Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

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The Goldberg Variation
Another in our series featuring men who just can't stop sounding off on subjects when a period of silent reflection might arguably be wiser. A few days ago we had Richard Dawkins on Islam; today, Eddie Shah treats the world to his views on sex with underage girls. Shah was cleared of raping a girl in her early teens last month - a verdict I respect, though his comment after the trial ("I was brought to trial with no real evidence at all - all they had was the word of a girl") means that I certainly don't respect him. Speaking in more general terms he has now invoked what we may call the Goldberg Variation - citing the difference between rape of the innocent kind that businessmen and Oscar-winning film directors indulge in to relieve the stress of their hectic lives, and "'rape' rape", which is the preserve of nameless thugs who hide in dark alleys. According to Shah: "If we're talking about girls who just go out and have a good time, then they are to blame. If we talk about people who go out and actually get 'raped' raped, then I feel no - and everything should be done against that."

So there you are - straight from the mouth of Eddie Shah, tycoon, author, and now, jurist.

Two possibilites: either Shah was innocent or he was as guilty as hell and got away with it. Either way he'd have been well advised to keep his big gob shut. But no- typical bloody journo!

Edited at 2013-08-11 10:23 am (UTC)

It's called not knowing when to stop digging.

I gather that Saatchi bloke is engaged in a similar exercise vis a vis his marital difficulties.

Isn't there a difference between:

1) what you're calling the Goldberg Variation, which is a version of the "It's just Bob being Bob" line,

2) The "victim put herself in a risky situation" line, which is what Shah was saying.

They're both noxious, yes, but they're different arguments. #2 is particularly tricky, because "avoid risky situations" is actual good advice. It's what safety advocates say all the time to prevent, e.g. muggings: avoid dark streets, don't flash a lot of cash, don't wear expensive jewelry in open public places, etc. etc. But that's always said without an undercurrent of "You only have yourself to blame when something happens if you don't follow this advice." What makes #2 noxious is that it is blaming the victim.

It's different from #1 in that, in #1, the victim isn't being held to blame; there's nothing the victim could do. It's removing responsibility from the perpetrator. The equivalent of #1 in a mugging situation would be, "Oh, the mugger couldn't resist himself, seeing all that cash and/or jewelry!"

I think those are fair points (and I've drawn a similar parallel with victim blaming in other areas of crime in the past). I wouldn't deny the these distinctions, but I wanted to draw attention to a similarity - i.e. the desire to separate "rape" (a misdemeanour for which - in the scenario described by Shah - the child victim is at least partly to blame) from the terrible crime of "rape rape".

Edited at 2013-08-12 07:17 am (UTC)

(Deleted comment)
Why should he have anonymity? People being arrested and prosecuted don't, generally.

Miss X getting jiggy with bloke, having foreplay, fucking then days later turning up at cop shop shouting rape.

Fortunately, this is not a thing that happens outside of MRA's fevered imaginations.

(Deleted comment)
1) Too bad. People being prosecuted have no expectation of anonymity.

2) Cite your source and its methodology. Rape accusations are false no more frequently than accusations of other violent crimes.

(Deleted comment)
Nonsense. They are in no way equivalent. The survivor of rape is not suspected of committing a crime. A rather key distinction.

(Deleted comment)
Ah, yes. Those things are totes similar. Poor men, how they do suffer.

I still note that you have provided no citation for your statistic.

I read up to "False rape allegation - so deal with it".

...which, um, isn't in there.

On the question of anonymity, I tend to agree - though in Shah's case the fact that he's now gone on national radio to talk about the law in general and the culpability of rape victims doesn't suggest someone who shuns public attention.

As for your two scenarios, they're different, yes, but if Miss X is a child, they're both rape. If Miss X is not a child, but did not consent, it's still rape, whether it happened in a bush or a four-poster. I assume that's not in dispute.

I don't think in itself a gap between the offence and its being reported has any bearing on the likelihood of the allegation's being true, though it may make its truth harder to establish.

Edited at 2013-08-11 05:00 pm (UTC)

(Deleted comment)
So 15 yrs 11 mths 3 wks and 6 days = child rapist

Yep. If it's such a meaningless gap of time, the adult can wait a few days. If that adult doesn't care enough to bother, why should anybody give zir the benefit of the doubt?

(Deleted comment)
If the issue at stake were as serious as whether or not a potential partner was able to consent to sex, I would make damn sure BEFORE touching him or her. And if there were any ambiguity, I would err on the side of caution. Because rape and consent are pretty damn important. No sympathy for anyone who risks raping a minor because he or she doesn't want to bother.

The alleged victim in the Shah case was between 12 and 15 at the time (multiple counts starting when she was 12). It wasn't predicated on some gray-area borderline case.

(Deleted comment)
Your "point" is nonsense. The "sides" in a criminal trial are the defendant and the prosecutor. The survivor of rape is not on trial; the suspect is. There is no equivalence.

Implied consent and contributory negligence?

"Contributory negligence"? No. That's the kind of phrase you might use of a driver who kills someone while using a mobile phone. It's not appropriate to use it of a rape victim. (As kalimac points out elsewhere in this thread, that doesn't mean you can't give people advice on staying safe - but that's a separate issue.)

As for "implied consent" - well, of course only applies to women (or men), not under-age girls, but at first sight it looks more persuasive, until you start to ask what it consists of, and who gets to judge when it has been given. If you think someone has given you an inviting look, might that form a defence of implied consent to sex? What about a kiss and a cuddle - is that implied consent? At what point is consent given? It doesn't seem a useful concept - especially when you remember that women are capable of giving actual consent, should they wish to do so.

Edited at 2013-08-12 09:07 am (UTC)

This argument would go better were it presented in terms of all accusees of all high-profile crimes, a similar percentage of whom turn out to be not guilty. Then it would sound less like "special pleading for men accused of rape."

(Deleted comment)
I don't. I didn't say I should. Didn't you read my comment?

Hmm. If he goes out and gets drunk and is rude to me, can I beat the shit out of him? I mean, that wouldn't be violent assault violent assault, you know?


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