How To React To A Rape Law

The modernized definition of "consent."

The modernized definition of “consent.”

This is a tough post to write. I have a seemingly simple point I want to make and yet I find myself unable to find the right words. This is actually my second attempt to grapple with this topic. It’s not easy.

The first draft got dumped after it went sideways. I guess I just don’t know how to write about the tough issues.

I’ll give it one more try. I’m deliberately going to be brief and less wordy than usual.

One time we were sitting around discussing a new law designed to get tougher on rape. It was one of those impromptu office conversations about news of the day that hopped to a topic that’s normally rather unusual in a business setting.

I no longer remember the specific news item. It was something to do with consent and the definition of sexual assault. But I do remember the reaction of a certain person (and former boss).

“That proposed law concerns me.”

I raised an eyebrow. I knew the boss as a massive douchebag. No doubt this was going to be stagger the imagination.

“Eh? What could possibly concern you about an effort to protect women and reduce the massive and totally unacceptable incidence of rape in our society?”

“It could have a chilling effect on men.”

“What in the mother fucking mountain of shit are you talking about?” Yes, I’m a wordsmith.

“I’m worried this could increase the incidence of false accusations of rape against men.”

Yeah. I see. An estimated 683,000 women areย forcibly raped each year in the United States and your primary worry is that men might be inconvenienced? Really? That’s your initial reaction?

1.3 women (ages 18 and over) in the United States are forcibly raped each minute. That translates to 78 per hour, 1,871 per day, or 683,000 per year.
D.G. Kilpatrick, C.N. Edmunds, & A. Seymour. 1992. Rape in America: A Report to the Nation. Arlington VA: National Victim Center.

Apparently this sort of worry is part of something known as the men’s rights movement. Holy shit. This is a real thing?

Do false accusations happen? Yes. Are they serious? Yes. I heard a news report just the other day about a false report of crime (not rape). It was on the local news. A woman claimed she had been attacked in a park. The police responded. They prowled the park. The park emptied of activity. The police notified the media and asked for tips. They did the whole nine yards. But they found no credible evidence the attack ever took place. Then, the next day, the woman recanted her story. So yes, this sort of thing can and does happen. It’s a legitimate worry.

It seems to me, by the way, that if an allegation of criminal is indeed false (regardless of the crime), the sheer lack of real evidence and facts in support of the claim will, in the vast preponderance of cases, eventually win the day. That’s why we should strive to avoid jumping to conclusions until all the facts are known. A handful of outlier cases of actual injustice, horrible as they are, doesn’t justify scrapping an entire effort to do good.

Should false accusations be the primary worry? The first thing that pops into your mind when society comes up with a minuscule drop in the bucket to deal with the timeless, massive and systemic subjugation of women on this planet? These are the knee-jerk reactions of a self-proclaimed pious and devoutly religious man?

Empathy is dead.

24 responses

  1. Wow…what an epic douchebag. Very powerful post, Tom…well said!

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    1. Thanks. I’ll never forget the moment of his blithe comment. Quintessential boss.

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  2. There are a lot of douchebags out there. Otherwise, those statistics wouldn’t be so startling.

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    1. I think the stats are woefully under reported, too. And that’s just the United States. Less than five percent of the world’s population.

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  3. Your outrage is well placed. Men like him are the problem.

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    1. The status quo has the strongest sense of self-preservation the universe has ever known.

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  4. With so much steam coming out of my ears, I can only say two words: well done.

    If only there were more men like you on this planet.

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    1. I’ve postulated a world comprised solely of Tom clones. On the plus side there would be no violence and, in general, more honesty and commitment to truth. On the other hand, there would be no shelter, clothing or food.

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  5. I have to admit, I was afraid to read this. It’s been a while so I didn’t know what to expect. But goodness… I love that I can FEEL your anger, your frustration. Thank you for protecting women. Caring so much about Women. About me. Much love.

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    1. I’m not sure what your mind conjured up but I’m glad you decided to trust me. ๐Ÿ™‚ My dad taught me the world isn’t fair. He was more right than he could ever have possibly imagined.

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  6. Glad you don’t work for him anymore.
    How does he feel about mandatory trans-vaginal wands? Does that offend his delicate sensibilities too>

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    1. Me, too. Good riddance. He held himself up a paragon but was one of the more offensive people I’ve ever met. Bizarre, tasteless and he loved bleeding the edge of the ethical envelope. I am very glad to be out of his sphere.

      Re: Trans-vaginal wands. It’s weird how some people seem to see nothing wrong with using the awesome power of government to enforce their belief systems. To me, that’s the exact opposite of what the United States is supposed to be.

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      1. And yet, many of the people who call for it are the same ones that want gov’t out of our lives.
        I guess that’s good as long as it doesn’t interfere with their agenda.

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  7. Have written and re-written several comments here. All of them are 1) laced with colorful yet objectionable language and 2) preaching to the choir. So I’ll just say WELL DONE and THANK YOU.

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    1. I wish I could have seen them! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for the kind words.

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      1. ๐Ÿ˜€

        There would be a definite blue glow all around your computer screen — and quite a dangerous blue streak at that!

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  8. Snoring Dog Studio | Reply

    What a moron. However, if you show these morons the statistics, which are overwhelmingly not disposed towards false accusation, you’d hope they’d see a glimmer of light. You’d hope they could see that it could happen to their wives, mothers, daughters, etc. You’d hope.

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    1. I tried to find stats on false accusations to judge for myself the validity of his response. They are hard to come by. I did find something on Wikipedia that suggested there might be 5,000 per year. It’s hard to weigh that against 683,000.

      To some, I think, even a single false accusation is more important than all the rapes combined. I find that sort of position inconceivable.

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  9. Great post! What a cottonheadedninnymuggins! I recently read a blog post from a woman who is technically considered a false allegation statistic and her terrifying testimony makes it completely understandable why she would recant. It’s a profound article, but makes you sick to your stomach. Very much a trigger warning. http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2013/08/23/i-am-a-false-rape-allegation-statistic/

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    1. Thanks! I appreciate it. I agree that it’s stacked to minimize the pain and suffering inherent in the system. It protects the rape culture status quo. Heartbreaking. I feel like we should have evolved more by now.

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  10. I’d say you made that up and were joking, but I know your not.

    After decades of progress, it really feels like misogyny is on a roll, doesn’t it?

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    1. Sadly, it’s a true story. I’m not sure if misogyny has ever progressed beyond anything instinctual and primal. And I can’t help but wonder if religion is a contributing factor.

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  11. A chilling effect on men…who commit rape. That’s the point, zippy. Auuuuugh!!

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    1. Some men deserved to be chilled. As in meat locker.

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