Sunday, September 23, 2018

"It's Understandable That Ford Didn't Come Forward Sooner"

Of course it is.
But that doesn't alter the fact that she didn't.
   The anti-Kavanaugh forces are trying to make skepticism about the accusations into misogyny / rape apologism. Those are straw men. No one's criticizing women who don't come forward right away. The point isn't that she did something wrong. The point is that, having not come forward sooner, her 30-year-later accusation can't, by itself, be used as the sole justification for believing that someone committed sexual assault.


Anonymous Critical Spirts said...

I think they will tell you there is some data lurking in the background that suggests the frequency with which woman make false rape claims is relatively small. So, I think they make the inference that given the data, all other things being equal a rape claim should be weighed heavily as evidence for its veracity.

I don't buy the argument because I'm not sure about how those statistics are gathered. Then again, I don't really reject it either. I think its important to at least go after the background assumptions because they're doing a lot of the work in the debate.

I am suspicious of these statistics popping up so frequently within the past five years or so. Doesn't seem like a long enough time to draw such decisive conclusions about these things. Also: political dialogue is *totally* influencing the attention rape gets in the research.

10:22 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Yeah, "2-8%" is what I see around. I don't deny it, but I'm skeptical. I've seen analyses showing that some studies are actually determining how many reports are *proven* false--obviously a completely different thing.

The left politicizes this stuff so assiduously that I just tend to be skeptical of all of it.

It wouldn't surprise me if the false report rates were low. But it wouldn't particularly surprise me if they weren't. And it would surprise me if surprising me were a good indicator of truth in this context.

Also, those estimates aim to measure *false reports to the cops.* The smart guess, obvs, is that there are more false accusations not reported to the cops than there are false accusations reported to the cops.

Also, feminists like to point out that victims are hesitant to make reports in part because of shame...but IMO that's not going to be the same kind of factor in the case of a false report.

7:13 AM  
Anonymous Critical Spirits said...

Yeah, they make the tend to make the additional claim that most rapes are not reported. Now, I'm *really* unsure as to how they land on this conclusion-- if they are unreported, then how do we know about them?

As I understand it, those numbers are based on i) the confessions of convicted rapists, and ii) projections, and possibly other factors as well.

I'd also like to point out an asymmetry in the way people typically think about these things. Most folks won't deny that prison rapes are abundant in number, but those are nary reported because, well, "snitches get stitches." I'd say there are some further background assumptions in those cases to the tune of "well all sorts of terrible things happen in prison, so it isn't hard to believe that rapes occur frequently in there."

Anyway, I think this issue is really important, and we should *absolutely* care if reported rapes generally aren't false, but these associations deserve more careful attention-- and reasonably dispassionate attention at that.

I'd also like to know if all other things being equal rape accusations waged against public figures (especially in times of political turbulence) *ought* in some way undermine our beliefs in their veracity. The supplementary evidence makes all the difference in these cases, however.

Also, the distinction you make in the first paragraph is interesting. I'll need to think about it more.

8:34 AM  

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