Saturday, June 18, 2011

"Women DO Lie!"

Today I found this article highlighting the problem of women lying about rape. Not a new sentiment, it's something that's become increasingly prevalent since the Duke case. It's the reason a former friend of mine basically disowned me, he thought I must be lying and abusing the legal system because my situation didn't follow the classic formula for a sexual assault case. I hate articles like these, and my first reaction is usually unintelligible rage followed by feeling totally depressed.

It's really hard to articulate why articles and blogs like that piss me off, but I'm going to try. First, I have to point out that the person writing the above article is the mother of a boy who was accused of rape. Of COURSE she's going to think he's innocent, of COURSE she's going to instinctively think the girl is just a lying psycho bitch, because there's no way her son could do something about this, she raised him better. The reality is, an abuser is hard to spot, and most people who commit abuse pass themselves off as perfect angels, fine upstanding citizens, men who would never hurt women either. And it's easy to pretend to be a "feminist's dream," we're kidding ourselves if we think misogyny is always obvious.

Not that I think the boy mentioned in the article was guilty. I have no idea. I'm not an idiot, I know false rape accusations do happen, every crime can be falsely reported. BUT it doesn't matter, even if there are cases where a man is falsely convicted of rape, that's no reason to start demonizing every woman who says she was raped.

Once again we've become a culture of extremes. It seems people either think the victim should always be believed, or that the legal system needs to take the man's side and be very skeptical of every accusation, because women are evil lying bitches who shouldn't be taken seriously.

And I will say, for the record, that I am sympathetic to men who have been falsely accused. As in, they've done nothing at all. It does make me angry when false accusations are made because they chip away at the validity of real rape reports. The more false rape accusations are made, the less people will believe real victims. The more women know about the growing cultural skepticism surrounding rape, the less likely they will be to report sexual assault should it happen to them. Skepticism may result in victims of rape or sexual assault being unfairly labeled as liars and losing their support networks.

It also saddens me that this whole "too many women lie about rape" mentality is causing people to demonize feminism as a whole, especially its work regarding rape prevention. It's a shame that people think female empowerment is to blame for every evil crime committed by a woman.

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