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Is it time to name the accusers?

(41 Posts)
Nonnie Fri 19-Jan-18 13:34:26

Yet another trial has been stopped due to lack of evidence and some poor man has had it hanging over him for 2 years.

I would be interested to hear your opinions on whether it is time to name those who make the accusation or make the accused anonymous too. I completely understand why it was decided not to name the accusers when that decision was made but nowadays, when so many celebrities are speaking out very openly and there is no longer any sort of stigma attached to making rape and sexual assault claims would it not be fair to name the accuser? If not, what about when their claim is found to be false, name them then and charge with an appropriate charge?

It does seem harsh that a man can have his life ruined by false accusations, his name bandied about in the media and the woman who has made the false claim gets off scot free.

I must make it clear that I don't actually know anyone in this situation.

humptydumpty Fri 19-Jan-18 13:49:17

Nonnie I completely agree, and although I have every sympathy with #MeToo, I dislike the idea that people's lives are being ruined by an accusation from a long time ago with no evidence one way or the other; things seem to have moved towards 'guilty until proven innocent' which is not a road I think society should be going down..

eazybee Fri 19-Jan-18 13:49:20

I do agree with you. Even when the accused is proved innocent and the accusation false, his photograph and details are published, whereas the accuser remains completely anonymous, and in some cases goes on to do it again.

Nonnie Fri 19-Jan-18 13:56:43

DS3 says that in 20 years time he won't be able to prove where he was and what he was doing on a particular day.

The current situation seems to be that a spurned girlfriend can say what she likes about her ex and be believed by the police. I don't blame them, they can't win as some time ago they were told to assume allegations were genuine so it is difficult for them not to believe the accuser.

Not the same situation but a couple of years ago I was speaking to a policeman who wanted to arrest someone but I said no and he said that the woman can pretty much claim whatever she wants and get away with it. Yes, he was bitter, his brother had committed suicide because of a viscious ex.

Anniebach Fri 19-Jan-18 14:22:32

I believe in innocent untill proven guilty. The police excuse the naming by claiming it may bring more victims forward , yes , but we cannot deny there are false allegation too.

The 'me too' is out of control,

Oldwoman70 Fri 19-Jan-18 14:28:48

I think the accused should not be named until found guilty. Naming him then could mean others coming forward which would result in another trial and, hopefully, a longer sentence.

Primrose65 Fri 19-Jan-18 14:56:47

There are various stats about false rape allegations, the numbers are tiny. There was an investigation by the Crown Prosecution Service a few years ago and one thing they uncovered was that the people were quite often victims of a different crime.

Rape Crisis gets 4,000 calls a week and there are around 11 rapes of adults an hour in the UK - plus the ones that are not reported or counted in official statistics, plus children under 16.
A 'spurned girlfriend' can make whatever accusations she likes to the police, but there is still a burden of proof. I think there are probably more (numerically more) horrific stories about 'spurned boyfriends' who stalk, intimidate, beat up and kill their ex's. There's a good reason why only men joke about a 'crazy ex'.
People are prosecuted for false allegations of rape and although it's horrible to live with a false accusation of anything, my sympathy lies with the rape victims on this.

They're reported by the media because they are rare.
Report every rape conviction. Put every rapist's photo in the paper. It would give the public a sense of perspective and everyone would realise how prevalent and common rape is.

GillT57 Fri 19-Jan-18 14:59:58

Agreed oldwoman, as the mother of a son, it really concerns me that sometime in the future, a woman could make a foundless accusation against him, maybe because he ended a relationship, and he would have to face what this poor student had to face, two years of it hanging over him, and as always there will be people who will assume that there is 'no smoke without fire'. I say this having brought him up to respect all people and to behave with consideration and have no worries that he is behaving in anyway other way. The accused should have anonymity until the trial verdict, we are starting to lose sight of innocent until proven guilty in the wake of the recent high publicity sexual abuse cases. And, I say this as the mother of a daughter too, so not just seeing this from the male point of view. It is appallingly difficult for the police to get it right, it does seem that whichever way they treat accusations, they are wrong, a difficult path.

Nonnie Fri 19-Jan-18 15:18:27

Primrose "There are various stats about false rape allegations, the numbers are tiny. There was an investigation by the Crown Prosecution Service a few years ago and one thing they uncovered was that the people were quite often victims of a different crime." I think that is my point, it was a few years ago and things have changed now. Men are losing their jobs and having their lives ruined without any foundation. The accusation alone is doing this.

You say "There's a good reason why only men joke about a 'crazy ex'." that may be true in the sense of 'joke' but I have experience of women talking about their crazy ex and other very derogatory comments, this is not confined to only one sex.

You go on to discuss rape but that is not what I was suggesting, I agree that rape should be punished but what we are talking about here is wrongful accusation not rape.

If anyone who wrongfully accused another person was named it might well reduce such cases and also save the police time.

Ilovecheese Fri 19-Jan-18 15:25:32

I agree with Primrose

maryeliza54 Fri 19-Jan-18 15:48:16

The real issue in these cases has been non or late disclosure of evidence - police, CPS and even Defence are in the firing line - get that right and then we'll see what's left. Primrose is absolutely right - these cases are vanishingly rare and its tail wagging dog to change the whole system for a few cases as awful as some of them might be. Other crimes were people are found not guilty or the case is discontinued also harm lives so why should just charged rapists keep their anonymity? How does that fit with an open justice system? And how many rape cases are based on 20 year old situations?

Anniebach Fri 19-Jan-18 16:02:55

But Primrose the numbers may be tiny but one is one too many . Only last year there was a woman who claimed rape, it was found to be false but one man had spent time in prison and the woman had made accusations in several areas with different police forces .

Primrose65 Fri 19-Jan-18 16:07:16

The numbers are so low Nonnie. Over a 5 year period, there were 109 prosecutions. It does seem to average at around 20 a year.
The issue is these all make the papers, so you feel it is a big problem.
Just under 12,000 recorded rapes of children in 2015-16 and 24,000 of adults.

20 false accusations a year.
36,000 recorded rapes a year.

Compare it with other extremely unlikely occurrences - let's take the 'rape' out of the conversation.

Death by 'fall from a cliff' - 18 in 2009
Killed by an animal - 24 in 2009
(I can only find older figures for this. But we're looking at unlikely comparable events and these numbers are pretty close)

Being falsely accused of rape really is as likely as dying from falling off a cliff.

I don't see these being given a high profile in the press and surely death is a much bigger blow than a false accusation.

Nonnie Fri 19-Jan-18 17:12:31

I don't see why it is a numbers thing. Surely a wrong is a wrong, regardless of how many there are? If you were wrongly accused of a crime, and were the only one, would you want it to be dismissed because it was only you? I don't think so.

In other crimes the victim is named but in sex cases there is nothing to deter someone from making a false accusation.

I am at a loss to understand why anyone would think it is OK just because there is no evidence (so far) that it is widespread.

Baggs Fri 19-Jan-18 17:23:19

I agree, nonnie. If someone lies about someone else accusing them of a crime that they haven't committed, then I think the accuser has committed a crime and should be held to account for it. Wreaking havoc through lies on another person's life is the pits and should be treated as such.

Primrose65 Fri 19-Jan-18 17:35:05

It's wrong, however, the people who do it are named, jailed and are in the paper.
It would be great if the papers gave as many column inches and photos to each rapist as they do to each person falsely accused of rape.

There is the threat of prosecution to deter anyone from committing any crime. Same deterrent as a rapist. Except most rapists know they won't get national press coverage and people talking about them on forums.

Nonnie Fri 19-Jan-18 18:23:57

But Primrose they are not named and in the paper, that is one of my points. I have seen nothing to indicate that they have been prosecuted, if I had I would not have raised this. I can understand that in the past it was right to not name them because there was a mind set that they may have brought it upon themselves. That is no Longer the case and I think they should be named because of the damage they have done to an innocent person.

Now we have socialism media as evidence I think more cases will be thrown out.

Baggs Fri 19-Jan-18 18:30:43

There is no deterrence to saying someone has raped you even if they haven't because the police have been told to "believe" all accusations of rape. One can understand why this instruction came about but it is not a good or just instruction. All complaints of rape or sexual assault should, of course, be listened to, taken seriously, and investigated properly, but that's not the same as just "believing" before evidence has been thoroughly checked.

Meanwhile young men's lives have been wrecked when they have been falsely accused and publicly named. Something is wrong about how these cases are dealt with and it's certainly wrong that a woman can get away with falsely accusing a man. I don't have a son but I can imagine how I'd feel if it were my son who was so unfairly accused. Can't everyone?

Anniebach Fri 19-Jan-18 18:48:49

but this doesn't change the fact that if innocent a life is ruined, a family is affected too. No use saying it rarely happens , it does happen . I don't have a son but I couldn't feel stronger about this than if I did. Falling off a cliff is either an accident or suicide, being falsely accused of rape is neither it is making an innocent person suffer and there isn't a thing he can do about it.

maryeliza54 Fri 19-Jan-18 23:04:58

There are women in prison who have been found guilty of making false allegations of rape - it does not go unpunished and they ARE named at their trials. So why the claims that they all go unpunished - completely untrue. And compared with the thousands of rapists who go unpunished every single year. Maybe mothers of sons should stop worrying about their precious sons being falsely accused and instead concentrate on bringing them up to respect women and understand what consent really means and avoid ambiguous sexual encounters.

Cold Sat 20-Jan-18 01:04:21

It is a very difficult balance to strike between the rights of the accused and victim.

However sometimes naming the accused does uncover much larger crimes - as people find the strength to come forward when they know they are not alone such as in the case of the black taxi rapist Worboys.

Today I listened to some of the most terrible stories of young sexual abuse survivors, mostly gymnasts, who had been systematically groomed and sexually abused under the guise of medical treatment for pain by the USA's Team Doctor (who also worked as a University doctor and with a school for young children with autism) for a period that spanned over 20 years.

The case started with a single person and there are now over 140 complainants - including gold medalists in gymnastics at recent Olympic and World Championships. If there had been anonymity the extent of the abuse would never have been uncovered.

WilmaKnickersfit Sat 20-Jan-18 02:20:18

No, I don't think the accusers should be named, but I do agree that neither should the accused unless they are found guilty.

In 2016 only 7% of those accused of rape allegations were charged. This isn't because of false allegations, it's because the Crown Prosecution Service is not confident of a successful prosecution. In some areas it is as low as 2. 5%. Although the number of prosecutions has increased, that is an appalling state of affairs. I believe that to name the accusers will reduce that number even more.

In October last year the Director of Public Prosecutions spoke publicly about rape accusations. She stressed that if the accused is acquitted of date rape that does not mean they were the victim of false accusations. She said only a very small minority of accusations were false and the accusers prosecuted receive extremely heavy sentences.

Don't name the accused or the accusers unless there is a guilty verdict.

WilmaKnickersfit Sat 20-Jan-18 02:24:20

I don't know what the solution is to the kind of cases cold mentioned. However, it's my understanding that many of the abused knew others who were or might have been abused. That would be one way of identifying multiple potential victims.

maryeliza54 Sat 20-Jan-18 08:17:40

Wilma I still haven’t heard any argument as to why people charged with rape should have anonymity when those charged with other crimes do not. The message it sends is that they are ipso facto more likely to be innocent: to be the victim of a false accusation. It sets a mindset that the women are lying. I’m horrified that some posters on this thread seem to believe that false accusations are rife and that the women who do that are never punished. There are so many myths around rape just about all of which are anti victim - not naming the alleged rapist feeds into tbese myths and would make the pitifully low number of guilty verdicts even lower. There is still much to do re police and CPS attitudes towards rape and indeed towards all crimes which principally have women as victims. How many women murdered by ex partners in recent years have been to the police over and over again before the murder? And look at the Emily Maitlis (sp?) case - how shocking that it is only now a private members bill is trying to beef up the legislation ( which itself was only enacted relatively recently). As for the heartbreaking case of the gymnasts, how can anyone believe that it should be made even easier for men guilty of such behaviour to go unpunished so that a tiny number of men be unfortunately the victims of false allegations? As I’ve said before,put more resources and responsibilities onto the police and CPS at the pre-charging stage to flush out false allegations - that’s the right way to go.

Baggs Sat 20-Jan-18 08:30:57

I still haven’t heard any argument as to why people charged with rape should have anonymity when those charged with other crimes do not.

I've been thinking this too, me. The trouble with some recent cases though is that the accused were apparently presumed guilty. The accusations against them were "believed" without evidence to back them up. That is clearly wrong and, as the former lord chief justice has said, recent cases that have been thrown out as innocence was proved at the last minute (which could have been proved earlier had the police done their work properly) will undermine juries' confidence in the justice system which could lead to convictions not being made when they should be.