Rape Accusations – Real or False?

In the past year or so, we’ve seen an explosion of discussions on both Fetlife and in the blogosphere about the problem of rape and abuse in the BDSM community, many of which I’ve commented on and linked to in other posts both here on this blog and elsewhere.  There is unfortunately a widespread belief that the majority of these accusations are false, and often motivated by a desire for revenge on the part of a jilted lover.

Well, let me tell you right now that not only is this patently untrue, but according to a recent article in The Guardian, even the widespread belief that most such accusations are bogus is actually undermining the investigation of them all.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that it follows from this that far fewer real rapists and abusers will be brought to justice when even the police mistakenly believe that most reports are false and don’t even bother to investigate them all diligently as a result.

Think about this for a moment.  Even the most heinous cases of rape or assault may suffer from a preexisting prejudice against even the claim that it happened, and official tendency to blow off all such claims as false.  Real victims of real crimes have a hard enough time obtaining justice without the entire system being prejudiced against them from the start like this.

This goes well beyond the old blame-the-victim mentality that has unfortunately already been around for eons to actually saying that people are lying about even being a victim to start with.  Allegedly as a matter of course.

I grow very tired of hearing the cries of “they are lying cause I dumped them” excuse…

So said a friend of mine in a discussion about the question of false accusations in a group called Critical Curmudgeons of Kink, an outpost of sanity in a crazy BDSM world, where such sacred community cows are routinely slaughtered, and where fools are not suffered gladly.

I get really tired of this too, my friend.  And even more tired of having been accused of the same myself.

I am tired of knowing that my ex is likely telling any new women he might decide to take up with that if they encounter me talking about what he did to me that I’m lying, and then regaling them with the same range of stories about how awful I am that he fed me about his then-wife when we first met, the one I later found out he’d lied to me then about being separated from.  Stories that I know will prevent them from even contacting me for a reference, or believing what I have to say, even though it’s information they really ought to have in order to keep themselves safe, because leopards don’t change their spots…

So, I’m particularly glad that there is information surfacing showing how low the rate of false accusations really is – and the distorted way of compiling the data.

It can’t come too soon, in my opinion.  The “blame the victim” culture in this country (and especially in kink circles) has simply got to stop.

My friend continues:

I will also point out that often charges being dropped are counted as false accusations when the reality is there was not enough evidence to take to trial not that it was actually a false accusation.

The Guardian article bears this out as well.

Which is part of why I am so vehemently opposed to the whole disgraceful “conviction or it didn’t happen” attitude we see so much of in our circles.

Most of these cases, even the most legitimate ones, never even get to trial, but not because it didn’t happen.

What’s more (and even more outrageous), when these cases that get dropped get counted as false accusations when they are in fact anything but, even the data that does exist about false accusations is distorted, showing a higher rate than is justified in reality.

Anyone with a brain intuitively rejects the idiotic notion that most (or even a lot of) accusations are false, especially since we all know perfectly well how badly the system itself routinely batters victims attempting to get justice.

As my friend (who has publicly mentioned personal experience with the matter) continues:

However it is still a huge gap between false accusations and convicted rapes, and I can tell you that a decent prosecutor will inform the victim of the you did it to yourself shit they will have to go through and many opt out at that point to save their sanity.

Very true.  We are all perfectly well aware of how this “blame the victim” business works, and how it is the victim herself who essentially ends up on trial in such cases when they do get to that point.

To which I’d only add that this is so if it even gets anywhere near a prosecutor to start with.  Which it often doesn’t.

By the time I finally reported the multiple rapes and nonconsensual battery (and resulting injuries) to which I had been subjected myself by a former dominant, for example, still well within the statute of limitations, the cop didn’t even want to take the report, and refused to even investigate it, telling me to my face that he thought it was a case of sour grapes by that point, or would at least be seen that way.  No way did he even go near the DA with the case.

And frankly, I was too afraid of the dominant in question to even try to insist he do so, among other things.

If anyone else gets hurt by this now-prominently placed jagoff, however, I will go to my grave regretting that I never reported it sooner.  Regretting that I suffered for months (and now years) in silence (from a legal point of view) and in physical agony without even going to the doctor or emergency room when I knew I should have to address some of the injuries, because you always think it will be better by morning…

Which was the main reason I finally stepped forward when I did – to at least *try* to protect anyone else from being victimized by him, since nothing in the world can ever repair the damage he did to me, both physical and emotional.  To at least try to ensure there’s a trail, for the next person…

I have spent tens of thousands of dollars since then coping with the injuries and fallout from them, however.  One of them has played a large role in costing me my ability to even function physically on a daily basis.  As such, it’s a never-ending daily reminder of what he did to me – which also always circles back around to the rapes and other violations of limits.

Interestingly, his last (or maybe it’s now the next-to-last?) submissive has actually moved halfway across the country now, following on the heels of comments that she suffered a “breakdown” after her relationship with him.  I can’t help but wonder what he might have put her through…  You really have to wonder about a dominant who’s collared more women than the years he’s been involved with them all collectively.

And my friend goes on:

While I do think there is a certain type of person with issues who does this in BDSM/Kink I think it is more about repeat offenses with the same people type ATTRACTED to BDSM/Kink that that it happens overall more in all society.

Indeed.

I’ve written a lot here in this blog and elsewhere about why I believe that BDSM is often used as a haven and shield to hide behind for many rapists and abusers.

No doubt there are some who are likewise into false accusations, but there is no reason to believe they constitute even a large percentage of such accusations anywhere, even in our circles, never mind “most”.

Bottom line, we are back to the point I always make – please BELIEVE people when they accuse others of rape or assault or abuse.  Do NOT blame the victim, do NOT try to minimize their experience.

You weren’t there, you weren’t in their shoes or their skin, and no matter what the perpetrator tells you to try to put his accuser in a bad light, you were not the one experiencing what he actually did to her, so you have no damn business judging.  (Fill in gender pronouns of your choice if others apply.)

Above all, please do NOT elevate those who are accused to positions of power and visibility where they can continue to harm others with the apparent blessings of the entire community.

Just because someone is an apparent leader in the community, or puts himself out there as an experienced mentor or assigner of mentors to mentees, or is well-liked, or a popular presenter, does not mean he’s necessarily a safe bet for anything at all. Check references carefully, insisting on talking to his earliest partners, and the ones with whom he is not on good terms, not just his current fan club.  Dig deep, don’t rely on surface appearances, no matter how nice he may seem, no matter how attractive or sexy or persuasive, no matter what fun toys he may have.  Talk to others to find out what they know about him and his current and former partners – and even who they disdain with respect to him, and then go talk to those people as well.  Don’t fall for that seductive domly come-on until you’ve really done your homework to establish that you are most likely actually in safe hands.

Just because someone who is accused of rape or other types of abuse may still do nice things upon occasion for his victim, either privately or publicly, whether within the ongoing relationship or long after the breakup, also doesn’t change the fact of the harm he did inflict upon her and the repercussions it has and might continue to have.  Some stains simply cannot be removed.

It is not the responsibility of the BDSM community or individuals within it to investigate allegations of rape, assault, abuse, etc. or to pass judgment about them much less establish penalties.

It is, however, the responsibility of every single one of us as human beings to extend compassion to the victims, and to honor them with at least believing them and helping them. To let them know that they are not alone, that they will not be blamed for coming forward, no matter how little others may believe what they say, or how hard their abusers may work to discredit them.

If you listen to tales of woe and claims of being falsely accused from someone who has been accused of rape or assault without also having an in-depth and open-minded and unblaming discussion about the matter with the victim, then you are judging with often much less than half the story, and with absolutely zero perspective about how that person was actually harmed.

(I myself have suffered at the hands of one who blamed another ex for all his woes, and made the mistake of believing it all at face value, only to ultimately find out exactly how he set everything up so that it might look, to him (and of course to anyone else he might describe the situation to), like it was actually she who was to blame, with nary a hint of insight into his own behavior or contribution to the problem.  I’ve often wished since then that I could talk to her, but believe she would not be receptive.  Let me state quite clearly here that I *am* receptive to talking to anyone else he might be involved with, or become involved with, present, future, or past, who would like to better understand what may have hit them, or just to commiserate, and I am likewise more than happy to share objective, specific, factually detailed, and documentable information about exactly what he did to me.  But I digress…)

The alternative to ensuring that we both believe and extend compassion to victims is what we’ve got now, a society in which the guilty know quite well that not only will they get away with their crimes, but that they will even be pitied themselves as the alleged victims of disgruntled exes with an axe to grind, or even be cast in the light of poor innocents like the two boys in Steubenville recently convicted of raping a classmate despite an actual conviction.

When we blame victims for their own assaults, and/or heap pity on their attackers, we lose a lot of our humanity both as individuals and as a community and a nation.

To all of you who have done this to me or to anyone else, while I don’t actually wish harm on any of you, I do hope that one day you will live to experience the pain of being blamed yourself for something that was done TO you by someone else, and watching your attacker go free and even be applauded and treated as a victim himself because you spoke out against him, left in peace to harm someone else who makes the mistake of trusting him inappropriately.  Or worse still, watch him be elevated into a position of trust where the chances of someone else being badly harmed are increased beyond the norm.

God forbid it should be your own daughter or niece who should suffer such indignities.  And God forbid they should be afraid to come to you for help for fear that you will blame them as well.

But if you are walking around talking about the compassion you feel for perpetrators, or how the victim had it coming to her for how she dressed or whatever, or accusing others of making false accusations just to get back at someone who dumped them when they speak up about mistreatment suffered at someone else’s hands, then this is exactly the message you will be sending, not just to your friends and acquaintances, but to your own loved ones, who very well may one day need your support to cope with the rape or assault that all women are statistically very likely to suffer at some point in time themselves.

If you’re not ready to pay that price in your own life, then for God’s sake, why would you engage in and encourage such behavior on the part of others otherwise?

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A Letter to The New Girlfriend of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

I didn’t write this letter, and a few of the specifics are different from some of my experiences (as they will be for all relationships), but yes, this.

This is exactly what it’s like, and what you’re in for when you end up with a person like this.  Been there, done that, got that t-shirt.  Beware that whirlwind and feeling of having hit the jackpot indeed – especially when it comes very rapidly on the heels of his last relationship (which should be a major red flag by itself)…

Whirlwinds like this do sometimes work out, but if you’re all caught up with someone and the description below even remotely matches your ga-ga state, please do at least consider the possibility that things are not quite what they appear at first.

The letter below is taken from Caught in the Cogs (who adds a lot of interesting commentary that a person might want to be aware of), who in turn got it from the About Relationships blog.  The post doesn’t seem to actually be on the original site any more, but there are a lot of good links about dealing with these types, how to identify cheating, etc., so I’m leaving the link in (also for clear attribution purposes, too, of course).  It’s long, but please do read through to the end; it’s well worth it.

Interestingly, a psychiatrist of my acquaintance, alarmed when I mentioned a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde in my own life, told me that this pattern is the single most common presentation of bipolar disorder.  I can now totally believe it.

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A Letter to The New Girlfriend of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde
by Dr. M. Analise Torelli, PhD.,MA,MSW,BS.

Dear New Girlfriend,

Let me preface this letter to you by acknowledging that you will not believe a word of it…just yet. Not for months, or even a year or two…or three…In fact, you may read it and go running to your amazing new man, your special King and newly found ‘soulmate’ for some reassurance that none of this is true. And he WILL tell you it is all a lie. He WILL deny everything. And I also expect that he will tell you it’s all the imaginings of his bitter ex-psycho GF. Oh yes, he will say, you are SO much better, his Princess, his One and Only Truest Love. And he will warn you not to ever believe a word of anything ANYONE ever says about him…unless it is all GOOD, of course! If you find out my real name, he will convince you most of all that you must never listen to a word I say or write, and that you should never EVER try to talk to me. You will believe everything he tells you. You will. I know. Because I did too. Once Upon a Time.

Right about now YOU, as the next one in line, are feeling like you hit the jackpot and won the lottery all at once. You could not be happier! You are happy, just deleriously HAPPY! You are dancing on cloud nine and ten and counting all your lucky stars. Continue reading

Do You Mind Your Guy Looking at Other Women?

I think there’s also the “how is he looking” issue for women. If a guy is looking in an appreciative “wow that’s a good looking woman” sort of way – I think women are more “understanding” about it. If he’s looking in the “omfg I’d bang that in a heartbeat!” and has drool rolling down his chin …. yeah, not so much.

Definitely, @cola.  Ditto if he’s looking at her with a “Come hither” or “On your knees” kind of look directed at her, especially if she responds to it.

It also depends on who started it, and how it progresses.  Looking briefly and then looking away?  No problem. Looking any way he wants at women that are untouchable like cheerleaders, models in magazines, actresses in films, etc.?  Even passing strangers on the street he’ll clearly never see again?  Also no problem.  Heck, I’ve always pointed these types out to my men myself because their reactions amuse me.

But heavy flirting, lingering looks and drooling over women he’s face to face with or having direct personal contact of any sort with?  Mutual eyelock and undressing/ravishing?  Verbal/written evidence of a less-than-purely-platonic interest?  Especially when she is someone we will routinely encounter in person?  Fuck no.  Those are all into cheating territory in my book.  And cheating is a form of abusive behavior. Continue reading

I Miss… I Don’t Miss

12/22/09

Every morning I still awaken with the thought of how much I miss you, how much I want to be with you again, how much I miss being in your arms.

And then my mind changes course, and I correct it with the new thought what I miss is the good parts, not the bad. And I try to remember what they all were… Continue reading

Honesty and Lying in Relationships

What are your expectations from a partner regarding honesty vs lying?  Do you think that lying is ever OK?

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I personally  expect full openness and honesty – and I give it in return.  Unfortunately, I once had the experience of being with someone who  told me several things about his relationships that he clearly believed were true – but I later found out that they definitely were not.  Unfortunately, he tells the same thing to everyone else and puts them out into the world in general.

The issue there turned out to lie in his having some rather, shall we say, fluid definitions of a number of things related to relationships, so he was able to delude his own self into believing he was telling the absolute truth when he patently was not.  He even contradicted his own self about his own definitions at times, clearly when it suited his purposes.

He really doesn’t seem to realize that he’s doing this, as far as I can tell, or at least those definitions of his are pretty convenient, as they allow him to maintain the illusion of what he says is true.  He really does seem to believe his own stories, except I know for a fact that they are untrue, because I myself was party to certain events that specifically and explicitly completely invalidate his claims.  He himself admitted to a particular other circumstance that also made the lie obvious.

When you find out that someone has, in fact, lied to you like this, especially about really fundamental relationship matters such as relationship status and history of the same, it makes it pretty darned near impossible to believe them about anything else – especially if a new situation shares any characteristics as the former one which involved those same kinds of definitions that were twisted to suit his purposes.

Having discovered one lie related to relationship status (let alone more than one), my jealousy and insecurity meters go off the charts and cause me tremendous fear and upset if it looks as if my partner is doing anything even remotely similar at another time.

If those fears are not immediately assuaged and I’m not *quickly and compassionately* assured that everything is OK, that he fully understands my concerns, and assures me *of his own accord* that the same thing will never happen again, and especially if he gets upset when I bring it up, that will just feed the jealousy and suspicion to no end. Continue reading