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Posts Tagged ‘rape myths’

Brett Stewart says he didn’t indecently assault a teenager. He says she tried to kiss him, and that she’s making up these allegations because he rejected her come-on. (Hmm, where have I heard that before?)

The linked article was the first I’d read about this case, and my first thought was “pity his girlfriend was in the kitchen; if she’d been with him maybe none of this would have happened.” Which is not to say that I think Stewart committed the assaults – I don’t know; let’s wait until the jury tells us what they think.

But whatever the jury finds, whatever happened probably wouldn’t have happened had Jamie Baker, Stewart’s girlfriend, been present rather than in the kitchen. That’s because either: (a) if he did assault the teenager: presumably he would not have done so had Baker been present; or (b) if he did not assault the teenager: presumably the teenager’s allegations would not have stood up had Baker been present at the time of the alleged offences.

The take-home message, then, is: men, don’t go out alone. You might be accused of, and/or commit, indecent assault, sexual assault, rape or other sexual violence.

This post was inspired by this post and this one over at blue milk.

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This is the fourth in a series of posts about Jodi Picoult’s use of false rape allegations as a plot device. The first is here, the second is here and the third is here. In this post, I attempt to draw the discussion to some kind of conclusion.

In the second post and the third one I’ve outlined some of the messages which I think come out of Picoult’s books. I’ve also alluded to the reasons why I find some of them troubling. In my first post on this topic, I also noted that I perceived two main problems: (1) it suggests that false allegations are common and problematic; and (2) it hides the horrendous way in which many complainants of rape are actually treated.

In today’s post, I’m going to talk about some of the many other real ethical problems surrounding the way complaints and charges of rape are treated in our society – and how I think the stories Picoult wrote could have been tweaked a bit to explore these issues, rather than the fake issue of false rape allegations.

First, here’s a list of some of these real ethical problems surrounding the reporting of rape and the criminal process which may follow:
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This is the third in a series of posts about Jodi Picoult’s use of false rape allegations as a plot device. The first is here, the second is here and you will find the fourth here when it goes up tomorrow. In this post, I address the specific ethical issues raised by Salem Falls.

As with yesterday’s post: SPOILER ALERT!

I have even more problems with this book than I do with The Tenth Circle. It opens with Jack (from whose point of view a lot of the book is written) walking along a deserted road in the snow. He’s just got out of prison. He can’t go back to wherever it was he came from before that, he knows that teaching is out of the question, he doesn’t care where he goes. Someone gives him a lift, and he gets out at a friendly-looking small town. That town is Salem Falls.

By the time he’s there, we’ve already guessed he was in prison for some kind of sex crime, and we’ve also had a couple of parts of the story from the point of view of the owner of a diner in town and the point of view of a teenage girl with a very protective and loving father.

Jack gets a job at the diner, and goes to the police station to report – confirming our guess he was in prison for a sex crime.

There are a few threads drawn through the book. The relevant ones are:

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This is the second in a series of posts about Jodi Picoult’s use of false rape allegations as a plot device. The first is here, you will find the third here when it goes up tomorrow and the fourth here the day after. In this post, I address the specific issues raised by The Tenth Circle, which I think is the least offensive of the two books I’m going to talk about.

It’s been a while since I read the book, and I’m writing this post from memory, because I’m really disinclined to go back and re-read the book. Apologies for any errors. By the way: SPOILER ALERT!

The book is largely written from the perspective of a man who is the father of a teenage daughter (who I think is called Tracy). His wife is a lecturer on Dante (and maybe Italian poetry in general?) at the local university (I think her name is Laura). I can’t remember if they have children other than Tracy.

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This is the first in a series of posts about Jodi Picoult’s use of false rape allegations as a plot device. There will be three more, and they will be posted daily. You will find the second here tomorrow, the third here the day after and the fourth here the day after that. In this post, I introduce the topic, Jodi Picoult, the books I’m talking about and a few of the issues.

The post title might seem like a bit of an oxymoron. After all, one may ask: isn’t the point of fiction that it’s not true?

Actually, I’d argue the opposite. I’d argue that one of the purposes of literature is to tell the truth about life, without necessarily telling the reality of life.

Where this duty really comes into play is where an author uses assumptions and stereotypes as if they are real.

Much fiction does this, and sometimes it is reasonably unobjectionable as a plot device or tool.

Where I really start to get angry is when someone does something like what Jodi Picoult has done in at least two of her books (and I’ve only read four!) and premises the entire plot on a false rape allegation.

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