Thursday, December 17, 2015

Read This Today

If you can, for it is about rape

The story is long, nuanced and extremely well reported and written.  It is about a serial rapist, about a young woman who confessed to having falsely reported her rape, and about the victims of that serial rapist.

I believe it is an important story to read, and so is this one, if for no other reason than to offer some complicating balance for the way Martha MacCallum advertised a Fox News program (Fox News Reporting: The Truth About Sex & College) in this video (from 3.24 onward) by focusing on how false rape reports can destroy innocent lives.

Of course false reports can do that.  But so can rapes.  Luckily the former are pretty rare:
The fear of false rape accusations has a long history in the legal system. In the 1600s, England’s chief justice, Matthew Hale, warned that rape “is an accusation easily to be made and hard to be proved, and harder to be defended by the party accused.” Judges in the U.S. read the so-called Hale warning to juries until the 1980s. But most recent research suggests that false reporting is relatively rare. FBI figures show that police annually declare around 5 percent of rape cases unfounded, or baseless. Social scientists examining police records in detail and using methodologically rigorous standards cite similar, single-digit rates.
I wish we could say the same about the latter.