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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. 

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I haven't read every single comment, but as a peer educator for the women's center at my university, I feel the need to note certain specifically college related statistics (I believe the info comes from a study that includes 36 colleges and 6,000 students):

Only 5% of all rapes are reported. Only 2% of the 5% of reported rapes are falsely reported.

In addition, it should be noted that reporting a rape and actually getting someone convicted of the crime is a long and relatively difficult process, both emotionally and legally. Obviously some people do falsely report rapes, but it is far more likely that they are telling the truth. The statistics apply specifically to college students, so interpret this as you like, but I doubt the overall ratio of false reports to real reports could be much higher.

That is a rather sad statistic. Almost half of the reported rapes turn out to be false accusations? No wonder victims fear being taken seriously!

I wonder if that 2% turn out to be totally false--like a revenge accusations against an ex--or if they turn out to be ify cases--like a drunk 'victim' who can't remember why/if she consented, or complicated, nonviolent date rape situations. IE, are they really false reports or just cases that can't be successfully tried in the court system?

I think the implication was that only 2% of the second number were false. As in, out of every 1000 rapes, 50 (5% of 1000) are reported, and out of every 50 reported rapes 1 (2% of 50) is a false report. If I've mistaken anonymous's comment, I hope they will say so.

Re: Stats

Sorry that was confusing. I meant that 2% of the 5% are false, so therefore only 0.1% of reports are false.

But does this mean reporting as in telling authorities, or reporting as in telling -anyone-?

It's entirely possible to destroy someone's reputation without ever looking twice at the legal system.

Re: Stats

The stats are for reporting to authorities. I agree that just rumors can be detrimental, but the vast majority of claims of rape are true. I think it's best to assume the person isn't lying and to try to direct him/her to support services or hot lines. If you're wrong, you're done nothing bad.

It's entirely possible that the rapist had the best intentions and doesn't think that he/she committed rape, but that doesn't change whether or not the rape occurred and that it deeply affected someone. The solution is really to educate everyone about rape and consent. You'd be surprised at the number of people who enter college without ever having a talk about sex/consent with a reliable source. If at all possible, make you're friends, neighbors kids, and even your parents attend a workshop/event/talk about rape/consent. It certainly can't hurt and it might make all the difference.

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