Details Magazine publishes story of man acquitted of rape

Details magazine has published an account of one man’s experience of being accused and later found not guilty of rape. The story, written by Kayleen Schaefer (who tweeted a link to the story with the question “is this every man’s worst nightmare?”) calls rape accusations “one of the last indelible taints in society” and bemoans the fact that even though a jury found Kevin Driscoll not guilty, he must now live with the stigma of having been accused of rape.

Let’s get one thing out of the way right now: no one deserves to be judged, stigmatized, or discriminated against for something they didn’t do. The fact that this goes on at all points to deeply problematic holes in both our court system and our cultural attitudes towards justice, which feminism does and should continue to actively address. And this story certainly fuels empathy for Driscoll’s experience, and anyone who has gone through anything similar. This is especially true for me given the history of false rape accusations leveled systematically against black men and men of color.

So we all agree, this is no easy issue to tackle, yes?

That being said, I wish the story had taken a moment to acknowledge some of the more complex elements of this issue.
As it stands, I am sort of disturbed by some of the unspoken but ever-present implications of the story: that since this particular man was found not guilty of rape, everything he says about his accuser is to be believed and everything she says is to be discredited; that since one woman lied or had her version of events disproven, there must be many more with similarly bunk accounts; that the outcome of individual rape cases should play into our bigger political and cultural attitudes towards sexual assault.

I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that so many men’s rights groups take up the cause of false rape accusations with great gusto, but that their enthusiasm for seeking justice through the law rarely extends to victims of sexual assault.

And it’s frustrating to me that there’s such a strong relationship between false rape activists and anti-feminists, because in reality feminists and those trying to reduce instances of false rape accusations have a lot of overlap and a lot in common. We both want a fair and effective justice system. We both want to reduce stigma and discrimination around cases of sexual assault. We both want to find ways to facilitate more honest and truthful dialogue around rape, sexual assault, and violence in our communities and justice systems.

Alas, we find ourselves too often in opposition. Take, for example, the blog called “The Counter-Feminist”. Tagline: “The female-supremacist hate movement called ‘feminism’ must be opened to the disinfecting sunlight of the world’s gaze and held to a stern accounting for its grievous transgressions.” How poetic. They gleefully posted links to contact the author of the Details story in a call to contribute thoughts to the piece.

Insofar as it’s true that the tale of the falsely accused rapist is a man’s worst nightmare, it’s also a feminist’s worst nightmare. False rape accusations- and false accusations of any kind, really, aren’t good for anyone. They shouldn’t be framed as an anti-feminist issue any more than sexual assault should be framed as solely a feminist issue. It’s when the quest for justice becomes an anti-woman bashing session that feminists have to step in.

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39 Comments

  1. Posted June 10, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    “So we all agree, this is no easy issue to tackle, yes?”

    There is a deceptively easy solution to the problem of false accusations, actually: anonymity.

    Simply extend the anonymity that we currently provide to rape accusers to the accused as well. It harms nobody, and removes the threat of a reputation being destroyed in spite of one being found not guilty. It eliminates society viewing an accusation as an attempt for retribution. It acknowledges the seriousness of rape and rape accusations, and eliminates a set of stereotypes about accusations, too.

    Anonymity. Kevin Driscoll had a really crummy time, but I imagine he’d have a better time if his name didn’t get the Google suggestion “rape” after his name from now to eternity.

    Anonymity reduces the motivation to make a false rape accusation, because it forces the case to go to trial before the accused’s name/crime is made public, and as a result deters one from making a false accusation by limiting its damage.

    As a converse, it also makes us more likely to believe accusers, because the whole “she’s trying to drag his name through the mud” canard goes out the window.

    There actually is a relatively easy fix here: anonymity. We do it for accusers. Just extend it to the accused.

    • Posted June 10, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      I agree with you 100%. This also jives with the concept of innocent until proven guilty.

      The only problem as I see it though, in this case, if anonymity for both parties were in use, is that Kevin Driscoll spent the entire time between the event and his first trial in jail, so, at least with his friends and family, his name would still be dragged through the mud.

      With that being said, I think, even though anonymity wouldn’t completely solve all of the problems of the justice system around rape, it would probably make the system work much better all around, making it (I’d imagine at least) a much safer environment for victims to come forward and protecting the small number of people who are falsely accused of rape.

    • Posted June 11, 2011 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      Anonymity sounds good to me, but its a double edged sword. I am not sure all parties involved should “vanish” into the system. Maybe anonimity to all parties can be granted in rape cases only, to the extend, that it is possible.

    • Posted June 11, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      The Government here in the UK tried to pass a law giving anonymity to the accused in rape cases. They were soundly thrashed in the press as a bunch of rapist-loving women haters, because obviously anyone accused of rape must have done something wrong, and abandoned the idea. (In fact, I think there was such a law once upon a time, and the next Government repealed it.)

      It’s just not politically viable, for exactly the same reasons that a rape accusation taints the accused forevermore in the first place.

      • Posted June 12, 2011 at 1:33 am | Permalink

        “It’s just not politically viable, for exactly the same reasons that a rape accusation taints the accused forevermore in the first place.”

        That’s the core problem. Lobbying for the rights of the accused, especially those accused of terrible crimes, is tough. We may be encouraged to view the accusation, and stigma attached to it, as the closest thing some people can get to justice.

        Obviously, though, we know that’s not justice. It’s up to us to work on our own retributive mindset and put it aside in favor of the pursuit of justice. I get that it’s not popular, but with proper explanation and support from a variety of sources, especially feminist groups, it could work.

        Justice is difficult. Many times it means giving up what makes us feel good or vindicated in return for what seems like very little. The benefits of a just society, though, are only really felt in their absence, when the injustice is against one’s self.

    • Posted June 13, 2011 at 2:56 am | Permalink

      This is an excellent suggestion. The one thing that would have to be given more thought, in my view is this. Often when someone has the courage to report a rape or other sexual assault, and the details start to emerge in public, then previous victims sometimes come forward. Perhaps they were too scared before, or want to stop further attacks. This often helps the prosecution’s case. If there were anonymity it would be harder to find previous victims if there were any. I don’t have an answer for this, and still think your suggestions is a good idea.

  2. Posted June 10, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    If I were Driscoll I would have sued her for everything she owned. He has an excellent case as far as I can tell.

    • Posted June 10, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      Actually, he doesn’t. Just as it’s hard to prove rape, it’s also hard to prove that a rape accusation was false and malicious. Granted, it’d be a civil case, not a criminal one, but it’d still be tough.

      Even if he could prove this, mental state claims could be made to mitigate liability and damages.

      The punishment out there for making false rape accusations is rare, difficult to pursue, and difficult to enact, for a variety of reasons.

  3. Posted June 10, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    This post is a good summary of how I feel about this issue. Far too often, when someone knows i’m a feminist they have this strange impression, and seem to think that I don’t believe men ever experience sexism, or as a feminist I support sexism toward men. I’ve never understood it, but I’ve actually had people directly blame me for false rape allegations, or for women getting preferential treatment (like when it comes to the draft or child custody or child support), because I identify as a feminist and there’s very little I can do to convince them otherwise no matter how much I try.

    It sucks that to many people, the rights of one gender are seen as a battle of the sexes thing where one gender must have the most power, and the rights of one gender have to come at the expense of another.

    • Posted June 10, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      “and seem to think that I don’t believe men ever experience sexism”

      But there are many feminists who insist that men cannot be the victims of sexism. From the finallyfeminism101 blog:

      “Thus feminists reject the notion that women can be sexist towards men because women lack the institutional power that men have.”

    • Posted June 15, 2011 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

      Yep. The people who squirm at the word feminist are the ones who have had bad experiences with them. Just yesterday, a feminist said that “male privilege” is a valid reason for man-hating.

      I hate to say it, but I’ve only met four or five feminists throughout my life who I agree with. Unfortunately, it seems the bad ones outnumber the good ones and have ruined the word for all of them.

  4. Posted June 10, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    To accuse a person of something they did not do is vile. It’s more than vile it’s an undefinable act of inhumanity.

    My question is: what are the consequences for the individual falsely accusing Mr. Driscoll?

    My apologies to Mr. Drsicoll for having to live through such an ordeal, I wish him the best going forward.

    • Posted June 11, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      “My question is: what are the consequences for the individual falsely accusing Mr. Driscoll?”

      Next to none. As difficult as it is to prove a rape, it’s even more difficult to prove that someone is maliciously lying.

      The most common punishment, and it rarely happens, is a charge of filing a false police report, with the false accuser usually ending up free on a suspended sentence. Civil proceedings almost never happen, and mental competence claims mitigate most damages.

      Simply put, false rape accusations go almost universally unpunished due to the difficulties in prosecuting these cases, and the fact that DA’s rarely like to pursue them.

  5. Posted June 10, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    “And it’s frustrating to me that there’s such a strong relationship between false rape activists and anti-feminists, because in reality feminists and those trying to reduce instances of false rape accusations have a lot of overlap and a lot in common. We both want a fair and effective justice system. We both want to reduce stigma and discrimination around cases of sexual assault. We both want to find ways to facilitate more honest and truthful dialogue around rape, sexual assault, and violence in our communities and justice systems.”

    I find your sentiments commendable, but you are being disingenuous in your failure to acknowledge that not all feminists have such a balanced perspective on the issue of rape. I know of several feminist law professors who seriously propose that defendants accused of rape no longer be considered innocent until proven guilty, a sentiment that Jessica Valenti appeared to approve of in an article not long ago. Recently in Great Britain a proposal to grant rape defendants anonymity (as davenj advocates above) was shouted down by feminist organizations and MPs. A few weeks ago a proposal in Georgia to call rape accusers “accusers” instead of “victims” was protested by several feminist groups. (The rational for this linguistic distinction is until the facts are decided, the court does not know if a crime was committed, and therefore whether there actually was a victim, and a perpetrator, or not. It is tantamount to assuming the accused if guilty if his accuser is deemed a victim, as victimhood implies that a crime actually occurred.)

    So despite your idealistic words, there is indeed a very deep and vigorously fought opposition between some elements of feminism, and some elements of the men’s rights movement, over the issue of rape and false accusations.

    • Posted June 11, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      “I know of several feminist law professors who seriously propose that defendants accused of rape no longer be considered innocent until proven guilty, a sentiment that Jessica Valenti appeared to approve of in an article not long ago.”

      I had not seen this until you brought it up, and it is deeply disturbing. I also didn’t know Jessica Valenti approved of this trend.

      This is very, very troubling. “Innocent until proven guilty” is the very basis of our criminal justice system, established on the principle that the power of the state to imprison and stigmatize is so serious as to require proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

      To advocate shifting this, but only in the case of one particular crime, is very disturbing. Beyond being dangerous (in that it raises the likelihood of people being imprisoned for crimes they did not commit), it’s also ridiculously short-sighted, granting a ton of power to a state apparatus for combating crime.

      Feminists may not like false rape accusations, but you’re right that some of the original post was disingenuous, as feminists writing about this problem always seem to couch it in a “Yes, but” manner to talk about the (much larger) problem of rape.

      There are real solutions to the problem of false rape accusations that many feminists not only do not support, but actively lobby against, like those mentioned in the UK and Georgia. The undercurrent seems to be that because rape conviction rates are so low, using accusations is the next best thing, even without convictions in a court of law, as we saw in the Rakheem Bolton discussion here some weeks ago.

      So yeah, feminism really needs to decide if it truly supports “innocent until proven guilty”, and what that entails, or not. The fence-sitting is mystifying, and doesn’t really result in any definitive position about false rape accusations.

      • Posted June 12, 2011 at 2:03 am | Permalink

        Many rights reducing procedural changes have been made in the area of DUI law. Some commentators have posited a “DUI exception to the bill of rights.” There is an exception made, for instance, to the fourth amendment requirement of individual suspicion for DUI checkpoints, citing DUI’s status as a major public safety issue.

        The legal landscape surrounding rape is similar. It is a relatively common and highly stigmatized criminal offense which is decried by a vocal lobby. Both can be difficult to prove, in DUI cases because the hard evidence is a transitory physiological state – hence the rules requiring you to submit to breath and blood tests. For those wishing to boost the rate of successful prosecution of rapes, the legal history of the DUI might be a useful model to emulate.

        • Posted June 12, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

          The difference is that roads are owned by the state or federal government, and use of them is a privilege. It also makes apprehension much easier.

          I really don’t see where parallels can be drawn between DUI prosecution (yeah, the physical state is transitory, but it isn’t as tough to get a handle on as consent).

          • Posted June 14, 2011 at 10:41 am | Permalink

            The evidentiary issues are not the same. The similarity is just that, because the rate of conviction was low, the rules were changed to make it higher. This was a matter of politics, and perhaps also public safety. The same could be done with rape cases. Tinkering with the rules of evidence to make certain topics off limits when cross examining the complaining witness in a rape case is a step in this direction, by eroding the confrontation clause rights of a particular class of defendants.

          • Posted June 14, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

            “The same could be done with rape cases. Tinkering with the rules of evidence to make certain topics off limits when cross examining the complaining witness in a rape case is a step in this direction, by eroding the confrontation clause rights of a particular class of defendants.”

            Most state rape shield laws already do this. They’ve had some impact, but the rate of conviction hasn’t changed significantly. The gaps still exist in that comparison, though, as DUI is just substantially easier to prove in a court of law.

            There’s a difference, though, between altering court procedures and eliminating the presumption of innocence in a court of law. One may be beneficial, but the other never is.

  6. Posted June 10, 2011 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    The acquittal of an accused rapists does not necessarily mean that he is innocent.

    We should attempt to minimize the damage done to those accused of rape until and unless they are convicted.

    The number of false rape accusations may be as high as 8-10% and any false accusations are “too many” for the falsely accused.

    Per RAINN statistics:
    ( http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/reporting-rates )

    * 60% of rapes/sexual assaults are not reported to the police
    * 50.8% of reported rapes result in an arrest
    * 80% of those arrested are prosecuted
    * 58% of those prosecuted are convicted
    * 69% of those convicted of felonies serve jail time
    * 16% of reported rapes result in jail time
    * 6% of actual rapes result in the rapist serving jail time
    * 10% of rape victims are male. They are the least likely to report their rapes.

    In addition to feeling compassion for and supporting men who are falsely accused of rape, we should similarly support the 94% of women, girls, men and boys whose rapes have not resulted in prison time for the rapist. (The 6% also deserved our support.) We should have significant concern for the likelihood of the 94% of the rapists (as well as some of the 6% not included) raping others! Thanks!

    • Posted June 11, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      What do those statistics have to do with false rape accusations? Blatant derail attempt is blatant.

  7. Posted June 11, 2011 at 1:19 am | Permalink

    I think that it is not a matter of what feminists believe about this issue that anti-feminists take issue with, so much as what they choose to emphasize. Take this as an example, as against the commentary on this site about the Silsbee TX rape case involving the cheerleader. In that case, many were calling the accused a rapist even though he had not been convicted. Coverage of this occasion of a false accusation is more of an apologia – of course we don’t like this but it as an isolated incident and lets not generalize from it. Clearly, no reasonable person thinks false accusations are laudatory – people differ on when they think it is appropriate to call an accusation into question at all.

    As for extending anonymity to the accused as well as the accuser. That is a very interesting idea, and it would remove some of the impetus for false accusations as well as limit the damage they can cause. Newspapers decline to publish the names of those accusing others of rape as a courtesy and not as a matter of law. Such a law would be unconstitutional. I think it would be very difficult to create a journalistic convention extending that courtesy to accused rapists.

    • Posted June 11, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      IIRC there already are “Rape Shield Laws” and as far as I know they are unconstitutional, yet they exist…

      • Posted June 12, 2011 at 1:04 am | Permalink

        State-based “Rape Shield Laws” in the US have been struck down, or at least their journalism provisions have, upon judicial scrutiny. In actuality the practice of non-identification is merely a common journalistic practice. News outlets are under no legal obligation not to identify rape accusers, and occasionally they do publish their names, as in the case of Crystal Mangum when it became clear that her claims were false, but even then only by a few outlets.

        The conventions of journalism simply need to change to extend the anonymity that our media provides to rape accusers to the accused.

      • Posted June 12, 2011 at 1:54 am | Permalink

        I believe that rape shield laws are often changes to the rules of evidence which make it harder to bring in past sexual behaviors of the accuser/victim. These laws may also be unconstitutional in some circumstances because of the confrontation clause/right to present a full and effective defense.

        Laws restricting what the press can report about a matter of public interest are, however, certainly unconstitutional as a prior restraint and violation of press freedom. They would be very difficult to enforce against a media outlet in any jurisdiction.

    • Posted June 11, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      As a society we can encourage the creation of this journalistic convention if we truly desire it, though.

      Yes, we cannot ban it in the outright, but we can certainly state, “this is how things should be,” and strongly criticize those who oppose it.

      Unfortunately, this appears to be a minority position within feminist groups, some of whom actively opposed legislation to this effect in the UK, where it would be legal.

  8. Posted June 11, 2011 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Maybe a good first step would be to accept the jury verdict. In cases that gain notoriety, the mob on the street seems always to know better than the judge and jury and no matter what verdict is reached, the side that is not happy with it has zero respect for the process, again convinced judge and jury got it all wrong.

    A good second step would be to take it to the streets and hold rapists signs up only AFTER a guilty verdict has been delivered. Going out in the street and trying to bully the system into delivering a guilty verdict, puts the system into a tough place. The case gained widespread notoriety and now the system needs to show to America and maybe to the world, that the trial is fair and the outcome not determined by angry mobs on the street.
    So they rule with a lot of doubt in their hearts and in dubio pro reo. Cases which generate the torch and pitchfork crowd are notorious for delivering not guilty verdicts, even in murder cases.

    Yes, its not easy, but so far a fair trial is the best we got, untill we can download the memories of the accused and accuser.

  9. Posted June 11, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Men’s rights groups are nothing but women hating organizations that seek to oppress women and reduce their status to nothing but sexual objects. What rights are they fighting for these so-called men’s rights groups? All societies on this planet are designed in such way that benefit primarily men. Men control virtually all resources on this planet. They decide at their whim when to wage wars and drag women into these conflicts against their will, and of course women and children are hurt by it the most.
    Men’s rights groups claims are completely illegitimate. They have no validity in reality. Men are favored in every aspects of society.
    These joke male organizations seek nothing but enslavement of women and the promotion of male superiority.
    There are far, far more males who rape and walk free, than males who are falsely accused. So many women are raped and suffer in silence because they are afraid to come clean because of stigma. And yet these self-absorbed, spoiled, childish males are more concerned of bashing women at all costs and pointing fingers, than educating their fellow males that under no circumstances a man should ever rape a woman. It’s disgusting really.

    • Posted June 12, 2011 at 1:17 am | Permalink

      This is another derail attempt. The crime of rape is different than the crime of falsely accusing someone of rape.

      As for the statement, “Men are favored in every aspects of society.”, I would point you to incarceration rates, drug addiction rates, victimization in violent crime rates, high school graduation rates, and several other areas of social inequality that suggest that men are not, in fact, favored in every aspect of society.

      Yes, we live in a sexist system, but we also live in a racist, classist, and a bunch of other “ist” system that, when applied differently to men and women, can have greater negative effects for men.

      Men do tend to bear the greater brunt of racism when it comes to law enforcement, so while that may technically not be traditionally sexist, it can create outcomes so divided by gender as to look almost indistinguishable to sexism.

      But all of that aside, this is what happens whenever this crime is brought up to feminists. Its seriousness is acknowledged, but in the “Yes, but,” derailing manner. Then the large number of unprosecuted rapes are brought up as some sort of absurdist counterbalance to this crime, when they aren’t even really that similar except that both include the word “rape”.

      “There are far, far more males who rape and walk free, than males who are falsely accused.”

      What, exactly, does the above statement try to accomplish? It’s Oppression Olympics 101. It’s like me saying, “Yeah, the amount of unprosecuted rapes is bad, but most men aren’t rapists.” It’s factually accurate, but it’s brought up for the express purpose of diminishing the importance of a crime, and in a sort of disgusting way it draws parallels between victims of false accusations and rapists who walk freely in our society.

      This is why people question how serious the feminist movement considers false rape accusations to be. When every mention of them is met with derailing, Oppression Olympics, and measures designed to reduce the crime or the crime’s effects are either ignored by feminists or actively obstructed, there appears to be a disconnect between the OP saying “False rape accusations- and false accusations of any kind, really, aren’t good for anyone,” and the amount of derailing and obstruction occurring.

      • Posted June 13, 2011 at 12:16 am | Permalink

        “I would point you to incarceration rates, drug addiction rates, victimization in violent crime rates, high school graduation rates, and several other areas of social inequality that suggest that men are not, in fact, favored in every aspect of society.”
        I cannot possibly take your reply seriously, because it is obvious how deceptive it is. Incarceration rates are high because, and this might come to a shock to you…. gaaaassp….. men DO commit far more crimes than women. Since they do commit more crimes, violent and white collar crimes, they should be more often incarcerated.
        Social inequality exists because men designed a system that values profit over life. And yes, before you fall off your chair, men DID design this system; women had virtually no input in it. There is no country on this planet where women hold a majority of political power, and even more shocking, there is no country in this world where women earn as much as men do. Everywhere there is a gender pay gap that disadvantages women. And these are numbers and statistics, not opinions, nor beliefs. Women have no control over any major resources, whether it’s energy, minerals or metals, nothing. Wall Street money has unanimously one gender, male. In light of this, sorry if I don’t sympathize with men who claim they are socially unequal, because indeed they aren’t equal, they have a superior position in society compared to women.
        What you really want is this: males have controlled 100% of every economical, social, political and cultural aspect of human history. In the last 40 years have lost 5% of this control, and now they are screaming like spoiled, little boys to get that 5% back because everything has to belong to them.
        “False accusations aren’t good for anyone”. True, but a lot of times the false accusations happen because police and investigators are lazy to do their job properly. Or, and this is even truer, they just don’t take rape seriously and they don’t want to waste resources for investigations. So they find a scapegoat and go with it. This is the sad reality of many “false” rape accusations.
        These joke male rights organizations are outraged that one male was falsely accused. Alright, I understand, it is wrong to be falsely accused. However, I find it equally shocking and wrong the fact that the true rapist was never caught and is still out there, raping. Male rights organizations are nothing but a code word for I want my 5% back so I can have 100% of everything. If they want to get more respect and credibility, then they need to go around and educate males from a young age NOT to rape any girl or woman, no matter the circumstance. That’s all I’m asking and this is all I want: NO MAN TO THINK OR FEEL ENTITLED TO BEAT OR RAPE A GIRL OR WOMAN, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE.

        • Posted June 13, 2011 at 10:40 am | Permalink

          “I would point you to incarceration rates, drug addiction rates, victimization in violent crime rates, high school graduation rates, and several other areas of social inequality that suggest that men are not, in fact, favored in every aspect of society.”
          I cannot possibly take your reply seriously, because it is obvious how deceptive it is. Incarceration rates are high because, and this might come to a shock to you…. gaaaassp….. men DO commit far more crimes than women. Since they do commit more crimes, violent and white collar crimes, they should be more often incarcerated.

          That’s missing the point, and is akin to saying “well, woman are underrepresented in high paying hard science jobs because, and this might come as a shock to you…. gaaaaassp…. women DON’T pursue science degrees as frequently as men. Since women don’t have those degrees, they should be underrepresented in the hard science fields.”

          While factually accurate, this dodges the true issue. Why are more women not pursuing science degrees? Why do more men end up committing crimes? The answer is that there are seriously problematic social forces at play that end up being disadvantageous to everyone.

          Anyway, even if you are willing to just say “more men deserve to be in prison, so that’s not a real problem or an indication of any sort of inequity in the system,” that still leaves the rest of Davenj’s post:

          drug addiction rates, victimization in violent crime rates, high school graduation rates

          These are, in fact, real problems. My feminism is willing to address those problems alongside the admittedly much more substantial issues of female inequality.

        • Posted June 13, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

          Hooray! A post with no concept of intersectionality!

          So higher incarceration rates exist purely because men commit more crimes? What about the fact that society pursues men, and men of color in particular, more zealously in its attempts to capture and punish people for crimes? What about the fact that women routinely serve shorter sentences or escape with no jail time at all when compared with men charged with the same crime?

          The notion that the patriarchy’s existence makes society a cakewalk for all men is laughably false. This ignores the structural inequalities that exist based on race, socioeconomic status, culture, language, religion, etc. It’s so short-sighted that it has no business in modern feminist analysis. It’s the kind of feminism that claims Tom Robinson has structural power over Mayella Ewell.

          “In light of this, sorry if I don’t sympathize with men who claim they are socially unequal, because indeed they aren’t equal, they have a superior position in society compared to women.”

          This statement is so ignorant. A woman born into the upper class is inferior to a poor black man in our society? That’s just a lie.

          And again, your post is a derail attempt as it pertains to a serious crime. Your criticism of the crime is the “True, but,” treatment, an attempt to minimize the hurt and damage that victims feel by claiming that incidence rates are low (something you provide no data to support) or that all men have structural power over all women (they don’t).

          It’s such a derail. It implies that I don’t think rape is a serious crime, or that people need to be educated from an early age to never even consider committing it.

          “Alright, I understand, it is wrong to be falsely accused. However,”

          So no, you clearly don’t understand, or you wouldn’t be trying to engage in derailing or mitigation. That you are doing so implies the exact opposite: you don’t believe false rape accusations are serious. You’re entitled to that position, just know that whenever any issue of justice comes up you’re going to look really hypocritical and prejudiced.

        • Posted June 16, 2011 at 12:14 am | Permalink

          People like Maria are the reason less and less people are willing to take feminism seriously. For you to say that men control 100% of the power in the world and have oppressed women for thousands of years while women sat there passively is the one of the most ignorant things you could say, and is insulting to both men and women.

          I take issue both with the fact that you say women have no power anywhere, and with the fact that you seem to think there is a global conspiracy by all men to oppress women.

          For one thing, 85% of the money spent in the US is spent by women. Put simply, this means women control 85% of the economy, and 85% of marketing is directed at women. It’s true that there are more male CEOs and politicians, but this is changing, and the number of women in both of these areas has been growing rapidly for at least 10 years.

          In college, I majored in both a male-dominated field and a female-dominated field. In neither instance did I see any sort of social pressure telling anyone that they needed to change career paths. I know plenty of women who are incredible at traditionally male careers like math and science, and I have nothing but respect for them. My point? Yes, there are sexist individuals (both men and women) but society as a whole is not sexist.

          This whole “teach men not to rape” attitude is stupid, too. There is not a single little boy in America who grows up being taught to rape women. No one, not even rapists, think rape is okay. The problem is that rapists are mentally unstable and have no respect for boundaries.

          It’s obvious that nothing I say to you to going to change your man-hating mind, but by spouting such ignorance, you are doing neither women nor the feminist movement a favor.

          • Posted June 16, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

            “society as a whole is not sexist”

            Yes, it is. Maybe not to the degree that it once was, but it is certainly still sexist. I still grew up with a few teachers claiming “girls just aren’t good at math”, and I’m only 22 years old.

            Women still have to deal with plenty of gendered problems that men simply don’t have to deal with, particularly in areas like medical rights, social pressures, and the like.

            The claim that women control 85% of the economy is a gilded cage argument. While women may have some say over household spending, the lack of control of that wealth leads to structural inequalities, because money spent on laundry detergent doesn’t have the same effect as money spent on political donations.

            “There is not a single little boy in America who grows up being taught to rape women.”

            Perhaps not directly, but there are children who grow up with inadequate teaching about sexual boundaries. They also grow up in a culture where sex can become a commodity, and having it, even at the expense of others’ feelings, is encouraged. This can create situations where rape happens.

            Maria’s obviously wrong, but this reactionary nonsense is just as wrong.

  10. Posted June 13, 2011 at 4:42 am | Permalink

    Yes, false accusation, and crime going unpunished, are indeed separate and serious issues. Calling this man “acquitted of rape” is still different from calling him falsely accused. I cannot say he has been falsely accused, though I have seen other stories where men are documented as being innocent.

    If the media were under the same constraints as in a trial, and details of the woman’s alleged past were not allowed to be revealed, the woman’s accusation alone sounds perfectly reasonable. Why can’t a victim of rape also be sexually active? They can. Why does a victim have to inflict visible wounds on an attacker? They don’t. The woman having prior/other bruising, being wrong about timing, or even being videotaped masturbating another man does not mean this man did not rape her.

    This man is fortunate that he and his mother could come up with $170,000 to defend him and had the will to see it through, giving up a home and jobs. An entire jury also believed him for some reason. Most other people accused of crimes are likely not as fortunate, and would have quite a different outcome.

    • Posted June 13, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      “Calling this man “acquitted of rape” is still different from calling him falsely accused. I cannot say he has been falsely accused, though I have seen other stories where men are documented as being innocent.”

      This is true. We don’t have enough information to claim this is a malicious false accusation, even if it wasn’t proven in court. Heck, the accuser’s testimony could all be false, but if it is caused by a mental state issue it’s not a false accusation, in that she may think it really and truly happened.

      However, I think it’s worth noting that this accusation has a particular stigma and capacity to damage, regardless of the outcome of the trial. For that reason the accused should retain anonymity. Driscoll’s name being publicly known does not serve the cause of justice one bit.

      Whether this is a case of acquittal, or one of the 8-10% of false cases, we really need to extend that anonymity.

      • Posted June 13, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

        No we don’t need to focus on extending any kind of anonymity, for accused ones. What we need is to focus on the 94 repeat 94% of rape victims whose rapists walk free.
        And spare me of your redundant “blatant derail, blatant derail” and “concept of intersectionality” (it is not even a real word, LMAO) ridiculous, convoluted, mental gymnastics words, behind which you are trying to hide your belief that the first people’s well being considered in rape cases should be the rapists and the last the victims. Your priorities are seriously messed up dude.

        • Posted June 13, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

          ridiculous, convoluted, mental gymnastics words, behind which you are trying to hide your belief that the first people’s well being considered in rape cases should be the rapists and the last the victims.

          Yeah, that’s totally what he meant. Obviously.

          It certainly isn’t possible to consider this matter from multiple angles and note the fact that it is problematic that numerous rapists walk free and that it is also problematic that there are occasional false accusations that can be very damaging to innocent people.

          “concept of intersectionality” (it is not even a real word, LMAO)

          I just don’t even know what to say to that, except to note that the concept of intersectionality is fundamental to a nuanced understanding of feminism. (LMAO is not even a real word, however.)

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersectionality

        • Posted June 13, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

          “No we don’t need to focus on extending any kind of anonymity, for accused ones. What we need is to focus on the 94 repeat 94% of rape victims whose rapists walk free.”

          Why can’t we have both?

          The good thing about extending anonymity is that it’s a quick solution that helps both the falsely accused and those pursuing criminal conviction, as it eliminates an existing canard about rape accusers.

          But I think your alternative might be better: derailing and denying that intersectionality exists seem like some really terrific feminist positions.

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