If you read a lot of MRA ranting, it seems as though women love nothing better than to ruin men’s lives by accusing them of rape or sexual assault if they dare criticize them, or make them uncomfortable in any way. Even those who are not diehard misogynists seem to think that this happens with a certain amount of frequency. If movies and TV shows are any indication, any accusation of rape which was not previously depicted in the movie or show has, generously, about a 50/50 chance of turning out to be false. This depiction of sexual assault in the media has an impact, one that is far larger than many people consciously realize. It leads both men and women to treat claims of rape and sexual assault with much skepticism, even those who generally agree with gender equality, but who are simply not that familiar with statistics and facts regarding gender disparity.
As was the case with Bill Cosby and now with Donald Trump, any public figure who suddenly becomes the center of a cloud of accusations of old cases of rape also finds themselves with supporters who say the same thing: If this was true, why didn’t they say something sooner? How convenient of them to say these things now, all together like this!
The fact of the matter is, there are many reasons why women don’t come forward with their stories of rape and sexual assault. One of the reasons is because the sheer numbers are against you. The Enliven Project came out with this graphic, to give you a visual idea of this fact, how many times people are actually falsely accused, and how disproportionate the general public’s skepticism is in cases of accusations of rape.
False accusations are terrible, but there is no denying that if you are accused, falsely or not, the odds are entirely in your favor.
The new hashtag #WhyWomenDontReport gives many more, devastating reasons why victims don’t come forward.
Why didn’t they say anything sooner?
Because they felt, and were powerless
Because reporting is far more traumatic than people realize
Because victims so often put not wanting to hurt others over some long shot at justice they might never get
The fact is that our society just doesn’t put that much importance on rape and sexual assault. Do I even have to mention the years worth of backlog of untested rape kits, or rape kits that are simply thrown away, the grilling of victims of their drinking and sexual habits, and the casual dismissal of claims as lies or regret?
I am so sick of trying to convince people that rape and sexual assault is a real problem that is not being addressed nearly as thoroughly as most people think. I hope that this hashtag opens some eyes.