False Accusations of Rape Are Not a Representation of Actual Assault

Around two months ago, Joanie Faircloth admitted that she falsely accused  Conor Oberst of rape. During that time period, Max Temkin, co-creator of Cards Against Humanity,  was accused of sexual assault on Tumblr by a former classmate who goes by the name of Magz. Her explanation of the assault is vague, and it’s understandable why it would be—assault is something that is very personal. In the Tumblr post, she does not share his name, yet she makes it clear who her attacker is. She expresses that she is not interested in any type of compensation, and simply wants to be able to share the fact that this is a horrible situation that occurred, yet urged people to boycott Cards Against Humanity. Boycotting the dark humored card game may sound a bit extreme, especially since the game has seven other creators who are in no way related to the assault. However,  it is understandable why she would take that approach. The game does have a few cards that contain phrases that are insensitive to rape survivors such as the one below:Ly6vWMax Temkin responded to the accusation by stating that he never had sex with this classmate and apologized if he ever did anything that made her feel uncomfortable. He also promised to remove all cards that were related to rape. While his response may sound sincere, as he expresses that he does not shame rape survivors and is a supporter of women’s rights, it’s still important to note how people are more likely to take his side rather than simply be aware that nobody knows what truly happened between them besides Max and Magz.

I am a Goucher College student, same as they were. For a school where women make up the vast majority of the student population, there are plenty of issues of sexual assault. During my freshman year, I was sexually assaulted by someone who was not a student. My situation was very similar to what typically happens in various colleges: I was drinking, and he took advantage of that. I expressed my limit of what my sexual relationship was with him, and he decided that wasn’t enough even if I said no and forced himself on me. After this assault, I did have a few experiences with male students who made me feel uncomfortable, such as having one guy open my door and enter my room without asking and not respecting my boundaries, to the point where I had to sleep off campus for a night because I felt unsafe. It’s absolutely horrifying.

Most rape and sexual assault survivors—of all genders— feel scared in terms of reporting their assault and even discussing it. For starters, if someone openly discusses what happened to them, they are often doubted by others and their assault may seem like a false accusation. Only 5-8% of rape accusations are false. While it may seem like false accusations of rape are common due to how often they are presented in the media, it is important to realize that reporting  and discussing an assault is no joking matter, and it’s dead serious. When I attempted to report my assault, I told my story in detail to the Baltimore County Police and Baltimore detectives. The detectives compared notes and remarked that the stories were exactly the same (meaning that they were surprised that it didn’t seem like I was making this up). No shit! Reporting an assault is not something that’s fun and done because someone’s  bored or to ruin someone’s reputation, it’s done as a way for the rape/assault survivor to feel safe and prevent their attacker from doing it again to someone else.

While you may be skeptical about Magz’s intentions and will think that any person who claims that some famous person sexually assaulted them—as Conor’s Oberst and Isaac Brock‘s situation– is lying,  it’s important to think about the much larger percentage of people who are actual rape/assault survivors and how those people are struggling to discuss a painful event in their lives.Falsely accusing someone of rape is serious and is a crime, however, we cannot automatically think that any person who speaks out about their assault may be lying. I believe that dialogue about consent is important and rape/assault survivors need support. This does not mean that people who have been falsely accused of rape do not need or deserve support, but it’s important to stop focusing simply on the false accusations. We should consider the harsh reality that 1 in 5 women in college are sexually assaulted, 10% of sexual assault survivors are male (which is higher than most think), and more than 50% trans people have been assaulted/raped. This means that there’s a large amount of people who have actually dealt with sexual assault. We cannot silence these survivors. I urge you all not to rush to take sides and instead think about our society’s rape culture and the challenges that it brings.

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2 thoughts on “False Accusations of Rape Are Not a Representation of Actual Assault

  1. I agree completely however I also think it’s silly to say to boycott the game, specifically because, well, technically it’s free. It don’t think it supports them in any way when you download it….it’s a problematic game for sure but that’s kind of the whole point. EVERY card is pretty uncouth.

    • I don’t think it should be boycotted either but I can understand why someone would feel like that’s something they would like to do. I personally enjoy the game and own it (as in the actual game and not the downloadable cards) so yes, I agree with you.

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