Daily Archives: February 19, 2006

False rape charges: a feminist responds

Recently, Jeff Goldstein challenged feminist bloggers to respond to a bizarre California story about a false accusation of rape that was disproved only by the existence of a videotape, and to the fact that such charges — which can potentially lead to years of imprisonment for the falsely accused — are generally treated lightly by the legal system. I responded to the story here.

Now, Jill at Feministe — one of the bloggers Jeff addressed — has a response of her own. Jill points to an absolutely horrible story from Iran, involving a teenage girl named Naznin, who has been sentenced to death by hanging for stabbing a man to death when he and two other men tried to rape her and her niece in a park after chasing away their male companions by pelting them with stones.

Jill then comments:

There isn’t much else to say about this one, is there? It’s disgusting beyond words.

But of course, I shouldn’t take this girl’s word on its face. I mean, we all know that women lie about rape for fun and no one lies about other crimes, and this girl especially had something to gain. Perhaps we should consider a higher legal bar in evaluating rape charges. Right?

Of course, if a male blogger posted some terrible story about an innocent man being lynched on a false accusation of rape, and then added a snarky aside along the lines of, “I mean, we all know that women never lie about rape and we should just believe the women,” then we’d all know he was a misogynist… right?

I’ve seen Jill’s posts before, at Feministe and on others blogs. I’ve often disagreed with her, but she always struck me as someone willing, at least, to engage in an honest exchange of ideas. But now, confronted with an open-and-shut case of a woman lying about rape — a lie that could have sent six men to prison for many years — she can do no better than to use Nazanin’s tragic story to try to score a cheap rhetorical point.

Disappointing, to say the least.

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