Can I ask a question about rape / sexual cocercion?

(20 Posts)
GreySealWhiteWater Sun 27-Nov-16 21:48:37

It's difficult knowing how to phrase this, but locally there was a case where a woman claimed she had been forced into sexual activity against her will when in fact this didn't appear to be the case.

I suppose what I am wondering is when do we say 'actually, we don't believe you', or is it more that we give the benefit of the doubt to the woman until presumed otherwise?

EvenTheWind Sun 27-Nov-16 23:16:43

We Believe You arose because victims of rape are typically assumed to be lying far more often than is the case. A victim of burglary is believed "as default"

It doesn't mean no testimonies are false, just as some burglary "victims" are trying for insurance fraud. It does mean you start from a position that the testimony should be treated seriously, not as if it is as likely to be false as true.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Sun 27-Nov-16 23:22:43

If your neighbours tell you they have been burgled when do you stop believing them?

EvenTheWind Sun 27-Nov-16 23:57:36

As you are either a newbie or a recent name changer,you might not have seen.this from the original campaign:

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/mumsnet_campaigns/1424654-We-Believe-You-were-launching-our-rape-awareness-campaign-today

GreySealWhiteWater Mon 28-Nov-16 07:09:48

Thank you.

Lass I'm not sure, the case i am thinking of attracted some publicity

0phelia Mon 28-Nov-16 07:28:51

If she was too drunk to remember then it was coersion because she was too drunk to consent.
(That one?)

Basically, men lie more often about not raping than women lie about being raped, but the law sides with the man in almost all cases so "we believe you" aims to raise awareness of this.

GreySealWhiteWater Mon 28-Nov-16 07:30:55

No - Ched Evans? No, I wasn't thinking about that. It was a case where a man significantly younger than the woman (boy really, though over 16) had sex with her; she claimed it was against her will.

0phelia Mon 28-Nov-16 07:33:43

Well that's a terrible thing to say about a 16yo if it wasn't true.

PoochSmooch Mon 28-Nov-16 08:06:56

I guess my question would be, what is meant by "this didn't appear to be the case" (that it was against her will)?

It's hard to give an opinion on how seriously to take any evidence that she wasn't raped without knowing what that is. In most cases, it will only be "he says he didn't". In those cases, my rule of thumb is that if there is a debate about whether someone was raped or not, the starting point should be that person most motivated to lie about that is the man. There's very little motivation for a women to lie about rape - reporting is embarrassing, painful, traumatic, shaming and unlikely to result in a conviction. Lying to say you didn't rape someone has much more positive benefits: not being convicted, not going to prison, not having your friends and family think you're a rapist and so on.

If there was other evidence to suggest that it was consensual, then it might be a different conversation.

Leila78 Mon 28-Nov-16 08:18:16

What EvenTheWind said.

EvenTheWind Mon 28-Nov-16 08:23:37

As pooch says.

Did she retract? Did it get to court? Is she being investigated fir attempting tonpervert the course of justice?

Leila78 Mon 28-Nov-16 08:33:40

With rape, unlike no the crime, the benefit of the doubt is given to the perpetrator and the victim held to be suspect. Investigations often begin from an assumption that she is lying or somehow at fault for being raped. No one is assumed to be 'asking' to be burgled.

However, we cannot conclude that there are not any women at all who do not make false allegations against men - whether that's because they're fantasists, publicity seekers, vindictive ex-partners or whatever. But you would only deem them to be so once evidence clearly suggested that to be the case. Prior to that point the allegation should be taken no less seriously than any other.

I can't comment on your case because you don't provide any details.

Dervel Mon 28-Nov-16 09:09:27

There is rarely any opportunity cost in believing a victim of any sexual assault. Believing someone and being wrong has a minimal impact. Disbelieving and being wrong can have a horrible effect on any victim.

Furthermore even if you disbelieve and are right it still has a net negative effect on anyone listening (if the discussion is at all public be it online or off), who HAS been a victim.

I would revisit this position if the number of men accused of any violence of any sort against women approached parity with the number of women who have reported being victimised.

Note I'm not basing any of the above on any fancy official statistics, but purely anecdotal experience. Only twice have men in my social circle been subject to any accusation of anything, wheras I'm sad to say I've simply lost count of the number of female friends whom are living with the effects of an assault.

BertrandRussell Mon 28-Nov-16 12:10:31

Could you provide some more details, OP?

Xenophile Mon 28-Nov-16 12:27:38

This might help.

GreySealWhiteWater Mon 28-Nov-16 13:28:14

Hi Bert, do you mean about what happened? I can post a link to a local newspaper article?

M0stlyHet Mon 28-Nov-16 13:34:16

I think that's precisely what Bert means. We can't discuss a particular case without the details of the particular case.

As to the general principle, the Home Office and CPS statistics into this suggest that false accusations of rape run at about the same rate as false accusations of burglary - the low single digits in terms of percentages. Yet there is undoubtedly a tendency in the popular press and in online discussions to vastly over-exagerate the number of false accusations. I take the "We believe you campaign" not to say that there is never such a thing as a false accusation of rape, but rather to get people to reflect on why, when hardly anyone's first response to being told someone was burgled is to say "oh, they'll be making it up to pad the insurance claim", there are a lot of people whose first response to being told someone was raped is to say "oh, it was just sex she regretted the next day."

myoriginal3 Mon 28-Nov-16 13:43:16

A raped trial must be incredibly difficult to endure. The questions asked after initial reporting of a rape are tough enough. And they are coming from the police who are on your side so to speak. To have to go to trial with a barrister essentially trying to prove you are lying must be torture. Unfortunately I am speaking from personal experience. And in my case there were bruises to show as it was violent.

Elendon Mon 28-Nov-16 13:55:33

Because we believe men when they say they have been raped.

EvenTheWind Mon 28-Nov-16 14:03:06

A link would be good, thanks.

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