Friday, May 12, 2006

What's behind the insistence that women frequently lie about being raped?

As I read yet another blogger rant about how they know with absolute certainty that many women do lie about being raped, I noticed the implication that those of us who dare to take all allegations of rape seriously are 1) deluded 2) man haters.

Those who habitually align themselves with alleged rapists don't see sexual exploitation as harming anyone except those charged with sex crimes. How can they if their heroes are those who give a 16-year-old girl alcohol then use her as a child porn movie prop and their villain is the girl who blacked out and testified that she couldn't remember what happened? They seem to feel justified in doing this because none of the convictions in this case were for the crime of rape.

Just because they can't see something doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Just because I told no one about being raped for two decades doesn't mean it didn't happen or that I have no right to call myself a rape survivor because my rapist was never charged or convicted.

I could counter specific faulty statements, but I'll leave that for other posts. I want to get to what I see as a driving force in those who habitually align themselves with alleged rapists.

In any area we are in one of these states:
1) Unconscious incompetent
2) Conscious incompetent
3) Unconscious competent
4) Conscious competent

To move from state 1 to states 3 or 4, you have to go through state 2. But state 1 can be very comfortable while state 2 is the most uncomfortable and sometimes hopeless state.

I believe those who deny the scope of the sexual violence problem most vigorously are trying their best to remain in state 1 (and out of state 2) while they see themselves as being in state 4.

When it comes to sexual violence awareness, state 2 is where those who have exploited others sexually are forced to see themselves as fully responsible for their actions and where they must stop blaming their victims. Most don't have the courage to do this without the threat of prison.

State 2 is difficult even for those who have never been sexually violent or sexually exploitive. They may have to see that they slandered true victims or stood by as someone they knew committed acts of sexual violence or taught children dangerous rape myths. Or they may have to accept that someone they trusted and loved made a deliberate choice to exploit them sexually.

When we've seen ourselves as always on the side of right, it takes courage to see where we've been wrong and where we have wronged others. Add a lack of knowledge about what to do to get into state 3 or 4 and it can be terrifying.

Many people retreat to state 1 and subsequently let their fear of state 2 and denial of what they learned there motivate them to increase their attacks on those who would drag them into such a terrible place.

Now on to the belief that all anti-rape activists are man haters.

To stay out of state 2, those in state 1 have to find a powerful reason to explain anti-rape activists' true motivation since it can't be that sexual exploitation, assault and abuse are serious problems in our society.

Since most alleged rapists are men, then the true cause for rape hysteria must be a deep desire to persecute men for being themselves.

A few of these ranters have gone so far as to refuse to take any rape charge seriously until victim advocates admit they have helped liars persecute innocent men. To test the irrationality of this request ask yourself if these same people would say something like, "I refuse to take murder seriously until you show me how many people faked their own deaths and made it look like they were murdered."

It doesn't compute. You either take a particular type of crime seriously or you don't.

If you don't believe certain types of sexual exploitation, sexual abuse and sexual assault should be crimes, then focus on the decisions law makers have made and ask them to decriminalize certain acts and stop attacking victims of these types of crimes because you don't think they have the right to say they are crime victims.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 11:43 AM   3 comments links to this post


At May 12, 2006 3:52 PM, Blogger ms. jared said...

It doesn't compute. You either take a particular type of crime seriously or you don't.

amen, sister. excellent post!
xoxo, jared

At May 16, 2006 8:21 AM, Blogger amelia raitte said...

hi marcella - i just wanted to thank you for your blog. it made me realise that i was raped, regularly, by a boyfriend for about two years when i was 16. it's so shameful to say so, but i didnt even know i had a right to say no. the more i said no, the more he said it turned him on. now i have to figure out what to do with this, and how to get back any sense of my own sexuality

At May 16, 2006 8:48 AM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...


Thank you for speaking up. If my blog helped you in any way, I'm grateful. Please remember to be kind to yourself and know resources for victims are available to you even if you simply need help moving forward. If you don't know where to start, go to


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