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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. 


The only male I know that was accused of being, eh, sexually inappropriate? (He touched a bum he should not have touched, apparently, and it was not appreciated) Quit that workplace and, as far as I know, has suffered no further consequences. I know another that frequently makes flirting approaches repeatedly to every female he knows regardless of whether those advances are met happily or not, and he has received no real reprisals. All of the above are teenagers or not much older, so mileage may vary by age and expected level of maturity...

I, too, have immediate friends and family members that were raped through situations that I cannot see how they could have avoided it. I have never particularly suffered that fear myself, possibly because I have a mostly-unearned reputation for violent reaction, but there you are...

I am female, and yes, I have been falsely accused of rape.

I met a girl on a fandom forum, discovered she was in my state, asked if she was going to a con, she said yes. So I said we should hang out.

We met up, she spent a lot of the con following me around, finally tried to pin me against the wall and kiss me. I said no, sorry, not interested.

So I sign back on to the forum, and I have a full inbox of hate mail where she had put up this sob story that I had raped her at the con.

Guh, how'd you handle that?
I'd file a police report, srsly :/

(Deleted comment)
A doesn't apply, but for B) No. For the record, I also don't know anyone who's been sexually abused... or at least, if anyone has, they haven't chosen to reveal that fact to me; I can't imagine why.*

*That would be sarcasm, that would.

A) No, I've never been afraid of this. Part of it may be that I personally can't imagine myself as coming across as threatening.

B) No, I don't know anybody who's been falsely accused.

(Deleted comment)
oddly enough, I've learned that it's the big scary looking guys who are LEAST likely to try anything nasty. Probably because of their size, they behave themselves, knowing what others would find easy to believe of them.

I tend to keep those guys near, much to the dismay of my parents, because they are much more trust-worthy than the clean-cut ones. Maybe that's a bad thing that will bite me in the ass, but so far, it's rung true and, since my bad experiences with a clean-cut, "nice" guy, I feel much safer around the "wrong" element....

Does that make any sense?

(Deleted comment)
B) Nope, I know about multiple accounts of abuse, some intimately, but not a single false accusation. I think the current statistic is that 1 in every 3 women has been sexually abused.

Might be an interesting exercise for men to count how many women are in their lives, both family and friends, and consider how many of them have been abused. Most never say anything even to those closest to them, partially out of a fear that no-one will believe them or that they'll be ridiculed.

a) N/A. I'm female.
b) Yes. And he's a real life friend and a online friend and so this is anonymous, as I don't want to bring this up in any sense that's linkable to him. But considering it was a while before I got details--someone who later proved to be a fuckwit brought it up saying it was a legitimate allegation, and later, I heard from others, who I trusted, that it wasn't--it colored our interactions for a while.

And I feel bad that it did, and it's awful that he got dragged into that, but my kneejerk is the same as yours even knowing all this. With the caveats you mention, yes, but being a woman, for me, means I've been viscerally afraid of the fearful possibilities for a very very long time. That's hard not to resent, on that lower kneejerking level.

A: I am not male, so this question is not for me.

B: Yes, I do. Two of them.

To answer a), yes, it is a potential concern. To the best of my knowledge, I do not associate with anyone, male or female, who would knowingly falsely accuse anyone of anything. I would not willingly associate with such a person. Were I to be accused, however, well... I'm a very large white male who is generally anti-social. "Innocent until proven guilty" is a legal fiction. People don't usually bother with legal fictions when they're looking at someone they just know to be guilty.

As for b), yes, I do. I know of one person who was falsely accused of rape, one of child molestation, another of child abuse, and three of inappropriate behaviors that would all be covered by sexual harassment statutes. If I believed any of those people were guilty, I'd never associate with any of them again. Each and every one was cleared, by the way, but the accusations were enough to completely disrupt the lives of everyone involved. Thanks to things like zero tolerance policies, the prejudices of involved authorities and the "invisible privilege" concepts, there was a quiet assumption of guilt in every case.

Edited at 2008-04-28 12:46 am (UTC)

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.

Heh. I should probably stop poking the concern troll who keeps announcing that the clearly stated actions in theferrett's post aren't there, but people privileging truthiness over truth always sets me off. But I shall refrain for the sake of your poor lj.

I do not know anyone who's been falsely accused of rape, though possibly (and it's very long stretch) someone who might have been accused of harrassment. But I think he did harass.

I have myself twice been pretty much raped by a person who I'm sure thought he was just doing "what any guy would do"--assuming that since I let myself be alone with him (and both times in the middle of the day, not that that really makes a difference), I was signing up for whatever he wanted.

I'm still willing to give men the benefit of the doubt in most situations, and understand that some guys are cursed with lack of social skills, but still. Why did I let those guys do what they did? I was afraid of them.

Men are afraid they'll get laughed at. Women are afraid they'll be killed.


"Men are afraid they'll get laughed at. Women are afraid they'll be killed."

That is, not a fair statement. Men are afraid they'll get laughed at. They are also afraid that they'll get sent to jail. And even a few days can cost someone their job. Worst case, they lose almost everything they use to define themselves, while this is not the same as literally fearing death, neither is it the same as simply worrying about being mocked.

B) Yes.

And just for the record, I also know a couple of women who have cheated, gotten caught by their boyfriends, and claimed sexual assault even though it was fully consented to. I'm reasonably certain charges were never pressed or anything, but still. Not exactly a great idea.

A) No. (A.5: Hardly.)
B) Not to my knowledge.

My uncle was falsely accused of molestation by his step-daughter.

A yes, it does scare me.

B no.

I think I can add something here to the reasoning. A woman's fear of rape and murder are perfectly rational fears. But for that to happen, the man must actually *do* something significant. In the case being falsely accused, the accuser really only has to utter the phrase, "He raped me". A tiny little lie that could literally ruin someone life. It is the difference between the ease of the false accusation, and the massive work of proving your innocents, or worse, failing to prove your innocents, that frightens men.

-jr



It is the difference between the ease of the false accusation, and the massive work of proving your innocents, or worse, failing to prove your innocents, that frightens men.

The misconception in this is that one merely has to intimate the R word and it's over and done with and the accused's life is ruined while the accuser is then free to go off and frolic through meadows.

If this is a rumor mill type situation yes, realistically little more has to be done then that to cause heavy damages (though of course there will be polarizing within groups and all manner of social fallout for everyone involved) but for people who actually enter the legal process for a rape accusation it is a grueling horrific soul eating drama which is hard enough even with evidence, a supportive circle, and appropriate legal support.

Anyone delusional enough to think that a false rape accusation is going to solve whatever problems they think they have is also delusional enough to ignore the potential fallout for themselves.