I often think about how men are silenced these days on anything having to do with gender issues. I received an email from a male reader who is concerned about the same thing: he is told he is a “rape apologist” for even suggesting that men might be unfairly accused of rape. Here is his letter:
Hi Dr. Helen,
One of the things that’s caught my attention lately is a constant repetition by my lefty friends (I live in Boston, so I have many of them) of the term “rape culture.” My understanding of this term is that our culture (meaning, I suppose, western, judeo christian, etc) tolerates and tacitly encourages men to rape, and does not punish them sufficiently when they do.
Now, I understand the difficulty of getting a rape conviction. I do. There generally aren’t any witnesses, and what little physical evidence there may be could just as easily be the byproduct of consensual sex. This leaves the victim as the only witness, and her credibility is frequently the only thing in her favor.
On the other hand, we know that there are false rape allegations. I’ve asked my lefty friends how they’d change things to improve this situation. The answers I generally get boil down pretty much to “believe the accuser” and “past sexual behavior shouldn’t be admissable”. When I point out that this flies in the face of key legal concepts like the presumption of innocence, and the right of the accused to an affirmative defense, I get called a “rape apologist.”
Camille Paglia has pointed out that it used to be that there were “extralegal” ways of punishing rapists. Which is to say that a victim’s father and brothers would often go have a friendly chat with the rapist, who, after he got out of the hospital would either mend his ways or run afoul of a family who weren’t so friendly.
That tactic is difficult to pull of in cases where the identity of the rapist is unknown, where the victim is too embarrassed to tell the family or where the family is spread out, geographically. It’s also, I must admit, a bit barbaric.
That we’ve largely abandoned this does leave us in a spot where convictions are difficult to obtain, and that’s a difficult thing, even for those of us concerned about false accusations; we want the real perps to be punished no less than we want the innocent to go free.
However, I’m told that being concerned with such trivialities as being presumed innocent makes me a rape apologist and a part of rape culture.
Even worse is when some poor man dares to make suggestions about how women can go about reducing the likelihood of being raped. The only acceptable answer to this, it seems, is that men need to stop raping. If one were to point out that A) I have a right not to have my house burglarized, but that B ) I lock my door anyway… yup… rape apologist, rape culture.
I have looked around the edges of the “‘men’s movement”. While I see that there are men who are concerned about the same things I am, I also see things I don’t like (most notably the celebration of “pick up artists” as men who manage to eschew the bonds of relationships and marriage, but still manage to get laid.) However, when I’ve seen the subject broached among feminists, the term “hate groups” comes up almost immediately.
When I did interviews for my book Men on Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream – and Why It Matters, one of the lawyers I interviewed said, “men’s rights only go as far as how honest she chooses to be.” In the case of the allegation of sexual abuse or rape, this is true. As the reader points out, no one wants to let a rapist go free, but just as important is that we do not allow the society to feel that it is okay to jail or punish a man who is falsely accused. Feminists and their supporters want our society to believe that women don’t lie about rape or abuse, but this takes away from the fact that women are human and some humans lie.
In an article at the Washington Times entitled “False reports outpace sex assaults in the military” even the Pentagon found that there was an increase in unfounded allegations:
False complaints of sexual abuse in the military are rising at a faster rate than overall reports of sexual assault, a trend that could harm combat readiness, analysts say.
Virtually all media attention on a Pentagon report last week focused on an increase in service members’ claims of sexual abuse in an anonymous survey, but unmentioned were statistics showing that a significant percentage of such actually investigated cases were baseless.
From 2009 to 2012, the number of sexual abuse reports rose from 3,244 to 3,374 — a 4 percent increase.
During the same period, the number of what the Pentagon calls “unfounded allegations” based on completed investigations of those reports rose from 331 to 444 — a 35 percent increase.
And though the number of allegations is increasing, nothing is being done:
Unsubstantiated accusations remain a significant problem, but the SAPRO is doing nothing about it,” Mrs. Donnelly said. “I went through both volumes and found no evidence of concern about the significant 17 percent of ‘unfounded accusations.’ Something should be done to reduce the numbers of false accusations, the first step being an admission that the problem exists.”
Just as nothing is being done in the military, nothing is being done much about false allegations against men in general except to occasionally say “Oops, too bad for you.” Apparently, an innocent man’s life and reputation is worth little, especially if women need to feel that something is being done. A man should be happy to sacrifice his life for the good of women and their supporter’s “rape culture” cause.
Don’t believe it. Stand up for men’s due process rights, free speech and yes, their reputations just as you would for a woman’s. We are all citizens in a supposedly (yeah, right…) free society where we are entitled to due process, the presumption of innocence and the ability to speak out when feminists and their Uncle Tim supporters accuse us of being “rape apologists” as the reader above described. These accusers are sexist pigs who think that one woman’s life is worth more than 100 falsely accused men who can rot in jail for all they care. And if they are innocent, that might just be better in their book. Because they are guilty of something by virtue of being male.
Now, my question to you, dear readers, is how do you deal with the silencing tools used by the left, the right, women, men and others who wish to silence the decent men in our society?