Last week, a woman filed a false police report, claiming she had been raped along a public trail in Portland, Maine. She recanted the story two days later when police realized her story didn’t make sense. Undeterred by this wild goose chase, the local paper lectures the public on why you should just BELIEVE HER, rather than investigate claims of criminal acts:
In all likelihood, more than a dozen sexual assaults occurred in Maine last week. Unfortunately, most people heard about only one.
“In all likelihood”? The editorial board means “we speculate so you don’t have to.”
Last Wednesday, a woman reported she had been assaulted, in broad daylight, on the walking trail on Portland’s Back Cove.
Two days later, however, the woman recanted her story, saying that no assault took place, reinforcing what too many people assume about rape allegations – that most are false and not to be taken seriously.
In reality, the opposite is true, and a very public false allegation cannot be allowed to perpetuate the harmful idea that it happens all the time, or to set back the significant, but by no means complete, progress made over the years in support of victims of sexual violence.
Or, it could reinforce the positively absurd assumption that assigning guilt in the absence of evidence corroborating an accusation is not a good idea. But that’s just that silly Patriarchal idea that a person should not be deprived of their freedom without proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Please, continue.
The area where last week’s assault was reported is open and popular, and in full view of Interstate 295. As such, the report left people feeling scared and vulnerable.
Police acted swiftly, investigating the area and stepping up patrols in what was a very public response.
Because rape allegations often warrant this sort of action, or involve a celebrity or otherwise capture the public’s attention, when they turn out to be false, it makes an outsized impression.
But it is not the very few false reports of sexual assault that we should be worried about; it’s the many rapes that happen but are never reported.
A police and media three-ring circus ran for two days on the word of a woman, which turned out to be a complete lie, wasting hundreds of hours and public resources on a hunt for a man who doesn’t exist. However, the author is not worried about the “few” false reports of sexual assault because…well, they never give a good reason but one can guess. Because it happens primarily to MEN, false rape accusations don’t really matter. Which is why the author ignores the blatant injustice of punishing a man for a crime he did not commit and implies that “well, since it’s only a few, let’s let it slide.”
Victims of sexual assault face circumstances unlike those related to any other crime, a persistent stigma that keeps them from coming forward.
The victims, most of whom know their attacker, may feel like they’ll be blamed, or their personal life will be scrutinized by the authorities.
They may not recall all the details of their assault, and there may not be physical evidence that an attack occurred, so they fear that they won’t be believed.
They may be ashamed or humiliated, and not want their family members to know what happened.
As a result, only about a third of sexual assaults are reported to police.
Three points to address here. First point is the sweeping statement that “sexual assault victims face circumstances unlike those related to any other crime.” I think the victims of murder would disagree, if they were in a position to. But the victims of a false rape accusation face the task of not only proving that they are innocent in fact, but that procedurally, they were wrongfully convicted.
Second point, “the victims, most of whom know their attacker” blah, blah, blah. In 2013, the FBI reports there being approximately 79,770 rapes in the United States. The total population was about 315 million with the male population being about 154,980,000. Of that 154,980,000, approximately 88.12% or 136,568,376 are over the age of 18. For the sake of the argument, let’s pretend all 79,770 of these rapes were done by different people that they are all men. 79,770 accounts for approximately one-half of one percent of the male population of the United States of America. Depending on which rape hysteria pressure group you prefer, 1 in 3 or 1 in 4 women are raped in their lifetimes. With all of this in mind, why are so many women seemingly acquainted with such a small percentage of men? What is it about these rapists that makes women want to be acquainted with them?
According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, it gets worse from there, with only a handful of reports leading to arrests, and only about 2 percent reporting-rates of sexual assaults ending in prison time for the assailant.
There’s evidence of this in Maine, too, with one in five Mainers identifying as victims of rape or attempted rape at some point in their lives, but only around 350 sexual assaults being reported statewide each year.
Still, that represents an improvement from a few decades ago, as law enforcement, the courts and the public in general have begun to understand the complexities of sexual assault cases. We need to build on that effort and show victims compassion, not meet them with skepticism because of the rare false report.
In conclusion, the author would like for people to shut their eyes and ears to false rape allegations like this, and pretend that they don’t happen, or in the alternative, that no one is harmed by them and nothing is lost. Oh, and just BELIEVE HER, because why would a woman lie about rape?
Here’s the problem with “BELIEVE HER-ism”: It requires a belief that women are more truthful than men, especially when it comes to matters of their vaginas, such as rape, without any reasoning or proof to support such a belief. It places rape on a pedestal higher than the Roman Church once placed blasphemy, a crime of such distinction and severity that no person who valued his soul would lie about. But it is demonstrably true that women lie about rape for a multitude of reasons. The victims of rape should have to prove the validity of their accusations, just like any other crime, with no higher or lower burden of proof.