An Awkward Question About Blurred Consent
By Bryan Caplan
Lately I’ve repeatedly heard two claims about rape:
1. False accusations are extremely rare.
2. Consent to sex is often “blurred.”
Many people seem to believe both claims. But can they both be true?
If consent is frequently unclear, then whether a person was raped will often be unclear. Anytime these ambiguous circumstances lead to a rape accusation, it will be unclear whether the accusation is true or false. And if it’s unclear whether a lot of accusations are false, one cannot confidently claim that false accusations are extremely rare.
Admittedly, you could claim that while blurred consent is common, the blurry cases almost never lead to rape accusations. But I haven’t noticed anyone advancing this position. And aren’t many activists are going out of their way to urge people to make and believe accusations even when consent is blurry?