Rape culture is alive and rampant in Western society. Many of us have realized by now that we are taught to excuse signs of abusive behaviors in our early childhoods, which contributes to the normalization of rape culture at a young age. In the United States, marital rape was not even legally recognized as a crime until 1979, and it took a decade and a half after that for many states to get on board. With the incarceration of rapists so low (according to RAINN, six out of one thousand rapists are incarcerated, on average), many people of all genders do not report their assaults, figuring they will be shamed in the public eye with no eventual reparations. Rape culture has made it so male victims of rape are even more afraid to report their assault.
Even after these statistics, there are those who say, “Well, some [women] falsely accuse [men] of rape for revenge.”
Yes, and the fact that this argument is so consistently brought up makes false rape claims worse for anti-rape agenda than actual rapists.
I am not saying, by any means, that a false rape claim will physically and mentally hurt an individual more than an actual rapist; however, in the overall movement to address these issues, false rape claims overshadow and dominate the conversation around rape, despite the fact that only 2% to 10% of rape accusations are false.
In this writer’s opinion, false accusers of sexual assault should be prosecuted and punished as much as anyone who falsely accuses individuals of crimes they did not commit. The person-who-cried-wolf-scenario has had long and devastating effects on feminist and anti-rape movements for decades, simply because false accusations give power to the perpetrators, and they invalidate the experiences of those who have actually been victims of assault.
With a system rigged against assault victims (disproportionately women), many victims, even if they do report abuse, are not believed especially if the cases are domestic. This too often results in additional violence, even murder. We may perceive that this denial only has social effects, but as soon as society normalizes rape and assault, law enforcement follows suit. Since police are in positions of power, it is near impossible for them to be convicted, and very easy for them to build upon the narrative that most rape claims are made up.
It is hard enough to get actual rapists such as Bill Cosby and Brock Turner to pay for their crimes properly, so fabricated rape claims are maddening in that they can convict innocent people, and cause legal systems to constantly question the legitimacy of actual sexual assault cases. Rape is not taken seriously as it is–turns out you can actually become president of the United States with over a dozen allegations against you–and fabricating these claims is selfish, as it hurts many of those actually affected.
It’s time to address the fact that words have power, and those who abuse this power disrupt progresses made by many fighters of justice before them.