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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. 

Okay, I doubt I'm adding much to the conversation at this point, but for the record:

a) Yes, I am worried about it, although I definitely wouldn't call myself paranoid. This is mainly due to the fact that:

B) Yes. I've been falsely accused myself. This was not a matter of different interpretations of the same act, but a false accusation about me being somewhere that I wasn't, at a time when I was somewhere else and doing something to someone I've never even touched (except for probably a handshake...)The story is too long to go into, but it was done purely out of spite, not even to hurt me, but to hurt a mutual friend...
She came scarily close to completely ruining my life...

I also know a primary school teacher who was accused recently of abusing one of his charges some 30 years ago. Now I wasn't there, so I don't actually know for sure, but given that fact that I know him really well and the fact that he's taught hundreds of students over the years and none of them believed that he did it, I'm prepared to bet he didn't. Unfortunately his stupid lawyer scared him into a pleading guilty in return for a plea bargain, which he tried to withdraw almost immediately after making, but failed and he is now no longer allowed to teach kids. His life and living has been ruined by what I believe to be a false accusation. He is also an author, and many bookshops will no longer stock his books.

I'm not, by any means, trying to claim that it doesn't happen. I know of at least two female friends of mine who have been abused or harassed in a physical manner. One of them refused to speak to me for most of a year after I was falsely accused, and only gave in (and apologised) when the girl admitted she'd made it up. It's just that it's scarily easy to make such things up, and the accused is often held guilty until proven innocent (by society, even if not by law.) It's also so difficult to prove or disprove..

Wow, that was longer than expected.

If you want to read more on this, FARK recently had a thread on it
(Fair warning, it's a Fark thread, so the immaturity is occasionally quite high). From that thread were also some interesting other links-