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How the #MeToo Movement Helped Create a Script for False Accusers

The complainant, whom I’ll call Chloe, wept as she labored through her testimony. At several points, she was so overcome by emotion that court proceedings had to pause for a break. Throughout that first day of the preliminary hearing, she projected a sense of soft-spoken vulnerability, but also a certain inner strength. In the hallway outside the courtroom, she was surrounded by trained victim-services support workers, who helped her family avoid contact with the accused.

As an observer in court that day back in 2016, I can attest that Chloe appeared highly credible. She seemed intent on answering every question to the best of her ability. On the drive home from the British Columbia courthouse where the proceedings were taking place, a colleague who’d accompanied me concluded, quite simply: “She’s very believable.”

It had been a year since the alleged assault. Still, she was able to summon up details that brought those past events to life. Her speaking style was natural and unaffected. Absent-mindedly pulling the sleeves of a somewhat ill-fitting cardigan sweater down toward her wrists, she recounted tearfully how the accused had acted after the assault, mocking her for not being able to look him in the eyes.

Chloe seemed to remember the words that the accused had used that day as if they were burned into her mind. “You’ll like this, just trust me,” and “You should be thankful I’m doing this to you. I could have any girl.”

I felt sorry for her—even though I suspected that the story she’d just told us was about to fall apart.

*  *  *

For several years now, I have regularly observed Canadian sexual-assault proceedings, as part of my work with a non-profit organization called the Lighthouse Project. Many of these sexual-assault prosecutions hinge entirely on the credibility of the alleged victim and the alleged assailant. In some cases, journalists will say that there is “no evidence” presented in these cases. But, as lawyers are quick to point out, testimony is evidence.

Judges and jurors, like everyone else, often imagine they are good at catching liars. But studies show otherwise. In research published in the Personality and Social Psychology Review, subjects were found to “achieve an average of 54% correct lie-truth judgments, correctly classifying 47% of lies as deceptive and 61% of truths as non-deceptive.” In other words, not much better than a coin flip.

Still, there are methods that can help sniff out false narratives. For instance, creating believable dialogue is difficult, even for professional writers. And the stories that go along with most false accusations sometimes contain dubious, stereotypical descriptions of what the accused and the victim supposedly said to one another. In some cases, a false accuser might say that the accused just endlessly repeated the same stereotypically menacing line over and over. Or they might claim that nothing was said whatsoever.

But Chloe’s testimony didn’t fit that pattern. She reported dialogue with the accused that was full of credible seduction lines and manipulation tactics. While her memory for physical details was lacking, Chloe’s recall for words was impressive, and helped her answer important questions. Why didn’t she resist the attacker’s advances? “He said ‘just relax,’” she told the courtroom. “‘It will be over in a few minutes.’”

But on day two of the preliminary hearing, a different Chloe emerged.

The box of tissues sat mostly undisturbed in the witness box as we learned that Chloe had almost 20 different social media accounts which she used to promote her work as an activist. The soft-spoken girl from the day before now presented herself more as a savvy internet expert. She explained how a TV network paid her for her YouTube content. She corrected the defense lawyer archly when he misused internet terminology. A tweet, she explained, is different than a retweet.

The prosecutor, who seemed to not know or care about Chloe’s online life, questioned the relevance of this line of inquiry. Okay, so Chloe cursed like a longshoreman on Tumblr, posted hundreds of sexually charged images to Instagram, and created videos to educate young women about sexual violence on YouTube. So what? Surely the defense couldn’t be arguing that an anti-sexual-assault activist was unlikely to experience sexual assault. That would rightly be labeled a form of rape myth.

The problem for the prosecution was that Chloe had told the court, under oath, that she didn’t understand what consent meant; and she’d lamented that no one had ever warned her that sexual assault could ever happen to someone like her. Yesterday’s Chloe had presented as a sheltered girl, raised in a strict Christian household, and terrified that no one would love her now that she’d lost her virginity. Today’s Chloe was another person entirely.

During breaks, defense counsel spoke with the prosecutor, suggesting she reconsider the strength of her case. She responded by saying that she believed Chloe’s story. And so the case continued.

Cross-examination is often the most difficult part of the process for a sexual-assault complainant. But in this case, Chloe appeared to be very much up to the challenge. She sometimes seemed brash, in fact, throwing one-liners at the defense lawyer when, in her view, he betrayed ignorance about the proper language used to describe sexual assault. “I didn’t have sex with him,” Chloe asserted at one point. “He raped me. That isn’t the same as sex.”

On the way home from court that second day, my colleague and I discussed the role of the court-appointed victim-support advocates. Under cross-examination, Chloe sounded at some points as if she were reciting pre-formed phrases, which often related more to the subject of sexual-assault in general than to the events she’d allegedly endured. During the preliminary hearing, she also seemed friendly with the prosecutor, exchanging wry looks during courtroom proceedings and casual jokes during breaks.

* * *

When the trial began seven months later, Chloe again appeared vulnerable, as she had on the first day of the preliminary hearing, and again sometimes lapsed into tears. The prosecutor warned the court that Chloe may need to switch to closed-circuit TV to give evidence, citing the woman’s (previously undisclosed) anxiety disorder. Courtroom observers also learned that Chloe had been involved in a car accident (also previously undisclosed) that had affected her short-term memory.

During cross-examination, Chloe was again asked about her activism. For about a month prior to meeting the accused, Chloe testified, she’d been promoting an event aimed at raising awareness about sexual assault. The event was ultimately canceled, Chloe said, because she’d become depressed following her encounter with the accused. Moreover, police had instructed her to refrain from using social media until the conclusion of the trial.

At this point in the proceedings, the defense produced a poster board containing a collage of phrases that Chloe had collected from Project Unbreakable—a web site featuring photos of dozens of women holding handwritten signs emblazoned with the words their rapists had said to them during or after a sexual assault. Chloe had typed out phrases from these signs onto a social-media page advertising her canceled event.

I knew the relevance of this evidence—even if many others in the courtroom did not. Eighteen of these phrases from the website and collage had found their way into Chloe’s police statement about her own alleged sexual assault. She claimed that all these words had been spoken to her by the accused.

The defense counsel asked Chloe: “Would you agree that ‘Just trust me, you’ll like this’ is similar to your police statement, where you claim the accused said, ‘Trust me, you’ll like this?’”

Answer: “I didn’t choose what he said to me.”

Question: “Would you agree that ‘Was that your first time?’ is similar to your police statement, where you claim the accused said, ‘Is this your first time?'”

Answer: “Some of the words are the same, but it’s the English language.”

Question: “Would you say, ‘Sorry to fuck and leave’ is similar to, ‘Are you just going to fuck me and leave?'”

Answer: “It’s the English language.”

At one point, the prosecutor challenged whether or not the social-media posts containing these words could be definitively pinned to Chloe. After a break, which would have allowed the prosecution to refine their strategy, Chloe stopped acknowledging that the content from Project Unbreakable appeared on a social-media account she controlled, and switched to saying that she wasn’t sure.

Eventually, Chloe simply refused to testify any further. When she didn’t show up to court following two days of cross-examination, slowed by the prosecutor’s many objections, the prosecutor told the court that Chloe’s mother had called in with information that Chloe was suicidal. The prosecutor asked for a six-month adjournment. The judge said no. With the complainant’s story now falling apart, the entire case collapsed and the charges eventually were stayed for a year in October of 2017.

That may sound like a positive outcome for the defendant. But the man didn’t get an outright acquittal, which is the best form of legal vindication in such cases. Moreover, his legal bills totaled over $100,000. (Unlike in civil cases, there generally is no way for an unjustly accused defendant to recoup such costs.) To this day, his mother—my original point of contact through the Lighthouse Project—is taking anti-anxiety medication. The accused has given up his former career path, despite graduating with good marks in the midst of this ordeal. At one point, when it seemed like he might drop out of school altogether, I said to him, “Worst case scenario: it’s better to be in jail with a degree than to be in jail without one.” That was the first time I’d seen him smile, and I like to think that it affected his decision to stay in school.

The #MeToo movement, along with other previous movements and hashtags, has opened up vast resources online that help victims of sexual assault seek justice, network with allies and other survivors, and recover emotionally from their trauma. This is all to the good. But as Chloe’s case helps demonstrate, these same resources can also be used as tools to create a realistic backstory out of whole cloth.In 2016, a young British woman admitted, after just a few minutes of cross-examination at trial, that she had manufactured a sexual-assault complaint against her father, using the lurid plot of Fifty Shades of Grey as her source material. The father might well have been convicted if he hadn’t mentioned to his lawyer in passing, just a day before trial, that his daughter’s favorite book was, by his recollection, “about a millionaire who takes a young woman under his wing and ‘teaches her about art.’”

Likewise, if Chloe hadn’t promoted her interest in sexual-assault prevention on social media and recorded videos about her activism, how would the evidence in her case have come to light? The prosecutor and police reportedly didn’t research any of this in detail before the case went to trial; and when issues were raised by the defense, the Crown made no effort to examine or provide exculpatory evidence. Indeed, the court transcripts indicate that the prosecutor’s behavior was so outrageous that the judge warned about possible contempt charges. Yet this episode produced no social-media outrage, despite the fact that a likely innocent man might easily have gone to jail.

And then there is the matter of statistical recording, a subject that has garnered great interest in the #MeToo era. How will the outcome of this trial be officially recorded? By official Canadian measures, it will be classified as “withdrawn or dismissed charges”—a category for “cases where all charges were withdrawn by the Crown (prior to the entering of a plea by the accused) or dismissed by the court. These decisions all refer to the court stopping or interrupting criminal proceedings against the accused.”

Which is to say: To the extent that the outcome will become known to the public at all, it will be classified as an incomplete trial. It won’t be recorded as a false accusation. Just the opposite, in fact: Journalists who report in this field will cite this data point as an instance of injustice to sexual assault victims.

The #MeToo movement has drawn appropriate attention to historically ignored injustice. Thousands upon thousands of real sexual-assault survivors have come forward to tell their stories and seek justice. But all movements, no matter how virtuous in intent, open up unintended misuses of their cause. In this respect, #MeToo is no different. Web sites such as Project Unbreakable, notwithstanding the good intentions behind their creation, can serve as a resource kit for dishonest complainants. And in such an environment, the emotional and political reflex that leads us to automatically “believe the victim” will sometimes cause us to cheerlead the imprisonment of innocent men.

The only way to avoid such miscarriages of justice is through the rigorous application of due process, including the presumption of innocence. These are age-old principles, and some might dismiss them as old-fashioned. But in the age of #MeToo, as Chloe’s story shows us, they are more important now than ever.

Diana Davison is the founder of the Lighthouse Project. Follow her on Twitter @d2davison.

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80 Comments

    • A man says

      No, i think the time is more than ripe for such an article. I havent been this surprised to read something so unbiased and lacking spurious meaning in, god, 3+ years?

      The author should be incredibly proud of herself. I beamed like a little boy over her sarcastic quip to the young man about going to jail with a degree is still better than going to jail with no degree. The perfect thing to say to him at that time and he definitely appreciated it.

      The fact that a woman wrote this just makes it so so poignant and vital in today’s hysterical climate. I have shared this with all my younger male friends and all of them have been shocked then grateful. The author is an exemplary woman and it comes through crystal clear with the caring, compassionate and clear way her story was portrayed.

      Reading it felt like a warm, comforting hug from mum.

      Bless you!

    • Dennis says

      This is on par with domestic violence with woman utilizing the resources available to them as victims have distorted or made false accusations to obtain a leg up in custody disputes. Not negating the seriousness of domestic violence, or partner abuse, but only to a a subsect of “victims” that manipulate the system to win custody and divorce settlements.

  1. Let’s get more women such as Pamela Anderson to speak out. That’s the only way the pendulum will wing back to the reasonable centre.

    • Satoshi Nakamoto says

      We could use the blockchain to give justice to victims of false accusations!

  2. Andrew says

    “The #MeToo movement, along with other previous movements and hashtags, has opened up vast resources online that help victims of sexual assault seek justice, network with allies and other survivors, and recover emotionally from their trauma. This is all to the good. But as Chloe’s case helps demonstrate, these same resources can also be used as tools to create a realistic backstory out of whole cloth.”

    I often read statements similar to this. The assumption seems to be that anything #MeToo does that does not involve skulduggery must necessarily be for the better – that #MeToo, minus a few bad apples, essentially works for the betterment of humankind, almost by definition. What evidence do we actually have, as opposed to mere belief, that #MeToo is achieving anything other than wrecking the lives of innocents and driving a wedge between the sexes?

    • Kelly Murphy says

      This is a fair question. Personally, as someone who has a history of trauma, I find it the opposite of helpful. All it does is cause constant emotional turmoil and bickering and controversy around a painful subject, such that it is almost impossible to avoid the topic no matter how badly one wishes to avoid it. I also see it as providing motivation for all kinds of shady characters to try to coopt the status of victimhood for their own selfish aims. This has the end result of making people less sensitive and sympathetic to actual victims, and less likely to believe victims’ stories. The whole thing is a waste and a mess.

      • Morgan says

        Indeed, Kelly, indeed.

        Not enough is said of the exploitation of the suffering and misery of true victims by those that claim to speak on their behalf.

        • Michael Joseph says

          Have you forgotten how #Metoo started? Victims were not taken seriously and offenders felt empowered by society. The way to solve a problem is not to continue to do the same thing. You might believe #Metoo has gone too far but it is not an acceptance of the status quo and so a step in the right direction.

    • Yes, what is the evidence? Has anyone studied data and numbers? I suspect when one begins an argument with with “xy is a good thing, but”, it’s just to avoid attracting too much criticism and rejection. Which is a sensible thing to do, but…

      • Lawrence Johnson says

        There have been many studies. Most estimates show that only 8% of rape accusations turn out to be false. That’s enough to support due process and the presumption of innocence, but not enough to discredit the entire #MeToo movement.

        • crutchie says

          The 8% is only from woman who admitted that they falsified the information. There is no real way to determine how many claims are false. This article will not go down as a false claim. Most people who lie will take that information to the grave

          • Michael Joseph says

            Lawrence says, “there have been many studies.” Then Crutchie says, “8% is only from.” Like Crutchie went back and looked at all the studies Lawrence looked at. Crutchie, you’re pulling comments out your bum. Lawrence’s statement is a little fishy too but sounds ball park close. There are good ways to determine how many harassment claims are legitimate. Often there is plenty of evidence and witnesses. You also have another elephant in the room Crutchie. The vast numbers of women who complain of sexual harassment are indicating that there is a problem some where. These women are our moms, sisters, daughters, and cousins so I’m going to believe them.

        • Carolynp says

          “Most estimates show that only 8% of rape accusations turn out to be false.” Where are you getting your data? 90% of rape cases that make it into a courtroom end in a not guilty finding. Is it possible that academia is terrified to do any serious study of this issue as they might find there are a large number of false accusations?

    • The #MeToo movement was inherently rotten from the start. Buyers remorse over transactional sex with Harvey Weinstein is not a moal foundation for any movement. Why are his actions despicable while the women’s actions performed to gain advantage over other women not?
      The movement got worse from that point painting men as harassed for minor one off incidents of misjudged social interactions and alleged incidents many years ago which were not reported at the time which prevent effective refutation because of their age while giving scope for memory errors and confabulation.

      Doubtless there are real incidents reported under #MeToo but the movement as a whole is based on poisonous misandry and a credulity that all reports are true which inevitably leads to widespread injustice. Anyone who claims to have been harassed or assaulted deserves treating with respect and having their complaint considered and if appropriate investigated but in the accused also deserves the same treatment until the truth is known.

      What is truely terrifying is that if a case simply comes down to his word against hers there is every chance that he will be found guilty. We have effectively lost the presumption of innocence and the burden of proof is on the accused. The evidence is that it is too easy to convict in rape trials not too hard. The majority of those cleared by the innocence project were convicted of rape. In the UK amongst the rape cases which collapsed when evidence from social media was found were some where the men accused had already been jailed. Ched Evans a well known footballer was jailed despite evidence from him and another man and the absence of evidence from the alleged victim who could not remember. He was only freed when evidence that the woman concerned habitually acted as the men had claimed came to light and this only occurred because legal restrictions on the alleged victims identity were breached. The response to this injustice was frighteningly a campaign to change the law to prevent the evidence that showed Ched’s innocence from being used in future cases.

      We need a change so that corroborative evidence is required in these cases.

      • Larry Larkin says

        The true victims of the Weinsteins et al in Hollyweird and elsewhere are the actresses, and in some cases actors, who said “no” when the hit was laid on them.

        Their careers were blighted, some even killed off completely. Mira Sorvino being a case in point. She missed out on Lord of the Rings courtesy of Weinstein’s disendorsement of her to Peter Jackson. And Jackson, being a real outside in Hollyweird at the time, would have had no idea why that was beyond what Weinstein told him

      • Michael Joseph says

        Aj, you might want to do a little research on Weinstein. Transactional sex is what prostitutes do and it’s okay if they are free to accept or refuse the deal. Weinstein was exploiting women who were not free to walk away or were assaulted regardless, big difference.

        The #Metoo movement insisted that women who report harassment be taken seriously because formerly they were not and a male dominant culture of irresponsibility was wide spread.

        The many innocent men incarcerated for rape was not because the women weren’t raped and filed illegitimate reports. It was because the cops got the wrong person. The women still had been raped. The reason I know this is because the innocent men were proved innocent after their DNA didn’t match the semen taken off the women shortly after they had been raped. And some times there was no question that the woman was raped because she had been murdered too.

        Get off your high horse and protect your wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters from the evil sons of bushwackers out there for godsakes.

  3. Irrational Actor says

    Men: Think back over your dating / sex life, and consider that any of those women who wanted more than you could give, got offended by something you did or said, or in any other way were not entirely satisfied or happy with you at or even after your time with them, – however short or long that may have been – are now a potential destroyer of your life.

    Most of those women are of course decent, honest human beings who would not lie about you or cause undue trouble even if they are not ‘happy’ with you. But there are potentially one or more a little less honest and decent amongst them, watching all this MeToo stuff, feeling scorned or othersuch, realising how easy it is to destroy a man’s life, who are right now wondering how much support and positive attention they might receive if they were to simply decide, “Me Too”.

    Sounds alarmist and over the top right? No doubt many recently falsely accused males thought the same until that trigger was pulled….

    • Me Three says

      And they’ve been doing this long before MeToo. Mattress Gurl at Columbia doesn’t get called out enough as the liar she is, for profiting as a performance artist off of a false allegation.

    • Daath says

      “Don’t stick it into crazy” was always a good rule for men, but it’s becoming a necessity. Luckily, those women most likely to use the system for revenge tend to give warning signals. If anything, mental instability is harder to detect than social justice ideology, because people tend to be more or less ashamed of the former, but vocal and proud about the latter. Just don’t touch those purple-haired, gender-queer assigned females at birth with a ten-foot pole, and treat with respect those ladies you become intimate with. This combination won’t eliminate the risk, but does vastly lower it. If you live in a deep blue city where most women are either SJWs or close friends with them, then move out or stay celibate. It won’t kill you. Or, you can play the Russian roulette and accept the risks.

      This isn’t so different from the fact that women are well advised to stay clear of massively tattooed bruisers with broken noses and jealous streaks a mile wide, even if they seem to be exciting bad boys. I agree that there is something especially vile about being unjustly persecuted by the judicial system, considering your taxes pay for it and it’s supposed to protect you. Still, both sexes must live with the reality that carelessness when selecting partners can really burn you. It’s not right, but it’s how the world is.

      • sestamibi says

        Unfortunately, “don’t stick it into crazy” ultimately morphs into “don’t stick it in anywhere”, which is what the feminists want. Such is life under the rules of the Junior Anti-Sex League.

  4. Ray Andrews says

    Thank you. Even if false charges are rare now (and that’s a big ‘if’), what happens if presumption of innocence is dropped and every woman who wants to extort money from some man can threaten him with a situation where he’s guilty until proven innocent?

    • Dai Anot says

      False charges aren’t all that rare. the journalist Christie Blatchford reported in the National Post that her Toronto police sources indicated a rate of 54% false. Similarly, Warren Farrell, in his book the Myth of Male Power has a study done for the U.S. Navy indicating a rate of 60% false.

      Several years ago the Toronto Star indicated their research indicated that 25% of men in that city had used prostitutes. They didn’t seem to consider this might now fall under the heading of safe sex.

        • Although it is perfectly OK to pay somebody to look after your children, or to make you pregnant (non-sexually), or even to have your children for you.

        • Dai Anto says

          And destroying an individuals life by a false accusation isn’t? I’m not without a modicum of understanding for the false accuser as the FBI notes in its identification traits of those that falsely accuse a history of mental illness, most commonly Borderline Personality Disorder.

          However if such an individual attacks somebody with a knife she will not be considered a victim. Those that might attempt to destroy a life by false accusation are. The immorality may not simply lie with the accuser but a large part of media and society that endorses those that make such an accusation which hasn’t been subject to complete and thorough investigation.

      • Larry Larkin says

        Talking to various LEOs from a number of different jurisdictions, depending on the circumstances and what has been in the news in the recent past, up to 80% of accusations of sexual assault can be false.

        That is, demonstrably false within a short period of actual investigations.

        It’s like suicide. News organisations tend not to publicise suicides unless it is a very high profile person because if they do, especially if it’s been a bizarre one, the suicide rate goes up with copycats.

        The same thing happens in connected social groups, you get one suicide, you’re likely to get more, or at least attempts. Same same with claims of sexual assault. One claim, and then they come out of the woodwork, very often completely false cloth.

    • False charges are not rare. They are, in fact, common. But stats tend to be taken from convictions for false charges. As the liars are almost never prosecuted, conviction rates are naturally very low. Neat, huh?

  5. Wentworth Horton says

    “But all movements, no matter how virtuous in intent, open up unintended misuses of their cause.” Yup, and that’s why movements, of all types, need to be kept on a short leash. And it’s no coincidence that the movements that fly under the Identity Politics flag devolve into maliciousness quicker and deeper than those that don’t. They are movements of Group Identity over individual identity, a recipe for disaster. Everytime.

  6. annaerishkigal says

    As an attorney who used to work for the public defender’s office, I had THREE rape cases turn to rubbish after it became obvious, during trial, that the woman I was defending so vigorously had most likely lied. I say “most likely” because they never confessed to lying, but I totally believed their story until they were cross-examined, and then when bad evidence came to light, the alleged victim became evasive, dropped the charges, and refused to testify any further, just like the woman in the story. Because of these cases, I no longer work for the public defender’s office.

  7. David Chennells (@BeatConfusion) says

    Fundamentally, we need to recognize that by the time accusations (be they “true” or “false”) pile up, we have as a society have already gone very far wrong and ultimately bear responsibility. Overall, the situation calls out for a huge amount of cultural change, most of which consists of new norms that can equip folks for transitory periods of life dominated by transactional sex.

    What would such norms looks like? Here are some examples.

    First, before entering private spaces folks need to articulate much more clearly and formally what they are up for. This is as much for men’s protection (of their reputation, legal jeopardy and time) as for women’s. Before inviting a woman into a private space, men should solicit blanket consent for whatever they have in mind and use some sort of app or a wallet-sized card to capture that.

    Second, well before that, women (and men) should try to understand better what experiences are likely to cause them remorse or worse and find some way to signal that socially. In the distant past, anxious, vulnerable women avoided wearing highly sexualized clothing at social gatherings. However, given that we no longer use fashion-choices to signal or reveal such preferences and traits, we need to invent other social signalling methods. An example would be color-coded bracelets that can reveal and communicate self-descriptions on spectrums such as “open to new experiences and resilient” vs. “personally conservative and fragile”. With better signalling, men could avoid proposing one-night-stands to women whose personalities make make them more likely to suffer from remorse or depression.

    Finally, we need to recognize that the market for authentically transactional heterosexual sex does not clear without many folks paying or receiving tangible benefits. Many women (and men) who are ostensibly up for a one night stand are actually hoping for or expecting something more and when it becomes clear (perhaps the next day) that this will not come to pass understandably feel disappointed, distraught or cheated, to the point of becoming angry (or legally hostile). We need to normalize negotiation over “side-payments” within mainstream social life to increase the likelihood that both parties retrospectively consider the experience a “win-win” transaction. (A whole color range of those bracelets could be devoted to signalling that openness to transactional sex is contingent upon payment of some form.)

    Overall, our goal as cultural innovators is to create vastly better functioning social marketplaces in which all of the joys and benefits of transactional sex and intimacy are available to virtually all members of society while substantially reducing the legal risks. There is a huge amount of work to be done and now is the time for positive, imaginative cultural innovation and change.

    • Burlats de Montaigne says

      Everything you suggest smacks of the cold, dead, theoretical hand of the gender studies student. Everything will be fine. ALL we have to do is re-program fundamental human behaviour and everything will be tickety-boo.
      If you were trolling, I apologise. I haven’t taken my medication yet.

      • David Chennells (@BeatConfusion) says

        Precisely which “fundamental human behaviour” would you be referring to?

        Throughout most of human history most of these elements were in place. For example, fashion *was* used for social signalling. Brothels operated in the open, with the line between them and taverns rather blurry. Male chivalry prescribed formal, often florid conversations about intentions. What’s happened is that earlier generations of prohibitionist progressives; stoned and delusional hippies from the1960s “free-love” counterculture; and, recent academics from obscurantist (and sex-negative and misandrist) gender studies have all messed up longer-standing traditions and cultural adaptations in this realm. We need to restore improved versions of perennial traditions, adapted for a new era.

  8. Doctor Locketopus says

    > . An example would be color-coded bracelets

    The signal would need to be recognizable at a distance.

    Perhaps a sash imprinted with the logo of the Junior Anti-Sex League.

  9. Wait, so the complainant in that case used a #Metoo script in 2016/2016 even though the movement didn’t start until 2017?

    More amazing work by quillette!

  10. david of Kirkland says

    “But, as lawyers are quick to point out, testimony is evidence.”
    True, but when the testimony is only by the accuser, it’s very weak evidence, as it just substantiates the claim already made.
    And since when is rape not sex? I thought the entire idea of rape is that it was coerced sex.

    • Asenath Waite says

      @david of K

      It is sex (in the sense of “sex” being short for “sexual intercourse”). It’s another example of the arbitrary redefinition of words that is popular within the contemporary progressive movement. Other examples include the redefinition of “racism” such that it can only apply to the perceived oppressor class, the redefinition of “rape” itself to mean any less-than-ideal sexual experience, and the re-redefinition (or un-definition) of “gender” to mean anything and therefore nothing.

  11. Trajan Fanzine says

    I have several friends in the degree’ed psyche field, one of which told me that out of a simple of say 10 people whom have gotten to the point of stepping inside a Courtroom and rendered testimony ala Chloe, at least half of those, are neurotic and some certainly psychotic enough to have made themselves believe a tale they have concocted to the point of passing a lie detector test.Scary stuff….

  12. TreeFriend says

    This is the inevitable result of hookup culture. It’s just not sustainable.
    I know this kind of talk is usually unwelcome, but it’s proving true: If men and women had kept the commandments of the Lord, this entire nightmare would have been avoided.

  13. Women are wired not be fucked and left with babies as that could be fatal evolutionarily. It’s just that simple. The crazy ex-girlfriend is a genetic reality. [And of course Men have their legacy issues in spades as well]. Women need to learn that a sexual Disneyland is not what they are wired for.

    • @Avatar – Freedom of speech is everything but this is no place for abusive language or misogyny… Take that elsewhere and let the adults discuss issues like grown ups.

      • Peter from Oz says

        You need to look up the meaning of misogyny. Avatar’s post contained nothing that revealed a hatred of women. Maybe you should let the adults discuss these things and go and join the sloganeering adolescents. If you seek to ban others you are the one who should be banned. That’s the new rule of discourse being enforced by the right. We are the power now. Those who can’t stand the heat of argument don’t deserve to join in the argument. We won’t put up with censorship anymore. You try to censor us and we will censor your your censorship. Come and disagree with us as forcefully as you like. That’s all part of the game. But don’t try to set the rules, because that’s for us to do. You aren’t up to it morally, politically or intellectually.

        • Oz – I am trying to censor no one. I am a Libertarian, I have every right to use my freedom of speech to suggest someone”s comments don’t belong as they have to comment. Saying “Women are wired…” is misogynistic… Also who is “We”. “We” is the problem no matter if “We” is the Left or the Right or some other identity group.

          • John B says

            @MMS No, it wasn’t misogynistic at all. After 120,000 years of evolution both men and women are “hardwired” in certain ways. By all means argue whether a particular thing is hardwired or not, but don’t call reality misogynistic.

          • Alistair says

            MMS

            I think “women are wired…” is entirely true. A little coarse, but a reasonable statistical description of reality. Go and read any evolutionary psychology text. Start with Dawkins and move onto Pinker. Would the observation that men are wired to fuck nearly any fertile vagina also send you into fainting fits?

            This is why we are in the mess we are in. Statements are being judged for authorial hate-speech and intent regardless of their empirical truth.

          • Brian Garvey says

            Blank Slates? Only someone who believed that organisms have no intrinsic characteristics could assert “Women are wired . .” is misogynistic. See Steven Pinker’s “The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature” for a thorough debunking of this nonsense.

      • Northern Observer says

        There is nothing abusive to complain about. Everything is descriptive not pejorative. Do you see that?

      • TofeldianSage says

        @MMS, that was brainless. @Avatar is espousing a perfectly rational position worthy of discussion on this forum. Yours is the questionable one.

  14. Anne Bossy says

    I remember the days when girls got raped and it was sniggered about. Resultant pregnancies were shameful, hidden and denied. Backstreet abortions were deadly. I know #metoo has been highjacked by nutcases but I really, really don’t want to go back to the old days.

    • Trimegistus says

      Then you, and other women, especially “feminists,” need to take the lead in opposing these false accusations and condemning the false accusers.

    • TofeldianSage says

      @Anne Bossy, men are fast approaching the day when they don’t care what women think. For many men that day has already arrived. The days you are hoping you never see might not be the ones you think.

    • Thylacine says

      Anne Bossy: Rape has always been considered the second- or third-most evil crime a person could commit, next to murder (and possibly treason). Read any of the ancient texts – Homer, the Old Testament, etc. – they all condemn rape fulsomely. Rape of a single person has been the cause of wars, historically. Your historical revisionism (or ignorance) is unbecoming.

  15. Burlats de Montaigne says

    “I know #metoo has been highjacked by nutcases but I really, really don’t want to go back to the old days.”

    What, in the wide world of sport, has #metoo got to do with the horrors of backstreet abortion? As non-sequiturs go, that really is one.

  16. This whole thing makes the Victorian era (and before) look extremely rational and just plain good sense. Maybe it’s time to go back to chaperones, where a female was never alone with a male at all. It also brings to light all of the old articles I’ve read in archived magazines, the arguments a lot of men (and quite a few women) had of the women’s movement. They were castigated by the enlightened liberals because one of the things they feared was that men were too aggressive and would take advantage of women if they were allowed free reign in all the same spaces.

    The thing is, if you take the Mike Pence rule then you’ll be seen as either a neanderthal that doesn’t trust himself alone with women or a fundamentalist nut job that wants to put all women back in the kitchen… barefoot.
    Gentlemen, you’re either damned if you do or don’t.

    Also, if we want this kangaroo court madness to stop then we need to strongly disincentivize it. All of these women who have falsely accused men of rape have not had any negative consequences in doing so. So, how do we go about getting legislation passed where false accusers get to spend some time in prison? I think that is absolutely the only thing that will ensure that only real rape victims get a court date.

    • JohnB says

      @KDM. I think the laws are already there. Filing a false complaint, perjury, filing a false Statutory Declaration. The laws are there, but they are not enforced.

  17. Big20s says

    White Sharia is the only way.
    No sex outside of marriage, no such thing as rape within it.

  18. Andro187 says

    This has been going on a long time. From Genesis Chapter 39:

    Joseph was a strikingly handsome man. As time went on, his master’s wife became infatuated with Joseph and one day said, “Sleep with me.”

    He wouldn’t do it. He said to his master’s wife, “Look, with me here, my master doesn’t give a second thought to anything that goes on here—he’s put me in charge of everything he owns. He treats me as an equal. The only thing he hasn’t turned over to me is you. You’re his wife, after all! How could I violate his trust and sin against God?”

    She pestered him day after day after day, but he stood his ground. He refused to go to bed with her.

    On one of these days he came to the house to do his work and none of the household servants happened to be there. She grabbed him by his cloak, saying, “Sleep with me!” He left his coat in her hand and ran out of the house. When she realized that he had left his coat in her hand and run outside, she called to her house servants: “Look—this Hebrew shows up and before you know it he’s trying to seduce us. He tried to make love to me but I yelled as loud as I could. With all my yelling and screaming, he left his coat beside me here and ran outside.”

    She kept his coat right there until his master came home. She told him the same story. She said, “The Hebrew slave, the one you brought to us, came after me and tried to use me for his plaything. When I yelled and screamed, he left his coat with me and ran outside.”

    When his master heard his wife’s story, telling him, “These are the things your slave did to me,” he was furious. Joseph’s master took him and threw him into the jail where the king’s prisoners were locked up.

  19. Diana is one of a growing, if still small, number of excellent women who seek to re-balance the abuse of justice enshrined into western cultures by the embarrassingly widely accepted and ongoing onslaught of #FalseFeminism –

    I’m sure she needs no warning from any of us on how the witch-hunting FFs have treated/will treat her for seeing the other side of their coin.
    As with Cassie Jaye – you go against the protocol of attacking men as the enemy, and very quickly you will get to watch those women monster you.

    Fortunately the selfish gene will suit the Dianas and Jessies of this world much more than the pitchfork mobsters. We will outlive them all.

    • Thylacine says

      Patrick: I don’t see much evidence that the number of women like Diana is “growing.” I have been involved in gender debates since the 1980s, and can assure you that the number of women like her has been fairly constant over time. There aren’t many courageous men who will stand up for their gender, either.

  20. jonfrum says

    I’m too old to worry about this – dammit! – but for the young men out there, a word to the wise: always suss out a girl before you get alone with her. She’ll probably be proud to say if she’s big into metooism in some way. If so, fly away. She may be hot,and you may be feelin’ it, but there’s a million more out there who won’t do this to you. Any progressive talk at all, smile and walk away.

  21. Another goody DD. The White Ribbon organisation in New Zealand is promoting listening too and believing women in it’s guidelines be a good man as part of this year’s campaign.

    https://whiteribbon.org.nz/home/campaigns/

    Men back up their stand with real actions.
    White Ribbon supports men to commit to taking at least one of these eight actions to show their respect. They’re the right thing to do:

    Listening and believing women.
    Reflecting on and changing their behaviour.
    Disrupting other men’s violence towards women.
    Treating women as equals.
    Choose how to be a man and how I will act.
    Talk to a young man about breaking out of the Man Box (more information below).
    Think about what they watch and the media they use.
    Talk with young men about respectful relationships and pornography.

  22. The author says the dialog Chloe recounted sounded authentic. To me it sounds just like the amateur fiction writing of night school students with tedious day jobs; I have read a great deal of that being a fiction writing instructor of more than ten years. “You’ll like this, just trust me,” and “You should be thankful I’m doing this to you. I could have any girl.” I assure you, no one has actually spoken those words in the history of mankind other than said same students reading their work aloud. As soon as I heard that testimony, I’d be leaning toward acquittal.

  23. Pingback: How the #MeToo Movement Helped Create a Script for False Accusers | Sassy Wire

  24. Thylacine says

    What Diana knows but doesn’t go into in this article is even more frightening.
    The Liberal government in Canada is busy passing laws that will make false convictions very easy indeed. To wit:
    -There’s a provision in Bill C-51 that will require the defense to disclose to the Crown (and therefore to the complainant) all records of communications between the defendant and the complainant in their possession or control which they might wish to rely upon at trial. This will tell the complainant what evidence the defense has to refute any allegations made, and allows her to tailor her testimony so as to avoid being proven a liar.
    -There’s a provision in Bill C-75 that will prohibit judges from cautioning juries about the safety of convicting someone in a case with absolutely no corroborating evidence (the classic he-said, she-said case). The science says that eye-witness testimony is highly unreliable; but the Liberal government says judges and juries must ignore science in the interest of securing convictions.
    The saddest thing about this is that none of the other parties in Canada is even slightly concerned about these proposed amendments to the Criminal Code. It will probably take 10 years for the right cases to wend their way through the judicial system to the Supreme Court, before the constitutionality of these provisions will be settled in law. Meanwhile, how many innocent lives will be ruined needlessly?

  25. Michael Joseph says

    Hey, I wonder if the same people upset at a few innocent men accused of rape going to jail are upset by all the other injustices in our system. Seems to me all the anti #MeToo comments come from folks from the side of the railroad tracks that are protected by the current power brokers. These people can’t be taken serious when standing up for innocent until proven guilty principles for male victims of the judicial system accused of rape when minority victims of the judicial system languish in prison at highly discriminatory rates. This idea that some innocent folks can be imprisoned unfairly should be system wide not a backlash against the prosecution of rapists. If you are afraid a few of your favorite men might get swept up in this 21st century pogrom then advocate for global justice reform not a sepecific specially fair treatment for accused male rapists.

    • Andrew Lohr says

      Fair enough to remember other injustices, tho some people specialize in certain ones rather than try to give equal attention to every single kind. But, well, are we men discriminated against unless half the people in jail are women, or do we men tend to behave worse? (Similarly for K-12 behavior issues). Facing the facts is a virtue, not a sin.

  26. 278 men were convicted and sentenced to thousands of collective years in prison, based on faulty eye witness testimony of actual victims. One Canadian case sent an innocent man to jail for more than 20 years when a serial rapist who rod the same bus as the nurse was the one that did it. DNA evidence exonerated ronald cotton after 14 years. Memories can be changed. Loftus and related researchers proved that fake memories can be created, including being 9 and spilling the punch bowl on the parents of the bride at a wedding!
    I am a male, and a professor, I used to teach self defense workshops at the university to help save women from assaults. But the minute the kavanaugh accuser was taken seriously…all credibility that had been buildin went out the window. Do not get me wrong, if he did it I hope karam gets him good- but an unsubstantiated assault 32 years old formed during intoxication so strong she could not narrow down the years it occurred, who was there where and never told her bet friend who was there but wasnt? Men have had careers damaged now for awkward sex on dates… The REASONABLE woman standard needs to be applied, people are out for blood with torches and pitchforks and unfortunately, no tragically, the metoo movement took on the tone of the macarthy years. Require reasonable proof, that is all men ask. This is an important tiem, but we cannot go all “salem with trial” on men just because they are male.

  27. Louis Nizer says

    With a different judge this case could have ended very differently. Suppose the judge, perhaps fearing being pilloried in the court of public opinion or elven a recall election, decided to limit the time for cross-examination to something arbitrary, say 15 minutes. Or a new state legislature or Congress could impose short, fixed time limits for cross -examination to “protect survivors.”

    What happens in Calif. is that, if the defense attorney begins to get somewhere on cross-examination is that the proseciutor will start making bullshit objections that will be sustained, thereby derailing the cross-examination.

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