The big story in the news today is the release on Dominique Strauss-Kahn as the sexual assault case against him teeters. The New York Times features a breathtakingly victim-blamey article about the accuser’s credibility, detailing the ways in which she is not a perfect human being… There’s no indication that she actually lied about being raped; instead, it turns out that she has lied about other things in the course of her adult life (shocking stuff, I know).
The reason it’s nearly impossible for the prosecution to pursue these charges, even though there’s no evidence that she lied about anything related to the actual events surrounding the alleged crime, is because we live in a culture where rape victims need to be flawless in order to be believed. We live in a culture where it’s damn near impossible for any woman, when her life is held up to the light, to be considered innocent. We live in a culture where we think it’s even reasonable to question a rape victim’s “innocence” in the first place.
The title of the post is “There Are No Perfect Accusers,” and I would say that the statement should be, “there are no perfect accusers of rape.” Because of course anyone who accuses a rape victim of lying is unimpeachable.
*I wrote this on Friday. No clue why it didn’t post.