Why I Won’t Respond To…

Brilliant post called “Why I won’t respond to your tweets about false rape accusations” — this is the third such article I’ve found on this topic, and it cannot be shared or repeated enough.

I’ve pasted some excerpts below, but please go read the original article(s), as they have really lovely pie charts and the like to illustrate this excellent point. This page will be permanently linked from the “False Accusations” page on this OWF site.

Excerpts:

Over and over and over again commenters and tweeple insist on discussing false rape accusations over rape survivors’ experiences and the challenges they face in dealing with their trauma, finding support and reporting to the police. This despite the fact that false rape accusations make up less than a percentage of the total projected rapes in this country.

Disclaimer: Read this fantastic post by Lauren Nelson on American false report data. It was such a great idea that I decided to mimic it with our own data that’s available. Nelson makes brilliant points, so I will be copy-pasting her brilliance here (see the green text). I will get into this in more depth when I have a chance and write a more eloquent post.

This study is the most reliable study we have in South Africa into how prevalent false rape reports may be. While the study focusses on Gauteng, the team that produced this are currently working to do the same study nationally. Until that study is completed, this is the best data we have on rape case attrition and false rape accusations. According to the study, 3.3% of rape reports may be false accusations (see page 43). That’s 3.3 false accusations out of every hundred rape cases…

The idea that we must pepper discourse on the suffering of the marginalized by bemoaning comparatively insignificant harms suffered by the group that has historically had a cultural and institutional advantage in the legal system reeks of privilege.

The very notion that by focusing on the suffering of the majority without excusing the suffering of a minority is a form of discrimination is nonsensical.

The fact that false accusations are perpetually injected into accounts of substantial grief as an equal comparison is a distraction at best, and offensive more often. It is the equivalent of saying, “Rape is terrible, but…”

No – there is no “but.” Rape is terrible, and that statement needs no caveat.

While that is the righteously indignant response that comes to mind when I look at this data, when the temper has cooled  and I attempt to be objective, I’m not entirely comfortable with this line of reasoning. I would not want to silence the voice of a victim of admittedly rare female-on-male rape just because they were representative of a very small proportion of the sexual violence victim population, and I don’t like the idea of doing that to other people who have suffered an injustice, either.

So while I feel like the comparison of false rape accusations to the extensive harms of rape culture is a bad one, that’s not why I’m refusing to publish comments bringing it up.

The reason is that this comparison has struck fear into the hearts of sexual violence victims for decades. It makes victims feel as though they won’t be believed if they do come forward. It gives rape culture perpetrators the “backing” to say a victim “wanted” it, or changed their mind because they were embarrassed. It gives the most vile of commenters their “grounds” for claiming a victim was “obviously” lying because so-and-so could have “anyone they wanted.”

That doesn’t help rape culture, but more importantly, that doesn’t help the victims. Coming forward can be important to receiving proper medical treatment, counseling and – should they choose to press charges – justice. And it can be the difference between putting a rapist behind bars, or allowing them to rape again. I don’t want to be a part of a culture that does that.

The reason is that – for better or worse – those concerned about false rape accusations have a heavyweight ally in their corner already: rape culture itself. The culture hand-delivers skepticism for any allegation that might be made. Victims, on the other hand, have no such ally in their corner. I’m not worried about giving those concerned about false rape accusations a platform, particularly if it’s going to continue to skew the odds against sexual violence victims by perpetuating rape culture overall.

Finally, it’s about creating a safe space.

Which is exactly what we’re trying to do with The Order of the White Feather.

Please read the entire article here.

-_Q

Olivia M. Grey lives in the cobwebbed corners of her mind writing paranormal romance with a Steampunk twist, like the Amazon Gothic Romance bestseller Avalon Revisited. Her short stories and poetry have been published in various magazines and anthologies, like SNM Horror Magazine and How the West Was Wicked. Ms. Grey also blogs and podcasts relationship essays covering such topics as alternative lifestyles, deepening intimacy, ending a relationship with love and respect, and other deliciously dark and decadent matters of the heart and soul.

Read more by O. M. Grey on her blog Caught in the Cogs, http://omgrey.wordpress.com

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3 Comments

Filed under Community Response, Misogyny, Rape Culture

3 responses to “Why I Won’t Respond To…

  1. Megan

    You might enjoy this little tidbit of fact. http://www.ndaa.org/pdf/the_voice_vol_3_no_1_2009.pdf

    I find it interesting that other studies have found that only 6% of men are rapists and only ~6% of women are falsely accusing (but of those falsely accusing, they have been assaulted previously).

  2. Megan

    Oh, and I absolutely respond to those comments (I don’t have a Twitter account), but I only respond with ^^ that link ^^

    • Thank you for the link, Megan. I hadn’t seen this document yet. David Lisak is the man who studied rapists at a university and discovered that rapists self-report if you don’t call it “rape.” It’s where “Meet the Predators” statistics come from. Brilliant piece if you haven’t yet read it.

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