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*NB: Until I am back on my feet, The Leaders will be replaced with misc posts until I’m back on my feet.
It seems to be something that someone always comes up when a woman comes forward about sexual assault.
After all, it’s such a big problem that fucking Sunrise is worried about the poor menz feelings while women are being raped and murdered.
Cause that’s the real problem, isn’t it, you fucking joke of a news show.
I’m not talking about the “asking for it” comments that I mentioned in my post about rape culture.
I’m talking about how someone always accuses the woman of lying (and that’s not even addressing the stigma constantly and consistently surrounding men and the LBGTT community).
For example, fifty women have come forward about Bill Cosby. Fifty women have alleged that he has sexually assaulted them.
Half of Hollywood’s come forward against Harvey Weinstein.
Ben Affleck groped a young teenager on TV.
Despite the fact that Woody Allen married his own fucking adoptive daughter, people seem to think that Dylan Farrow’s being … I don’t know what, but a lot of things that don’t make sense because the guy married his own daughter, and if you don’t think that’s all kinds of fucked up, get the fuck out of here.
Kevin Spacey, despite the multiple allegations against him, is already trying to plan his triumphant comeback.
Louis C.K has already started making his comeback, and it’s mostly focused on poor me.
Rich, famous and powerful men continue to get away with sexual assault, harassment and rape at exorbitant numbers.
And yet, some people still doubt these women.
Do I think a woman has never lied about rape?
No, of course not. In fact, whenever I’ve taught Legal Studies, I’ve actually shown students a video about how a teenage girl’s false rape claims – and a bad police investigation – led to a year of destruction a young man’s life.
I don’t want anyone to be falsely imprisoned. It’s something I abhor, and I probably abhor it more than you, because while you can scream that I’m a bleeding heart liberal or whatever fucking bullshit you pull out of your arse, my values never change, regardless of the person or circumstances: No one should be falsely imprisoned, and I’d rather a guilty person go free than an innocent person suffer for a crime they didn’t commit.
I know that women can lie, and do lie, and have lied, about rape. I’d written and studied reports on it.
It’s kind of an important part of legal studies.
But the question is, how often do women file false police reports? Is it often enough to create such scepticism when women file a rape report?
No. In Australia, roughly 2% of sexual assault allegations in the LAST TEN YEARS have been false (Australian Crime Bureau, 2016).
So why do so many people assume that women are always lying?
According to The Marshall Project (2015), an eighteen-year-old woman named Marie filed a rape report. She then said she had lied about her rape.
No; it’s far more complicated than that. Did you really think I’d make it easy for you? When have I ever gone, ‘Yeah, let’s do this the easy way.’
She took back her allegations after her foster mother didn’t believe her, and her foster mother told the police that she thought her foster daughter was lying.
The police investigating her rape said that, due to inconsistency within her rape reports and statements, that they would prosecute her for making a false allegation.
Frightened, Marie said she had lied.
The next day, she tried to take back her statement, insisting she really had been raped. The police wouldn’t allow her – she would have to take a polygraph. If she failed, she would be charged with a crime.
Frightened again, Marie left the station.
No one believed Marie. Her story was inconsistent. She wasn’t behaving the way a rape victim should behave. (Apparently, there’s a way someone has to react in certain circumstances. Just look at Amber Amour’s case – there’s a lot of victim-blaming going on because of the fact she reported her rape on social media. Just so you know, male, female, transgender, or genderfluid, there is no “right” way, nobody gets to decide how you react to a traumatic situation and however you act is the “right” way.)
Marie’s case was dismissed. She was called a liar by everyone (unsurprisingly), because her reaction just wasn’t perfect-victim enough.
Part of Marie’s problem was that she dissociated – perhaps due to her traumatic life experiences and multiple foster home experiences (you can read it more in detail here) or perhaps because rape, in itself, is an incredibly traumatic experience and a lot of people dissociate afterwards – sometimes just for a few hours; sometimes for a few days; sometimes for much, much longer.
No one was on Marie’s side – she had been shunned; until one police officer noticed a particular MO in rapes that were being reported in different districts in the state of Washington.
Rapes that happened after Marie’s, and bore an uncanny resemblance to her description of the assault and her attacker.
This particular police officer’s investigation – which include Marie’s original testimony – led to the discovery of a serial rapist.
He was caught, and Marie’s photos – the one she said in her original testimony that had been taken, documenting her sexual assault – were found.
It was clear, after this discovery, that if people close to Marie hadn’t judged her because she wasn’t acting the way a rape victim “should”, they never would have gone to the police and told the police that they believed Marie was “attention-seeking” and most likely lying. If it wasn’t for that, the police may never have coerced Marie into making a false testimony, causing her further trauma, and to disassociate even further.
It’s also possible that many other women wouldn’t have been raped, and the serial rapist would have been caught much earlier.
Regardless – while we can ponder all the “what ifs” and “could’ve, should’ve, would’ve”, Marie’s mistreatment and her case changed the way that (most) police officer viewed sexual assault cases.
Now, sexual assault cases are often handled differently as a result.
Despite this, why do people assume there is a certain way a person must behave after a traumatic experience? Some people disassociate, the way Marie did. It was a tactic she’d learned to survive a troubled childhood. Some people become depressed, and regress inside themselves. Others get uncontrollably angry.
People are individuals; unique in every way – making even the same experience, by the same man, they will experience a uniquely individual experience and therefore they react differently.
Yes, on occasion – on very rare occasions, women do lie.
But why are we assuming women always are, based solely on their reactions?
This behaviour does not help women who come forward. Or anyone that does.
We as a society are overwhelming protecting men instead of giving support to victims. We need to be more supportive and welcoming when it comes to rape allegations, and remembering that a person’s word is evidence; we need to encourage rape kit testing, instead of refusing to acknowledge the problem; we need to stop letting men in powerful positions make these decisions; we need to stop putting our heads in the sand when it comes to the epidemic of rape culture, particularly on campuses; and then, hopefully, if there’s enough evidence, then hopefully there will be a conviction (although rape convictions are surprisingly low, even with evidence and witness testimony. But hey, we don’t have a rape culture, right?).
Rape victims are subjected to a lot of judgement as it is (what they could have done, what they should have done, how they could have “saved” themselves, what they could have done “right”).
All that achieves is silent victims, women like Marie painted as liars, and women having to be the perfect victim in the hopes of achieving anything (though even you are, like Dr Ford was, it probably won’t count for shit, so there’s also that).
But hey, men’s feelings.
In Emergencies: 000
Lifeline Australia: 13 11 14
MensLine Australia: 1300 78 99 78
— Sources —
Bachelor of Education: English and History
Diploma in Criminology and Profiling
Diploma in Forensic Science
Background in law and psychology
Teacher 7+ years
Background in special needs, learning support – other specific teaching fields that required hands-on development.
NB: This is a declaration of the background of my personal knowledge, collected over the years via a professional form of education and development. Some of these take the form of actual degrees and others come in the form of necessary professional development. When doing your own research, you should always try and verify the person’s credibility. My credibility, nor anyone else’s, is not with their education. Everyone has biases and no one is infallible. I am deliberately including some of my background education to highlight this, because you should be questioning information you are receiving.
Is the claim credible? Is the author writing biased? Is the author credible? An elite education doesn’t make someone more or less credible, so you often have to look beyond a person’s education background.
Do the claims fit in to an accurate timeline? Do the claims made by the author reasonably stand up? If you’re seeing a lot of inaccuracies, especially against the timeline the person is creating, you need to consider if the claim is accurate. Context is often key.
Mostly, this comes down to whether or not the person is clearly creating a bias. Obviously, everyone has biases. I try and declare mine at the bottom of every post that I think would benefit from extra sources. I freely admit that I definitely have biases, prejudices and will obviously write in a way that conveys what I believe is the truth. That doesn’t mean I’m always right – which is why reasonableness is so important. Everyone is biased, and it’s virtually impossible to not impose your belief, in some form, while sharing. But if the person is deliberately manipulating facts, or omitting information, then they are an untrustworthy source (here’s looking at you, Fox).
Basically, this comes down to whether or not you can find “support” for the claims made. In anything professional, like an essay or journal article, references are essential. However, information can come from popular media sites, or from TV shows/movies, that might require YOU to do some work. I know that conservatives, in particular, seem to detest this as they seem to believe that the other person needs to do all the work, but that’s not how you actually learn. You learn by taking the information and researching it yourself. If you refuse to do this, which is an important part of the process, you will never truly progress in your own education. Out of everything here, I honestly believe this is the most important. If you are unwilling to research things on your own, and instead demand someone else to do the work for you, you have no interest in learning or understanding a different position. You are looking for confirmation bias. The reason I know the Cassidy Boon thing is a hoax is because I looked it up. It took less than a second on my internet connection for Google to say “Yeah, this shit is a fucking hoax”, and by then, I had seen at least ten people share this fucking thing on fucking Facebook, which means the only difference is that you’re willing to put your intelligence in someone else’s hands, instead of learning for yourself.