Thursday, May 20, 2010

The UK grants anonymity for the presumptively innocent accused of rape, and the sexual grievance industry has a conniption

In the best news we've ever reported on this site, the UK's new Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition said today that it would extend anonymity in rape cases from putative rape victims to the presumptively innocent accused of rape. Although officials said details of the change had yet to be decided, it is likely the ban will be lifted once a suspect is convicted.

The move to end the asymmetrical anonymity that currently exists between rape accusers and rape accuseds is enlightened, just, and long overdue, and it should be applauded from the rooftops. The reputational harm to persons accused of rape who turn out to be innocent is among our greatest concerns on this site, and anonymity for the presumptively innocent will go a long way toward protecting men's good names and preventing other terrible harm that is visited on them because of rape lies.

But immediately, and as if on cue to underscore what we have always known, the sexual grievance reaffirmed its policy of unmitigated callousness and indifference to the men suffering the ravages of a false rape accusation. Ruth Hall, of Women Against Rape, declared the government's decision to grant anonymity to suspects was an "insult." She stated: "More attention needs to be paid to the 94% of reported cases that do not end in conviction rather than the few that are false," she said. "If men accused of rape got special rights to anonymity, it would reinforce the misconception that lots of women who report rape are lying."

I know nothing more about Ms. Hall than is written above, as reported by the BBC. But these attituds are hateful, unjust, and do not advance the interestes of actual rape victims. It is astounding that rape advocates pit the victimization of actual rape victims against the victimization of men falsely accused of rape, as if we are engaged in a zero-sum game. Ms. Hall's principal concern seems to be that the problem of false rape claims is not worthy of attention, given the scale of the problem of actual rape. That concern, in fact, seems to lie at the heart of our entire struggle: it is politically incorrect to advocate for the men and boys falsely accused of rape because that we have been told time and time again that the false rape problem pales in comparison with the rape problem.

Again, that purported concern is both unfounded and hateful, and in the days ahead as this matter is debated in the press, we must be willing to call hatred and lies for what they are. We've demonstrated time and time again that the false rape problem is significant. Anyone who asserts that they know how many rape claims are true or false, and how many actual rapes are unreported, is either grossly mistaken or a liar. But by any measure the false rape problem is significant, and it poses grave, sometimes fatal, problems for those men and boys affected by it.

More importantly, it is both astounding and hateful that members of the sexual grievance industry feel the need to engage in a sort of twisted Oppression Olympics, where it is politically incorrect to exhibit the slightest sympathy for the falsely accused. It would be akin to persons who fight cancer opposing any aid for the victims of heart attacks. When it comes to false rape claims, we are instructed to stand by and cavalierly watch as men and boys are killed, or kill themselves after having been falsely accused. We must blithely look the other way as they are beaten, spat upon, and chased. We must happily tolerate it when they lose their wives, their girlfriends, the love and support of their families, their jobs, their businesses, their life's savings, and their sanity over a false rape claim. We must insist it is perfectly acceptable that a falsely accused man's name is permitted to be splashed all over the news so that any time, for the rest of his life, that anyone -- from lovers to prospective employers -- "Googles" his name, they will learn of the awful accusation. By the way, examples of each of the above are found in news stories reported on this site.

Just as a bell can't be un-rung, just as toothpaste can't be put back into the tube, a false rape claim sticks forever. It is impossible to completely disprove it.

Anyone who suggests that the false claims of other crimes are just as harmful as false rape claims is either a fool or a liar. I challenge anyone to cite examples of false claims involving crimes other than rape that have harmed innocent people. The fact is, false accusations of other crimes are rare, they are almost always easily and immediately disproved, and they hardly ever carry the awful stigma of a false rape claim. That is a fact, irrefutable and not open to question. In contrast, when it comes to rape claims, one need not look back to the Scottsboro boys or even Duke lacroose: I can cite for you hundreds of recent false rape cases that have hurt innocent men and boys, sometimes in the most terrible, even fatal, ways.

It is well to note as an indicia of the unfairness in this area that many times the names of falsely accused men are used in news stories while their false accusers are not named. By any measure, that is not just.

At the core of the sexual grievance industry's objection to this decision, I suspect, is something that goes beyond feminist advocacy. It is something that goes beyond trying to help actual rape victims. At its core, I think, is something downright evil: the insistence that no concern be shown to falsely accused men is a sort of cruel payback against an entire gender. Women who are being raped aren't being helped sufficiently, they assert, so it is improper to show even the slightest concern for the falsely accused, since they are usually of the same gender as women's rapists.

That last paragraph is something I have been loathe to come out and say but for a long time have known in my heart to be true. I have long believed that it is the reason the sexual grievance industry opposes our efforts here and refuses to extend any -- and I do mean "any" -- symptathy to the falsely accused. By any measure, that attitude is morally grotesque.