The Other Type of False Rape

Whether Tara Reade’s accusation is “credible,” as has become the newly popular yet largely meaningless word, or not doesn’t particularly interest me. Had it been raised at the time, had she complained to police, had it blossomed into a criminal prosecution where it would be subject to the normal rigors of the legal system and her accused, Joe Biden, been given the opportunity to defend, we might have something. Now, 27 years later without any possibility of it being subject to legal scrutiny, it’s just noise.

You may disagree with me. You may offer the litany of excuses about why Reade might be disinclined to complain to the police, about how traumatized women fail to complain, tell conflicted and false stories, shouldn’t be “silenced” by being expected to do what is required of every other putative crime victim. Of course, if she had but the police refused to act upon her complaint, that would be a different discussion. But that didn’t happen.

One of the little lies that form the foundation of the big lie is that false rapes are extremely rare. This, too, has been the subject of a great deal of discussion. It’s a zombie argument, essentially impossible to kill as it gets repeated over and over. In the Daily News, Cathy Young gives it another try.

The existence of false allegations of sexual assault or rape has been something of a taboo in our culture since the rise of feminist anti-rape advocacy in the 1970s, and especially since the past decade’s feminist revival. Even after Rolling Stone’s shocking tale of a fraternity gang rape at the University of Virginia was exposed as a hoax in early 2015, pundits such as legal analyst Sunny Hostin stressed that the supposed victim, a student named Jackie, should not be branded a liar. (Evidence showed that the main perpetrator Jackie named was a made-up boyfriend she had impersonated in messages to friends.) Hostin noted that “only about 2% of rapes that are reported are false.”

The percentage is in a constant state of change, which is understandable since it’s essentially a fictional number taken for granted as it’s floated out in public.

Yet that often-used figure appears to have no credible source. While Hostin and others have attributed it to the FBI, the bureau’s statistics show that 8-10% of rape reports to law enforcement are “unfounded” (i.e., closed by police after determining that no crime occurred). These figures undoubtedly include some reports that are not false, but they also likely miss some false reports as well. (A large number of complaints are never resolved; some wrongful allegations result in prosecution or even conviction.) Studies of campus sexual assault reports show a similar pattern.

Ultimately, no one knows the “real” rate of false allegations — especially ones made to the media, not to authorities.

The more obvious reason why “no one knows” is that absent evidence that proves an accusation to be false, such as a guy being in a different city on the date of the alleged rape or DNA proving that it was some other guy, how would one know with certainty what transpired between two people when there was no one else around? There are other pieces of evidence that can tend to show the truth or falsity of an allegation, such as the near-impossibility of Tara Reade’s allegations being true because there is no place in the halls of the Senate where it could have happened without anyone seeing Joe Biden do the dirty.

But there is another “false rape” problem that implicates the stats upon which the edifice of “Believe Women” is built. In the first redefinition of rape, it changed from forcible to consent under the “no means no” standard. But it was 2014, merely six years ago, when two law professors made the absurd argument that requiring the victim to say “no” was too burdensome and misdirected.

Two profs, Kathleen Bogle, teaching sociology and criminal justice (whatever that is) at LaSalle, and Anne Coughlin, a lawprof at UVA, apparently recognized the confusion wrought by an excess of passion and a dearth of reason and decided to fix the problem.  Their post at Slate is entitled The Missing Key to Fighting Sexual Assault on Campus, with the subtitle, Universities must make clear when having sex with a drunk person is a crime. 

When the crime of rape was tethered to both a cognizable definition and constitutionally adequate notice, such that the male understood where the line was and he would be committing rape by crossing it, the incidence of false rape accusations was entirely different. There were objective standards one could focus on to determine whether an accusation met the minimum bar of what constituted a crime.

A complaint, for example, that the woman was drunk, enthusiastically consented and participated in sex, and decided the next day that her freely-given consent was invalid, and so the fellow with whom she shared a fun and invigorating evening the night before morphed into a rapist the next day. That the man was drunk too is irrelevant to the new calculus, but it’s irrelevant regardless.

Not only are there false rapes in the sense that sex never happened, or that sex happened but the accused was not the perpetrator, but there are false rapes in the sense that it was rape only because the accuser sincerely believes she was raped, even if the conduct involved fails to meet objective elements of an offense. Under the current regime, where the definition of the crime has become so squishy as to include whatever conduct the woman believes to be rape, we have eradicated the ability to distinguish between “real” and false” rape accusations because the word has been reduced to substantive meaninglessness. What was once a heinous crime is now whatever the “survivor” says it is, even if a good time was had by all.

21 thoughts on “The Other Type of False Rape

      1. Guitardave

        I’m still around. Kinda in a ‘no comment’, ‘don’t give a shit’ space lately …along with getting some stuff sorted out for a possible move away from this area.
        BTW, you know anyone out west with a dental floss ranch that needs a hand?
        Have tweezers, will travel.

        1. SHG Post author

          If your head isn’t into it, you can always do it as a favor to me. Are your tweezers jewel-encrusted?

          1. Guitardave

            Its not the head, it’s the heart. If I read past the title and i shrug, or the muse is silent and i have other more pressing things on my mind, my ‘favor’ will just be another dumb-ass, non-lawyer comment for you and Schultz to play kick ball with.
            I’d rather not engage, than go thru the motions and come off as disingenuous.

            Yes, real genuine Zircon, polished and holstered. And, my Amish neighbors have a pygmy-pony I’m gonna steal the night i bug out. Mwhahahah..

        2. norahc

          Odd…i happen to be loaded with 35,000 lbs of dental floss at the moment. Is that enough to start a ranch?

        3. Skink

          What is it around here, lately? A virus comes, so the Hotel is a little slow business-wise. But no one furloughed the band and we still have conferences. Tonight’s is a gathering of MENSA drug-dealers, who will consider the question of our time: “what if there’s a bacon shortage?” They will also address whether repeated hand-washing causes invisible fingers.

          Now, tune the strings and come up with answers.

  1. Raccoon Strait

    Whether an ‘accusation is credible’ seems to be descriptive rather than substantive. A better phrase might be whether an ‘accusation is provable’, as in you made the accusation, now prove it or shut up and go away.

    After all, the burden of proof is on the prosecution and since some individuals fail to go to the authorities, they try to act as their own prosecutors, at least in the court of public opinion. Kind of like bringing a civil suit against someone, pro se, but not actually going to court where they might get shot down, legally.

      1. Raccoon Strait

        Not that I am aware of, and certainly not intentionally.

        The article caused me to think that if the ‘accused’ sees themselves as not guilty of the accusation (delusion can go both ways), then the only rational response is ‘prove it or shut up’. Anything less just feeds the ‘credibility’ position of the accuser whose position is ‘the more I say it, the more truthiness there is to my statement’, and the rhetoric goes on, and on, and on. Why not put a stop to it with ‘prove it or shut up’?

        I can see where advisors to politicians or even court appointees facing confirmation hearings might think that position insensitive, but then guilt or innocence is a binary thing, one either is or isn’t. That some innocent people are proven guilty and some guilty people are proven innocent does not change the facts, only the perceptions. Reverse accusations (they’re lying) won’t help as it changes the burden of proof. By not asking for the proof, no perception is changed, just extended.

        That the accuser waited for years to make the accusation is not the fault of the accused, and any loss of ‘evidence’ is a burden the accuser will have to overcome. For the accuser to try and force the accused to prove a negative rather than the accuser to prove the positive is pure posturing.

        OK, now how wrong am I?

        1. SHG Post author

          It’s not that you’re wrong, but that this has beyond nothing to do with the post. As in, “why the fuck do I bother writing a post when someone is going to comment about some completely unrelated yet obvious and simplistic generic issue having zero to do with anything I’ve written whatsoever” type of nothing.

          1. Raccoon Strait

            Sorry, I thought I was responding to your “…it’s just noise.” assertion, and in agreement no less.

            1. Miles

              It wasn’t a point of contention, just an obvious and uncontroversial stepping stone to the point of the post.

  2. Erik H

    I have tried and failed to convince the “there are no false rapes other than 2%” people and it has proven nearly impossible. I have concluded that most of them are basically just lying, or–at best–deliberately pretending not to notice massive inconsistencies in their arguments.

    Honestly, I’d respect them a lot more if they would just say “yes, a lot of people are going to get convicted or punished for conduct which is not really that bad, but we think that’s OK.” I think that’s immoral but at least it’s consistent. And I don’t know why it’s so hard; I freely acknowledge that our current system will sometimes fail to convict actually-guilty folks, which is not ideal but OK given the alternatives.

    These folks, though, are trying to have their cake and eat it too. It’s fundamentally dishonest.

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