This article comes via the mother of a longtime friend of mine, who I and many of us know to be a gentle bear of a man, far kinder and sweeter than me or just about anyone I know..! We here at elephant are happy to support this important dialogue. I would only ask that we conduct any discussion in a respectful manner, given the many painful and troubling questions it invites. We must all remember that while you and I are free to bike around and work and eat lunch and take our dogs for walks, friends of ours may be stuck in similar situations as the below. Right or wrong, this is a situation that calls for compassion and insight. ~ Waylon Lewis, ed.
I cannot tell you my name because what I am about to talk about is an ongoing legal matter. I will tell you that I am a feminist. That I fought for the rights of women to be believed. I worked for a rape crisis center in the 80s. I helped organize and participated in Take Back the Night events. I am friends with therapists and activists who have worked tirelessly for the rights of women and children. I was sexually abused as a child, and it defined my life for a number of years.
I am also a mother. I have raised a beautiful son, now a beautiful, caring man. He is honorable and strong. He has a deep spiritual practice. He is a man sensitive to the needs of women. Because of my involvement in “the movement” and because at some point he became aware of my own painful history, he is empathetic to women who have been abused.
Last year a woman, we’ll call her Sarah, accused my son of attempted sexual assault. She said, she thinks he tried to rape her. She and my son had been dating for a couple of months, but mostly they were consoling each other, I think. He, brokenhearted over the recent breakup of a long term relationship, she, confused over her on again, off again boyfriend who didn’t treat her very well.
This woman was also feeling a lot of conflict between her purported Christian beliefs and being attracted to two men. Discussions with her therapist didn’t help because, as she told my son, (let’s call him Robert), the therapist said, “what’s wrong with being attracted to two men?” But she couldn’t deal with that, and came to Robert’s house and told him she didn’t want to see him anymore. It wasn’t quite as clear cut as that because she lay down on the bed with Robert and there was flirting and fondling before she came to her decision. When she did, Robert agreed, and got up, walked her to the door. They hugged and he walked her to her car.
I know a lot of this because my son and I are friends. He had reservations about this relationship and had voiced his concerns to me. Sarah had told him that her father had abused her as a child and she had been in therapy for a long time. She had been on serious medications for bi-polar disorder for most of that time. Last summer while they were dating, she decided to get off of her meds. She told Robert she was experiencing blackouts. “Is that normal?” she would ask him. She had exhibited some strange behavior through the course of their relationship, but he had great empathy. I think seeing this reflected his own damaged soul and mine. But he was relieved when she called it off.
I have talked to therapists about bi-polar disorder, the meds that treat it and what happens when a person goes off those meds without a doctor’s supervision. None of it is good. One therapist I talked to said that false accusations skyrocket when someone decides to go cold-turkey. But because of rape shield laws that have been in place since the early 80s and because of defense lawyers’ fear of seeming to be “victim bashing,” these things more than likely will not be brought up. Nor can we bring up her litigious nature and her perception that a lot of other people, including a massage therapist, are out to hurt her.
That was the last of it for a month and then she began to think that Robert had ‘tried’ to rape her. She contacted the police. A policewoman wired her up and had her call Robert at 9pm one night. I have seen the transcript of that call and through the words on the page you can feel her desperation as she begs Robert to admit to something, anything that will “prove” her allegations.
You can hear Robert’s bewilderment as he denies over and over again her false accusations. At one point, he calls her sweetie (as he calls all his close friends), “Sweetie, I know you’re in pain.”
Despite no evidence, despite the fact that she is obviously a troubled woman, despite other attempts by her in the past to accuse people of hurting her in some way, despite her own admissions of wanting to sue others still, despite my son’s spotless record and the support of myriad women who have known him for years, the state has chosen to pursue this “case.”
If you think that women don’t lie to get back at men, how naive can you be? Yet we live in a culture of “women don’t lie,” a culture fostered by women’s groups since the 70s. A culture I helped create and support. A philosophy I believed.
Because why would women lie? The process of coming forward, going through the legal system was so horrific, so humiliating, why in the world would a woman put herself through it?
But that was then. Then, sexual abuse was hidden and women were maligned and humiliated if they dared come forward. And strong, brave women stood up for the rights of their children and themselves.
Now there are women’s groups with a strong political voice. There are women in political office, policewomen, and so on. Men and women now are predisposed to believe women when they accuse someone of rape. It is sometimes a knee jerk reaction that we have not evaluated for its veracity. We have not wanted to hear that women sometimes lie. The system has supported all women even those who lie. They’ve made it easy for them. If it is proven that a woman has lied, they are not prosecuted. They are at most sent to counseling. And being a “victim” can be intoxicating to some. It can let them off the hook for being responsible for their own actions.
But who is going to protect our sons? We who were on the front lines in the 70s when things were bad for women, we have raised good sons. Men we are proud of. Who will stand up for them?
I am now appalled to think that I was one of these women who thought that women don’t lie…and where there smoke there’s always a fire. Despite having raised a beautiful son, I was a sexist. Then I started doing research. There have been studies done since the 80s citing the percentage of rape allegations that are false. Some studies say as high as 60%. People who have been dealing with this for years have tried to tell us that women do lie. But we haven’t wanted to hear.
(I will quote these studies but will not footnote them. They are listed at the end of this article.)
In a 1996 study published by the U.S. Department of Justice, “Convicted by Juries, Exonerated by Science” Peter Neufeld and Barry C Scheck co-founders of the Innocence Project stated:
“Every year since 1989, in about 25 percent of the sexual assault cases referred to the FBI where results could be obtained, the primary suspect has been excluded by forensic DNA testing… These percentages have remained constant for 7 years.”
Colorado’s own Craig Silverman, a former Denver DA and a zealous prosecutor of rapists, was also critical of what he calls the “politically correct victims advocate’s view” held by many prosecutors who want to “always believe the woman.” Silverman states:
“During my time as a prosecutor who made case filing decisions, I was amazed to see all the false rape allegations that were made to the Denver Police Department. It was remarkable and surprising to me. You would have to see it to believe it. Any honest veteran sex assault investigator will tell you that rape is one of the most falsely reported crimes that there is. A command officer in the Denver police sex assaults unit recently told me he placed the false rape numbers at approximately 45 percent.”
Feminist rhetoric has merely replaced the old stereotypes. Now instead of being humiliated and scorned when we come forward, we are welcomed with an all-encompassing “Women Don’t Lie.”
“Due to the institutionalization of feminist ideology within the legal system – along with the political correctness that pervades our society – a lot of men have been defamed, imprisoned and/or fined due to the false accusations that were made against them by women. For this reason, a lot of Divorce lawyers encourage their female clients to falsely accuse their husbands of rape, child abuse and/or domestic violence.” – Aaron Larsen
We have systematically refused to consider the possibility that women lie. We have even attacked those who wanted to discuss the possibility. Law professor Alan Dershowitz reports that he was accused of sexual harassment for discussing in his law class the possibility of false rape allegations. Some colleges with speech codes have equated talk of false rape allegations with “discriminatory harassment.”
Why would women lie?
Why wouldn’t women lie? They lie to protect themselves, to alleviate guilt, or because they are delusional. They lie because they can. For all the reasons that people lie, women lie.
“Empirical evidence does not support the widespread belief that women are extremely unlikely to make false accusations of male sexual misconduct. Rather the research on accusations of rape, sexual harassment, incest and child sexual abuse indicates that false accusations have become a serious problem. The motivations involved in making a false report are widely varied and include confusion, outside influence from therapists and others, habitual lying, advantages in custody, disputes, financial gain and the political ideology of radical feminism.” – Frank S. Zepezauer
But there is another reason women lie about rape. Rape is a deeply personal crime. Some women even harbor rape fantasies. Falsely accusing a man of rape can be deeply satisfying because it is sexual and even romantic. And it cuts to the heart of a male/female relationship. In his paper, Patients Who Make False Accusations, Dr. Richard C. W. Hall cites a particular case in which:
“We talked to a young borderline woman, who reported that she had made allegations to her county medical society that her psychiatrist had been sexually inappropriate with her. She reported that she was angry at him, that he had not given her the attention that she wanted, and that she made up the charges to get even. Although she candidly reported that he had never touched her, she said that she ‘was sure that he wanted to.’”
I have watched my son for 40 years. I have watched him grow from boy to man. I have seen him in his interactions with women and men. I have marveled at his sensitivity, his empathy. Many times I have thought, “Wow, he is a feminist’s dream. A man who listens. Who cares. Who is strong and deeply spiritual. A man who can be a woman’s friend. Who can comfort another in time of need. He is truly a good and decent man.
But if you would discount the word of a mother, what about all the women in his life? The girlfriend that has known him since high school to his most recent girlfriend? All have come forward on his behalf. All have remained his steadfast friend even after their romantic relationship ended.
And what of the word of their parents who have come forward? Including two psychotherapists who work with battered women. What of the casual dating partners and friends from far and wide, both male and female who have all come forward on his behalf? They too have spoken out for him. This man is not capable of doing this thing.
Never have I been to visit him that someone did not congratulate me on raising such a fine man.
Our good men are being harmed. This good man is being harmed.
“Due to immense pressure from rabid feminists, the state was placed in the position of convicting as many accused rapists as possible, or face an onslaught of abuse from second-wave-feminists….” – Aaron Larsen
The current climate in Colorado appears to be: Try them all. Let God sort them out. I have been told that there are political reasons for that. Reasons that have nothing to do with the validity of a particular case but with the fear of an attack by an opponent in an election. The District Attorney is an elected official. But doesn’t the state have better things to do than try meritless cases? Isn’t there a voice of reason somewhere?
Dr. Richard C. W. Hall in his paper, Patients Who Make False Allegations, The Role of the Forensic Psychiatrist, has created a checklist for the evaluation of patients’ allegations. It follows:
1) Is accuser creditable?
2) Is story consistent and believable?
3) Is there a motive for revenge or mischief?
4) Have other allegations been made previously? Does a pattern of allegations exist?
5) Has the patient been counseled in their charges by some professional who has a vested interest?
6) Is there any physical evidence of misdeed?
7) What is the reputation of the accused?
8) How does the accused respond to the charges?
9) Are there issues of custody, property settlement, divorce, or suit involved?
10) Is there a history of personality disorder – antisocial, narcissistic, borderline – in either party?
11) Is there a history of alcohol or substance abuse in either party?
If the state were to apply this or any reasonable checklist to the allegations against my son, this “case” would have gone in the trash bin months ago, we wouldn’t be out thousands of dollars, countless sleepless nights and the feeling that the system simply doesn’t work.
If anyone can accuse a good man of something like this and cause him so much grief, then what has our system become? The terms rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse have become so ubiquitous as to be meaningless (although still very much emotionally charged). We have cast such a wide net that laws and statutes that were devised to protect us from the worst of the worst, the serial rapists, sexual predators and pedophiles are now being used to punish men who urinate near school yards or a boyfriend who takes the arm of his inebriated girlfriend to get her out of a party.
An article titled Feminists Fallacies Hurt Police Training states:
“If every incident between a man and a woman can be framed as a prelude to an atrocity, then all men can be branded as predators. The error in logic, that all men are potential rapists, allows feminists to link attitudes and behaviors for which there is NO connection and allows them to condemn the mild-mannered man given to the occasional caustic comment to sharing an axis with O.J. Simpson.”
That is not to say that there are not terrible crimes committed against women and children every day. According to Believe Her! The Woman Never Lies Myth, Frank Zepezauer says:
“This growing gap – between the anguish suffered by the victims of traditionally defined sex crimes and what is suffered by victims of ideologically defined crimes – suggests that the crisis we face is not the result of a sexual misconduct epidemic but of the crisis mentality itself, an ever more hysterical vision of a ‘rape culture.’”
This hysterical crisis mentality has created a gap between our awareness of the now highly visible victims of sexual misconduct and the almost invisible victims of false allegation. The lesser known victims have their own stories to tell, enough to reveal another long ignored injustice that demands remediation. False allegations of sexual misconduct have deprived a rapidly growing number of men and women of their reputations, their fortunes, their children, their livelihood and their freedom. Wasting the time and money of families and communities, and have left some so desperate that they have taken their own lives.
“For that reason, in the current revision of our sexual misconduct code, we must retain as a guiding premise the realization that women can lie because we know that, for several reasons, more than a few women have lied, more often than idealogues have admitted….too often, in any event, to be ignored by our jurisprudence, feminist or otherwise.”
It’s time that we admitted what is right in front of us. Not every woman tells the truth and not every man is a potential rapist.
Please someone, tell the State of Colorado.
Sources used in this article:
MND, mensnewsdaily.com, “During My Time as a Prosecutor I was Amazed to See all the False Rape Allegations that Were Made.”
North Shore News, Alana Mercer, “Feminist Fallacies Hurt Police Training?
Men’s Rights Online, Aaron Larsen, “False Accusation Issues”
Dr. Richard C. W. Hall Publications, Dr. Richard C. W. Hall, “Patients Who Make False Allegations”
Salon Newsreel, Cathy Young, Who Says WomenNever Lie About Rape?”
FoxNews.com, Wendy McElroy, “False Rape Accusations May Be More Common Than Thought”
IPT Journal, Frank S. Zepezauer, “Believe Her! The Woman Never Lies Myth”
Richardwebster.net, Richard Webster, “False Allegations: End This Cruel Injustice”
The Witchcraft Trials in Salem: A Commentary by Douglas Linder
hot on elephant
The 4 Stages of a Good Divorce. A Letter to my Children: You do not come from a Broken Home. These People are Rare Gems—Keep Them, Fight for Them, don’t Give Up on Them. Mom, can I Call her Mom, Too? Jon Stewart makes first appearance since retiring—”it’s not your country.” Waylon shares 10 transformingly beautiful Quotes about Love. 40 Things I’ve Learned in 40 Years. Why your Yoga Goals are (Probably) Irrelevant, if not Downright Dangerous. My Marriage had to End—for my Life to Begin. Dear Woman in the White Car at Margaritas Mexican Grill in West Memphis, Arkansas on July 15th, 2012.