Wednesday, January 28, 2009

False Rape Report Upsetting Campus

In December of this last year, the student newspaper at George Washington University ran a story of a rape that took place on campus, claiming that two young black men raped a white student at knife point.

The campus police called the D.C. police. The only problem? The sophomore, Mariam Kashani, who was the paper's main source, made up the story. The following day, a lawyer for Ms. Kashani called the campus police to say that she had fabricated the report.

One wonders, why would this individual felt she needed -- and already had -- an attorney? Could it be reasonably concluded that she knew what she was doing was in violation of the law?

As disturbing as this false claim was, at least no one was arrested. The statement by Denise Snyder of the D.C. Rape Crisis Center in the article was both correct and very wrong:

"She did a lot of damage...It was an incredible fabrication. The whole business reinforced all the myths. The myth of false reporting for one."

One can assume she is referring the the 2% false reporting claim. The only problem is, that the 2% figure itself is the myth. Studies have shown that it is likely between 9% up to as much as 50%.

Lashahn Toatley, treasurer for the Black People's Union on the campus, stated:

"The incident would lower the credibility of any genuine rape victim."

This is an important point. As more and more false claims come to light, any time a claim of rape occurs, the credibility of said claim will be questioned. False claims must be punished, to keep the true victims believable.

As for Mariam Kashani's punishment? Linda Donnels, acting dean of students for the college has indicated that the case is being investigated and she expects some charges of violating the student code to be brought against the woman.

You can read the story here:

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE1DE103CF931A25751C1A966958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=1