Rebuttal Argument- sixfortyfive645

Women are Liars and Cheats, Right?

Falsely reported rapes are, unfortunately, a reality that is a part of rape culture. However, only 2 to 8 percent of rapes are falsely reported; a statistic that is little known to the public. Of those that know this statistic, many do not believe it is true and insist that far more rapes are falsely reported. Part of this thinking is the dilemma of recanting a rape report. When a woman or a man reports a rape and later recants it, they are immediately assumed to have falsely reported a rape and are punished, either socially or legally.

In legal terms, there are many reasons to why a rape is believed to be a false report. The Philadelphia police department’s response as to why 52% of rape reports were dismissed as “unfounded” explains some reasons: “The victim reports while under the influence of drugs or alcohol (although studies have shown that in 55 percent of rape cases, alcohol or drugs are involved; in acquaintance rape cases, that number is sometimes as high as 80 to 90 percent). Young women report rape to cover up truancy, pregnancy, lost money or sexual precocity. Adult women report rape to cover up infidelity, indiscretion, lateness or pregnancy. A rape is reported so that the survivor can obtain an abortion or the morning-after pill free of charge. Women report rape to ‘obtain revenge’ on a man who has ‘done her wrong,’ or to make her partner ‘feel guilty’ after a ‘lover’s quarrel.’ Girls lie about rape all the time, for reasons ‘known only to [themselves].’” All of these reasons are accountable, and there are indeed instances where false rapes are reported. However, for the Philadelphia police department to find over half of the rape reports as false or improbable is unfair; there are holes in their reasoning. For starters, finding a rape to be unfounded because alcohol was involved is absurd. Just because someone is drunk or high doesn’t mean they weren’t raped, or capable of raping someone. In fact, if someone is under the influence, they are found to be unable to give proper consent. In addition, the Philadelphia police department disregards the accuser’s credibility by saying that “girls lie about rape all the time” for unknown reasons. These reasons may be that she is mentally ill and needs further assistance to help her deal with her illness. Or, the girl may not know what constitutes rape and may be mistaken. Either way, the police department acts ignorantly by dismissing women’s integrity.

The Philadelphia police department’s ignorance presents another issue in disbelieving rape reports, which includes the harshness police officers and investigators may portray when interviewing the accusers. Often times, when victims report a rape to the police they are quickly questioned without sensitivity and sympathy. The brash attitudes of the interviewers may pressure the victim of rape into saying things that can be misconstrued, forcing them to appear as though they are making up facts and are lying. For example, in July of 2004 Sara Reedy was sexually assaulted at gunpoint while she was working at a local petrol station in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The attacker stole money from the cash register, forced himself on her, and then left. The detective who interviewed Reedy didn’t believe her and accused her of stealing the money and invented the story as a cover-up, despite the incriminating forensic evidence that was never tested. Reedy was charged with theft and filing a false report and was jailed. A year later, the Reedy’s attacker struck again and was caught, and actually admitted to assaulting Reedy. If the police hadn’t been ignorant to Reedy’s situation and didn’t jump to conclusions based off of judgment of appearance, Reedy would have never been degraded, jailed, and would have not gone through more trauma. Plus, her attacker may have not struck again.

In another instance, in August 2008, an 18-year-old woman was gagged, bound, and raped in her apartment that was part of an at-risk youth program in Lynnwood, Washington. After reporting the attack to the police, the unnamed woman said, “detectives Jerry Rittgarn and Sgt. Jeff Mason didn’t believe her. Claiming police coerced her into recanting her story, the woman was charged with false reporting and fined $500 when she later tried to insist the rape did happen.” Then, two and a half years later, a man was arrested in Colorado for several rapes, when they found pictures of the Lynnwood woman, as well as her ID card in his possession. He was found guilty and is serving a 327-year sentence. In order to find the young woman’s horrible experience true, her attacker had to strike again. The only reason she recanted her story was because of misperception on her part and lack of compassion on the investigators’, which caused the young woman to feel pressured and in the wrong. Based on the report, the young woman was portraying signs that she was lying, like not looking the police officer in the eye and inappropriate body language. When actually, she was just showing signs of traumatization. She had just been gagged and raped by a man; she probably felt uncomfortable opening up to a man in authority, like a police officer. Especially if that man in authority was showing signs of disbelief and was putting “words in her moth.” If the police officers had trusted her integrity and studied the objective evidence gathered (injuries to wrists and genitals, sheets, shoelace used to bound her hands, and the gag), the 18-year-old would never had to go through more trauma.

Works Cited

Matchar, Emily. “’Men’s Rights’ Activists Are Trying to Redefine the Meaning of Rape.” New Republic. 26 February 2014. Web. 9 November 2015.

Hallett, Stephanie. “Do Women Lie About Rape?” Ms. Magazine. 7 April 2011. Web. 9 November 2015.

Walters, Joanne. “Sara Reedy, the rape victim accused of lying and jailed by US police, wins $1.5m in payout.” The Guardian. 15 December 2012. Web. 9 November 2015.

Carter, Mike. “Woman sues after Lynnwood police didn’t believe she was raped.” The Seattle Times. 12 June 2013. Web. 9 November 2015.

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5 Responses to Rebuttal Argument- sixfortyfive645

  1. sixfortyfive645 says:

    feedback was requested.

    Feedback provided.


  2. davidbdale says:

    P1. This paragraph is confusing, sixfortyfive. Helping you clarify it will not be easy, but let’s start. You say:
    2 to 8 percent of rapes are falsely reported
    It sounds clear, but what does it mean?

    Say 100 rapes are committed but only 25 are reported.
    : We can surely say only 25 percent of rapes are reported.
    : We can also say that 75 percent of rapes go unreported.

    Now suppose 1 rape is reported that is not actually rape.
    : We can say that 1 false rape is reported.
    : We can say that 1 rape is falsely reported.
    But what can we say about the percentage of rapes that are falsely reported?

    : Compared to the 100 committed rapes, only 1% are “falsely reported.”
    : Compared to the 25 reported rapes, 4% are “falsely reported.”

    Do you see the problem? Since most readers know most rapes are not reported, the “percentage of rapes reported” whether truly or falsely, is always subject to debate. When you start to debate what “many believe” about truth in rape reporting, you are fighting a losing battle.

    What you and I agree about: If 100 women report rapes, probably 400 occurred. Women who report rapes sometimes recant their reports. Of the 10 who recant, 9 still believe they were raped but realize they won’t get justice. So, the 1 out of 400 rape victims who report and recant make up a measly .25% of rape claims.

    Give or take.

    If you can quantify the above invented statistics, you can win a data contest, sixfortyfive. But if the numbers aren’t available, you shouldn’t try because you’ll lose the rhetorical argument.

    Nobody who believes that “far more rapes are falsely reported” will be convinced by your “2 to 8 percent” claim. Beat them another way. Indicate clearly the reasons for recanting that have nothing to do with statistical proof. Make it understandable that a victim would give up trying to get justice.

    You hint in your “are immediately assumed to have falsely reported” claim that observers make judgments about rape victims. That may be the only available angle for a persuasive argument.

    P2. You spend so much time enumerating the reasons for false reports that you almost turn readers who WANT to believe victims against them. This is too early in your refutation for such a list. You need to convince readers first that rape reports are reliable before you start to undermine their faith.

    For example, if you first establish “diminished capacity to consent” as a causative condition for many rapes, you can ELIMINATE the group of “drug-and-alcohol-related” claims from the “dubious” category.

    When you say, “girls lie about rape all the time” AFTER enumerating the many reasons they might lie, you’ve predisposed your readers to reply with an unconscious “Obviously!”

    On the other hand, if you accuse the police of mindlessly dismissing credible rape reports from otherwise trustworthy claimants because of their prejudice that “girls lie about rape all the time,” you’ll effectively refute their generalization as insensitive and prejudicial.

    FAILS FOR GRAMMAR NOTE: You repeatedly fail Rule 4 by matching singular pronouns (someone, for example) with plural verbs or other pronouns (weren’t, for example; and they, for example).

    P3. I appreciate that you 1) want to sound academic and 2) want to provide good transitions between paragraphs, but sentences like:

    The Philadelphia police department’s ignorance presents another issue in disbelieving rape reports, which includes the harshness police officers and investigators may portray when interviewing the accusers.

    are torture for readers.

    Spare yourself, sixfortyfive. Read Milton Friedman again. He doesn’t do this. You don’t have to, either. This works:

    The officers’ brutality further contributes to flawed reports.

    This brief claim is a good substitute for your first three sentences.
    1) Police are harsh;
    2) They are insensitive;
    3) Their brashness leads to confusing testimony.
    See what I mean?

    The Reedy story deserves its own paragraph. Also: before we read the anecdote, tell us what it will prove. The whole time we’re reading Reedy’s sad story, we’ll be confirming and validating the claim you have made about it. Otherwise, you leave us to draw our own conclusions about the anecdote until you’re ready to share yours with us. If we don’t completely agree, it’s too late for you to ask us to read the evidence again. We’re locked in an argument.

    P4. You’ve got this backwards again, sixfortyfive. Tell us first that the Lynnwood woman approached police with injuries to her wrists and genitals, the shoelaces used to bind her hands, the gag used to silence her, the sheets on which she was assaulted, plus her own compelling testimony of rape. THEN tell us that the police dismissed her testimony because of her failure to make eye contact. THEN tell us that her assailant is serving a 327-year sentence for several more rapes. THEN note that the police could have prevented future rapes by believing the Lynnwood victim’s report.

    Sadly, no number of true rape reports can every prove that false reports occur (any more than millions of 3-leaf clovers disprove the existence of 4-leaf clovers). Still, the numbers are on your side.

    If you know that 990,000 of 1,000,000 clovers have only three leaves, you can shift the burden of proof to those who claim that most clovers have four leaves. Right?

    So ask them how they know the 500,000 have four leaves. Do the women who were drunk when they were raped RECANT their testimony, or do police dismiss it? Do the women who were raped by their dates RECANT their testimony, or do police simply dismiss it? In other words, what percentage of REPORTED RAPES are RECANTED?

    That’s the only meaningful statistic you have to acknowledge (and dismiss). The rest you can dispute at Someone Else’s Opinion. See?

    Reply, please.


  3. sixfortyfive645 says:

    Thanks for the feedback. It is helpful, although I am confused overall as to what exactly I need to fix. I see the flaws in the way I set up my argument, but I’m still not sure exactly what to do about statistics. I got the 2 to 8% statistic from one of my sources, which is credible, so that’s why I mentioned it. I will reword the statistic to make it more clear and I’ll add more to the first paragraph, but I’m not really clear what else you are suggesting! Still, thank you for the feedback.


    • davidbdale says:

      I can’t read the statistic for myself because you haven’t linked to it or identified its source, sixfortyfive. It may be accurate and clear, and it may have come from a very reliable source. But as you’ve reported it, “only 2 to 8 percent of rapes are falsely reported,” we can’t tell what it actually means. Does it mean that 2 to 8 percent of rape reports are false reports? That’s a different claim. Does it mean that 2 to 8 percent of rape reports are dismissed by police because they decide, as you report the Philadelphia police often decide, that they are “unfounded”? Those all are very different claims. For your statistic to be meaningful and persuasive, readers need to be confident they understand what it means.

      Does this help? If you identify the source, we could look at the statistic together.
      Reply, please.


  4. sixfortyfive645 says:

    The statistic is from this source: in the 7th paragraph: “The most reliable statistics available place the number of false rape reports at between 2 and 8 percent of all rape reports.” It is a confusing statistic, and I have heard it before. Thank you for the consistent feedback!


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