Unfortunately, it’s easier for a lot of people to believe the line that “women make it all up” because that means they don’t have to really address the issue itself.
I also think that, for guys, some of this ridiculous attitude stems from a sort of visceral fear of being unfairly accused of sexual assault. It has become a legal truism that rape is one of the hardest things to prove even if it actually happened, and also one of the easiest accusations to make even if it didn’t. The problem is, i think, that many people look past the first part of this dyad and concentrate only on the second.
I have no statistics to hand of how frequently women falsely accuse men of sexual assault, but the problem is that, whether the statistics are small or large, the spectre of such an accusation has taken hold of many men and convinced them they must live their lives in fear of being the victim of an evil woman. I really don’t think this fear is justified, but at the same time can understand where it comes from. The problem is, it diverts attention from the people who are the vast majority of victims in this issue - the women who suffer sexual assaults.
While statistics in debates like this are always open to interpretation (and manipulation), and i can see how there can be reasoned debate over such things, too many people in that other thread turned the whole debate into an “us vs them.” As jarbabyj said in that thread, it was rather sad (although also instructive) that the first three respondents came straight out and essentially made the “women are liars” argument, with absolutely no supporting evidence. In reply to jar’s criticism of this position, astro said that “a bit of prudence in determining what someone is defining as “rape” is hardly uncalled for.” That may be true, but “prudence” was not exactly the order of the day for the posters astro was defending, who said, regarding the OP’s rape statistics, “Just a WAG, but it sounds like BS to me,” and “I think this particular statistic was made up. No, seriously!” Nice prudent analysis there!
Then Truth Seeker makes the genius argument that “If 17.6% of women have been raped, then 17.6% of men must be rapists,” totally ignoring
a) the possibility that this might actually be true
b) the fact that many sex offenders are repeat offenders - if you get away with it once, you’ll be more likely to do it again
And then someone dragged out the hoary old example of Catherine MacKinnon, who is alleged to have said that all sex is rape. The standard argumentative line taken by mysoginists is that well, if she said this, then how can we take anything you feminists say seriously? This line of argument conveniently ignores the fact that:
a) MacKinnon’s discussions of sex and rape are much more nuanced than that phrase suggests
b) even if she had said exactly those words (“all sex is rape”), it does not follow that all women believe this.
Another disturbing thing about the thread in question is that so many of those who were criticizing the OP were basing their arguments on “women i know” or “people who i’ve talked to.” As far as i could see, not one linked to any site (biased or otherwise) that might support their claims. It was argument by “IIRC.” Actually. astro did finally link to an article, almost a full page after making an unsubstantiated assertion.
Finally, one of the most worrying things is that in a debate like this the victims of sexual assault/rape end up as little more than side issues. Among all those attacking the OP, almost none stopped to say “Hey, whether the figures are higher or lower than you say, rape is an awful thing and is something we as a society need to stamp out.” Even if the percentage of women raped turned out, upon examination, to be “only,” say, 5%, this would still be a pretty damning indictment of attitudes to women in a so-called civilized society.
Good pit-thread, irishgirl. It needed doing.