Potentially life-destroying false allegations a “learning experience”

Treon Harris’s accuser has withdrawn sexual battery charges against him and he’s reinstated to play–but his coach says it was a “learning experience” for Treon and everyone else. Really, coach? Yes, it’s good news for Treon Harris–it appears his lawyer might have been right: it seems Treon isn’t a rapist, and his accuser was both the aggressor in their sexual rendezvous and a false accuser. But I am troubled by the strange, albeit politically correct comment by Florida’s coach, Will Muschamp: “This has been a learning experience for everyone involved. Treon has been honest with me throughout the process and is looking forward to rejoining his teammates.” If Treon has been honest, that means he was wrongly accused, as his lawyer so forcefully explained. And if that’s true, what, exactly, did Treon “learn” from the experience? See, that’s a little too close to Catherine Comins’s infamous Time magazine quote for my taste: “Comins argues that men who are unjustly accused can sometimes gain from the experience. ‘They have a lot of pain, but it is not a pain that I would necessarily have spared them. I think it ideally initiates a process of self-exploration. ‘How do I see women?’ ‘If I didn’t violate her, could I have?’ ‘Do I have the potential to do to her what they say I did?’ Those are good questions.” “Victim blaming” is a cardinal sin against rape victims, but, you see, it’s OK to victim blame men falsely accused of rape. Double standard? The worst example of this kind of victim blaming in recent times occurred at Hofstra. If you aren’t familiar with the case, you need to read about it here. Three of the falsely accused men appeared on the Steve Wilkos show after their false accuser admitted under oath to her lie. What happened is chilling. The men were immediately booed by some members of the audience. Wilkos asked why audience members booed the young men. An angry young women came to a microphone and exclaimed that she had been sexually assaulted, and that “it’s not cool. And if you guys are lying about it, that’s not right. I know what it’s like. It’s not cool.” Her comments were greeted with applause. For his part, Wilkos was unsympathetic to the men. “Does that sound like a wholesome college experience?” Wilkos asked them, to applause. Later, one of the young men volunteered that they never should have gone to the party, to more applause. A male audience member stands up and says that he’s gone to parties, and they don’t have to end up having sex with a girl. The audience applauds again. Wilkos said he’s “not trying to be a prude,” but the story of their encounter was “creepy.” And “maybe if you held yourself to a higher level of conduct . . . .” And “doesn’t that sound a little sleazy?” Wilkos then takes offense that one of the men was videotaping the encounter (the videotape, of course, is what led to their freedom), and asks one of the young men if he’d like it if someone did that to him. The audience applauds again. Another audience member stood up and expressed doubt about their innocence. If a television host had made similar comments about a rape victim, how long do you think he’d be on the air? Another chivalrous man, a writer named Michael Daly, entered the misandry hall of fame with this gem: “The five were freed after getting the good scare that they well deserved.” And this: “These five may not be guilty, but that does not make them innocent. They should stop their whimpering and apologize for acting like mutts.” Did you get that? The victims were not “innocent” (even though they were) and they should apologize to the criminal who lied about them. The statement is breathtaking in both its idiocy and sexism. Yet, Michael Daly wasn’t canned. You see, there is “victim blaming” and there is “victim blaming.” Some “victim blaming” is not only acceptable but proper. Down, down, down the rabbit hole we fall.

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