Tag Archives: trent mays

No. 6 – The False Accusation Epidemic

5 Mar

Jail-woman-310x168A friend came up with this addition to the list of 5 Tools Everyone in the Rape Culture Industry Should Be Using, which is actually more of an oversight on my part, because spreading the idea that false accusations of rape are common, prevalent, and are more likely than not the case is a vital cog in the rape culture industry’s gears.

Feel free to ignore all rhetoric, statistics, and data that dispute this tool, because it’s highly effective, which is the only concern Everyone in the Rape Culture Industry should have. Aaron Bady may say that “We are in the midst of an ongoing, quiet epidemic of sexual violence, now as always. We are not in the midst of an epidemic of false rape charges, and that fact is important here,” and he may be right, but don’t let that sway you. And although rates of false accusation are most likely at about 8% (this, of course, cannot include the sexual assaults that go unreported; if everyone who was sexually assaulted reported it, the number would plunge), it is imperative that every single time someone who makes a false accusation is found out, it be published on major news outlets nationwide, as though false accusations of rape are somehow more remarkable than false accusations of any other crime. Sure, the rape-specific coverage of false accusations may be disproportionate, but don’t let that bother you, either (it’s definitely not a byproduct of rape culture, so don’t even think it).  Fortunately for Everyone in the Rape Culture Industry, the media rarely reports on examples of, for instance, how a man accused  of rape over many years by multiple women, who don’t know each other but recount the same experience, can be acquitted every time. Or that an estimated 3% of rapists will ever see any jail time. Imagine how bogged down newspapers and news shows would be if they reported on every rape trial, even just the ones that ended in conviction. Untenable! So they just stick to reporting false accusations, the validity of doing so supported by the other tools – specifically, No. 3 – Women = Crazy. Phew, close call.

So, get out there, rape culture apologists, and start spreading the discredited notion that false rape accusations are relevant to the discussion of sexual violence. Just don’t mention that it has no basis and actually hurts people, because nobody wants to believe that. It’s much easier (and more convenient, and less torturous*) to believe women are so likely to be vindictive, vengeful, irrational nutbars, they will make false accusations out of sheer spite and the female’s innate desire to destroy good men.

*Clarification: it’s easier, more convenient, and less torturous for anyone not a survivor of sexual assault. The survivors, however, are just SOL.

Advertisements

5 Tools Everyone in the Rape Culture Industry Should Be Using

4 Mar

So, funny story. I got an email from a website encouraging me to try their new blog topic generator. I went to the generator and put in the first three things I cared about that came to mind: sexism, rape culture, and martial arts. These are the results:

blog
Well! That last one is probably not what they’d had in mind. This was about two weeks after Ma’Lik Richmond was released from detention after serving nine months for rape. Ma’Lik Richmond is one of the two teenagers convicted of raping a 16 year old girl one night in 2012. Richmond’s lawyer, Walter Madison, released this statement upon his client’s release:

Ma’lik Richmond recently completed his designated time at the Cuyahoga Hills Juvenile Detention Facility. The past sixteen months have been extremely challenging for Ma’lik and his extended family. At sixteen years old, Ma’lik and his family endured hardness beyond imagine for any adult yet alone child. He has persevered the hardness and made the most of yet another unfortunate set of circumstances in his life, as with each other obstacle, Ma’lik has met it squarely, lifted his chin, and set his shoulders; He is braced for the balance of his life. While away, Ma’lik has reflected, learned, matured, and grown in many ways. He is a better, stronger person and looks forward to school, life, and spending time with family. At this point, Ma’lik wants most to be a high school teenager in conjunction with his release, Ma’lik, his family, and guardians ask that the media respect their privacy in this matter, as we all need to heal and move on with our lives. We will have you know that Ma’lik will be taking all the time necessary to focus on his academic and personal goals. We ask for your support and prayers as we move forward, thank you.

Understandably, there was a fairly angry response to it. I had a fairly angry response. So angry, in fact, that I wrote to Walter Madison. Here’s my e-mail.

“He has persevered the hardness and made the most of yet another unfortunate set of circumstances” – which set is that? The circumstances that arose after he raped a child? I’m so glad he was able to make “the most” of that. I’m sure the child he raped is equally glad that, all things said and done, he’s better and stronger for having raped someone.

I understand everyone’s right to defense. But how do you justify this torrent of rape-culture bullshit and non-apology to yourself? Ma’Lik Richmond appears incapable of truly grasping the magnitude of what he’s done, as evidenced by his apology for taking pictures(!), and this type of dismissive attitude towards his raping of a minor does nothing to combat that. Apparently, when you insist that “we all need to heal and move on with our lives,” that doesn’t apply to the girl who you, your office, and your client continually treat as though she doesn’t exist. Is it even possible for you/your office/your client to say anything that acknowledges the damage he’s done to the girl?

Anything ending with a question mark is a sincere question or request for clarification.
Apparently, though he wasn’t giving statements to news outlets at the time, I pissed him off enough (or something, idk) that he decided to respond to me. Here’s his response:

Emotion always gets the worst of us. Ignorance claims the rest. Ma’Lik is prohibited from any direct or indirect communication with that young lady. Moreover, he has apologized publicly once. He has a life to live and can not do it on his knees. He too is a child.

If you have anything intelligent to discuss; please pick up the phone, otherwise your privilege of communication with me can be considered terminated.

Happy New Year!WalterMadison.com
Oh, I have intelligent things to discuss, such as the grotesque misuse of the semicolon in his email, and also his understanding of what constitutes a ‘privilege.’ How disappointing that if I want to hear more of his bullshit rape culture apologetics, I’ll have to call instead of email. Good thing I don’t!

However, I did get one thing wrong in my initial e-mail; it was Trent Mays who apologized for taking pictures, not Ma’Lik Richmond. The only public apology Richmond made that I was able to find came from trial footage. Was that the ‘once’ Madison references? I’m not sure why he added that it was just the one time – does he think this is a point in his client’s favor? Does he think a single apology is contrition enough? I’m also not sure what part of being prohibited from contacting the survivor would preclude a sincere statement of regret from Richmond, which we haven’t seen. No, all we saw was Walter Madison saying his client’s detention was worse than being raped, and his heartfelt wishes that everyone could move forward so that Richmond might live again in naive, ignorant teenage bliss, free of responsibilities and the shackles of adulthood, such as being imprisoned for rape.

How happy for him. After all, there’s only so long one can reasonably expect Richmond to atone for raping an unconscious girl; Walter Madison has decreed it to be nine months, and any of you who take exception to any of that can pretty much just suck it, ’cause Walter Madison DGAF if you disagree.

So when I saw the title “5 Tools Everyone in the Rape Culture Industry Should Be Using,” I got to thinking. Perpetuating rape culture is definitely advantageous for some, such as: rapists, criminal defense lawyers, and assholes worldwide. Defense attorneys have a responsibility to protect their clients’ rights, but if they want to make money, they’re also interested in the best possible outcome for their client. And as long as rape culture means it’s considered a legitimate defense tactic to impugn a rape survivor’s character, or suggest her actions might be partly responsible for her being raped, or undermine her testimony that she didn’t want to have sex, some will have a vested interest in keeping rape culture alive and well – or, at my most optimistic, some will be completely apathetic about battling it.

Thus, I put together a little list of 5 Tools Everyone in the Rape Culture Industry Should Be Using. Listen up, Walter Madison, because your track record took a big hit when Richmond was found guilty. Put these to use and maybe you’ll win next time.

1) Slut Shaming – really hone your slut shaming skills. The more you can spread the belief that a woman who qualifies as your subjective definition of promiscuous is a wanton slut, the easier a time you will have making people believe she was asking for it.

2) Patriarchy Allegiance – pledge now, benefit now and forever (if you’re a man). In patriarchies, men hold most or all of the positions of power. The advantages here are obvious. And numerous. Unequal platforms, unequal treatment, unequal understanding of what ‘rape’ means.

3) Women = Crazy – this is such a powerful tool! It’s been wielded for centuries. Longer, really. The more you are able to undermine women’s credibility, the easier it is to convince people that women are crazy, irrational beings that a) can’t be trusted, b) you won’t be able to comprehend, so don’t bother, and c) are just dying for a chance to play the victim in order to ruin a man’s good name.

4) Body Policing – critique women’s bodies, all the time, and never let up. Valuating women based on their bodies is an excellent way to sustain the suggestion that they’re a commodity to be enjoyed, used, and consumed. And then discarded. Handily, it also strips women of their individuality by reducing them to the value their various parts have.

5) Control of Reproductive Health – much like body policing, the end result of making legislation regarding women’s health, especially when few or no women are present, is that it further removes any sense of agency and autonomy a woman has. This is a vital part of making people believe women are property to be shuffled from one person to another who don’t deserve or warrant a say in their own lives.

This is just a draft; if you have any additions, please let me know!

Update! No. 6 – The False Allegation Epidemic has been added.