Why would Edmonton’s Karen Smith lie?

Why would Karen Smith tell such an obvious and stupid lie?

Sexual Assault Voices of Edmonton is the organization behind the Don’t Be That Guy campaign. Karen Smith is the executive director, and told an interviewer with the CBC that the posters stating “Don’t Be That Girl”–a parody done by AVfM affiliate MREdmonton–and which identified the problem of false accusations of rape, were disappointing and inaccurate: “It just doesn’t happen. Nobody would report sexual assault needlessly because it is a grueling process to go through.”

The posters also say: “Just because you had a one night stand, doesn’t mean your sexual encounter was not consensual. Lying about sexual assault = a crime”.

According to a major fraction of mainstream commentary, these “Don’t Be That Girl” posters are “rape apologetics”. This is too stupid to bother refuting, but it merits mention as an illustration of the tone of public commentary. In fact, “Don’t Be That Girl” refers to the phenomenon of wilfully fraudulent accusations of rape, the prevalence of such cases, and the near total lack of legal consequences for accusers making such claims. But Karen Smith, the executive director of Sexual Assault Voices of Edmonton said in a CBC interview that it just doesn’t happen.

It just doesn’t happen.

Interestingly, the CBC reporter who wrote the July 9 article entitled “Posters say some women lie about sexual assault” is not named, and the article on CBC.ca has no author attribution or by-line. This means that whatever irresponsible dolt at CBC did write the piece, nobody can criticize them with the observation that on the same website, there is a 2009 article entitled “Edmonton cabbie sues passengers over false assault allegations”.

That article documents the story of a veteran Edmonton taxi driver whose female passengers accused him of sexual assault to avoid paying a their cab fare. The cabbie was saved by a camera which recorded what actually happened: the women had refused to refrain from smoking in his cab, and then refused to pay the – wait for it – THIRTEEN DOLLAR fare. To avoid any consequence of not paying that $13, they claimed sexual assault – and the “grueling process” began.

That’s what a man’s life, freedom, reputation, family, and future livelihood is worth. Thirteen bucks.

But according to Karen Smith, executive director of Sexual Assault Voices, It Just Doesn’t Happen. So why would somebody in a position of such public trust, responsibility, and power tell such an idiotic, stupid, and irresponsible lie?

It just doesn’t happen.

Crystal Mangum

Elizabeth Jones

Nafissatou Diallo

Kirsty Debanks

Katelyn Webster

Linsey Attridge

Leanne Black

Wanetta Gibson

And there is also false accuser Ligia Filler.

A few journalists are starting to stand up to liars like Smith, including Robyn Urback: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/07/10/robyn-urback-sometimes-assault-accusations-are-false-a-little-awareness-is-ok/

Urback writes, It’s shocking, all right. And arguably provocative to a fault. After all, Men’s Rights Edmonton could have made the same point without making a parody of an existing anti-rape campaign, a move that will rub salt in the wounds of those already sensitive to the issue. But despite the tactless presentation, the message remains fair: Sometimes, women falsely accuse men of rape.

Despite Urback’s distaste for the ungentle tone of the posters, she is at least willing to concede that the concerns they raise are valid.

Maybe somebody ought to tell the executive director of the Sexual Assault Voices of Edmonton: Hey Karen, Don’t Be That Girl.

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