Stepford Syndrome: Why Feminist Rape Rhetoric Is Both Tiresome and Disturbing (and How It Hurts Not Only Men, but Women, Too)

Posted on December 4, 2014


“A U.S. law professor, who will be speaking at the Commons, said the UK’s stance on false allegations [of rape] is more aggressive than in countries such as the United States, Canada, and Australia. Prof. Lisa Avalos, of the University of Arkansas, said false allegations in the U.S. were dealt with as a misdemeanour offence, not a felony—and most women were not jailed if found guilty.

“‘In the course of my research, I have not found any country that pursues these cases against women rape complainants in the way the UK does. The UK has an unusual approach, and I think their approach violates human rights,’ she said.”

The Guardian (December 1, 2014)

This quotation about rape “complainants” is drawn from a story that appeared in The Guardian this week (“109 women prosecuted for false rape claims in five years, say campaigners”), a story that’s mirrored on a number of other sites, including and

Picketers object to the prosecution of 109 British women in recent years for perverting the course of justice by falsely alleging rape. According to the protesters’ signs, all female accusers are “victims” and “rape survivors,” and the men they accuse are all “rapists” (ipso facto).

The story concerns outrage expressed by activist representatives of the charity Women Against Rape, or WAR, whose assertions require no elucidation; they’re clockwork.

Whether WAR’s outrage has merit is difficult to discern.

Obviously lost in the uproar, however, is what the (female) American law professor who’s quoted in the epigraph actually says, which is this: Falsely accusing someone of rape in the United States is merely a misdemeanor offense and one for which an accuser is rarely punished and may never be prosecuted at all.

This fact isn’t perceived as unfair by feminist activists—far from it. It’s touted, rather, as a reason why it’s a “human rights violation” for the United Kingdom to mete out sterner justice.

This writer, for one, would be more sympathetic to the denouncements of WAR if there were any headline-grabbing activist groups tabulating how many men are arrested and/or prosecuted each year for being falsely accused of rape.

In the fictional community of Stepford, all the women have been replaced by robots whose responses are programmed.

Even allowing that the 2 to 8% false allegation rate commonly cited by feminists were true (and it isn’t), the number of men falsely accused of rape is many times greater than the number of women prosecuted for false allegations, in the UK and everywhere else (for analysis of the rate of false allegations of rape, see Cathy Young’s 2014 article, “Crying Rape: False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem,” and Emily Bazelon and Rachel Larimore’s 2009 piece, “How Often Do Women Falsely Cry Rape?” published in the same outlet).

Feminist outcry is reflexive, even arguably robotic, and invariably insensitive to male victimization. The argument that a majority of rapes goes unpunished in no way (logically, morally, or otherwise) excuses the unjust implication or punishment of even a single person, ever.

Besides being insensitive to male victimization, moreover, feminists evince no awareness that women, too, are victimized by their furor’s trickle-down effect. Feminists’ making an international case of the prosecution of 109 women works a very real influence on how rulings on charges “lesser” than rape are formed by the courts—charges made in restraining order, stalking, domestic violence, and related cases—and the defendants in these cases are far from exclusively men.

False allegations made against women in prosecutions involving or implying violence may only be a fraction of those made against men, but with those prosecutions’ numbering in the millions each year, that fraction is hardly inconsiderable and easily dwarfs a figure like 109. To posit, as activist groups like WAR tacitly do, that accusers’ allegations should be credited on faith means a lot of women (globally) will continue to be falsely implicated or punished based on judicial impulses that have been conditioned by feminist rhetoric. Much of the “social science” that’s used to “train” judges how to rule in prosecutions predicated on allegations of violence or the fear of violence is inspired by groups like WAR.

To illustrate how feminists’ gears turn (and why those gears need retooling), contemplate this letter printed in The Guardian recently that was composed by a 21-year-old man who was accused of rape as a boy: “A letter to…the girl who accused me of rape when I was 15.”

Now consider this steely response to it by Lucia Osborne-Crowley published almost simultaneously (buzz…whir…click) on “Why did the Guardian publish this letter about false rape accusations?

Need any more really be said?

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