By Annie Brown, posted here: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/lifestyle/annie-brown-lies-women-who-1946762
STEPHEN McLaughlin was 23 when he killed himself after being falsely accused of rape.
He was a gentle, intelligent and dignified man who had been damaged irreparably by the lies of a vindictive young woman. Stephen would have been 40 this year, perhaps a father and husband enjoying the love and the life he deserved.
I think of Stephen every time I see a case like that of Linsey Attridge, 31, who falsely accused two strangers of raping her in an attempt to win back her boyfriend. She picked two men at random on Facebook and threw a grenade into their world.
Last week, Attridge was convicted and sentenced to 200 hours of community service.
Stephen’s accuser was a former girlfriend and she had sex willingly with him on his birthday.
She too admitted that she had cried rape to make her new boyfriend jealous.
Police had picked up Stephen in the middle of the night and subjected him to an intimate and degrading medical examination. The next morning when he returned home, he vomited, wept and repeated with incredulity the word “rapist”.
A few weeks before he died, Stephen told me that he was haunted by the prospect of that split-second of doubt, the potential for there to be any pause, any question, in any mind that he was capable of such a heinous crime.
On his sister Alexandra’s 30th birthday, he left her party, drove to a remote spot in the Galloway forest and killed himself.
The lies of women like Attridge have the same destructive impact on genuine rape victims. Victims fear that flicker of scepticism, that they may not be believed. As Attridge has shown, there are women low enough to cry rape. But she is the exception, not the rule.
It is beyond the comprehension of the vast majority of women to wreak such havoc on an innocent man’s life.
To Stephen, neither his accuser’s confession nor the court’s conviction, could restore the honour he valued with his life.
Let’s hope that the vindication of the court is enough for Attridge’s victims but it will take them years to recover – if they ever do.
As Stephen’s tragic suicide shows, to falsely accuse a man of rape is to play Russian roulette with his life.
For two months, Attridge’s victims were investigated, forensically examined and questioned. She plucked them from Facebook and for that time they were tarnished with the label of alleged rapists.
She punched herself in the face and ripped her own clothes to add credibility to her lie that the men had raped her in her Aberdeen home.
It was cruel, it was vindictive and manipulative and a betrayal of men and women. Attridge’s ex-boyfriend feels she deserves jail but it is difficult to see what purpose prison would serve.
The prospect of jail time is not going to deter any other woman like her, who is willing to swing a wrecking ball through men’s lives in a perverse attempt to keep her bloke.
She needs psychological help and to know that the consequences of actions like hers can be fatal.
I hope she will think of her victims and of those like Stephen who paid the ultimate price in the petty politics of another’s relationship.