This cliche is truly a very, very old chestnut—that making rape charges is a tool women use to destroy innocent men. And therefore getting aggressive about rape prosecution puts innocent men through hell.
I’m not sure who first said “rape is an easy charge to make but a hard one to prove” but that was the staple view for years. A woman would make up rape charges because the man didn’t call the next day. Or because he broke up with her and she wanted to get even. Or because she was asking for it, he provided it and then the slut changed her mind. I remember a case from the 1980s where the lawyer for the rapist professed outrage over a verdict that a woman could actually go up to a man’s apartment, make out and then choose not to have sex—how was it unreasonable for the guy to make her have sex?
From some TV shows and movie I remember back in the 1970s, people apparently thought it was plausible that a woman would threaten to make rape accusations when there was no sex involved: to force someone to give them money, to discredit an obnoxious official, to force a detective to back off from asking them questions. The reality that rape was more likely to leave the woman discredited and slut-shamed was never touched on.
Warren Farrell, one of the veterans of the men’s rights movement, claimed in one of his books that his totally objective research proved 90 percent of rape accusations were false, typically made up by bitter girlfriends. Of course, Farrell also believed being cock-teased and being fired were just as traumatic for a man as rape was for a woman, so it’s possible he’s biased.
While society is a lot better at thinking about and prosecuting rape than it used to be, the argument still crops up. Right-winger Mona Charren asserted once that any date-rape charge is a lie: the woman simply woke up in the morning, couldn’t deal with the fact she was now a slutty, slutty tramp, and went into denial. Or Todd Akin with his conviction that if the victim got pregnant, it wasn’t a legitimate rape. And James Taranto has complained that making an issue of sexual assault in the military is, indeed, an attack on men and male sexuality.
Which is part of the problem, that men who rape are just doing what comes naturally. That rape is, as Scott Adams put it, as natural as lions eating gazelles. So criminalizing it is totally unfair to men, because they’re just being guys. And a guy can’t be expected to think about shit like consent when he has a hard dick. And you can’t expect him to back off just because maybe the woman’s too drunk or otherwise incapacitated to say yes. After all, she didn’t say no.
For a recent example we have this recent column by British attorney David Osborne that trying harder to prosecute rape will “have serious consequences for all red-bloodied males who are out on the rut.” After all, the reason most prosecutions fail is because the jury “did not believe beyond a reasonable doubt that the victim did not consent,” which clearly proves not that juries might be biased against victims but the victims are a bunch of liars.
Osborne also finds it “distasteful and unattractive the suggestion that as the victim was blind drunk she therefore unable to give her consent to sex.” In fact, if the victim was drunk or high when the rape happened, that should be a 100 percent bullet-proof defense for her assailant. After all, “you’ve got to bear in mind that walking the streets provocatively dressed can in some circumstances be an invitation to a red blooded bloke.” And how can it be fair to punish red-blooded he-men for doing what comes naturally?