North Texas Daily

Why are we so inclined to disbelieve women?

Why are we so inclined to disbelieve women?

Why are we so inclined to disbelieve women?
May 29
17:48 2018

A few weeks ago, screenshots between two women blew up in the Denton area. In the texts, one issued a warning that bartenders on Fry Street allegedly may be putting roofies in women’s drinks and shared an experience her friend had.

In true Twitter fashion, all the replies to the tweet were detracting her, declaring that “everyone loves those guys, they would never do that,” and calling for the men in question to actually sue her for libel.

Let me be clear: that is the wrong way to react to this situation.

First of all, the women did not accuse any specific individuals, let alone insinuate she was going to take legal action or report it to the police. The texts made references to “bartenders at Fry Street Tavern and Public House” who are “frat guys.” As if “frat guy” was an extremely distinguishing identifier in a college bar and we knew exactly who she meant. Who exactly should be suing these women, then?

This woman was looking out for others and shared this rumor in an effort to potentially prevent this from happening to someone else. There was no specific identifying information for the woman who sent the text or the men accused. There was no mention of taking action beyond this simple warning. So why was this instantly met with skepticism, malice and threats?

Because some people will always go out of their way to undermine women and their experiences. Some people care more about an ambiguous, unspecific group of men’s reputations than the fact that a woman is saying she was drugged.

“Those guys would never do anything like that, I know them so well,” is classic victim blaming rhetoric, and I can’t believe how quickly it was employed in this context. The haste with which our society will automatically react with disbelief and defensiveness against stories of abuse, for even a faceless group of men, is quite honestly one of the reasons so many victims do not come forward.

People you know and love can still commit crimes. Just because someone is loved or trusted by the community does not give them divine exemption from being terrible when no one’s looking. In fact, in the case of sexual violence, most victims know their attacker. Destroy your notions that only crazy people in dark alleys can commit sexual assault and realize the prevalence of violence among regular, everyday men.

I’m not saying the roofies situation didn’t happen, and I’m not saying it did. But the whole matter is a glimmering testament to how far we have yet to come regarding believing and uplifting women’s voices when they say they have been mistreated.

False sexual assault allegations are rare — the National Sexual Violence Resource Center says false reporting is between 2 and 10 percent. False claims for this crime are no higher than any other yet, astonishingly, accusers of this crime are scrutinized, dismissed and doubted more than any other.

Why do you think that is?

Featured Illustration: Austin Banzon

About Author

Rachel Herzer

Rachel Herzer

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1 Comment

  1. Seren
    Seren May 30, 12:33

    Indeed, abusers are most often the likable guy most people would least suspect. They know this makes it easier for them to misbehave when no one is looking, and to turn everyone against their victims when the truth comes out. It’s always about control. Psychologist Lundy Bancroft wrote a whole book about it, where he studied thousands of abusive men over many decades. It’s called “Why Does He Do That?”

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