People who don’t follow the news probably wouldn’t even suspect it. Those who follow the news casually might have heard of a few high-profile cases — like the utterly false Rolling Stone profile of a vicious gang rape at the University of Virginia or the false Duke lacrosse team accusation. The examples of women making false rape accusations are not as rare as is popularly thought. Even just the examples that Instapundit Glenn Reynolds comes across seem to amount to a daily feature.
A story in the Providence Journal’s “Police Digest” might put to rest any doubt that America’s young women are picking up on the fact that making accusations against men is a means of covering shame or just a route to attention:
Two young Pawtucket girls lied about seeing a suspicious man taking photographs of young girls playing soccer in a field last weekend, the police said Friday. …
The girls, 10 and 11 years old, agreed to pose for him, then told their mother that a suspicious man was taking pictures of young girls playing soccer in a field near Roosevelt and Mendon Avenues, Brandley said.
“The whole neighborhood panicked” before the police found the man, a professional photographer with a website. “This story cost us a ton of man hours — for nothing,” Brandley said. “He has a legitimate business and a legitimate website.”
When I posted about RI Governor Gina Raimondo’s sexist girls-only essay contest, comments on social media were dismissive and even hostile, but it’s getting increasingly difficult to accept the specious rhetoric that men are a privileged class and therefore are fair targets for accusations and humiliation. In Arizona, military cadets were forced (or “pressured”) to undergo a sort of ritual humiliation by walking around campus in red high heels. Recently, a Virginia woman managed to send her neighbor to jail for four years as a scapegoat when she was embarrassed for being caught looking at pornography. Social media exchanges show that girls in Arizona plotted to “teach a lesson” to a boy before accusing him of rape, ultimately sending him to prison. (The resolution of this revelation is still pending.)
The next story in the Providence Journal “Police Digest” does show that there are men who do creepy things. Rape does occur, and it shouldn’t. However, the assumption that this is gender specific is due for some reevaluation. The fact that it was wrong to minimize rape and force women to fit a certain image in our culture doesn’t justify attacking men, especially those born well after the sexual revolution.
As for false accusations, I’d be willing to bet that a great many men have such stories. Perhaps the reason they’re becoming so much more common is that the legal and social checkpoints that used to filter them out have worn away. The accuser in Virginia said, “I had no idea how far this lie would go.” When I was a young man, the experiences that my circle of friends had with accusations tended (for the most part) to stop at the level of social attacks.