Friday, August 15, 2014

Why I don't feel bad for men falsely accused of rape

During college, I took a class on domestic violence. The class was filled with mostly Crime, Law, and Justice majors and a few Women's Studies students. Most of the time, there was a lot of victim-blaming which essentially silenced the Women's Studies students out of frustration.

During one particularly difficult class, I made a statement that caused my classmates to explode.

I said I didn't feel bad for men accused of rape. 

The class discussion that day was about devil-women falsely accusing men of rape. As in many other classes, students claimed to know a friend of a friend of a friend whose life was ruined by some attention-seeking girl.

As the class discussion escalated due to my comment, I felt targeted and frustrated, and I couldn't articulate my thoughts as well as I wanted to.

I don't feel bad for men accused of rape because it diverts the conversation away from the real problem-- rapists-- and demonizes women as a whole.

Not sure what I mean?

Let me be clear: no one should falsely accuse anyone of a crime. It just should not happen. Sadly, it does happen in a minuscule amount of cases-- only 2% of reported rapes.

Men's rights groups insist that women "cry rape" to make excuses for their "bad decisions." This is destructive because it weakens the validity of rape accusations and demonizes women who do come forward.

People who insist on talking about false rape accusations fail to consider other circumstances that go along with rape accusations. The truth is, it is difficult for women to come forward with their rape story in the first place, so the isolation and stigma they face is enough to recant. Just because a woman retracts her story does not mean an assault didn't happen. It's not permission to discredit her character and story.

In turn, the same people who insist on talking about false rape accusations create a hostile environment for women to come forward at all. Who is to say that a truthful survivor won't face the same despicable criticism? This thinking literally silences women and perpetuates rape culture.

People who insist on talking about false rape accusations are literally pushing us backward in history. This thinking helps no one. Instead, choose to stand with survivors so that rape becomes a thing of the past, and so that we no longer even have to worry about false rape accusations... because rape won't happen in the first place.

Do not be mistaken. My point is that concentrating on false rape accusations does not educate anyone on rape, unless it is followed by this sentence: less than 2% of men accused of rape are falsely accused.

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