Recently, two high profile rape stories collapsed under the weight of their own bullshit. The first was when a Rolling Stone article that purported to tell the harrowing tale of a ritual gang rape at a frat house was shown, after a bit of actual investigation, to be completely fabricated. The second, just a couple of days later, was when Lena Dunham's account of being raped by a college Republican named "Barry" was proven false by, again, actual investigation of the claim. Much hand-flappy angst und wagling ensued and continues today, mostly by feminists bitterly lamenting the apparently misogynistic and oppressive investigation of what is considered in the Western world to be a heinous crime.
Both Rolling Stone and Random House (Dunham's publisher) have gone into damage control mode as they desperately hope to fend off what seem to be slam-dunk libel suits from the accused in both stories. Rolling Stone initially responded by shifting blame to "Jackie," the sole source for the gang rape yarn. This backfired immediately as victim advocates who uncritically accepted the story mere days before accused them of victim-blaming and further victimizing Jackie. Since then, much-reviled right wing muckraker Charles C. Johnson has reported that Jackie has a history of left wing activism and dubious sexual assault claims. This suggests that she may have made the whole thing up to further the political ends of campus "rape culture" moral scolds (not to mention feeding whatever mental problems she might have), a tactic reminiscent of the numerous similar hate crime hoaxes that have littered the national headlines over the past thirty years.
Dunham had already been reeling from the fallout of accounts in her sleazy memoir in which she describes systematically sexually abusing her little sister for over a decade, which she and the pop culture feminists that have hitched their wagons to her inexplicable success tried unconvincingly to fob off as normal girly experimentation. After some basic background investigation by Breitbart reporter John Nolte revealed gaping holes in her college rape story and "Barry" started a legal defense fund, Dunham popped up with a tedious and self-serving piece in Buzzfeed that contained a perfunctory apology to the poor, innocent schmuck who was blindsided by her lies jammed into a long-winded screed about how she's still, like, totally a real victim that deserves both support and congratulations for bravely telling her story, seemingly oblivious to the fact that she has so thoroughly trashed her own credibility that only the most deranged of feminist ideologues could take it even half seriously.
Some of my friends worry that I obsess too much about stuff like this, but it hits me in a very visceral fashion because I was once falsely accused of a couple of felonies that could have landed me in state prison. When a cop shows up at your door and starts asking pointed questions about events you don't know anything about with the demeanor of one who has already decided that anything you say short of a full confession is bullshit, it makes you more sensitive to what the falsely accused go through. It took several weeks for the fear of suddenly being arrested and carted off to jail by the police to dissipate. I can only imagine what "Barry" went through as his wife, family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers became aware of Dunham's claim of being raped by a man that most people would reasonably conclude was him. And we already know about the protests and vandalism the Phi Kappa Psi chapter at the University of Virginia as gone through (the frat is still under suspension even though the gang rape story has been debunked).
UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh believes that the accused in both cases have very strong grounds for libel suits. I really hope they sue and win big. "Barry" and the members of Phi Kappa Psi deserve exonerations at least as high profile as the accusations they suffered. Maybe making Rolling Stone and Lena Dunham pay huge sums of cold, hard cash to the people they wronged will begin to put the brakes on this nonsense.
Being on the business end of such an accusation is a frightening experience. I read once that, in China, the penalty for a false rape accusation is to serve the sentence that the accused would have gotten. I don't really know if that's true, but I would absolutely be in favor of such a law where I live. The mere accusation of a sex crime is enough to destroy a man's academic and/or professional career, get him shunned socially, destroy his family and reputation, and dog him with dark rumors for the rest of his days. Sometimes it can even get him killed.
Feminists would have us "listen and believe" instead of question and investigate, perhaps because the latter might show false accusations to be more common than we are led to believe. One thing I know for certain is that rape is far too serious an accusation to accept without close scrutiny and investigation. Women who make such accusations falsely should be severely punished.