Principled uncertainty

“Talk about false rape is dangerous…”

I think the poster DanceDreaming is right in saying that, but being dangerous doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t talked about. Some of DDs following arguments show a need to talk about false rape accusations, because by not talking about them they are easy to marginalise. The marginalisation of false rape in feminism is necessary to allow people to speak freely about their experiences. However when an individual is being accused of rape they deserve the accusation to be treated critically; the reasoning for marginalising false rape accusations no longer applies where someone stands to lose a great deal from such an accusation.

I haven’t had any accusations of rape leveled against me in the legal sphere, but I have in the social sphere. In that case we didn’t have sex, and had never had sex, so it is quite easy for me to say that it was a false accusation. We had kissed before after she had gotten me very drunk pouring vodkas. Another time she had propositioned me for sex which I declined. This time I was around at her place and we got into bed after talking much of the night, I moved over to her and felt her up, and she resisted. I grumbled, rolled over and went to sleep. She left for an early class before I woke up, but later in the day she called a mutual friend saying I had raped her. He asked me whether this was true, and I obviously denied it. She was already on the outer with most of our mutual friends for her strangely manipulative behaviour, and she was largely ostracised afterwards. However she made contact through them a couple of years later, wanting to meet me. I did so reluctantly and it was clear that she just wanted to get laid, taking me out to a movie, getting some beers and so on. The next day she asked why I hadn’t even tried to kiss her, and then asked tangentially about the false rape accusation, before demurring, “Oh I wouldn’t want to embarrass you!”

The argument that DanceDreaming uses to marginalise false rape is flawed because it is based on an ignorance of how common false rape accusation are. DD says, “I know false rapes do happen. But I think they are rare.” I don’t know how common false rapes are but I don’t think that shutting discussion of them based on a presumption of their rarity is a good idea. The ignorance of their frequency would have to be a good reason to talk about them, right?

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