American Congressman Todd Akin made headlines last month when he appeared to claim that some rapes are not "legitimate". Guess what? He was right, and it isn't only women who concoct false rape allegations.
Remember rape liar Angela Gilbert? She escaped a gaol sentence because although she had wasted police time, she didn't point the finger at an actual person. On the other side of the Pond, Emma Saxon made not one but two false rape allegations. The first was in 2006 when she pointed the finger at an ex-boyfriend. That time she escaped with a slap on the wrist, but when she accused another man two years ago, the law was not so merciful, and rightly so.
The innocent victim was Martin Blood, who is said to have spent 14 hours in a police cell before the truth came out. Last month, Saxon was given an eight month sentence by a judge at Sheffield Crown Court.
The mother of two is said to have learning difficulties. Certainly she appears to have learned nothing from her first conviction; this time she will have plenty of time for the lesson of her folly to sink in.
Back in the States, a 47 year old woman who filed a false rape report escaped with in effect an $1800 fine after being found guilty of felony disorderly conduct. This allegation dates to November last year. The motive for her filing this complaint appears to have been to convince her daughter to move back in with her by showing her it was unsafe to live alone. Yeah, right.
Police Chief Thomas Weitzel said that an investigation showed Mary Ann Malik's claims to be inconsistent with the facts.
Earlier this year a far more tragic case of false rape made the headlines when an American man falsely accused as a teenager, was finally cleared of rape after a ten year ordeal. Brian Banks spoke to the BBC about the way he suffered at the hands of his accuser and of the plea bargain he was offered: plead guilty and serve perhaps three years, or deny the allegation and we'll throw the book at you.
Banks decided to plead no contest, which is as good as confessing to the crime. He received a much heavier sentence than hinted at, and was parolled after serving five years. Fortunately, his family stood by him, then, incredibly, his "victim" contacted him through Facebook and asked if he would like to meet up. Banks was obviously wary but met her under controlled conditions. This led to her confessing to fabricating the allegation, and to his being cleared.
A point Banks made is that as a 16 year old black teenager, a football player, and a physically formidable individual, the jury would automatically assume he was guilty. That is hardly surprising given the attitude of some young black men, and even more given the attitude of some professional footballers, like rightly convicted rapist Ched Evans.
Banks was convicted not simply in spite of there being no rape, but says the two never had sex either, yet the "victim" claimed he ejaculated inside her. How could the police have got everything so wrong, including the forensics?
To add insult to injury, not only did his accuser bring a successful claim for $1.5 million against the school where Banks didn't rape her but there appear to be no plans to prosecute her, apparently because the case would be difficult to prove. Let's get this straight, a confession made on video is difficult to prove while a rape that didn't occur and with no forensics to back it up can be taken to court?
Painful as it is to have to admit this, Brian Banks is a lucky man because a) he could have pleaded not guilty and then been convicted - and would probably still be in prison today serving time as a convicted rapist - one of those dangerous black males we hear so much about. And b) his accuser - why not name her? Wanette Gibson - may not have retracted.
In Manchester, yet another false rape has been reported, this time by a girl of apparently normal intelligence, (unlike Emma Saxon). She claimed to have been attacked at 7.30 in the morning, a time when most rapists are either in bed, on their way to work, or hopefully in prison. This one though appears to have been in Wonderland along with not-so-innocent Alice, or whatever her real name is. Because she is only 17, this can't be reported for legal reasons.
Finally, in order to dispel any charges of misogyny from the usual suspects, it should be pointed out that sometimes false rape charges are filed by the weaker sex. In Manchester (again), a 20 year old Wigan man accused another man of raping (presumably sodomising) him after a night out. The night started with his girlfriend, drinking, and ended with up him being given a lift home by an older man, whom he then accused of sexual assault.
Details about the case are scarce at the time of writing, but it appears that there was indeed a sexual encounter between the so-called victim and the man who was kind enough to drive him home, but that encounter was consensual. Robert O'Brien was rightly given a custodial sentence at Liverpool Crown Court having not only subjected an innocent man to the usual indignities all rape suspects have to suffer but wasted considerable police time. There are plenty of genuine sexual predators on the loose in Manchester at any time as it is, from the Moors Murderers in the 1960s to the two men who recently attacked a 14 year old boy in the city centre.
It would be easy to speculate about the reason the non-victim made this false allegation, but shame is an obvious one. Young people of both sexes are prone to experiment with all manner of things from bizarre sexual practices to drugs. For many, shoplifting, acts of vandalism, petty crime and other anti-social activity are part of the rites of passage. Some are also sexually confused, but thankfully most grow out of it in time and become responsible citizens.
False allegations against anyone for anything are of course shameful, but clearly for whatever reason in any particular case, non-legitimate rape has been with us for nearly as long as the real thing, and like the real thing, where it is proven beyond a reasonable doubt, the punishment should always be severe.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com