"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Friday, July 03, 2009

"Writing gives you the illusion of control, and then you realize it's just an illusion, that people are going to bring their own stuff into it." - David Sedaris

***

False Rape Accusations May Be More Common Than Thought

"Is it the new 1-in-4 statistic?

I don't mean the widely-circulated '1-in-4 women will be raped in their lifetime' but a statistic that suggests '1-in-4 accusations of rape are false.'

For a long time, I have been bothered by the elusiveness of figures on the prevalence of false accusations of sexual assault. The crime of 'bearing false witness' is rarely tracked or punished, and the context in which it is usually raised is highly politicized...

This week I stumbled over a passage in a 1996 study published by the U.S. Department of Justice: Convicted by Juries, Exonerated by Science: Case Studies in the Use of DNA Evidence to Establish Innocence After Trial...

The passage that riveted my attention was a quote from Peter Neufeld and Barry C. Scheck, prominent criminal attorneys and co-founders of the Innocence Project that seeks to release those falsely imprisoned.

They stated, "Every year since 1989, in about 25 percent of the sexual assault cases referred to the FBI where results could be obtained, the primary suspect has been excluded by forensic DNA testing. Specifically, FBI officials report that out of roughly 10,000 sexual assault cases since 1989, about 2,000 tests have been inconclusive, about 2,000 tests have excluded the primary suspect, and about 6,000 have "matched" or included the primary suspect."

The authors continued, "these percentages have remained constant for 7 years, and the National Institute of Justice's informal survey of private laboratories reveals a strikingly similar 26 percent exclusion rate."

If the foregoing results can be extrapolated, then the rate of false reports is roughly between 20 (if DNA excludes an accused) to 40 percent (if inconclusive DNA is added). The relatively low estimate of 25 to 26 percent is probably accurate, especially since it is supported by other sources...

Legal scholar Michelle Anderson of Villanova University Law School reported in 2004, "no study has ever been published which sets forth an evidentiary basis for the two percent false rape complaint thesis [that feminists always bandy around, which is the same as the false accusation rate for other crimes]"...

"Forty-one percent of all reports are false."

This claim comes from a study conducted by Eugene J. Kanin of Purdue University...

Although Kanin offers solid research, I would need to see more studies with different populations before accepting the figure of 50 percent as prevalent; to me, the figure seems high.

But even a skeptic like me must credit a DNA exclusion rate of 20 percent that remained constant over several years when conducted by FBI labs. This is especially true when 20 percent more were found to be questionable.

False accusations are not rare. They are common."


Of course, if you include types of sex crimes other than rape, the rate of false accusations is likely to increase.

The CrimProf Blog also has a post on What Percentage of Rape Accusations are False, which leads to:

18% rape cases false: Study - Delhi

"A little less than 20% of sexual-assault cases reported in and around Delhi are false, shows a five-year study. In almost every fifth incident, or, in 18.3 % cases to be precise, rape is used as a weapon to malign and attempt revenge, found a group of psychologists who assist Delhi Police in investigating sexual assault allegations."

and the amazing

When Is It Rape?

"On Jan. 6, the California Supreme Court ruled 6-1 that if a woman rescinds consent during the sex act, the man is guilty of rape if he does not stop immediately.

It also ruled that statements such as "I should go home" constitute an unambiguous "no" on the woman's part. The definition of rape has evolved again.

What are the facts of the case? Seventeen-year-old Laura T. attended an otherwise all-male party at which she did not drink. After allowing two teenaged boys to undress and fondle her in a bedroom -- acts she admitted enjoying -- she had sex with each. Laura did not say the word "no" nor did she resist. Instead, she said, "I have to go home."

Because John Z. continued for approximately four minutes after she first expressed what might have been reluctance, he was convicted of rape...

The sole dissenting voice, Justice Janice Rogers Brown, found that none of Laura's statements were "unequivocal." Her requests to go home could have been interpreted as a need for reassurance or a request for greater speed...

As for the timing issue ... the court relied heavily upon John Z.'s failure to desist immediately. But, as Brown observed, the decision "does not tell us how soon would have been soon enough. Ten seconds? Thirty? A minute? Is persistence the same thing as force?"...

As the former mainstream feminist professor Erin O'Connor notes in her blog, "this ruling neatly dispenses with the idea that rape necessarily involves force, and replaces it with a definition of consent that is as uncertain and shifting as the woman who wields it.""

[Ed:

Erin O'Connor: "One imagines that prudent men will now not only carry condoms in their wallets, but consent forms and stopwatches."]
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