Should False Rape Reports Be Punished?

The Ninth Commandment urges us as follows: “Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” The principle of false witness as an offense has been incorporated in British Common Law and American law as “perjury … defined as swearing falsely, under oath, in a judicial proceeding, about a material issue.” Perjury is a felony, a serious criminal offense. A person convicted of perjury in a U.S. Federal case can receive up to five years in jail, plus large fines. In Canada, “Everyone who commits perjury is guilty of an indictable offense and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.”

The Ninth Commandment is, however, challenged by the 21st Century Commandment to “Believe Women,” a commandment imposed by the Prophets Hillary Clinton, past presidential nominee of the Democrat Party, and current Prime Minister of Canada, representing the Liberal Party, as well as by the High Priestesses of the National Organization of Women and other Feminist High Priestesses. What “believe women” means is that any accusation by a woman of sexual harassment, sexual assault, or rape must be accepted as truth, and the accused man deemed guilty.

Now, sexual assault and rape are serious crimes, and the effect on women suffering them is often great. These crimes are condemned by our society, and penalties are severe. Most men are protective of their mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters, and extend protective sympathy to all women. The feminist argument that we have a “rape culture” is an outright lie and no more than vicious vilification of men.

The argument that we should “believe women,” or, variously, “believe victims,” offers sympathy for women who have suffered sexual assault, and, presumably, takes the view that any accusation by a woman must be true. Yet we know that most everyone lies, some time or other: children lie to their parents about school, drugs, and sex; adolescents lie about their sexual prowess; applicants for jobs lie about their credentials; salesmen lie about their products; politicians lie about their future accomplishments; and so on. So, to assume that what a woman says is true flies in the face of what we know about human beings and their truthfulness. Furthermore, to designate someone making an accusation “a victim” is prejudging what has yet to be proven.

Feminists hope for more accusations of rape, because they believe that many more women are raped than ever report it, and because it would cement the status of women as “victims” of male brutality. In aid of this goal, feminists in their tendentious “studies” do their best to inflate the number of rapes. One way they do this is by expanding the definition of rape, encouraging women who feel regret after a sexual encounter to equate regret with rape. Another way they increase the appearance of rape is label as “rape” any sexual encounter not totally satisfactory, even among ongoing couples, and even though the unsatisfactory sexual encounter was not considered rape by the female partner. Beyond these strategies, they can use the broad and ever elastic concept of “sexual assault” to claim even more numbers of female “victims.” The Obama Department of Education, with its Title IX letters of advice, instructed universities, already almost totally in the hands of feminists, that it wanted more punishments for rape, and the universities enthusiastically obliged. In most of these cases, they simply took the female’s word. Many of the cases were taken by the innocent male accused to law courts, which took a dim view of the university procedures, and overturned university decisions or required compensatory payment.

One of the 613 Jewish legal commandments, according to Maimonides, is number 573, Not to accept testimony from a lone witness (drawn from Deuteronomy 19:15). It thus forbids “believe what a woman says.” Further, commandment number 571 says “Carefully interrogate the witness” (drawn from Deuteronomy 13:14). This commandment forbids accepting testimony without a close examination. In addition, in Exodus, it states “nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his lawsuit.” In the broader sense, this means do not favor someone in court on the basis of a general category for which you might have sympathy. Sympathy for the poor, or for females, or gays, or Jews, or Muslims, or Scots should not be allowed to bias one in someone’s favor. Finally, number 577, “Punish the false witnesses as they tried to punish the defendant” (Deuteronomy 19:19). In other words, a false witness or perjurer should receive the same penalty as the defendant would have received had the defendant been found guilty. This means that false accusations should not go unpunished, and should be punished with the same magnitude as a guilty verdict would have brought. For example, if rape is punished with a jail term of ten years, then a false accusation of rape should be punished with ten years of incarceration.

Let us examine what penalties are meted out for false accusations. In general, it appears that court cases, whether criminal or civil, do, to a degree, hold to account women who have uttered false accusations. In contrast, universities, which have been quick to accept female accusations and punish men, have never punished female false accusers even in the rare cases when the accused male is thoroughly exonerated due to overwhelming evidence. Here are some illustrations:

Rebecca Palmer had a consensual sexual relationship with a soldier from the King’s Royal Hussars until the soldier broke off the relationship. Palmer then accused the soldier of rape, which led to him being arrested and held in jail. In a trial, Palmer was convicted of four counts of perverting the course of justice, and given a jail term of five years.

Susan Shannon accused Colonel David Riggins, a decorated war hero, of having raped her when they were cadets at West Point. There was no evidence to bring a criminal case against Riggins, but Riggins was removed from the promotion list that would likely have made him a general officer. Riggins brought a civil suit against Shannon, and the jury awarded Riggins 3.4 million dollars in compensatory damages, and five million dollars in punitive damages, “to make sure nothing like this will ever happen again.”

Elizabeth Paige Coast was 17 when she accused Johnathan Montgomery of having raped her when he was 14, and she was 10. There was no evidence to support the accusation, but they took Coast’s word for it. [“Believe women!”] After Montgomery had served five years in jail, Coast came forward and admitted that she had made up the rape. She pleaded guilty to perjury and was given two months in jail, to be served on weekends, and a fine of $90,000 dollars in compensation to Montgomery.

Nikki Yovino, a student at Sacred Heart University, took a fancy to two Sacred Heart football players at an off-campus party and had consensual sex with them in a bathroom. Later, to gain the sympathy of another young man she was interested in, she claimed that they had raped her. The accused were forced to leave the university, one lost his football scholarship, and they lived in fear of long prison terms. But Yovino admitted under interrogation that she had made up the story about being raped. She was indicted and pled guilty to two counts of false reporting of a crime, and one count of interfering with police. In Superior Court, she was sentenced to three years in jail, one year to be served and two years suspended, to be followed by probation.

Not all proven false accusations are brought to trial. The so-called “mean girls” of Seneca Valley High School accused a male school mate of sexually abusing them. He was charged with sexual assault and harassment, arrested, jailed for a short time, then confined to house arrest. But a civil suit was a launched by the boy’s parents, in which they allege that, in a tape-recorded interview with school officials in 2017, one of the main accusers, K.S., admitted that the sex assault was fabricated. … “I just don’t like him,” K.S. told officials. “I just don’t like to hear him talk. … I don’t like to look at him.” The interview was obtained by the boy’s lawyer. K.S. also said that she “would do anything to get T.F. expelled.” The civil case awaits trial. Meanwhile, according to the boy’s lawyer, “the D.A. has refused to press charges against Villegas and the other girls due to ‘gender-based discrimination.’” In other words, girls should not be responsible for their crimes because girls are “victims.” So much for equality before the law.

Sherita Dixon-Cole was pulled over by a police officer for suspected drunk driving. She later claimed that the police officer told her that he would not charge her in exchange for sexual favors. She also alleged that when she refused, he sexually assaulted her. Bloggers picked up her accusation and generated a wave of public complaint. But when the footage from the trooper’s body camera was released by the Police Department, it was clear that Dixon-Cole’s allegations were wholly made up and totally false. Even the bloggers apologized. However, the police decided that she could not be charged for her false accusation, because “the lies told by Dixon-Cole related to already-completed conduct [for driving under the influence] against her. Those lies did not create a situation, either real or false, in which there was imminent danger of serious bodily injury or imminent danger of damage or destruction to property.” In spite of her vicious lies against a public servant doing his job, Dixon-Cole got off scot-free.

Steven Galloway, a successful novelist and professor, and Head of the Creative Writing Program at the University of British Columbia was accused of rape by an older woman with whom he once had a relationship. All of the other professors judiciously formed a chorus of condemnation of Galloway, and the administration, as courageous as most other university administrations, suspended Galloway from his post, pending investigation. [Shoot first; ask questions after.] A retired, female Provincial Supreme Court Justice was appointed to investigate; she concluded after reviewing the claims and evidence, that there was no reason to believe that the rape had ever happened. An arbitrator awarded Galloway $167,000. The University of British Columbia, in its wisdom, having received the verdict that Galloway was innocent, fired Galloway anyway. What penalty did the woman who falsely accused Galloway suffer? What discipline did the University impose for lying and disrupting its academic life? Nothing whatsoever. The false accuser paid no price and continued to be regarded sympathetically as a “survivor” of rape.

Ahmed Fekry Ibrahim, a junior professor of Islamic Law at McGill University, suffered a campaign of vilification, initially as having used his hierarchical power to have a consensual relationship with a student, then as a “serial sexual predator,” then escalating to “a rapist” in anonymous posters and in articles and editorials in the student newspaper, as well as in comments by some students and professors. Ibrahim was then turned down for promotion and tenure, although his academic credentials were excellent. The University administration, ever heroic, offered Ibrahim a large payment to resign and leave quietly. What apparently lay behind this campaign was not sex, but objections to Ibrahim’s teaching of Islam objectively rather than in an Islamic partisan fashion. One fanatical Muslim female student was behind the campaign, although some Islamic Studies faculty members, perhaps with the same zealotry, joined in. Ibrahim has brought a civil suit in the amount of $600,000 against the instigating student and one accusing professor, a suit which is in process. The University has apparently found no objection to the false and escalating accusations and those who made them, the anonymous posters, or the ever libelous student newspaper, so everyone can continue to use these methods without fear of repercussion.

Emma Sulkowicz, a.k.a. “Mattress Girl,” was a Columbia University student who accused a fellow student of raping her anally, and when the accused was exonerated, she took to carrying a mattress around with her to represent that she was a “rape survivor.” To its credit, Columbia University recognized that the evidence, included pleading love letters from Sulkowicz to her sometime hook-up friend, was so strong that it could not avoid exonerating the accused. What did they do about the false accuser? They gave her “senior thesis” credit for carrying the mattress around! But even though carrying the mattress around, and carrying it to graduation, was against campus regulations, the administration never said a harsh word to Sulkowicz. She continues to be portrayed in the media and by feminists as a rape survivor. The National Organization of Women honored Sulkowicz with their 2016 “Woman of Courage Award”! After he graduated, the exonerated accused, who had been harassed throughout his remaining time at Columbia, brought a civil suit against Columbia, which the University settled for an undisclosed sum. The moral:  false accusations may get you a national feminist prize.

Even in the rare cases in which false accusers are given jail time, the period of incarceration is minimal compared to the penalties for the accused acts. I think, if we are at all concerned about being fair, we should institute in our law the Jewish commandment 577, “Punish the false witnesses as they tried to punish the defendant.” Taking into account variations in different jurisdictions, the average sentence for convicted rapists was 9.8 years. Those convicted of making false accusations should, therefore, be incarcerated for periods of the same magnitude.

Universities should, by law, be barred from considering cases which fall under criminal law. All such cases should be, by law, reported to the police and be subjected to rigorous examination, and ultimately tried in court. The fate of accused students should not be left in the hands of “equity, inclusion, and diversity” officers whose job is defined as politically correct virtue signaling.

Are we really content with all males—our fathers, brothers, husbands, sons, colleagues–being free targets for any unbalanced or vindictive female who cares to accuse them of violent crimes? Do we wish to join Emily Linden, a writer for Teen Vogue, who says “I’m actually not at all concerned about innocent men losing their jobs over false sexual assault/harassment allegations”? Or “Los Angeles reader,” who says “No, we haven’t gone too far, nor far enough. Male privilege, male hegemony, and male chauvinism have been around for millenia [sic] all the while women and girls carrying the burden and paying the price for doing nothing but being female. The only way to change the equation is for men to begin paying that price, guilty or not.” [Emphasis added.] But if we do not agree with Linden and LA reader, and we do not want to say, “jail them all, and let God sort them out,” then we should give serious consideration to ensuring that there are serious penalties for false accusations.

This article, originally published last January, is reprinted with permission from Frontier Centre for Public Policy.

Philip Carl Salzman

Philip Carl Salzman

Philip Carl Salzman is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at McGill University, Senior Fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, Fellow at the Middle East Forum, and a Director of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.

3 thoughts on “Should False Rape Reports Be Punished?

  1. Los Angeles Reader’s candor is becoming the norm, as progressives embolden one another via social media to drop all attempts at giving reasons in favor of just gutteral voicings of their Ids. Revenge, resentment, ressentiment–these alone explain the evolution of the revenge-based “adjudication” systems inside colleges and universities. All of the blathering about “male privilege” and “rape culture” etc. are simply masks worn by the resentful to conceal their will to punish.

    Here is another fine example of the phenomenon: https://www.statedepartmentwatch.org/2019/04/21/mit-librarian-slams-white-people-for-writing-books/

  2. “jail them all, and let God sort them out”

    What the feminists fail to understand is the origin of that phrase was
    kill them all, and let God sort it out” — a phrase used to
    justify military massacres all the way back to the Crusades.

    It thus demonstrates an attitude best described as one I once explicitly heard expresses as “since women have to worry about being raped, it’s only fair that men have to worry about being falsely accused of rape.”

    That’s the attitude behind last night’s60 Minutes’ diatribe with it nonchalantly accepted that a young professional, no longer of college age, should go to a frat party at a college she neither attends nor has ever attended — and get black-out drunk.

    There once was a time when mothers told their daughters that this was not a good idea…

    And how about her sister “who left the party early”, abandoning her. Abandoning her even though she was really drunk and didn’t know anyone else there. This is perhaps the most insidious aspect of the “hook-up culture” — self-centered young women abandoning their friends to go have sex with some man they’ve met at the party — with bad things subsequently happening to the abandoned friend.

    There once was a time when mothers would have had a lot to say about this…

    60 Minutes inadvertently pointed out something else — Brock Turner was not even prosecuted for rape because there was no evidence that a rape had even occurred. She had no memory at all, there was no medical evidence, and apparently the two bystanders didn’t see it. That fact puts a whole different spin on the whole matter, including the sentence, doesn’t it?

    But not to worry, apparently California law has been changed so as to permit men to be convicted of rape without either the victim saying that she had been raped or any medical evidence suggesting that a rape had even occurred. “Democracy in Action” is not what I would call that — it’s more a kin to what happened to the so-called “Scottsboro Boys” in an era that I’d hoped we’d put behind us.

    There are too many people believing that all men are rapists to ever enable the punishment of women who lie about being raped….

    1. There often are two other unmentioned aspects of unfounded rape allegations — legal threats the purported victim’s attorney (and VAWA-funded advocates) may be making, and the purported victim’s mental health.

      Take the case of “mattress girl” at Columbia — I’d be very surprised if she didn’t have an attorney and that being the reason Columbia pandered to her. I saw that happen time and time again at UMass, right on down to one attorney successfully demanding that UMass censor my personal webpage (although that involved a male student accused of attempted murder). In a rather egregious incident, UMass was once threatened with a libel suit if they didn’t say that an unnamed student had been raped — even though it was known fact that she hadn’t been. (UM then negotiated with her attorney and a few months later she admitted it was a hoax.)

      This goes to the second issue of mental health. What shocked me was realizing just how many young women in academia are documented as being “mentally ill”, often taking not insignificant amounts (and combinations) of some fairly heavy-duty psych drugs.

      So what often happens is the accuser (a) has a mental health diagnosis that the university knows about and (b) has daddy’s lawyer behind her. She may even have been raped in high school or sexually abused as a small child and as the result of some psychobabble that I don’t pretend to understand, have somehow “transferred” that trauma to an unrelated situation in the here and now. Something as simple as an odor may “trigger” it. And it’s supposedly “real” to her — she purportedly thinks she’s telling the truth.

      So what’s your basic spineless administrator to do? You kinda gotta give her a pass if you know she’s delusional — otherwise daddy’s lawyer and/or the VAWA-funded advocates will get you fired, and while students are fungible, well-paying admin jobs are not. What would any of us do — the concept of mens rea is a basic principle of due process, and the fact that she’s been shipped off to the psych ward is confidential, as it should be.

      And as to ‘mattress girl”, her post-grad career consists of being whipped while being suspended from the ceiling — somehow that is an artistic protest of Donald Trump. Maybe I’m too much of a philistine to quite understand how, or maybe it explains why Columbia felt it had to tolerate her antics.

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