If someone asked you how many rape allegations turn out to be false, what would you say? Well it you read the Daily Mail (god forbid you would actually openly admit to that), you would probably say A LOT. As the Guardian reports, "Headlines such as 'Wicked women who cried rape trapped by three-in-bed photos' reveal women to be the scheming harridans they always suspected, harridans who use their sexuality as a weapon, whose power lies solely in their body. These were real cases of false allegations, but the idea that it is a widespread problem, a weapon women use, is fiction."
In the last year, the Daily Mail has published a record amount of stories reporting on the ongoing epidemic proportions of evil females using false rape allegations to ruin the lives of men. They ran 54 to be exact. So how big in this false rape epidemic? Contrary to what our popular rape culture and the publications that endorse it tell us, rape allegations are extremely rare.
How rare? Like SUPER DUPER rare.
Women Under Siege reports that according to robust studies, 2-8% of rape accusations end up actually being false. This is no different that any other crime such as burglary of theft. How many false of those fake charges has the Daily Mail published this year?
Moreover, because the FBI calculates the amount of false rape allegations based on the amount of reported rapes (and that a whopping 63% of rapes go unreported), the numbers would look more like this if we included all projected rapes:
Images courtesy of Lauren Nelson
As gender theory expert Shanti Marie Blanchard writes, the hostile environment that publications like the Daily Mail craft through these deliberate false narratives don't only hurt survivors of violence, they also hinder future victims from coming forward:
"When we live in a rape culture that punishes survivors who come forward with allegations of sexual assault by making an example of them through social, legal, and media driven platforms, we are creating an adversarial climate for future survivors to bring forth their claims and undergo a just and due process by law. We are perpetuating a social censorship that demoralizes women’s experiences as petty complaints, emotive behavior, and something that should just be 'Swifted' away." (For full understanding of her Taylor Swift pun, please see her full article.)
Sadly, the Daily Mail is not alone in their godawful misogynistic treatment of rape stories. Other news organizations such as CNN were recently called out for their appalling rape apologist coverage of the Steubenville case. In a powerful essay, prolific writer Lauren Wolfe wonders when the media will stop re-writing rape culture in our social narratives. She reveals the grueling statistic that "a woman is raped every two minutes in this country" and notes that the Guardian has reported that “in the 149 days since the Steubenville survivor was assaulted, statistics indicate that nearly another 85,000 sexual assaults have been committed in the United States."
There were 85,000 real cases of sexual assaults in the past 149 days and the Daily Mail has chosen to disproportionately cover the ones that weren't true? The publication isn't covering the news; it's fabricating the news. The Daily Mail is not only guilty of distorting reality, it is deliberately contributing to building a climate that is already hostile for rape survivors.
Tell the Daily Mail to stop perpetuating damaging myths about rape. Use their Twitter handle to tell them that survivors deserve more: @MailOnline.
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