It was third period lunch- a bit early in the day, yes, but if that’s when you were given a lunch period, you were kind of fucked. So it’s 10:15am and I’m dipping french fries in mayonnaise, because that was “so European,” sitting with my friend Sally Rapehoax.
Sally was a boring and plain kind of girl, but in High School sometimes you’re stuck with the people you befriend in ninth grade. Fine, whatever, but my jaw dropped when Sally casually mentioned, “yeah, I’ve been raped before,” almost as if she’s telling me about her homework, or her favorite Nirvana song, or how profoundly connected she felt to “The Craft.” It all seemed the same to Sally, but my world slowed down just a bit…
My mind began racing. This was horrible. She was confessing something deeply personal to me- maybe she was reaching out to me, maybe she needed my help. I felt paralyzed with anxiety, a low-level panic attack; after all, this was the most intense, real world situation my sixteen-year-old self had ever encountered.
Life had stopped being polite; life was getting real.
And then Sally causally mentioned the second time she was raped; different person, different situation… and then the third, and I was flooded with an immediate sense of relief: Sally Rapehoax was full of shit.
So by the time I was twenty-two, sitting at a diner while smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee, I was unfazed when Amanda Rapehoax casually mentioned her rape… and not to be outdone, Jennifer Rapehoax enthusiastically chimed in, “oh, I was raped too!”
In the late-1990s, before rape accusations were able to “go viral,” the casual rape confession was the equivalent of hashtags, and status updates, and media grandstanding.
But why might a girl lie about being raped? I mean, I wouldn’t lie about getting beaten up or having my car stolen. Why lie about being the victim of a crime?
- Claiming rape gives a girl immediate evidence for her unwitting ability to sexually attract and charm a man. Every girl wants to appear sexy and convince those around her of her sexually credibility, and claiming rape implies that she was so incredibly desirable that a man was driven mad by lust and insatiability over her sexual presence. He was so overwhelmed that he was willing to commit a crime just to have her.
- Claiming rape gives a girl immediate depth and life-experience. Think she’s just an empty headed dolt, watching “Dawson’s Creek,” and re-writing her name a thousand times over in cursive? Guess again, asshole.
- Claiming rape gives a girl an undeniable victim status. As a victim her shortcomings can be over-looked, her emotional breakdowns now have gravitas and meaning, and her accomplishments can be magnified and endlessly applauded.
And the thing about Fake Rape is… it’s socially despicable to cast doubt upon the accusation, and the accuser is aware of this.
So when you have college student Emma Sulkowicz dragging around a mattress that she bought on the Internet as a self-professed art project, even after being outed as a liar, the media will still label her a victim and a survivor– despite the stunt serving as an obvious career move for Sulkowicz, majoring in “professional victim.”
The use of Fake Rape by Sulkowicz to gain publicity, following the Rolling Stone scandal and Lena Dunham’s clumsy blubbering (Dunham, a Fake Rape expert, has offered support to Sulkowicz), consequently pushed the public rape accusation past the reaction threshold of detrimental insanity.
The rape accusation thrives on the empathy of a public-identity defined by the protection of victims, and the Fake Rape accuser takes advantage of that identity to the extent where it will be impossible to extend someone blind protection in the face of a accusation.
Shots were fired in the first pubic display of animosity toward Fake Rape; a rebel art project outing Sulkowicz (and Dunham) as liars… No longer is Fake Rape only decried on anonymous Internet message boards and in hushed whispers; Fake Rape is making it’s way into the forefront of public consciousness.
As public grandstanding becomes the norm for rape accusations… as the accused are outed before an investigation into the legitimacy of the claim, as young men’s lives are ruined even after the truth emerges, as the importance of the narrative supersedes factual reality… the bubble is going to burst, and when it does, reaction to all rape accusations will be scorn and disbelief- and the true victims of rape will suffer.