Sunday, March 23, 2008

Yes, rape is awful, but so are false accusations

It is perplexing, and hurtful, that some who properly want to raise awareness about rape feel a need to denigrate falsely accused men by dismissing their victimization as an "urban myth."

Cheryl Regehr, a professor of social work at the University of Toronto, recently made this astounding assertion: "Since the dawn of time there's been this urban myth about how women make up rapes."

It clearly it is not an urban myth that some women lie about rape. In Until Proven Innocent, the widely praised (praised even by the New York Times, which the book skewers) and painstaking study of the Duke Lacrosse non-rape case, Stuart Taylor and Prof. K.C. Johnson explain that "[t]he standard assertion by feminists that only 2 percent of rape claims are false, which traces to Susan Brownmiller's 1975 book Against Our Will, is without empirical foundation and belied by a wealth of empirical data. These data suggest that at least 9 percent and probably closer to half of all rape claims are false."

In modern times, enlightened people regard rape as among the foulest of deeds. Only murderers receive an average criminal sentence greater than rapists. One can acknowledge that rape is an awful thing and, without contradiction, assert that false accusations of rape are not "an urban myth." The two are not mutually exclusive. The fact is, false accusations hurt both innocent men and, to a lesser degree, true rape victims because they cause persons of good will to doubt legitimate rape claims. It is perplexing, and hurtful, that some who want to raise awareness about rape feel a need to denigrate falsely accused men by dismissing their victimization as an "urban myth." We owe it to those men and, yes, to true rape victims whose claims might be doubted because of these lies, to educate women about the harm they do when they cry "rape" when no rape was committed.

The only "urban myth," Professor, is that women rarely lie about rape.