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Old 10th October 2018, 09:46 AM   #1
luchog
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False Rape Accusations Far Less Common Than Believed

Almost No One Is Falsely Accused of Rape

Excerpt:
Quote:
But how common are false rape allegations, really? What constitutes “false?” And what evidence is there of the “psychic, familial, reputational and professional harm” suffered by those people on the other end of those accusations? The Cut spoke to Joanne Belknap, a sociologist, criminologist, and professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, and to Sandra Newman, a novelist with extensive research expertise in false rape allegations.

How common are false allegations of rape or sexual assault?

One commonly cited figure holds that 5 percent of rape allegations are found to be false, but that figure paints a very incomplete picture, says Belknap. Typically, this figure comes from studies done on college students, an estimated 95 percent of whom do not report their assaults to police. Overall, an estimated 8 to 10 percent of women are thought to report their rapes to the police, which means that — at the very highest — we can infer that 90 percent of rapes go unreported, says Belknap. Obviously, only those rapes that are reported in the first place can be considered falsely reported, so that 5 percent figure only applies to 10 percent (at most) of rapes that occur. This puts the actual false allegation figure closer to 0.5 percent.

Of course, these figures are estimates, and Belknap doesn’t doubt they’re imperfect — we can’t count what isn’t being counted. But her research suggests that, if anything, we underestimate the number of rapes that go unreported.

Very informative article if you follow all the links. One thing that struck me as really important to keep in mind is this particular section:

Quote:
To put that data into perspective, Newman consulted data on wrongful murder convictions. “It seems to be extremely rare for anyone to be wrongfully convicted as a result of a false accusation of rape,” she says. “I was only able to find 52 cases in 25 years where a conviction was later overturned after a wrongful conviction based on false rape allegations. In the same period, there were 790 cases where people were found to be wrongfully convicted of murder.” For what it’s worth, 790 divided by 52 is 15.2, meaning that by Newman’s data, you were 15 times likelier in that 25-year period to be wrongfully convicted of murder than of rape. And, let’s keep in mind, rape allegations resulting in convictions are already vanishingly rare: Newman cites a study that found that, of 216 assault complaints classified as false, only six led to arrest, and only two led to actual charges. (And even then, they were eventually deemed false.)

Emphasis added. Nowhere near even the 5-8% figure that most people like to throw around, let alone the 20% figure that conservatives like to pull out of their asses.
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Old 10th October 2018, 09:58 AM   #2
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Quote:
One commonly cited figure holds that 5 percent of rape allegations are found to be false, but that figure paints a very incomplete picture, says Belknap. Typically, this figure comes from studies done on college students, an estimated 95 percent of whom do not report their assaults to police. Overall, an estimated 8 to 10 percent of women are thought to report their rapes to the police, which means that — at the very highest — we can infer that 90 percent of rapes go unreported, says Belknap. Obviously, only those rapes that are reported in the first place can be considered falsely reported, so that 5 percent figure only applies to 10 percent (at most) of rapes that occur. This puts the actual false allegation figure closer to 0.5 percent.
That's like a little logic puzzle you might give to schoolkids and say, "Hands up who can spot the obvious flaw." And every hand goes up. Except you wouldn't talk to schoolkids about rape.
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Old 10th October 2018, 09:59 AM   #3
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Not sure I like the implication that falsely accused people don't have to go through hell, though. Even unproven allegations without convictions can make you a pariah.

Yes, false allegations are rare, but you still have to be able to prove your case.
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Old 10th October 2018, 10:02 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Not sure I like the implication that falsely accused people don't have to go through hell, though. Even unproven allegations without convictions can make you a pariah.

Yes, false allegations are rare, but you still have to be able to prove your case.
This. I'll fully accept that false convictions against rape are statistically not worth worrying about. Even false accusations in a legal, got to court sense are probably not that common. (I could quibble over a little of this in the nuance, but it's gonna take me a while to put it in words and I'm not sure it's worth the trouble.)

But we leave in a world where the merest suggestion can ruin your life, and that both happens and gets oddly defended too much for my taste.
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Old 10th October 2018, 10:10 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
That's like a little logic puzzle you might give to schoolkids and say, "Hands up who can spot the obvious flaw." And every hand goes up. Except you wouldn't talk to schoolkids about rape.
Here's one (but certainly not the only) obvious flaw. Colleges and universities have their own disciplinary procedures, and rapes can be reported to them (and suspects found guilty and punished) without any police involvement at all.

Here's another. The number of rape allegations "found" to be false may be an underestimate of the number of allegations which are actually false, and we have no handle on how big the discrepancy might be.
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Old 10th October 2018, 10:18 AM   #6
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I was going to be charitable and not make fun of the fact that one of the two authors is "a novelist with extensive research expertise in false rape allegations."

But then I read this...
Originally Posted by The Cut
One commonly cited figure holds that 5 percent of rape allegations are found to be false, but that figure paints a very incomplete picture, says Belknap. Typically, this figure comes from studies done on college students, an estimated 95 percent of whom do not report their assaults to police. Overall, an estimated 8 to 10 percent of women are thought to report their rapes to the police, which means that — at the very highest — we can infer that 90 percent of rapes go unreported, says Belknap. Obviously, only those rapes that are reported in the first place can be considered falsely reported.
... Which only reinforces the worst stereotypes that leap to mind when someone says "a sociologist and a novelist published a study." The Walk Into a Bar and Change a Lightbulb jokes practically write themselves.
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Old 10th October 2018, 10:19 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Here's one (but certainly not the only) obvious flaw. Colleges and universities have their own disciplinary procedures, and rapes can be reported to them (and suspects found guilty and punished) without any police involvement at all.

Here's another. The number of rape allegations "found" to be false may be an underestimate of the number of allegations which are actually false, and we have no handle on how big the discrepancy might be.
More pertinently, the reduction of 5% to 0.5% assumes that within the 90% unreported figure, all rapes are all genuine. In the absence of any evidence, and indeed any possible evidence, the assumption must be that the level of false informally reported rapes is the same as the level of false formally reported rapes, so the 5% remains.
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Old 10th October 2018, 10:21 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
This. I'll fully accept that false convictions against rape are statistically not worth worrying about. Even false accusations in a legal, got to court sense are probably not that common. (I could quibble over a little of this in the nuance, but it's gonna take me a while to put it in words and I'm not sure it's worth the trouble.)

But we leave in a world where the merest suggestion can ruin your life, and that both happens and gets oddly defended too much for my taste.
This is just as true of any crime a person can be accused of, though; there's nothing especially life-damaging about rape or sexual allegations generally in that regard.
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Old 10th October 2018, 10:28 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
This is just as true of any crime a person can be accused of, though; there's nothing especially life-damaging about rape or sexual allegations generally in that regard.
I disagree. People are far less forgiving about rape than they are about most crimes, and not without reason. Reputational damage from a rape accusation is far worse than reputational damage from a theft accusation.
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Old 10th October 2018, 10:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
One commonly cited figure holds that 5 percent of rape allegations are found to be false, but that figure paints a very incomplete picture, says Belknap. Typically, this figure comes from studies done on college students, an estimated 95 percent of whom do not report their assaults to police. Overall, an estimated 8 to 10 percent of women are thought to report their rapes to the police, which means that — at the very highest — we can infer that 90 percent of rapes go unreported, says Belknap. Obviously, only those rapes that are reported in the first place can be considered falsely reported, so that 5 percent figure only applies to 10 percent (at most) of rapes that occur. This puts the actual false allegation figure closer to 0.5 percent.
This is nonsense. False allegations are not a subset of rapes, they're a subset of allegations.

Quote:
To put that data into perspective, Newman consulted data on wrongful murder convictions. “It seems to be extremely rare for anyone to be wrongfully convicted as a result of a false accusation of rape,” she says. “I was only able to find 52 cases in 25 years where a conviction was later overturned after a wrongful conviction based on false rape allegations. In the same period, there were 790 cases where people were found to be wrongfully convicted of murder.” For what it’s worth, 790 divided by 52 is 15.2, meaning that by Newman’s data, you were 15 times likelier in that 25-year period to be wrongfully convicted of murder than of rape. And, let’s keep in mind, rape allegations resulting in convictions are already vanishingly rare: Newman cites a study that found that, of 216 assault complaints classified as false, only six led to arrest, and only two led to actual charges. (And even then, they were eventually deemed false.)
This also seems pretty spurious. False allegations aren't just convictions that are later overturned. One would also have to take into account cases that never go to trial, or result in a not guilty verdict, in both crime types. Murder also tends to attract more severe sentences, so there is more of an impetus for the falsely accused to seek to prove their innocence.

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Old 10th October 2018, 10:32 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
This is just as true of any crime a person can be accused of, though; there's nothing especially life-damaging about rape or sexual allegations generally in that regard.
That seems rather naïve. Rape and other sexual offence allegations are linger in a way that pretty much every other crime type doesn't. People tend to give people acquitted of murder the benefit of the doubt more than someone acquitted of rape or sexual assault.
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Old 10th October 2018, 10:35 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
I disagree. People are far less forgiving about rape than they are about most crimes, and not without reason. Reputational damage from a rape accusation is far worse than reputational damage from a theft accusation.
Which is an interesting cultural contradiction: rape is so abhorrent an accusation of it causes tremendous harm, and yet the low number of rape convictions suggest we don't care enough to bother punishing it.
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Old 10th October 2018, 10:37 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
This is just as true of any crime a person can be accused of, though; there's nothing especially life-damaging about rape or sexual allegations generally in that regard.
You must be joking. Being accused of stealing an apple at the market is one thing. Being accused of touching someone's no-no zone is pretty damned different. In a community, that might mean you never get employed again.
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Old 10th October 2018, 10:38 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Which is an interesting cultural contradiction: rape is so abhorrent an accusation of it causes tremendous harm, and yet the low number of rape convictions suggest we don't care enough to bother punishing it.
Both can be true, and the obvious realisation is that there is no good solution to this problem.
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Old 10th October 2018, 10:39 AM   #15
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Okay, let's think about this.

Only 5 percent of rapes that are reported to the police are found to be false. This makes sense. The police take a dim view of false accusations, and they have pretty strict standards for investigating and pursuing evidence. Anybody who makes a false accusation must be either unusually foolish, or unusually confident in the quality of their frame-up. I'm happy to stipulate these people comprise only around 5 percent of the people making rape accusations.

But about 90 percent of rapes never get reported to the police in the first place. They do get reported to someone, though. Otherwise we'd have no basis for the 90 percent statistic. I expect that the "90 percent" includes some extrapolation from more limited data sets, but I'm happy to stipulate that the research is sound and the 90 percent statistic is valid. We can say that most rapes are reported - just not to the police.

So. Most of these rape reports are never subjected to the government sanctions on false reporting, and are never subjected to the police obligation to investigate and follow the evidence. It is impossible to estimate exactly how many of these other rape reports are false, but I think it's reasonable to assume it's at least 5 percent, same as the rate of false reports to the police.

The reason I say that it's "at least" 5 percent false reports is this: We stipulate that only about 5 percent of people are foolish enough or confident enough to make a false report to the police. It doesn't require nearly as much foolishness or confidence to make a false report to a sympathetic friend, or a yellow journalist, or some other audience with a far lower standard of evidence than the police demand. In our society, there are some audiences that consider it a sin to demand any evidence at all.

But the report's claim that less than 5 percent of rape accusations are false, depends on the assumption that every accusation that is not reported to the police is a true accusation. I think the more reasonable conclusion goes the other way: If 5 percent of accusations to the police are false, then probably more than 5 percent of accusations not to the police are false. Simply because there's less need to get it right and make it stick, if you're not talking to the police.

I think the real question is about that supposed 90 of rapes that don't get reported to the police: How many of them don't get reported because they're actually not true? In the current "believe the victim" climate, how could we possibly find out?

The police, at least, are granted license to challenge the accuser's claim before concluding that they're actually a victim. Rolling Stone, not so much.

ETA: Ninja'd by baron, who cuts right to the chase.

ETAA: And by Information Analyst. Good work, everyone!

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Old 10th October 2018, 10:42 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
You must be joking. Being accused of stealing an apple at the market is one thing. Being accused of touching someone's no-no zone is pretty damned different. In a community, that might mean you never get employed again.
It rather depends on the community or group in question. Accused rapists have managed to rise to positions of prestige and power despite the accusations. I'm certain we can all think of many prominent examples.
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Old 10th October 2018, 10:42 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Information Analyst View Post
That seems rather naïve. Rape and other sexual offence allegations are linger in a way that pretty much every other crime type doesn't. People tend to give people acquitted of murder the benefit of the doubt more than someone acquitted of rape or sexual assault.
I think you're not merely mistaken, but profoundly mistaken if you actually believe that. Typically once someone is accused of murder the only thing that can put an end to wide consideration of that person as a murderer, is a different person being prosecuted AND successfully convicted for that crime. OJ Simpson and George Zimmerman are probably the most famous examples of this, but the list includes practically anyone accused of murder, particularly by friends and/or family of the victim.
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Old 10th October 2018, 10:46 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Which is an interesting cultural contradiction: rape is so abhorrent an accusation of it causes tremendous harm, and yet the low number of rape convictions suggest we don't care enough to bother punishing it.
or it suggests that it's a necessarily difficult crime to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

With theft, an item is missing and this can probably be shown to be true.
With murder, there is a dead body.

With rape, there is the claim that
1) sex happened
2) it was non-consensual

Both of these are difficult elements to prove. A "rape kit" says nothing of consent, and perfectly consensual sex can lead to "damage" (especially to the penetrated party)


to OP:

I don't see how it's reasonable at all to pretend that all non-reported rapes aren't possibly false. The most reasonable starting position (if any) would be to assume they are similar in rate to those for reported rapes...

But even that has lots of problems. How to interpret the 5-8% figure and others leads to a lot of misdirection.
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Old 10th October 2018, 10:48 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Both can be true, and the obvious realisation is that there is no good solution to this problem.
The obvious realization is that straight people are ****** up. But aside from that, you are correct, there is no completely good solution. Barriers raised to protect from false accusations invariably harm the legimate pursuit of true accusations. The more vigorous pursuit of real accusations inevitably makes possible the occurrence of false or mistaken accusations. It's a balancing act. But rape isn't unique in that regard, it's inherent in all pursuit of criminal justice. The uniqueness comes from the nature of the purported crime, which involves the complete cultural, social, and psychological baggage around sex. Good luck getting that neatly sorted for simplified legal proceedings!
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Old 10th October 2018, 10:51 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
It rather depends on the community or group in question. Accused rapists have managed to rise to positions of prestige and power despite the accusations. I'm certain we can all think of many prominent examples.
Granted.

Still, you can see how much chaos an accusation like this causes.

Do you think Kavanaugh won't be seen as a sexual assaulter by the left for the rest of his life? I mean, regardless of whether he's guilty or fit for SCOTUS. Sexual accusations have a lot of weight.
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Old 10th October 2018, 10:52 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
The obvious realization is that straight people are ****** up. But aside from that, you are correct, there is no completely good solution. Barriers raised to protect from false accusations invariably harm the legimate pursuit of true accusations. The more vigorous pursuit of real accusations inevitably makes possible the occurrence of false or mistaken accusations. It's a balancing act. But rape isn't unique in that regard, it's inherent in all pursuit of criminal justice. The uniqueness comes from the nature of the purported crime, which involves the complete cultural, social, and psychological baggage around sex. Good luck getting that neatly sorted for simplified legal proceedings!
????
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Old 10th October 2018, 10:56 AM   #22
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OP needs to say what the 5% figure actually is. Is it the number of rape trials that don't lead to conviction? Is it the fraction of charges that are brought to trial, or the fraction of charges that lead to conviction?

Police have all kinds of things reported to them that they don't lay charges for, or drop the charges before too much investigation or a trial at the end of the day because there simply IS NOT sufficient evidence for prosecution. The entire point is that it's plausible to get a conviction but if they drop charges because the accuser is so unreliable that it's a waste of time and money, is that counted as a "false report", a "true report" or "unknown"

?

The answer should be: Unknown

I'm wondering how many accused are being counted as "rapists that got away" just because it didn't even go to trial or it was dismissed due to insufficient evidence. It's a complicated question.
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Old 10th October 2018, 10:58 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
The obvious realization is that straight people are ****** up.
What the ****?

What in the blue hell does the impact of sexual misconduct accusations have to do with sexual orientation?

Quote:
But aside from that, you are correct, there is no completely good solution. Barriers raised to protect from false accusations invariably harm the legimate pursuit of true accusations. The more vigorous pursuit of real accusations inevitably makes possible the occurrence of false or mistaken accusations. It's a balancing act. But rape isn't unique in that regard, it's inherent in all pursuit of criminal justice. The uniqueness comes from the nature of the purported crime, which involves the complete cultural, social, and psychological baggage around sex. Good luck getting that neatly sorted for simplified legal proceedings!
See, this is entirely level-headed and reasonable. So why did you lead with such a bonkers, crazy accusation towards 96% of humanity? Do you think gay people take rape accusations with a shrug?
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Old 10th October 2018, 11:01 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Granted.

Still, you can see how much chaos an accusation like this causes.

Do you think Kavanaugh won't be seen as a sexual assaulter by the left for the rest of his life? I mean, regardless of whether he's guilty or fit for SCOTUS. Sexual accusations have a lot of weight.
What do you call the lowest ranked guy in his graduating class from medical school? 'Doctor'. Ole Pin 'Er Down Kavanaugh might get called that for the rest of his tantrum-filled life, but it'll be a life as a Supreme Court Justice.

Maybe he'll wind up beloved by his whole industry, like Polanski. Or merely tolerated like Bryan Singer. Or forgiven like Louis C.K. Being an accused or even convicted sex creep isn't always a significant barrier to an enormously successful career of respect and vast financial rewards.

I think the bastard will be just fine.
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Old 10th October 2018, 11:05 AM   #25
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Followup to my above question:

How would this guy's story be counted in the statistics? Dicked around by police for months and kicked out of school, spent tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees all for nothing because at the actual day of the trial they just dropped all the charges after seeing he was willing and able to defend himself... Now instead of an accuser being possibly charged for perjury or wasting police time (whatever that crime is actually called) there is someone who's well-being was severely harmed and time wasted and money wasted.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSqshzgdkUw (2 parter, kinda long)
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Old 10th October 2018, 11:38 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
What do you call the lowest ranked guy in his graduating class from medical school? 'Doctor'. Ole Pin 'Er Down Kavanaugh might get called that for the rest of his tantrum-filled life, but it'll be a life as a Supreme Court Justice.
Yes, that's one side of the problem I mentioned earlier and that, in the good part of your earlier post, you also did.

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I think the bastard will be just fine.
He hasn't been convicted of a crime yet, and you call him bastard, illustrating my point. You don't think the left will consider him a rapist no matter what from now on, questioning thus the legitimacy of any SCOTUS decision?
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Old 10th October 2018, 11:53 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
I think you're not merely mistaken, but profoundly mistaken if you actually believe that. Typically once someone is accused of murder the only thing that can put an end to wide consideration of that person as a murderer, is a different person being prosecuted AND successfully convicted for that crime. OJ Simpson and George Zimmerman are probably the most famous examples of this, but the list includes practically anyone accused of murder, particularly by friends and/or family of the victim.
Apart from those not being particularly good example, I would still disagree, not least because we are not just talking about cases or individual accused that actually make it to court. There is also an element that someone falsely or incorrectly accused of a murder can rely on the subsequent conviction of the actual murderer being "obvious" because the victim will invariably be identified. Someone reported as being arrested for a rape they didn't commit can't easily be compared with a subsequent successful conviction of the actual rapist, because the victim will invariably not be identified.

"Bill Smith? Wasn't he arrested for killing Joe Bloggs?"
"Yeah, but Fred Someone-else was convicted of that."

"Bill Smith? Wasn't he arrested for raping that woman?"
"Yeah, I heard that.
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Old 10th October 2018, 12:06 PM   #28
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Kind of like the old media trick to manufacture headlines.

"Mr. Bloggs, are you a rapist"?
"No! Certainly not!"

Next day:
BLOGGS FORCED TO DENY RAPE CLAIMS

And there's the guilty association, right there.
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Old 10th October 2018, 12:10 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
I think you're not merely mistaken, but profoundly mistaken if you actually believe that. Typically once someone is accused of murder the only thing that can put an end to wide consideration of that person as a murderer, is a different person being prosecuted AND successfully convicted for that crime. OJ Simpson and George Zimmerman are probably the most famous examples of this, but the list includes practically anyone accused of murder, particularly by friends and/or family of the victim.
An accusation of murder is one of the only accusations possibly worse than an accusation of rape. But in the current context, there's an extremely important difference. In order to accuse someone of murder, there generally has to be an actual homicide you're accusing that person of, even if they didn't commit it. You can't run around saying "He murdered me!" like a peasant saying she turned you into a newt. That severely constrains the situations in which false accusations of murder can be a problem. But false accusations of rape can be made quite easily even in the absence of an actual rape. Their potential for abuse is therefore much larger.
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Old 10th October 2018, 12:16 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
He hasn't been convicted of a crime yet, and you call him bastard, illustrating my point.
I don't have to believe he's a rapist to consider him a bastard, and I don't have to have someone convicted before I consider them a rapist or a bastard. I'm a person, not a court finding. (I also consider OJ to be a murderer although he wasn't convicted. Does that shock you?)

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You don't think the left will consider him a rapist no matter what from now on, questioning thus the legitimacy of any SCOTUS decision?
I'm sure they will, but I'm not responsible for 'the left'. Nor does questioning his legitimacy necessarily require believing the allegations, there are many reasons someone might question it.
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Old 10th October 2018, 12:20 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
I don't have to believe he's a rapist to consider him a bastard
No, but you can't fault me for thinking the two were related.

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I'm a person, not a court finding.
No but, call me crazy, I think we could use better standards of evidence even outside of the court.

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I'm sure they will, but I'm not responsible for 'the left'. Nor does questioning his legitimacy necessarily require believing the allegations, there are many reasons someone might question it.
That is inconsequential to my point, which is that regardless of his guilt or innocence this story might haunt him for the rest of his life.
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Old 10th October 2018, 12:28 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
No, but you can't fault me for thinking the two were related.
There you go again. Of course I can fault you for that. Or anything. You already failed to recognize what was obviously a joke and blew up over it. Typically Swiss of you.

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No but, call me crazy, I think we could use better standards of evidence even outside of the court.
Yep, you're crazy. You won't characterize the waitress as rude until you've examined her medically to determine if there's not a physical cause behind her sighing, eye roll, and dumping the coffee onto your head.

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That is inconsequential to my point, which is that regardless of his guilt or innocence this story might haunt him for the rest of his life.
Which is a tragedy of greater or lesser proportion depending on your sympathies, but I maintain it is a lesser evil than forbidding accusation and investigation.
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Old 10th October 2018, 01:01 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
There you go again. Of course I can fault you for that. Or anything. You already failed to recognize what was obviously a joke and blew up over it. Typically Swiss of you.
Nothing is "obviously" a joke on the internet. Of course you'd never take responsbility for failing to make it obvious, nor miss the opportunity to dodge the point. Typically Ugandese of you.

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Yep, you're crazy. You won't characterize the waitress as rude until you've examined her medically to determine if there's not a physical cause behind her sighing, eye roll, and dumping the coffee onto your head.
I wasn't aware that "rude" rose to the same level of "rape" in terms of evidence requirements. Also, and this might be a tad important, so please pay attention: "rude" is a value judgment. Whether a rape occured is a matter of fact.

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Which is a tragedy of greater or lesser proportion depending on your sympathies, but I maintain it is a lesser evil than forbidding accusation and investigation.
Sure, which circles right back to the conundrum we agreed about.
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Old 10th October 2018, 01:25 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Information Analyst View Post
Apart from those not being particularly good example,
I would like to see why you think they are not good examples; they are both individuals who were put on trial for murder, subsequently acquitted, and yet are still widely considered to be guilty of the crimes for which they were tried. And there are plenty of more examples. Casey Anthony is another quite famous one.

Originally Posted by Information Analyst View Post
I would still disagree, not least because we are not just talking about cases or individual accused that actually make it to court.
Indeed we are not. There are any number of similar cases in which accused murderers never make it to court and are still widely considered guilty in the public consciousness. Josh Powell was never charged but was publicly held to be guilty of murdering his wife Susan, long before he committed murder-suicide. Madeline McCann's parents are to this day widely accused of having killed her, even though at this point she is a disappearance case. Same with Jon Benet Ramsay's parents - and other family members; in fact CBS aired a primetime documentary about the case two years ago that directly accuses her then-nine-years-old brother of having killed her and her parents of covering up the murder; this despite police explicitly ruling out her brother specifically and family involvement in the killing generally through DNA evidence. Joran van der Sloot is universally held to be responsible for the disappearance of Natalee Holloway in Aruba despite no charges and in fact no physical evidence whatsoever (including any kind of remains). Larry Condit was very widely considered guilty of Chandra Levy's murder, or at least of arranging it, despite having never been charged - and in fact even after another man was tried and successfully convicted of the murder. Again, plenty more examples can be found.

Originally Posted by Information Analyst View Post
There is also an element that someone falsely or incorrectly accused of a murder can rely on the subsequent conviction of the actual murderer being "obvious" because the victim will invariably be identified.
Absolutely not - if they are lucky, the "actual murderer" is eventually identified and charged, and convicted if they are luckier still. If there's no alternative suspect ever found, the suspicion never goes away. This is particularly true in serious crime cases like murder; because if a suspect is brought all the way to trial and then acquitted, the number of times the police accept his innocence and move forward with an investigation in an attempt to now find "the real murderer" is so small as to be negligible. Indeed, after trial acquittals, police and prosecutors often tend to be free to make public statements reinforcing their judgment of the acquitted as actually guilty and are able to express "disappointment" with the acquittal.

Plus, all this ignores the fact that persons accused of rape still have supporters, often many of them. Brett Kavenaugh has an entire administration, more than half of Congress, and whole arenas full of chanting fans firmly in his corner. And these allies of accused sexual abusers - and in fact the accused themselves - enjoy a substantial advantage that those accused of murder, say, do not have: the fact that if no charges are ever filed due to lack of evidence or interest by prosecutors, or even if charges are filed but the accused is acquitted in court, they can counter-claim the alleged victim was never raped at all and lied about the entire affair, and that the accused is the "real victim". Accused murderers and those who support their innocence typically are never able to escape the fact that the person they allegedly murdered is, in fact, dead and was, in fact, murdered somehow, which remains perpetually as a basis for suspicion.
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Old 10th October 2018, 01:36 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
An accusation of murder is one of the only accusations possibly worse than an accusation of rape. But in the current context, there's an extremely important difference. In order to accuse someone of murder, there generally has to be an actual homicide you're accusing that person of, even if they didn't commit it. You can't run around saying "He murdered me!" like a peasant saying she turned you into a newt. That severely constrains the situations in which false accusations of murder can be a problem. But false accusations of rape can be made quite easily even in the absence of an actual rape. Their potential for abuse is therefore much larger.
I disagree and - as I pointed out in my previous post, I think this is more of an advantage that those accused of sexual crimes have, that those accused of other crimes typically don't, than some kind of disadvantage. Because a person accused of rape can turn the tables on their accuser, using arguments that a great many people are sympathetic to. It's hard to argue with a corpse with a hole in its chest.
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Old 10th October 2018, 02:01 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
I disagree and - as I pointed out in my previous post, I think this is more of an advantage that those accused of sexual crimes have, that those accused of other crimes typically don't, than some kind of disadvantage. Because a person accused of rape can turn the tables on their accuser, using arguments that a great many people are sympathetic to. It's hard to argue with a corpse with a hole in its chest.
It cuts both ways. If you're an actual rapist, the difficulty in proving the crime is to your advantage. If you're not a rapist, the difficulty in disproving the crime is to your detriment.
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Old 10th October 2018, 02:06 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
It cuts both ways. If you're an actual rapist, the difficulty in proving the crime is to your advantage. If you're not a rapist, the difficulty in disproving the crime is to your detriment.
If only we had some sort of system where parties could come together, make their cases, and have their competing claims evaluated impartially by some kind of peers, and a judgment rendered upon it! But, alas, no such system exists so I guess we can only choose whom to believe when someone is accused of something.
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Old 10th October 2018, 02:16 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
If only we had some sort of system where parties could come together, make their cases, and have their competing claims evaluated impartially by some kind of peers, and a judgment rendered upon it! But, alas, no such system exists so I guess we can only choose whom to believe when someone is accused of something.
Tell that to colleges and universities.
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Old 10th October 2018, 02:25 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Tell that to colleges and universities.
Indeed. I've never understood how or why anybody would allow schools to administer justice beyond questions of cheating on assignments or being too loud in the dorms. If I get stabbed in the hallway at work I'm certainly not going to drop the matter into the hands of the human resources department and leave it at that!
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Old 10th October 2018, 02:31 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Indeed. I've never understood how or why anybody would allow schools to administer justice beyond questions of cheating on assignments or being too loud in the dorms. If I get stabbed in the hallway at work I'm certainly not going to drop the matter into the hands of the human resources department and leave it at that!
When I worked at a uni I got told to 'interview' a student who had been masturbating to porn in the open access lab. When I asked why on earth I would do that, I was informed it was 'breach of the computer usage terms and conditions'. This prompted me to enquire whether, if the student had been jacking off in the bushes, he would be interviewed by the gardener. That didn't go down at all well, but I refused to do it and that was that.
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