They say that women don’t lie about rape. But they do, and that hurts victims.
There has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth over the now-discredited and retracted Rolling Stone article about a horrific gang-rape in a fraternity house on the UVA campus. Victim advocates lament that this will make it harder for other victims to come forward in the future and be believed. They are right.
So if you are raped or sexually assaulted, go immediately to the police. Do not shower, do not change your clothes, nothing. Just go, NOW, to the police, make written statements, and get a rape kit done at a hospital. Delaying, stewing over it, mulling it with your friends or counselors, waiting for days or months or years while evidence disappears and memories fade, only drops your case into the vast body of highly doubtful cases with, frankly, no legal merit whatsoever in the end.
As for the new battle cry, “yes means yes,” which allows women to retroactively decide that they didn’t really mean to have sex: if you were drunk and said yes, or if you hopped into bed but then the sex wasn’t all that fun, or if you decided later that you shouldn’t have done it – that’s not rape. That’s regrets.
Either way, alleging rape to your college administrators, rather than police, is not the way to go. If you’re doing it because of regrettable sex, it’s immoral. If you’re doing it because you were forced to have sex against your will, college administrators are not going to be able to do justice in your case. You need actual law enforcement for that, and you need it immediately. Don’t be the next “Jackie.”
“Jackie’s” friends believe that something bad happened back in 2012, but whatever it was, investigators are finding that the details don’t match the story she told Rolling Stone. Victim advocates brush this off: victims are traumatized, their memories can be jumbled or blocked out. Details can be misremembered, especially after months or years have gone by. She’s not necessarily lying, exactly, but… the evidence is piling up that what she told us isn’t what really happened.
Well, what the hell is law enforcement supposed to do with that, especially when it’s far too late to collect physical evidence or document the crime scene? Worse, many observers will simply add the UVA claim – rightly or wrongly – to the historical examples of women who lie about rape. If she got key details wrong – like who did it and where it happened – what are we supposed to think? Oh, advocates will tell you that women (and children) don’t lie about rape. But they do. Examples at these links (there are many more out there): Tawana Brawley, Regina Rush, Crystal Mangum, Tracy West, Heidi Jones. And I once saw it in person in my military career.
Let’s not just pick on the women: I also have a hard time with Shia LaBeouf’s recent claim that he was sexually assaulted during his art performance. I’m no fan of Piers Morgan, but he nails it in this article: “So let’s be very clear here: Shia LaBeouf wants us to believe he just sat in silence, with a paper bag over his head, doing absolutely nothing to resist as he was supposedly brutally whipped and ‘raped’?… Then he wants us to believe that he allowed his ‘rapist’ to calmly walk off into the LA sunshine? Oh, and he also wants us to believe that he continued to sit there in total silence, presumably with the paper bag still over his head, as his own girlfriend came in and asked him what the hell had just happened? And he did all this because he didn’t want to break his ‘performance art’ experiment? What a load of absolute baloney.”
The point is, yes, there is such a thing as false rape allegations, and if you are raped, waiting to report it — or reporting it to people like college administrators or victims’ advocates, who don’t collect evidence, who don’t investigate, who cannot arrest or charge or try an alleged perpetrator — only makes it that much harder for you to see justice later.