Friday, February 18, 2011

News story is typical of coverage of false rape claims: emphasis almost always on women, not the crime's victims

FRS COMMENT: As you read the news story below -- which is typical of the coverage of false rape claims -- notice how the emphasis is entirely on women. First, hypothetical women who are said to be hurt by false claims. Second, the poor false accuser whose life has been harmed by her life.  There is no mention if the man she accused was arrested and charged. Nor is there a mention of hypothetical victims of the crime at issue -- which are almost always men and boys.

SHERIFF CRITICAL OF TEEN IN FALSE RAPE CLAIM

A Sheriff has criticised a teenager who falsely accused a man of rape for undermining measures designed to protect victims of sexual abuse.

Louise Creighton was sentenced to community service at Aberdeen Sheriff Court yesterday after she admitted making a false allegation against a man with whom she had slept.

The 18-year-old was at university “trying to find herself” and made the claim because she felt guilty for sleeping with the man because she had a girlfriend, the court heard.

Sheriff Annella Cowan said: “This kind of behaviour undermines the whole system which attempts to protect women who are genuine victims.

“The amount of time and energy that was spent investigating a completely false allegation was quite considerable.”

Fiscal depute Karen Dow said “numerous” police officers, including a forensic unit, were involved in the investigation, which “wasted” a total of 70 man-hours.

Creighton had met the man at a music festival and invited him to a party at her flat in the city’s Mealmarket Exchange student accommodation when he went to Aberdeen on October 1 last year, the court heard.

The pair slept together but she began to cry immediately afterwards, told him to leave and told friends she had been raped, Miss Dow said.

Police launched an investigation and it was two days later, while she was being interviewed, that Creighton confessed she had lied.

She told officers that she had a girlfriend and “did not feel comfortable” that she had slept with the man.
Defence agent Mike Allan said Creighton had been “staying in the country” at St Fergus before going to Aberdeen to study photography at university.

“She was really trying to find herself and find out exactly where she was and her identity as far as sex was concerned,” he said.

“She knew immediately she made the allegation that it was a very, very serious mistake.”

He said the incident had “ruined her life so far” and Creighton, listed in court papers as living at 505 Mealmarket Exchange, had left the university course without graduating.

The sheriff said: “The allegation you made was extremely serious.”

She sentenced Creighton to 180 hours of community service as a direct alternative to jail.