by Connie Chastain*
Not long after I started writing essays for the False Rape Society blog, I was challenged by a discussion group acquaintence. The subject was a rape story making news at the time, and one of the group members coyly asked me, "So, is this an example of your false rape claims?"
My reply was, "Well, did he do it? If he did, it isn't an example of a false rape accusation, is it?"
At the time, the accused's guilt or innocence was unknown, as the story had broken right after the alleged rape had been reported. My challenger's assumption was that I would classify the accusation as false until the accused was proved guilty.
I thought about explaning the presumption of innocence, a cornerstone of American justice, to this person, but I suspected she wouldn't be receptive. Though not radical or militant, she was a self-identified feminist, politically and culturally liberal. Something told me my attempt to explain would amount to wasted words.
But I've had occasion to remember her clueless attitude many times since then. One thing feminists and their satellites like my discussion group acquaintance apparently can't understand (or choose not to understand) is that deeming the accused innocent until proven guilty is not the same thing as claiming that the accuser is making a false claim.
Yet that is exactly the mindset of many people, mostly women but not exclusively, who have come under the influence of gender feminism that pervades our society. It is the inevitable result of the claims of "rape culture" -- the components and characteristics of which are whatever feminists say they are.
This mindset demands that accusers automatically be identified and thought of as victims; and that the accused be considered guilty until proven innocent (and maybe after he's been proved innocent). It is a mindset that views men as guilty even before they do anything wrong. We see it time and time again in feminist blogs, comment threads and quotes in news reports.
So I didn't bother explaining it to my discussion group acquaintence. I'm certain she understands perfectly that deeming the accused innocent until proven guilty is not at all the same thing as claiming that the accusation is false -- just as "rape-culture" feminists know it. They just don't care. They have an agenda to push, and they're not going to let trivialities like truth, justice and innocence stand in their way.
*Connie is an FRS contributor. Her personal blog is http://conniechastain.blogspot.com/