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Because one can of worms is never enough!

Okay, gang, I'm off to spend an evening canoodling with my significant other, and will not be on the internet.

Please be civilized to each other in the prior post, I beg of you, while I'm not here to bounce. This is one topic where emotions run really high, and I don't want to have to close threads because I think it's an important topic to discuss, and we're all basically on the same side. If the conversation DOES get ugly, it's okay to say "I don't see anything productive coming out of this," and step away.

It's okay to be pissed. Just be polite.

However, before I go, for the purposes of discussion, one thing I've run across in this discussion (and other posts related) that I hardly ever run across is fear vocalized on the part of men that they'll be accused of rape or sexual harassment when they're just tryin' to get lucky as best they can.

Now, my kneejerk reaction is to scoff a bit, I confess--that's a kneejerk, and I make no bones about it--because, well, being female, my fear is that some dude is gonna rape me, then carve me up like a christmas ham in the basement and wear my skin around like a little hat. This is the sort of thing I worry about. My kneejerk, therefore, is something like "Pfff! You think YOU have problems?"

And that may well be unfair. Hell, granted that fear is not a zero-sum game, it's definitely unfair. Everybody has a right to be scared of ill treatment.

But--thing is--every single woman I know, with no exception I can think of, knows somebody who has been sexually assaulted or abused. In fact, with VERY few exceptions, that person is either somebody close to her, or her own self. These aren't stories, this is...y'know...something that we basically just live with. Life sucks, lots of people get hurt, we brazen on through because the only alternative is to curl into fetal position and weep for humanity.

However. It occurs to me that I may be doing men a disservice in general by dismissing this fear just because it seems like women get so much more of the short end of the stick. Suffering, too, is not a zero-sum game. So. I'll ask two questions then:

A) If male, are you afraid of being falsely accused of rape? Is this a Major Fear--i.e. something you worry about every time you're trying to get to know a woman? (Hell, is this something you worry about if you're, say, alone in a parking garage with a female in the next aisle getting into her car?)

B) If either gender, do you personally know anybody who has been falsely accused of rape? (Not friend-of-a-friend stories, but you, yourself, are at least the level of on-line acquaintanceship with them.)

(Okay, two and a half.)

Somebody'll probably suspect that this is a snarky passive-aggressive way to get men to admit that this is a load. It's not. Honestly. I'm genuinely curious. For all I know, a staggering percentage of men really do go into a relationship in mortal terror that they're going to end up with their testicles in a vise. I KNOW what it's like to be female, but I've never yet been male (at least not in this life!) and I honestly don't know what my own response to the discovery that this might genuinely be a widespread problem would be. 

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The latter one is difficult because people's definitions of rape can change. If someone believes that someone said 'yes' when drunk and the OTHER person says 'You got me drunk and I couldn't meaningfully consent!' one person says 'rape' and the other does not. Given that victims will frequently recant even in the face of what I would consider to be overwhelming evidence (we had one in our papers recently where the woman was repeatedly drugged by her husband, who later drugged and set fire to her), it is very difficult to work anything out.

At least in the US, if someone is drunk, they cannot legally give consent. As a written contract signed while drunk/high/under duress/etc would not be considered legally binding, so the verbal contract of "yes" can't be considered binding. I do agree that the ehole rape issue is a thorny one, though. When you start getting into the partculars, it gets very confusing and very depressing.

I believe that is the same here, but then we run into people having this odd view that what is 'personal and social' is just fine even if it is not legal. I seriously do believe that anyone who uses a drug - and alcohol his a drug - to acquire consent is being abusive. Male or female. But the social context is so supportive of this action it's exhausting :/

I tried to find statistics on rape accusations, but couldn't find any that I thought to be scientifically valid. They ranged from 'identical to any falsely accused crime'- but I couldn't find an exact study - to 'OMG, 70% of them are, women are conniving bitches!' types from the 'fathers rights' groups.

Mostly, I do tend to just be a jerk and go: You want to avoid a 'false' accusation? Don't have underage sex. Understand the principles of enthusiastic consent - try 'yes means yes'. Learn to read body language. Learn to respect yourself if you think this might be a bad idea but you're horny. Do not use emotional manipulation - that is also a form of force (I have heard, believe it or not 'I'll hurt myself if you don't!'). Do not use drugs to lower inhibitions. Be clear. And if none of this works? You are still starting from a good position to defend yourself AGAINST such accusations.

I don't know anyone who was falsely accused. But in secondary school, amongst 9 girls, when we had a hushed conversation? I was the only one who had not been inappropriately touched (boys shoving hands down tops), molested (fathers insisting on 'washing' teenage girls), or raped. This was redneckville, admittedly, but it was bloody depressing.

I don't know anyone who was falsely accused.

Not of forcible rape, but I have been accused by somebody we both know of pressuring her for sex. (Since I didn't hear the accusations from her, I'm not sure just how far the accusations went, but that seems to be the gist of it.)

What had actually happened was that I'd made an offer - "I don't know if you're interested in playing, but if you are, I'll be ten minutes' walk down that path later this evening." She'd walked ten minutes out of her way to take me up on that offer, and a couple of days later, she'd invited me over to her place for a sleepover. On both occasions, things didn't go very far - the first time (IIRC) because it was cold, the second because I was uncomfortable with the vibes I was getting and didn't want to pressure somebody who seemed to have lost interest.

After that, we were on friendly terms for the next couple of years, then she had a falling-out with my wife, and some time after that I heard that these rumours were circulating.

I was a bit unhappy about this, obviously. But all that said... I don't think I lost any friends over that, I don't know of anybody else it's happened to, and I think the 'problem' of false accusations is a very small one indeed compared to the problem of genuine sexual assault.

[With a possible exception for schools and childcare; I don't know how common false accusations actually are, but the fear of them seems to be pretty powerful.]

Indeed... like when BOTH people are rather drunk.

I *have* known (though not someone I know well) who was very drunk with a girl where it led to sex. She later accused him of rape. The charges were dropped... there was no evidence of any date rape.

They flirted all evening... both got drunk and both wound up in bed together. When *both* people are not capable of making good decisions -- it gets really difficult to sort out.

This is where I have problems.

It seems that in heterosexual situations there is a distinct tendency to place the onus of responsibility upon the male - that is, to say that if both are drunk the male is guilty of rape.

While this viewpoint is, itself, somewhat demeaning to women (implying that they aren't as responsible as men), somehow it is still prevalent among many "feminists". In situations like this, barring other evidence, I truly cannot see how anything other than "impossible-to-determine" could be justly ruled.

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