Every woman I know will hate me for posting this, but someone just said this to me again so it’s time to answer the question in light of recent national news stories.
“Why is it that every time a woman says a man raped her, everybody’s initial reaction is to assume that she’s lying?”
Okay, it’s simple. Here why.
Under the current judicial system, the accused is legally assumed to be innocent until proven guilty. Because this is the material basis under which we live, our personal assumptions and discussions tend to follow the same logic. Therefore, if a woman has a accused a man of rape, and he must be assumed to be innocent until it is proven that he is guilty, then it follows that we must assume that she is lying until she proves that she is not. It’s definitional.
Once she proves him guilty, then we will be happy to hang him from a yardarm, hopefully. But until proof is presented, the assumption flows the other way according to the social contract as it is currently embodied.
The only way around this is to fight to create a special “guilty until proven innocent” statute and cultural bias in the case of rape accusations. In some ways, this is already close to existing, but is only employed in practice by 50% of the population: women. I have a feeling that it’s going to be difficult to convince men, who have absolutely nothing to gain and everything to lose under such an exception, not oppose a legal change to that effect. Most men find the prospect of such a world very scary, given the way that people behave sometimes when they are hurt or feel wronged.
In combination with the myriad communications issues in rape cases (“He raped me!” “She kissed me first, and she never said no!” “Once he started, I was too scared to say anything!”) and the evolutionary and cultural forces that work to maintain them (“I’m sorry, I’m just not attracted to you, I need a strong man.” “He took me right there in the bus stop. Neither of us said a word. It was so sexy!” “He’s so awkward… he actually asked my permission to touch me. Ugh…”), I doubt it would be a just or fair world if this were to be changed anyway.
Yes, I know — what does it matter if it’s fair, when many innocent womens’ entire lives are effectively at stake through no fault of thier own? Well, the man’s answer is — by changing the system so that men are assumed guilty, we only change things so that many innocent mens’ entire lives are at stake through no fault of their own. In short: sex isn’t fair, gender relations are always hard, people will always get hurt, and the gender wars are coming, sooner or later, probably about the same time that the much-heralded culture wars turn hot.
And as an aside, for those other people who’ll say that no woman would ever falsely accuse a man of something as serious as rape, thanks to the superiority of femininity, or solidarity among the community of women, or whatever… Please. Grow the fsck up and don’t make me laugh. People falsely accuse people of everything. Men and women, every crime imaginable, all the time. People are vindictive, and just try asking any man whether he thinks women are even moreso than men.
Beneath all of this is the assumption held by many women that all men are actually rapists at their core. It’s not a matter of if, but when, for every man. This is not the case, but there is absolutely no way to convince many women of this fact. In a western world in which children are increasingly raised without exposure to benevolent adult males, and in many cases are raised by single mothers suspicious of them, the attitude will persist. And before anyone starts talking about how it’s because all fathers are deadbeats, let me say that my personal life is full of fathers who aren’t, and there are many women out there right now setting out specifically to avoid the presence of men in their child-rearing endeavours. I don’t have a strong opinion on whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing in general, but it’s transparently evident that this does have the effect of creating children for whom adult males are foreign, the other. We all know how the other has been treated throughout history. In the case of the growth of girls into women, it breeds fear and hate. In the case of the growth of boys into men, it breeds confusion and self-hate. And lest any reading females jump on this with “Good, men could use some self-hate,” let me tell you that self-hate is not what you want the men of the world to have. Know what it leads to? The field of psychology knows well that pervasive self-hate in men leads to deadbeatness, frustration, crime, violence, and yes, rape. It’s not a shock or unique to men. Any marginalized, self-hating group will behave badly, whether the group is defined by gender, ethnicity, nationality, or anything else.
Maybe what we should do is stop media sensationalism and not dissect news stories like this one for six hours a day well in advance of trial or even preliminary evidence.
But of course that’s a man’s perspective. As I’m sure all of my female friends will now point out, in a world of anger and hurt at my having posted this. Sorry girls. I still love you all. But I am a man and am not secretly getting a sex change, or secretly gay, or any of that other stuff that would make me more permissible. I really am just a man. 😛