It’s too early to tell whether the Tinder rape case is an example of a false rape accusation.
There are, however, several red flags raised by the Tinder rape case.
A Baton Rouge, Louisiana man has been charged with raping a woman he met on Tinder. See, “Police: Woman raped by man she met on Tinder app.”
The only facts available are those coming from the police. When a woman reports a rape, she meets with a police detective – usually a member of the Special Victims Unit, a unit that deals only with criminal sexual assault cases.
The detective takes notes and writes up a police report, which becomes part of a probable cause affidavit. This affidavit is used as the basis for an arrest warrant.
Affidavits and police reports are not neutral documents. News reporters are also not bearers of truth.
Police and prosecutors know that the news reporters (who they leak this information to) will use them in any news coverage. The police reports are written like pulp fiction, and are designed to create outrage against dangerous criminals and sympathy for innocent and helpless victims.
Reporters who publish the “right” spin on these police repots are rewarded with more inside scoops. Reporters who present the “wrong” spin are denied access to inside information about sexy cases.
In our click bait world, reporters do what prosecutors and police tell them to do.
At the beginning of a criminal case, the prosecutor and police control the media by giving its most-favored reporters access to scandalous material. Police reports become the basis for the sensationalized articles that the public loves to read.
According to the police report:
- A young lady and young man met on the Tinder dating app. After swiping “yes,” to each other’s respective photos, they chatted and agreed to meet at the girl’s house.
- The young man went over to the girl’s apartment.
- The girl did not know man’s last name.
- The girl and guy began fooling around in her living room on her couch. This was consensual.
- They then moved to the bedroom for some additional action.
What happened next?
According to the report:
- He “ripped” off her shirt and bra.
- He raped her.
- He made her take a shower while he watched, presumably to ensure she scrubbed away all DNA evidence.
- He made her delete the text messages they had exchanged.
The story of the alleged victim of the Tinder rape is problematic.
Why would the rapist have forced his victim to delete the text messages between the two of them? Text messages are easily obtainable from your cell phone company. Besides, there would have been a record of a Tinder “match.”
The rapist therefore could not have claimed he never met the victim. Erasing the texts (and making her take a shower) wouldn’t have made much sense.
It’s also possible that the complaining witness regretted the sexual intercourse. She herself could have deleted sexually-charged texts rather than have police look at them.
Analyzing conduct to infer intent is not slut shaming.
Whenever someone – even a lawyer who understands these cases – writes about rape cases, accusations of slut shaming are made. See, “Baton Rouge’s STAR releases statement in response to the alleged ‘Tinder rape’ case in Baton Rouge.”
According to Sexual Trauama and Awareness Response organization, we are not allowed to presume that a man accused of rape is innocent. Instead, we must accept the complaining witness’s word without question. STAR declared:
When a person is raped, an incredible amount of courage is required to report it to law enforcement, and the process of following through with criminal charges is often scary and overwhelming. There are countless questions that force the survivor to relive the assault, numerous police inquiries and court proceedings, and the potential for public exposure of a survivor’s personal and sexual history. In addition to this official questioning and exposure, there is also the public’s reaction, which tends to overwhelmingly shame victims for their behavior prior to an assault rather than focusing on the violent behaviors of the offender.
STAR’s statement is, of course, nonsense.
By questioning whether the complaining witness’s story is true, I am not accusing her of being a slut. Women can sleep with whomever they want whenever they want. Being sexually active is a right all free citizens have.
As with any other case, we are analyzing behavior to infer intent.
If the complaining witnessed consented to sex, then the accused rapist is not guilty. If the girl did not consent to sex (or if she withdrew consent during sex, or if the man exceeded the scope of consent), then the man is guilty of rape.
This is straightforward stuff. To determine guilt or innocence, we need to reconstruct what happened. We must analyze all available evidence and draw rational inferences based upon that evidence.
How can we know if the complaining witness consented to sex? We must analyze her behavior. Did her behavior evidence an intent to have sex?
Determining intent is not slut shaming.
Imagine I leave the house. As I walk out the door, I grab a baseball bat and say, “I am going to get revenge.”
My conduct is evidence of my intent to beat someone up.
It doesn’t mean I will beat anyone up. I can change my mind. I can change my intent.
But no one would say, “Mike claimed he didn’t beat anyone up. His word is all that matters. You can’t look at what he said or did before he allegedly beat someone up. How dare you question him?!”
The same type of thinking holds true in the Tinder rape case.
Inviting a man whose last name you don’t know over to your apartment is evidence of an intent to have sex. (Let’s not be naive.)
Moving from the living room to the bedroom is evidence of intent to have sex.
Could the complaining witness change her intent? Yes. A woman can withdraw her consent at any time for any reason.
How could we know that the woman in the Tinder rape case changed her mind?
The complaining witness claimed that the sex was nonceonsual. A woman’s word alone is sufficient evidence to convict a man of rape.
Other evidence we would look for:
- The police report claims that the accused rapist “ripped” off the girl’s clothing and bra. What does ripped mean? Did he actually tear the clothing, or was that phrasing loaded?
- Did the girl suffer any vaginal bruising or tearing?
- Did the text messages contain a request for a rape fantasy (a very common sexual fantasy)?
Again, we can ask these questions without slut shaming. In fact, I have no problems with sluts. If a girl wants to be a slut, that’s her choice.
False accusations are common. We should therefore presume the alleged Tinder rapist is innocent.
If the accused Tinder rapist is guilty, he should be sent to prison for a very long time.
There have, unfortunately, been countless reported cases of false rape accusations made against men. These false rape accusations harm real victims of rape.
Questioning the alleged victim and presuming men innocent of rape is not slut shaming. It is what rational people in a legal system that respects due process do.