Well, kids. It’s 8:37 PM, I have a pot of rice on the stove (and goddamnit I’m not going to burn it this time, I don’t know how I even managed that in the first place), and it’s time for me to finally sit down and try to make this post a thing that happens.
I’ve already addressed certain aspects of why “BUT TEH WIMMINZ CRY RAEP” is a bullshit argument for rape apologism and victim-blaming. I’ve talked about how, yes, people can generally distinguish between rape and sex they’re not proud that they had. I’ve talked about how the mythology of a rape accusal inevitably and immediately leading to the direst of consequences for the accused is way, way off.
Well, as they say, and now for something completely different!
I, myself, your own dear sweet Avvie, have been falsely accused of rape.
Let’s rewind about six years, to my freshman year of high school. I’d only recently made the decision to come out as bisexual to a few close friends, one of whom was named A. A had a good friend named B, who I only vaguely knew but had always enjoyed being around, and apparently B thought I was pretty cute. In a freshman-year-style twist of events involving note-passing and lots of giggling, B found out that I reciprocated her interest and asked me out. It served a dual purpose as a method of coming out completely for the both of us: people saw us holding hands in the hallway, or saw her kiss me as I left for class, and whether they gave us a thumbs-up or flipped us off, they still knew.
Our relationship was relatively brief: between B’s swim practices (she was a full head taller than me and very athletic, while I was still barely at five feet tall) and my need to hide the relationship from my mother, we never really saw each other outside of school. Due to this, we broke up after about a month. A few weeks later, B and all the girls in our friend group threw a party at her house, and we ended up hooking up that night. It wasn’t anything particularly involved, but it certainly happened – we’d each had about a shot of vodka previously, enough that we didn’t mind that the room we were in didn’t even have a door on it. At one point, one of B’s drunken friends came in just to squeal “I LOVE YOU GUYSSS”, then stumble back out giggling.
It was weird, it was embarrassing. Luckily, however, B and I were still on good terms, and when we woke up the next morning we laughed and hugged each other and she helped me find my bra.
So imagine my surprise when, a few weeks later, I started getting death glares from people who had previously been our mutual friends. I asked A what was up, and she responded that B had been telling people that I’d taken advantage of her at the party. I was pretty shocked, not to mention mortified, but knew enough about consent (that alcohol is a complicating factor, namely) to know that I couldn’t just assume she was lying. So I found B, and I asked her if it was true. She admitted that she’d made it up to try to shift blame away from herself; apparently, some of our ‘friends’ at that party had texted other people – including people who somehow had never even found out about B and my previous relationship – about what was going on, and she couldn’t handle the pressure of teasing from that combined with the harassment we were already receiving from being openly non-straight.
I was furious, and hurt, and incredibly embarrassed. I stopped talking to B for almost a full year, told my side of the story to those of our friends who would listen, and I waited out the litany of verbal abuse from my peers. Threats were posted in my Myspace inbox, the name-calling got bad enough that even by junior year I was still occasionally responding to “homo bitch” like it was a second name, and random persons made threatening gestures at me as I walked to class.
I was luckier than some in this position. Eventually, the truth did come to light. B got caught lying about a lot of things over the next few years, including faking leukemia as a way to mask an eating disorder. The fact that she publicly asked me out again junior year similarly added credence to my innocence (I declined, albeit politely). I still resent all the things she lied about, but more than that, I feel sorry for her – clearly, she had a lot of underlying issues to feel compelled to lie about so much. Last I heard of her, she’s happily married and a stay-at-home mom; good for her, as long as she’s happy with it.
Most of all, I’m glad that I didn’t decide to use the experience as an excuse to write off rape accusations in general.
Because if I had, I couldn’t have supported my best friend after she confessed to being date-raped when we were sixteen. I would have doubted another friend who admitted that he was sexually abused by his cousin as a child. I would have further traumatized so many victims, lost so many friends and opportunities.
There’s a moral to this story that many, many more people need to understand:
You are much, much more likely to get raped – no matter what your gender – than you are to ever be falsely accused of rape.
I am not saying that being falsely accused of rape is fair, because it is not.
I am not saying it is just, because it is not.
What I am saying is that anecdotal evidence about false accusations are in no way sufficient reason to write off the stories of so many survivors who have been the victims of more than just a malicious lie.
Victims who have been violated in the most basic way, and now are being disregarded by people who have no evidence that they’re telling anything but the truth. No evidence except a vague bias and a story about someone who once upon a time had his life ruined by an accusation that was not true.
I do not want pity for the lie that was told about me. It was shitty, and it was unfounded, and it caused a lot of trouble for me. The few lies are not the point – the many truths are, and they are so much more important.