18 December, 2006

Abbott and Costello Meet the Living Dead

Posted in Abbott and Costello, Abyss2hope, Alas a Blog, Creative Destruction, Distortions and Lies, False Accusations, Marcella Chester at 4:09 pm by Daran

(They just keep coming at you.)

In response to a harshly-worded update to an earlier post, and an email saying the same, Marcella has updated her post, (also here) which I accept as a sincere attempt to set the record straight. Therefore I have stricken the harsh words. Unfortunately she still continues to apparently misunderstand my position, and consequently to present it in a misleading way.

She quoted from my comment to a now blanked out post, which she describes as “[my] own explanation of [my] position”. I blanked the original post because it was unclear, was being misunderstood, and was itself based on a misunderstanding. The comment was written before I did that, and, as I explained here, it was written with the intention of serving as a summary, a conceptual map if you like, of the logic of the argument I was making in that post. It was never intended to be read separately from that post.

In particular the sentence “Women do (sometimes) lie about rape-and men don’t” did not appear within the post with or without the “(sometimes)”. Nor was there any sentence equivalent to it. The sentence was curiousgyrl’s misunderstood version of my argument, which I accepted solely for the purpose of creating the summary conceptual map.

With the post blanked out, the map serves no purpose, and is misleading itself with respect to my views. In retrospect, I should have blanked it when I blanked the post. However, I think the time for that has now passed.

Marcella further characterises my view saying that I “continue[] to assert […] that it hasn’t been proven that men lie about rape.” In so far as “lie about rape” is construed to mean “falsely report to the police that they have been raped”, and in so far as it makes a general rather than a universal claim (so that individual cases of men “lying about rape” are insufficient to refute it) then I consider the claim neither proven nor disproven. However I do not “continue[] to assert” this because I object to the “lie about rape” framing altogether, for reasons that ought, by now, to be obvious.

Putting those objections aside for the moment, I also consider the claim that “women lie about rape”, similarly construed, to be neither proven nor disproven. The feminist 2% statistic is bogus, while the various statistical claims made by antifeminists appear to be all either unsupported by the sources they cite, (example), or are otherwise unconvincing. Likewise their anecdotal evidence is insufficient to support a general claim that false reporting by women is prevalent.

Finally, if “lie about rape” is construed, for example, to mean “falsely deny having committed rape”, then of course I consider it proven that a significant proportion of rape denials by men are false.

Posted on my blog, in moderation on Marcella’s and on Alas.



  1. Katie said,

    Have you read Sailorman’s 2 posts on false rape claims? I love the chart idea.

    Part 1

    Part 2 (on which I’m heartbroken that he never replied to my comment)

  2. Daran said,

    Thanks for these, I hadn’t seen them.

    Estimates for the proportion of rape reports which are false range between 0.25% and 98%. Obviously the extremes of that range are not credible.

    The best review of the literature I know of, is the paper by Bryden and Lengnick. I have a copy, which I downloaded from the internet a while back, but it’s no longer at that URL and I don’t know whether it is still available online.

  3. Katie said,

    (on which I’m heartbroken that he never replied to my comment)

    Estimates for the proportion of rape reports which are false range between 0.25% and 98%. Obviously the extremes of that range are not credible.


  4. Daran said,

    You may laugh, but those figures really do appear in the literature. 0.25% for example is O’Reilly, H.J. (1984). “Crisis intervention with victims of forcible rape: A police perspective”. In J. Hopkins (Ed.), Perspectives on Rape and Sexual Assault. London: Harper & Row. (The figure relates to malicious false reports. His department was the source of the widely quoted 2% figure which pertains to all false reports.)

    If you have access to a University library, then I strongly urge you to look up Bryden. It’s an excellent paper.

    (Or I could just email it to you. It’s a several hundred K file, though.)

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