Crying Wolf: How Should Society Punish False Rαpe Accusers?
Reported by Krystle Crossman
It is an unfortunate fact that there are women that lie about being rαped and end up having innocent men sent to jail. In 1931, a group of nine black men dubbed the “Scottsboro Boys” were convicted and put in prison for the supposed rαpe of two white women on a train. They were all 12-19 years of age at the time of their conviction. During one of the trials, one of the alleged victims stated that she and the other alleged victim had made up the false accusations. The jury still convicted all nine men. Eighty years later, Alabama pardoned the last three of the nine men posthumously.
In 2012, the FBI estimated that 2-8 percent of the 87,000 yearly reported rαpe cases were actually false claims. It is hard to accurately track these numbers because there are so many inconsistencies with rαpe cases and lack of investigations. There are also many cases that do not get reported either out of fear or shame.
One of the most recent cases was in 2002 when a 17-year-old high school student named Brian Banks was accused of rαping a 15-year-old girl. He was a star football player with a bright future ahead of him; however, he spent five years of his life in prison as a result of the accusation. Upon his release from prison, he had five more years of probation. Fortunately, he was able to record a conversation with the alleged victim in which she admitted that the accusations were false. He was exonerated; and the school district that awarded the accuser $750,000, sued for her to pay the money back.
The school district’s response to the revelation of the false accusation is a developing trend among those who are wrongfully accused. They will sue their accuser for the damage that they have caused. An attorney stated that this is not something that he recommends clients do and tells them that they should just move on and rise above the drama instead of continuing to feed it. On the other hand, those who wrongfully accuse someone completely ruin the accused person’s life in the process. The accused often lose jobs, time with families and friends, and could possibly even lose custody of any children they may have.
Where do you stand on this issue? Do you believe that those who falsely accuse someone of rαpe should be sued?