(This post was originally published on Meerkat Musings)
Not for the first time we find ourselves diving into the world of David Thiessen and his viewpoints, this time on the recent release of Bill Cosby from prison.
For those who are unaware, back in 2018 Cosby was convicted and jailed for aggravated indecent assault against Andrea Constand. He has been the subject of numerous civil lawsuits, as all but Constand’s case fell outside the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution. A few weeks ago he was released from prison on the grounds that his conviction violated his Constitutional rights.
This caused an uproar, given that at least 60 women accused Cosby of drugging and raping them over a span of many years, from 1965 onwards. The key issue would be around the evidence, which appears to be somewhat hard to pin down, but that aside, there are a few ideas David explores that are worth some comments…
Through the efforts of Project Innocence and similar Christian organizations, many women cry rape when none took place. Men are and were imprisoned for a crime they did not commit based solely on a woman’s word.
Getting them out of prison is justice and these women with their false accusations make it very hard for real rape victims to be heard. Then people will point to the earlier fact that there were 60 women making their accusations.
The sheer number of women saying the same thing must make their testimony and accusations true. Not so, as we again point to Jesus’ trial. The sheer number accusing Jesus of a crime did not make him guilty or a sinner.
This notion that ‘many’ women say they’ve been raped when they haven’t is a bogus one. Men are rarely, if ever imprisoned based on one woman’s word (if that were the case, Donald Trump would have been imprisoned a long time ago, and yet he became President of the United States).
In England and Wales, it is believed approximately 3-4% of all rape accusations are false. The flipside is that 96-97% of rape claims are genuine. Studies in the US don’t support the idea that lots of men go to prison on the back of false allegations. Some do, but hardly ‘many’.
And yes, false accusations of any crime, put forward with a malicious intent, is wrong, and there should be consequences for making false allegations – but all too often, the overriding narrative is that women are not believed, coerced/threatened into silence, or rape cases are not investigated to any meaningful degree. Many cases that are investigated in the UK don’t result in a conviction. In the US it is believed the vast majority of rapes are not even reported to the police, for the reasons mentioned earlier.
This idea there is balance between false accusations and the many cases that go unreported is false. The theory that there is equivalence between men jailed over misleading allegations and women receiving justice against their attackers is completely incorrect.