Believe the man, not the woman

January 29, 2018 § 43 Comments

When a man and a woman meet privately they often come away giving different accounts, to the rest of us, of what happened in the encounter.

When this sort of “he said, she said” situation arises the important thing is to believe the man, not the woman; at least according to recent critics of Christendom College who favor a gossip-based approach to justice over an evidence-based approach.

Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 11.11.41 AM

(HT Ian).

§ 43 Responses to Believe the man, not the woman

  • LarryDickson says:

    Please explain further? I do not get what leads you to that conclusion, which contradicts the story of Daniel and Susanna in the Catholic Book of Daniel.

  • Larry, zippy is making a joke because “Elizabeth” (the ‘she’) in the screen-capped comment is protesting her words as represented but “Damien” (the ‘he’) is standing by his notes.

  • Zippy says:


    I guess the “believe the woman” rule might be subject-dependent. If Elizabeth had accused Damien of sexual assault (maybe lurid phone-sex if it was a phone interview) then it would be right to believe her.

  • T. Morris says:

    guess the “believe the woman” rule might be subject-dependent. If Elizabeth had accused Damien of sexual assault (maybe lurid phone-sex if it was a phone interview) then it would be right to believe her.

    Absolutely! And in this particular case Damien is the (more open at least) advocate of the “survivor” between the two, so he is the one to be believed. Plus, he’s only really half a man in any case since his better female half is the one leading the charge.

  • Rhetocrates says:

    LD, it’s also a joke in that it’s a precise inversion of the vigorously-enforced rule in sexual assault cases.

  • Patrick says:

    I believe Elizabeth. Damien Fisher raped the interview.

  • Zippy says:


    But women lie all the time about interviews. This is just another case of “regret interview” masquerading as wrongdoing by a man.


  • I love when people quote the stats that “Actually, women don’t lie about rape all the time!”

    They lie about rape at about the same rate as people lie about all other crimes. All it proves is that rape accusations deserve absolutely no extra consideration as being especially likely to be true.

  • Zippy says:


    I’ve occasionally wondered – though not enough to do due diligence on the question – just how those statistics are measured and calculated. Offhand it seems rather like taking a poll on how many people lie when they take polls.

  • shglaw says:

    Sorry to butt in, but the false reporting stats you generally hear about are slightly less than accurate. You may want to take a look at these posts about false rape stats.

    In particular, take a look at Francis Walker’s Data Gone Odd posts on the issues. Also see:

  • Zippy says:

    The official soundtrack to this thread:

  • Sure. I’m just saying that except in the most absolutely crazy level extreme low end of the data we’re roughly at the level of false reports of other crimes, yet expected to treat rape allegations as super plus double likely to be true.

  • Zippy:

    No hugee no kissee? Obviously the woman in the song is being overly repressive and setting herself up to be raped.

  • Mike T says:

    Odds are pretty good that if you map out the lynchings that took place starting in Reconstruction, there’s a pretty close to 1:1 ratio of “white girl claimed a black man did something naughty” and “black man became an out of season ornament on a tree.”

  • Zippy says:

    Those stats entries are pretty interesting. Some crimes have a greater “epistemic hole” (to coin a phrase) than others. Lots of other things to say. But interesting links.

  • Ian says:

    By the way, what’s the deal with calling women who were raped ‘survivors’? Pet peeve. What’s wrong with ‘rape victims’?

    I had my wallet stolen once. Am I a theft survivor?

  • Zippy says:


    My own take is that it used to be that legitimate rape victims were often murdered, to avoid prosecution if for no other reason. This could be wrong and is subject to correction.

    But in the Current Year, when rape usually means “more sex than she bargained for” as opposed to “no sex at all because I don’t know him”, the connection between rape and murder is less apparent.

    But “survivor” continues to sound much more dire than “things went further than I wanted or explicitly consented to”.

  • Professor Q says:

    Are there no genuine sexual crimes or offences in this world (or any other crimes of any other categories for that matter) to get outraged about, that the Fishers have to keep beating this dead horse of an alleged might-have-been-a-crime?

    They remind me of that woman from Dickens (I forget her name) who was constantly going on about the plight of orphans in some unspecified “savage” country, but couldn’t be bothered to care for her own daughter.

  • Ryan says:

    Survivor is being used instead of victim because liberals want to shift focus away from the crime and onto the victim. Something like ignoring the bad behavior in hopes that it goes away for lack of attention. The idea is that the perpetrator is so depraved he/she doesn’t deserve the attention the acknowledging his/her existence by reminding people that a crime inherently two parties.

  • Ian says:

    Professor Q,


    A similar character is Miss Birdseye from Henry James’s The Bostonians:

    [W]henever money was given her she gave it away to a negro or a refugee. No woman could be less invidious, but on the whole she preferred these two classes of the human race… It would have been a nice question whether, in her heart of hearts, for the sake of this excitement, she did not sometimes wish the blacks back in bondage… She was in love… only with causes, and she languished only for emancipations. But they had been the happiest days, for when causes were embodied in foreigners (what else were the Africans?), they were certainly more appealing.

  • Lydia McGrew says:

    As an epistemologist, I have a special interest in all of these issues. For example, on the statistics: Suppose that you believe that it’s very unlikely that people lie about x matter, because you think that’s what the statistics supports. Then someone comes forward and testifies about x matter in precisely the way that you (already) think he’s unlikely to be lying about. *If* your statistics were well-supported to begin with, it’s not epistemically wrong to make an induction that this new witness is also not lying. That’s just induction. But it *is* epistemically wrong, without *independent* corroboration of his claim, to *add* him mentally to your statistics and thus “ratchet” up yet further the probability that the *next* person to testify to such a thing is not lying.

    You can’t do that. It’s completely epistemically illicit. And I really do wonder how many advocates are even thinking for a moment about the danger of doing that. If they just automatically, mentally add each person who merely makes a claim to “people who aren’t lying about rape” without independent corroboration in the individual case, of course they are going to think that that generalization gets better and better supported as time goes on. But that’s bogus.

    In the same vein, if they keep on throwing out any independence conditions on allegations against a specific person, they are tainting their data. I’ve read that one advocacy group (GRACE) that tackles (brings down) Christian churches and organizations does not at all discourage alleged victims from getting together and chit-chatting about what allegedly happened to them! This is crazy. Any cop or detective would tell you not to do that. It actually weakens the case, because then similarity of details could be the result of their influencing each others’ memories. But no one seems to care.

    There’s a very dangerous tacit notion out there that we can replace good epistemic practice and standards of evidence with sheer hysteria and outrage and by automatically believing any claim, by being reckless about the possibility of false claims, even while weakening evidence by tainting data, waiting years to report, etc. That’s baaaad news.

  • Zippy says:


    That makes sense. I think one of the things that drives certain people mad is the fact that very often we simply cannot corroborate what actually happened in individual cases. There just is no independent evidence of what occurred, merely the testimony of the people who were actually present. This is a fact of the matter, and no amount of outrage can change this fact of the matter.

    So statistical arguments are the only available means to at least rhetorically create the appearance of bolstering a conclusion in individual cases.

    And the accumulation of these ‘rhetorically enhanced’ cases is fallaciously taken as reinforcing iterated statistical arguments, which they do not do in fact.

    Human beings like to see patterns in things, constellations if you will, to create a big picture and bring certainty to their epistemic worlds. Admitting that we just don’t really know certain things – that we can’t know them – that a pretense to knowledge really only demonstrates the irrationality of the pretenders – is something that even people of good will often unreasonably resist.

  • Lydia McGrew says:

    If alleged victims wouldn’t wait so long to report and if the accused would refuse to plea bargain (if he’s innocent) we cd. definitely reduce the number of pure he said/she said cases. Not to zero, but substantially. DNA evidence would be available immediately after a real rape. Evidence of struggle might be visible immediately after. The woman’s demeanor could be evaluated by a trained investigator. The bizarreness of a “rape” that one “didn’t realize was rape until later,” which *of course* casts doubt upon the account, would be eliminated. And if it goes to trial, a woman making frivolous accusations can be put under cross questioning, and the jury may (rightly) not find her credible.

    So while it’s true that there will always be an ineliminable number of cases that are pure he said/she said, that’s part of what law enforcement, good investigation techniques, prompt reporting, and a full and impartial trial can reduce. Where we are *very* often stuck with he said/she said is when no report is made until a lot of the evidence would have been destroyed. What activists *will not* admit is that it’s *legitimate* to have less confidence in an alleged victim’s claims the longer after the fact they emerge. A week is maybe understandable (though unfortunate from the perspective of gathering physical evidence). A month gets dubious. A year is meh. And decades? When you get to decades, you have to have independent evidence for some powerful sociological forces causing the alleged victim not to come forward. Or maybe if you know the alleged victim personally you’ll believe it despite decades. Or if there’s enough independent corroboration that the guy was a pervert. But the individual testimony *is* greatly depressed by the passage of time, and it should be, and that’s part of what drives activists wild. They know that sometimes this will result in injustice, which is true, but rational evaluations sometimes *do* result in injustice by accident.

  • Zippy says:


    I don’t disagree; I’d just add/emphasize that the injustice is not active. It isn’t that our institutions actively do evil when there is not enough evidence to resolve allegations. It just often isn’t possible.

    Also some kinds of crimes tend to produce more evidence than others. Theft typically produces more evidence by the nature of the case than assault (especially assault absent battery).

    That’s just how things are, and no amount of outrage and statistical book cooking can change that.

  • Professor Q says:


    Thanks, that was exactly the person I had in mind. She’s a cautionary tale for most of the Catholic blogosphere, whether “right” or “left”.

  • Lydia McGrew says:

    Zippy, I agree. I meant “injustice” only in a “cosmic” sense (lack of deserved retribution), not in a blameworthy sense. To the contrary, as I know you will agree, the paradox is that it could be *blameworthy* for people in charge of making decisions to punish someone on the basis of flimsy evidence, even if (as it happens) he really did something deserving of that punishment. We’ve got more than one sense of “justice” in play here.

    Obviously the extreme and problematic version of not convicting a guilty person for procedural reasons is when perfectly good evidence gets excluded from a trial on a technicality or when “Miranda rights” are exaggerated and so forth.

    But in a case where there just isn’t good evidence that is publicly available and can be well conveyed to an impartial party, it would be wrong to convict even if *in fact* the person is guilty. And how someone would know that the person was guilty in that circumstance is a good question anyway. Is it just supposed to be known by an instinct or something? An activist would *assume* guilt. A more legitimate route to knowing someone is guilty when he can’t be convicted by due process would be that one personally knows the alleged victim and therefore has more reason to trust what she says. But by the same token, someone might personally know the alleged perpetrator and be quite sure that he’s telling the truth! This is why, though character witnesses can testify in court, in general the process has to be based upon less personal factors.

    Politically it’s a very odd thing to see people who are somewhat on the left of the political spectrum suddenly become raving tough-on-crime hawks, even to the extent of irrationality and dangerous procedure. For *decades* the left has bent over backwards to induce unreasonable *doubt* about the guilt of people accused of crimes, to make it difficult to punish, to call people “innocent” when they are guilty as sin and just got off on a technicality, and so forth. Now, suddenly, in this one area, they are swinging wildly to the opposite side on the question of evidence and due process. I can imagine some major cognitive dissonance that could arise for someone like this (someone who is normally on the side of the accused against The Man) when the alleged crime in question is one where he’s now decided as a political commitment always to believe the accuser!

  • T. Morris says:


    Now, suddenly, in this one area, they [soft-on-crime lefties] are swinging wildly to the opposite side on the question of evidence and due process.

    I think there are several factors at play here that leave that impression – that the zebra has all of a sudden changed his stripes when he really hasn’t.

    It all depends on who the perceived victims and who the perceived perps/criminals are, their perceived “status” in society, their (again, perceived) cultural and political power and influence, and so on. As well as how “in vogue” it becomes in society to engage a “full frontal attack” on he who once enjoyed “preferred” or first class status. These are some of the factors that determine for left-leaners to whom they give the benefit of the doubt, and to whom not s’much at any given moment in time or place.

    So they’re really being consistent to my mind. The *apparent* shift from “soft-on-crime” to “tough-on-crime” positioning, is in reality no real shift at all, but a consistent pursuit of “justice” for the perceived underdog. If “justice for the underdog” means, under current circumstances, that we must insist on verifiable evidence to convict, then that is what we’ll do; if, on the other hand, time and place and circumstances dictate otherwise, then that is what we’ll do.

    It’s just liberals being liberals.

  • Zippy says:

    Terry Morris:

    It’s just liberals being liberals.


    Everyone with political views at all is an authoritarian, that is, tough on the things that they consider to be substantively heinous and despicable. But liberalisms are sociopathically authoritarian, authoritarianism operating under the delusion of being anti-authoritarian. “Authentic” freedom means putting the right sort of people in prison, expelling the right sort of people from polite society, and destroying the livelihoods of the right sort of people.

    Left liberals are plenty “tough on crime” – to the point of dispensing with even the bare expectation that condemnation and punishment requires any actual evidence – when it comes to ‘racist’ crimes (see George Zimmerman, BLM, etc), ‘sexist’ crimes (see this case and campus rape hysteria in general), etc.

    So liberalism is “tough on crime”, is authoritarian (like all political views). The problem though is twofold. First is the pretense that these authoritarians – whose views utterly dominate all respectable political discourse – are anti-authority, are the great scrappy rebel alliance fighting for “freedom”. Second is that their understanding of what really is good and evil is perverse. And these two are related, of course.

  • T. Morris says:


    Everyone with political views at all is an authoritarian, that is, tough on the things that they consider to be substantively heinous and despicable.

    AMEN! And to the rest a hearty AMEN too! As per the usual, you say it all a LOT better than I can.

  • Lydia McGrew says:

    Yeah, but what is someone going to do who is soft-on-crime in the area of race but tough-on-crime in the area of sexual abuse allegations? He’s faced with, say, a black man who is accused by a white woman of raping her, under conditions where she has no concrete evidence, waited a long time to report, and could just be lying. I could imagine a real mental struggle there.

    As linked in the other thread, there has been at least one case where a completely innocent black male teenager was frivolously accused of rape and spent years in prison and more years on the sex offenders list before being exonerated. He plea bargained initially because he was advised by his lawyer that the jury would be white and wouldn’t believe him. That’s exactly the sort of person bleeding heart liberals are always pointing to in order to argue for the racial injustice in our country. And in fact it *was* a horrible miscarriage of justice. Now I believe the guy works for the Innocence Project, which is crazy-left and tries to get some people exonerated who are (I’m guessing) probably guilty.

    Faced with a case that could easily be another such, I’m not sure a person who has spent a couple of decades reacting very strongly in favor of the racial minority accused under conditions of little-to-no evidence is going to find it psychologically easy to swing around, even if he’s been out there on Facebook, etc., saying how we always must believe “the victim,” women never lie, etc. One would like to think there would be at least a few minutes of sweating and possibly a bit of an epiphany.

  • […] very succinct explanation of the incoherence of liberalism from […]

  • Mike T says:

    Faced with a case that could easily be another such, I’m not sure a person who has spent a couple of decades reacting very strongly in favor of the racial minority accused under conditions of little-to-no evidence is going to find it psychologically easy to swing around

    Feminists do this all the time. They will practically burn another feminist as a witch if she dares to suggest that perhaps frat boys aren’t even 1/10 the threat to a woman’s dignity and purity that the typical Muslim migrant is. They are deathly afraid of being seen defending white women and attacking brown men.

    They also do it with a free conscience because they’re “woke” and that feminist isn’t. So you can apply that process across multiple issues.

    And let’s not forget that concept of intersectionality makes this even worse. If the white woman can claim she’s a lesbian, under the hip new rules of intersectionality, the black man is clearly the party that needs to be dealt with because “woman + homosexuality” > “black + man.” I wish I were joking. Under that new evolution of their ideology, a black man who resents competing with illegal immigrants and lashes out at a “gay hispanic immigrant atheist” is closer to fungible with a white man who does the same thing than a battle of equals.

  • Rhetocrates says:

    Yeah, but what is someone going to do who is soft-on-crime in the area of race but tough-on-crime in the area of sexual abuse allegations? He’s faced with, say, a black man who is accused by a white woman of raping her, under conditions where she has no concrete evidence, waited a long time to report, and could just be lying. I could imagine a real mental struggle there.

    That’s simple. Either there’s a white boy out there who can take the fall, or she’d better grin and bear it, as far as her public face is concerned. The hierarchy of victimization is clear.

    Occasionally there’s a bit of a dust-up where that’s not the case, but do we hear a hue and cry about German (or Minnesotan) women being violently raped and often maimed or killed by first-generation immigrants? Or about sexual grooming and abuse rings in English towns run by men from the subcontinent? Not through the approved channels, we don’t.

  • As I understand the current victim hierarchy, a rape allegation outranks standard black victim status, but is subordinate to Muslim victim status.

    You also have to differentiate based on the kind of offense alleged. So if a black man accuses a white woman of saying the N word, the black man holds priority. But if a white woman accuses a black man of rape, the white woman holds priority. Though for some reason Muslims are exempt from this and hold priority in either case.

  • Mike T says:

    Muslims are so oppressed that it should be obvious that if you don’t respect their claims to being victims, you’re just asking for it if they attack you.

  • T. Morris says:

    Mike T:

    That sounds right. I also tend to believe that the default liberal position remains to give the accused black rapist the benefit of the doubt because of social status of the accuser relative to the accused. If she is your average middle class white girl raised in the suburbs, and he is your average black male, fatherless and raised in the inner city slums for example, I believe the tendency is to favor his version of the story over hers mainly due to her “priveleged” upbringing and all the related benefits of that. Liberals favor the “underdog.” Now if we’re talking about a famous black rapper, movie star, football or basketball player or whatever and worth millions of dollars, then we have a different scenario and more reason to follow the “always believe the woman” rule.

  • ACThinker says:

    On Statistics.
    Discussing “false rape claims” – there was an analsys, and I forget where I read it, I think it was a UK webpaper link – that looked at overturned murder charges v over turned rape chargers. And it was liek 6% to 1%. Thus the author concluded that very few false rape charges occured, in comparison to false murder charges.

    My immediate reaction was that it missed that these were cases which had made their way through the legal system filter. It is very easy for a person to make a claim and then later decide “I don’t want to press charges.” This is why the Colleges/Universities handling this are a problem. They only work on a verbal evidence, and leave out all the other rules of evidence was have in the legal system. Makes getting a verdict easier.

    So when lookign at these studies of “women raped on campus – 1 in 5 have been sexual assulted” we have to study HOW these numbers occur. And BTW, if it is 1 in 5, why would any woman dare set foot on a college campus. Those numbers are terrible. – but the slight of hand there is that ‘sexual assult’ includes rape but also lesser offenses down to unwanted kissing and might even include unwanted verbal contact. Well by that standard there were probalby a lot of people on my college campus I had to suffer conversations with.

    On victims
    – there is a hierarchy and it is a little shifting. Understand it is all focused around this. Todays ‘liberals’ are social and civilizational levelers. Since they can’t bring themselves up without hard work, they proceed to declare it is [Current Year] (aka year 0) and destroy anyone who they perceive as better/privledged/etc. All so that they can be better themselves. After all if I can’t be a better writer and more knowledgeable about all things Catholic that our humble blog owner here, I should (under this logic) declare that he knows nothing and show I know something so I am better.*** I recall the wisdom of my mother who once said “insults are used to tear the other down to make us feel better about our inferriority”.. Same idea in the liberals victim heirarchy. leveling.

    ***For the record, I think Zippy is better read on Catholic philosophy and theology that I am. I have points of disagreement, but I will not voice them absent more reading on my part.

  • T. Morris says:

    Totally as an aside, but for those who raised the Muslim issue, remember this:

  • Jay says:

    Apparently women don’t possess the moral agency required to even say no. Image from a facebook advocacy group started by the subject of the original article that started all this:

  • Zippy says:

    For those who don’t want to click on the ad-riddled link, the image says:

    “It’s not CONSENT if you make me AFRAID to say no”

    with an attribution banner which says “Christendom Advocacy and Support Coalition”

    In addition to what this tells us about the attitude toward female moral agency, that seems like a tacit admission by the principal accuser that she never actually said “no.”

  • Jay says:

    I apologize for the ad-riddled link. I use an ad-blocker so didn’t even realize they were there.

  • […] the comment thread below reader Jay posted a link to the following […]

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