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breeden
ursulav

Because one can of worms is never enough!

Okay, gang, I'm off to spend an evening canoodling with my significant other, and will not be on the internet.

Please be civilized to each other in the prior post, I beg of you, while I'm not here to bounce. This is one topic where emotions run really high, and I don't want to have to close threads because I think it's an important topic to discuss, and we're all basically on the same side. If the conversation DOES get ugly, it's okay to say "I don't see anything productive coming out of this," and step away.

It's okay to be pissed. Just be polite.

However, before I go, for the purposes of discussion, one thing I've run across in this discussion (and other posts related) that I hardly ever run across is fear vocalized on the part of men that they'll be accused of rape or sexual harassment when they're just tryin' to get lucky as best they can.

Now, my kneejerk reaction is to scoff a bit, I confess--that's a kneejerk, and I make no bones about it--because, well, being female, my fear is that some dude is gonna rape me, then carve me up like a christmas ham in the basement and wear my skin around like a little hat. This is the sort of thing I worry about. My kneejerk, therefore, is something like "Pfff! You think YOU have problems?"

And that may well be unfair. Hell, granted that fear is not a zero-sum game, it's definitely unfair. Everybody has a right to be scared of ill treatment.

But--thing is--every single woman I know, with no exception I can think of, knows somebody who has been sexually assaulted or abused. In fact, with VERY few exceptions, that person is either somebody close to her, or her own self. These aren't stories, this is...y'know...something that we basically just live with. Life sucks, lots of people get hurt, we brazen on through because the only alternative is to curl into fetal position and weep for humanity.

However. It occurs to me that I may be doing men a disservice in general by dismissing this fear just because it seems like women get so much more of the short end of the stick. Suffering, too, is not a zero-sum game. So. I'll ask two questions then:

A) If male, are you afraid of being falsely accused of rape? Is this a Major Fear--i.e. something you worry about every time you're trying to get to know a woman? (Hell, is this something you worry about if you're, say, alone in a parking garage with a female in the next aisle getting into her car?)

B) If either gender, do you personally know anybody who has been falsely accused of rape? (Not friend-of-a-friend stories, but you, yourself, are at least the level of on-line acquaintanceship with them.)

(Okay, two and a half.)

Somebody'll probably suspect that this is a snarky passive-aggressive way to get men to admit that this is a load. It's not. Honestly. I'm genuinely curious. For all I know, a staggering percentage of men really do go into a relationship in mortal terror that they're going to end up with their testicles in a vise. I KNOW what it's like to be female, but I've never yet been male (at least not in this life!) and I honestly don't know what my own response to the discovery that this might genuinely be a widespread problem would be. 


A) I amm female. I have never been rumored to have sex with anyone, AFAIK (though a friend's ex tended to accuse many of his female friends of seducing him).

B) One, accused through the rumor mill and not in any court of law. I believe him to (A) be incapable of raping someone and (B) have an astonishing ability to attract the sort of crazy people who would make false accusations. However, in his case, I can also see why people who do not know him well might believe the accusations - in the past, he has not always been good at recognizing when someone was uncomfortable with his gestures of affection. He has gotten much better about that.

a) I'm female so no help there

b) Yes in one case but it was an odd situation. I cannot fault the accuser for being unhappy with the situation, but the way she handled it was kind of crappy. It is very hard to know how to react to a person who says "I was drunk and you all should have stopped me from having sex with X person despite the fact that I expressed all intentions to do so" and then when asked if we should have stopped her from having sex with Y person under the same circumstances says "no, he's ok".
I have no issue with the idea of diminished consent and helping someone out when in that position (I'm quite often the voice of "hey why don't you wait a couple of hours until this choice will be a bit more informed"), but it's hard to know how to respond when someone sets arbitrary rules in that regard.
I have no doubt that all were willing participants at the time of the act (no one actually at that party was left with any doubt of that), but in the face of later sobriety, issues became complicated and really, absolutely everyone lost. I truly feel that she felt violated and in that I feel horrible (and I know everyone else involved does too most especially him). I also truly feel that had we tried to stop her at the time it would not have worked (as this has been the repeated case with other drunken decisions of hers).

That being said I myself have been the victim of sexual assault in more instances then I know of false accusations of sexual assault.

Edited at 2008-04-29 04:00 am (UTC)

A) No. I'm female, and so much of a prude that I really can't picture being in a situation where accusations might arise--my husband and I had dated for a full year before he even got to second base. I have trust issues. :P

Both of my sisters were date-raped--one sister was attacked by her "boyfriend" violently, but she never told anyone (I found it in her medical record). The other sister was 13 and our parents had her 21 yr old "boyfriend" arrested and he is currently serving time for it (and it turned out that he had a whole 'stable' of underage victims).

B) My son has been falsely accused. My sister's therapist misunderstood/misheard something she shared with them about my son being molested by his babysitter, and reported to CPS that my son had been a molest-ER instead of a molest-EE. This almost lost us custody of my sister's kids (we are raising her children, she is unable to care for them), and we were very "lucky" that we had police reports and my son had a therapist who could set the record strait.

as a girl, I admit I've never even thought that some of my male friends would be afraid of that. I *have* made a point of telling them, usually not long after a first meeting, that I'm not interested (since my love is for the boobies only) to avoid embarassing situations. I do hope my friends feel as safe around me as I feel around them.

I might have lost a potential friend over the fact that I liked girls, though. She could have believed that I wanted to do something to her. Seeing as I'm fairly tall for a girl and she was a bit short, I suppose I can sort of maybe see why...

There is an injustice on how guys are treated. If I was male, I think I would've received my share of evil glares, slaps and kicks to the nuts for staring down a cleavage or for blatantly flirting with anything with breasts (usually as a joke. USUALLY.) Since I'm female, most girls don't notice right away, or don't mind as much. I don't have the equipment down there, so I'm not seen as a threat. I'm aware that women are just as able to commit rape as men, but we're not perceived as such.

(please forgive the awkward sentences, it's late and I'm not a native english speaker :) )

N/A

And... well. Hmmm. I have a couple of examples.

I have a close friend who was anonymously accused of soliciting children / watching child pornography. This person is terrified of children (has aspergers), freaks out if ANYONE physically touches him, and is more than a bit of a hermit. The police came without warning and took away his computer to search it. We have our suspicions about who the prankster was - it was someone who knew the layout of his house and bedroom very well indeed. The police of course found nothing.

I know someone else who swears black and blue that they were falsely accused of sexually abusing an 8 year old child. I also know that some people believe this person was falsely accused, whilst others think he did it.

I was the 8 year old child, so I certainly have my own opinions on the matter.

And I would add that I think women (or men for that matter) who falsely accuse anyone of sexual abuse or rape deserve to be killed in an extremely gruesome manner, preferably involving the genitals. But hey, that's just me.

I know of six female friends who were definitely sexually abused (with the abuse substantiated). And one male who was falsely accused - and most of my friends are men, not women. I don't know what this means, or how far it can be generalized, but it is interesting.
What I hope is that it's some indication that women making false accusations isn't as common as it could be.

(a)... and (b), come to think of it:

I have Asperger's syndrome. I'm a little less impaired in the body-language-reading area than some of my fellow Aspies, but not fantastic by NT standards. And I'm not great at imagining how I look to other people, either. Well, I am sometimes, even neurotically so, but that's because of the other times when I haven't been. If you see what I mean.

I was flatting, as we call it in New Zealand, i.e. sharing rental accommodation with unrelated people, some years ago. My flatmates were two women and a man, all about five years younger than me.

I know better now than to stand around in hallways doing and saying nothing in particular when people are likely to be watching, but I didn't then. And it freaked one of my female flatmates out. She started to squeal slightly when she encountered me unexpectedly — I didn't think much of it, it seemed to be no more than one might on turning a corner and finding someone else turning the same corner in the opposite direction and almost bumping into them, but then the other female flatmate told me she was really upset and quite scared and please imagine what it is like to enter a darkened hallway and find a large male standing there silently...

Accused of rape? No. Accused of being the sort of person who would — yes.

My fear is not that I'll be accused of a specific act of rape and taken to court and prison. My fear is that I, who already have more than my share of difficulty forming social attachments, will be ostracized because of a false belief about my character.

In case anybody's wondering — I don't in any way blame my female flatmates for the misunderstanding. I blame the males they'd encountered who made such an interpretation of my actions credible.

(A) No.

(B) Yes. I used to work as a dorm counselor at a school for deaf children, and one of the students there accused me of abusing him. (This was a guy who was pretty badly psychologically screwed up, in part because of other people [including a former teacher at that school] who did abuse him.) The other staff members at the school found his allegations in my case hard to believe but they suspended me pending an investigation. The student retracted his allegation within 24 hours so my record with the state is clean.

A) N/A

B) Yes. My boyfriend was falsly accused of rape when he wouldn't sleep with a girl who he felt was far too young for him (he was young at the time as well). The first thing he did was go straight to the girl's father to explain himself and the girl's actions, but he still had to deal with the (understandable) rage of the father.

Girls like that infuriate me to no end. I know enough guys who are at the brink of hopelessness because they've been the nice guy their whole lives, and all they've gotten in return is a string of women who see that niceness as something to take advantage of.

A doesn't apply - I'm female.

B? No. I don't. Don't know a guy who's been assaulted (to my knowledge), either.

A) Ehh, it's not a major fear, but it occurs to me. Ironically, I fear being mugged more. Still, there's that nagging feeling that some girl will take advantage of me and try to dig some cash out of me/send me to the slammer with a false accusation.

B) Nope, thankfully.

A) Fear, yes, but not Major. And much less since getting married.

B) Yes, two.

1. From a heterosexual female perspective - stuff like that ("I am alone with a man in an isolated place and could accuse him of raping me") doesn't occur to me except in retrospect, usually in terms of "Wow, it's a good thing we're/I'm not totally batshit!"

However, I will say that some of the nicest guys I know are ridiculously worried about being the situations like you mention (including, yes, starting a relationship). And that just makes me sad.

2. Yes.

a. Sexual harassment + rape: she said that he, her supervisor, made sex a condition of promotion and when she refused, raped her. He had done no such thing (yay for film evidence and fair trials) and actually wasn't in a position to promote her, anyway.

b. Step-mother knew step-daughter (2 years old) was being molested by her natural son, but the girl's father did not know. A doctor found out, but the girl couldn't/wouldn't talk about it. The step-mother then told authorities that it was the father. It wasn't until the boy confessed that most people involved stopped believing that her father had been abusing her.

What we're doing as a society is just sick. Making men afraid to be alone with women, with their own children? I realize that bad things happen and that there are bad people in this world, but that senseless assumption of the guilt/evilness of men has got to stop.

A) Yes.

B) Yes, myself. It was in college. My roommate's girlfriend was visiting our dorm room (to study). It was late at night and I really needed to get some sleep as I had a test the next day and also had a headache. She would not leave when asked politely. She would not leave when asked not so politely. When told outright to leave she said "Make me." So I picked her up and deposited her outside in the hall and shut the door. She began screaming and kicking the door, hard enough I worried she might break it down. My roommate proceeded to open the door and try to talk sense to someone who was not at all interested in being sensible. Of course she immediately shoved her way back into the room. I had just totally had it at this point and threw a hackysack beanbag at her. (Note that my rommate was a geology major and there were, more conveniently to hand, several fist-sized rocks lying around the room - but I didn't really want to hurt her, I just wanted to make her go away.) Finally ejected her once more, and after additional screaming and door-pounding, she left.

Now, this sort of tantrum was not unusual with her (to be fair, her mother (whom I never met) was apparently really, certifiably psychotic and so her childhood was a mess), so I didn't think that much of it at first. But about a half-hour later, BAM BAM BAM "Police, open up!". She had accused me of trying to rape her, and from the cop's attitude it was obvious he believed her. I was informed that I was about to be charged with attempted rape and assault. I was really not able to handle this well, being still angry and upset, shaky from adrenaline comedown, dead-tired, and with a now-splitting headache.

Thank God my roommate stood up for me, and after considerable talking to her, got her to withdraw the charges. Without actual charges, the cop was (reluctantly) persuaded not to actually book me, and so the incident is not formally on my record as far as I know. But it has made me skittish. This incident followed the usual pattern of my encounters with Authority in that my side of the story was not only not believed, but dismissed out of hand without being listened to. So if someone was to make such an accusation, and stick to it, I'm pretty sure that the facts wouldn't matter - I'd be going to jail. Where I _would_ be raped. So it's both fears, I guess.

and this is why, even though I am female, I hate most women...

A) not male
B) No, I don't know anyone who's had to go through that.