To say that someone is not a rape apologist because "they don't support rape" is an empty statement. It's a straw man. NO ONE SUPPORTS RAPE OUTWARDLY. But their attitudes towards survivors end up supporting rapists just the same.
"Rape apology or rape apologetics are umbrella terms for any arguments suggesting that rape is infrequent, misreported, over-reported, not that big a deal, or that it is even excusable in some circumstances, such as within a marriage or if the victim was provocatively dressed. 'Apology' in this case means defense or justification, like in Christian apologetics, and not a statement expressing regret."
Rape apologists (like "The Truth Be Told," Michael Dill and Reed Shelger) may accuse women of misreporting rape, or "crying rape" to get what they want. Accusations of rape against partners or other acquaintances are sometimes disbelieved by others and perceived as a spiteful reaction to some other grievance.
Statistics, however, show that rape is dramatically under-reported.
Rape apologists contend it's not rape if...
...it's not "forcible"
Rape apologists frequently refer only to "forcible" rape when condemning rape or proposing legislation relating to rapes and their consequences. This explicitly excludes statutory rape, which is the only legitimate reason that the term "forcible rape" even exists. It implicitly excludes rapes committed with date-rape drugs, along with many marital rapes and those committed by people the victim knew, because those rapes are apparently less rape-y than the stranger-in-an-alley scenario, which is statistically less common.
...or if she asked for it!
The victim can be alleged to be either a promiscous whore who dressed like a slut or, more generally, put herself in a dangerous situation; if young, be a temptress and manipulative Lolita who was dressing, looking and behaving older than her chronological age: just ask some judges in Montana, lawyers in Texas or Polanski supporters. Or ask a regular commenter on this blog, "The Truth Be Told," who commented after this post:
"Get your hands on the video and you will recant everything you wrote about her being left there. She didn't want to leave. she was upset about what happened with her "So called" boyfriend, who under testimony called her a booty call, snubbing her at the club and not paying any attention to her. So, what does she do? she goes around the club showing off her assets and then approaches him later on and punches him in the face. This is her testimony. If you are going to report get it right."
Another way to trivialise -- and implicitly normalise rape -- is to recharacterise it merely in terms of "rough sex" or "a gangbang" or euphemistic terms which take the emphasis off uncomfortable words like "rape" or "assault", and remind the reader or listener that, "hey, it's just sex, right?" The message is pretty clear: rape's not such a big deal, but you should just put up with up and get it over it.
Worries about false rape allegations are pretty much statistically bunk. Maybe 2-8%. The 8% comes from the FBI which is recounting "unfounded" cases. 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. (Gross, Bruce (Spring 2009). "False Rape Allegations: An Assault On Justice". Forensic Examiner.)
Very few people would be so motivated by some other factor that they would willingly subject themselves to the hell that is rained down upon rape survivors. While our culture often makes reporting a rape worse than the rape itself, when it comes to male victims, it’s damned near impossible to report at all.
For those who stubbornly wish to believe that bitches be lyin’, I can point them at studies. I have before and will again. Or I could have them read this story. [CONTENT NOTE FOR THAT LINK: Massive trigger warning for graphic description of violent sexual assault and horrific treatment by law enforcement.]
Now, some of them will say: “That’s just an anecdote.” And that is true. It is just one data point behind the 2-8%. Since we are Good Skeptics, we know to look beyond anecdotes.
So let me add in a study of police attitudes toward rape victims. It would seem EEB (in that story above) isn’t alone, then. And if we could factor in the victims who never reported at all because of stuff like this, that “false” rape allegation statistic would drop like a rock. Since they don’t, the statistics are skewed, making “false” allegations look more prevalent.
Now add the horrific treatment victims experience from defense attorneys who believe they’re scum. I can tell you from experience this can be worse than the rape. It can be a form of torture, and like torture victims, some rape victims will recant just to make the pain stop. Magically, their allegation is now “false.” But they’re no less raped, and the rapist is no less a sexual predator.
Add in the fact that some rapists have a lock on society or community and can crush their victims (potentially like this case, if the poor girl wants to keep training-- think about her walking into an academy and wondering if a training partner is thinking she's a whore, a liar, a bitch.) If their victims had the courage to report, they’ve soon got their buddies to sweep the crime under the rug. And another several ticks are added in the “false” rape allegation column.
Add in children who receive such a terrifying reaction to their attack that they recant just to protect themselves. More “false” rape allegations.
What about victims who aren’t supported by friends and family because many cultures make it easier to believe the victims are filthy, disgusting, crazy liars rather than people suffering from sexual assault? I think you know what happens to the statistics by now.
Add in the fact that some police departments don’t make a distinction between “reports that are actually, genuinely, provably false” and “reports that can’t be prosecuted due to statute of limitations, lack of evidence, or some other reason, but no doubt the victim was assaulted.” Both numbers end up counting under “false” allegations, although a sizable percentage weren’t false at all.
Add in about a trillion circumstances I haven’t remembered to include. Compare that to the enormous number of rapes and sexual assaults.
The reality is that false rape allegations are a tiny bit of flotsam on a sea of rape. Even if that 2-8% number were accurate, it would still be far too small to use to discount rape allegations out of hand. The fact that even that tiny percentage is inflated by cases like EEB’s should ensure that every decent human being treat survivors’ reports as provisionally true. The idea that most or even many rape allegations are false is an extraordinary claim requiring extraordinary evidence. Those who continue to insist otherwise have forfeited any right to be considered good people.
To be fair, here's a thought-provoking article titled Five Things To Consider Before Calling Someone a Rape Apologist.
BUT here are what I see as the leading apologetics about the acquittals in the NYE rape case:
1. Those poor boys' lives are ruined.
2. It's just buyer's remorse.
3. She should be prosecuted.
People saying that garbage just don't get that losing a criminal prosecution doesn't mean the jury thought a witness or any witness lied. It's not a finding that the complaining witness was perjuring herself. It doesn't mean the jury believed no rape occurred. It simply means the prosecution didn't persuade the jury beyond a reasonable doubt.
The boys' lives are not ruined except for the fact that they now think they are the persecuted victims, and they now know mistakes not to make should they ever choose another foray into crime.
The concept of this being a false claim of rape due to morning-after regret is disproven by the videotape showing her being dropped on her head while blacked out (hard to argue she wanted that or was not too intoxicated) and the testimony that she was left unconscious and naked on the cold concrete (not the typical way to leave your willing sex partner.)
There are mechanisms in place to penalize those who lie on the stand... they're called perjury prosecutions. Just because those idiots were acquitted doesn't mean the survivor lied. Get over it.