It is unfortunate that such an article has to be written, and that we would live in such an age where it is relevant to the politics of modern academia.
But so it is.
Yes: there is a rash of campus activists – most of them (if not all of them) Feminists – now brazenly making false claims of rape and harassment and using them for activism purposes. Most often, these false claims are made as a means to “raise awareness of the problem of rape on campus,” an interesting notion since if rape were such a big problem on campus there would be no need to make up fake rapes at all.
But sometimes these false claims of harassment/rape are employed as a means to directly leverage power against a man who advocates an idea which a particular Feminist disagrees with. On a similarly disturbing note, there is no evidence that our academic institutions have disciplined the vast majority of these false accusers, even though they have punished other students for far less.
I’ll cover some of the major cases here in brief.
Meg Lanker-Simons at the University of Wyoming
Meg Lanker-Simons was a prominent Feminist blogger with nearly 60,000 followers. She had received an award by Think Progress for blogging the GOP primaries, and her Tumblr posts were widely shared over the internet. For being one woman in an oppressive patriarchy, she had quite a powerful voice.
But apparently that wasn’t enough. In her last semester at UW she decided to give her activism an extra “punch” by writing out a rape threat against herself and submitting it to the Facebook page UW Crushes, which then reposted it on their page (this is a page that reposts anonymous “crushes” students submit to the page).
The fake threat took the campus by storm, sparking a massive campus “anti-rape culture” rally which was covered on television by CBS and led by Lanker-Simons. She dramatized the event and heroized herself as much as she could, portraying herself on social media as a frail and innocent victim of an oppressive “rape culture” who was standing up for everyone else who was similarly victimized. At the same time she spread the rumor that the rape threat might have been posted by the UW Crushes page admins themselves to get more likes and shares for the page.
After an investigation, the police discovered that the initial UW Crushes post had been submitted by an IP address registered to none other than Lanker-Simons. According to police documents, she confessed to the hoax but then retracted her confession. She was charged with interference with a police investigation.
Instead of bringing this case to a merciful close, she decided to waste everyone’s time and taxpayer money by dragging out the legal process for six months, after which she accepted a plea deal in exchange for a “minimal fine” and no jail time.
The University of Wyoming did absolutely nothing to punish her. She graduated and went on to attend law school. She remains a blogger with many followers, and there is no evidence that she has been called out or marginalized by her Feminist friends at all.
Dr. Annette Kolodny at the MLA Convention
The most nakedly dishonest attempt by Feminists to squash alternative points of view through “harassment” policies occurred in 1991 at the Modern Language Association Convention. It was then that Dr. Annette Kolodny, a former dean of humanities at the University of Arizona, proposed a new definition of discrimination: “antifeminist intellectual harassment.”
This type of “harassment” essentially characterizes any criticism of Feminism, women’s studies departments, or even possibly anything a woman says or does (since it’s about the “effect” not the “intent”) as harassment. Although the proposal was not officially acted on, it serves as a reminder of the mentality of many academic Feminists. It begins:
Anti-feminist intellectual harassment, a serious threat to academic freedom…
Let’s stop right there. Academic freedom hinges upon freedom of speech. That this proposal claims to “protect” academic freedom while at the same time setting out to destroy it is very consistent with the tendency of Feminists to project upon others the very abuses they themselves intend to inflict. Take a look at how broad Kolodny’s definition of “harassment” is as the proposal continues:
…occurs when (1) any policy, action, statement, and/or behavior has the intent or effect of discouraging or preventing women’s freedom or lawful action, freedom of thought, and freedom of expression;
(2) or when any policy, action, statement, and/or behavior creates an environment in which the appropriate application of feminist theories or methodologies to research, scholarship, and teaching is devalued, discouraged, or altogether thwarted;
(3) or when any policy, action, statement, and/or behavior creates an environment in which research, scholarship, and teaching pertaining to women, gender, or gender inequities is devalued, discouraged, or altogether thwarted.
The proposal can be found in Dr. Kolodny’s book Finding the Future: A Dean Looks at Higher Education in the Twenty-First Century, page 105.
Michaela Morales at Middle Tennessee State University
See the news report here. Video below:
She then proceeded to push him off an embankment and onto a concrete sidewalk, where he lay – apparently in pain, since he was clutching his head – for several minutes.
After lifting her arms up into the air triumphantly, the crowd cheered Morales for falsely accusing the man of sexual assault and then assaulting him. There is no evidence that the Middle Tennessee State University did anything to punish her.
It should also be noted that although the title of the video above describes Morales as a Feminist, no evidence has proven whether this is true.
Mindy Brickman at Princeton University
Mindy Brickman was a Feminist and a sex-assault victim advocate at Princeton University. She decided that the best way to convince her friends that rape was a problem on campus was to falsely tell them that a male student had raped her. Her friends started a gossip campaign against the young man she accused, and later she repeated the lie at a Take Back the Night rally on campus.
She refused to bring her accusation before campus administrators or the police. Princeton University launched its own investigation anyway, which turned up absolutely nothing.
Facing increasing scrutiny, Mindy wrote out an apology which was printed in The Daily Princetonian. You can read the apology on page 6 of the publication here.
Mindy Brickman was never punished for falsely accusing a male student of rape, putting him through hell, and likely destroying his reputation. The apology was considered enough by the administration.
Tanya Borachi at the University of Florida
An excerpt from The Gainesville Sun:
A woman who told authorities that she had been attacked in the Campus Lodge apartment complex parking lot last week now has said she made it all up, according to Gainesville police. Tanya Borachi, 22, recanted her story on Wednesday and told Gainesville Police Department detectives she fabricated the story “as a lesson to women in the area that an attack could happen to them,” according to a report.
I hope we are starting to see a pattern.
In a follow-up interview on Wednesday, after GPD Detectives Martin Honeycutt and Joe Mayo pointed out several inconsistencies in her story, she reportedly admitted making up the tale. Detectives were skeptical of Borachi’s report after they realized she had not been truthful with them about several aspects of the case, Tobias [a Gainesville PD spokesman] said, but detectives with the sexual crimes unit and members of the special operations unit continued to work on the case.
Tobias said that Borachi gagged and bound herself, and that her roommate was not part of the scheme. “Her roommate was duped, too,’’ he said. Susan Jennings, a representative of the company that handles security for Campus Lodge, said she was “relieved that it was a false alarm. This is a reminder of the importance of safety.”
Marian Kashani at George Washington University
From the Reading Eagle we hear this story:
“Why would anyone fake a rape? A troubled conscience might have its reasons. That’s what Marian Kashani, 19, a sophomore at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., did. She not only lied about rape, she embellished her story with racist details.
Kashani, a rape counselor who works on a crisis hotline, told a reporter for her school newspaper that she knew a white woman who was raped on campus at knifepoint by two black men “with particularly bad body odor.” When they were done, she said one of the men told the woman that she was “pretty good for a white girl.” A fake policeman backed up her story by phone.
There are goats aplenty in this sordid episode. Kashani is one, obviously. She insists she only wanted to bring public attention to [in her words] “the problems of safety for all women.” She got attention all right, but she’s less likely to contribute to the safety of women than to racial animosity and renewed skepticism toward women who cry rape.
Indeed, Marian Kashani should be criticized for contributing to racial animosity. But what is so often overlooked when false claims are made is that these false accusers are also contributing to animosity against men.
Desiree Nall at Rollins College
Ms. Nall was not just a student, and not just a Feminist. She was the president of the Brevard County chapter of the National Organization for Women. She is also a false rape accuser. The Baltimore Sun tells the story:
During the 2005 campuswide sexual assault awareness week at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., then-23-year-old Desiree Nall told police that she was raped by two men in a college bathroom. Fear and panic swept the campus as police initiated a manhunt for the rapists.
Police noticed many inconsistencies in Ms. Nall’s story, and one female police investigator stated that there was “no evidence to support the sexual battery complaint filed by Desiree Nall.” According to press reports, Ms. Nall, then the president of the Brevard County Chapter of the National Organization for Women, eventually told police that she was “not a victim of a sexual battery, as earlier reported in her sworn statements.”
Feminists’ lack of concern over the harm caused by false rape allegations is evident in the fact that even today, Ms. Nall remains in the leadership of Brevard County NOW.
Just like Mindy Brickman at Princeton University, Desiree Nall decided to make her false accusation at a time her school had designated for sexual assault awareness. She knew that the hysteria over the issue would peak around that time, a hysteria which would reduce the chances that her accusation would be publicly scrutinized.
And she knew that her false rape claim would contribute to that hysteria, especially as the president of a Feminist organization.
“Take Back the Night” group at Oberlin College
Imagine putting yourself in this student’s shoes. From The Toledo Blade:
Earlier this year at Oberlin College, a group calling itself “Take Back the Night” posted signs across campus identifying a freshman as “Rapist of the Month.” The freshman, an 18-year-old studying philosophy, recalls the day the signs went up. He was getting his mail when he noticed students crowded in front of a bulletin board. They were reading a sign – a sign calling him a rapist.
“My initial reaction was complete shock, complete disbelief,” says the freshman, who requested his name not be published. “My friends gathered around and said, ‘Hey, what’s this all about?’” He tore the sign down, along with several others on campus. The next few days were spent denying the accusation – to friends, acquaintances, and the media.
“I haven’t even dated at Oberlin,” he says. ‘I don’t drink. I don’t do drugs. I couldn’t have gotten myself in that kind of situation.’ Adds friend Stacy Tolchin: ‘”He’s probably almost boring.”
Such tactics are not surprising, says junior Ted Chapman, sitting in the courtyard outside the Student Union. He says tensions have been so high the last couple of years that he has virtually quit dating. Friend Dave Roscky nods in agreement. Nearby, sophomore Emily Lloyd says men are missing the point. “So many women get their lives totally ruined by being assaulted and not saying anything. So if one guy gets his life ruined, maybe it balances out.”
Did you hear that, folks? “It balances out.” Let’s try a little role reversal:
How do you think it would go down if a men’s group on campus decided that the best way to raise awareness of false rape accusations was to go out and rape a student? Furthermore, how do you think it would be received if a student dismissed it by saying, “so many men get falsely accused of rape, so if one woman gets raped maybe it balances out.”
Methinks it would not go over well.
Michelle Gretzinger, Tania Mortensen, and Bonita Rai at the University of Hawaii
For this story see Heterophobia by Dr. Daphne Patai, chapters 3 and 4 (p.72-87).
Ramdas Lamb was a well-liked professor and undergraduate adviser for the religious studies department at the University of Hawaii. A well-traveled Hindu monk (for which he took the name Ramdas), his genial personality and instructional skill had contributed to the department nearly doubling in size in a mere two years.
One day he asked his students to read several articles about sexual harassment and rape, one of which sparked a discussion about false accusations. This greatly disturbed Tania Mortensen, a sex-assault victim advocate for a group called CORE (Creating Options for a Rape-Free Environment) who ”vehemently denied that women ever lie about rape.” Michelle Gretzinger, who the semester prior had told other students she had been raped (and who would later make numerous false rape accusations against Dr. Lamb), as well as Bonita Rai, were also offended.
All three of them accused Dr. Lamb of creating a “hostile environment” by allowing false rape accusations to be discussed at all. When their accusations gained no traction, however, Michelle Gretzinger escalated the charges and falsely claimed that Dr. Lamb assaulted her “between ten and sixteen times in her own apartment after driving home from his once-a-week class,” something her attorney characterized as “mentor rape.”
Gretzinger’s false rape accusations drug him through the courts and the mud for three and a half years, which devastated his reputation among the faculty. It ended up in federal court, where it took a jury of four women and four men just a few hours to recognize that it was in fact Gretzinger who was the villain, and Dr. Lamb who was the victim.
There were numerous problems with Gretzinger’s accusations. The dates she specified did not even accurately fall on class days. Despite claiming to being traumatically raped ten to sixteen times, she never notified her husband of these horrid serial rapes that were allegedly going on. In addition, according to reports by other students, she had continued to demonstrate enthusiasm in class for Dr. Lamb’s lectures during the time she was supposedly being “raped.” She also signed up for one of his future courses during this “rape period” as well.
Militant Feminist Student at Harvard University
Similar to Dr. Lamb, Dr. Alan Dershowitz at Harvard claims he was threatened with a sexual harassment claim after allowing a discussion on false accusations of rape in his classroom. Unlike Dr. Lamb’s case, the would-be accusers never filed an official charge, and Dr. Dershowitz was never taken to court or falsely accused of rape.
On pages 82-83 of her book Heterophobia, Dr. Daphne Patai recalls Dr. Dershowitz as saying of the event, ”Despite the fact that the vast majority of students wanted to hear all sides of the important issues surrounding the law of rape, a small minority tried to use the law of sexual harassment as a tool of censorship.”
Folks, this is the kind of world we live in. These false accusations are not “errors in judgment,” but moral failings that threaten an equal and just society that values the pursuit of truth. It is long past time the world cast off its fears of “offending” people who have no love of justice, no tolerance toward alternative points of view, and no sense of how to treat a fellow human being.
It is long past time we expose these tyrants, and oppose them.
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Also please note: this item is reprinted from A Voice for Male Students, which you should also be reading.