No, an acquittal is *not* proof of innocence.

And it is not evidence of a false accusation.

Lets see if I can make it easy for you. Imagine the following:
A neighbor comes round (lets call him Billybob) knocks on the door, and uses some pretext to get you to invite him in. While there, for apparently no reason Billybob lands a massive right hook to your face breaking your cheekbone. You go down. He walks calmly out of the door and goes home.

Baffled, you report it to the police. They go to see him and he says he’s never been to your house let alone hit you. You know he did it, he knows he did it – but he flat out denies it. His attitude is all off though, and the police are pretty certain he is lying. Only there is no evidence, no video, no witnesses.

Nevertheless, the police think you are a credible witness, he clearly isn’t and so it goes to court. The jury also think he is shifty, unreliable, and probably lying. Unfortunately the Judge (rightly) instructs them they have to be sure before they can return a guilty verdict. They cannot be certain based on your word alone against his – so the verdict comes back not guilty.

Amazingly – after this, your broken cheekbone doesn’t miraculously heal – he still did it. Innocent in the eyes of the law, but guilty in fact. And you certainly didn’t make a false accusation.

The important thing to remember is this is happening all the time. It is normal in cases where the only evidence is the word of the victim. Innocent until proven guilty (IUPG) is built on the premise

Better to let 10 guilty men go free than send one innocent man to prison

 

So no, your example – or a thousand of them – is not proof, or even evidence, of a false accusation. And found “not guilty” is not equal to “proven innocent”

What might consent look like?

Here is the text of a comment I contributed to a Guardian comment thread recently:

Come on guys – it really is not complicated

Verbal explicit consent: Yes Please / Come here and F**k me big boy / etc / etc
Non verbal explicit consent: Removes clothes, removes yours, grabs you, pulls you in. (Or any other unambiguous willing, wanting participation in the act – this is what “enthusiastic” means) Consent must be ongoing – if at some point she seems less into it, and there is any doubt “You OK babe?” or “You still into this?” or similar. If the answer is “no” then stop, and without making her feel bad.

Non Verbal Non consent: Flirting / Revealing clothing / going back to hotel room / Being drunk / Passively “allowing” you to do stuff (non resistance). This one is important, you cannot tell the difference between “passively allowing” and “frightened/frozen allowing” If she is passive or unresponsive STOP. If you take any of these or similar as “implied” consent, you are seriously risking being a rapist.

All verbal or nonverbal explicit consent is invalidated if the individual is so intoxicated by drink or drugs, he/she is unable to make rational judgements. No consent can be given if the person is unconscious or asleep. How drunk is that? – if you are asking the question, then stop.

A couple of notes:
1 – If you’re involved in “hooking up” or one night stands. You need to be aware that if you don’t know your partner, then you are MUCH less able to judge non verbal cues. You need to be MUCH more careful if relying on non verbal consent that it is totally unambiguous.

2- in response to some comments above. Consent when not really wanting it. Consider these two examples.

Woman lovingly participates even though not totally into it, because she *wants* do to something nice for you. (But why would you want to if she doesn’t?). This would (at least in my opinion be a valid consent)

Woman gives in though being nagged, coerced, bargained with etc etc. This would not – she does not want it and if she is only agreeing to prevent something worse or more annoying, that is not consent.