Rape victim or rape accuser?

February 5th, 2011 by Pelle Billing

A state legislator in Georgia has suggested that the term “rape victim” be changed to “rape accuser”, unless there has been a conviction.

The Huffington Post article on the matter displays a subtle outrage at this suggestion, by focusing on how many rapes are never reported and what this suggestion might do to deter even more victims.

I believe that the Huffington Post are wrong, and that they are completely unaware of what the real issue is here.

Women (or men) that are raped will not be affected negatively by changing the term in the proposed way. In fact, being the accuser is a position of action – you could even say strength – and that is very much a desired position within the judicial system. If you have been raped, you need all the strength and all the help you can get to pull through the ordeal that a trial can be.

The ones who may have a hard time with the proposed changes are false accusers. If you haven’t been raped, but plan to level a false accusation, being labeled the accuser might make you think twice about what you are doing. You may face charges for what you are doing, and this clarity may help deter women (and men) who never were raped.

However, the real issue here is not the proportion of rapes that are reported, nor is it the number of rape accusations that are actually false. The real issue is that if we (judicially) refer to a person as a rape victim, then we must have a perpetrator. This means that simply being accused puts you in the role of the perpetrator! The presumption of innocence holds that anyone is innocent until proven guilty, and this assumption is eroded by using the term rape victim before there has been a conviction.

The suggestion coming out of Georgia is a sound one, even if the Huffington Post is unable to tease apart the important perspectives.

14 Responses to “Rape victim or rape accuser?”

  1. ray Says:

    “I believe that the Huffington Post are wrong, and that they are completely unaware of what the real issue is here.”

    no, Pelle, if it were mere ignorance on the part of Huffington Post, it’d be relatively simple to correct

    as an integral part of the west’s misandrist Medea, the Huffington Post is well-aware of the “real issue” — they just don’t care, because the people at risk are males, and males (especially in amerika) are lesser-class citizens

    deny due process to FEMALES — or indicate by proscriptive language that FEMALES are already Perpetrators before “trial” and that bastion of righteousness, the Huffington Post, would quickly change its bleat

    the Huffington Post and the rest of the Medea shills intend to see that males remain in permanent scapegoat status, especially in context of Ms. Amerika and her just-sis sistem, and terming rape accusers “victims” is simply one plank in their supremacist hate ma-sheen

    cheers

    ray

  2. hopeless_case Says:

    This will be a fascinating story to watch unfold. Which side will the various mainstream feminist sites weigh in on this and which sites will chose to ignore the story altogether?

  3. The Zeta Male Says:

    I really didn’t think about the concept that the people most concerned would be those making false accusations.

    I was more focused on the fact most people thought this would prevent getting assistance to those that might be rape victims until after a trial, when most people want to help them ASAP

    at the same time its hard to give support and not imply that the person on the other side of the courtroom is guilty or if a rape even happened.

    Its all a painfully delicate balance.

  4. fondueguy Says:

    “The real issue is that if we (judicially) refer to a person as a rape victim, then we must have a perpetrator. This means that simply being accused puts you in the role of the perpetrator! The presumption of innocence holds that anyone is innocent until proven guilty, and this assumption is eroded by using the term rape victim before there has been a conviction.”

    Exactly, if you call someone a victim in the court then it only becomes a matter of finding who did it. If someone must be guilty then you only need to find the person most likely to be guilty which goes against a fair defense. Calling someone a victim implies there is no false rape reporting which happens and is an important defense.

    The accusers are supposed to prove the crime did happen, thus prove victimhood, and that it was the defendant who did it.

    Of course other departments, places of support, can take the persons victimhood at face value as long as it does not interfere with a persons fair defense.

  5. Pelle Billing Says:

    Exactly, It’s only in court that we have to be careful.

    TZM, does that address your concerns as well?

  6. Jim Says:

    “the west’s misandrist Medea,”

    ray, I knw that was a typo, but it’s just too righteous to let go by. Very well said!

    “I was more focused on the fact most people thought this would prevent getting assistance to those that might be rape victims until after a trial, when most people want to help them ASAP”

    This misconception comes out of a failure to distinguish between threapy for rape victims and jsutice for everyone in the criminal justice system. There are those who clearly think that justice/vengeance for the victims is part of the therapy process, but that view does not deserve even a respectful rebuttal. It barbaric.

  7. The Zeta Male Says:

    Pelle, it does but it wasn’t my focus. False accusations weren’t what came to mind right away and wasn’t what I was really thinking about. I also didn’t consider that those who might make such an accusation might be the biggest opposition to the change. I sort of kicked into applied sociology mode and played around with the concept of labeling and the desire to support victims and not believe people can lie about something as terrible as rape.

  8. Pelle Billing Says:

    TZM: OK.

  9. Jim Says:

    “not believe people can lie about something as terrible as rape.”

    If people who have been raped ever lie about being raped, it’s to deny it, not to falsely acuse someone. It’s people who haven’t been raped that make the lying accusations. and they do it for the most sociopathically and amorally trivial of reasons. False Rape Society (a blog) documented one instance where a women raped a minor boy and got a minor girl to threaten to acuse him of rape if he ever told anyone. But most reasons behind fase rape accusations are most more trivial – fear of having consensual sex found out by a parent or SSO, to explain away being out too late, to extort this or that, to cover the woman’s own rape of the man (she forces him to have sex but claims instead he rspaed her).

  10. hopeless_case Says:

    Jim:

    I am always amazed at people who have a hard time believing that a woman would do something as horrible as lying about being raped, yet have no trouble believing that a man would rape a woman.

    Such a position can only come from the belief that men are capable of horrible behavior and women are not. In short, the theory of female supremacy.

  11. patrick grady Says:

    I left a similar sentiment in the huffpo comments section.

  12. Jim Says:

    Patrick, it amazes me that such an article appeared there in the first place. That is real progres. It’s one thing to have posts decrying FRAs on MRA blogs, it’s quite something else to see it on a mainstream, widely read liberal blog.

  13. Hexe Says:

    Hmm, updating the jargon makes a lot of good sense, but really, the process itself is what is broken, and it needs structural repair more urgently before it needs a lick of paint.

    However, it’s a good first step towards tackling the problem.

  14. Hubert Says:

    Keep in mind that before any rape cases go to court, there are processes in which the victim goes through to show that there is enough evidence to actually prove that the victim, in fact, is a victim (not just a false accuser). You say the majority of rape cases are false allegations, when in fact, it’s actually less than 40%. By changing the terms ‘victim’ to ‘accuser’, it is a possibility that the already underreported rape crimes would decrease because victims will be more susceptible to being “accused” that they were telling a lie. Besides, serious crimes like these should be taken seriously and those who truly make “false accusations” are usually famous stars who can get their way by winning popularity (take Kobe Bryant for example). It’s sad how such a bill was even mentioned.


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