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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. 

A. Not applicable about women, but I do worry that people are going to snap at me if I so much as glance at their kid.

B. I have heard rumours that this happened once to a freind of a freind, girl bitter after messy break-up thought it would be fun to ruin his rep and so on. Seriously? No.

Let's not assume that the worry of being convicted as a sex offender isn't like the worry of being raped and killed. That's what happens to them, you know.

Also, cutting my fingers is a lot less horrific than getting eaten by a shark, but I'm more afraid of the former, because it is a lot more likely to happen to me while I'm making dinner. Relatively few people are actually rapists/murderers, but a lot more are willing to ruin someone's life with a lie, whether out of spite or even just for a laugh. There's a whole class of people whose day isn't complete without trying to get some store clerk fired.

I'm posting this anonymously out of respect for my family that are linked through LJ.

I'm not a man, but I am afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. For many years in the military I have interacted with my customers mainly over the phone as a weather forecaster. My fear stems from the fact that I have a sexy phone voice. Officers call and ask specifically for me, "The one with the 1-900 voice" and "That one girl in the wrong career field" (actual comments that coworkers have told me about) and my personal favorite during a conference call in which the other people were on speaker phone, "Hey everybody! Come listen to the girl that makes weather sound like porn! Davis, you can take the other phone into the bathroom if you need to." My voice is not something I can change, but it has taught me something essential: a college degree, 'military discipline', and common decency do not guarantee that a woman is treated with respect if she is even slightly attractive in any way.

So why worry about sexual harassment? Because I talk to some of the same men several times a week, and weather terminology is riddled with innuendos. Warm moist tongue, dry slot, moist air rising, upward and downward vertical motions, warm sinks and cold domes, lower level disturbance...

I've been asked out on dates and blatantly propositioned before, but I've managed to politely and professionally decline when what I really wanted to do was scream, "You sick fucktard!" into the phone. You see, if I hurt any of these guy's egos, they can claim harassment to get revenge and they will be believed because they are officers, and I'm just an NCO with a sexy voice. Unfortunately, I cannot bring my own charges against others because of the stigma that follows you through your career and keeps you from getting promoted.

I have a great deal of sypmathy for men and women who deal with children. They must constantly have this fear through no fault of their own.

a)I'm female, but I do worry about touching a guy in a way that would make him uncomfortable in certain situations. (This is probably daft as each time I've had the thought, the guy has been the one who initiated things and is already doing something equivilant to me.)

b) I don't know anyone who has been falsely accused, but I do know a couple of friends who were raped by guys they were involved. As far as I know they've only spoken about it in those late night conversations where you talk about things you wouldn't otherwise and never reported it.

I was raped by my ex about half way through our 9 year relationship. This is actually the first time I've told anyone, because I loved him and wanted to stay with him despite what happened, and because so long after the fact what's the point.

My profound sympathy. It happens. It's just a damn shame that it happens.

Yes, and Moderate fear.
While I do understand that there are a lot of cases where rape/sexually inappropriate behavior is under-reported, I have seen many cases where someone has decided to use it as a way to "get" him/her.

Yes. I know someone who has been. (counting myself, that's 3 I think)

Cannot comment on A) due to chronic femaleness, but

B) In high school, a male friend of mine found out that a girl was spreading the word that he had molested (not outright raped, but "everything but") a friend of hers. He was in shock, as he remembered hooking up with the girl in question and was certain it had been consensual. He immediately got in touch with the girl. Turns out she agreed that it had been consensual; she had just had second thoughts about it the next morning, told her friend about how she kinda wished in retrospect she hadn't done that, and the friend had decided that this made it rape, and taken it upon herself to inform the world that this guy was a rapist (or an almost-rapist). The girl herself had no idea this had been happening, and was pretty shocked herself (being a reasonable sort, she didn't expect my friend to have the psychic ability to know in advance that the girl who was happily making out with him would change her mind the next day). She did her best to counteract the rumors, but the guy still ended up with several folks who wouldn't even speak to him.

I was pretty young and naive then, and I've never quite recovered from the shock of seeing how easy it was to have your reputation ruined without knowing what is happening or ever having done anything wrong. He didn't even know for the longest time why people had suddenly stopped speaking to him, refused to meet him, excluded him from events... nobody ever bothered to let him know what was being said, much less get his side of the story. All it took was someone - not even anyone directly involved, just a bystander - to decide to spread a story, and suddenly a perfectly sweet guy lost a bunch of his friends and was labeled forever an evil bastard for a whole segment of his peer group. And that was under *good* circumstances - with nobody going to the police, and with the "victim" herself going around helping him counter the rumor. I can only imagine what it would have been like had he not had that help.

I would figure as a guy, it would be a pretty scarring fear to grow up with.

Hiding here, because yeah, years later and I'm still scared. (Though the answers are A: I'm female and B: Yes, I personally know three guys that were falsely accused. Same woman, each time.)

I have no fear of the male gender. I was abused by a female and yes, it has made me more inclined to be close to men than to women. Apparantly this makes me a 'gender traitor' and all that bullshit. Where were those self-righteous bitches when I was going through hell, hmmmm? 'Being victimized by a man is so much worse, though'

Which is why I'm still scared of this woman, years after moving out of her house, right? Which is why the only people that really believe me are two men, right? But no, only men can be true abusers. You must be lying, you traitrous tool of the patriarchy.

I stay the hell out of these discussions normally because almost no one wants to hear from a woman that the only people she's ever been safe around are men, and that the only people that have really hurt her at all are women. They get angry at me, they call me a liar, they are almost gleeful in telling me that it'll happen sooner or later, I can't buck the odds for my while life; some man somewhere will hurt me and I'll realize how horrible they all are and then my eyes will be opened and I will Finally Understand.

And you have no idea how fucking scary it is that so many extreme feminists sound like near carbon-copies of the woman that still owes me 6 years of my life back.

The women who invalidate your experiences are assholes and dead wrong. All men aren't abusers any more than all women are saints.

A. Yes. Not, y'know, cripplingly so, but it's a common concern. More pervasive is the fear that any social misstep or approach will be interpreted as intent to commit rape. This latter one basically means I don't approach women unless I know them *very* well.

B. Not that I'm aware of.

Not a guy, but I can answer B

B) Yes. I do. Very unfortunately.

And the burden of proof is on the man, to prove that he didn't do it (or at least it was in this case). Very much a "guilty until proven innocent".

Not reading all 175 comments...

I have one friend who was falsely accused of rape; there was an order of protection and so on; it did not go to trial, however. I don't think the accuser there was thinking "I shall falsely accuse this man of rape"; but it's a particular kind of mental finesse that can accept "he raped me" and "I didn't rape her" as both being honest statements, although I think they both are in this case.

It's much easier to get a restraining order than prosecute someone for rape, and so they're more common. That, I think, feeds the fear; if the justice system will make your life suck by restricting your movements just because some woman said so, what's to stop them from prosecuting you because she said so? Men think an accusation of rape is devastating to their lives and reputations (forever and ever amen) and think that making that accusation is free and easy for a woman.

A lot of men feel punished by women's precautions against predators or by their reactions to having been attacked in the past.

I sympathize to a certain extent. But I've also noticed that the men who complain the loudest are often the least able to empathize; they often hold sexist attitudes that I think encourage violence.

But, well, sympathy for the good guy or no, I'm not going to stop crossing the street when I feel threatened just because the sketchy guy might not be a rapist, yanno?

It's almost impossible for men to comprehend the way that fear has shaped the lives of women, just like it's almost impossible for whites to comprehend the ways that fear has shaped the lives of blacks, and so on. When you're *always* on the side of never being given a chance because other people who look like you have been brutal in the past, it's even harder to understand.

(Deleted comment)
Uh...think you might've put this reply in the wrong section...

I wouldn't say that this is a concern that is often on my mind, but it is something that I've thought about before. If anything, I would be more concerned about a lesser allegation — physical assault without sexual assault — because I expect that would be easier to be upheld in court without any evidence. While not carrying as severe a legal punishment, this would still be a terrible stain to bare.

One reason why I am more concerned about this is that I have heard that this happened to a male friend of mine, and that another female friend of mine was one of the people who testified, supposedly falsely. I don't know the details, and I have not confirmed that this actually happened with anyone who was directly involved. I may do some day, but, honestly, I'm afraid to ask as the female friend in question is a dear friend to me, and if I learn that she did falsely testify, that's going to seriously damage my relationship with her.

I know a man who was falsely accused of rape. I also have at least one friend-of-a-friend story.

For comparison's sake, I also know people of both genders who are afraid of and avoid children, because it's so easy for an angry child to scream "Bad touch!" for attention or revenge.

My wife knows someone who's career was ruined because of this.

1) Yes. Being in the Navy, I've seen firsthand what happens when there's even the implication of "Sexual Harassment" even when it's blown completely out of proportion. And since we had it "Pounded into our Heads" once or twice a year...I know guys that flat out refuse to work with women on the basis that they don't want to even run the risk of it. I guess that's why I'm pretty much Gay...even though I consider myself Bi.

2) See above....

In sort of answer to A1/2

many years ago (ok about 20) I worked for a company where sometimes they had to send people to go and work on their customers sites. They were usually given a desk or office for the few weeks they were there. One company non of the men wanted to go to, so as i was covering the managements secretaries when they were off sick/on holiday and no one needed me they sent me with one of the men. My job was to escort him around and make sure that he was not attacked by the women who worked there. Yes he was frightened and used to lock himself in the office if i went to the bathroom etc.
Luckily employment laws etc have changed