We received an indignant email yesterday from a woman who identified herself as the false accuser who recanted a rape lie she had told ten years earlier. We had reported the story of her recantation, and she took issue with our comments questioning why she hadn't been charged with a crime. She wrote: "What possible purpose would prosecuting or incarcerating me at 22 serve? How would that be in the interest of justice?"
This raises an interesting point about gender double standards when it comes to rape.
This woman delayed ten years to recant her rape claim . . . two years after she became an adult. (Note I said "recant" as opposed to "undo" or "take back" -- once unleashed, a rape claim can't be undone or taken back.)
Every second of every day of every one of those ten years, this woman could have done the right thing by releasing this man from the unspeakable agony of a false rape claim. But she didn't.
Now compare that ten-year delay with this delay: In 2003, a 16-year-old Maryland boy named Maouloud Baby was convicted of raping an 18-year-old woman in the back of her car. The woman testified that she told the boy he could have sex with her if he stopped when she told him to, but she claimed that when she yelled for him to stop, he continued for five to 10 seconds. He did not ejaculate but withdrew. He and his "victim" drove to a McDonalds, they hugged, she gave him her phone number, and he left. The boy was convicted of first degree rape and other offenses for delaying withdrawal for as little as five seconds. (An appellate court initially overturned the conviction because that court read state law to preclude withdrawal of consent during the sex act, but the state's Court of appeals said that the appellate court was wrong -- consent may be withdrawn during the act, and it remanded the case for a new trial.)
Did you get that? For false rape accusers, a ten-year delay in doing the right thing merits no punishment whatsoever. In fact, some people probably think we're supposed to thank the woman. For boys accused of rape, a five-second delay in doing the right thing merits a first degree rape conviction.
Which victim do you think suffered more in these two scenarios -- the rape victim, or the false rape claim victim?
The double standard here is vile. If a boy can be convicted of a felony for delaying just five seconds to do the right thing, then a young woman who waits a week, a month, a year -- ten years! -- to do the right thing sure as hell ought to be punished, too.