Thursday, September 18, 2008

An example of how the falsely accused are tainted even after they are 'cleared'

Earlier this summer, we wrote about a rape claim that was recanted -- see the post here.

After the news story that reported the recantation, a reader named lrc left the following comment:

"ehhh, something is amiss here. I bet deep down she is telling some version of the truth, just feels bad or remorse or something. Most likely intoxicated passion and morning after remorse, so she now says she lied just to get it behind them, or something to that effect. I doubt that this man is 100% innocent."

So let's get this straight: the accuser recanted her rape claim, and the man was cleared. Yet a reader has the audacity to write that she or he "doubt[s] that this man is 100% innocent."

Exactly why is that? Is it because a woman accused him, so "something" must have happened.

The reality is, no matter what this man does, some people will always assume "something" happened -- based on nothing more than the fact that there was a rape claim.

This victim will always carry with him the taint of being a rapist. His name and address has been splashed all over the newspaper. The false accuser's name is still being withheld.

And that's fair -- exactly how? He's forever tainted, even though she recanted and admitted she made the whole thing up. Even though there is no objective basis to assume he's anything but innocent. And even though it is unfair, indeed immoral, to assume he's anything but innocent.

Many rape claims are impossible to disprove beyond all possible doubt. If the only evidence for, and against, a rape is the conflicting testimonies of the two principals, how can a man ever convince people to an absolute certainty that no rape ever occurred?

Hence the need to change the way people think about rape claims. A rape claim is just that -- a claim. It should not be assumed that it's true or false just because it was made. It should be investigated seriously and objectively. A man accused of rape should not have his name paraded before the public absent a conviction. Once it's unfounded and no charges are brought, it must be treated as if it never occurred, or else any woman or girl can taint any man or boy merely by accusing him.

The chilling lesson is this: any man or teenage boy can be falsely accused of rape and could, forever, carry the taint of a guilt they don't deserve. Because of ignorant, immoral people like lrc.
(Thanks to faithful reader Cranium for flagging this comment.)