False rape accusations: Some stupid questions

Another day, another entitled white male columnist expressing his outrage at the victimization of his poor, downtrodden brothers. Today (yet again) it’s the turn of Dan Hodges, who not only penned this little rant on lives ruined by false rape accusations, but then took to twitter to ask this gem of a question:

It is, I’m sure you will agree, a simple question, but also a profoundly stupid one. Of course the tiny proportion of complainants who lie about rape make it harder to secure rape convictions. The behaviour of the liars is bound to have an impact, at least insofar as it proves that some people lie about rape. That’s obvious. However, what doesn’t seem to be so obvious, at least not to Dan Hodges, is that this impact will – but need not – be magnified by the over-reporting of cases involving false accusations and by the proliferation of opinion pieces on the “ruined lives” of the falsely accused. The broader impact is indirect but even so, rape conviction rates suffer less from false accusations themselves than from misconceptions about how often accusations are proven to be false. What’s more, it’s at this point that the responsibility shifts. Those who lie about rape are not responsible for how their crimes are publicised; writers such as Dan Hodges are. Continue reading

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Not caring isn’t caring more: Lord Rennard, Michael White and feminist priorities

Feminists! When setting your campaigning priorities, haven’t you ever thought it might be best to consult with a man first? After all, you might be too close to the issues, what with them affecting your life. It’s best to get an outside view, ideally from a nice white middle-class man who writes for one of the broadsheets.

Take Michael White, for instance. Amidst all the fuss over sexual harassment and what Lord Rennard may or may not have done, finally here’s a voice of reason to counter the “hysterical language and media furore”:

Homophobia remains a lethal fact of life in many parts of the world […] and – as MPs reminded David Cameron only last week – slavery, female genital mutilation and other horrors are still widely inflicted on women, even in Britain. A clammy hand on the knee is not quite the same.

Yeah, ladies. Get a sense of proportion! Sexual harassment just isn’t that big a deal! Next time you feel a hand where it shouldn’t be, just think of things that are far, far worse than that. That way you’ll know just how self-indulgent and silly it is to expect your own physical boundaries to be respected. After all, according to White that’s what just some female MPs who aren’t alive any more would have done (by contrast female MPs who are still alive have expressed views to the contrary but they just don’t know what they’re talking about, what with them having been born later than Michael White was). Continue reading