Raise hands, anyone out there who’s gotten tired of having the crime of rape regarded as a nothing, a “he said, she said”, no-big-deal kind of offense.
He said, she said? Flip a coin a hundred times, approximately half the time it will come up heads, right? If rape were really a he-said-she-said crime (by which the users if that particularly infelicitous phrase mean that accusations are false fifty percent of the time), then in half of all cases, “she” would be lying. Yet a study done in the UK (the study used only those cases where DNA evidence was available) revealed that only eight percent of rape accusations turned out to be false. Eight percent. That’s fewer than one-in-ten. Which is much, much lower than half.
What about other crimes, what’s the false accusation rate on them? Things like assault, battery, embezzlement, fraud, what’s the percentage of alleged victims who are really not telling the truth? Turns out to be . . . oh, look. Eight percent. The very same proportion.
What this shows is that 8% of us may falsely accuse someone of a crime. It doesn’t matter what type of crime, and the sex of the accuser doesn’t matter. In eight percent of cases, the accusation is wrong.
So toss that old “he said, she said”. It’s history. If only eight percent of rape allegations are false, that means that 92% of them are true.
Yet rape is still minimized, ignored, and generally shoved into a drawer by men, including police and detectives. Survivors of rape find themselves criticized, victimized twice over. Even CBS reporter Lara Logan, manually raped a year ago in Cairo’s Tahrir Square (Logan was separated from her co-workers, knocked to the ground, and for half an hour beaten and brutalized by dozens of men who took turns shoving their fingers into her vagina, until she was rescued by a group of local women and up to twenty Egyptian soldiers – meaning that when challenged, her attackers were slow to give up), was at first disbelieved when she told Americans she had been violated.
Rape survivors know the hurdles that face them. That’s why they rarely report. Rape is still a vastly underreported crime . . . much more so than embezzlement. It’s underreported by women, vastly more so by assaulted children and by adult male survivors. In the US military, rape is practically endemic, yet survivors find themselves silenced.
Maybe what’s needed here is a third sex. One with a penchant for educating rapists and the people (mostly male) who enable them by disbelieving rape survivors.
Imagine a third kind of human being. Is it a woman, a man . . .? No, it’s a thrid. An adult thrid would grow to, say, seven feet, minimum. It would weigh on average 300 pounds. It would possess a sexual organ resembling a penis in function. And it would have the ability to read minds and hearts and – for its sexual pleasure – zero in on rapists, on those people who don’t think rape is a real crime, and on those who routinely toss out the testimony of rape survivors.
When it found one of these people, it would not be gentle. It would act exactly like any rapist. Control plus force plus pain. That’s torture. Interestingly, it’s also rape.
Imagine you’re a member of one of those three groups (which can overlap, obviously), and you’ve just gotten word that a delegation of thrids is in your neighborhood. What would you do? Run? Brazen it out? Hope the stories aren’t true?
But they are true. The thrids march down the street. Because they can read minds, they know exactly who to attack. Suddenly the reality of rape is impressed, in the most egregious way, on people who up to now have denied that it’s a crime, who have blamed the survivors for their dress, their drinking, their being in the “wrong” place.
There is no wrong place, because wherever rape occurs is wrong. Including in homes, which is where the thrids would find their victims cowering, perhaps trying to shoot, suddenly caught in a vortex of control and pain they used to dismiss as “no big deal” from stronger, larger beings who outweigh them and who believe that it is their right to take sexual pleasure where they like.
A little while later, the deniers’ opinions would have changed. From rape deniers, they would have become rape survivors.
Once you experience something, it’s awfully difficult to deny it.
There are no thrids. There never will be thrids. However, if you are a rape minimizer, someone who accuses survivors of causing their own pain and violation, a person who minimizes attacks that leave people with fear and horror, I want you to do something.
Picture the thrids. Envision yourself at their mercy. Picture the reality of being violated.
Wouldn’t you want people to believe you and hunt down your attacker?