Thursday, April 25, 2013

Conversation Tracking: Rape and sexual assault at Darwin Catholic

Since I'm using this blog to track the longer, better conversations I get in online, here's the latest: a prolonged dust-up over attitudes towards accused rapists over at Darwin Catholic.

Most of the exchange is me finding it absurd that men accused of rape or sexual assault should be, by default, regarded as guilty - not only at the moment of accusation, but even after they've been investigated and cleared. Because, hey - if you weren't guilty, chances are you wouldn't have been accused. Later this turns into something closer to 'good, upstanding moral men will generally never be falsely accused of rape or sexual assault,' which actually cashes out to 'men who look good, upstanding and moral tend never to be guilty of rape or sexual assault', which happens to be one of the very things activists on this subject tend to say is a misconception.

My favorite part was the bit where it was strongly suggested that my comments contribute to rape culture and the site's hosts should ban me because of that, lest they tell the world that Catholic Men don't care about rape. In fact, a good portion of the thread is a stellar example of the modern plague - where the 'I feels' dictate pretty well everything. Do you feel - or claim you feel - like person X is being mean? Well, then X must be dealt with. Immediately. Why should men accused of rape or sexual assault by default be regarded as guilty of it? Because that would create an environment where victims feel comfortable accusing men of rape and sexual assault. Other considerations are a distant second.

Oh, as a bonus, Darwin (whose views are pretty far from my own on this) linked me up to this pdf discussing false rape accusations, etc. There's bias in the piece, and some day I may fisk it, but for now I'm going to end this post on one of the more disturbing parts of the pdf, wherein it's explained why women shouldn't be charged or prosecuted for false rape/sexual assault claims:


For one thing, such a charge is likely to be publicized by the media and this can create problems with future jurors who use it as evidence to confirm their suspicion that many or most sexual assault reports are false. 

Even more important, such media coverage can serve as a serious deterrent for victims of sexual assault who might consider report-ing the crime to law enforcement but fear that they will not be believed.

Given the size of the caseload that most investigators and prosecutors handle, it seems difficult to justify the inordinate time that would be involved in investigating and prosecuting someone for filing a false report—given that it is typically only a misde-meanor offense. 

While it is understandable that investigators might want to prove that the report is false out of a sense of frustration and a determi-nation to get to the truth, this is probably not the best use of limited resources. Rather, the decision regarding whether to charge someone with filing a false report should simply be based on the investigative findings already documented in the case file. 

Let me stress what you just read: the National Center for the Prosecution of Violence Against Women recommends that men falsely charged with rape/sexual assault not result in their accusers being prosecuted. It's regarded as unimportant in the grand scheme of things, a waste of resources, and besides, that would give the impression that false reports of sexual assault or rape are a problem, which would then discourage victims.

There's more insanity in the article, but that one? That one is just a gem.

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