The Culture of Rape: When is it Rape and When is it Something Else?


Rape and sexual assaults are crimes punishable by long prison sentences and with the “Mark of Cain” following the accused for the rest of his or her life. It can be a destroyer of reputations, and sometimes, of life. But what happens to the accused when the accusation proves to be false?

Rape and Rumors of Rape

In 2014, Rolling Stone Magazine published a story about a horrific 2012 gang rape of a University of Virginia freshman. The article was supposed to expose underreported rape and sexual assaults on campuses and what, if anything, college administrators and society as a whole was doing about it. Members of the fraternity where the alleged rape was supposed to have taken place were all painted with a broad brush as “rapists.” Conversations and debates about this problem went viral, but as it did, more and more people began to question certain facts about the case and the real motive behind Rolling Stone Magazine’s reporting of it. Under intense scrutiny, the facts, or lack thereof, that precipitated the writing of the article eventually fell apart, and Rolling Stone Magazine retracted the story. Its editor left the magazine with the dark cloud of journalistic malpractice following him out the door. See for details about this story.

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

How many others are out there, accused of rape, and not exonerated until after they have spent years behind bars? How many are assumed guilty until it can be proven that they are innocent?

There are studies that indicate that 2% to 10% of rape allegations are false, but according to the National Review, this could be interpreted to mean that, therefore, over 90% of rapes alleged to have occurred, in fact, did. A better interpretation is that, not all “false” rape allegations are provably false. In other words, some allegations turn on who the “jury” of public opinion or an actual jury if there is an arrest and trial are more or less likely to believe. There is no way to know for certain how many accusations of rape are actually false.

In the United Kingdom, a young man, 17 years of age was charged with rape and cleared after the allegations proved to be false. Two weeks after the teenage was exonerated and the charges were dropped, he committed suicide, probably because the stigma of being accused of such a crime was too hard for him to deal with emotionally.

Life After a Rape Allegation

We can all remember the now infamous Duke LaCrosse case of 2006, in which three students and members of the Duke University men’s Lacrosse team were falsely accused of rape. Once the media got involved and began its oversaturation of the storyline, everybody had an opinion, and the majority of opinions were that the three students were “guilty.” These false allegations had far reaching ramifications that affected the entire university, and the families of the accused. Harassments, including death threats were made against the students and faculty. Eventually, the three students were proven to be innocent and the lead prosecutor and driving force behind the charges, Mike Nifong resigned and was disbarred. In 2007, the North Carolina Attorney General, Roy Cooper, dropped all charges against the three men and declared them innocent.

If Accused of a Crime, David Freidberg is Here to Help You Understand Your Rights

It is important that you know what your rights are and how to protect them. If the police are going to interrogate you, then you have the right to have your attorney present. Knowing your rights is the first step in the process, so if you are being charged with a any crime, including murder, sexual assault, or battery, and would like to discuss all of the potential defenses available to you, call an experienced criminal defense attorney at the David Freidberg law office today, at (312) 560-7100, or send an email, for a no-obligation consultation.

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