Dear Sisters, Do Not Lie About Rape. You Discredit Real Survivors When You Do

25 Mar

There is nothing more egregious than false accusations of rape or childhood sexual abuse. For every woman who actively lies about rape as an act of manipulation, revenge, or attention seeking behavior, a real survivor’s story gets discredited. For every woman who concocts a story, the harder it is for a survivor to tell hers’. Advances in this cause unravel and more victims get silenced, ridiculed, shamed and blamed, which is the last thing they need.

It’s true that trauma can create ruptures and distortions in memory and that details of rape are sometimes not clear. This makes reporting abuse extremely difficult. Yet this phenomenon is very different than pulling a rabbit out of a hat and out of the blue accusing an innocent man of rape. I don’t understand why women do the latter. It is a deep betrayal to both men and women.

For someone who has experienced incest or rape, few survivors feel like shouting about this from the roof tops. In fact, some of us will never be able to articulate a sentence about the events or the relationships that were endured. Others, as part of the healing process, find hope and strength in speaking about their stories. This is often the first step towards advocacy work and helping others. Yet it is the rare person who speaks about the event as a type of tabloid exhibitionism. For most, the memories are mired in shame, secrecy, and an uncanny form of repression.

So Dear Sisters, do not lie about rape. You discredit real survivors when you do.

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