Friday, March 11, 2011

False rape stories have 'been done to death already'

Here is a comment, and my response that appeared under this story at A Voice for Men:

March 11th, 2011 - 07:28
Good God, does every other article on the site have to be about rape? It’s really been done to death already. False accusations, prison rape, rape culture, blah, blah, blah. Jesus, it’s like we’re more obsessed with the topic than the feminists are. There are so many other issues facing men right now, like poverty, unemployment, suicide, poor health, lack of reproductive rights, forced child support payments, the high mortality rate in male-dominated professions, the expectation that men continue to play the role of chivalrous providers in a world where more women than men go to college. The list goes on. I’m not saying false accusations are not a major concern, but must we continue to dwell on this topic when there are so many more pressing issues facing our gender right now?

Pierce Harlan
March 11th, 2011 - 12:40

“It’s really been done to death already.”

Mark, your comment, I am certain, is well-meaning, and I understand where it is coming from. But I would respectfully suggest you exercise greater sensitivity when you advocate that we not “dwell” on false claims. That sort of talk can do a grievous disservice to a class of victims who have no one else to advocate for them. I am, frankly, accustomed to such insensitivity on the part of the feminists, but rarely in this friendly forum.

It is true that we are “obsessed” with the topic more than the feminists. That’s not saying much because the feminists — who, for thirty years have dominated the public discourse on rape — hardly talk about it at all. To the feminists, false claims are a “myth,” and that is the end of the discussion. My advocacy at False Rape Society on behalf of the falsely accused is met with derision and cries of “misogyny” (some have called for me to brutally raped) because I am focusing on a topic that supposedly hurts women, even though it doesn’t. In contrast, we are surprised by the number of actual rape victims (as opposed to the paid sexual grievance industry that is supposedly concerned about them) who support our work because they realize that every rape lie diminishes every legitimate rape claim.

Perhaps the following will highlight why your comment is such a concern. We do not share the contents of notes we receive from readers unless they want us to, and we get many. Without revealing any confidences, at FRS we have received notes from several people who have told us that our blog was instrumental in their decision not to take their own lives. I will also reveal that prior to my receipt of the first such note, I was prepared to pull the plug on FRS because I thought it had accomplished all it could accomplish in our current cultural climate and it is incredibly time-consuming, but that first note caused me to reconsider. I have estimated that I have sacrificed well in excess of $100,000 the past two years in lost billings. I say that not to elicit sympathy because there are an incredible number of men who are unemployed now, but to underscore how seriously I take our work.

Of the major MRA blogs, I see one measly blog that deals with false claims exclusively (aside from Durham in Wonderland, which takes a microscopic look at one false rape claim), and Paul and Bill are so kind to do what Glenn allowed me to do before them — post on their sites. One blog. Out of — I don’t know how many.

The fact is, on any given day, there are countless men and boys being arrested and held in jails across America for rapes they did not commit. I promise you, they don’t think the topic has been dealt with too much. They have no one raising awareness about them. Until several years ago, very, very few people knew this was even a problem.

The matters you raise are, of course, crucial. But poverty, unemployment, and poor health have a racial and class element that largely cuts across genders. Yes, like almost everything else, men are affected more than women. Each of the pathologies you chronicle is attributable to the gender roles women and men (mostly women) have assigned to men since the beginning of time. To suggest that this theme has been, in some manner, ignored is puzzling. There are, among the major MRA bloggers, an incredible number of pieces that discuss these issues; frankly, many of them are too theoretical for my taste. Moreover, some of the problems you mention have organized support that the false rape phenomenon simply does not have. Fathers and Families needs contributions — they lobby on support and custody issues. There are help groups for suicide and testicular cancer.

When men tell me that our blog was instrumental in their decision not to commit suicide, I hang my head in shame, because I know that there ought to be a lot more support for the falsely accused than one little blog. That’s a damn big burden to put on our shoulders.

I am sorry for the length of this comment. All of this is just to say that I come to exactly the opposite conclusion, with all due respect: there’s not nearly enough being said about or done for these innocents. Not nearly enough.