Prosecution's decision to drop the case has been condemned by women's advocates as a miscarriage of justice. They characterize the system as one that demands a "perfect victim" if they aren't going to abandon her. This is a gross mischaracterization of the facts of this specific case. Nafissatou Diallo was not just an "imperfect victim", she was a "toxic complainant" who has a long history of lying, and has done pretty much nothing but lie from the moment she reported the alleged incident.
Credibility is important in a sexual assault case--more important than in many other criminal prosecutions. In cases of rape and sexual assault, there is often no physical evidence unambiguously indicating a crime was even committed. What evidence there may be is frequently evidence of a legal act, not a criminal one. The factors that differentiate the legal act of sex from the crime of rape are based entirely on two states of mind: those of the victim's non-consent, and the perpetrator's intent--that is, his (or a reasonable or law-abiding person's) awareness of the victim's lack of consent.
There are usually only two witnesses who can testify to either party's state of mind at the time of the incident--and each of those two witnesses have a vested and oppositional interest in the outcome of the trial. This means that in a sexual assault case, credibility is everything. Due to the ambiguity of the evidence and the biases of the only eyewitnesses, it should be more difficult to convict a man of rape than it is to convict a man of murder, or aggravated assault, or any number of other crimes that rely more heavily on physical/forensic evidence.
But here's something I bet you all didn't know (I'll explain why you probably don't know it below). The conviction rate for rape is frequently higher than the conviction rate for homicide. Seriously. The conviction rate for a crime where there is no unambiguous physical evidence, and which therefore hinges almost entirely on a jury believing one party over the other, is often higher than the conviction rate for a crime with a dead body, forensic evidence of cause of death, and physical evidence tying the defendant to the crime.
To suggest that the outcome of the DSK case means the system "doesn't work" is egregiously misleading and harmful. I'm not going to lie. The system works perfectly for neither victims nor defendants, but it's the best possible balance we can manage given the circumstances. And to characterize the dismissal of the DSK case as some sort of evil on the part of the prosecution is...well, I can only say it's batshit insane. Diallo repeatedly lied to those whose job it is to help her and punish the man who allegedly assaulted her. Then recanted her lies, only to present prosecutors with, yup, more lies. She insisted she was not after money, then launched a civil suit against DSK for monetary damages. She lied to the Grand Jury, under oath. She quite plainly proved herself to be someone who can't be counted on to tell the truth about anything.
Even more frightening to prosecutors was her ability to lie with "complete conviction". This meant that, no matter how convincing her story of a given day or week was, there was no way for prosecutors to determine if THIS particular version was the truth. The complaining witness was not an "imperfect victim". She was the justice system's worst nightmare. To go to trial with an alleged victim who can lie so convincingly that even prosecutors could not tell truth from falsehood...this could result in railroading a potentially innocent man based on the word of a woman who'd taken a tire iron to her own credibility.
As the FRS rightly claims, this case does not demonstrate that prosecutors require "perfect victims", and it is the women's advocates who make such absurd statements--not police or prosecutors--who are discouraging women from coming forward to report their rapes.
But I think women's "advocates" have a very different agenda from the one they openly admit to. As people who care about women, and care about rape victims, they should be doing everything in their power to convince women to come forward and report when they are raped. And yet they do the exact opposite.
I once suggested on a feminist forum that my advice to any victim of rape was to get a kit done. Even if you don't want to report--in fact, even if you're positive you don't want to--getting a kit done leaves you with options if you ever change your mind. You can stand on the bridge for a long time before deciding to cross it or go back, but not if you've burned the way in front of you--and you do that by washing away all the physical evidence of what was done to you. Not getting a rape kit done erases all your choices, removes all your power.
Oh, the shit I got from feminists! That I should have the gall to "tell victims what to do! Don't you realize how hard it is? How small the chances of justice are? How victims are revictimized if they report? It's up to every victim how she wants to respond to what happened to her! She knows what's best for herself!"
I suppose it's just as well that I didn't suggest that women have a social responsibility to report their rapes, even if they don't want to go through the ordeal of pursuing charges. Go in to police, tell them, "I was raped. His name is John Doe. His DNA is in a test tube at Local Hospital. I don't want to pursue the case. But if another woman comes in saying this guy raped her, believe her and do everything you can to nail him."
Imagine someone implying that women have a responsibility to other people! I would probably have been crucified for even hinting at such a thing.
There's a pervasive and very public sentiment among feminists and women's advocates that it is pointless to report. That women should not trust the police or the legal system because it will, at best, let them down, and at worst, clobber them. At the same time, they inflate rape statistics, always applying the highest possible estimates on non-report figures (even when such numbers couldn't possibly add up), and including women who didn't believe they'd been raped among victims in surveys. At the same time, they deflate false report statistics, clinging to the insistence that false report rates for rape are ~2%, the same as for every other crime, even though a growing body of evidence places the rate somewhere between 8% and a staggering 50%.
They routinely compare the attrition rate for rape (the percentage of reported rapes that end in conviction) alongside the conviction rates (the percentage of trials that end in conviction) for other crimes. How many times have we all read that the "conviction rate" for rape is a "pathetic" 6%, when in reality it is usually 50-60%, and often higher than the conviction rate for homicide.
All while simultaneously implying there is nothing women can do, no way they can (or should) dress or behave that will minimize their risk, and that every woman is at risk because "any woman can be raped". They go out of their way to highlight a "culture of victim-blaming" that, in their view, applies solely to rape, when I would argue that we as a society are more likely to engage in blaming male victims of female violence (he must have done something to deserve it, he was probably a cheater, he probably battered her, she was defending herself), and male victims of female reproductive abuse (he should have thought of that before he had sex, don't stick your dick in crazy, if he didn't want kids he should have kept it in his pants).
Even when these feminists and victim advocates are being nominally truthful, they still spin the truth in the most pessimistic light.
It's like they want women to believe that there's a HUGE chance they'll be raped, that there's nothing they can do to prevent it, and that when it happens, not only will no one help them, but those responsible for helping them will only inflict more harm on them. To what purpose?
We're seeing the thin end of the wedge on campus now, with the attack on due process rights--the new 50.01% burden of proof, the barring of an accused from cross-examining his accuser, etc. Feminist's defence of this atrocious situation tends to consist of, "What, so it's a horrible thing that the accused won't be able to personally ask the accuser, 'Isn't it true you're a big ol' slut?'" when such a question would already be inadmissible in any hearing or court. Again, painting a false picture of the process as it was before this "reform" in the ugliest possible colors.
I can only believe that those who engage in this kind of scare-mongering and doomsaying have a specific goal in mind. I'm not a conspiracy nut, but here's how I see it, looking at the entirety of feminist discourse on rape:
- discourage women from reporting by telling them it is pointless, that they won't be believed, or will be blamed for their own rapes and revictimized by the system, that the police can't be trusted
- manipulate consent law to the point where even women who enthusiastically participated in consensual sex can be numbered among victims (consensual drunk sex, consensual unconscious sex)
- generate fear among women by telling them there is nothing they can, or should have to, do to protect themselves from rape
- generate fear among women by telling them that any woman at any time is at risk of rape
- inflate the numbers for underreporting, leading to a pervasive belief that rape is everywhere
- compare attrition rates for rape with conviction rates for other crimes, so that the public will believe the system doesn't work in rape cases
- constantly reiterate the erroneous 2% false rape "statistic", generating an erroneous assumption that women "don't lie about rape"
- define rape as a crime of "patriarchal domination" rather than one that has a multitude of different factors and causes--in other words, blame rape on "maleness" in such a way that all men are cast as rapists or rapists-in-waiting
- charge the discourse with emotional language that places "feelings" in authority over facts--i.e: "If she feels she was raped, then she was raped."
- characterize the necessary due process protections for accused rapists as an "infringement of female/victim's rights", even though the "rights" of complainants--female or otherwise--are currently greater in cases of sexual assault and rape than in other criminal case (anonymity is a privilege, not a right, as is the inadmissibility of an accuser's sometimes relevant sexual history)
Is anyone else seeing a pattern here? The last thing many women's advocates want is for anyone to believe the system isn't irreparably broken. Because if it isn't hideously broken, then there is no need to "fix" it or rebuild it. And if rape isn't everywhere, and something women must walk around in constant fear of, then the masses will simply never be terrified enough of it to enact the kind of overhaul that would lead to the kinds of "reforms" that are "necessary", ones we've already seen enacted on campuses across the US.
After examining the entirety of the rhetoric of sexual assault and rape from feminist circles, I can only conclude that the end game of women's advocacy groups is to reengineer sexual assault and rape law to the point where a woman need only claim a man raped her for him to be locked away for years.
Welcome to Hell.