She Said, He Said: Rape Accusations and the Balance of the Evidence


ACLS Fellowship Program




“She Said, He Said” investigates the epistemology of rape accusations, focusing on formal institutional procedures. ‘She said, he said’ cases are accusations of rape, followed by denials, with no further significant case-specific evidence, such as credible alibis or third-party witnesses. In such cases, probably the accusation is true. But this epistemic asymmetry underwrites a paradox. This paradox—which arises from the contrast between the relatively weak ‘preponderance’ standard and the characteristic epistemic strength of rape accusations—reveals tensions among plausible feminist and liberal commitments. Building on recent insights from philosophy and law, “She Said, He Said” challenges our understanding of testimony, proof, epistemic justice, and the epistemology of rape.