There has been a great deal of attention given to reports of rape. Rolling Stone magazine reported on an alleged “brutal gang rape of a woman named Jackie during a party at a University of Virginia fraternity house.”
Included in the story was that the University failed “to respond to this alleged assault – and the school’s troubling history of indifference to many other instances of alleged sexual assaults. The story generated worldwide headlines and much soul-searching at UVA. University president Teresa Sullivan promised a full investigation and also to examine the way the school investigates sexual assault allegations.”
After some investigation, it’s been learned that “there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie’s account. The fraternity has issued a formal statement denying the assault and asserting that there was no ‘date function or formal event’ on the night in question.”
Then there’s Lena Dunham’s rape story where she claims that she was raped by a “Republican” named “Barry.” Dunham, who stars in a TV series called Girls, a show I’ve never seen,” details the alleged (and it’s turning out to be false) rape charge in her book Not That Kind of Girl.
Random House, publisher of Not That Kind of Girl, will be issuing an edited and corrected edition of Dunham’s book.
Let’s not forget the 2006 Duke Lacrosse rape charges that proved to be false as well as those made by Tawana Brawley and promoted by Al Sharpton in 1987. In the Brawley case, “The New York prosecutor whom Brawley had accused as one of her alleged assailants successfully sued Brawley and her three advisers for defamation.”
Sharpton was rewarded with a TV program and an open door to the Obama White House. Go figure.
High school football star Brian Banks, “who was once one of the most highly-sought [football] players in the country had a rape charge against him dismissed after his accuser admitted it had never happened.” She received $1.5 million from the school where she falsely claimed Banks had raped her.
Banks, who was 26 at the time of his release, spent six years in a California prison. He “collapsed in sobs during a court hearing as a prosecutor quickly conceded the decade-old case and moved for a dismissal.”
There are other false rape charges that have gotten a lot of media attention. Here’s the problem. The false rape charges get all the attention even though they may be a small percentage of all true rapes. It’s because of the media attention given to the false rape stories that many people, police and prosecutors included, can become desensitized and suspicious of women who make a true rape charge.
There are examples in literature of false rape charges, for example, the books and films To Kill a Mockingbird and A Passage to India. Let’s not forget the story of Potiphar’s wife falsely accusing Joseph of sexual misconduct for which he spent time in prison (Gen. 39:7-20).
Women who are actually raped are harmed by those who make false accusations of rape. The same is true of stories that have a racial component to them. Not only did Tawana Brawley claim sexual assault, but there were racial slurs written on her. There’s good evidence that she or an accomplice wrote the slurs to garner sympathy and support for her and stir up the black community.
So what’s to be done? There is a biblical solution to the problem of being a false witness against someone. First, there is the command not to “bear false witness” (Ex. 20:16; also 23:1, 7; Lev. 19:11-12; Deut. 5:20; Ps. 101:5; Prov. 10:18; Matt. 19:18).
Second, there is the punishment for a false witness:
“If a malicious witness rises up against a man to accuse him of wrongdoing, then both the men who have the dispute shall stand before the Lord, before the priests and the judges who will be in office in those days. The judges shall investigate thoroughly, and if the witness is a false witness and he has accused his brother falsely, then you shall do to him just as he had intended to do to his brother. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you. The rest will hear and be afraid, and will never again do such an evil thing among you. Thus you shall not show pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot” (Deut. 19:16-21).
While applying this law might not stop all false rape charges (and false charges in general), it might help.
In the case of Brian banks, the woman who falsely accused him “of raping her is being forced to pay big time. A judge has ordered that the woman pay $2.6 million to Banks for ruining his life with false allegations. The lies caused him to lose numerous scholarship offers to college and also led to a prison sentence of over five years.”