The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

Known alleged rape victims should not immediately be believed

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/10/2017 Category: Society
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 718 times Debate No: 98829
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (10)
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If you accept the debate, you are, of course, arguing that known(relatives, friends, etc) alleged rape victims should be believed immediately.
Rules of debate:
1) If con chooses to use round 1 for debate, they should waive round 4 to keep the number of rounds used for debate even between us.
2) No ad hominem, personal attacks, or insults
3) No new arguments or evidence presented in the last round
4) If you accept this debate, you're agreeing to the below definitions, these rules, and cannot object to them later.

If any of the above rules are violated by either side, voters should choose the one who did not violate any of these rules, or who violated them to a lesser extent than the other, for the point in conduct.

Definitions should be agreed upon in the first round. If con has objections to any of these definitions, say so in the comments before you accept the debate. You may present your alternate definitions as well and I may or may not agree to them. If I agree to them, I will replace the below definitions with them.
"Said, without proof, to have taken place or to have a specified illegal or undesirable quality"[1]
Rape: "The crime, typically committed by a man, of forcing another person to have sexual intercourse with the offender against their will:"[1]
Victim: "A person harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action"[1]
Thus an alleged rape victim is one who claims to have been forced into having sexual intercourse, without any evidence presented(yet).
Known: for the purposes of this debate, "known" will basically mean a friend or relative.



I wanted to clarify that "believed" will be defined as accepted as true.

Furthermore, I chose this debate so I could play devil's advocate, so we'll see how this goes, as it is somewhat difficult to defend a stance with which I do not ersoanlly agree. Since I'm reasonalby new, please call me out on any fallacies or other errors I may make that would help me improve in the future.

Great topic, I look forward to the debate.
Debate Round No. 1


To kind of even things out since this might be a stacked debate still even though I did try to make it fairer, I will not present any sources this round to support any facts. Instead I'll talk in hypotheticals and use logic. I feel like this should help my opponent a little since they can present sources in this round and be at sort of an advantage. I probably will post sources next round though.

But yes, I agree to that definition of believed provided by my opponent

Keep in mind that I tried to make this debate a little fairer by changing it to that people you know who are claiming to have been raped should not immediately be believed. I figured this would make things a little easier on con since I originally was talking about in general which I think would be harder since we do live by the rule innocent until proven guilty in probably every country. This principle still sort of applies, but not to as great of extant if we were talking about the law instead of trusted friends and relatives.

So there can still be argument for "guilty until proven innocent" since you can make the argument that the relative or friend is a trusted person. I won't make any arguments directly rebutting that this round so that you may use it if you wish, and perhaps you can give better logic for it than I can.

Now, moving onto my argument: I believe that an accusation such as rape should be taken seriously by relatives and friends, but it should not be readily believed until they have evidence as well. I believe it is common for people to believe their relatives and in many cases we consider our relatives trustworthy unless they've shown that they make things up. Now, suppose you have person A who is a cousin of Person b. Person C is a sibling of Person b. Person B tells their sibling, person c, that their cousin, person a, raped them. Person C is now very likely to respond negatively to this, perhaps ostracized person A and maybe even fight with them if they got angered by them believing person A, raped their sibling. However, suppose this story was made up, or maybe person B was mistaken and it was really someone who looked a lot like Person A or maybe even person B dreamt it happened and thought it really did happen. Ok maybe the second and third situations aren't that likely, but the first is certainly more than just a possibility, but the last two are still possibilities even if improbable. This new hostility that person C, person A's cousin, has towards person A would be unjust and unfounded then. Person B, whether deliberately or not, caused a rift in the relations between family members. This same situation would apply to friends as well, if person A, B, and C were friends. In the case of friends, it could mean losing your friends.

I believe it is always a good motto not to jump to conclusions any time a friend or relative tells you something unless you've seen evidence of it yourself. What a friend or relative telling you they were raped by someone should do, is cause you to merely suspect that person, and not accuse them or act in such a way that you already believe to know for sure that they did it. This would be the more rational approach and can save a lot of relationships, I'm sure.

I don't really have any other arguments to make right now, though if I think of one later I'll present it in the third round. I did already mention that the belief in "innocence until proven guilty" that society generally has could still apply here and I think it should as it would help save some relationships.

I'll turn this over to my opponent. Hopefully I was being fair here, but if you think I went to soft, I can up my game in round 3. I figured I might throw you a soft ball in one of these a rounds since this debate might still believed by many to be stacked against the con position.


Thanks for the clarification of "immediate" belief, as I think this is an important point that helps my case greatly. I don't think it was that stacked, so I'm going to go ahead and save my sources as well, if only to make sure that I still have an argument in Round 3. AS such,this round will only be examining the logic of the question.

In the scenario presented by Pro above, featuring Persons A, B, and C, it is certainly obvious that there are a number of cases in which a rape may not have occurred as Person B described it, and the most likely scenario if Person B is was not raped by Person A, then they lied, more than likely to hurt the reputation of Person A. These facts are relatively indisputable.

However, when Person C hears the testimony of Person B regarding the rape, they do need to immediately believe it in order to have cause to investigate further. If Person C immediately disbelieves the testimony of Person B, what cause would they have to look further at the facts of the incident? The belief proposition of guilt is what prompts the investigation, and thus it is necessary to give validity to the claims of the "victim."

Believing a victim does not necessarily go against "innocent until proven guilty," as believing a victim's claims does not necessarily equate to believing that someone is guilty; it just means that you think the victim's account is credible and thus you want to investigate just to be sure. Of course, since people are quick to jump to conclusions, particularly in emotional incidences like rape accusations, their relationship with the accused will most likely affected; however, a relationship can be repaired after false accusations easier than a mental state can be repaired after an actual rape if the victim is not helped.

Therefore, while the repercussions of guilt should not immediately be levied on the accused person, the claims of the victim should be given validity until they can be disproved.
Debate Round No. 2


I'll provide quotes from my opponent in italics, and respond accordingly.

However, when Person C hears the testimony of Person B regarding the rape, they do need to immediately believe it in order to have cause to investigate further. -DStallman

I don't see how belief in the claim is necessary for investigation. Really, you just need to not have the belief that the claim is false. One can hold a middle ground position, one in which they neither believe nor disbelieve the person. It's sort of like how with belief in god you can have a theist, agnostic, or atheist. The second, of course, is one that neither believes nor disbelieves in a god. The claim that they raped them, in itself, is reason to investigate and a belief that they did, I don't think is necessary. Perhaps my opponent can explain more fully that it is necessary. I mean, going back to the theist, agnostic, and atheist analogy, you don't need to believe in a god in order to investigate to see if there is one. Similarly, you don't need to believe Person A raped person B in order to investigate it.

Believing a victim does not necessarily go against "innocent until proven guilty," as believing a victim's claims does not necessarily equate to believing that someone is guilty; it just means that you think the victim's account is credible and thus you want to investigate just to be sure. -DStallman

Well, I think by definition it does mean the former. It's pretty simply logic: if you believe that the claims of the alleged victim are true, then you believe that the alleged perpetrator is guilty of the crime. One can't simultaneously believe the person is not guilty or innocent, while believing in the claim that they did the crime.

Therefore, while the repercussions of guilt should not immediately be levied on the accused person, the claims of the victim should be given validity until they can be disproved.

Alright, I'll define validity because it might be important, I suspect my opponent has no objections to this definition, if they do, we may want to go to the comments and settle the definition: validity is "The quality of being logically or factually sound; soundness or cogency"[2]. So, to give validity to the claim that someone raped the alleged victim, means you're accepting it as something factually sound, or essentially that it is a fact. When someone accepts something as fact, they put it in their perception of the alleged perpetrator. In a study conducted by Ap Dijksterhuis and Ad van Knippenberg, it was found that our perceptions heavily influence our behavior, and believing in a stereotype or something about someone, will inevitably affect how we treat that person, regardless if we are conscious of it or not[3] Therefore, if someone starts to give validity to a claim by accepting it as factual before any evidence is taken into account, it does often result in the one who believes the claim, to treat the other person differently, often negatively if the claim is a negative claim and positively if the claim is something positive.

If the alleged rapist is innocent of the crime, then the one who believes it, is inevitably giving them unfair attitudes, behavior, etc. So, the repercussions of guilt, as you put it, are still likely to be applied to the alleged perpetrator, even if they are innocent simply because a relative/friend believes the claim of the other relative/friend that they did it.

This logic would also apply to when someone claims someone did something good. When one hear ssomeone has done something good, one is more likely to treat them better, which could be unfounded and unfair because they may not have actually done that good thing. While I don't see a problem exactly, with treating someone good even if they didn't do a good thing, treating someone badly because one believes they did something wrong, is a problem if it wasn't confirmed that they did it.

Over all, I still think it is safer in life to neither believe nor disbelieve claims of people unless you see evidence.


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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by DStallman 2 years ago
Obviously, I expect to lose, given the whole "innocent before proven guilty" policy, but at least I'll probably learn about US criminal law in the process. Definitely worth the "L."
Posted by Capitalistslave 2 years ago
Sorry, I don't why I said "almost" accused, I was basically accused of that. They've since lightened up, but for a time they didn't let my niece near me.
Posted by Capitalistslave 2 years ago
Well, because it can lead to people hating another person and lead to social ramifications, as you said. I was almost accused by my brother's in-laws of sexually harassing my niece, but my niece never claimed I did, they just suspected it because she and I have a common interest in a girl's cartoon(which is really just stupid) so they were worried I had or would abuse her because they thought I was a pedophile. Thus, it lead to them deciding they didn't want me to see my niece. Stuff like that can happen when people readily believe someone without evidence, in fact, in my case, there wasn't even testimony.
Posted by DavidMancke 2 years ago
I am curious where this is coming from. Why do you feel there is a significant need to make sure relatives of folks claiming to have been raped should be met with doubt by those close to them..?
Posted by DavidMancke 2 years ago
Then it's not relevant. Unless you are speaking to an agency like law enforcement or the court the topic struggles to be significant.

Are you trying to address the social fall out from being accused..? If so I would suggest a topic that deals with this scenario directly.
Posted by Capitalistslave 2 years ago
I changed it to be referring to an alleged rape victim who is a friend or relative. Is this now a more fair debate to you guys?
Posted by RonPaulConservative 2 years ago
Well, to say that you believe them immediately is to say that the supposed rapist is guilty, which violates the principle "innocent until proven guilty." They should not b dismissed immediately either.
Posted by Capitalistslave 2 years ago
Faustthe21st: Well, yes, I suppose it seems obvious to you and I that alleged rape victims should not be believed, but there are many feminists out there who do think they should automatically be believed. I could cancel this debate I suppose. To you and I it seems one-sided because it seems like a no-brainer to us, but it isn't to everyone.

This part can also apply to DavidManche's comment: I could change this debate to be specifically "Known alleged rape victims should not immediately be believed" if that helps any. What I mean by that is if a friend, relative, etc is claiming to have been raped, you should not believe them. Is that a more fair debate? I think almost everyone would believe their relative or friend if they claimed to be raped.
Posted by DavidMancke 2 years ago
You have this structured as a tautology. One would be advocating guilt before innocence by accepting your terms.

That said, if you agree to some pre-selected judges that understand topicality and abuse of debate convention I will take it, but the whole debate will be about structure and theory.

Also new examples are typically welcome in rebuttals.
Posted by FaustThe21st 2 years ago
Accepting this debate is suicide. Of course, alleged rape victims should not be automatically believed, it's the process of the law system innocent until proven guilty, and rape is a heavy offense so NOBODY will take it seriously until evidence is provided. The people that do think so are usually called out, so Capitalistslave set up a one-sided debate. That he is guaranteed to win.
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