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A Swede in Germany

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Follow-up: Changes to Swedish rape laws

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About a year ago, I wrote about a change to Swedish rape laws that threaten the Rechtsstaat and could interfere with “normal” behavior.

These concerns are validated by the recent first test of the law in the Swedish Supreme Court (Högsta Domstolen): a man has been convicted to eight months in jail on almost absurd grounds. To boot, these eight months were actually a shortening of a harsher punishment from lower courts.

Going by a Swedish source, a man visited a female online-acquaintance*. They consensually slept in the same bed, but the woman had originally declined sexual intercourse. During the night, the man still attempted sexual intercourse—and instead of making clear that she was not willing, the woman did and said nothing. After a while, the man drew the conclusion that she was unwilling, and stopped. (The source is not explicit on whether penetration had occurred at this stage.)

*It is not made clear what the purpose of this acquaintance was; however, it seems highly plausible that it had a long-term goal of romance or casual sex. The below holds even absent such a goal, but if the goal applies, it holds even more strongly.

For this comparatively trivial incident, the man was sentenced to eight (8!) months of jail on account of “negligent rape” (“oaktsam våldtäkt”).*

*Which in turns validates one of my detail concerns in the original text (look for “1 a §”)—that this newly introduced type of “rape” would lead to great complications with interpretation and whether the “rapist” would even be aware that he “raped”. Indeed, the lower courts had originally convicted him of regular rape; indeed, the man appears to not have considered his actions rape (even by the standards of the current law—by saner laws in a saner country, his innocence of rape would be highly likely, even if some other charge might have applied).

If anything, this “rape” incident proves how important it is that refusal, not consent, be explicit. Any sane person in the woman’s situation, absent any type of threat/violence/whatnot, would have clearly stated a refusal, pushed the other party away, or similarly made a disinterest clear. Moreover, if a man and woman (or two lesbians or two gays) land in bed together under such circumstances, no-one can be the least bit surprised if one of the parties “tries something”—and the other party (if not interested) must be prepared to react correspondingly. If the man above had tried the same thing in a “co-ed” sauna, I could have seen a point, depending on how fast* the situation escalated, because there are some types of behavior that are not typically encountered in a sauna—but here he consensually was in bed with a woman, and an entirely different set of reasonably likely behaviors apply.**

*I am uncertain exactly where to draw the line, but on the extremes a simple inquiry is perfectly OK (also cf. an example from my original text) while just jumping someone is not.

**But, knowing how the PC crowd tends to react, I stress that I do not say that sexual advances are a given in such a situation—just that they are sufficiently common and accepted that no-one can legitimately be surprised. Indeed, entirely platonic relationships and bed sharing is quite unusual among adult pairings of men and women.

This type of law also presents a major problem with interpreting when a set of actions moves from e.g. “making out” to “attempting sex”: Let us say that penetration had not occurred above: would it still be “rape”? What if the woman had at some point just kneed him the nuts and then run to the telephone to have him arrested: how do we now whether it was an attempted “rape” or just an attempted make-out session, given that we do not know where he would have stopped voluntarily? (Or, for that matter, whether he would have stopped, had she simply asked him…) In reverse, if penetration had taken place, is penetration that much worse than e.g. having a penis touch a thigh? Is a penis touching a thigh that much worse than a kiss?* Etc. Consider the Sorites paradox and tell me when we have or do not have a sand-heap/rape. With a clear signal from the unwilling party, that attentions are not welcome, we have an automatic, clear-cut border—without such a signal, we have guesswork and arbitrariness. Indeed, even in more general situations an “explicit consent” system is quite vulnerable to such problems, because it is virtually impossible for the one party to know when consent from the other is required (short of the absurdity of demanding consent for every single escalation of the situation). Do I need explicit consent to put my hand on a woman’s thigh? To pull her pants down? Only when I insert my penis? Moreover, if the situation above actually escalated so far that penetration took place, noting e.g. that both were originally in underwear, how can any reasonable person see a lack of protest as anything but consent. Who lets things go so far without actually being willing?!?

*In the reverse situation, depending on the woman, I might have been less on board with an unprompted kiss than e.g. an unprompted blow-job. Further, with roles reversed, is it only rape when a woman accomplishes penetration or is it enough that she e.g. grabs the penis? The law was obviously never truly intended to apply to women, but if and when it is applied to women, they might be even worse off than men.

For my part, I can only recommend visitors to Sweden to abstain from sex entirely and permanent residents to only have sex within long-term relationships or with actual paper-work to prove consent—anything else is too dangerous with this utterly idiotic law.

Excursion on misrepresentations/misunderstandings:
In the intervening year, I have seen several claims along the line that only with this law, consent became a requirement. This is a gross misrepresentation, be it out of incompetence or for rhetorical reasons: Consent was already needed. Was has changed is that the consent must be unnaturally explicit. I have repeatedly noted a similar tendency when it comes to e.g. Feminists to claim that a law that pushes the border too far would achieve something that already had been achieved by much older laws. (At least one earlier text, [1], deals with a similar topic.)

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Written by michaeleriksson

July 15, 2019 at 1:19 pm

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Changes to Swedish rape laws

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Themes like the “Rechtsstaat” and government intervention into the lives of the citizens are important in my recent writings, including several upcoming texts. The greater my annoyance as I learned that my native Sweden had just* fallen victim to a moronic rape law, which not only weakens Sweden’s status as a Rechtsstaat, but also potentially interferes considerably with the “normal” behavior of its citizens:

*The law took effect on 2018-07-01, but was decided months earlier. I am unclear how the original decision got by me: I do recall hearing repeatedly of suggestions for laws like this, but was under the impression that they had always been defeated in light of heavy criticism from e.g. jurists and defenders of civic rights. This including lagrådet.

Sexual acts now require an (almost: see below) explicit consent from both* parties. This does not only turn human behavior on its head**, but it also introduces enormous difficulties of interpretation for both the involved parties and, in case of trial, judges (cf. below).

*In theory: In reality, this will likely amount to “the woman must have consented; the man could not conceivably not have consented”. (While the law, obviously, makes no difference between hetero- and homosexual couples, I will assume a heterosexual for the purposes of this text. This partially for simplicity of formulation; partially because the bulk of the problem cases caused by this law are likely to be in heterosexual relationships.)

**Notably, very many sexual interactions include gradual and unspoken escalation by one or both parties, with the expectation that a party that wants to draw a line is explicit about not consenting to a certain step (e.g. in the form of a “not yet”, “not today”, or a slapping away of a hand). With this law, taken literally, both parties would need to give repeated consent at each stage. Absurdly, it is likely theoretically possible for a mutually consensual sexual act to amount to a mutual rape…

To make a brief comparison of parts of the old and new version of the law (Brottsbalk, 6 kap. Om sexualbrott)*/**:

*With some reservations for my translations, especially with regard to legal language, exact legal definitions, etc. Notably, the Swedish original is manifestly not written with clarity in mind.

**Here I focus on the respective “1 §”, dealing with rape/full intercourse and equivalent scenarios. The respective “2 §” extends, with lower punishments, the more-or-less same reasoning to sexual interactions falling short of full intercourse. (“sexuell handling”/“sexual act” other than mentioned in “1 §”.) I lack the specialist knowledge to judge exactly what acts will fall in the realm of which paragraph, and what might fall outside entirely; however, it is clear that an escalation, e.g. going through the “bases” and ending in a “home run”, will require multiple instances of consent. Note that this law, unlike some similar and similarly heavily criticized U.S. college rules, is not targeted at teenagers having their first experiences—it also includes e.g. what happens between indisputable adults, married to each other with children…

Old:

Den som genom misshandel eller annars med våld eller genom hot om brottslig gärning tvingar en person till samlag […]

(Whoever forces a person to intercourse through assault, violence, or threat of criminal deed […])

Detsamma gäller den som med en person genomför ett samlag eller en sexuell handling som enligt första stycket är jämförlig med samlag genom att otillbörligt utnyttja att personen på grund av medvetslöshet, sömn, allvarlig rädsla, berusning eller annan drogpåverkan, sjukdom, kroppsskada eller psykisk störning eller annars med hänsyn till omständigheterna befinner sig i en särskilt utsatt situation.

(The same [punishment etc.] applies to whoever performs intercourse or a sexual act comparable to intercourse according to the first part with a person, through undue exploitation of the person being in a particularly exposed situation through unconsciousness, sleep, serious fear, intoxication or other drug influence, sickness, bodily injury or psychological disturbances, or otherwise [original phrasing is hard to translate, but “otherwise” catches the gist].)

This is not an unreasonable definition, which mostly should work. Off the top of my head, I would offer four, partially related, criticisms: Firstly, the text is open to interpretation when the unwilling party verbally declines but passively complies; here it would be better to be explicit, especially since the involved parties can legitimately experience some such situations differently. Secondly, the circumstances of the second paragraph can be hard to judge, e.g. if one party has an unwarranted fear that the other party is not aware of*, and this would be better combined with a responsibility for the fearing or whatnot party to be explicit about not consenting (if in a position to speak, obviously); this in particular when we come to the vague “otherwise”. Thirdly, in a strict interpretation, this could be seen to rule out some entirely consensual situations. It might e.g. be illegal for two drunk spouses to have sex with each other… Something more along on the lines of a generic “is physically or mentally unable to consent” might be better than such a listing. Fourthly, the “comparable to intercourse” phrasing could, depending on intentions, stretch the rape concept too far, and is certainly a point where different interpretations are possible.**

*To give a specific example that I read of in a Swedish news paper during, likely, the early 1990s: A man and a woman were alone in a sauna. The man requested oral sex. The woman complied, later claiming that she was afraid, but apparently without protesting and apparently with no actual threat uttered by the man. She then proceeded to file rape charges… There might, obviously, have been important details left out of the paper; however, even so, this stands as a type example of why non-consent should always be explicit and the immense problems that can occur otherwise. I note that some feminist extremists actually have proposed variations of retroactive revokal of consent: If a man and a woman have consensual sex today, and she changes her mind tomorrow, then the event was a rape. What happens to a man who has sex with such a feminist in a country with so vague laws?

**This might even be the main source of the problematic extension of the rape concept compared to other countries.

New:

Den som, med en person som inte deltar frivilligt, genomför ett samlag eller en annan sexuell handling som med hänsyn till kränkningens allvar är jämförlig med samlag, […] Vid bedömningen av om ett deltagande är frivilligt eller inte ska det särskilt beaktas om frivillighet har kommit till uttryck genom ord eller handling eller på annat sätt. En person kan aldrig anses delta frivilligt om […]

(Whoever performs intercourse or another comparable sexual act with a person who does not participate voluntarily […] For estimating whether participation is voluntary or not, particular attention should be given to whether/if consent [literally roughly: “voluntariness”] was signaled by word, act, or by some other means. A person can never be considered a voluntary participant if [listing similar to the description of the original].

A first observation is that this leaves some of the criticisms against the original unchanged—and jumps from the ashes into the fire with the rest…

While the “voluntarily” part is obviously a good thing on paper, things get iffy quite fast in practice: How, absent explicit verbal confirmation, can someone be certain of consent? (And how is sex to be practically workable if verbal confirmation must be given again and again?) For instance, a man might take it as a positive invitation if, naked in bed, the woman spreads her legs—but this could have other implications. If she extends this by grabbing his penis and trying to guide him in the right direction, he can now be reasonable certain—but how does she know that he consented to the penis grabbing? The situation is absurd! It is even unclear whether the judge* is allowed to assume consent absent explicit signs, which could reduce the intended protection for the victims.** To boot, we have the “whether/if” in the translation that goes back to an ambiguity in the original; depending on which reading is chosen, the implications could be different.

*Sweden has no jury trials.

**However, from the context of the law and the discussion that I have seen, some explicit sign is almost certainly needed, even if this is not clear from the law it self: The intent is to satisfy feminist demands for explicit consent only.

Some light might have been shed by the new “1 a §”; however, it does more harm than good. The main effect is to introduce a new category of rape—“oaktsam våldtäkt” (roughly, “negligent rape”). This has the implication that if someone is “grovt oaktsam” (“grossly negligent”) when it comes to not noticing the absence of consent, it still counts as rape, no matter whether “mens rea” was present—someone might be raping someone without even knowing it! On the positive side, there seems to be some room for letting off people who acted in good faith; however, this increases the room for interpretation further yet. A special complication is that while the main text speaks of “gross negligence”, the qualifications do not discuss “lesser negligence”—only a lesser deed. Is the intention now lesser negligence or is it rather that someone who is grossly negligent will be left off if the deed, it self, was less serious?

A particular complication is the increased possibility for false accusations, a woman changing her mind after the fact (cf. above), whatnot: Contrary to feminist propaganda, false accusations already form a considerable portion of all accusations. With the combination of added vagueness and greater need for confirmation, the falsely accused will have greater problems with reaching “reasonable doubt”. In a worst case scenario, we could end up with cases like a man and a woman lying naked in bed, consensual sex spontaneously resulting, and the woman later claiming that she never explicitly consented—ergo, he “raped” her. Word-against-word cases were bad enough with the old law; the new makes it that much worse. With a law like this, chances are that fanatic feminist, unfair debater, and false accuser Anna Ardin would have been successful in getting Julian Assange into a Swedish jail (cf. [1] and links from there).

Looking at Swedish “sex legislation” in general, the tendency over the last decades has been depressing, with characteristics like fairness and Rechtsstaatlichkeit being ignored in favor of feminist whims. I note e.g. the absolutely idiotic ban on prostitution: Not only is such a ban highly disputable in it self, but the law actually turns reasonable procedures on their head and makes only the purchase, not the selling*, of sexual services illegal—something so patently absurd that I would not have believed it, had I not been used to the mindset** of Swedish feminists. An interesting consequence of law changes is that Sweden, going by naive interpretation of statistics, has one of the highest rape frequencies in the “civilized” world, despite (a) the male population being exposed to feminist messages from early childhood, (b) Sweden being one of the last countries even someone willing to rape should consider doing it in***. Many see the Swedish laws, including a very wide definition of rape, as the reason for this.****

*When the buyer/seller situation is asymmetric, it is common sense and established practice to make the selling illegal, while giving the buyer some leeway, as e.g. with drugs in some jurisdictions. It is the professional drug-seller that brings the for-own-use buyer to commit a crime—not the other way around. It is the prostitute (i.e. professional sex-seller) that brings the buyer to commit a crime—not the other way around. (Assuming that prostitution is considered illegal in any form—which really should not be the case in modern society.)

**Including e.g. a world-view based on men as oppressors and women as victims and the misogynist attitude that women are incapable of consent and self-determination (unless properly indoctrinated).

***Based on both laws and the unusually large tendency to believe female accusers.

****Others blame the immigrants.

Excursion on rape occurrence:
To put the “problem” of rape in perspective: Looking e.g. at a Wikipedia page titled Rape in Sweden, we can see that there is considerably less than one rape reported per 1000 people and year—even with these wide definitions. (Something feminists like to explain away with the unsubstantiated claim that only a small fraction of all rapes would be reported.) The simple truth is that the vast majority of all women will never in their lives be raped—and the vast majority of all men will never in their lives commit a rape.

Excursion on statutory rape:
The legal fiction of rape through “statutory rape” is a major weakness in many jurisdictions: It is very possible that even consensual sex involving someone from a particular group (notably those below some age) should be illegal. However, the abuse of the term “rape” for cases where this is the sole* cause of illegality is indefensible—they should be referred to by a more appropriate term**. In addition, it is very important that these not be considered strict liability crimes: Not only is strict liability something which must never be part of the criminal code for natural*** persons acting in a private**** capacity, in general, but with sex we often have a disproportionate risk of innocent mistakes and compliance by the “criminal” to the wishes of the “victim”, especially in countries with a high “age of consent”: Consider e.g. someone in the U.S. being picked up by a 17 y.o., who claims to be 21, shows an ID implying 21, is in a bar drinking alcohol, …***** With strict liability and the idiotic term “statutory rape”, this someone would suddenly be a rapist in the eyes of the law.

*Obviously, the term “rape” should be used if the criteria for non-statutory rape are also met.

**Exactly what would depend on the group and the circumstances.

***There might be cases where strict liability makes sense for e.g. corporations and government agencies, for reasons that include their greater expected knowledge of the law, the greater expected general competence level, and the greater risk and/or consequences of abuse.

****For similar reasons as in the previous footnote, an individual acting e.g. as a government agent might need to underlie stricter criteria.

*****Note that many U.S. states have 21 as the legal minimum age for alcohol consumption.

Written by michaeleriksson

July 2, 2018 at 6:37 am

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Kachelmann acquitted

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As a follow-up to a previous entry, I note that Jörg Kachelmann has now been acquittede of the rape charges raised against him—as was widely expected considering the lack of evidence and the continually diminishing credibility of the witness statements. The language of the court has already been criticized by several bloggers as insufficient, e.g. by a juriste:

Als ob es nicht um die Begründung eines Freispruchs für den Angeklagten, sondern um das Freisprechen des Vorsitzenden von jeder erdenklichen „Schuld“ ginge, hält sich die Begründung von Richter Seidling viel zu lange mit der Verteidigung der Prozessleitung auf.

(As if not the justification of the acquittal of the accused, but the acquittal of the judge from any conceivable “culpability” [guilt?], was the target, the finding of Judge Seidling was occupied for far too long with the defense of the conducting of the case. [With reservations for errors in legal terminology.])

Written by michaeleriksson

June 1, 2011 at 10:06 pm

False rape charges in Germany, Jörg Kachelmann

with 2 comments

Through a comment on a German blog post on the Assange casee, my attention was directed to an article in Die Zeitw giving a thorough review of the Kachelmann casee: Famous man stands accused of rape and sees his world collapse on the word of a woman—and as time goes by, the evidence against him proves to be flimsy at best.

(So far, I have not really paid attention to this case. The Assange case is different in that Anna Ardin was someone I was aware of and irritated at before she raised her accusations. It has, however, been given considerable media attention in Germany during the last year, even with a blog dedicated to Jörg Kachelmann und das Chaose.)

As a complement to my earlier article on rape statistics, I will make a few quotes pertaining to the general attitude shown and the actual numbers of true versus false accusations:

(Note: The language is often technical or highly idiomatic. I try to bring the correct meaning across without always adhering to the correct “legalese” or being idiomatically true.)

Die Staatsanwaltschaft Mannheim hatte in der Öffentlichkeit stets den Anschein erweckt, es existierten objektive Beweise für die Täterschaft des Angeklagten. Die Hauptverhandlung aber hat über die vergangenen Monate die Behauptung von der überzeugenden Spurenlage widerlegt.

(The DA’s office in Mannheim always gave the impression in public that objective evidence existed for the guilt of the accused. However, the trial has over the past months refuted the claim of convincing evidence.)

Dass der Fall Kachelmann zu einem Mammutverfahren ausufern konnte, dessen Ende nicht abzusehen ist, hat auch damit zu tun, dass die Ermittler der Opferzeugin über viele Wochen begegnet sind, ohne ihre Aussagen kritisch zu hinterfragen. Der Fall Kachelmann zeigt beispielhaft, dass kein mögliches Opfer eines Sexualdelikts in diesen Tagen mehr Angst vor Behörden haben muss. Das von Polizei und Justiz zusätzlich gedemütigte und drangsalierte Vergewaltigungsopfer ist ein Phänomen aus der Nachkriegszeit, längst überwunden, gleichwohl von Frauenrechtlerinnen immer noch gerne beschworen.

(That the case Kachelmann could degenerate into such a mammoth process, the end of which is not yet in sight, is also a dependent on the investigators having met the “victim-witness” over many weeks, but without critically questioning her statements. The case Kachelmann shows exemplary that no possible victim of a sex crime has to fear the government these days. The victim who was additionally humiliated and harassed by the police and the justice system is [was] a phenomenon of the post-war era [i.e. a limited time after WWII], long conquered, yet still ever called upon by members of the women’s rights movement.)

Außerdem gehe er grundsätzlich davon aus, »dass jemand, der einen anderen einer Straftat bezichtigt, wahrheitsgemäße Angaben macht«.

(Besides, he [the judge] has the basic assumption, “that someone who accuses someone else of a crime, tells the truth”.)

Die Gutachten des Sachverständigen vom Frühjahr 2010 standen damit im Gegensatz zur Überzeugung der Staatsanwaltschaft. Als Bernd Brinkmann schließlich zum Prozessauftakt als von der Verteidigung geladener Sachverständiger in Mannheim erscheint, wird er behandelt wie ein Feind.

(The expert opinions of [Bernd Brinkmann] from early 2010 were consequently in opposition to the conviction of the DA. As Bernd Brinkmann appears as an expert witness for the defense at the beginning of the process, he is treated like an enemy.)

Früher sei man in der Rechtsmedizin davon ausgegangen, dass es sich bei fünf bis zehn Prozent der vermeintlichen Vergewaltigungen um Falschbeschuldigungen handelte, inzwischen aber gebe es Institute, die jede zweite Vergewaltigungsgeschichte als Erfindung einschätzten.

(Earlier, the assumption in forensics was that five to ten percent of the alleged rapes were false accusations. Meanwhile, however, there are institutes that estimate that every second rape story is a fabrication.)

In Püschels Opferambulanz haben sich im Jahr 2009 genau 132 Vergewaltigte vorgestellt: Bei 27 Prozent der Frauen hielten die Ärzte die Verletzungen für fingiert, bei 33 Prozent für echt. Bei den restlichen 40 Prozent haben die Hamburger Rechtsmediziner nicht ermitteln können, wer der Urheber der Blessuren war: der beschuldigte Mann oder das Opfer selbst.

(In Püschel’s [an interviewed professor] victim ambulance, exactly 132 [alleged] rape victims presented themselves in 2009: For 27 per cent of the women, the physicians considered the injuries to be fabricated, for 33 per cent genuine. For the remaining 40 per cent, the Hamburg forensics could not determine who the creator of the injuries was: the accused man or the [alleged] victim.)

Written by michaeleriksson

February 27, 2011 at 3:37 am

Assange rape case

with 2 comments

Today, I stumbled upon a Swedish blog with an Assange updatee, including some English discussions and a link to “leaked” documents from the investigatione.

(Assange stands accused of having raped/assaulted/molested/whatnot two women, one of which, Anna Ardin, was a topic on my blog even before the Assange affair. The other is referred to by “SW” below. Some links to more information are present here.)

I have gone through the hundred pages. In short:

There is nothing whatsoever to the SW case—confirming an interpretation I have seen repeatedly from those more familiar with the details. She was a groupie, pressed herself on Assange, and got what she wanted sexually (she may or may not have had non-sexual or romantic wishes that did not come true). The only real point of possible culpability is Assange’s alleged refusal to take a HIV test; however, seeing that she could have had herself tested (and that HIV has an infection rate noticeably lower than 100 %) this cannot reasonably be a criminal issue. Looking at some testimonies, I have the impression that SW need not have wanted to claim rape or assault in the first place, but merely wanted a forced clarification of the HIV (or, more generally, STD) issue.

The case of Anna Ardin is not quite as clear-cut, but contains nothing that could not be seen as a mixture of miscommunication, (playfully) rough sex, and unfortunate coincidence—even by Ardin’s own claims and without hearing Assange’s side of the story. I note, in particular, that the sex was consensual (if, possibly, depending on interpretation and what statement is believed, reluctant and unwelcome for Ardin), that Assange consistently respected her wish not to have sex on other occasions, and that it is not clear how the infamous broken condom actually broke (has happened to me too, on more than one occasion).

Even if, arguendo, Assange deliberately broke it, there is insufficient proof to that effect (in my layman’s opinion): Ardin’s own testimony is conjectural—she only observed that he had fiddled with the condom during intercourse, not that he broke it. The documents do include a forensic report concerning a condom with the conclusion that it was probable (“Möjligheten att erhålla dessa resultat om någon annan hypotes är sann bedöms som liten.”—“The possibility that these results could be found if an alternative hypothesis is true is considered to be unlikely.”; official informatione) to have been “torn apart” (“slitits sönder”). However, this is not a conclusive statement, being a “+2”, where a “+4”, in my understanding, would be needed for a conviction with no other evidence. Further, it does not follow who tore it or when—nor even that it necessarily is the same condom. Notably, the alleged breaking took place on the night of 2010-08-13/14, Ardin was interrogated on 2010-08-21, and had, at that point, not yet turned the condom in. (Assange remained as her guest until the day before the interrogation.)

Obviously, even a hypothetical deliberate breaking is not rape, although it should probably be considered criminal.

As a whole, my previous impression from other sources, that we have a storm in a tea-cup and nothing warranting criminal proceedings, is confirmed.

Written by michaeleriksson

February 7, 2011 at 10:20 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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Rape statistics

with 11 comments

Due to the (in my impression so far) absurd arrest of Julian Assange, I have seen a number of recent threads around the topic of rape. There are several oft repeated faulty claims made that I wish to address here, based on a stereotypical comment. Unfortunately, the post and the comment threade appear to have been deleted in the mean time, but to summarize from memory:

  1. Only 2 % of all rape charges are false. [Very, very incorrect.]

  2. Only one in five of all rapes are reported. [Impossible to know, but very likely an exaggerated claim.]

  3. Only 10 % of all reports lead to a conviction. [Semi-true, but highly misleading.]

  4. Rape accusers are treated worse than the alleged rapist, have problems through not being believed, or similar. [Very incorrect and/or misleading.]

My original reply (translated to English):

The “2 %” claim is no longer taken seriously and there is reason to believe that it simply is made up (cf. the links below). Even the claim that only one in five rapes is reported is very far from being a consensus number, and could very well be something that feminists babble about for rhetorical purposes.

A quick search for “false rape charges” gave, among others, the following links:

http://www.falserape.net/false-rape.htme

http://www.falserape.net/falserapeafa.htme

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,194032,00.htmle

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/crimprof_blog/2004/12/2_false_rape_st.htmle

http://www.billoblog.com/?p=134e

(In addition, I recommend http://falserapearchives.blogspot.com/2010/01/false-rape-primer.htmle as a source for further links.)

To dig a little deeper:

  1. Claims about false reports and under-reporting:

    The true rate of false reports is at a minimum 20 % and may be as high as 60–70 % based on the above links. To note, however, is that a false accusation is not always made deliberately, but (depending on the definitions used in any particular piece of research) can include mistakes of identity made in good faith. This distinction is of low relevance when it comes to “innocent until proved guilty”, but is important to bear in mind in other contexts—e.g. when some feminist commenter starts a rant about how misogynistic it would be to claim that half of all rape accusers are liars.

    The “one in five” is possibly caused by feminist mis-definitions of “rape” to include things that the law, a sensible person, and the alleged victim herself, do not consider anything of the kind. Notably, it is not uncommon for such mis-definitions to artificially inflate the number of claimed rapes to several times its true size.

    An interesting perspective is provided by a post that I encountered a few months ago, which contained roughly the following line of discussion (I apologize for not being able to give due credit):

    If the probability of a man committing a rape is p-rape and the likelihood that a woman will raise a false accusation is p-false, and further assuming that the two factoids of 2 % and one in five are true, then the number of reported rapes per male (or female) citizen is roughly 0.2 * p-rape + p-false. Further, by assumption, the quotient (0.2 * p-rape) / p-false would be 0.98 / 0.02 = 49. By implication, p-rape = 245 * p-false. In other words, men would have to be 245 (!!!) times more likely to commit rapes than women to make a false accusation—a claim that is so patently absurd and misandristic that the mind boggles.

    Even running through this calculation with a non-false report rate of 50 % (instead of 20 %) and a false report rate of 20 % (the minimum from serious investigations, instead of 2 %), we land at p-rape = 8 * f-false. In other words, men would still need to be eight times more prone to commit rapes than women to commit false accusations. Based on my experiences with men and women to date, I find this extremely hard to believe, and am correspondingly inclined to assume that the rate of false accusations is noticeably higher than 20 % (and possibly that the report rate is noticeably above 50 %—under no reasonable circumstances can it be the lowly 20 % claimed by some feminist propagandists). Here, however, it can make a difference whether deliberate false accusation or false accusations in general are discussed (cf. above).

  2. Conviction rates:

    I have been unable to find Swedish statistics (the alleged 10 % was with reference to Sweden) on short notice; however, I did find a very interesting article on the British situatione, where alleged numbers of just 10 % and 6.5 % are discussed. In a nut-shell: The true rate of conviction, after removing e.g. instances ruled as “no crime”, is roughly 50 %. The 10 % number is here referred to as “rate of attrition”, to which the article gives the following numbers for murder, rape, and “violence against the person”: 14 %, 6.5 %, and 4 %. Correspondingly, the rate is by no means remarkable. When considering the higher rate of false accusations for rape, the greater practical problems to provide proof that a crime has at all taken place, the possibility that a conviction is made for a lesser crime (cf. snoozeofreason’s comment to the article), whatnot, my subjective impression is that the rate for rape is higher than it should be when using other crimes as a baseline. I strongly recommend reading the linked-to article.

    The greatest error here, however, is to make the a priori assumption that almost all accused are guilty and to claim that a conviction/attrition rate of 10 % would imply that the justice system is defect. Notably, it is equally possible to turn the situation around and see the low conviction/attrition rate as a proof of many false accusations.

    More generally, a high conviction/attrition rate is only good when “false positives” can be kept down: Achieving a “perfect” conviction rate would not be hard, but doing so would fill the prisons with innocent people. Making convictions is not an end in it self—what matters is sentencing so many guilty as possible without putting innocent people in prison.

  3. Treatment of the accusers and the accused:

    Frankly, this sounds mostly like yet another case of feminists claiming the exact opposite of the truth with the philosophy that if a lie is repeated often enough, it is eventually taken to be the truth. (For a discussion of some other common examples, see an earlier post. Note also my recent post on Reversing the accusation, which deals with a similar subject.)

    There may, obviously, be great variations from country to country, but in Sweden and the US (cf. e.g. the Duke Lacrosse casee) the opposite problem of presumption of guilt, lack of due process, findings of guilt based solely on the accusers claims, and similar appear to be more common. Notably, in some countries, rape-shield laws and similar mechanisms can even make an inequality in front of the law (to the disadvantage of men) near unavoidable.

    It is important to note that the alleged “poor treatment” is often nothing more than normal investigative techniques used against anyone raising an accusation of crime: The police, the DA, the defense, must all be entitled to ask questions to probe for contradictions and implausible statements in order to get to the truth—and this must be so for all crimes or the justice system will fail as innocent people are jailed and deliberate false accusations rise. Rape cannot and must not be an exception to this.

    (Indeed, I have even repeatedly heard complaints that use of the word “alleged”, non-use of the words “victim” and “offender”, and similar, would constitute mistreatment—claims that themselves are a horrifying neglect of the legal principle of “innocent until proved guilty”, intellectual honesty, and, frankly, basic human decency.)

    The fact that (in Sweden) 38 % of all judges, 48 % of all prosecutors, and two thirds of all legal students are women makes the claim that rape accusers would be poorly treated even harder to defend—unless we assume that this mistreatement would largely stem from other women… (Numbers from 2008e; the current numbers are likely to be even higher.)

Remark: Note that it is very important to be cautious when interpreting various surveys, statistics, etc., concerning crimes. Not only do we have the problem of feminist distortions, but also one of different criteria and definitions, uncritical handling of sources, and similar. A particular important factor is time: The number (both absolute and relative) of horse and cattle thieves in the “Wild West” is likely to be considerably lower today than two hundred years ago. Similarly, any other statistic that is not reasonably recent must be re-investigated before being brought in as a hard fact—including crime rates, report rates, speculations on unreported crime, etc., from even just a few decades ago.

Written by michaeleriksson

December 10, 2010 at 10:09 am

Unfair argumentation methods VII: Follow-up, rape charges against Assange

with 2 comments

Not quite two months ago, I had an entry on a gender-feminist, Anna Ardin. As I gather from several blog entries by others (examplee) today, Anna is one of the two women who raised (presumably false) rape charges against Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder.


Addendum:

The topic of Anna Ardin has brought a sudden surge in hits. Following a few links, I found a better English treatmente, which I recommend above the original half-English/half-Swedish example. The lengthy discussion provides much information on various aspects, but I warn that some of it is speculative or based on Google translations. (There are a number of Swedish participants, however.)

On the balance, it can now be stated with near certainty that Anna Ardin is the culprit; further, that this is not the first time she has been involved in a similar scenario.


Addendum:

A few weeks later (2010-09-13), I made a search to receive updates. Among other things, I found a long and detailed discussion in Englishe, which is better than the above two sources (the first of which even appears to have first been deleted and then replaced with a very different version).


of

Written by michaeleriksson

August 24, 2010 at 8:52 am