RC's recent post raises an important issue for all men living in our contemporary western culture.
How are we, especially as Christians, supposed to think and act regarding accusations of rape?
Unsurprisingly the Bible is not silent on the matter. Not only does scripture offer important insight into matters of justice, but it provides us the framework of thought that western civilization was built upon. There are a few key Biblical principles especially that offer a way out of this mess while protecting true victims.
“A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established. - Deuteronomy 19:15
This passage expresses well the legal understanding that an accused party is presumed innocent until a witness beyond the accuser can testify against the accused. The other "witnesses" need not even necessarily be people; security footage or DNA evidence could theoretically suffice. God's standard of justice is that an accusation alone is not enough to convict someone of a crime.
While this passage alone effectively refutes the idea that "the woman should always be believed" and upends the faux "justice" of the #MeToo movement, the Bible does not stop there. God's standards are yet higher.
Falsely accusing someone of a crime is not a small matter to God. The ninth commandment found in Exodus 20:16 is commonly cited as "Thou shalt not lie" but the actual text is "Thou shalt not bear false witness against your neighbor." Scripture prescribes a fit punishment for those who break this commandment and bear false witness:
“The judges shall inquire diligently, and if the witness is a false witness and has accused his brother falsely, then you shall do to him as he had meant to do to his brother. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.” - Deuteronomy 19:18-19
Imagine if women faced the potential of paying restitution, jail time, or being put on a “false accuser” list if they made false rape claims. Imagine if our courts demanded two or more “witnesses” (at least points of evidence) before they would find the defendant guilty. The effects could not be overstated. Women would be far less likely to do stupid things that put them at risk of being raped, or take the risk and live with their decisions. They would certainly be much more careful before accusing anyone of sexual crimes as it could very well cost them dearly. It would help put and end to the ruining of men’s lives for consensual but regrettable acts.
The bottom line is that Christians need to recover and proclaim is that the Biblical standard goes beyond “innocent until proven guilty” and “by two or three witnesses” but actually ascribes penalty for those who make false accusations. Until then, there is no reason for anyone to expect the flood of false charges to lessen; they come at no cost.