Lies, damn lies and rape reportingPosted: March 1, 2011
There was an article in the Metro this morning headed “Jail for cheating rape claim wife“. Rather than admit to an affair, this woman told her husband she’d been raped, sparking a police investigation. This was a stupid, desperate and criminal act, and I’m not seeking to justify it.
But the reporting of it has really angered me. Rape often comes down to one person’s word against another’s. And yet any reporting brands women as liars, not men. How many men were convicted of rape this week having lied to police and the courts about what happened? And how many more men haven’t been convicted, but have been found by the police to have lied about an incident. Why is this not reported? How often is it reported that people have lied about being assaulted, or lied about a burglary?
Why is the media so keen to report it when a woman lies about rape? It is awful when people make false allegations. It hurts not only the accused, but also genuine rape victims fighting to be believed. But this biased reporting is a constant reminder that women are liars. It keeps the “but maybe she wanted it really” at the forefront of any accusation about rape – by the police, by jurors, by the courts. It reminds victims that people don’t want to believe them.
No wonder rape convictions are so low.