Thursday, September 17, 2009

'Of course' she lied about rape

I overheard some men today who were talking about the Hofstra University student who reported she was raped, and who then recanted the allegation. The conversation went like this:

Guy One: Yeah, so she said she was raped by five men and then today or last night or something, she admitted it wasn't rape, that it was consensual.
Guy Two: Of course she did. (You could just hear his eyes rolling.)

"Of course she did"??! Excuse me, but what in the hell is that supposed to mean?

I am beyond fed up with so many people automatically assuming that women lie when they say they were raped. It happens time and time again, regardless of the circumstance of the rape allegation. One men, five men, a stranger, a friend, it doesn't matter -- she's lying. (Go to any news media site that allows comments on stories and read the comments when a rape story is posted. Count how many times it's said that the victim lied.)

Why do people assume that? Obviously people are raped, all the time, so it stands to reason that not everyone is lying when they say they've been raped. If a relative or friend told these people she had been raped, are they going to assume she's lying? If a relative or friend of theirs were actually raped, and had heard them in the past make comments about a woman lying about being raped, how is she going to feel comfortable reaching out to them, or talking to them? (Same goes with rape jokes people. Let me clue you in: rape jokes aren't funny. Period. And if you think they are, ask yourself why. Why are they funny? What does it say about you?)

I feel like I could scream at the top of my lungs about this issue, and no one would even care enough to respond. People get tired of hearing about rape, rape culture, violence against women, etc. Easier to tune it out than to stop and think about why they might assume a woman (or man) is lying about being raped.

You know, I get that some people do lie, and as I've said before, that is also unacceptable. Lying about rape results in giving people an easy out -- they can land on the side of "she's lying" instead of contemplating what might have actually happened, instead of thinking about how many people are raped every single day in this country, instead of wondering if this could ever happen to their loved ones. It's easier. The assumption that women lie also plays out before the courts, with attorneys doing everything in their power -- like asking a woman to re-enact the rape on her own mattress in the courtroom, or calling rape victims "whores" -- to either make the woman look like a liar, like she deserved it, or get her to drop the charges because she's too ashamed to continue the court case.

The media isn't innocent here either. Someone is raped, it's a small story inside the paper. Someone says they were raped and then it comes out they lied about it? Huge news, as evidenced by the Hofstra case.

This needs to stop. The justice system -- the entire system -- needs to take rape and sexual assault seriously. Rape and sexual assault need to stop (in my wildest dreams, right?), people need to stop lying about it happening, and people need to stop assuming people are lying if they say it happened. You cannot assume a woman is lying if she says she was raped or assaulted. You simply cannot.

More reading:
  • The National Center for the Prosecution of Violence Against Women's report (PDF) on false reports. (They say estimates for the percentage of false reports are 2-8 percent.)
  • Amanda Hess' City Paper column, "False rape accusations and rape culture."
  • Men Can Stop Rape's web site.


Sparkles said...

I couldn't agree more.
Not that i condone those rare few that lie, but perhaps the lack of interest about it makes the liar feel like it isn't a big deal? And surely a little lie about something thats not a big deal can't cause too much drama?
Again, not condoning, just trying to fathom why they another woman would essentially trivialise a very tragic and violent act

Criss L. Cox said...

Well said.

The reason those guys said "of course she lied" is the same reason the tea-bagging parties are not about racism. Because we're Good People, and Good People don't rape or carry racist signs. So of course she lied. And of course the left is making up all the racism and bigotry we see thrown at the President.

Because I'm not the Bad Guy. A Man Like Me wouldn't hurt a poor, innocent woman, but of course that skank would lie about it. A Good Person Like Me wouldn't carry a racist witch-doctor sign, but it's that lib'rul media twisting our words and making Us look bad! It's always the other guy.

And, sadly, women who lie about rape (or say they do) validate these jackasses.

Rosie said...

Megan, I would guess a number of women lie out of shame or fear.

Criss, thank you for that comment, it is spot-on. So, so true.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like shame and regret. He might have been commenting on her character. She was having sex with five men at once and then lied about it. She's the kind of person who would have sex with five men at once, "Of course she did."

Anonymous said...

"The assumption that women lie also plays out before the courts"

Of course, that is the entire point of the court system. She has to prove she is telling the truth or the man is let go. Innocent before proven guilty.


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