In our society, there are certain crimes that are associated with race and gender biases. That means that a society as a whole is more inclined to believe that a person is guilty, simply based on the color of their skin or their sex. One crime in particular, which is almost exclusively associated with men, is rape. This is considered one of the most heinous acts a person can commit, and those who are truly guilty should, without a doubt, pay for their crime in whatever way the government sees fit.
However, there have been instances where a false accusation of rape has ruined the life of an innocent person, oftentimes before a thorough and professional investigation has been conducted. In some cases, gossip and hearsay have been more than enough to change the public opinion, in the blink of an eye.
Most people would not be inclined to question a woman who alleges that she has been raped. For one, it is hard to imagine that someone would actually make up a story like that. If you were to question the validity of a victim’s story, you would most likely face public outrage, be dragged through the mud by the media, and face criticism from feminists and left-wing politicians. All because you had the audacity to make sure the case was sound before ruining someone’s life.
Take, for example, the Hofstra case. In this instance, a young woman accused a group of five men of gang-raping her after they lured her out of a night club into a dorm. One of the men was a Hofstra University student, and was barred from campus based only on rumors, before any in-depth investigation had been done. Fortunately, in this case, the woman came forward and admitted it was consensual; but for that man, the damage was already done.
An example of a worst-case scenario is the Brian Banks case. Banks was a talented football player who was on track to be in the NFL, after his many offers from DI schools to play football. However, a false accusation of rape by a high school classmate landed him in jail after he pleaded no contest, fearing he would be convicted of 41 years in a jury trial. He served six years and was out on parole when his accuser tried to add him as a friend on Facebook. He denied the request, but agreed to meet with her with a private investigator.
In the meeting, his accuser recanted her story and said that the adults around her were putting stuff into her head, which resulted in the false charge. She hadn’t come forward before, because she feared she would lose the $1.5 million she won in a civil suit against Long Beach School after the incident.
So Banks spent 6 years in prison, missed his shot at playing DI football, and possibly in the NFL, because his accuser was afraid she would lose the money she got by suing the schools due to the case. Banks still has hopes of playing in the NFL, but it is far from the path his life would have taken, had this accusation never come to light.
Another prominent case in recent years involved the Duke Lacrosse team. They had hired a stripper for a party at their house, and she later accused three team members of raping her. However, DNA evidence showed that not only was there no genetic material from the three she accused on her body or clothing, there was none from any of the members of the lacrosse team. DNA evidence did reveal that there was genetic material from other, unknown men, which contradicted her statement saying she had not been sexually involved with any men days prior to the incident. While these three players were eventually declared innocent, the national coverage of the case and the damage to their lives can never be repaired.
It may come as a shock, but there are many more accusations of false sexual assault than the media portrays. It is just that very few people have the gumption to go against the grain and challenge the accusers, not just the accused. One man who did is Frank Zepezauer.
While conducting research for the Institute for Psychological Therapies, he looked extensively into false rape complaints and used the facts to garner some statistics on the subject. One study he looked at was done by the US Air Special Forces Studies Division, conducted by Charles McDowell. He studied 556 rape allegations, of which only 300 were authenticated to be considered rape. Of those cases, 220 were considered truthful; and 80, or around 27 percent, were false.
The criteria for a rape allegation to be considered false are: the victim unequivocally admitted to the false allegation, indicated deception in a polygraph test, and provided a plausible recantation. These standards revealed that roughly one in four of the rape charges were considered false. McDowell has conducted other surveys and found even higher yields of false accusations amongst the accusers.
However, feminists and left-wing activists do not accept his studies as valid, because there were men involved with the study. One feminist, Wendy Kaminer, said, “It is a primary article of faith among many feminists that women don't lie about rape, ever; they lack the dishonesty gene.”
It’s great Kaminer gets to live in a fantasy world where women “lack the dishonesty gene” but in the real world everyone is capable of lying, even small children. For her to use this as an argument against a scientific study is absolutely ridiculous and should shatter her credibility for the future. Yet she is not alone in this thought. John O’ Sullivan, a left-wing social scientist, said, “No woman would fabricate a rape charge. Feminists themselves admit as much." Oh, well, if a feminist said it, it must be true.
I, for one, do not just believe something because someone told me it was true. Sure, when I was younger and my friend told me the moon was made out of cheese, I believed them. But then I grew up and these crazy things like research and data proved that it wasn’t cheese; the moon is actually made or rock. Who knew?
I, for one, will put my faith in the researchers. They are not saying every accusation is false. People just need to be open to the idea that an accusation could be.
It is definitely hard to have an unbiased opinion towards this subject. Rape is something sensationalized in the media, and the accused become villains overnight. They really don’t stand a chance. Even if they are cleared of charges, there will still be that stigma lingering over them for the rest of their lives.
Rape is a serious crime, and those who commit it need to be held accountable. In my mind, this also means that those who falsely accuse others of rape should be held just as accountable. They should face more than perjury or charges for filing a false police report. It is not fair for someone to say something that could potentially send someone away for life unless they are certain, and for those who just blatantly lie, there should be strict repercussions. However, that could become a deterrent towards women who were raped, but are unsure of the identity of their attacker. It’s a hard situation to find a fair solution in.
No one should have to go through the trauma and terror of a rape, but unfortunately, in our world, it happens. People should feel safe going to the authorities to try to catch the culprit responsible. But the way our society jumps on the bandwagon of hating the suspect before anything is investigated needs to stop. Everyone has a right to be given a fair chance to prove what they are saying is true, even the ones who are suspected of committing a terrible crime.
Words: Blaize Stewart Images: Courtesy USA Today