

            8. tgt

              Capitalization was simply for emphasis. It’s a rhetorical idiom when someone doesn’t realize that the thing in question is a member of the category they’re looking for.

            9. SHG Post author

              Capitalization was simply for emphasis.

              I’m pretty sure that’s what I said. But I liked the video.

  4. ExCop-LawStudent

    @tgt.

    I’m not going back to my old PD and pull every report for the last 20 years to count them.

    I stand by my statement, which was made to present what my experience was, not as evidence in a court of law or as an academic exercise. I understand the politics of the matter. In one case, we had a woman show up four days later claiming rape, with enough evidence that we got a search warrant for the subject’s home.

    It turned out that she was lying and we could prove that she was lying. She accused him of rape because she found out that the Valentine’s Day gift he gave her (on the same day he “raped” her), was a exact copy of the one he gave to his other four girlfriends. The DA refused to file on her for her false report or her perjury (on a sworn statement). They didn’t want to deal with the political heat.

    I could give you other examples, one after another, but I have a major paper to write and a lot of reading to do for my other classes.

    1. SHG Post author

      There are two ways to respond to someone who offers their experience to confirm their assertion. One is demand they “prove it,” to which you have the option to do so, if you’re so inclined, or shrug. The other is to dispute it, whether with studies, anecdotes or experience of their own. Saying prove it is facile. Anyone can do it anytime.

      Your experience is yours. Other people’s mileage may very. That’s inherent in any assertion of fact based on experience. I have the option of believing the accuracy of your experience or not, but nothing I think changes your experience. When it happens to me, I usually shrug.

      1. tgt

        Sure, it’s easy to demand someone back up their assertions, but I don’t understand why that’s a negative. If someone can’t back up their assertion, then that assertion is shown to be improper.

        Also, while it is true that nothing I say can change what actually occurred, things I say can change how people interpret things that occurred. Experience is extremely malleable. It is flat out false to suggest otherwise. (Think of eye witnesses who are originally unsure of what they saw, but then later extremely confident in what they saw.)

        1. SHG Post author

          It’s only a negative because of its obviousness, all inherent in any and every assertion of fact based on personal experience. But we know this already, and therefore don’t require another slew of comments restating the obvious.

          1. tgt

            The problem with that view is that most people don’t understand the problems with experience based statements of fact. If they did, comments like ExCop’s wouldn’t be made. It requires bad faith to state something as fact when you know its not reliable.

            1. SHG Post author

              Whoa. You just crossed a line. You’ve accused ExCop of bad faith because he hasn’t proven the accuracy of his experience to your satisfaction? You’ve gone too far. Not to mention, you’ve wasted thousands of words, monopolized these comments, contributed zero illumination to the discussion, repeated yourself incessantly because your thoughts MUST BE KNOWN BECAUSE THEY ARE SO VERY, VERY IMPORTANT, and then attacked someone else who offers his experience because it’s not good enough for you. You, tgt, are neither the center of the universe nor the measure of SJ, especially when you remain pseudonymous.

              You’ve done much to embarrass yourself here, which is entirely your call. But you do not get to attack others here, particularly with such a specious assault. You’ve worn out your welcome.

    2. tgt

      As noted above, people are horrible at accurately determining patterns and even worse at judging their ability to do so. This has been shown repeatedly, and in multiple fields. Your judgment here is not worth the bytes of data your words take up. Same goes for my judgment based on my experiences with reports of sexual abuse.

      I know this isn’t likely to change your mind (research has shown that even after learning how bad people are at pattern recognition, most people retain their confidence in their specific conclusions), but I still think its important to point out. Maybe you’ll buck the trend; I know that I don’t.

      I wish you well with your paper.

      1. ExCop-LawStudent

        It’s not your place to judge whether my words have any value here. Nor is it my place. That solely belongs to Scott.

        I offer my comments as a reflection of my experiences. If you want to discount them, fine, that’s your right. If Scott disagrees with me, he will (and has) tell me.

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