False Accusations Are as Serious as the Crime Would Have Been

If you don’t care about false accusations you don’t care about crimes either.

big lie

Rape is as ugly and vile as it gets. Those who truly care about the issue should be at least as outraged about those who falsely claim rape as those who commit rape—in my own awareness it began with Al Sharpton and Tawana Brawley. Just this week we have Lena Dunham and this one at the University of Virginia.

[See also, “False Charge of Rape a ‘Mild Inconvenience’]

Regarding the latter, USA Today reports: “Rolling Stone backs off from U.Va. rape story.”

Rolling Stone magazine said Friday that it found discrepancies in its controversial story about an alleged gang rape of a woman named “Jackie” at the University of Virginia and had lost faith in the piece — a shocking retreat coming merely days after author Sabrina Rubin Erdely defended the reporting.

“In the face of new information, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie’s account, and we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced,” Will Dana, the magazine’s managing editor, wrote on its website.

“We were trying to be sensitive to the unfair shame and humiliation many women feel after a sexual assault and now regret the decision to not contact the alleged assaulters to get their account,” the post said. “We are taking this seriously and apologize to anyone who was affected by the story.”

On Nov. 19, the magazine ran a story of “Jackie,” an unidentified UVA. student who says she was gang-raped at a party at the house of Phi Kappa Psi in the fall of 2012. Her shocking story with vivid details from the night of the incident and its charges that sexual assaults at U.Va. often go unreported deeply embarrassed the university and launched an investigation by school officials and local police. All Greek life activities were also suspended in the wake of the story.

Soon after the 9,000-word story ran, media critics began to question Erdely’s reportorial methods. According to Rolling Stone, she spent months talking to Jackie, her friends and university officials. But Erdely never spoke to the accused “Drew” and other men at Phi Kappa Psi.

Erdely didn’t contact the men for comments due to an agreement with Jackie, Dana said. “Because of the sensitive nature of Jackie’s story, we decided to honor her request not to contact the man she claimed orchestrated the attack on her nor any of the men she claimed participated in the attack for fear of retaliation against her,” Dana wrote.

Cases like these make it much harder for true victims of rape to be believed and properly cared for. It is tragically similar to the way in which the lies about Michael Brown in Ferguson (the “hands up, don’t shoot” baloney) make it harder to address authentic cases of police abuse and inappropriate profiling.

The original basis of Western law—the Bible—has the answer: False accusations of criminal activity are to be punished with the same penalty as what would be inflicted on a true criminal who committed the charge being leveled.

If Dorian Johnson is proved in a court of law to have lied about Darren Wilson’s actions, he should be executed for a false accusation of murder against the officer. The Bible also says rape is a capital crime, and I fully support that penalty on convicted rapists, and upon those who falsely accuse others of the crime.

Who am I to disagree with God? And…

Who are you?