Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Rapine

Via bookdrunk, this lovely little article in which Julie Bindel complains that not enough men are convicted of rape. Leaving aside the rest of the article, I found this mildly perplexing.
And, given the current media fixation on women bringing "false allegations", it would be easy to assume our prisons were full of innocent men. In fact, the conviction rate for rape is at an all-time low. In 1985, 1,800 complaints of rape were made and one in four men convicted. In 2003, 13,000 complaints were made but only one in 20 was convicted.
...

Despite improvements, there remains a culture within the police that assumes that women who report rape are lying. One study found that a third of police assumed that at least a quarter of all reports were false.

Right, this is bad. But, as far as I can make out, Julie is assuming that 19 out of 20 men—the ones who who were acquitted—were lying.

How many men should be convicted of rape, Julie? Shall we set an arbitrary percentage, or would you prefer to make it a proper number (graded with population growth, of course). By Julie's figures, there are about 650 men convicted of rape every year; how many would you prefer Julie? Shall we set it at a nice, round 1,000; or is that not enough for you? Tell you what: we'll convict half of the complaints, no matter what the evidence is, shall we? 7,500 are goin' daaaaaaan whether there is any evidence or not. Happy now?

There was a discussion about this over at Rachel's (in which the lady herself discussed the role of alcohol); but it is the comments from NotSaussure who works in the criminal justice system) that presented the truth of the low conviction rate. Yes, I'm afraid that it is that tedious "innocent until proven guilty" rule again...
I'm not at all sure the phrase 'Vulnerability is not culpability' is particularly useful; the only person in whose culpability the court is interested is the defendant. It's important, I think, to remember that an acquittal in a rape case doesn't necessarily mean 'the jury didn't believe her' or 'the jury thought she was to blame.'

The question the jury is asked, when the issue is consent, is not 'do you think she's telling the truth' but 'are you sure he isn't?' If a juror thinks, 'Well, I'm pretty certain she's telling the truth and she didn't consent, but I can't be sure she didn't', the vote's got to be 'not guilty'.

And more...
One of the main reasons there's such a low conviction rate in rape trials is that, almost uniquely in criminal cases, it so frequently comes down to one person's word against the other's, with no other evidence to assist the jury.

Short of changing the burden of proof, which I'd be very unwilling to do, I don't see how you fix it unless you become a lot less willing to prosecute without corroborative evidence. But that's obviously not a particularly desirable approach, either. I'm not at all sure there is a solution.

Quite. Mind you, the presumption of innocence idea does not seem to be treasured by this government and certainly does not exist in many other EU countries. I can see the day when "harmonisation" will bring the conviction rates that Ms Bindel would like to see, simply because the defendent will be unable to prove his innocence.

But until then, ladies, I'm afraid that you are just going to have to be really careful—either of yourselves, or to obtain corroberative evidence. But, until then, could we please stop this continual, perennial moaning about how few people get convicted simply on your say-so, please?

But Julie's last paragraph is absolutely stunning.
If more cases such as Shabnam's occur, we may as well forget about the criminal justice system and train groups of vigilantes to exact revenge and, hopefully, deter attacks.

For fuck's sake, woman, I hope that you are being facetious. You know what would happen if you did that? You'd train your vigilantes determined to defend your honour, and then your accused would form his own group of vigilantes to "take out that lying bitch" and next thing you know, there's a full-scale turf war. You stupid woman.

You are feeling bitter because you did not report the attempted rape on yourself; you can't get bitter about it, you stupid cow, because you didn't fucking report it. Do you understand? But, since you didn't and the case wasn't tried, you do, at least, get to state this attempted rape as a fact, unsupported by any evidence, that happened to you in a nation newpaper. Nice one.
Because if I were raped, I would rather take my chances as a defendant in court, than as a complainant in a system that seems bent on proving that rape is a figment of malicious women's imagination.

You stupid, stupid woman; you vicious, awful harridan. If you want to live in a country where the burden of proof is on the defendent, why don't you fuck off and live in France? You'll get your justice there. You'd just better hope that no one accuses you of anything.

For fuck's sake, everyone thinks that they should be a special case, eh?

13 comments:

Reactionary Snob said...

Yes, I remember from my law lectures (millenia ago) something about 'better 100 guilty men go free than an innocent man be jailed' - something to do with a golden rule?

bookdrunk said...

But, as far as I can make out, Julie is assuming that 19 out of 20 men—the ones who who were acquitted—were lying.

No. You might reasonably assume that she thinks that more than one out of every twenty were guilty and falsely acquitted, but nowhere does she argue that every man accused of rape and brought to court is guilty of rape.

AW said...

Wouldn't it be equally fair to say that not enough women are convicted of violence against men?

What about female college students taking advantage of drunk males? Isn't arousal partly involuntary?

This background noise of one-sided demonisation just plays to the man-hating tendencies of Hewitt, Harman etc.

chris said...

She probably wants a 100% conviction rate for everybody suspected. In Julie's world "all men are rapists". Slavering beasts that want nothing more than to force themselves upon her in a sub-Mills and Boon fashion, even the gay ones.

JuliaM said...

"Police had decided Shabnam was lying on the strength of the "evidence" captured on the mobile phone..."

Why the scare quotes around the word evidence here? It was evidence!

queenspanky said...

AW, arousal may be involuntary, but actually using arousal isn't. Men have to physically act to have intercourse where they are the penetrator, whereas women don't - they can literally be passed out with no physical functions and still have intercourse (although that is defined as rape in Scotland, but you get the picture.)

The main problem is that rape is such a her word against his crime. It's all very well having evidence of bruising and lacerations and even a neighbour hearing thumps or screaming.

But all the guy's lawyers have to do is prove that she liked sex, and sometimes rough sex, either by calling an ex-boyfriend or even demonstrating that she had seen porn with a quasi-violent scene in it, to cause plausible doubt in the jury's mind.

The reason why so many women, like Julie, complain so bitterly, is that women are tired of it seeming like 'if women like sex, then it couldn't be rape' or 'if women get drunk, then it wasn't rape'.

I'd like to live in a world where my sexual proclivities and alcohol tolerence didn't over-shadow the fact that I said no and meant it.

JuliaM said...

"The main problem is that rape is such a her word against his crime."

Not a problem that's going to be solved by giving unequal weight to one side to get a 'better' conviction rate....

Angry Steve said...

If people are found bringing false accusations of (serious) crime, they should be jailed for the maximum sentence that the alleged crime carries... The accused is generally named, and reputation damaged by these claims, even if found innocent... Perhaps the plaintiff should also be named in the press?

Insufficient evidence is an entirely different bag of ferrets, and changing the burden of proof would just screw up our legal system, and my mind.

queenspanky said...

Well, I would argue that there is already unequal weight due to years and years of ingrained misogyny (thanks, organised religion!) in society, but then I am a woman, so what would I know?

JuliaM said...

"Well, I would argue that there is already unequal weight due to years and years of ingrained misogyny (thanks, organised religion!) in society, but then I am a woman, so what would I know?"

So am I, sweetie. So am I......

I just don't think that possession of a particular type of sex organ means I have to back the kind of unjust, vengeful, idiotic codswallop spouted by fellow owners of aforesaid sex organs.

Anonymous said...

"Well, I would argue that there is already unequal weight due to years and years of ingrained misogyny (thanks, organised religion!) in society, but then I am a woman, so what would I know? "

Have you been reading Dan Brown books?

No offence intended but...

Yawn. "Woe is me. Evil Western/Christian/whatever patriachal blah blah... etc."

The "misogyny" you talk about is probably to be expected in almost any culture and is not a result of organised religion, if anything the religion will just reflects the culture.
At least it isn't a Shariah court, there a woman's testimony is worth a fourth of a man's.

"I'd like to live in a world where my sexual proclivities and alcohol tolerence didn't over-shadow the fact that I said no and meant it."

Can it be taken as a fact if you are a juror though? If the two people's testimonies conflict one must be lying, but which one?

"It's not what you know, it's what you can prove"

That is the main problem, the burden of proof not "misogyny". Rapists don't walk free because of male jurors think the victim is a slut, it's because it can't be proven that he the defendent really did rape her.

Anonymous said...

I think Bindel is marvellous. No matter what her contention is, she always manages to find some sliver of personally anecdotal, utterly unsubstantiable evidence to back it up. Why, it's little short of a miracle how she ALWAYS comes up with the goods!

Anonymous said...

Bindel should fuck off and die, i think is better that the man who supposedly rapes a petty little bitch like her walks away than it would be if we lived in a totalitarian state like the one she advocates, the presumption of innocence until proven guilty is a key part of our society and i would happily kill the evil man hating whore to protect it. She should go FUCK OFF and DIE!