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Should a woman go to jail for falsely accusing a man of rape? watch

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    (Original post by stochasticking)
    i had been told about 20 times already dumbass
    looool good dumbass!!
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    (Original post by sqwertylol)
    looool good dumbass!!
    Haha so I was actually being sincere lol
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    (Original post by Moura)
    It's a tricky one because a lot of legitimate rape cases get the not guilty verdict and the man gets away with it... essentially saying the rapist did not commit the crime and the victim is lying. How would you tell the false ones from the true ones? Firstly it would probably be soul destroying for a person who was raped to go through a court case to prove that they were raped... which can be hard to do... then go through another to prove they weren't lying if the rapist was found not guilty... THEN have the possibily of going to jail? It just doesn't work. I think the risk of that happening outweighs the justice of punishing a false accusation. It would also put people off reporting that they were raped.

    Then again, false rape accusations can be life destroying even if the man is found not guilty and does not end up with jail time and are an evil thing. The whole process of being accused and going to court and having to defend yourself for something you didn't do that is that extreme... terrible. They also make things harder for people who are actually raped. I guess it would just have to depend on the case. I just think to prosecute people for it you would have to put EVERY person who accused someone of raping them on trial if their accused rapist was found not guilty which is the majority of cases and would be traumatising for the victim even if they were also found not guilty of lying about the rape. I don't even know how that would work with the law... rapist being found not guilty of raping but the victim found not guilty of lying... is that possible?
    The way the courts work (or at least should work) mean that a person can only be convicted of a crime if there is convincing evidence, beyond reasonable doubt, that the accused has committed a crime. A simple lack of evidence that the accused is a rapist therefore does not open the accuser to the risk of being arrested, charged, or convicted of making a false accusation unless there is evidence that this was the case. For this reason, very few alleged victims face charges despite any failure to produce evidence against the accused. So if you aren't telling 'porkies' as the Brits say, you (should) have little to worry about, both statistically and legally speaking.

    This is also the reason why most people accused of rape do not face punishment. Rape is a difficult crime to prove as it typically happens behind closed doors, leaves limited physical evidence, and often boils down to the word of the accused versus the word of the accuser, which in itself is not (and should not) be enough for a conviction, a charge, or even an arrest. This may seem unfair to actual victims, but it is the reality of how the justice system works, with "Innocent until proven guilty" being an important principle of common law.
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    Absolutely! - It undermines rape allegations, wastes time and can ruin a man's life.

    He could lose his job, relationship and friends before he even sees the dock! - It's happened before.
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    If there is proof that the woman lied, there is no reason she shouldn't be jailed because she's committed a crime.

    People who say they shouldn't need to seriously rethink what they're saying.
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    Yes, but it should be a matter of actively proving they lied rather than simply because they failed to convict the alleged rapist.
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    (Original post by miser)
    I think a necessary condition would have to be malicious intent. But even saying that, you hardly ever get a situation where someone's proven innocent - rather, they're merely not proven guilty.

    In the very few cases where it's clear someone lied to the police about it in order to hurt another person, then that definitely ought to be treated as serious criminal behaviour and given a suitable prison sentence.
    You might disagree with me but I think all false allegations are by definition malicious.

    I do not think people really appreciate how bad our justice system is. The remand population is huge and the number of false convictions is far higher than it should be. (I have worked in a prison). You could be remanded for a crime you did not commit, lose your job, house, and family and would not be compensated by anyone. It is actually scandalous. Of course these are only the tangible losses. There is the psychological trauma involved in being falsely accused of rape. The Daily Telegraph published a story earlier this year about this.
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    (Original post by evantej)
    You might disagree with me but I think all false allegations are by definition malicious.

    I do not think people really appreciate how bad our justice system is. The remand population is huge and the number of false convictions is far higher than it should be. (I have worked in a prison). You could be remanded for a crime you did not commit, lose your job, house, and family and would not be compensated by anyone. It is actually scandalous. Of course these are only the tangible losses. There is the psychological trauma involved in being falsely accused of rape. The Daily Telegraph published a story earlier this year about this.
    What about in the situation I mentioned earlier in the thread - if a woman was raped and makes an allegation against an innocent man in the case of mistaken identity?
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    (Original post by doctor_2_be)
    2 years ago I was raped.
    3 months ago my rapist was jailed for 12 years.
    If women were jailed for lying about being raped I probably wouldn't have reported it.
    People don't believe women who are raped were as it is. When you're in court giving evidence against them you feel like your on trial, they make you question yourself even though there is evidence. If I reported it a year or so later there wouldn't be that evidence, at least not most of it. If they thought I was lying and he got away with it, it would probably be my breaking point.

    Don't forget there are date rape drugs and men can also lie about being raped.
    Thank you for commenting so openly and honestly. I am glad in your case the person was caught and imprisoned.

    I do not think people do not believe women who are raped. I think most people are aware that it is a very hard crime to prove and when the justice system gets involved it just makes it emotionally harder for victims as certain standards of evidence have to be met before people can be imprisoned.

    I am wary of this topic being set up as women are victims and men offenders because, as you said, men can lie about being raped and there are cultural issues around men reporting rape too (e.g. lots of people see rape as a legitimate part of being sent to prison).

    The law is this area is horribly sexist. It explicitly talks about penetration and ejaculation. A woman cannot legally rape a man by herself. She can only be prosecuted of rape if she has helped a man rape someone. This strikes me as very odd seeing as someone could easily use a date rape drug or pressure someone into sex (e.g. accuse them of being homosexual if they do not consent).
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    (Original post by evantej)
    You might disagree with me but I think all false allegations are by definition malicious.

    I do not think people really appreciate how bad our justice system is. The remand population is huge and the number of false convictions is far higher than it should be. (I have worked in a prison). You could be remanded for a crime you did not commit, lose your job, house, and family and would not be compensated by anyone. It is actually scandalous. Of course these are only the tangible losses. There is the psychological trauma involved in being falsely accused of rape. The Daily Telegraph published a story earlier this year about this.
    I know. A friend of mine was once falsely accused of a sexual assault. He lost his job, a lot of money for legal fees, suffered a loss of reputation, and had to go through a long and drawn-out, court process. I saw first-hand the amount of stress and hardship it can put on a person.

    That being said, if an allegation is simply mistaken, then it's a tragedy, but not a crime. You need a criminal intent for that.
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    It should be the same length of sentence the man would have received.
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    (Original post by minimarshmallow)
    What about in the situation I mentioned earlier in the thread - if a woman was raped and makes an allegation against an innocent man in the case of mistaken identity?
    I agree that there is a distinction to be made between falsely accusing someone because the identity of the offender is 'unknown' and falsely accusing someone to materially benefit yourself or punish the offender.

    At the point of investigation the victim could be certain that person x was the offender but the 'offender' could provide evidence that disproves this (e.g. evidence of their whereabouts or a semen sample). There is a clear incentive for the 'offender' to do this. (Just like there are discentives to not providing evidence). But disproving the victim's allegation does not mean they made a false allegation by definition in the way we have been discussing this.

    False allegations of this sort happen all the time in the criminal justice system. If you get assaulted in the street by someone unknown you will be taken to the police station and at some point shown photographs of known criminals. You might be certain that the person who you picked out was actually the offender but research shows we are really unreliable at recognising this sort of thing. In this case like above it is in the 'offender's' interest to disprove the allegation (e.g. by getting someone to confirm they were actually at work at the time). Also just because the victim was wrong in this case does not mean the police suddenly stop believing them or accuse them of making a false allegation. They simply look for other options.

    This sort of false allegation is different to one where intent/motive are involved which I think is the key difference. For example in the newspaper story linked above the woman falsely accused two people to hide the fact she had actually cheated on her boyfriend and was simply ashamed of her actions. Again considering motive is part and parcel of most crime investigations so I do not think rape itself is special in this case apart from the damaging repercussions the allegation has itself socially.

    Not sure if I made myself clear there like...
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    (Original post by miser)
    I know. A friend of mine was once falsely accused of a sexual assault. He lost his job, a lot of money for legal fees, suffered a loss of reputation, and had to go through a long and drawn-out, court process. I saw first-hand the amount of stress and hardship it can put on a person.

    That being said, if an allegation is simply mistaken, then it's a tragedy, but not a crime. You need a criminal intent for that.
    I agree with you completely and by answering another user's question distinguished between the two type of false allegation as I see them.

    I think avoiding the use of remand in all but the most exceptional of cases would reduce the material damage involved in these cases. I think there is also an argument for giving suspects anonymity too. I know a lot of people disagree with this though.
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    (Original post by evantej)
    I agree that there is a distinction to be made between falsely accusing someone because the identity of the offender is 'unknown' and falsely accusing someone to materially benefit yourself or punish the offender.

    At the point of investigation the victim could be certain that person x was the offender but the 'offender' could provide evidence that disproves this (e.g. evidence of their whereabouts or a semen sample). There is a clear incentive for the 'offender' to do this. (Just like there are discentives to not providing evidence). But disproving the victim's allegation does not mean they made a false allegation by definition in the way we have been discussing this.

    False allegations of this sort happen all the time in the criminal justice system. If you get assaulted in the street by someone unknown you will be taken to the police station and at some point shown photographs of known criminals. You might be certain that the person who you picked out was actually the offender but research shows we are really unreliable at recognising this sort of thing. In this case like above it is in the 'offender's' interest to disprove the allegation (e.g. by getting someone to confirm they were actually at work at the time). Also just because the victim was wrong in this case does not mean the police suddenly stop believing them or accuse them of making a false allegation. They simply look for other options.

    This sort of false allegation is different to one where intent/motive are involved which I think is the key difference. For example in the newspaper story linked above the woman falsely accused two people to hide the fact she had actually cheated on her boyfriend and was simply ashamed of her actions. Again considering motive is part and parcel of most crime investigations so I do not think rape itself is special in this case apart from the damaging repercussions the allegation has itself socially.

    Not sure if I made myself clear there like...
    I think we need to make it clear, it's still a false accusation, it's the way in which the accusation is false and the intention behind it that is the difference here.

    I remember when I looked at eyewitness testimony in forensic psychology at university, there was a woman in America who decided that if she couldn't stop the rape as it was happening, she'd study the perp's face intently so she could identify him later. She picked out a man who turned out to be innocent, but went to prison anyway. Years later, DNA evidence found the actual perp who looked similar to the guy she'd ID'd in the first place, but she still maintained that she'd seen the first guy raping her, and not the second guy.
    The trauma caused her to remember the basic features and fill in the details when she saw the guy's picture. She wasn't being malicious at first, and nor was she being malicious when she still maintained it was the same guy despite the DNA evidence. This is important.

    I don't think people would readily try to prosecute someone for false accusation in the case of mistaken identity, but I think we need to be careful to include this when discussing this kind of thing, because it can happen.
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    (Original post by minimarshmallow)
    I think we need to make it clear, it's still a false accusation, it's the way in which the accusation is false and the intention behind it that is the difference here.

    I remember when I looked at eyewitness testimony in forensic psychology at university, there was a woman in America who decided that if she couldn't stop the rape as it was happening, she'd study the perp's face intently so she could identify him later. She picked out a man who turned out to be innocent, but went to prison anyway. Years later, DNA evidence found the actual perp who looked similar to the guy she'd ID'd in the first place, but she still maintained that she'd seen the first guy raping her, and not the second guy.
    The trauma caused her to remember the basic features and fill in the details when she saw the guy's picture. She wasn't being malicious at first, and nor was she being malicious when she still maintained it was the same guy despite the DNA evidence. This is important.

    I don't think people would readily try to prosecute someone for false accusation in the case of mistaken identity, but I think we need to be careful to include this when discussing this kind of thing, because it can happen.
    I used to work in a psychology department where someone specialised in this area too! It is very interesting.

    It is an odd case you highlight. The problem is not that she holds a wrong belief, and she may continue to hold this belief until the day she dies, but the fact she is doing something with this false belief. If she keeps it to herself then she should not be punished but if she acts upon her false belief then she should be punished (e.g. publicly saying the innocent man is guilty).
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    (Original post by evantej)
    I agree with you completely and by answering another user's question distinguished between the two type of false allegation as I see them.

    I think avoiding the use of remand in all but the most exceptional of cases would reduce the material damage involved in these cases. I think there is also an argument for giving suspects anonymity too. I know a lot of people disagree with this though.
    I think they should be given anonymity, since unlike other crimes, merely being suspected of it is enough to damage your livelihood, reputation, etc. If we believe in innocent-til-proven-guilty, then people shouldn't have to suffer punishments for actions unless proven guilty.
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    There was a case a while ago where a woman had falsely accused boyfriends on five different occasions before she finally got 2yrs. (Served 1 )

    It's hardly a reflex action by the courts to lock a woman up for this.
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    Yes, totally, providing that it was deliberately falsely accusing the person, as opposed to e.g. accusing the wrong person.
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    Unfortunately this is partly a result of the fact that any man accused of rape has his face trashed through the media and is deemed guilty before it even gets to court.

    There was a case a year(?) ago where some girl had sex with two squaddies then cried rape when her boyfriend found out. She got something rediculous like 2 yrs suspended sentence (if even that).

    And that's becuase there is no such thing as being jailed for false rape claims. You get done for peverting the course of justice, which doesn't carry a heavy enough sentence.
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    (Original post by miser)
    I think they should be given anonymity, since unlike other crimes, merely being suspected of it is enough to damage your livelihood, reputation, etc. If we believe in innocent-til-proven-guilty, then people shouldn't have to suffer punishments for actions unless proven guilty.
    I think anonymity could be determined based on the level of the crime (I think this notion would probably be illegal). What I mean is, if you have a case involving something "minor" like consent, then the accused should be given anonymity. If the case involved serious violence etc and was deemed to be more extreme, then possibly there is no case for anonymity
 
 
 
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