Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Rape, continued.

In the comments on my previous post on rape, and more particularly on anonymity, a small debate began about the frequency of false allegations. A video was brought to my attention, about rape statistics. I watched this video.

The web page hosting the video is entitled "Understanding the Rape Statistics". The first words to appear are "Understanding Feminist Rape Statistics". Ah. Alarm bells began to ring. The person who uploaded it to YouTube is apparently known as Angry Harry. Angry Harry has such friends as FeministsAreScum. Actually, in fairness, that person's account has now been closed.

Unfortunately, it only gets worse from there. The protagonist of the video asserts that women are offered "so many incentives for making false allegations", giving the following examples:

Vindictiveness, revenge, jealousy, blackmail, seeking legal advantage, seeking compensation money, seeking sympathy, seeking to justify poor behaviour, supporting the Sisterhood, seeking a job, badge of honour.

I promise I haven't made that up, it's at 4:08 in the video. Some of those are undeniably factors in false allegations, numbers 1, 2, 3, and 5 immediately springing to mind, but "badge of honour"? Really?

I solemnly promise that you, faithful readers, will be the first to know if the CPS start giving out badges saying "I made an allegation of rape and all I got was this lousy badge". It'd be a big badge.

To widen the audience appeal, the video then attacks women more generally. Apparently, "5% of women have personality problems when dealing with relationships". Another list then appears on screen:

Personality Disorder
Imbued with PMS
Alcohol, Drugs, etc.
Emotionally volatile

Again, entirely unaltered.

"17% admit serious emotional problems with PMS every month". The urge to make a sexist joke is almost overwhelming, my self-destructive character being what it is, so I'll move on before I commit any Thought-Crimes.

The conspiracy theory, and this being the internet, such a thing is pretty much compulsory, is that the "multi multi billion dollar abuse industry" is behind it all.

An apparently random firm of solicitors was picked out and vilified for saying that you can claim compensation for an attack, even if you were dating / married to your attacker at the time.

Of course, that's quite right. No-win-no-fee work claiming compensation for victims of child abuse may be criticised in some quarters, but the firm in question explain why their work is important on their website. I hope the free plug makes up for being singled out.

The video concludes that 90% of allegations are false, and that 1000s of men are falsely accused every year (accompanied by a logo for the Duke University Lacrosse Team -- can any Americans shed light on that for an ignorant Limey?).

It is, in short, a chauvanistic rant about evil women getting together and lying about being raped to get at men. And, to top it off, Angry Harry has created a video so hideous that it should have broken the internet. The link is not safe for work, for post-breakfast viewing, for those of a nervous disposition, unmarried ladies under the age of thirty, or quite possibly full-stop.

It starts with the letter F (presumably for "Feminist") being arranged into a swastika, followed by lots of photos of Harriet Harman's head being grafted onto unthinkable, unspeakable things. Hilarious, in its rather perverted way.

The mind boggles.


  1. I am glad to see this post because your previous on the same topic disturbed me somewhat (if rape victims can't even rely on prosecutors to believe them it's hardly surprising so few women report rape).

    I do, however, want to challenge your agreement with the statement that women may make false allegations due to vindictiveness, revenge, jealousy or financial advantage.

    As a serving front-line police officer, I know that the likelihood of any rape (or sexual assault) allegation ever being made in a court of law is laughable. I know that the process of making a rape allegation is time-consuming, uncomfortable and often humiliating, not least because of the culture of disbelief in the Criminal Justice System. As form of revenge it is startlingly ineffective since the conviction rates are lower than for almost any other crime.

    And financial advantage?????? Can you explain that one to me please because I'm stumped.

  2. Further to my previous comment:

    It seems clear to me that a far, far bigger problem than false reporting is the number of actual rapists who are never bought to justice.

  3. I have no idea if 90% of rape allegations are false or not, but then I equally doubt that 90% of rapes go unreported. As for financial incentive for claiming rape, that has happened and been reported on. If I'm correct, a woman only has to claim rape, describe a ficticious attacker and ..hey presto she's a considerable amount of money better off, not sure how much now but it was a few thousand. If a sex trafficked women says she is, she's allowed to stay in the UK, if she says no, she's deported. How is she incentivised to be honest?

    Just an anecdotal account of a conversation with a very old girl friend who joined the police and worked in the rape suite. She believed women never lie about rape. One early case had a woman come in, badly bruised, scratched and in a hysterical state claiming she had been raped. It seemed cut and dried until they found brick dust on her bruising, the skin under her nails was her own and a very vague description of an attacker that didn't quite make sense. Turned out her boyfriend had enough of her tantrums and dumped her, she acted out the whole thing in order to regain him through sympathy. Was she prosecuted for making a false allegation? Nope, no consequences at all. Roll on 30 years and women discovered they can make allegations and, well up until recently, they faced no consequences.

    Now, a women can have morning after regrets, claim rape with no real evidence at all and ruin a mans life. It doesn't matter if he is found innocent or not, the damage is done. Once, people lived with a mistake they made and were cautious about making it a second time. Not anymore, with barely any credible evidence or just an allegation, a woman can salve her conscience and proclaim herself a survivor.

    How many do this? 90%? Maybe, maybe not, but look at the conviction rate. Maybe the evidence for bringing a rape case to trial should be stiffened and any false allegations treated with as harsh a treatment as a rapist would be. This would deter any from making false allegations making it easier for rape victims to be believed and secure just convictions.

  4. Serving officer -- I always start from the position that the complainant is telling the truth. If their account is inherently incredible, I can take a view ("Aliens raped my gerbil"). If other evidence is available, often including what the suspect said in interview, then I can take that into account in assessing the credibility of the complainant. Please don't think there's a culture of disbelief -- it's quite the other way around. The simple fact is that the law requires that a jury be "satisfied so that they are sure". If I don't think it is more likely than not that a jury will convict, I am not to prosecute.

    Financial advantage? After reflection, an allegation of domestic rape could produce a rehousing decision from the Local Authority?

    Anonymous the Second -- fortunately, such invented tales are rare. As for financial compensation, there are far, far easier ways to get a few grand -- "whiplash", anyone?

  5. FYI, the Duke Lacrosse team refers to the following: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_Duke_University_lacrosse_case
    As to false accusations of rape, I know just how pernicious they are because I was the victim of one. I let two womwn I vaguely knew from my university days crash at my place, and the next morning, one of them claimed I'd raped her.
    Turned out she dreamed the whole thing. But that doesn't comfort me much.

  6. "First you're raped by the perp, then you're raped by the justice system." --Wise words from one (not me) who's been through both.

  7. The video starts with a useful lesson in Bayesian statistics; that is, the percentage of women who are raped and go to the police is not the same as the likelihood that a rape allegation is true. (Similarly, the chance that an HIV test will detect HIV in a positive patient is not the same as the chance that someone testing positive is genuinely so.)

    The rest, however, is speculative at best. The video considers it absurd to suppose that there are 10 or 500 times as many incidents of rape as false allegations of rape. On what basis? Well, some women have emotional troubles and some of them might do bad things. However, going from the propensity to have emotional troubles to a propensity to do bad things to a propensity to specifically make up rape allegations is quite a leap. We are given no actual data to conclude any figure about the actual propensity of any group to make false allegations.

    The video doesn't consider what disincentives cause women who have been raped not to go to the police. If the incentives to report rape were so strong, then this would also reduce the likelihood that women would fail to report genuine rapes. I would like to see more information on what figures we genuinely can know about how many rapes occur, how many victims go to police, and how many false accusations are made. In the absence of such information, the video is just a piece of alarmist pseudo scholarship.

  8. I read recently that rape conviction statistics are unique in that they take the number of reported rapes and the number of convictions arising from those as the percentage that is quoted. Whereas for other crimes, it is the number of offences charged compared to the number of convictions. I am told that when you use a like for like comparison then there are actually more rape convictions than there are for many other offences!

    As a defence solicitor I must say that the vast majority of accusations I come across have the ring of truth about them.

    The majority of men who claim to be victims of false accusations come across as liars of the most manipulative sort.

    One recent chap actually claimed that he couldn't remember whether he'd interfered with his 11-year-old step-daughter! I think that says it all about whether or not he did it!

  9. Angry Harry's video is irrefutable. If you think that is "bad" check out my video on the Bill Cosby case. Re the 11 year old stepdaughter comment, check out the case from the "Galway Advertiser", July 25, 2013, before you get too cocky. That case is far from unique.