Who is Believable?

We recently shared an article on the KCSARC Facebook page about Shia LeBeouf, an actor who recently came forward to say a woman raped him during his recent art show. You can see the article and the Facebook post here.

What happened next was something that did not surprise anyone at KCSARC – some people commented on the article saying they don’t believe LeBeouf. They said he is not trustworthy and that this is nothing more than a publicity stunt. And, they claimed that his accusation, and people believing him, is taking away focus from “real rape victims.”

Those comments are disappointing, but not surprising. Statements like this perpetuate the incorrect belief that some people don’t have to be believed if they do not fit the mold of the “perfect victim.” The truth is, people don’t lie about being raped. The best research available says that between 2 and 8% of rape allegations are found to be false[1]. This is a similar rate to other crimes, like robbery. Yet whenever we start talking about rape online, the victim-blaming attitudes come right out – we’ve seen examples of this recently in the wake of continued accusations against Bill Cosby where commenters cry  foul, saying these women are “gold-diggers,” “out for publicity,” and “just wanting to ruin a good man’s image.”

I recently surveyed some KCSARC staff to find out what kinds of disbelieving and victim-blaming comments they hear most, and I think we filled up four pages. Sometimes people aren’t believed because they were drinking, or they had previously had sex with the person, or invited someone to come inside. Sometimes children aren’t believed because they “don’t understand what they are talking about”, or because “kids make things up all the time.” Shia LeBeouf isn’t believed because he’s said and done some really weird things in the past, because he’s not distraught enough during TV interviews. Bill Cosby’s accusers aren’t believed because they waited so long to say something, because they met with him willingly, because they took the pills he offered them.

Here’s what it comes down to for me – I choose to support survivors. People don’t lie about being raped. It costs me nothing to believe someone, and my believing – out in public, in conversations, and on Facebook – can let others know that things are changing, that the myth of the “perfect victim” doesn’t have as much power as it once did, and that if you have been sexually assaulted, help is available no matter how long you’ve been silent or scared to talk about it.

 

Comments

I really don’t know about the

I really don’t know about the reality. But maybe this incident was part of publicity. The truth can only be revealed by Shia LeBeouf whether this is a reality or a publicity stunt.

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