A Dose of Stupid v40

It happens every day. In fact, it is pretty hard to avoid it. There are some things that can only be understood with a slap on the forehead. Things so mind-boggling that one wonders how humans managed to evolve thumbs while being this mentally inept. Case in point:

What the Assange case says about rape in America

From Jessica Valenti’s article:

The allegations against Assange are rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion. He’s accused of pinning one woman’s arms and using his body weight to hold her down during one alleged assault, and of raping a woman while she was sleeping. In both cases, according to the allegations, Assange did not use a condom. But the controversy seems to center on the fact that both encounters started off consensually. One of his accusers was quoted by the Guardian newspaper in August as saying, “What started out as voluntary sex subsequently developed into an assault.” Whether consent was withdrawn because of the lack of a condom is unclear, but also beside the point. In Sweden, it’s a crime to continue to have sex after your partner withdraws consent.

In the United States, withdrawing consent is not so clear-cut. In September, for example, prosecutors in North Carolina dropped rape and sexual battery charges against a high school football player because sexual contact with the alleged victim began consensually. The dismissal documents cited a 1979 North Carolina Supreme Court ruling, State v. Way, which says that if intercourse starts consensually, “no rape has occurred though the victim later withdraws consent during the same act of intercourse.”

Let us start from the beginning. The charges Assange faces are serious. However, the veracity of the claims are still fuzzy. One of the women involved is a known radical feminist who previously wrote about ways to enact revenge on men. This same woman specifically sought Assange out at a speaking event. Both the women continued to associate with Assange until they discovered they he had been with both of them during a four-day period. The women wanted Assange to get a medical examination to check for STDs. After he refused the women went to the police in order to see if the police could force Assange to get examined.  It was only after that the women decided to file charges against Assange.

That is the context of the accusations. It may be an issue of Assange not using a condom, having sex with both women,  that he actually committed forcible rape, or some combination of the above. However, the available information makes it look like the accusations against him are at best questionable, let alone the charges, the reinstatement of the dropped rape charge, Assange’s placement on the Most Wanted list, the refusal of his appeal, and now the issues with his bail.

As for the North Carolina case, the law was a bad law. However, the laws in one state do not reflect the laws in the other forty-nine states. It is also not clear that North Carolina applied the law with any frequency. So this may one instance out of a handful of cases where some defense attorney actually knew of the law, cited it and got a not guilty verdict. A one-off case does not a trend make, although it does make for great feminist propaganda.

The odd thing about any feminist discussion of a key feminist issue is that in most cases the feminist eventually will say something completely indefensible. It did not take Valenti long.

“The United States has relatively regressive rape laws; in most states, there’s a requirement of force in order to prove rape, rather than just demonstrating lack of consent,” feminist lawyer Jill Filipovic wrote last week. “We’re deeply wedded to the notion of rape as forcible . . . a consent-based framework for evaluating sexual assault is not yet widely accepted.”

The fact that U.S. law is so ill- equipped to actually protect women in realistic scenarios is a national embarrassment – not to mention a huge hurdle in obtaining justice for sexual assault victims. Swedish rape laws don’t ban “sex by surprise” (a term used by Assange’s lawyer as a crass joke), but they do go much further than U.S. laws do, and we should look to them as a potential model for our own legislation.

In fact, some activists and legal experts in Sweden want to change the law there so that the burden of proof is on the accused; the alleged rapist would have to show that he got consent, instead of the victim having to prove that she didn’t give it.

That sounds like a great idea. That is why the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution states:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Wait, it would appear the Fifth Amendment actually bars the State from forcing a person to testify against himself. Might that be a response to the British accusing American colonists of crimes and then forcing the colonists to prove their innocence at trial, a practice that resulted in many colonists being convicted for crimes they never committed?

False Rape Society explained it best:

Under the plan proposed by some Swedish legal experts, once a woman cries “rape,” the accused male would be sent away to prison for many years unless he could prove consent.

What would this mean in practice?  In many rape cases, there is no significant evidence aside from the testimony of the accuser and the accused.  Under this plan, if the jury doesn’t know who to believe, as is often the case, the male would be guilty because he is unable to meet his burden of proof.

He will have lost the trial before it has begun.

From a legal perspective, such legislation would do an end run around one of our most cherished rights — the right not to testify against oneself.  At present, a prosecutor is not permitted even to suggest that the jury draw an adverse inference from the defendant’s refusal to testify. Under this plan, the defendant would have no choice but to testify because it would be his burden to prove he didn’t rape the accuser.

It would be a setback to pre-Magna Carta days.

And before anyone chimes in and says no mainstream feminists, particularly those in Sweden, actually think that this, take a look at the people Valenti is singing praises for:

[Gudrun Schyman, a former member of the Swedish Parliament who now runs the Feminist Initiative, a political party] once compared all men to the Taliban and proposed what was called a “man tax” to cover the cost of domestic violence and sexual harassment of women. Borgstrom reportedly agreed with her idea for a man tax.

and

The respected head of Sweden’s government-run network of women’s shelters, Ireen von Wachenfeldt, was asked on camera if she agreed with a statement printed on some shelter literature saying: “To call a man an animal is to flatter him: he’s a machine, a walking dildo.”

Wachenfeldt said, “Yes. Men are animals. Don’t you think so?”

and

The documentary also focused on Eva Lundgren, a prominent feminist and professor at Uppsala University, where one of Assange’s accusers has been working as a research assistant.

Lundgren claimed in the documentary that at least half of all Swedish women have been the victims of male violence. She also said that a number of Swedish men involved with Satanic groups had murdered hundreds of babies as part of bizarre rituals.

A university inquiry into her claims formally discredited them, but she still works there.

These are people Valenti chooses to praise? People who literally want to create laws that presume a man’s guilt? People who think of men as animals and walking dlidos? Those are the people whose laws we should follow? The people whose laws make so that, as reported in the article, even if a woman admits to lying and the man she accused was found not guilty, the man will still be punished?

The title of this post is A Dose of Stupid, but perhaps it should be You’re Not Helping because none of the above helps make feminists look like anything other than a bunch of anti-male nutjobs looking to scapegoat as many men as possible while claiming to support equality.

Equality. Feminists using that word, but it does not mean what they think it means.

18 thoughts on “A Dose of Stupid v40

  1. Hey TS,

    Nice post, but just FYI you have incorrectly credited me with the article quote. That was a submission from False Rape Society and posted with an FRS byline. It’s an easy mistake, I write most of the articles at AVfM, but I knew you would want to know so you could offer correct credit.

    Thanks

    And thanks for this blog.

    Paul

  2. The only reasonable way to respond to a rape accusation is to hunt down every single male within a 10-km radius and shoot them in the head.

    It’s for Equality, you know.

  3. By the way, if you look back at Feministing, when the Swedish “man tax” proposal first made the news, Valenti’s intitial reaction was “WOW!”

    She, apparently, LOVED the idea. It took Katha Pollitt, of all people, to point-out that it’s a problematic notion.

  4. It’s amazing the amount of virtol that comes out of otherwise reasonable people in the commentary section, with many demanding Assange’s head on a platter for Treason and being A Rapist Scoundrel.

    So now we’re at the point where a broken condom means rape.

    And this: Paul – “What would this mean in practice? In many rape cases, there is no significant evidence aside from the testimony of the accuser and the accused. Under this plan, if the jury doesn’t know who to believe, as is often the case, the male would be guilty because he is unable to meet his burden of proof.”

    First there’s domestic violence = Arrest the man

    If this law is passed, rape = Convict the man

  5. The dangers of the Swedish proposal can’t be overstated. Both rape and false rape claims are generally private crimes of the “he said/she said” variety. Under the Swedish proposal, in a “he said/she said” rape case, he loses unless he can prove she lied, or was mistaken.

    Please note, this is mainsteam radical feminist thinking. In “Addressing Rape Reform in Law and Practice” (2008), Professor Susan Caringella of Western Michigan University’s Sociology Department, lays out an elaborate legislative scheme to reverse the presumption of consent for rape:

    “What all this means is a shift in the burden of proof to the defense would entail that the defense establish, with a preponderance of the evidence, that it was more likely than not that the woman alleging the rape did give clear indications of freely chosen agreement to engage in the sex acts. Affirmative consent constitutes the kind of consent that would be . . . necessary to overcome the presumptive or implied nonagreement in the law. . . . . What the defense would be required to do would be to introduce adequate evidence to show that the alleged victim did openly and affirmatively express a yes of her own free accord.”

  6. If the burden of proof ought to be reversed in rape cases, then I should come-out and inform everybody right now: Jessica Valenti raped me yesterday. Twice.

    In fact, I have a strong suspicion that a number of the regular commenters at this site have been similarly abused by this very same individual, who is clearly a serial rapist of the worst variety.

    And if she isn’t, she can go ahead and prove it.

  7. “What all this means is a shift in the burden of proof to the defense would entail that the defense establish, with a preponderance of the evidence, that it was more likely than not that the woman alleging the rape did give clear indications of freely chosen agreement to engage in the sex acts. Affirmative consent constitutes the kind of consent that would be . . . necessary to overcome the presumptive or implied nonagreement in the law. . . . . What the defense would be required to do would be to introduce adequate evidence to show that the alleged victim did openly and affirmatively express a yes of her own free accord.”

    Which is essentially impossible to do without some kind of written or video evidence. I can see some law like this passing, but I cannot imagine that a court would not immediately deem such a law unconstitutional. It so clearly biases the accused that no reasonable court would ever apply it.

  8. Aych, I imagine that it has never occurred to Valenti that someone might use that law against women. I imagine it has also never occurred to her that there is a flip-side to the law: if the person can prove the sex was consensual, legally no rape would have occurred. This could result in numerous people who prey on children walking out of court because most children abused by adults consented to the sex. The only way around that would be to create hoops people must jump through in order to prove consent, which would render the entire process nothing more than a show trial.

  9. TS: “Aych, I imagine that it has never occurred to Valenti that someone might use that law against women.”

    Oh, I have no doubt that is the case. Based on her record, the pattern seems to be that if she calculates some measure will be a net gain “for women,” (meaning, of course, Ms. Valenti’s particular demographic; conservative women don’t count) then all other kinds of critical thinking seems to cease, apart from ritualistic displays of ostentatious concern for “people of color”, “gays” and other totems of identity politics.

    So the costs which are to be borne by the rest of society? The effects on children? The unintended consequences which may come to bite “women” in the ass later on down the road? None of that really seems to matter.

    So long as “women” (or, at least Valenti-approved sub-groups of women) are said to benefit in the short run, what happens two weeks down the road to everybody else is simply an annoyance to be ignored.

  10. In other words Valenti doesn’t think that women should have to, you know, actually give things like evidence that they were raped. No folks like that literally want women to be able to send men to prison on their word alone (I know its happened a before but this would make it actual law I guess). So basically damn men and their fair trials, due process, and innocent until proven guilty.

  11. Danny: “So basically damn men and their fair trials, due process, and innocent until proven guilty.”

    Fair trials purely exist to humiliate rape victims and let rapists off the hook. There is no other reason for them to exist. So, for the single crime of rape, the entire system needs to be thrown into history’s dustbin.

    Good riddance, says I. Throw all the mehnz in jail where they belong.

    But let’s not be too barbaric about this. Once all the mehnz are securely in jail, a select few of them could apply for weekend-passes because Ms. Valenti will need someone to collect her garbage, change the oil in her car, kill the termites in her basement and fix the leaks in her roof.

    I mean, just because “women” have to be totally safe doesn’t mean they should have to do any icky stuff that involves heavy lifting or using ladders, right?

  12. Danny,

    Essentially, what they want, is when an accusation is made, just move straight to the sentencing, and forget everything else. You know, those incredibly inconvenient things like an investigation, charges, trial.

    I mean, a woman would never lie about rape, right? /sarcasm off

  13. Berkimer: Essentially, what they want, is when an accusation is made, just move straight to the sentencing, and forget everything else.

    Yes. For this one crime. It must be the exception to all other rules. The handling of rape must be exceptional, taking place outside of all normal channels. Why?

    So, ladies, you go to a frat party. You drink 18 jello-shots. You hop on top of what you think is the captain of the college basketball team. You take him up to your room, get naked and slobbery on top of him– but in the morning? You open your eyes and (GASP!) it’s Napoleon Dynamite! The nerve!

    No, that wasn’t a stupid mistake on your part, ladies. That was nothing less than A RAAAAAAAAPE!!! Throw the bastard in jail immediately for the crime of defiling your precious cooch. How dare he not be the person you thought you were giving consent to!

    Equality!

  14. TS — It’s already being done in Washington state. See State v. Camera, 113 Wash 2d. 631, 638-40, 781

    “. . . it appears that assignment of the burden of proof on a defense to the defendant is not precluded by the fact that the defense “negates” an element of a crime. Thus, while there is a conceptual overlap between the consent defense to rape and the rape crime’s element of forcible compulsion, we cannot hold that for that reason alone the burden of proof on consent must rest with the State. Rather, we now hold that that burden lies, as we understand the Legislature to have intended, with the defendant.”

    What does this mean? Here’s how a law review article explained it:

    “The Washington State rape statute defining consent as requiring “actual words or conduct indicating freely given agreement to have sexual intercourse,” was, however, silent as to where the burden lay as to the showing of consent. The defendant in State v. Camara claimed that judge’s charge to the jury improperly inferred that the burden was upon him. The Washington Supreme Court determined that there was “support in the history and purposes of rape law reform” to conclude that the intent of the legislature was to shift the burden of proof to the defense. As a result of the Camara decision, Washington courts typically included the following instruction to juries in rape cases:

    A person is not guilty if the sexual intercourse is consensual. “Consent” means that at the time of the act of sexual intercourse, there are actual words or conduct indicating a freely given agreement to have sexual intercourse. The burden is on the defendant to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the sexual intercourse was consensual.

    This instruction was challenged in 2006 in Washington v. Gregory. The defendant was not claiming that the judge’s instruction was wrong as to the current state of the law in Washington; the defendant conceded that the instruction did reflect the court’s holding in Camara. Gregory was seeking a reversal of the holding in Camara, but none was forthcoming: “We decline to overrule Camara, and conclude that the jury instructions here complied with due process.”

    R. Klein, An Analysis of 35 Years of Rape Reform, 41 Akron L. Rev. (2008).

  15. Actually aych depending on the circumstances i can see where would be rape. Mind you about the only circumstance I can think of is if your Napolean Dynamite person specifically took advantage of her drunknes. My problem with it however is that if Napolean were also drunk he’s still be a rapist, if she came onto him he’d still be a rapist (notice how no matter who is drunk the guy is always the rapist?), if she has buyers remorse later on he’s still a rapist. And that what Valenti is saying is that Napolean should not get a fair chance to defend himself against the charges, straight to prison he goes.

    Pierce:
    “. . . it appears that assignment of the burden of proof on a defense to the defendant is not precluded by the fact that the defense “negates” an element of a crime. Thus, while there is a conceptual overlap between the consent defense to rape and the rape crime’s element of forcible compulsion, we cannot hold that for that reason alone the burden of proof on consent must rest with the State. Rather, we now hold that that burden lies, as we understand the Legislature to have intended, with the defendant.”

    What does this mean? Here’s how a law review article explained it:

    “The Washington State rape statute defining consent as requiring “actual words or conduct indicating freely given agreement to have sexual intercourse,” was, however, silent as to where the burden lay as to the showing of consent. The defendant in State v. Camara claimed that judge’s charge to the jury improperly inferred that the burden was upon him. The Washington Supreme Court determined that there was “support in the history and purposes of rape law reform” to conclude that the intent of the legislature was to shift the burden of proof to the defense. As a result of the Camara decision, Washington courts typically included the following instruction to juries in rape cases:

    A person is not guilty if the sexual intercourse is consensual. “Consent” means that at the time of the act of sexual intercourse, there are actual words or conduct indicating a freely given agreement to have sexual intercourse. The burden is on the defendant to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the sexual intercourse was consensual.

    This instruction was challenged in 2006 in Washington v. Gregory. The defendant was not claiming that the judge’s instruction was wrong as to the current state of the law in Washington; the defendant conceded that the instruction did reflect the court’s holding in Camara. Gregory was seeking a reversal of the holding in Camara, but none was forthcoming: “We decline to overrule Camara, and conclude that the jury instructions here complied with due process.”
    Translation: Assume she is telling the truth at all times and to question her word is an act of oppression.

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