Karen Ingala Smith

On 12 March 2013, The Crown Prosecution Service published a report by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, into so-called false allegations of rape and domestic violence. The report – showing that false allegations are rare, and probably rarer than most people think1 –   is part of work being undertaken by the CPS to improve its handling of cases involving violence against women and girls

Rapists and abusers are the ones who need to be held responsible for the crimes that they commit. Yet we all share a responsibility for creating a culture that either supports victims, or one that supports abusers. Doing nothing permits rapists and abusers to hold a sense of entitlement and impunity; ultimately, to carry on raping and abusing.

The BBC, in their coverage of the DDP’s report, on both Radio 4’s Today programme and Newsbeat, decided to focus on…

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#IBelieveHer: And No Menz, I DON’T Believe You’ve Been “Falsely Accused”…

Today, I was “accused” by a male acquaintance of “always taking the women’s side” when it came to discussions of male violence against women. Inside, I cheered. Outwardly, my face showed no expression, as I knew what was coming. Mentally, a gameshow host was shouting in the back of my mind – “Bring on the rape apologia!” I hate it when these voices are right…

“I’m going to tell you something, and I’ve only ever told four people before you… You can’t tell anyone. But there was this girl who falsely accused me of rape. In the end, I had to go to the police to stop her, cos I was getting death threats from people she’d told…”

I can keep secrets. In fact, you’d be amazed at the secrets I keep. But this is one secret I refuse to shut up about, for the sole reason that I do not believe him. When men tell us they were falsely accused of rape, they expect to be believed immediately. Because men are our narrators in society, and we’re expected to believe them. God forbid we know of our unreliable narrators. God forbid we know they lie.

What my narrator didn’t know was I study everything. I absorb things that other people let fly under the radar. All five of his ex girlfriend’s were, in his words, “psycho bitches.” But of course, this was a “false allegation.” He told me to “shut up”, earlier in the conversation. But of course, this was a “false allegation.” He’d emotionally manipulated his last girlfriend. But of course, this was a “false allegation”. He’d once commented how Mini-Dragon liked to be the centre of my attention, with a hint of jealousy tinging his voice.

I didn’t accuse him flat out of lying. Part of me wishes I had. Instead, I pointed out false allegations counted for less than 3% of all reports of rape, and that men were statistically more likely to be raped than falsely accused of rape. I could see his eyebrow arch. He knew he wasn’t believed. We scare men by not believing their bullshit, and choosing to believe the women around us instead. I don’t think I needed to tell him I didn’t believe him. But a big part of me wishes I had…

But for the next man who decides to tell me he was “falsely accused”, all I have to say is, I don’t believe you, and the odds aren’t ever in your favour, this time…

#IBelieveHer; What #Steubenville Has Reminded Us About Rape Culture

“I would truly like to apologize. No pictures should have been sent out, let alone been taken.”

The words of Trent Mays, his supposed apology for raping 16 year old Jane Doe. The words that prove a tweet I sent last night wasn’t clutching at straws. In a fit  of fury over an offline conversation, I tweeted last night about the lengths people go to in order to defend a man’s right to rape; we saw it through Ched Evans’ support last year, through the Mike Tyson tours, which saw those supporting the tours claim Tyson had been set up. And now, we hear it from the mouth of the rapist himself… His remorse isn’t linked to the fact he raped Jane Doe. For one simple reason. We keep telling men they have a right to rape.

“But rape’s illegal!,” I hear some of you cry. You must be new, here… We lie to our women, we tell them rape is a criminal offence. Yet we see sympathy aligned with the men who rape women. 5,000 likes for a page in support of rapist Ched Evans, a grand total of 0 days in jail for rapist Roman Polanski, and a report on the rarity of false accusations twisted into an article about how men suffer from false accusations by BBC. I could go on, but fear I’d be here all night, just listing cases where rape has not only been minimised, but legalised too. Trent Mays didn’t apologise for raping Jane Doe, because he felt it was his right.

“But he was jailed!,” you argue. You really are new to these parts. Seriously. I’ll get you a map.  Figures from Rape Crisis and the British Crime Survey puts unreported rapes at 90%. In other words, men who rape have a 90% of their victim not going to the police. Why’s that, you ask? Take a look at the Saville cover up, the naming and bullying of the survivor in the Evans case, the rape myths women have forced down their throats at every time. As soon as we’re old enough to walk, we’re warned against “stranger danger”, yet it’s not strangers we need to fear, it’s the men sleeping in our beds, who think rape is their right.

And what really burns, is how ingrained rape culture is. We accuse the survivors of lying, despite knowing the rate for false accusations is low – 2%. We accuse the survivors of lying, choosing to believe the accused by default, on the basis of their sex. We try to blame survivors, by referring to their clothing, how much they drunk, whether they flirted with their rapist. We talk about rape, discussing it in terms of “sex”, when it’s not. It’s men’s violence against women, using penetration. To the survivors of rape, it feels nothing like sex. To those who campaign against rape, it looks nothing like sex. But we compare it to sex to discredit the survivors, and make excuses for the men who rape them. When we compare rape to sex, we try to imply confusion in the rapists mind. Yet they know they’re committing violence at the time. They know it’s rape, and we have to stop giving them a defence.

But with Steubenville, as in the Ched Evans case, it hasn’t ended with the verdict. The abuse continues, as the media empathises with the rapists, forgetting of the survivor. The first article I saw regarding the Steubenville verdict hosted a photo of Richmond crying into his mother’s shoulder – a move which aims at garnering sympathy for the rapists. The survivors pain is not as important as that of the men who raped her. If it was, the media wouldn’t sympathise with their “ruined futures”. They made the choice to ruin their futures when they made the choice to rape. And further more, social media allows the further abuse of the survivor – PublicShaming.Tumblr.Com has collected a sample of the worst of social media’s response to Steubenville.

Isn’t it time we stopped pretending rape has already been outlawed, and truly remove men’s right to rape?

International Women’s Day – And The Men Who Demonstrate Why It’s So Vital…

Will, your dedication to the cause is applauded. #MustTryHarder

TEH POOR MENZ! We have ONE day… ONE FLIPPING DAY!

Why do misogynists struggle so much with buttering two pieces of bread and putting something between it? They all seem to have the same problem…

<facepalm>

So, not only can misogynists not work out the logistics of putting two pieces of bread together, but they can’t use google, either. Jarrett, let me help you out here…

WHERE do I even… WHY? WHY?!?

Dear Jord. Don’t give up the day job. Preferably find one where you can’t access the internet.

Would be a man that says that…