Malice wrote:I'm not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, it's great for those who have been falsely accused. On the other hand, part of my brain can't help but go "But what if a real rapist gets out on bail and is able to go around raping people because they don't know he's been arrested?"
What we need is some sort of legal procedure to determine which accusations are false and which defendants are guilty. Perhaps argued by people called "lawmigators" and judged by a group of random citizens known as a "citigroup". Hm.
Joking aside, I can understand that this might reduce the report percentage, if an important reason for reporting for some people is "everyone will know the truth about him", but even then, you get what you want after a trial.
I wonder what would happen in celebrity cases. How would you keep that secret? Would the state prosecute those who revealed identities? Would that necessarily stop the media from doing it?
The media could be stopped by a publication ban.
Some quick stats I've been able to scrounge up:
The vast majority of rape prosecutions in the UK (well over 90%) end in aquittals.
The last semi-best guess is that 9% of rape reports are false reports, in the UK. In 1996, the FBI found 8% of rape charges to be unfounded (not including cases which were simply dropped or the woman refused to cooperate, for any reason.) This last dis-inclusion skews the stats in unpredictable ways, as so many cases simply go unreported. Depending on who's doing the study, apparently, the number can drop to as low as 2% (or, very improbably, rise to 50%. Not likely.)
Clearly, the whole system needs an overhaul. Since part of the problem with reporting seems to be the humiliation involved in the process, perhaps greater privacy all around may help more than hurt reporting chances.
There's also another link in that article Focus on rape conviction rates stopping women coming forward, warns Stern.
Essentially, these laws prevent the police from getting corroborating evidence (from other women who were raped but didn't come forward), they send a message that we'd rather make sure that men are safe from rape accusations (whether false or true), rather than making sure women are safe from rape, and they have been shown to be a problem in the past.
That's why it's bad. Yes. It's horrible to be accused of rape. It's horrible to be accused of fraud or Murder. But, it's also horrible to be raped. And providing protections for the accused sends the message that they're more important than the accuser. That those who are accusing are making false accusations, and that they're causing problems.
You're going to have a problem with lying. In all levels of crime. There are people who lie about murderers and burglars. But that doesn't mean we protect those who were accused. Protecting the accused in rape cases is saying that they're special, and need extra protection.
A very wise point. Many, though not most, rapists are serial rapists with multiple victims. Corroborating testimony, sparked by the courage of one woman, can be vital in bringing a criminal to justice.
I wonder if this has anything to do with the over-streatched technical standards needed to obtain a conviction (technicalities and inflated evidentiary standards meant to protect, as you say, the falsely accused over the victims.) However, properly managed it is a decisive weapon to use against these creeps.
Not to mention that the public shaming is probably a greater deterrent to other would-be pyschos than the prospect of jail time.
Thank you for your post. You've made me entirely reevaluate this proposal. If only others could make the argument as clearly and persuasively as you have here, these would be happier boards.
The message about "who we care about more," however, is a bad one.
We care about justice, and right and wrong categorically and absolutely. Treating different types of victims as competeing parties and interests is wrong, and ought to be assiduously avoided. Just because the law cares for the falsely accused does not mean they care for rape victims any less; it just means that we have broad responsibilities as a society and need to take all of them seriously, and can't abandon people simply because it offends an imaginary hierarchy.
EDIT: It occurs to me that this is doubly topical considering the scandal involving rape in the Roman Catholic Church. The Church had such a "veil of secrecy" to "protect the accused and accusers from shame".... and we know how that ended. It became a shield from behind which the guilty could conspire to protect themselves and propogate child abuse and rape on an international scale.
This approach was a disaster in the Catholic Church. And since there are more abusive coaches than priests, under the jurisdiction of the secular courts, this could be a greater child-abuse disaster in the making than the making Joseph Ratzinger Chief Inquisitor.