A Fumbled Attempt at a Caress? 7 Pundits’ Shockingly Awful Rape Denialism
In which Rich Lowery and Chuck C. Johnson head the list.
There’s been a shocking media feeding frenzy over the discovery that one of the young women claiming to be a rape victim in Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s recent Rolling Stone piece might be exaggerating about her experience or even lying about it. It’s not just because reporters love talking about the journalistic missteps of others, though that is part of it. No, the real reason this is turning into such a big deal is there are a surprising number of people who want to deny that rape is a serious social problem and who want to push the idea that many rape cases are just a matter of women lying because they are crazy or vindictive. For these folks—call ‘em rape truthers—this whole incident is like a second Christmas, an opportunity to take an extremely rare and strange case and pretend it should be reason to dismiss the reality that rape is a crime that happens with some frequency.
It doesn’t really make sense, of course. As Wagatwe Wanjuki at the New York Timeswrites, “Yes, a tiny number of people lie about being raped, but almost all rapists lie about raping.” But, as Amanda Taub at Vox writes, the “fear of giving women the ability to put men in jail” threatens the sexist status quo. Subsequently, even though there’s no real evidence for it, many people stand behind the myth that women routinely lie about being raped, which justifies preserving a status quo where men’s word is considered more authoritative and trustworthy just because they are male. Here is a list of some of the most recent and worst rape truthers.