Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Why I am not upset over an article that claims there is no more false reporting of rape than any other crime?

There is so much about this article -- about Germaine Greer's loony idea to have a Web site where women can name their "rapists" -- that is flat-out wrong. Including the assertion in the headline of this post. Including this assertion: "Women and children tend not to lie about these matters."

(In fact, rape is lied about more frequently than other serious crimes, and no one can say definitively that women and children "tend not to lie" about rape.)

So why am I not having a conniption over this piece?

Because unlike the vast majority of similar articles written from a decidedly feminist perspective, this one affords proper deference to the presumptively innocent accused of rape. Here's what the author says:

"Picture . . . the young woman or man (fewer men than women are victims of rape, but it does happen) crossed in love, or merely miffed at the way a member of the opposite sex has looked at them or spoken to them.

"How tempting might it be, late at night, with a drink or six on board, to log on to a website like the one Germaine Greer imagines and pour out your fury with an accusation of sexual assault or rape? A man’s reputation could be destroyed with no criminal inquiry, and no testing of evidence in court.
. . . .
"But going to a police station and facing real human beings who will question you about what you say happened, and carry out forensic tests, is a very different matter from turning on the computer in your own home and typing out whatever you like — knowing that there’ll be no comeback on you, and nothing but trouble for the person who’s incited your anger."

The author does, impliedly, trivialize the scope of the false rape problem by suggesting it is relatively rare. But she does not trivialize the harm to men and boys who are falsely accused. She recognizes the injustice of naming and shaming without due process.

In short, she is a feminist who doesn't blithely assert that women don't lie about rape, so what are the men worried about?

The purpose of this site isn't to prove, a la some Oppression Olympics, that false rape accusations are a "more" serious problem than rape. That's like comparing cancers. I have my own opinion well known to our readers, based on what I've studied, but that's kind of beside the point. The purpose of this site is to help raise awareness that false rape claims are a significant problem, and that the presumptively innocent, who too often are falsely accused, need protections that society simply isn't giving them.

And that's because the persons who've dominated the public discourse about rape for the past 30 years have insisted that women don't lie about rape, so what are the men worried about?