I have had a few experiences in the past few days that have, besides being a bit grating on my nerves, also been ironic given my circumstances. I volunteer at the Aurora Center and I was on my way over to pick up a few things when someone near the pedestrian bridges at Coffman thrust a paper in my face. Usually I’ll take the fliers because it’s quicker than saying ‘no thank you’ and running away when I see disappointed faces. An older man handed me a bookmark and I was on my merry way. However, it was not just any bookmark. It was a bookmark advertising/giving information about a national men’s group. The back listed a few questions men had to ‘worry’ about in relation to their gender such as “false accusations” and “what to know before getting married.” The phrasing on the flier, without really mentioning women, made it clear that men had to be wary of women as vindictive… at the very least. The website has phrases such as “men’s rights” and uses information from a man named Eugene Kanin from Purdue, who provides very faulty, very biased, very sexist, and very damaging “knowledge” about the occurrence of false accusations of rape made by women. If you’d like to spike your blood pressure a bit, do a little Google research on him.
I copied this next paragraph directly from Wikipedia because it is better than what I could have paraphrased. David Lisak, a critic of Kanin, says that “Kanin’s 1994 article on false allegations is a provocative opinion piece, but it is not a scientific study of the issue of false reporting of rape. It certainly should never be used to assert a scientific foundation for the frequency of false allegations.”
It is also important to recognize that Kanin got some of his information from a police precinct where officers frequently gave rape victims polygraphs “based on the misperception that a significant percentage of sexual assault reports are false.” Lisak argues that “It is noteworthy that the police department from which Kanin derived his data used or threatened to use the polygraph in every case… The fact that it was the standard procedure of this department provides a window on the biases of the officers who conducted the rape investigations, biases that were then echoed in Kanin’s unchallenged reporting of their findings.”
Essentially, the departments where he drew his research from had officers who did not treat victims as victims but instead as potentially guilty; something that supported Kanin’s research very much. Okay, whew. So in reality, the number of false accusations for rape is very closely aligned with the number of false accusations for any other crime including robbery, etc. VERY LOW! Kanin asserted that women who reported rape often had ‘rape fantasies,’ citing good ol’ women-lover Freud and that false accusations, which he thought happened all the time, were a hysterical manifestation of this so called desire to be violently assaulted.
Secondly, I walked past a guy saying to a friend near Nicholson “yeah, college algebra, the only math class with girls in it!” Sound off if you, like me, know countless women involved in math and sciences.