I had a discussion on this issue again on reddit. I thought I’d repost my comments here. Unfortunately the person I was talking to deleted their comments, but I’ve quoted a part of it. Basically that person claimed that they had both been raped and been falsely accused of rape and both scarred them deeply. They were using their personal experiences to argue that false rape accusations can be just as bad as being raped. So I wrote…
Were you convicted? Same thing can happen for being convicted of murder, or any other serious crime.
Not to mention that this is not necessarily what happens to all who are accused of rape. Much of the time, the rape victim is not believed at all, their tale trivialized, or they are victim-blamed.
Yes, it sucks to be considered guilty for something you didn’t do. If there’s enough evidence to convict you, it can totally ruin a life and nobody deserves that. But accusing someone of rape is nothing compared to being raped.
Simply being falsely accused does not always lead to anything bad happening. Being raped always leaves permanent scars.
The basic point is that the results of fale accusation and rapes always vary. Some victims might take it better than others. But rape, on average, has far far worse results and occurs with far higher frequency.
Finally, within the current system there is a kind of zero sum effect between false rape accusations and actual rapes. We’re still at a point in time where many kind of rapes are not considered “rape-rape” (as some clueless media personas have called it) and there’s still a huge amount of rapes that don’t see justice because the victim was afraid to come out for fear of being accused and victim blamed. By making the culture more focused on false-rape accusations (i.e. more skeptic towards accusations of rape), is just going to make victim blaming even worse and thus more women are unlikely to even come out.
There is no perfect solution within the sociopolitical system we live in (which is why, and others, are rather radical about the change we need to have). But until then, I find it absurd to compare something that happens to something like 0.5% (or was it 0.05%? fairly small anyway as it only affects around 2%-8% of rape accusations) of males and has on average very little consequences, to something that happens to 15%-25% (statistic vary, but it’s a fucking lot) of females, causes horrible psychological damage, and is so permeating that it affects the lives of all females, without it ever happening to them, simply due to the fear that it might.
They replied to that comment with parts I quoted when I responded.
sad but true that an accusation is basically the same as a conviction in the eyes of everyone around you when it comes to rape
That’s just not true. I guess it depends on who you hang out with but this attitude is definitelly not generic.
I’d say that the SOCIAL consequences of a false accusation are at least as bad if not worse as those of being raped, and the potential exists for someone’s life to be destroyed just as fully if not moreso (thanks to the lack of support/resources) as someone who was raped.
Again, that’s just not true and I haven’t seen any study showing that this is anywhere near common.
OTOH, there’s never a loss for cases of rape accusations (true of false) where the accused didn’t have any problems from it.
Yes, the potential is there, but having a potential for a false rape (or murder, or theft) accusation to turn out horrid is not a guarantee. But every rape turns out on a scale of horrid.