Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A funny thing happened on the the way to raise awareness about false rape claims -- we discovered we were also helping rape victims

"Those who enable false accusers by sticking their heads in the sand to further their own political or ideological ends are aiding and abetting the destruction of society's most important asset for stopping rape: the credibility of rape victims."

This is an important post. It is time to underscore something we've been building up to for two years -- this blog's alliance with rape victims.

This blog has taken some peculiar turns. At the outset, we recognized that victims of false rape claims have important interests that are being ignored, so we decided to write a serious article about it. We began collecting news accounts about false rape claims simply to track the problem, and to develop a library, primarily for our own personal use. We decided to do this in the form of a blog so that we could share our resources with others interested in the same problem.

Several things happened along the way, some expected, some very unexpected. We encountered the expected hate screeds from extreme feminists. That was, as I learned, unavoidable. Anyone who suggests that the falsely accused have special concerns is attacked in this goofy political climate. But more important, we quickly discovered that in story after story after story, a common concern expressed by judges and law enforcement officials and sexual assault counselors was the effect of the lie on rape victims. Some of those sentiments were expressed out of a political correctness that improperly placed the concerns of hypothetical rape victims over flesh-and-blood victims of false rape claims. But, the more that we read, the more convinced we are that a lot of those concerns are sincere. We all agree rape needs to be treated seriously, but with every false rape claim, that becomes much more difficult.

But then something astounding happened, something we weren't prepared for when we started. We began to hear from women who've been personally touched by rape -- and amazingly, they supported our work. Perhaps it shouldn't have amazed us, knowing what we now know. These women joined us in expressing their outrage for the false accusations, because they don't approve of hurting innocent people and because false accusations trivialize their own ordeals. For our part, we joined them in expressing our communion with their victimization.

It might surprise some readers to learn that, in general, we receive some of our most supportive communications from women. Perhaps this is because women have been instilled with fear about rape since childhood -- yes, much of that fear is irrational, but that's not their fault -- but they seem to appreciate better than most men the crucial importance of a woman's credibility, and they know it is her greatest asset should the need ever arise to legitimately cry rape.

I have preached from the outset that we are allied with rape victims. When I receive emails from men looking for help, and the events they describe sound to me like rape, I can't help them -- they need to go elsewhere for help because that's not what we do. It is not my goal to help rapists beat the wrap.

Our focus on this site is false rape claims, and false rape claims hurt their direct victims, the falsely accused men and boys. They also indirectly hurt every woman and girl who might someday need to legitimately cry rape. Rape is an awful crime, and it's "he said/she said" nature makes discerning the truth extremely difficult. It requires painstaking police work. In a perfect world, only rape victims would cry rape. We will never achieve perfection, but through a misguided politicization of sex crimes, our society has enabled false accusers to spin their lies -- and they not only hurt countless men and boys and even some women with their falsehoods, they slowly erode the credibility of rape victims, one lie at a time.

So what's the solution? Stick our heads in the sand? That's what some want us to do, and it's exactly the wrong approach. We can't pretend it doesn't happen. People see that it happens -- it's in the news, and people in the community hear about it. Jurors know about it, too, and it's impossible for them to leave their preconceptions at the courthouse door. Moreover, those of us who want to help false rape victims simply can't pretend it doesn't happen -- it isn't fair to ignore their victimization, as we've done for too long. In any event, ignoring the problem won't solve it.

So we need to do something about it. We need to hold the false accusers accountable for their lies and deter them much better than we do -- because only then will false rape claims be substantially reduced. And we need to better protect the reputations of the presumed innocent and to insure that they are not unfairly deprived of their liberty prior to an adjudication simply to appease politicized interests.

This site, in an unexpected way, is an important resource for helping rape victims. Those who oppose us -- those who enable false accusers by sticking their heads in the sand to further their own political or ideological ends -- are aiding and abetting the destruction of society's most important asset for stopping rape: the credibility of rape victims. Read that last sentence again and again. It is irrefutable. And let us be perfectly frank: some of those who oppose us do so for no reason other than the fact that we primarily help men. The good news is that a lot of women who were actually raped "get it" -- we are among your staunchest allies, and you need to ignore those who play gender politics and join with us.