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Silver Linings in Rolling Stone Rape Fiasco

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Rolling Stone alleged a gang rape at UVA and now doubts its own report. I have no knowledge of the matter. Maybe the victim was completely honest. Maybe she was largely honest but too drunk, or just too traumatized, to remember which fraternity house she was in. Maybe she made it all up. I have no idea and hope a competent police department, rather than an incompetent magazine, tries to find out if possible.

Predictably enough, the internet is now being flooded with articles pointing out that even if one alleged rape victim is lying, many others are not.

The thing is, I believe a lot of people know that, and more might know it now, rather than fewer.

But it's possible they'll know it with a little more seriousness.

It's all too common to assert, absurdly, outrageously, and immorally that all alleged victims must be believed as a matter of principle. It's all too common to assume they are all lying. Neither position is a principle. Either is a preposterous bit of stupidity.

I think the more the matter is discussed, examined, and considered, the fewer people will hold either idiotic position.

So here are some possible silver linings:

Awareness that people lie about rape.

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Awareness that people also tell the truth about rape, and that doing so is in some cases so notoriously difficult that a well-meaning journalist may bend over backwards to help.

Awareness that journalism can make a difference, and that it would make a bigger difference if done better. What if that were applied to military and corporate funding of universities, or the poor manner in which history is taught in our colleges, or the lives of UVA staff who work extra jobs and still need public support?

Awareness that inactive, tv-viewing, partying students can get active about something and make a difference. What if they were to notice climate change or mass incarceration or the fact that college is free in some countries that fight fewer wars?

Awareness that one incident is not a trend, and that treating it as such is unfair to all involved.

Awareness that many rapes are never reported.

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Awareness that men have spent many years in prison before being cleared of false rape charges.

Awareness that people claiming rape should be treated with kindness, consideration, understanding, and professional support, not because there is a certain high percentage chance they are telling the truth, but because they are people. Period.

Awareness that people accused of rape should be treated with kindness, consideration, understanding, and professional support, not because they could be innocent, but because they are people. Period.

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http://davidswanson.org
David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online (more...)
 

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