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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

Baroness Stern and false allegations

104 replies

LondonSun · 22/06/2010 21:48

We were (all) outraged when Cameron used Stern's report to infer that there are lots of false allegations of rape a couple of weeks ago. (defending proposal granting rape defendants anonymity)

I questioned her about it at the Rights of Women conference today and she said SHE DOES NOT THINK THAT THERE ARE LOTS OF FALSE ALLEGS, PROBABLY ONLY A HANDFUL EACH YEAR.

She said she though that research into false allegs would prove how few there are, not how many there are.

So that's something.

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HerBeatitude · 27/06/2010 22:40

Boney you are actually asking for something impossible.

There is no research on earth that is 100% cast iron right. There is no methodology that will give you that.

All you can get is a very very good estimation and as proles says, the British Crime Survey is the best we've got - it's very well respected, it's run by BMRB, a very well established research company who have been running it and other very well regarded surveys for years and it's the closest we're going to come to finding the answers you seek.

frikonastick · 28/06/2010 06:55

ok BBJ, heres a different analogy for you

do we have to do deep investigations into burgulary stats in order for police to investigate from an unbaised position?

nopedy nope nope.

my problem with all this earnest 'we really must get our facts straight before we can expect the police to do their jobs' is that it is a bullshit premise.

and as long as everyone is arguing about statistics, it is implicit that until we can prove as a nation that women generally arent lying bitches, then we can operate from the position that they are.

ImSoNotTelling · 28/06/2010 08:58

Ooh good post frik

HerBeatitude · 28/06/2010 09:05

Spot on frik

You've really hit on what was bothering me about BBJ's posts but I couldn't work it out...

Prolesworth · 28/06/2010 11:01

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Prolesworth · 28/06/2010 11:05

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BoneyBackJefferson · 28/06/2010 17:50


In a burglary there will be some evidence that it has happened and there is not usually a someone said that someone did statement.

there are also very few police who would blame a burglary victim, or hold the burglary victim responsible for what has happened.

That becomes the crux of many rape cases some police belive that women are "lying bitches"
cases are not followed up.

how would you change the minds of these people?

Oh and I don't think that people believe that it is implicit (sp) that women are "lying bitches" but that where the surveys get their results may bias the results of the reports.

ImSoNotTelling · 28/06/2010 18:00

People fake/exaggerate robberies all the time.

Many (most?) of the rapes reported to the police (and no i don't have stats) are ones where there is evidence of some type - as the ones where there is no evidence have been selected out by the women who experienced them - as women are not stupid and know that there is no point in reporting rape to the police if there is no evidence.

It is not the case that the majority of the rapes reported to the police are these "misunderstanding, how was he to know, no physical evidence" type cases which everyone loves to talk about. The ones reported are more the "well I've got all these bruises" type cases. Unfortunately the response often apparently is "well you like it rough don't you love" and that's the end of that.

Talking to women who have experienced "date rape", many of them don't even see it as rape, let alone report it, as women in our society believe the same rape myths as everyone else. They think "well it wasn't really rape, not "rape rape"" and put it down to experience and try to forget about it. The women who go to the police are in the main the ones who have been "rape raped".

ImSoNotTelling · 28/06/2010 18:02

There's something on the news in a mo about a serial sex offender who was allowed by the police to continue for years when he should have been locked up.

I wonder if it is reid or warboys or god forbid yet another one

LadyBiscuit · 28/06/2010 18:04

No it the IPCC report on Reid and what a complete mess they made of it

ImSoNotTelling · 28/06/2010 18:08

It's reid.

BBJ what do you want from these threads? What do you think should happen about anonimity and about investigation and prosecution of rape?

You often seem to turn up and seem to be keen to present "the other side" of this issue. But what is your stance on all of this? And whose side is "the other side"? The side of non-feminists? Men? Tories? I'm trying to get a feel for where you're coming from.

I also am interested to understand what you meant earlier with "It really is time for the boys and girls to stop fighting and come to an agreement to find out what the facts truely are. "

Do you see this issue as a "battle of the sexes"?

ImSoNotTelling · 28/06/2010 18:09

xposts thanks LB

LadyBiscuit · 28/06/2010 18:17

Sorry meant to post that earlier but got bogged down in trivia (which is all I can concentrate on when I'm working).

They are talking about possibly sacking the senior policeman on the case. I really hope they do - not because I like seeing people lose their jobs but they really need to send out a signal that this is completely bloody unacceptable. They picked him up twice fgs and then let him walk away because they were convinced they had got their man - despite the fact that there was no DNA match!

ImSoNotTelling · 28/06/2010 18:27

I think that the effect of the warboys and reid cases on women in london re. their likelihood and confidence reporting sexual offenses will have been really really badly affected. i wonder if they will look into that at all, whether attitudes of women in london have changed, whetehr they would report a crime like this or not. bet they don't.

BoneyBackJefferson · 28/06/2010 18:59


I suppose I do come across as "battle of he sexes" I don't mean to, nor do I try to be devils advocate, although it also seems that way as well. I just want the truth and can't see how we will get it until the old boys network (school tie etc.)and the old radical feminists network (scum manifesto etc.)is no more.

Time has moved on and we need to move with it tere needs to be a new middle ground where the majority can (and sometimes do) meet.

As LB said "They are talking about possibly sacking the senior policeman on the case. I really hope they do - not because I like seeing people lose their jobs but they really need to send out a signal that this is completely bloody unacceptable"

It is right that the senior man should go and not be protected by the old network, but I suspect that he will retire due to stress and get a hefty pension.

Quite frankly its not right and it annoys the hell out of me.

the system is wrong and it is protecting nobody but iself.

Sorry slightly ranty there, will go and chill before I come back and try and make some sense.

LondonSun · 29/06/2010 11:33

I've got a few points to make, but can't right now-- in the meantime thought you might all be interested to see this interview with Stern on C4 last night:

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Prolesworth · 29/06/2010 11:44

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maria1665 · 29/06/2010 12:03

Following this discussion with interes. But re the 60% conviction rate - that is somewhat misleading in the context of this discussion. It includes all rapes - including those of very young children.

The conviction rate for teenage girls and women is much lower and this is the area where issues of false allegations and 'rape rapes' come in. Juries seem to leave their common sense at the door, as soon as the question of sex is introduced - female jurors seemingly being the worst offenders.

Prosecuting counsel will be hoping for plenty of middle aged men on a jury. Do you remember the BBC rape trial re enactment - only Jeffrey Archer of all people was willing to push for a guilty verdict. (Sara Payne, 'our victims champion' was particularly disappointing.)

In my experience also, female police officers are as likely as male ones to disbelieve a complainant. My own theory is that we live in a male dominated society - people just choose to back the winning side.

threelittlepebbles · 29/06/2010 12:18

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edam · 29/06/2010 12:22

I think what the Reid and Warboys cases show is that sadly the police as much as some elements of the general public are still only too ready to ignore, disbelieve and dismiss rape victims. Even when it is clear a serial attacker is on the loose, FFS. How much more evidence do you need that rape IS happening? Reid attacked 100 women - and the police response appears to show those in charge thought they were all lying?

I think Maria's right about people, including women, choosing to back the winning side. There have been posters on here who identify with accused rapists because they think 'that could be my son'. Or posters who are married to coppers who believe a substantial proportion of victims are liars. Presumably the sort of coppers who allowed Warboys and Reid to carry on year after year.

Same thing used to apply to racism - there were people (nicknamed 'Uncle Toms') who didn't want to rock the boat. Thankfully today racial attacks are taken seriously - but Stephen Lawrence had to die and the coppers fuck up very badly indeed before that happened. Shameful that we don't take violence (or prejudice) against women equally seriously.

swallowedAfly · 29/06/2010 12:56

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maria1665 · 29/06/2010 13:58

Rape Centres make a big difference to the collection of evidence, professionality of the police and most importantly to the way in which women are treated.

They are often based in hospitals and are staffed by doctors, nurses and counsellors, all specialists in sexual assaults. Women can either go there directly, or are referred there by the police almost immediately after a complaint is made. Provided they are properly funded and staffed, they make a massive difference.

Some also run training courses for all those working with rape cases, including the legal profession. At the one I attended, we were asked to close our eyes. We were then told that we would be asked a series of questions, at the end of which they would be asking for volunteers to give their answers to the rest of the group.

The speaker then said, having reminded us to keep our eyes close,

'I want you to remember the last time you had sex.

Where were you?
Who was it with?
Who instigated it? What were you and your partner wearing.
Did you remove your underwear?
In what position did you have intercourse? Did you remain in that position?
Did you ejaculate?
Did you orgasm?
Did you or your partner touch each other anally?
Did oral sex take place? If so, who performed it on who?'

And so on.

And the end of the series of questions, she asked us to open our eyes, and then asked for volunteers. A roomful of gobby lawyers was completely silent. It gave us the smallest insight into what it means to give evidence in a rape case. The criticism you will often hear of rape victims is that they were 'surely' and 'unforthcoming' when giving there evidence. I wonder why?

sethstarkaddersmum · 29/06/2010 14:04

oh God Maria, what an incredibly powerful exercise. Top marks to whoever came up with that.

IIRC, wasn't Gail Sherwood thought to be suspicious because she averted her eyes during her examination?

edam · 29/06/2010 14:18

That is extremely powerful.

MeganMog · 30/06/2010 10:42

I read this thread yesterday, and it has really made me think. Co-incidentally on the radio this morning was the mention of a trial in Guildford today, of a woman accused of making a false rape claim -

Original report here -

Interestingly there was a previous incident at the same location last year, but appears to involve a different person - and someone has been arrested and bailed, and due to face trial in July -

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