False Accusations, Destroyed Lives

It goes without saying that rape is a terrible crime. To make matters worse, many of these crimes are never reported to the police and the perpetrators never face justice.


Rarely talked about is the other side of the coin. Crimes that are reported, but never actually occurred. In some instances, the lie is caught and the falsely accused does not become the falsely imprisoned. However, their names are often dragged through the mud by sensationalist media outlets that consider the mere accusation as good as a conviction. The Kobe Bryant and Duke Lacrosse cases are great examples of the accused being branded guilty almost immediately only to be exonerated when the facts came out.

Brian Banks was not so lucky.


As Jonathan Turley notes in his blog, Banks spent five years in prison after pleading guilty to rape in order to avoid the life sentence prosecutors threatened him with. Turley also highlights that the prosecution pushed on with the case despite the lack of physical evidence and the inconsistencies in the alleged victim’s story. Perhaps most disturbing is the fact that the alleged victim admitted to fabricating the story but will not face charges or be required to return the 1.5 million she was awarded in a suit against the school.

Banks had his record expunged, but the five years stolen from him can never be returned. While the woman who falsely accused him obviously bears responsibility for his ordeal, so do the prosecutors who continued on with the case. Lacking physical evidence and with the supposed victim’s story changing, the right thing to do is to drop the charges, not threaten the defendant with a life sentence to force a plea. Justice is not carried out simply by throwing a body in a cell and notching another conviction on a prosecutor’s ledger.

False accusations victimize those accused and are a slap in the face to those who are genuinely victims of rape or sexual assault. Those who make false reports should not walk unscathed for the damage they have inflicted on the lives of innocent people, and the prosecutors who push on with cases despite scant evidence should not be immune to punishment for their irresponsible behavior.


About jw320

I'm from Yorktown and I'm a history major. I never know what to write in these things.
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8 Responses to False Accusations, Destroyed Lives

  1. Rarely talked about? Dude, Men’s Rights activists talk about it ALL THE TIME. Often to the point of undermining actual rape cases.

    • jw320 says:

      I’m not too familiar with the men’s rights movement. In what ways have they hindered rape cases?

      • The Mens Rights Movement is mostly a bunch of men who try to fight against misandry, prioritizing men’s issues over women’s. Which is problematic in that they ignore the fact that “men’s issues” are all by-products of the patriarchy against women, and they often dismiss women’s issues altogether.

        In general, the movement is HIGHLY misogynist. Read some of the posts from Manboobz.com and you’ll see what I mean.

        They prioritize fighting against false rape accusations over actual rape, and feed into victim-blaming that’s rampant in society.

        The problem about stressing out so much about false rape accusations, even though they do happen, is that it causes everyone to doubt rape victims when they come out about their experience. It’s why so many rape victims don’t contact the authorities until years after the rape actually happened–because they’re too afraid of the shame they’ll face.

      • jw320 says:

        I read some posts from the site you recommended. It showed me that there is, at the very least, a strong misogynistic streak within the men’s rights movement. However, I don’t think that negative forces within a given movement totally invalidate it entirely. There are crazy, radical feminists who hate men, but that does not invalidate feminism or women’s issues as a whole. My post was to bring up an issue that I hadn’t seen talked about too often and was inspired in large part by Mr. Turley’s blog post that I stumbled across. I’d like it if more victims would come forward and see their attackers brought to justice. I’d also like to see justice for Mr. Banks and others like him who have had their lives disrupted by false allegations against them. Sorry if that was a bit incoherent, still recovering from thanksgiving food coma. Props for using a Metal Gear Solid quote on your blog page as well.

      • Haha, thanks.

        Keep in mind that the men’s rights movement is a branch of the general “men’s movement”, which itself wasn’t that bad. In fact, it was mostly comprised of pro-feminist men, which is why it eventually got absorbed by the feminist movement due to it’s redundancy.

        The men’s rights movements is basically a bastardization of the ideals of the men’s movement, so really, don’t trust anything about the MRA.

        Your article is pretty sound except for the “rarely talked about” part, by the way. It’s actually nice to see someone address the issue in a non-misogynist way.

  2. I have seen cases like this before and it is very disturbing to see this happen. It makes it tough to trust people sometimes because you don’t know what can come from a situation even if you did nothing wrong. Another aspect to look at is the police officers and the investigators. Yes, in this situation they did push to far but they are caught in the middle when it comes to cases especially those that are severe like rape. If the officers and investigators don’t do enough they are critisized and if they do to much they are critizied. So it sucks for the cops as well.

    • * criticized- for both ha

      • jw320 says:

        Yeah, investigators are caught between a rock and a hard place in these situations sometimes. My main concern was with the prosecutors. No physical evidence and the accuser’s story kept changing but they threatened with a life sentence. It seemed like “winning” the case was more important than actually bringing the truth to light.

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