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What if men and women really do want different things?
From Saturday's Globe and Mail
Why don't more women run big companies? Why is there no female Bill Gates? Why do so few women go into politics?
These were the questions posed by this week's Globe and Mail series on women in power. The series focused on the dramatic gender gap at the top of the pecking order. Why, in an age of alleged equality of opportunity, when young women are getting university degrees at nearly twice the rate of men, aren't more women running stuff?
The situation - and the explanations for it - haven't really changed in 10 or 15 years. Invariably, everyone agrees that until we find better ways to get women in top power spots, society is wasting an enormous amount of human potential.
Well, maybe. Or maybe not.
After 30 years of gnawing at this question, I've come to two conclusions. The first is that the usual explanations for the power gap - subtle stereotyping, networks that unintentionally exclude women, female-unfriendly work cultures, etc., etc. - are true, but also pathetically inadequate. The second is that no matter what we do, most of the world's most powerful institutions will continue to be mostly run by men for the foreseeable future.
This week, I ran across a blog posting by Penelope Trunk, a talented young entrepreneur who started a web-based company in Madison, Wisc. In it, she explains that although she has decided to move her company to Washington, D.C., she's not going with it. I believe her story tells you more about women and power than a dozen Catalyst surveys.
"It's weird to be the founder of a company and not be where all the action of the company is. But honestly, I'm relieved," she writes. "There is good evidence that you have to be crazy to do a startup ... Because you are not likely to make money - you are likely to die broke. And you work insane hours - longer than any other job - and you do it over and over and over again. This is not sane.
"...[T]here is a mania that entrepreneurs exhibit that is very attractive to investors," she continues. "The trick is to make sure you're investing in someone who is on the border of insane, but not insane."
Ms. Trunk is staying behind in Madison because she got married to a farmer and has two young kids. This life is not compatible with borderline insanity. "It's hard to not be the centre, but I want to be the centre of my family," she writes.
Her blog drew an avalanche of response, some of it quite hostile. "Stop stereotyping female entrepreneurs," demanded a female entrepreneur, writing in Forbes. "Articles like this are at best insulting to both women and men, and at worst dangerous ammo that perpetuates the stereotype that women are unfit to be entrepreneurs. It's called subtle sexism, and it unravels the tremendous progress society has made toward the goal of gender equality."
But what if men and women really do want different things? Might that - rather than sexism - help explain the fact that few female entrepreneurs are backed by venture capitalists? As Ms. Trunk writes: "Really, you could tell that story on one page: Startups move at break-neck pace, under a lot of pressure to succeed bigger and faster than any normal company. And women don't want to give up their personal life in exchange for the chance to be the next Google."
Human nature is malleable. But on the whole, female ambition really is different from male ambition. Women want challenging work, so long as it's compatible with having close personal relationships. By contrast, a fair number of men are driven to succeed, no matter what. This relentless will to dominate and win is at least as much hormonal as it is cultural. It is fuelled by testosterone, and it also explains why some men are willing to take insane risks. Men are far more likely than women to wind up as either millionaires or roadkill.
Meantime, a million years of evolution have hard-wired women to be risk-averse, for obvious reasons: If they're not around, their babies will die. Risk aversion is extremely useful for raising children, as well as for making sure the food gets on the table and that society proceeds in an orderly and humane manner. These are not small things. Civilization would survive quite well if something wiped out half the men. If half the women were wiped out, civilization would probably collapse.
Culture can shape behaviour quite profoundly - within limits. Despite those alluring rumours of Amazons and matriarchies, every human culture known to exist has been dominated by men. So why are we so shocked that we haven't managed to totally rewire the sexes in 50 years?
So, has anything changed in the past decade or two? Actually, quite a lot. More and more women are leading major institutions, such as universities and public-sector agencies, where collaboration is the key. They make up more than half the new doctors and lawyers - professions that, not incidentally, give them plenty of flexibility to raise a family. In the U.S. (though not, regrettably, in Canada), politics is increasingly filled with female powerhouses - Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Meg Whitman, and (choke) Sarah Palin. Your own smart and motivated daughters will probably be able to achieve almost anything they set their minds on - if they want it badly enough.
And if they wind up wanting something else? I won't get fussed. There are many ways of contributing to the human project. Being boss is just one of them.
Falmouth mother spends benefits money on £4,500 boob job
3:41pm Thursday 7th October 2010
A Falmouth mother who spent her benefits money on a £4,500 boob job has made national headlines today.
Kelly Marshall appears on the front page of the Daily Star, as well as in Closer magazine.
In the articles the 32-year-old, who has five children by four different men, claims that she and her children should not have to “miss out on nice things” just because she has never worked.
Kelly, who first fell pregnant at 15, claims almost £29,000 a year in benefits.
But instead of spending the handouts on her children, she used the taxpayers’ money to boost her cup size from a 34A to a 34DD.
In the article she claims she now wants to spend yet more money on liposuction, Botox and a tummy tuck.
Her children are also expecting to receive £2,000 worth of Christmas presents this year and the family has already been on two foreign holidays since the beginning of the year.
Each of the four bedrooms has a flat-screen Tv and she has a wardrobe purely for her jeans collection.
She is quoted as saying: “I’m not a working mum but that doesn’t mean I can’t be a good mum. People have this idea we are spongers. I’m not.”
What do you think about this? Do you know Kelly? Contact us at [email protected], call 01326 213341 or leave a comment in the box below.
Obesity: The next deluge of disability bias suits?
Can obesity qualify as a disability? The folks at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission say yes.
The EEOC has filed suit against Resources for Human Development (RHD), a national non-profit human services organization, claiming it fired a child-care worker because she was obese.
The agency claims the firing violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Did employer 'perceive' worker was disabled?
The case involves Lisa Harrison, who worked with young children of mothers undergoing treatment for addiction in an RHD-run facility in suburban New Orleans.
Harrison was fired because RHD perceived Harrison as being substantially limited in a number of major life activities, including walking, because of her weight, the EEOC claims. But the agency says Harrison was able to perform all of the essential functions of her position.
Before the EEOC filed suit, Harrison died. Her private interests will be represented in the lawsuit by her estate.
Plowing new ground?
Up to this point, many courts have ruled that obesity does not fall into the category of disability under the ADA.
But with the passage of the ADA Amendments Act, the definition of disability was substantially widened.
Given the fact the suit's being brought on behalf of an employee who's no longer living -- a rarity, to say the least -- it's pretty clear the EEOC intends to take an official stand that under current law, obesity and ADA can be linked.
High-heeled men walk for women
Last Updated: September 30, 2010 8:10pm
Members of the Toronto Police Service, Toronto Fire Services and area residents took to the downtown core for the White Ribbon Campaign where men walked a mile in high-heeled shoes in an effort to bring awareness to violence against women.
Police: Moms cited for arranging daughters' fight
- Tue Oct 5, 8:41 pm ET
UNIONTOWN, Pa. - State police have cited two southwestern Pennsylvania moms for allegedly arranging a fight between their daughters. Trooper Christopher Newman told the Herald-Standard of Uniontown that 30-year-old Crystal Lynn Hall, of Uniontown, and 31-year-old Audrey Schreckengost, of Adah, have been cited for disorderly conduct.
Police said the fight happened about Sunday night in a Georges Township home where Hall invited Schreckengost. Police said the women wanted their daughters, ages 11 and 12, to fight and that Schreckengost brought another 14-year-old girl with her. Police didn't say if she was also a daughter.
Police said the women began fighting with one another after several girls began fighting.
The Associated Press could not locate a phone number for Hall, and Schreckengost's number is disconnected.
Information from: Herald-Standard, http://www.heraldstandard.com/
Women executives twice as likely to quit jobs as men
5 Oct, 2010, 03.22PM IST,IANS
WASHINGTON: Female executives are more than twice as likely as men to leave their jobs - voluntarily and involuntarily. Yet despite systemic evidence that women are more likely to depart from their positions, researchers did not find strong patterns of discrimination.
Lead author John Becker-Blease, assistant professor of finance at the Oregon State University, and his co-authors at the Loyola Marymount University and Trinity College analysed data from Standard and Poor's 1,500 firms, reports the journal Economic Inquiry.
They classified departures as voluntary or involuntary based on careful examination of public news accounts accompanying an executive's departure, said an Oregon State release.
"Departures of powerful female executives, as we saw with Carly Fiorina and Patricia Dunn at Hewlett-Packard, are often high-profile news events," Becker-Blease said, "Despite these very public departures, relatively little is really known about women executives, whether they are more likely to depart or be fired than men, and the reasons for their departures."
About 7.2 percent of women executives in the survey left their jobs, compared to 3.8 percent of men.
"We really had to dig deep to tease out any systematic patterns behind these departures," Becker-Blease said.
"We did find that women were slightly more likely to leave smaller firms, and firms with more male-dominated boards, but this was a small effect size."
Becker-Blease said research has shown that women are more likely to leave a job due to domestic or social responsibilities than men, which could explain the higher voluntary departure rate.
Companies with female executives tend to help "grease the wheel" for other women to rise in the ranks but women CEOs are still rare.
Women remain under-represented in news, global study finds
By Tracy Sherlock, Vancouver Sun October 5, 2010 7:26 AM
VANCOUVER -- Women are still significantly under-represented and misrepresented in news media coverage despite improvement in last five years, new research shows.
The Global Media Monitoring Project's 2010 report found that globally, 76 per cent of the people heard or read about in the news are male, while only 24 per cent are female. In Canada, the situation was slightly better, with 30 per cent of news subjects being female -- up from 21 per cent based on 2005 results.
Kathleen Cross, a lecturer at Simon Fraser University's school of communication, was the lead Canadian researcher for the Global Media Monitoring Project's 2010 report.
"At this rate, we would reach parity in Canada in 30 years," Cross said in an interview. The global report says international parity might be reached in 40 years.
In Canada, the research shows that women are mostly used as providers of personal accounts in news stories and rarely as knowledgeable experts.
"The news has a role in both reflecting and constructing reality," Cross said. "This project comes from a concern that the news is not providing a mirror on the world."
Cross said the skewed numbers perpetuate gender stereotypes. "This doesn't help deal with women's inequality in the world, because men as experts becomes part of our convention on who appears to be an expert, or what an expert looks like."
The research project monitors selected media for one day every five years. The date used for this year's report was Nov. 10, 2009.
"I'm pleased to see that we've made progress over the past five years, but clearly we need to stay committed to improving," said Patricia Graham, editor-in-chief of the Vancouver Sun. "Demographically balanced coverage just makes sense."
In Canada, crime and violence dominated the news, with 32 per cent of all stories focused in this area. Next was politics and government, at 18 per cent.
However, women reporters were least likely to be found reporting on these two top topics, with male journalists twice as likely to report on such stories.
Cross said some of the increase for women in news stories in Canada can be attributed in part to an increase in entertainment stories. "There are a lot of stories about Angelina Jolie," she said. "There are a lot of entertainment stories that include women."
Canada and North America were near the top of the list in terms of representation of women, with the Middle East showing the lowest numbers at 16 per cent, Cross said.
Internationally, the GMMP monitored 1,365 newspapers, television and radio stations and Internet news sites, 17,795 news stories and 38,253 persons in the news in 108 countries with 82 per cent of the world's people, according to a statement.
GMMP research in Canada monitored seven major newspapers, six television and five radio newscasts resulting in 279 stories and 695 persons in the news.
100 drunken B.C. women brawl over male stripper
By Walter Cordery, Nanaimo Daily News October 5, 2010 12:02 PM
NANAIMO, B.C. -- A drunken brawl broke out among a group of women at a Vancouver Island bar over the weekend after one woman blocked another woman's view of a male stripper.
More than 100 woman were at a fundraiser in Nanaimo's Cavallotti Lodge on Friday night watching a man dressed as a police officer peel off his uniform when a women who was standing on a chair refused to get down after another onlooker argued she didn't have a clear view.
"I guess one woman assaulted another woman who was blocking her view and then all hell broke loose," said Nanaimo RCMP Const. Gary O'Brien.
Four squad cars responded.
Police arrested five women after the "alcohol-fuelled incident," but charges are not being recommended, said O'Brien.
Police plan on talking to the venue's owner about the danger of serving patrons too much alcohol.
Female guard allegedly assaults prisoner
Published: 7:33AM Wednesday October 06, 2010
A female guard at Rimutaka Prison has been suspended for allegedly assaulting a younger male inmate.
Upper Hutt woman Anastacia Te Paia Wihare is accused of striking the man with a clipboard and punching him in the face with an upper cut on August 17, the Dominion Post reported.
The newspaper said it was also understood Wihare had faced investigation last year for allegedly having inappropriate relations with an inmate during a sleepover at the prison's Maori Focus Unit.
The Corrections Department yesterday confirmed a guard had been stood down, but refused to release closed-circuit television footage of the assault or reveal whether the prisoner had been injured or received compensation.
It said it demanded a high standard from its staff and had a duty to investigate allegations of misconduct.
Police confirmed they had been contacted by the prison, but had referred the matter back for internal investigation.
Wihare declined comment.
Majority of men are working 60-hour weeks that leave little time for fun
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 7:55 AM on 4th October 2010
A survey has found that 60 per cent of men are working more than 60 hours a week. When it came to women, however, the results showed that the majority of them put in less than 37-and-a-half hours.
The research suggests that on average we have eight-and-a-half hours less free time each week than we did just five years ago.
We spend so many hours in the office or doing household chores we leave ourselves only one hour a day to do something we enjoy.
Half of us are even forced to take work home in order to complete it.
Personal relationships, family and children are the next biggest calls on our time, the study by Windows Live Hotmail found.
Despite working longer hours, men generally find 25 minutes more a day to do activities they enjoy. Women have 50 minutes of ‘me time’ each day, while men generally find one hour and 15 minutes.
Those who work in HR are the busiest, with 70 per cent taking work home every week.
Those working in science and creative media are the second and third busiest.
The study follows research last month which found that unfit men who work long hours double their risk of dying from heart disease.
Those who do not take enough exercise and work beyond 45 hours a week are more than twice as likely to die from heart disease as unfit men who work shorter hours.
Exercise seems to be the key to health, with fit men who work long hours having no increased risk of dying from heart disease.
The study, in the journal Heart, examined data for almost 5,000 men aged 40 to 59, from 14 companies, whose and fitness levels were tracked over 30 years.
Legal claim 'landslide' warning over female public sector job cut threats
By Andrew Hough
Published: 27 Sep 2010
The impact of public sector cuts on female workers could lead to a “landslide” of claims against employers, unions have warned. Experts warned women would likely be hit hardest by the cuts as female workers make up a large proportion of back-office, clerical and caring work.
Women could endure a disproportionate amount of pain from the forthcoming spending cuts due to making up the majority of the public sector workforce, they claimed.
Experts warned that women would likely be hit hardest by the cuts as female workers make up a large proportion of back-office, clerical, caring, catering and temporary work.
Official figures from the Office for National Statistics show that almost two thirds of public sector workers are female.
Unison officials on Sunday warned they would mount legal action against any employer found to have discriminated against women and not carried out impact assessments before cutting jobs and public services.
Dave Prentis, the union’s general secretary, said officials would “not stand back” and watch equality improvements be “undone” by public sector organisations who “cut jobs indiscriminately”.
"It is easy to see that women are literally in the firing line when it comes to public sector job cuts and that is not acceptable,” he said.
"The Government must take account of the impact of public spending cuts on women and rethink their strategy."
Officials from the Equality and Human Rights Commission are due to meet with the Treasury on Monday to discuss how cuts will be invoked on “vulnerable” groups of workers.
"The Commission recognises that the government needs to take difficult decisions as part of its deficit reduction programme,” an EHRC spokeswoman said.
“However, we also want to ensure that equality issues are taken into account when decisions are made.”
Julie Mellor, a partner who specialises in the public sector at PricewaterhouseCoopers, the global accountanting firm, added: “It is definitely an issue that needs to be looked at as there is a strong chance the spending cuts will have a disproportionate effect on women.”
A Treasury spokeswoman said: "The Government takes its equalities responsibilities very seriously, and has made clear that it will look closely at the impact of Spending Review decisions on different groups.
“All departments ensure that equality issues are considered when assessing options for spending reductions - they have a legal obligation to do so."
False Rape Allegations: An Assault On Justice
@ The Forensic Examiner
By Bruce Gross, PhD, JD, MBA
Of the 90,427 forcible rapes reported in 2007, 40% were cleared by arrest or "exceptional means" (FBI, 2008d) with 23,307 of those being arrests (FBI, 2008b). Clearance of a report by exceptional means occurs when the known suspect dies before an arrest is made, when the victim refuses to provide the information or assistance necessary to follow an investigation through to an arrest, or when the known suspect is being held in another jurisdiction for a different crime and extradition is denied. In order to clear a case by exceptional means, the officers must have an identified suspect, know where he can be found, and have enough evidence for a legal arrest.
Degrees of "Not True"
A certain percentage of rape complaints are classified as "unfounded" by the police and excluded from the FBI's statistics. For example, in 1995, 8% of all forcible rape cases were closed as unfounded, as were 15% in 1996 (Greenfeld, 1997). According to the FBI, a report should only be considered unfounded when investigation revealed that the elements of the crime were not met or the report was "false" (which is not defined) (FBI, 2007).
This statistic is almost meaningless, as many of the jurisdictions from which the FBI collects data on crime use different definitions of, or criteria for, "unfounded." That is, a report of rape might be classified as unfounded (rather than as forcible rape) if the alleged victim did not try to fight off the suspect, if the alleged perpetrator did not use physical force or a weapon of some sort, if the alleged victim did not sustain any physical injuries, or if the alleged victim and the accused had a prior sexual relationship. Similarly, a report might be deemed unfounded if there is no physical evidence or too many inconsistencies between the accuser's statement and what evidence does exist. As such, although some unfounded cases of rape may be false or fabricated, not all unfounded cases are false.
The term "unfounded" is not a homogeneous classification and, to date, there is not a formalized, accepted definition of "false rape allegations." Certainly, the designation of false accusation should not include those situations in which the accuser was raped but unintentionally identified the wrong person as the alleged perpetrator. The definition of false allegation of rape cannot be limited to the situation in which the victim recants the accusation. There are women who were truly raped but for any number of reasons choose to recant. On the other hand, there are women who were not raped but do not recant their accusation.
Perhaps the designation of false allegation might best be used exclusively for those cases in which it is determined that the accuser intentionally fabricated the allegation of rape. That is, the accuser claims an incident of forced sexual contact took place when no such incident occurred, or the contact that did occur was consensual. In addition, this would include cases in which a rape was committed, but the victim knowingly identified the wrong person as the perpetrator.
Just as there continues to be strong resistance to the fact that some children (for a variety of reasons) lie about having been sexually molested or assaulted, the judicial system, mental health practitioners, and the public at large are reticent to accept that some women (and men) lie about having been raped. However, there is ample evidence that adults lie about virtually anything, including grave matters that have serious consequences for others.
Although there is no doubt that false rape allegations occur, it is extremely difficult to determine what percentage of rape reports is intentionally false. This is due to many factors, including jurisdictional variation in definition, criteria, and reporting practices, as well as the fact that not all rapes are reported. Although the FBI had set 8% as the average rate of false (actually, unfounded) accusations during the late 1990s, there is remarkable variation in the estimates of false allegations of rape found in the literature (Kanin, 1994; Epstein, 2005). A review of those studies on false rape accusations conducted between 1968 and 2005 showed a percentage range from 1-90% (Rumney, 2006).
Very little formal research has been conducted on the prevalence of false allegations of rape. One study looked at the 109 cases of forcible rape that were disposed of in one small midwestern town between 1978 and 1987 (Kanin, 1994). The given town was specifically selected for study because the police department used a uniquely objective and thorough protocol when investigating rape complaints. Among other procedural safeguards, officers did not have the discretion to drop rape investigations if they concluded the complaint was "suspect" or unfounded. Every rape accusation had to be thoroughly investigated and included offering a polygraph to both the accuser and the accused. Cases were only determined to be false if and when the accuser admitted that no rape occurred.
The researchers further investigated those cases that the police, through their investigation, had ultimately determined were "false" or fabricated. During the follow-up investigation, the complainants held fast to their assertion that their rape allegation had been true, despite being told they would face penalties for filing a false report. As a result, 41% of all of the forcible rape complaints were found to be false. To further this study, a similar analysis was conducted on all of the forcible rape complaints filed at two large midwestern public universities over a 3-year period. Here, where polygraphs were not offered as part of the investigatory procedure, it was found that 50% of the complaints were false.
Charles P. McDowell, a researcher in the United States Air Force Special Studies Division, studied the 1,218 reports of rape that were made between 1980 and 1984 on Air Force bases throughout the world (McDowell, 1985). Of those, 460 were found to be "proven" allegations either because the "overwhelming preponderance of the evidence" strongly supported the allegation or because there was a conviction in the case. Another 212 of the total reports were found to be "disproved" as the alleged victim convincingly admitted the complaint was a "hoax" at some point during the initial investigation. The researchers then investigated the 546 remaining or "unresolved" rape allegations including having the accusers submit to a polygraph. Twenty-seven percent (27%) of these complainants admitted they had fabricated their accusation just before taking the polygraph or right after they failed the test. (It should be noted that whenever there was any doubt, the unresolved case was re-classified as a "proven" rape.) Combining this 27% with the initial 212 "disproved" cases, it was determined that approximately 45% of the total rape allegations were false.
Unfortunately, like the two studies presented here, the empirical studies that exist on the frequency of false rape allegations are sparse in number and have notable limitations. Small sample sizes and non-representative samples preclude generalizability. Regardless, the mere number of publicized incidents of false accusations of rape over the last two decades indicates not only a need for further investigation into the problem, but a better understanding of how to identify such cases.
The Truth Behind the Lie
As with all of human behavior, there are numerous reasons why a person would lie about being raped. In the study of false rape allegations in the midwestern town and state universities, over half of the accusers fabricated the rape to serve as a "cover story" or alibi. This included 56% of the non-student and 53% of the student false accusers. The most frequent context and motive for the fabricated rape was consensual sex with an acquaintance that led to some sort of problem for the accuser. The perceived problem was typically something that caused feelings of shame and guilt in the accuser (such as contracting a sexually transmitted disease or becoming pregnant), which was bound to be discovered and received negatively by family or friends.
Approximately half of the accusers who were motivated by a need for an alibi identified the alleged rapist. Their goal was not to harm or cause problems for the acquaintance, but to protect themselves in what they perceived to be a desperate situation. As with most lies, the false rape accusation allowed the accuser to deny responsibility by creating an alternate reality into which to escape.
The next most common reason for lying about being a victim of rape was revenge, rage, or retribution. In the Midwest study, this included 27% of the non-student and 44% of the student accusers. In these cases, the false victim had suffered some real or perceived wrong, rejection, or betrayal by the alleged rapist. As the purpose of making the accusation was to obtain some measure of revenge, the "suspect" was always identified. Researchers in the Air Force study also found that spite or revenge and the need to compensate for a sense of personal failure through an alibi accusation were the primary motives for false rape reports.
There are a range of other reasons why women made false allegations of rape. For some, it was to meet the overwhelming need for attention often associated with Munchaussen Syndrome or Borderline Personality Disorder. In those cases a specific suspect was seldom identified. Others filed false reports in an attempt to essentially "extort" money from the accused, who was typically wealthy. Because the goal was financial, the accuser was typically not motivated to pursue the case through formal legal channels, preferring to push for a settlement.
As with certain false allegations of child sexual abuse, false allegations of rape may be the unfortunate byproduct of "recovered memory therapy." False allegations (of child abuse and domestic violence, as well as rape) are also known to arise in the context of divorce and disputed child custody. Within the context of the military, false reports of rape may be filed in order to avoid deployment to war zones.
Telling a Lie from a Truth
McDowell's research into the prevalence of false rape allegations provided some direction for the difficult responsibility of differentiating between a potentially true and a possibly false report of rape. McDowell compared the initial rape accusations made by "proven" victims with those made by "disproved" complainants. His analysis revealed a number of notable differences between the two groups. That is, there were certain characteristics or indicators that were found with greater frequency in baseless reports than in proven reports.
For example, in terms of the initial disclosure, unlike false accusers, true victims tend to go directly to law enforcement to file a report. False accusers are more apt to tell family members or close friends, who either report the rape themselves or push the victim to do so. In discussing the alleged rape, false accusers may be unable to provide detailed descriptions of the rape or may provide too much detail. Although a significant number of true rape cases include numerous sexual acts in addition to penile penetration, those fabricating allegations of rape tend to describe very limited and narrow sexual activity. False accusers may describe the incident with inappropriate affect, such as pleasure or even pride. Because they may have never actually suffered a rape, the allegations of false accusers may be physically improbable (if not impossible) or bizarre. Perhaps most telling are numerous inconsistencies between the accuser's description of the rape and the presence or absence of physical evidence.
Approximately 50% of the women who filed false reports claimed their assailant was a stranger or someone they knew indirectly (but whose name she never knew or couldn't remember). Claiming an unknown perpetrator makes the rape random and perhaps more importantly, makes the case unsolvable. This, in turn, frees the false accuser from the need to fabricate additional lies and the demands of being confronted by the alleged assailant. Another 30% of false reporters identified their attacker as someone they "kind of knew." In comparison, 75% of proven victims knew and were able to identify their rapist.
It seems that the quality of physical injuries may be the most significant of all indicators. According to McDowell's findings, the physical injuries sustained by false victims tend to be inconsistent or "odd." Because the injuries are self-inflicted, they seldom involve highly sensitive parts of the body, such as the vagina, nipples, lips, or eyes. Similarly, the injuries of false complainants seldom involve permanent injury or disfigurement. As the wounds are self-inflicted, they tend to be on parts of the body that are easily reached by the false accuser. There may be numerous lacerations and abrasions, all of which are comparatively minor in severity. Unlike the true victim, false accusers may seem comparatively indifferent or nonplussed by their injuries.
As suggested above, for the vast majority of false reporters, the allegation of rape solved a perceived problem the accuser was, or anticipated, facing. The same cannot be said for proven rape victims as, for most, rape marks the onset of numerous, long-term, and not easily resolved problems. None of the factors identified by McDowell are individually or independently conclusive or diagnostic of rape. Rather, the presence of one or more of the criteria suggests the possibility of a false allegation that should be carefully and sensitively investigated and explored.
To test the efficacy of his criteria, McDowell had three independent judges review all of the initially "unresolved" rape reports using his criteria. This group included the cases of those women who had admitted their allegation was fabricated when confronted with taking a polygraph. For a case to be classified as "unproved," all three of the judges had to determine a given complaint was false. After the judges review, 65% of the cases in McDowell's study were found to be false.
There is no certainty that any or all of the indicators identified by McDowell will be present in rape reports that appear to be "suspect." When present, however, they may serve to focus an investigation of the charges, as well as to guide the treatment of the alleged victim.
The Cost of the Crime
In most jurisdictions the accuser must admit that the accusation was false before the charges against the suspect will be dropped. Yet before the accuser decides to recant, the life of the falsely accused may have been disrupted, if not destroyed. They may have suffered any number of inequities, such as being arrested and questioned; dealing with the expense of hiring an attorney; being subjected to time in jail; having trouble with their employer; and fall-out with family and friends, to name just a few.Even if the case is dropped, the reputation of the falsely accused may be irreparably harmed, because some people may believe the retraction was "pressured," and not true.
Worse yet for the accused, the case may go to trial. Even if the falsely accused are acquitted, technically that does not mean they are innocent, only that they could not be found guilty. Regardless of the outcome of a criminal trial, the accuser can pursue civil action against the accused, resulting in further loss of resources. The worst possible outcome for those falsely accused of rape might be conviction and incarceration.
There is no way of knowing the number of defendants who have been convicted of rape on the basis of a false allegation. One study found 28 cases in which the defendant had been convicted and served an average of 7 years in prison before being exonerated by DNA evidence (Connors et al., 1996). Of note, all 28 cases involved sexual assault with the trials taking place in the mid- to late- 1980s when DNA was not routinely tested. According to the Innocence Project, since 2000 there have been 156 cases of post-conviction exonerations based on DNA testing, an untold number of which involved sex crimes (Innocence Project, 2008). The average time the wrongfully convicted person served prior to release was 12 years. Regardless of the exact number, processing those who have been falsely accused of rape is a clear waste of legal, judicial, and penal resources.
Essentially, there are no formal negative consequences for the person who files a false report of rape. Not only did the false allegation serve a purpose for the accusers, they actually never have to fully admit to themselves, their family, or their friends that the report was a lie. Although there are grounds for bringing legal action against the accuser, it is virtually never done. Even should a charge be filed, in most jurisdictions filing a false report is only a misdemeanor.
When rape cases go to trial, alleged victims are protected by "rape shield statutes." In brief, these statutes are designed to prevent defense attorneys from using the accuser's sexual history "against" her. At the same time, these rape shield laws may suppress evidence related to the woman's history that is relevant to the issue before the court. In particular, they have been used to exclude prior false accusations of rape filed by the alleged victim.
Although courts have ruled inconsistently on this issue, there is legal foundation for admitting prior false accusation into evidence in criminal proceedings (Epstein, 2005). In a step toward ensuring justice, perhaps when there is proof of prior false reports, they should be allowed in. Before this can happen, guidelines would need to be established regarding the definition of a "false rape accusation" and the criteria for proof of prior acts. Similarly, consideration should be given to making the filing of a false report of rape a felony, rather than a misdemeanor. Finally, instituting the possibility of a "not guilty and not credible" verdict might provide some recovery for the falsely accused and a clear warning to the false complainant.
In the End
Although it may not be "politically correct" to question the veracity of a women's complaint of rape, failing to consider the accuser may be intentionally lying effectively eradicates the presumption of innocence. This Constitutional right is especially significant when dealing with allegations of rape as in most jurisdictions, sex offenses are the only crimes that do not require corroborating evidence for conviction. Because there are often no witnesses and no physical evidence (especially if the victim delays in filing a report), the case may come down to the credibility of the accused versus the credibility of the accuser.
There is a fine line between supporting victims and protecting the rights of the accused. Yet, considering the unique challenges of trying and defending rape cases combined with the potential costs to the falsely accused, being able to assess the credibility of the alleged victim takes on special importance. Inconsistencies in the accuser's complaint should be confronted gently and respectfully, with awareness of the fact that true victims may distort or even lie out of embarrassment or shame.
Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). (2008a). Personal crimes, 2006: Number of incidents and victimizations and ratio of victimizations to incidents, by type of crime. (Table 26). Criminal Victimization in the United States, 2006. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/ cvus/current/cv0626.pdf
Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). (2008b). Personal crimes, 2006: Victimization rates for persons age 12 and over, by gender and age of victims and type of crime. (Table 4). Criminal Victimization in the United States, 2006. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/ cvus/current/cv0604.pdf
Connors, E., Lundregan, T., Miller, N., & McEwen, T. (1996). Convicted by juries, exonerated by science: Case studies in the use of DNA evidence to establish innocence after trial. (NCJ-161258). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice.
Epstein, J. (2005). True lies: The constitutional and evidentiary bases for admitting prior false accusation evidence in sexual assault prosecutions. (Paper 697). Retrieved from http://www.law.bepress.com/expresso/eps/697
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). (2007). Methodology. Uniform Crime Report: Crime in the United States, 2006. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved from http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2006/methodology.html
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). (2008a). Crime Clock, 2007. Uniform Crime Report: Crime in the United States, 2007. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved from http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/ about/crime_clock.html
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). (2008b). Estimated number of arrests, U.S., 2007. (Table 29). Uniform Crime Report: Crime in the United States, 2007. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved from http://www.fbi. gov/ucr/cius2007/data/table_29.html
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). (2008c). Offense analysis, U.S., 2003-2007. (Table 7). Uniform Crime Report: Crime in the United States, 2007. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved from http://www.fbi. gov/ucr/cius2007/data/table_07.html
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). (2008d). Percent of crimes cleared by arrest or exceptional means, 2007. (Clearance Figure). Uniform Crime Report: Crime in the United States, 2007. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved from http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/offense/ clearances/index.html#figure
Greenfeld, L. A. (1997). Sex offense and offenders: An analysis of data on rape and sexual assault. (NCJ-163392). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Innocence Project. (2008). Facts on post-conviction DNA exonerations. Retrieved from http://www.innocenceproject. org/Content/351.php#
Kanin, E. J. (1994). False rape allegations. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 23(1), 81-92.
McDowell, C. P. (1985). False allegations. Forensic Science Digest, 11(4), 56-76.
Rumney, P. N. S. (2006). False allegations of rape. The Cambridge Law Journal, 65(1), 128-158.
Tjaden, P., & Thoennes, N. (2000). Full report of the prevalence, incidence, and consequences of violence against women (research report): Findings from the National Violence Against Women survey. (NCJ 183781). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice.
Torture 'stopped for games, BBQ'
Christine Flatley | 5th October 2010
A MAN who raped and tortured his former partner over a long weekend occasionally took breaks so he and his victim could play board games and host a barbecue, a court has been told.
The 38-year-old man flew into a rage and attacked his ex-partner after she told him she was embarking on a new relationship, the Brisbane District Court was told on Tuesday.
He assaulted the 39-year-old woman on three occasions between August 2008 and January 2009.
The abuse culminated on the Australia Day long weekend when he spent four days raping and torturing the woman at her home at Redcliffe.
The court was told he subjected her to systematic and degrading assaults, punching and urinating on her, threatening her with knives and a meat cleaver, and sexually abusing her with a baseball bat.
The abuse occasionally ceased so the pair could engage in what Judge Richard Jones described as "bizarre episodes of consensual socialising".
The court was told they had consensual sex on one occasion, hosted a barbecue, and played board games before the man would continue his assault.
The woman suffered extensive injuries and reported her ex-partner to police, who arrested him on January 27.
He pleaded guilty on Tuesday to two counts of rape, one of torture and three of assault occasioning bodily harm.
"It was almost unimaginable and shameful and, in fact, cowardly behaviour on your part," Judge Jones told the man.
He sentenced him to a maximum seven years' jail, but ordered he be released in May next year after it was revealed he had already served 617 days in pre-sentence custody.
Ines Sainz & Jets locker room: Can women be allowed into NFL locker rooms?
2 October, 2010
Can women media reporters be allowed into NFL locker rooms? It is one of the widely asked questions in NFL scenes today thanks to TV Azteca reporter Ines Sainz's compliant of the harassment she faced at a New York Jet's locker room in September. The incident kicked off a widespread controversy over allowing women into locker rooms.
Official comment from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was that every NFL player shall be given training on how to behave with others in workplaces. It is known that NFL has sent letters to every team with stern warning on league's sexist policies.
Even though, players, mangers and media persons keep diverse views on the issue. Many think that women should not be completely banned from locker rooms of NFL. Many keep opposite views on it.
Sainz is a reporter well-known for her sexy and impressive clothes. She herself called as "the hottest sports reporter in Mexico." She appears at NFL stadiums and locker rooms wearing in tight jeans and low-cut tops. Her photos in bikinis are abuzz on Internet. Indeed her clothing itself gives her a special media attraction.
It is then Sainz gets trapped in such a controversy. Of course the issue got fire on it. Some NFL players said that women reporters would not be allowed inside locker rooms, because more than everything they are interested in enjoying half-naked male players and staring at their genitals.
The end of cheap insurance for women?
By Tara Evans
2 October 2010
Women drivers could face paying higher premiums as European judges were urged to rule that insurance companies are breaking EU equality laws.
Currently insurance companies charge women lower premiums because statistics show that they are safer drivers than men.
At the moment basing insurance rates on statistics about differing life expectancies or road accident records is standard practice across Europe.
But Advocate General Juliane Kokott, a senior official at the European Court of Justice has said that it contravenes EU anti-discrimination and equality laws.
If her opinion is backed by the full court in a final verdict this year it could mean higher insurance premiums for women in future.
In the past, lower insurance premiums for women have created a market for specialist insurance providers, like Sheila's Wheels and Diamond, to capitalise on.
Adrian Webb head of corporate communications at esure (which is part of the Shelia's Wheel brand) said: 'The reason that women tend to pay less for their car insurance (other things being equal) is that the claims women make cost less on average than those made by men. '
'If insurers were forced to enforce parity between the prices of men and women, then every insurer would want to attract women over men because their premiums would outstrip the claims they are likely to make.'
The move was attacked as 'madness' by Conservative MEP Ashley Fox. He said: 'This opinion, if taken on board by the European Court of Justice, will spell the end of cheap car insurance deals for women and cause the loss of many jobs in this sector of the insurance business.'
'The decision to afford cheaper car insurance to women is not based on discriminating factors but on solid statistics and fact. Women have fewer accidents than men and claim less than men.
Steve Sweeney, head of car insurance at moneysupermarket.com, said: 'Male drivers have traditionally born the brunt of a 'boy racer' reputation through the cost of their premiums, especially when they are younger. Many insurance companies view women as safer and more mature motorists and this is why their premiums are cheaper.'
'It's long been a shame that car insurance premiums are based on age or gender rather than experience, but this ruling could of course mean higher car insurance premiums for women in the future. But regardless of gender, it's motorists who are prepared to shop around for the best deal each year that will always come out on top with the most competitive car insurance premiums.'
Europe could outlaw lower premiums for women
By Stephen Adams and David Millward
Published: 8:00AM BST 02 Oct 2010
Offering women lower car insurance could be outlawed by European judges, it has emerged.
Juliane Kokott, Advocate General at the European Court of Justice (ECJ), believes the widely-held practice of setting different rates for men and women based on their sex violates EU anti-discrimination laws.
She has asked ECJ judges to decide later this year whether the practice contravenes equality provisions set out in the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the Lisbon Treaty.
But the move has been attacked as "madness" by politicians and "potentially damaging" by the insurance industry, who said it would mean higher premiums for women and the loss of many jobs.
Should the ECJ agree with Ms Kokott, the ruling would also stop firms using gender to set premiums on other products such as life and medical insurance. It could also stop pensions providers offering different annuity rates to men and women.
Ms Kokott said it was a clear breach of "fundamental rights guaranteed at union level" to take the sex of an insured person into account as a risk factor in insurance contracts.
She said: "Differences between people, which can be linked merely statistically to their sex, must not lead to different treatment of male and female insured persons when insurance products are developed.
"Gender is a characteristic which, like race and ethnic origin, is inseparably linked to the insured person as an individual and over which he has no influence."
An ECJ statement outlining her position read: "Differences in treatment could at most be justified by clearly demonstrable biological differences between the sexes."
Specifically, Ms Kokott has asked the ECJ to rule on the validity of an exemption clause to the EU's Equal Treatment Directive which allows insurance companies to set premiums based partially on sex.
Article 5(2) of EU Directive 2004/113 states that countries can "permit proportionate differences in individuals' premiums and benefits where the use of sex is a determining factor in the assessment of risk based on relevant and accurate actuarial and statistical data".
The case was triggered by complaints to the Belgian Constitutional Court opposing that exemption.
But Ashley Fox, a Conservative MP, warned: "This opinion, if taken on board by the European Court of Justice, will spell the end of cheap car insurance deals for women and cause the loss of many jobs in this sector of the insurance business."
"The decision to afford cheaper car insurance to women is not based on discriminating factors but on solid statistics and fact. Women have fewer accidents than men and claim less than men.
"This Advocate-General's opinion abjectly fails to take these crucial factors into consideration.
"It is simply madness to wipe out a whole market on what is effectively the whim of the Advocate-General. If this opinion becomes EU law it will mean higher premiums for everyone."
Maggie Craig, acting director general of the Association of British Insurers, described the legal move as "potentially damaging".
She said: "While only an opinion, it questions the long established practice of insurers using statistical gender data when it is relevant to risk.
"Trying to create unisex insurance policies, that ignore risk indicators, is practically impossible and will harm all consumers through more expensive premiums."
The move was also criticised by Robert Gifford, executive director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety, who said: "Women are safer."
The Equality Act is the triumph of identity politics and possibly the worst law in English history
By Ed West Politics Last updated: October 1st, 2010
We've finally reached rock bottom, with Harriet Harman's Equality Act, which comes into force today. Where do I begin? (Quotations are from the Telegraph report.)
"An employee who had been disciplined for taking a lot of sickness leave could also claim they had been treated unfairly.
"The Equality Act will make it easier for staff to claim they were discriminated against because of a disability. This is because they no longer have to prove they were treated less favourably than non-disabled colleagues.
"The new law also stops colleges from preventing teenage girls at school who are pregnant or who have had a baby from taking their A-levels."
Now I dare say that when historians of the 25th century come to write about the downfall of European civilisation this law will be used to illustrate how Western thinking lost its way, and how a perverse ideology that took hold of universities in the 1960s came to dominate politics.
It is ironic that when anti-discrimination laws were first brought in they were supposed to ensure that people were judged by their abilities; now the triumph of identity politics is complete with an "anti-discrimination" law that ensures that to judge a person by their character is illegal.
"The Government also expects discrimination claims from dyslexic workers who have been barred from carrying out tasks because of tendency to make spelling mistakes."
Perhaps unconsciously mirroring the seven deadly sins of Christianity, the law tackles seven types of discrimination, including:
Associative discrimination - this is direct discrimination against someone because they are associated with another person who possesses a protected characteristic.
Discrimination by perception - this is direct discrimination against someone because others think that they possess a particular protected characteristic. They do not necessarily have to possess the characteristic, just be perceived to.
Indirect discrimination - this can occur when you have a rule or policy that applies to everyone but disadvantages a person with a particular protected characteristic.
The latter idea is particularly insidious because it goes against the principle that people should be treated equally, and according to their abilities and behaviour.
By creating these "protected characteristics" the "lawmakers" do precisely the opposite.
The frightening thing is that the worst aspects of this law are yet to come. Unless the Government stops it, from next April there will be more clauses, among them "the public sector equality duty" which imposes on public bodies the duty to "have due regard to the desirability of exercising [their functions] in a way that is designed to reduce the inequalities of outcome which result from socio-economic disadvantage" - Polly Toynbee called this "socialism in one clause".
Another of the clauses due next year is the right of employers to use "positive discrimination". We've come to a strange philosophical dead end when it's illegal to discriminate on grounds of ability to spell or turn up for work, but okay to do so on grounds of race; if the victims are white, of course, since they don't have the "protected characteristics" status.
Before the 68ers took over our language, "discrimination" did not have an exclusively pejorative meaning. Look it up on Wiktionary: "a distinction; discernment, the act of discriminating, discerning, distinguishing, noting or perceiving differences between things."
To discriminate is necessary and vital, then, a response to a moral or practical judgment.
But such is the way that our language has been abused that a younger generation only ever use the word in its secondary sense: of "distinct treatment of an individual or group to their disadvantage; treatment or consideration based on class or category rather than individual merit". And so many have actually lost the means to argue against "anti-discrimination" laws, even when they break the principles on which anti-discrimination laws were originally built.
It is discriminatory to treat people who propose to start to or have completed a process to change their gender less favourably, for example, because they are absent from work for this reason.
Battered women who kill to be main beneficiaries as homicide law changes
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 30 September 2010 09.00 BST
Few people seem to have noticed that the law of murder in England and Wales changes on Monday. With only a few days to go, the Ministry of Justice had not published the circular it normally issues in good time to inform "public and stakeholders" - in this case, killers and courts - about changes in legislation and their commencement dates.
The main change to the law of homicide deals with provocation. At the moment, people who kill after being provoked into losing their self-control may have a defence to murder. But it's not a full defence, which would result in an acquittal. Provocation is a partial defence, meaning that it leads to a conviction for manslaughter rather than murder.
This is crucial - but only because murder attracts an automatic sentence of life imprisonment, while the sentence for manslaughter is within the court's discretion.
The previous government viewed the law of provocation as biased against women in cases of domestic violence. Labour's solicitor general Vera Baird wrote on these pages two years ago that the law is "both too lenient on those who kill out of anger and too harsh on those who kill out of fear of violence".
As she explained:
Men who kill out of anger can plead that they were provoked to lose their self-control by something done or said by the victim ... Women who kill ...out of fear of violence cannot easily fit into the same defence. Typically, they strike out with a knife in fear as their partners approach to inflict another beating.
So women are convicted of murder while men get away with manslaughter.
Before the general election, Labour took the necessary steps to change the law from 4 October. The reforms apply to killings on or after that date.
From then, the common law defence of provocation will be abolished and replaced by a new partial defence to be known as "loss of control". It will no longer matter whether the killer's loss of self-control was sudden.
Anthony Edwards, a leading criminal solicitor, said that this will make it "easier for the defence, particularly in respect of battered women, to run the slow-burn defence where a person has been subject to abuse over a long period of time when a final small act leads to the killing".
But defendants will still have to produce evidence that:
• the killing resulted from a loss of self-control; • the loss of self-control had a "qualifying trigger"; and • a person in the same position "with a normal degree of tolerance and self-restraint" might have reacted in a similar way.
A qualifying trigger can be: a fear of serious violence; or something said or done that was "extremely grave" and gave the defendant "a justifiable sense of being seriously wronged"; or both.
In deciding whether the loss of self-control had a qualifying trigger, the courts must ignore such factors as sexual infidelity and a desire for revenge.
If all the above makes your head spin, bear in mind that I have done my best to simplify the law by leaving out many of the details. Although the new law will make it easier for some defendants to establish manslaughter, it will be harder for others to escape a murder conviction.
The victim's sexual infidelity will no longer be grounds for reducing murder to manslaughter and a defendant who kills in anger will be able to rely on the defence only in extremely grave circumstances. On the other hand, a person who kills in response to a fear of serious violence should be able to put forward the defence on that basis rather than trying to shoe-horn it into a defence based on killings in anger.
On the whole, this strikes me as a sensible rebalancing of the law. The coalition was right not to block its implementation. However, there is a much simpler solution to the problem.
It is obviously right for society to treat some killings more seriously than others. But the dividing line between murder and manslaughter would matter much less if we changed the law on sentencing. Life imprisonment should be the maximum sentence for murder, not the mandatory sentence.
Children's plea to British mother who abandoned them to marry penniless Tunisian lover
By Sophie Freeman
Last updated at 1:06 PM on 29th September 2010
A mother-of-two has abandoned her young children to marry the penniless Tunisian lover she met on the internet.
Wendy Paduch told her children, Dylan, five, and Natasha, eight, that she was going away for a week's holiday - but three months later she has failed to return home.
They have begged for her to come back in time to celebrate Dylan's birthday next week.
But the 26-year-old recently responded with a message on her Facebook page: 'We are in love so f*** u all.'
Miss Paduch, from Grimsby, Lincolnshire, had started a relationship with unemployed Wajdi Jouini on the social networking site.
She flew out to meet him in Tunisia with a friend after packing just a few things for a seven-day trip.
She and her friend travelled to the remote rural town where her lover lived with his family in a run-down house and were welcomed with open arms.
But when it came to leave, Miss Paduch told her friend she had decided to stay.
She has since posted pictures on Facebook of her wedding to Mr Jouini and has attempted to defend her actions, claiming she is 'not a bad mom'.
But she has been slammed by her friends, who claim she has repeatedly promised to come home and then changed her mind.
Her mother Beryl Paduch, 59, told the Mirror: 'Her little boy's birthday is coming up and I want her to be there. He misses her and all he wants for his birthday is his mum.'
'A friend sent her £200 to come home last month but she didn't. I was getting frantic.
'I kept asking Wendy, "What about the kids?" but she's ask if it was OK to stay for another week. Then one week became two then three and still she didn't return.'
A spokesman for Humberside Police said they were looking into the case but added that Wendy had not been reported as a missing person.