False Accusations

One of the most common objections I see to ideas like being able to name abusers on Fetlife and the Fetlife predator alert tool is “false accusations!!!11! what about all the false accusations?!!1!” What about them, you stupid fucks?

For starters, while the data on false sexual assault accusations is terrible, what little there is simply does not show that false accusers run rampant, merrily destroying men’s lives. To quote the linked article:

So if the percentage of reported cases with false accusations is measured at 4%, how does this egregious harm compare to the big picture?

Just under 1.5%. For the record, 2% is the average false criminal accusation rate per the FBI. This is certainly not scientific, and it can’t be. Too much of this analysis rests on the unknowable – that which is never calculated or tabbed. The point of the exercise is to show the potential impact of conservative impact expectations. The point is to show that the data used to justify these positions doesn’t do what you want it to do.

Or have a look at this Huffington Post article which says that:

The “trailblazing” research, the first of its kind, has discovered that false allegations of rape and domestic violence are “very rare”, with only a very small number of cases where there was enough evidence and it was considered in the public interest to prosecute.

Given how rare false sexual assault accusations actually are, why does every goddamn discussion about sexual assault or any attempt to prevent it get derailed by misogynistic shitbags whining and crying about false accusations?

Shockingly enough, it’s because they’re misogynistic shitbags (and let’s not forget how closely intertwined sexism and domism are). It’s the only logical explanation.

If false accusations in general were important to those wastes of space, every discussion of non-sexual crimes like murder, assault, theft, and vandalism would be equally choked with pointless whining about how important it is not to just believe the victim, and reminders that people’s lives get ruined by false accusations of murder.

If racially biased false accusations were important to the “false accusations!!111!” whiners, we’d all hear a lot more about how Arkansas police beat Barry Lee Fairchild until he confessed to a murder he didn’t commitIllinois police coerced 10 black teens into confessing to crimes they didn’t commitChicago Police Detective Jon Burge  and his officers tortured hundreds of people until they confessed, and NYPD’s stop and frisk policy is used to harass disproportionate numbers of black and Hispanic men.

If justice was important to those little shits, they’d be delighted to hear about strong cases and good policework putting rapists behind bars.

But sadly, none of those things happen. What does happen is pathetic manchildren dealing with their fear and hatred of women by derailing every discussion about women being victimized and trying to discredit every survivor who dares to so much as tell anyone she was raped.

I honestly don’t know what’s so terrifying about a discussion not revolving around men, but it’s not unique to discussions of sexual assault. It’s basically impossible to talk about the incredibly misogynistic portrayals of women in video games without some asshat jumping in to say that the men are objectified in games the exact same way women are (they’re not), game producers are just doing what sells (bullshit), and women don’t play games so it doesn’t matter anyway (lie). I’m not sure how these people make it through the day if they’re so fragile that they can’t bear to read an article about ridiculous bullshit in video games without having to make it all about them.

That’s pretty sad, but what’s worse is the horror these men seem to feel at the (ludicrously overstated) idea that any woman might ever, in any circumstances, have the tiniest bit of power over any man. It’s no coincidence that the crime they’re most eager to discredit all accusations of is the one seen as something men do to women. The victims of that crime don’t matter to them at all, all they seem to care about is the purely ridiculous idea that with one word from a woman the police will whisk them away to prison, never to be seen or heard from again. As an aside, that’s not how it works. If you’re going to be afraid of someone falsely accusing you, be afraid of the cops. If you read any of those links up there, you might’ve noticed that they, not female victims, are the ones who decide who to accuse and then beat a confession out of.

Also, all of those links up there are about people going to the police with their accusations. As stated in my last post, kinky people have a multitude of very good reasons not to bother taking sexual assault accusations to the police. Given that, the worst people in the scene really have to worry about is their reputations being damaged, which could make it harder to find play partners. Oh noes! Clearly the sky will fall in and the Earth will crash into the sun if it takes more work for you to get your perv on.

Derail and whine and cry as much as you want to, just remember that if you’re going to do that you might as well wear a sign that says “I’m a misogynistic/domist shitbag who cares more about my reputation in the scene and my continued access to pussy than I do about your safety”.

10 thoughts on “False Accusations

  1. Ugh. I was just having this very conversation. (I’ve got derailing rape-apologist trolls coming out of the walls right now.)

    It’s incredibly frustrating and yet somehow sort of reassuring to know that that no, it’s not just me, these assholes really are everywhere spouting the exact same Bingo calls (is there some kind of school for assholery, or what? how do they say the same easily-refuted shit, right down to the word?? it really is remarkable).

    Silver lining: I don’t think they’ll ever figure out that spouting this crap is in fact like wearing a giant I’m-a-piece-of-shit sign.

    • Silver lining: I don’t think they’ll ever figure out that spouting this crap is in fact like wearing a giant I’m-a-piece-of-shit sign.

      At least there’s that. Not so long ago there was a discussion about having an official anti-harassment policy for our local group – it never actually got off the ground, but it was interesting (read: disturbing) to see how many people openly opposed it. It’s like they just can’t make the connection between the shit they say and people deciding not to trust them.

      • I can not be more clear about this: any effort to use laws to “help” BDSM Scene members by protecting that class of people from supposed “discrimination” is FUNDAMENTALLY FLAWED BY PREMISE, and is itself an effort that enables abusers and does nothing else.

        That so many people in the BDSM Scene support it signals one and only one thing: intensely internalized domism.

        There is no common ground here. BDSM practitioners do NOT have nor should they have any protection from governments or law enforcement policies treating them as a marginalized group because they are not one.

        Every single argument purporting to detail social stigmas against BDSM practitioners in specific are exactly the same stigmas that any sexually vocal person faces regardless of BDSM affiliations and it is therefore literally an insane re-perpetration of oppression culture to attempt eradicating that stigma by claiming “special” discriminations against BDSM’ers, specifically.

        Doing BDSM or being a kinky person does not make you special. Being kinky is not an ethnicity. It is not a nationality. It is not a disability. It is not a race.

        For fuck’s sake, literally, STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING.

        • I’d like to see BDSM groups have official anti-harassment policies for the same reason I’d like to see just about every organization involving more than maybe 10 people have an official anti-harassment policy: because it spells out precisely what’s not okay so nobody can whine about how they didn’t know, and because it sends a signal that the organizers of said group recognize that harassment happens and have something not entirely unlike a plan to deal with it. To my mind, not having any sort of policy says “we don’t want to think about or hear about harassment”. Basically, I think it can’t hurt to have an actual policy people can look at and discuss instead of just a vague, “try not to be a jerk, unless you’re friends with the organizers or a good volunteer, in which case we’ll sweep anything you do wrong under the rug.”

          • Sorry, let me clarify. I am not against anti-harassment policies and I agree with you that BDSM orgs need to have them.

            What I’m saying, however, is that having them is at best a shitty way to paper over a problem that “BDSM groups” themselves create by their very existence.

  2. Not derailing at all (in fact I mostly agree with your post), but I believe you are leaving an important factor out of this reasoning.

    As any objective person learns after spending some time in the BDSM Scene, both off- and online, the Scene itself is unfortunately a magnet for people with social or personal issues, often (even unconsciously) looking to build a new, improved and sadly entirely imaginary identity for them. Where other contexts or groups would reject those people, the legendary open mindedness, acceptance and tolerance of BDSMers allows them to express their delusions undisturbed.

    We all know douchebags labelling themselves ‘Masters’ to unleash their aggression and abusive behavior onto others with impunity; we all met borderline “slaves” lost in their own fantasies; we all witnessed human failures using the BDSM Scene as an easier hunting ground to desperately score a fuck or some affection.
    Some of these persons, who in other contexts would keep their worst sides under control, just don’t think twice before unjustly slandering who they see as their “enemies” or “competitors” in the BDSM arena. In my 25 years of practice, I have witnessed several such cases – all of them but one without consequences, yet a heavy food for thoughts. In one exemplary case, a rejected sub had the police break into the home of the “evil” Domme with the accusation of having forced her dog to sodomize the unwilling man. Luckily, the dog in question was a female. But you see how the outcome would have been much worse than a blemish on her reputation.

    Again, I wholeheartedly agree on the need for a stronger accountability culture. But I think an intelligent observer like you should consider this aspect too.

    • I’m not saying being falsely accused wouldn’t suck a whole lot, just that false accusations are so rare that they shouldn’t be allowed to derail discussions about preventing abuse.

      Also, if someone falsely accuses me “in public” using a tool like PAT-Fetlife, that actually harms me less than them quietly telling all of their friends that I’m dangerous. If I know that a) I’m being accused of something, and b) what it is, I can defend myself. There’s no way for people to defend themselves from the way my community currently handles issues, which is to tell each other who to stay away from without confronting the problem person.

      However, even the campaign of whispers we use to try to keep each other safe isn’t that scary. If I hear from someone I don’t know that so-and-so is a big jerk, I’ll be cautious around them while I look for my own evidence. When a couple people tell me the same thing, I worry a little more. When half a dozen people all tell me the same thing, I stay the fuck away from that person. It’s more about patterns and frequency of accusations than it is about any one person’s story.

  3. First, the important categorical difference between rape, sexual assault, and crimes of that category and murder, theft, vandalism, etc., cited above as far as determining criminal from noncriminal conduct is that the EXACT SAME SET OF FACTS may be present when a rape, sexual assault, etc., has occurred and when a mutually consensual act has occurred, but for the presence or absence of a particular mental state (consent). The evidence after the fact of that critical distinguishing fact is often only the words of the alleged victim and alleged perpetrator. This is all the more complicated given that many or most of the acts which people practice as BDSM would look, absent knowledge that the encounter is consensual, exactly like those crimes (the post immediately preceding this one discussed the difficulty that law enforcement has in getting up to speed on the norms and practices within a subculture like BDSM with its own tools for dealing with consent). This means that the basic categorical problem of sorting out consensual from nonconsensual encounters will be all the more serious in a BDSM context, in which what would otherwise be circumstantial evidence of lack of consent (injuries, the use of restraints, struggling and resistance, screaming, etc.) can likewise be reasonably expected to be present in a consensual BDSM encounter.

    Second, the numbers cited above as to what percentage of reported sexual assaults are determined by law enforcement to be false by definition deals only with those cases of sexual assault that were reported to and investigated by law enforcement in the first place. I’ll point out in passing the mental gymnastics undertaken here through which law enforcement were excoriated as “ignorant trolls” in the last post with regards to their handling of sexual assault claims, while in this post their conclusions and data as to the same claims are treated as authoritative.

    For the broader purposes of this debate though, it should be pointed out though that law enforcement has at its disposal a set of rigorous and far-reaching fact-finding tools and protections to verify or disprove allegations—trained investigators, warrants and subpoenas, scientific investigative methods, experience interviewing and interrogating witnesses and suspects, the ability to proceed with a case sometimes even with an uncooperative victim, sovereign immunity, and so forth—which none of these DIY methods or proposals have (and, in the case of maymay’s database, which I’ve said in the past is an invitation to a landmark Internet defamation test case in the near future, is maintained with admitted disregard for the truth of allegations). It’s not reasonable to expect that data on the percentage of allegations of sexual assault that are determined to be false following a report to the police and an investigation would be predictive of what would come out of a process that lacks all of these tools and safeguards.

    • I’ll point out in passing the mental gymnastics undertaken here through which law enforcement were excoriated as “ignorant trolls” in the last post with regards to their handling of sexual assault claims, while in this post their conclusions and data as to the same claims are treated as authoritative.

      Nope. To quote the article I linked above:

      The data is plagued by rape culture. The studies most frequently cited by those stumping on behalf of the falsely accused have been the subject of criticism in subsequent studies for failing to qualitatively evaluate the methodologies of the case categorizations. Many found that police officers frequently used subjective judgment calls in dismissing cases as unfounded. Other studies found direct evidence of bias in such dismissals when studied in the field.

      In studies where data was not provided but gathered in the field, the methodologies used for determining a false report were suspect (and that’s putting it nicely – they would classify a report as false if the victim did not appear “disheveled”).

      In other words, the rate of false accusations is lower than law enforcement agencies say it is. They’re calling accusations false when there isn’t enough evidence to get a conviction, or because of stupid bullshit they believe thanks to rape culture. That’s a very different thing from the malicious false accusations which everyone is so frightened of.

      This means that the basic categorical problem of sorting out consensual from nonconsensual encounters will be all the more serious in a BDSM context, in which what would otherwise be circumstantial evidence of lack of consent (injuries, the use of restraints, struggling and resistance, screaming, etc.) can likewise be reasonably expected to be present in a consensual BDSM encounter.

      That’s true. The thing is, I’m fine with tops being vulnerable to accusations of assault, sexual or otherwise. In the scene as it is now, bottoms are extremely vulnerable to malicious and/or incompetent tops harming them. I don’t see a problem with tops’ reputations and livelihood being as vulnerable as bottoms’ bodies and mental health are.

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