24 August 2012

Judging Rape

Judge Napolitano misses it on this one:
The criticisms of the recent absurd comments by Missouri Republican Congressman Todd Akin, who at this writing is his party's nominee to take on incumbent Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in November in a contest he had been expected to win, have focused on his clearly erroneous understanding of the human female anatomy. In a now infamous statement, in which he used the bizarre and unheard-of phrase "legitimate rape," the congressman gave the impression that some rapes of women are not mentally or seriously resisted. This is an antediluvian and misogynistic myth for which there is no basis in fact and which has been soundly and justly condemned.
Actually, some studies suggest that anywhere from 25% to 50% of all rape allegations may be false.  Also, it appears that roughly 10% of women have what are known as “rape fantasies,” wherein they are turned on by the thought of being raped.  So the idea of legitimate rape is actually quite sound, seeing as how a) false rape accusations do actually exist and b) there are some women who apparently desire to be raped (or at least thoroughly dominated sexually).  And no, these aren’t “antediluvian and misogynistic” myths.  These are the realities of our modern times.

Thus, to suggest that there may be some rapes that aren’t legitimate, though awkwardly phrased, is actually correct.  Some rapes aren’t rapes at all, and some rapes aren’t unwanted.  This isn’t misogyny; this is reality.  Perhaps we should get over our cultural prudishness about the nature of sexual desire and accept reality for what it is.  In the meantime, let’s stop with the politically correct shaming language that is predicated on the misandrist myth that all women are as pure and innocent as the wind-driven snow.


  1. Good post. This Slate article judges the false accusation rate at around 10%. I say "judges" because there really isn't that much research into the false accusation rate (lack of funding, opposition from feminists/rape victim advocacy groups). As a result, there are only a few studies on the issue and sussing out truth from advocacy and/or sampling error is difficult.

    But whether the real number is Brownmiller's much-discredited 2%, the 10% rate suggested by the quote-unquote "good studies" in the Slate article, the 25% rate found by Air Force investigators, or Kanin's 50% rate, all are a matter of degree and none undermine the thrust of your post whatsoever.

    False accusations are a real phenomenon that threatens both innocent men and legitimate (there's that troublesome word again) victims. And that is before we get into nuances about consent and he-said/she-said.

    Little wonder that the "attrition" (as opposed to conviction) rate for an individual accusation of rape in the US is in the neighborhood of 10%. The remaining 90% fall out due to the accusator recanting, not having enough evidence to take to trial, or simply not having enough clear and convincing evidence to convict.

  2. @EW- too bad this discussion can't be part of our national political discourse.