"Rape Myths": A Counter-Discourse
"Recent research from the Nuffield Foundation has shown that juries are well aware of what some have labelled rape myths, and don't actually believe that their interpretations of these situations are wrong."
The UK Law Commission is running an open consultation until September 2023 regarding how alleged sexual assault trials are handled in court. One of the suggestions is for juryless trials, and to instead have judges trained in so-called 'rape myths'. However, recent research from the Nuffield Foundation has shown that juries are well aware of what some have labelled rape myths, and don't actually believe that their interpretations of these situations are wrong.
So, it seems a battle of ideas and perceptions will be played out. The question is where does the presumption of innocence until 'proven guilty' come in? If a scenario is prepared in which a complainant is seen as a victim of rape before the allegation is proven to be true, then it is surely already prejudicial.
The following statements are these supposed rape myths, and so presented as what we are intended to think they are NOT. The research from which they are summarised is largely written by ideological activists and academics with skin in the game to say the least (including deposed ex-Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders). A counter-discourse is presented in red.
1. Supposed myth: Rape is most commonly perpetrated by a stranger.
This continues to be the public understanding of what the term means.
It typically occurs outside, at night, in secluded places.
Unclear as to why this is relevant.
The great majority of rapes are committed by persons known to the victim.
Is this before or after verdict? If it is before, it is not rape, it is an allegation.
Rape happens at any time of day.
Do not false allegations happen at any time?
Most commonly, rape takes place indoors, and victims are often raped in their homes.
Should be allegedly raped.
2. Supposed myth: Rape always involves physical force.
Rape may or may not involve physical force.
No wonder juries get confused. Would an allegation constantly ranked along murder not be considered to involve force?
There may be threats of force.
Will the 'threat of force' then equate attempted rape?
Rapists may use manipulative techniques to intimidate and coerce their victims.
Where does what the public might consider to be seduction come into this? At what point of the traditional, if now unacceptable, process of intentional or unintentional seduction does one party become a victim? And, at what point does a falsely accused seductor - newly relabelled predator - become a victim of a false allegation?
3. Supposed myth: Rape will always be physically and/or verbally resisted.
Would a jury not expect an allegation equivalent to that of murder to be met with some physical or verbal resistance? Is this why it has been suggested juries are removed?
Many victims do resist, many freeze through fear or shock, or decide that resistance would be futile and/or dangerous.
Where do consenting dominance and submission positions in sexual activity come into this?
The victim may be afraid of being killed or seriously injured and so co-operate with the rapist to save their life.
Is this situation being conflated with after two friends have been drinking and laughing together for hours, for example, and when they've happily gone to bed together? Is this not too vast a spectrum for these 'myths' to be even connected?
Victims may become physically paralysed with terror or shock and be unable to move or fight.
Should be alleged victims. And, they might also be willingly drunk, high, naturally submissive, shy or coy.
Self-protection/defence can be through disassociation or freezing – any effort to prevent, stop or limit the event.
This explanation will be problematically ambiguous to any court, making numerous convictions unsafe, and arrests unlawful.
4. Supposed myth: Rape always results in physical injury.
Some people bruise easily, some don't bruise at all, some bruises happen from walking into tables. Consenting 'rough sex' is also not illegal.
Rape doesn’t always leave visible signs on the body or the genitals of the victim.
A minority of reported rapes involve major external or internal injuries.
Which is possibly why they remain 'reported'.
5. Supposed myth: Rape will always be reported promptly.
Most rapes are never reported to the police.
Reliable data for this claim? And, unlike most murders.
There are many reasons why people do not report or delay reporting, including trauma, feelings of shame, confusion, or fear of the consequences.
Or, because the individual involved might prefer to chalk up what might have been a mixed experience as that – a life experience. Conflict resolution in this situation – for known party, non-violent allegations – might lead to more truly just outcomes.
6. Supposed myth: After rape, all victims react in the same way.
After an alleged rape - actual or not - most juries would presumably expect all individuals to behave differently.
7. Supposed myth: Real rape victims will always be visibly distressed when describing what happened.
Everybody behaves differently when communicating about everything all the time.
Reactions to rape vary greatly. Responses may include extreme distress, quiet control, shock, and denial.
These are responses to many different life experiences, from personal grief, to disease diagnosis, to being falsely accused.
8. Supposed myth: Only gay men rape other men.
This is, indeed, a myth. Women can 'rape' men through coerced penetration too (though this is not widely recognised in law).
9. Supposed myth: Only gay men get raped.
This is, indeed, a myth. Women can 'rape' gay men through coerced penetration too.
Men who rape other men are often heterosexual, and their victims are also often heterosexual.
Men who allegedly rape other men. Language matters.
10. Supposed myth: Allegations of rape are commonly false.
Since 2003, rape has been increasingly easy to allege and charge, through the removal of many normal life obstacles such as every point in this list.
False allegations are very uncommon.
Data? If this statement were true, there would be more than a million men in prison in the UK.
The evidence does not support a generalised suspicion of rape complainants.
The 'evidence' tends to be written by academics who increasingly work from a position of finding evidence to fit the theory, as the scope for maintaining innocence drastically and unjustly narrows.
Supposed 'rape myths' are a conceptual trick to invert or deny many normal human life behaviours, mostly between men and women. These have been what makes the world go round forever, and juries can often see through the kind of rhetoric above to see what actually happened in a given situation.
False or spurious allegations come from regret, revenge, saving face, shame, fear of family or partner, and sometimes the possibility of compensation. Increasingly, it's a combination of the above. We know this intuitively, but the promulgation of so-called rape myths is an exercise in sexual politics, in an attempt to prove true the old ideology 'all men are rapists'.
By Sean Bw Parker
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