Samstag, April 11, 2015

Cathy Young: Das "Glaubt-den-Überlebenden!"-Syndrom unserer Medien

Es wäre falsch, den journalistischen Offenbarungseid des Rolling Stone als Problem eines einzelnen Magazins zu sehen, argumentiert die liberale Feministin Cathy Young:

It is pervasive in media coverage of campus rape — and is very much connected to the belief, held by many anti-rape activists, that personal accounts of (alleged) sexual violence should be treated as sacrosanct. Before the Rolling Stone story imploded but when Erdely was already being criticized for failing to seek comment from the alleged rapists, the left-of-center media monitoring site Media Matters pointed to several articles on campus rape in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Slate which also failed to meet that standard. But this is less a defense of Erdely — whose reporting, we now know, was indefensible — than an indictment of her colleagues.

(...) The willingness to treat uncorroborated narratives of victimization as fact may be partly due to sensationalism. But it also reflects a climate in which any suggestion that a woman who says she was raped may be lying is often treated as “victim-blaming” or “rape apology.” Let’s not forget that skeptics who questioned the Rolling Stone story before its unraveling were widely and viciously attacked as prejudiced against rape victims. Today, the feminist party line is that Rolling Stone let down sexual assault victims by not fact-checking Jackie’s account; but back in December, it was that insisting on more scrutiny and corroboration of accounts of sexual assault would silence victims’ voices.

Given the very real history of widespread ugly biases against women who reported sexual violence, the reluctance to accuse women of "crying rape" is understandable. But the assumption that "women don’t lie" leads to an equally ugly bias. Yet the CJR report itself downplays the problem of false allegations, making the familiar claim that only 2 to 8 percent of rape reports are false. Using the same statistics, New York University professor Clay Shirky writes in The New Republic that Jackie is a rare aberration: "If someone says she was raped, she is almost certainly telling the truth."

In fact, this estimate is based on studies in which some eight percent of rape reports are proven to be groundless or fabricated — but the majority remain unresolved. If every sexual assault complaint that that can be neither substantiated nor disproved is treated as presumptively true, that is a textbook case of "presumed guilty" (at least when specific defendants are involved).

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