Monday, May 16, 2011

The chickens come home to roost: when a feminist's son is falsely accused of rape

The principal contribution feminism has made to the public discourse about rape is to convince people that women don't lie about it.  This mindset has caused the crime to be taken more seriously, but it has also caused an unacceptable number of innocent men and boys to be arrested on the basis of unsubstantiated rape claims that turn out to be lies.

This "women don't lie" mindset underlies the recent Department of Education's April 4 directive mandating that college disciplinary proceedings for sexual assault cases apply a preponderance of the evidence, as opposed to a higher standard. Such standard requires that the panel find that there is only a slightly greater chance than not that your son raped his accused in order to expel him and permanently mar his future in significant, often catastrophic, ways.  As one writer explained, that level of uncertainty is generally unacceptable to most people in making any important decision: "Would you decline further medical testing if a doctor told you that your tumor was 51% likely to be benign? Would you drive over a bridge that a structural engineer said was 51% likely not to collapse under your car? "  Yet somehow, your government says that level of uncertainty is just fine and dandy for your son. All that matters is that more rapists are snagged, so if some innocent young men get snagged with them, that's a price your government is willing to pay.

This "women don't lie" mindset manifests itself in other ways, too. Several months ago, mainstream feminist guru Jessica Valenti endorsed turning sex into a presumed crime any time a woman cries rape by putting the burden of proof to show consent on the accused male.  If you think this was some off-hand musing of a feminist looking to snag a headline, you would be wrong.  It is an idea being seriously touted by Criminal law professor and feminist Michele Alexandre and separately by Prof. Susan Caringella.  Under this standard, if a jury in a rape trial doesn't know who to believe -- which is common in "he said/she said" rape cases -- the male goes to prison for rape because he can't meet the burden of proving consent. 

That, my friends, is a jurisprudence bordering on pathology.

Sadly, most progressives sympathetic to women's causes -- even, I dare say, most self-proclaimed feminists who pay lip service to the feminist sexual assault mantras but whose devotion to women's causes doesn't center on sexual assault -- aren't even aware that such proposals are being touted, much less that they have achieved widespread acceptance among the people who generally dominate the public discourse about rape. 

What will get their attention?

What gets their attention is when they, or a loved one, are falsely accused of rape. Then they quickly learn that the monster they set loose in the village can easily turn on its maker.

We saw this in the case of  Jesse Cheng, the college feminist activist who says he was falsely accused of rape.

Now comes a heart-wrenching piece by a feminist mother whose son has been falsely accused of rape.  Here is an excerpt:
. . . .
Despite no evidence, despite the fact that she is obviously a troubled woman, despite other attempts by her in the past to accuse people of hurting her in some way, despite her own admissions of wanting to sue others still, despite my son’s spotless record and the support of myriad women who have known him for years, the state has chosen to pursue this “case.”

If you think that women don’t lie to get back at men, how naive can you be? Yet we live in a culture of “women don’t lie,” a culture fostered by women’s groups since the 70s. A culture I helped create and support. A philosophy I believed.

Because why would women lie? The process of coming forward, going through the legal system was so horrific, so humiliating, why in the world would a woman put herself through it?

But that was then. Then, sexual abuse was hidden and women were maligned and humiliated if they dared come forward. And strong, brave women stood up for the rights of their children and themselves.

Now there are women’s groups with a strong political voice. There are women in political office, policewomen, and so on. Men and women now are predisposed to believe women when they accuse someone of rape. It is sometimes a knee jerk reaction that we have not evaluated for its veracity. We have not wanted to hear that women sometimes lie. The system has supported all women even those who lie. They’ve made it easy for them. If it is proven that a woman has lied, they are not prosecuted. They are at most sent to counseling. And being a “victim” can be intoxicating to some. It can let them off the hook for being responsible for their own actions.

But who is going to protect our sons? We who were on the front lines in the 70s when things were bad for women, we have raised good sons. Men we are proud of. Who will stand up for them?

I am now appalled to think that I was one of these women who thought that women don’t lie…and where there smoke there’s always a fire. Despite having raised a beautiful son, I was a sexist. Then I started doing research. There have been studies done since the 80s citing the percentage of rape allegations that are false. Some studies say as high as 60%. People who have been dealing with this for years have tried to tell us that women do lie. But we haven’t wanted to hear. . . . .

Read the entire piece here: