One Comment

  1. Seth MacLeod

    That story about the cop who asked the victim, “What did you do wrong?”, sparked a thought about empathy.

    Committing a crime typically shows a lack of empathy to some degree, and rape *really* highlights a lack of empathy. As feminists point out, it’s not just violent rape that is rape, but any non-consensual sex is rape (ideally libertarians will point that out too), and if someone can’t understand that having sex with someone who has passed out and not given consent is rape, then that person definitely is lacking in empathy.

    While there are false rape allegations (Duke Lacrosse case being a famous example), I would think that any man who instinctively thinks a woman *must* be lying is probably the kind of man who buys into the stereotype that men are rational and women are empathetic. So you would think that this cop, being the rational man that he is, would be able to reason out that since women are empathetic, how could this woman falsely accuse someone and potentially put him through a criminal trial. And of course the accused is a man lacking in empathy according to the stereotype, so maybe he ought to be investigated.

    Okay, the stereotypes are absurd, but these people seem to believe in them. I think it’s safe to say that the people who believe in them are neither rational nor empathetic.

    Having said all that, even if false rape allegations are rare, it is still absolutely important that we take Blackstone’s formulation seriously, that it is better for ten guilty men to go free than to punish an innocent man. However, there is a *huge* difference between the presumption of innocence and assuming that a woman must be lying. That so many men seem to think the latter is really fucked up.

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