The Rape of Justice

Rape seems to pervade our politics these days: IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Wikileaks’ Julian Assange, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi—all have been accused of rape. Justice Minister Kenneth Clark was recently pilloried for politically incorrect statements about rape. The Daily Telegraph says Britain’s rape law is a ‘disgrace’ but does not say why. It is not just the great and powerful who are committing faux pas over rape. The words of a humble policeman were ‘insensitive’ enough to send the women (or at least the feminists) of Toronto and other cities into the streets in a series of ‘slut walks.’

One woman wore a sexy outfit with the words “rape me” written on herself. Clearly someone must be punished for all this rape, even if no one has actually been convicted of anything. Conspicuously absent from all these accusations is any presumption of innocence or recognition that in a free society crime is supposed to be adjudicated case-by-case according to due process of law, with protection for the rights of the accused and weighing of evidence by a jury. Instead, we see mob justice at its most incendiary, driven by political ideologues demanding arrests and convictions regardless of evidence. The National Organization for Women called for Strauss-Kahn’s head on the presumption of his guilt. ‘NOW will closely monitor how law enforcement, the courts, and the media handle the Strauss-Kahn case,’ the feminists warned.

‘What harm can it do?’ we all asked back in the 1960’s when the sexual revolution began and we declared that recreational sex between ‘consenting adults’ was nobody’s business. Well, we are now seeing precisely what harm it can do. Ideologues and the wielders of state power have turned our fun into a crime and are using our license to destroy our freedom, with hardly a word of opposition.

As usual, the cost will be paid not by the high and mighty but by those ordinary people not protected by the glare of media publicity or by Strauss-Kahn’s French Socialist Party, who loudly reminded the world of the ‘presumption of innocence’ but whose feminist cadres grant no similar presumption to lesser men hauled up on fabricated rape charges. If there is justice in this humiliation of the powerful, it is not that of the criminal justice system, which has been seriously corrupted by Stalinist feminism, but of a God who ensures that ‘the postman always rings twice’.

The presumption of guilt against those who cannot afford Strauss-Kahn’s seven-figure defence is apparent in the attack on Clarke, who dared to hint at the unmentionable truth that rape charges today are a massive miscarriage of justice. It is manifest in the ‘slut walks,’ where sexual display becomes nose-thumbing at men spending decades in prison on trumped-up charges.

Dressed in sexually provocative clothing and with signs proclaiming ‘Slut Pride’ and ‘Proud Slut,’ marchers revealingly proclaim their intent to ‘take back the word “slut”.’ ‘Sluts and Allies, Unite!’ declared a speaker. These unseemly displays of sexual anger were ostensibly set off by a policeman’s incautious but hardly inflammatory remarks to a handful of women that enticing clothing may be unwise. ‘While we are proud of our sexuality,’ one speaker declared oddly, ‘it is by no means an invitation to violence.’

Of course no one ever said that it is. The policeman’s words (at a safety forum) were no more than what a father might advise his daughter. Would he be ‘blaming the victim’ and deserving of feminist invective or concerned about her safety? Indeed, any father of a daughter will recognize the adolescent sartorial rebellion on display in Toronto and elsewhere.

The harmless words became the occasion for a huge tantrum of undress in at least four countries. Far from suggesting that all this alleged rape might be reason to encourage some sexual restraint, we see women marching in their underwear, defiantly proclaiming their right to ‘be sexual,’ and celebrating sex as a virtue to be indulged for its own sake with no consequences.

As with ‘Gay Pride’ demonstrations, this public exhibitionism is far out of proportion to any political point such as protecting women, who in industrial countries are the safest people in history. What we are seeing is the unleashing of deeper passions coupled with the ancient and uniquely feminine power to use sex for political manipulation. People who instinctively understand that this saturation of the public discourse with sex cannot possibly be healthy, have trouble articulating precisely why. The reasons are very concrete. What is going on here is the blending of sexual and political radicalism in a dangerously authoritarian mix. The rationalization behind this sexual-political anger is that encouraging modesty is ‘blaming the victim’ for ill-defined but allegedly widespread and tolerated sexual ‘violence’. But no evidence supports this hysteria. It is not a defensive measure to prevent ‘violence against women’; it is an aggressive grab for, as the feminists say, ‘power and control’.

Here too the presumption of innocence is simply ignored and instead we see mob justice fuelled by sexual energy. What chance will a man accused of rape have for a fair trial in Toronto or any other city that has witnessed an angry mob of screaming, half-naked women—especially with officials subject to politically doctrinaire ‘sensitivity training’ that the Toronto Police Department say they have implemented? That training includes the feminist insistence that rape is ‘political’ and therefore the accused are always guilty.

The feminist principle that ‘women never lie’ about rape is unchallengeable in the media, academia, and the criminal justice system itself. ‘Although it may not be “politically correct” to question the veracity of a woman’s complaint of rape, failing to consider whether the accuser may be intentionally lying effectively eradicates the presumption of innocence,’ writes forensic examiner Bruce Gross. ‘This constitutional right is especially significant when dealing with allegations of rape, as in most jurisdictions sex offences are the only crimes that do not require corroborating evidence for conviction.’

The few scholars brave enough to research rape objectively have demonstrated that the epidemic of false rape charges is now out of control and that innocent men are routinely railroaded into prison. ‘Any honest veteran sex assault investigator will tell you that rape is one of the most falsely reported crimes,’ says Colorado prosecutor Craig Silverman. Purdue University sociologist Eugene Kanin found that “41 per cent of the total disposed rape cases were officially declared false’ during a 9-year period, ‘that is, by the complainant’s admission that no rape had occurred and the charge, therefore, was false’. Unrecanted accusations certainly put the actual percentage much higher.

Yet innocence is no excuse. ‘Now people can be charged with virtually no evidence,’ says Boston sex crimes prosecutor Rikki Klieman. ‘If a female comes in and says she was sexually assaulted, then on her word alone, with nothing else—and I mean nothing else, no investigation—the police will go out and arrest someone.’ Almost daily we see men released after decades in prison because DNA tests prove they were wrongly convicted. And they are the fortunate ones. While DNA testing has righted some wrongs, the corruption of the rape industry is so systemic that, as demonstrated in the 2006 accusations against Duke University lacrosse players, clear evidence of innocence is no barrier to prosecution and conviction. ‘A defendant who can absolutely prove his innocence—most obviously Reade Seligmann in the lacrosse case—can nonetheless still be convicted, based solely on the word of the accuser,’ write Stuart Taylor and K C Johnson in their book on that case.

High profile cases are the exceptions that prove the rule. Even with intensive media coverage, prosecutors charge men they know to be innocent, such as the Duke lacrosse players, and feminist prosecutors pursue cases, like Julian Assange, where everyone knows that no rape took place. Most cases are ignored altogether. “Nobody dependent on the mainstream media for information about rape would have any idea how frequent false claims are,’ write Taylor and Johnson. ‘Most journalists simply ignore evidence contradicting the feminist line.’ Almost all the cases investigated by various projects involve rape. To the rape industry convicting people of crimes is a virtue for its own sake. ‘The real scandal, when it comes to rape, is that only 6 per cent of rapes reported to the police end in a conviction,’ writes Christina Patterson in The Independent. Regardless of the evidence? Perhaps it is because so many of the reports are fabrications to begin with. Why have trials and juries and due process of law, when Ms Patterson knows they are guilty?

Perhaps it is only when we stand in the dock ourselves, faced with trumped-up charges and Ms. Patterson’s demand that our verdict be used to create politically acceptable statistics, that we begin to see through the optical illusion concocted by ideologues. In The Prison and the Gallows, feminist Marie Gottschalk attributes our rapidly expanding ‘prison state’ not to law-and-order conservatives but to rape and domestic violence campaigns. Gottschalk demonstrates how feminists have long been our most authoritarian pressure group, ‘uncritically pushing for more enhanced policing powers’.

So the moralists’ cliché that sexual license undermines civilization turns out to be true. Sexual indulgence has debilitated our willingness to defend freedom and left us all—left, centre, and right—acquiescing in an authoritarian ideology with an insatiable thirst for incarceration. We thump our chests in triumph over Osama bin Laden but cower in impotence before women in high heels. The licentiousness of every radical regime from the Bolsheviks to the Nazis shows where this leads, but we are the first to elevate sexual decadence to the top of the political agenda.

Stephen BaskervilleStephen Baskerville is IAI’s Senior Fellow in Political Science and Human Rights. He is Associate Professor of Government at Patrick Henry College and Research Fellow at the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society and at the Independent Institute.

This article was originally published in the Autumn 2011 issue of the Salisbury Review..

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute.

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