Those Tweets – and why they are meaningless.

Update October 2016:
After a referral to the court of appeal by the criminal cases review commission, Evans has now been acquitted of the crime of rape. Whatever the rights or wrongs of that situation, in the eyes of the law, Evans is now innocent of the crime of rape. I leave the text below as a record of my thoughts on the case as it stood at the time of writing.

 

One of the favourite memes of the rape apologists and supporters of rapist Ched Evans is a series of three tweets alleged (only by Evans’ site, supporters and family) to have been tweeted by his victim in between the rape and the trial. The so called “win big” tweets.

The tweets are totally irrelevant to the case – here is why.

Firstly

If we believe the tweets existed at all, and are not a total fabrication, it is claimed they were unearthed by a New York firefighter from a text google cache on the French twitter server. A New York Firefighter. Not a forensic computer scientist, just someone on the net looking through google cache files. There are at least two ways they may have been faked.

The Firefighter himself could have fabricated the whole thing – either on his own or at the request of Evan’s supporters.

One of the very many rape apologists abusing the victim and supporting Evans could have easily created an account using the victim’s name, and made the tweets – ensuring they were cached, and then deleted the account. Note that without support of twitter themselves, it is not possible to verifiably link tweets to an individual.

Secondly

Even if the tweets were made by the victim as alleged, they are still completely irrelevant to the case.

They make no reference to the case, and discuss only the possibility of a big win. Just about every person who has ever played the horses, or the lottery etc will have had similar conversations, including yours truly. And what more natural time to dream of something good happening than in the aftermath of an awful life changing event, and subsequent build up to a trial.

One of the “damning” aspects of the tweets in the minds of the apologists, is that they were deleted. In fact the whole account was deleted. This is entirely unsurprising, given the way the victim has been bullied and threatened all over the internet eventually being forced to move home and change ID. No wonder that she felt she needed to delete her account. I would have done the same – in fact I have deleted the first 3000 tweets I made, due to a stalker.

Finally

The alleged tweets were made after the rape. The key fact of the case is that it was proven in court that the victim was too drunk to consent to sex. The evidence that proved this is not changed one tiny little bit by the tweets – whether or not they exist, and whatever their meaning. They do not change the fact that she was raped.

The tweets real or not, mean nothing.

Rape culture is a thing.

Apparently – according to @DD1958, rape culture does not exist:

@DD1958 “rape culture ” is a meaningless term thought up by feminists to pursue a ideologically corrupt agenda.

 

@DD1958 “Rape culture ” It’s a meaningless label which detracts from real problems regarding rape and abuse.

And in reply to my

Rape culture is a label for a set of cultural beliefs and behaviours which DO exist, and DO support/encourage rapists

 

@DD1958 Prove it

OK, well here are some things which DO exist (I will continue to add examples to this list as they come up):

Rape culture is more than the acts of rape and assault, it is all the aspects of our culture that implicitly support and permit behaviour that leads to rape.

It starts at the bottom end with the large proportion of films where the hero meets resistance at the first kiss but persists and she gives in.

It goes on through hit songs about “blurred lines” which use the actual words that rapists use.

It includes the normalisation of sexual violence: “I was groped at the club” – “What do you expect – it’s what men do”

It includes the acceptance of random stranger sexual harassment on the street.

For numerous (far too numerous) examples of the previous two, just follow @everydaysexism

It includes people not believing how many students are assaulted on campus – out of hand – without even checking facts for themselves

It includes the concept of “token” or “Last minute resistance” which must be just “pushed on through”

It includes the routine disbelief of rape victims when they report rape, (For the most recent and horrific example, see Rotherham sex abuse scandal)  and the related widespread belief that women routinely report rape against the famous in order to extract money.

It includes the routine victim blaming of rape victims (what were you wearing? How much did you drink? Why did you go there? With him? and so on ad infinitum)

It includes the fact that, in part due to the to elements above, that only around 10 to 20% of rape victims make a report to the police.

And it includes the resulting horrific statistic, that if that is taken into account, then only 1 or 2% of rapists are convicted. The other 98% free to rape again. And many do.

And it includes the fact that someone reading this will say I am making that up.

It includes rape jokes – which rapists see as validating their actions (See, everyone thinks like I do)

It includes cases (albeit in USA) where school athletes rape a school girl, carry her unconscious from party to party as a sort of sex toy, then urinate on her. When it comes out, the local community rally round the rapists, protecting them by destroying evidence, and vilifying the victim, driving her and her family from the town. Then when they are finally convicted (at least 2 of them are) the press concerns itself with their ruined futures rather than the victims lifetime mental scars.

And then the same thing happens again – at another town, just a few months later.

It includes our very own athlete – who AFTER he was CONVICTED, his supporters continued to vilify the victim, sending her death threats, and driving her out of her home.

It includes the sense of entitlement some men have view the pictures of celebrities bodies which brings them to hack cloud accounts to steal and share photographs taken in the privacy of the bedroom – and the subsequent entitlement of the thousands of men and boys (and some women) who think it is OK to share them, or just view them, around the net.

I could go on… and on. But if the above is not enough for you, nothing will be.

You might not like the phrase “rape culture” but the examples described above exist, and the phrase is just a useful way of describing them.

Update – 25th May 2015

I recently found the following comments, written by @NikkiSwarm in a comment thread in which she took on the neanderthals on the ROK website (A pile of misogynistic bullcrap that I will not link to here – but for a hilarious takedown of this and other similar sites see: We Hunted the Mammoth) They provide additional perspective on the nature of our rape culture (Included here with permission of the author).

Rape Culture refers to the ‘yes until you say no’ method of attaining consent that is so frequently the default setting in the US. It also refers to the attitudes of institutions that place blame on victims of rape, defend perpetrators of rape, or perpetuate the acceptability of violating behavior in public spaces. As a teenager, for example, my public school sex ed class was taught that if a man gets too aroused, he cannot stop himself from having sex, so, if you lead someone on and get raped, it’s your fault. I was 13. I was in the 8th grade. Rape was already my fault. That’s rape culture. Rape culture asks what you were wearing if you claim you were assaulted. Rape culture asks if you’d been drinking if you were assaulted. Rape culture accepts that men will yell at women on the street, and touch women without asking in public spaces. Rape culture also tells men that they can’t be raped. Rape culture stops men from reporting rape. Rape culture shames men into accepting sexual assault rather than speak up. Rape culture is real. You live in it and so do I. It is bad for everyone. It is not a gendered issue. It is a human issue.

 

OK, so the issue you’re having is in distinction of terms. “Rape Culture” refers to a culture that allows or encourages non consensual behavior and/or discourages speaking out about such behavior, or making reports when such behavior goes too far. Rape Culture does not mean that every one the streets is about to go rape someone, it means that the culture has all the wrong nutrients that allow those behaviors to grow and develop. This applies to everyone, male and female. Pointing out Rape Culture, is a prevention strategy, that helps those of us who were raised within it to identify ideas or behaviors that are not conducive to establishing a consent culture. The goal of the feminist movement that has defined rape culture is to establish a culture of consent. Any other purpose that the term Rape Culture has been used for is a misappropriation, and should not be used as a means of ignoring an obvious problem. The 1 in 4 statistic is not made up, despite claims on this website that it is. In fact, in my experience getting to know survivors over the years I have found a much higher number to be true. And even if it were half that (which it isn’t), even if it were 1/8, is that not an unacceptable epidemic? How many people need to be raped before we consider this a four alarm fire? This is an issue that requires an active investigation into how our culture develops these behaviors. Everyone should take part in the discussion, not stand on either side calling each other liars.

Why #ibelieveher

It really is very simple.

Rape victims are routinely disbelieved by society and our CJS.

The result is appallingly low reporting rates for rape (less than 20% of victims will report). This is followed by an appalling attrition rate – of the small number of reports, less than 20% make it to trial.

The end result of all that is that in more than 98% of rapes, the rapist remains free…… to rape again.

This has to change. The only way to get more rapists behind bars is to get more victims to report, and to do this, we need to start believing them and supporting them.

Combine that with the fact that (unsurprisingly) the rates for false accusations of rape are similar to that of other crimes, at around 3%, then the logical choice becomes even clearer.

So, #ibelieveher

 More recently #ibelieveher needs no further justification then the rape and abuse scandal of Rotherham – which fundamentally, was a horrendous failure by the authorities to believe 1000’s of child victims.

For a more eloquent and detailed view of #ibelieveher:
http://stavvers.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/why-ibelieveher-is-so-vital/

 

 

Side Note for the “Innocent until proven guilty” Brigade

IUPG is for the courts. It is required to avoid sending innocent people to prison. (The downside is that many guilty go free – especially in cases of sexual violence). It is not required in personal relationships. If someone comes to you and says “I’ve been raped” it’s perfectly acceptable to believe them without further evidence. Give them your support. Believe them unconditionally. Help them through the awful days and weeks to come – whether they report it or not. There will be more than enough people who disbelieve, you don’t need to be one of them.

Reference:
http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/rape-a-lack-of-conviction/

Majority of acquitted rape defendants actually guilty?

I recently made the statement on a forum, that the majority of rape defendants who are acquitted, though innocent in law, will be guilty in fact.

I was asked to prove it, so here is my justification. First some figures:

1 – 80 to 90% of rapes are perpetrated by someone known to the victim.
2 – 18% of reported rapes make it as far as trial
3 – 40% of cases that make it to trial result in a conviciton
4 – There is a false reporting rate of around 3% (Recent DPP report on false rape allegations)

So for say 1000 rape reports, 180 will make it to trial. Of these, at most 36 will be “stranger” rape where the police would be required to identify the perpetrator. Lets assume that the police do a really bad job of this, and incorrectly identify the culprit in 25% of the time. So 9 cases will be against innocent men. (Note, this is the only figure where I am making an assumption – but it seems a reasonable one.)

Due to the difficulty of getting any rape case to trial (only 18%) it could reasonably be assumed that the vast majority of the 3% false allegations (necessarily without corroborating evidence) would be weeded out at this stage. However, for the sake of the argument, I’ll ignore this, and say that of the 180 cases, 3% will be false allegations = less than 6 further cases against innocent men. 

Adding the two figures, of the 180 actual prosecuted cases, at most 15 of the defendants will be genuinely innocent.

Yet only 40% (72) will be convicted. If we assume there are no unjust convictions, then the remaining 60% of cases (108) will include the 15 genuinely innocent men. 93 of the acquitted will, in fact, be guilty.

Amazon reseller continues to sell t shirts promoting violence

Continuation of this post

Although the “rape” t shirts have been removed, because of the random way the t shirt slogans have been generated there are still many slogans being sold which seem to promote violence (including violence against women). The example in the image below (“Keep Calm and Slit Her”), is just one of many, including “….Break Her” “…..Rock* Her” “….Rob Her” etc.

Here is a transcript of my latest chat with an Amazon Agent – still not getting anywhere.

You are now connected to Ross from Amazon.co.uk.
 
Ross:Hello there. How can I help?
Me:Hi. My name is Tony.
I assume you have been made aware of the “keep calm and rape” t shirts that were being sold by one of your resellers, and have since been taken off?
Ross:Correct.
Me:Well problem is unfortunately not solved. Since the phrases were randomly generated by a computer, you still have:
“Stay Calm and Slit Her” “..and Break Her” “…and Rock Her” “..and Rob Her” + many others.
I strongly request that the offending store is taken completely off line until they are able to fully clean up their act.
Ross:Thank you for letting us know. I will forward this on to the relevant department for review, and they will take the appropriate action.
Me:When will they take the appropriate action? This has been going on for two days now, and is simply not acceptable.
Ross:We’re not at liberty to reveal details of our internal processes, I’m afraid.
Me:Perhaps I should make a report to the police regarding “hate crime” (I actually don’t like that phrase – but it might be appropriate in this case). I very strongly feel you must take urgent action.
Please can you assure me you will escalate this using the most urgent internal process you have?
Ross:I can assure you that I will escalate this using the most urgent internal process that I have available to me.
Me:OK Ross – thanks for your help. Have a nice day.
Ross:You too, Tony. Take care.
 
 
 
*Admittedly “Rock Her” can have a less sinister meaning, but bearing in mind where we started, I can’t keep the image of rock wielding madman out of my head.
 

amazonwtf2

Amazon allows reseller to sell rape promoting tee shirts.

In a move that beggars belief, Amazon allow a reseller to sell the t shirt below, in a range of pretty colours, and no less than 8 others with similar rape related slogans. Below the image, you can see a transcript of the chat I have just had with an (obviously) un-briefed customer agent. We’ll see what happens.

The reseller by the way is called “clothing store”. Do what you like with that information.

amazonWTF

 

 

You are now connected to Leno from Amazon.co.uk. 

Leno:Hello, my name is Leno.
Thank you for contacting Amazon.co.uk. May I know your name, please?
Me:Tony is my name. Hello.
Leno:Hi Tony
I will surely assist you better
Could you please elaborate your query?
Me:Yes, I can. Somewhat feeling the rage at the moment – not at you, you understand, but at Amazon. In a country where 100,000 women are raped every year, you are allowing to be sold through your site, rape promoting clothing, eg: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Keep-Black-Jersey-T-Shirt-Heather/dp/B007EYDLTW/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1362178158&sr=8-2
If you want to keep my custom, (and that of many other people I am reading on twitter right now) you need to get them removed from your site.
Leno:I understand your concern Tony.
Thanks for bringing this to our notice.
I will now surely forward your feedback right away.
You will be notified within 2 business days.
Is there anything else I can do for you today?
Me:Thanks – I will expect a reply telling me they have been removed. Thanks for your help.
Leno:We hope to see you again soon! Please click the “End Chat” link to close this window.

How come only one convicted…….

Update October 2016:
After a referral to the court of appeal by the criminal cases review commission, Evans has now been acquitted of the crime of rape. Whatever the rights or wrongs of that situation, in the eyes of the law, Evans is now innocent of the crime of rape. I leave the text below as a record of my thoughts on the case as it stood at the time of writing.

 

 

Here is a short summary of an earlier post now archived. This summary has also been clarified by some of the comments I’ve received below.

 

Clayton met and interacted with the victim for some time, before returning to the hotel with her. Even though at the time penetration took place, she was too drunk to consent (proven by the prosecution) it is likely that the jury felt this previous interaction gave them doubt about whether Claytons belief in consent* was a “reasonable belief” (See “he reasonably believes“). Note that if they have any doubt about his reasonable belief in consent they must acquit. Evans on the other hand had no such interaction with the victim before hand. He lied to get the key, and let himself into the room where there was a drunk naked woman who’d never met him before. He therefore had no opportunity to either obtain earlier consent (which would be invalidated by the drunkenness in any case), or to have any chance of forming a reasonable belief in that consent. He dived in anyway – which without consent is rape. Guilty as charged.

*this doesn’t mean he had consent – only that he had a belief in consent.

Rape is penetration without consent – isn’t it?

Another journalist gets it spectacularly wrong.

In this article, Brendan O’Neill argues that the statement “Rape is sex (sic*) without consent” is incorrect. He bases this viewpoint on the allowance in law, that the act is only rape if the man does not reasonably believe that consent is given.

There is a much more scholarly debunking of his article here. However, I’ll still give my thoughts – this is after all, the internet.

He makes the statement:

…in order for rape to have occurred, it is not enough to prove that the woman did not consent; we must also surely prove that the man knows she did not consent, or was utterly reckless as to the question of her consent, and carried on regardless.

He then goes on to say that, in order for the act to be rape, it must:

 …involve an intention on the part of the man to commit rape. The man must have a guilty mind – or what is referred to in law as mens rea – in the sense that he knows he is committing rape.

Surely that cannot be the case – if it was, then he would be re-defining rape to the extent that practically all date rape, and many cases where the perp is known to the victim are not in fact rape.

Clearly, he fundamentally misunderstands the meaning of the phrase “Resaonably believes”. He does this by turning it around, and stating that the phrase:

A does not reasonably believe that B consents.

Is the same as

A knows that B does not consent

This is a logical fallacy. There are many cases where a man does not “reasonably believe that he has consent”, where he also does not “know that he does not have consent”. Some examples:

  • He UN-reasonably believes that he has consent. For example, he has based his belief on how the woman is dressed, that she has accompanied him back to his place, that she has consented in the past….and so on.
  • He believes that sometimes no might mean yes
  • He believes that if he “presses on” she will change her mind.
  • He simply doesn’t care if he has consent
  • He is unaware of the law regarding consent (eg in the case of being too drunk to give informed consent)  – note, ignorance of the law is not a defence.
  • He may be one of the many who have simply redefined (in their own minds) what rape is
  • There are probably many other examples.

In all these cases, he might not know that he does not have consent – He probably does not believe he is committing rape, he may not have the “guilty mind”

But he is surely guilty.

A final point. Using such an innacurate argument, as education for young men on how to navigate around the legal pitfalls of sex and consent is doing them a gross dis-service. If as a result they form a legally incorrect view of what rape is, and then go on to make a horrific “mistake”, they will not find themselves with Brendan O’Neill (or anyone citing his rubbish) on the other side of the bench, but a judge with a much better idea of what the law really is.

*Also like many, good old Brendan is confusing sex with rape. Rape is not “sex without consent” because rape is not sex.

 

 

 

 

 

Having beein involved in the twitter discussions over the previous few days, I have, like some others, concluded that twitter is totally unsuitable for discussing such sensitive and emotive issues. I will not be discussing this (or any other) post on twitter. If discussion is required, I am happy to have it here, but it will be moderated (see home page)

He Reasonably Believes…

I have seen a number of tweets recently, justifying a man having sex with a woman because he “reasonably believes” she has consented.

In the face of it, this seems OK. The law does in fact say person A has only raped person B if person “A does not reasonably believe that B consents.”

However, I think that in many cases, the posters misunderstand the meaning of the word “reasonably”

The law was changed relatively recently (around 2003), to add the requirement for “reasonable” belief in addition to “honest” belief. The problem with the previous wording (honest) was that it was possible for a rapist to mount a defence based on the fact that he honestly believed that consent was given – even though it was completely unreasonable for him to believe so.

The word “reasonably” is now in place, so that the courts can decide if that belief is reasonable. It doesn’t matter if the rapist believes it to be reasonable – it is what the court decides that matters.

So:
If a women is frightened/drunk/drugged/coereced/browbeaten/tricked/etc/etc/etc into accepting the advances of the rapist, or the rapist believes he has consent because of the (irrelevant) behaviour of the victim (eg state of dress, accepted invite to room, “was all over him” etc)  the court can decide that the rapist does not “reasonably believe” consent is given, even though he may claim to “honestly believe” so.