Lori Adelman says (emphasis mine)
Insofar as it’s true that the tale of the falsely accused rapist is a man’s worst nightmare, it’s also a feminist’s worst nightmare. False rape accusations- and false accusations of any kind, really, aren’t good for anyone. They shouldn’t be framed as an anti-feminist issue any more than sexual assault should be framed as solely a feminist issue. It’s when the quest for justice becomes an anti-woman bashing session that feminists have to step in.
This is not only entirely obvious but entirely true.
Quick question: who's more likely to file a false rape report? A radical feminist, a mainstream feminist, a "I'm not a feminist but..." feminist, or a woman with no notion of feminism except maybe a second-hand anti-feminist-inspired belief that whatever feminism is it's bad and wrong?
I mean, what exactly are the common accusations of false rape supposed to be based on here? According to even the bitterest proponents of false-accusation theory say the primary motivations for those who admit* they filed false accusations are
- Needed an alibi to explain shame or embarrassment over pregnancy, STI, other evidence of sexual activity, truancy, etc. (50%)
- "Rage, revenge, or retribution" against a real or perceived wrong, rejection, or betrayal by the accused (27-44%)
- The remainder is a mix of attention-garnering disorders like Munchausen and borderline personality, criminal extortion, and "unspecified."
None of those reasons rank really high on the old feminist agenda. Not even the Rush-Limbaugh-fueled "feminazi" one! In fact, I'm... pretty sure you'll never find exactly zero feminists who advocate filing false rape reports.**
[I]t’s frustrating to me that there’s such a strong relationship between false rape activists and anti-feminists, because in reality feminists and those trying to reduce instances of false rape accusations have a lot of overlap and a lot in common. We both want a fair and effective justice system. We both want to reduce stigma and discrimination around cases of sexual assault. We both want to find ways to facilitate more honest and truthful dialogue around rape, sexual assault, and violence in our communities and justice systems.
Same here. It's 100% bullshit for anyone to "cry rape." It's also 100% bullshit for an actual rape victim's account be, well, discounted. Because...
Ok, another quick question: what percent of rapes that aren't reported are actual rapes? Ooh, that's kind of an oxymoron isn't it? And if you figure that even opponents acknowledge that most "real" rapes go unreported we're still looking at a fuck of a lot of unpunished actual rapes and sexual assaults that false-rape activists and feminists alike have a definite and mutual interest in bringing to justice.
Now Adelman brings an accusation that while perfectly accurate is only 50% complete
[M]any men’s rights groups take up the cause of false rape accusations with great gusto, but that their enthusiasm for seeking justice through the law rarely extends to victims of sexual assault.
Again, this is as perfectly true as MRA accusations that feminists don't bring as much enthusiasm for extending sympathy for those who really are falsely accused of rape as they do for seeking justice against those who are legitimately accused.
And I'll just go out on a limb here and say that a) anyone who doesn't take the falsely accused seriously (too many feminists) or b) anyone who doesn't take the falsely disbelieved seriously (an astonishing percentage of anti-feminists and MRAs) needs to step up and see this as two sides of one single problem.
Look, I can see both sides of this issue really, really clearly. A European immigrant friend was falsely accused of sexually abusing his pre-school-aged daughter based on bathtub photos that a clerk in a Mississippi River town Walmart thought looked suspicious. (The photos in question wouldn't have warranted a second glance on either coast.) The process of defending himself basically bankrupted him, nearly ruined his reputation, and tied his extended family in knots. He wasn't allowed to see his daughter without "supervision" until middle school! So yeah, false accusations disfigure and burn like acid in the face.
But then again I've sat and talked through the night with women friends who sure as shit were raped and weren't believed, or were so afraid they wouldn't be believed, or knew the family of the rapist*** had enough money, influence, and reputation to first publicly drag her scruffy, lower-class, not-a-virgin self through the mud and then get their son acquitted anyway. And yeah, true accusations that nobody will take seriously are also symptoms of a deeply, disgracefully diseased society.
So I'm going to put this really simply: if you're an MRA who doesn't put as much heart and soul into insuring all real victims of rape are heard, believed, taken seriously, and see justice done then you're actually not serious about resolving the problem of false accusations of rape.
Meanwhile if you're an activist who doesn't put as much heart and soul into insuring that false accusations of rape is universally understood to be as intrinsically and inextricably deep a manifestation of rape culture as rape itself then you're not serious about resolving the problem of rape not being taken seriously either.
Rape is sexual violence and it happens often enough that everybody should take it seriously. False accusations of rape and sexual assault are also sexual violence and while not at all as common as rape (since, remember MRAs, most real cases go unreported) and should also be taken seriously.
The problems are nearly inextricably linked, and they'll remain linked till they're addressed head on by advocates for victims of both.
* Probably a really bad idea to pick those who've just been pressured to plead guilty to lesser charges though. Turns out that can really backfire.
** In fact you might find the opposite! A California anti-rape activist from the 1970s quoted in one of the old Whole Earth Catalogs recommended that rape victims tell police that their assailants only indecently exposed themselves. Her reasoning went like this: rape victims are almost never believed unless they've got stab wounds, when charges are filed rape defendants are acquitted, when rape defendants are convicted they're often treated with respect by fellow prisoners, and when they get out of jail they're out of jail and that's usually that. Meanwhile, though, accusations of indecent exposure are taken very seriously, accusers are almost always believed, defendants are rarely acquitted, if convicted of indecent exposure they receive virtually zero respect from fellow prisoners, and at least in California at the time anyone convicted of indecent exposure (but weirdly not, at the time, those convicted of rape) must register as a sex offender every time he moved for the rest of his life.
*** The same very-wealthy surgeon's son who years earlier had assaulted and nearly raped me and did rape the other boy he cornered me with. And no, neither of us reported it either.