Falsely accused of rape
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What to do if you are falsely accused of rape
Men who experience false accusations of rape will find it difficult to effectively clear their reputation, especially if the false rape allegations are published on Twitter and on other social media platforms.
False accusations of rape on social media are a form of lynching. The term lynching describes a summary justice carried out by an incited mob. Historically, proper law enforcement authorities would turn a blind eye to acts of lynching, leaving the victim without hope of ever receiving a fair trial. Nowadays, victims of false accusations of rape face five main challenges.
The first challenge is in relation to the rapid spread of the allegations on social media.
The second challenge is often that the false allegations of rape against them are often made by unaccountable individuals.
The third challenge is that when the false accusations are made by people they know, any attempt to defend themselves would often be met with mob lynching and is unlikely to be seriously listened to by anyone.
The fourth challenge is that it is the evidence presented to the mob is often missing, manipulated and selective.
The fifth challenge is that the police often find it difficult to navigate between the sensitivities which involve allegations of this nature and their duty to protect the man who often becomes a victim of harassment. You can read more about harassment law and the internet on our dedicated website.
If you have been falsely accused of rape on social media, you will be surprised to discover how fast those false allegations can spread on social media. Those who falsely accuse others of rape, tend to well prepare their campaign before going live with it on social media.
Often, what might appear at first sight as a spontaneous confession, that is aimed to warn others of a particular individual who is alleged to be a sexual predator, is in fact, a well-planned plot to inflict the individual being falsely accused maximum damage. You will often find that within minutes of the first publication of the false accusation of rape, the post receives hundreds of likes and is being reposted rapidly and copied to other social media platforms.
Whilst it might be relatively easy to identify those who initiated the false accusations, once posts become viral on social media, the victim has to deal with repeated false allegations made by other social media users who they have never met or heard of. In some cases, the originator of the accusations is unknown to the person being falsely accused but the reality is that nearly always, the person accused will know very well the identity of the person making the allegations against them. Individuals who make false allegations of rape against someone, often do this because of fear, regret, revenge or for attention. See for example the case of Jack Aaronson Aka Dominic Ford V Marcus Stones Aka Mickey Taylor.
Whichever their reason is for making false accusations of rape, it is often important for the person making the allegations to have their name associated with the posts they make on social media. The problem for the person against whom the allegations are made is often finding out and being able to deal with the other people who use social media to repeat and spread the false allegations against him.
The answer to the question how can someone who has been falsely accused of rape or of sexual assault prove their innocence without having the right to due process is simple. They cannot. The term due process is a term that refers to the fair course of justice where both the accuser and the accused are given a fair and equal platform to have their case examined by an impartial jury. Cases, where false accusations of rape are made on social media, are often cases where the person making the allegations has decided that they did not wish their complaint to be determined following due process. They don’t wish the person being accused to have a fair opportunity to defend himself without prejudice.
Those who make false accusations of rape on social media don’t always go to the police first. Whilst the police in the UK take accusations of rape extremely seriously, and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) does not leave a stone unturned in situations where allegations of rape are being made, there are cases where both the police and the CPS have concluded that either no evidence to substantiate the allegations or that the events, as told by the person making the allegations, simply don’t add up. In some cases, it is difficult and even impossible to tell, whether what is alleged did in fact happen. Due process means, that no one should be punished for a crime where there is more than reasonable doubt as to their guilt.
Where the person making the accusations seeks a mob trial on social media, they effectively remove this presumption of innocence and the possibility for the accused individual to be able to defend himself. What is left, under those circumstances, for the individual falsely accused or rape to do, is to take legal action for defamation and for harassment and by doing so, force the accuser to either retract their accusations or produce the necessary proof.
The best way to respond to false accusations of rape is to first, avoid entering into public conversations with the accusers on social media. The conditions on social media platforms are set against the person being falsely accused. The way social media works is by encouraging mob justice and you should therefore never expect to receive vindication or a fair hearing in the public court of social media. Having said that, if you are a victim of false accusations, you should seek legal advice as to the best way for you to respond to the false accusations.
It might be the case that your response to the defamation will be by sending a letter before legal action to the person making the false accusations, or a letter to the social media platform to ensure that they remove posts that contain false allegations against you. In other cases, you might be able to go to court and seek an emergency injunction under the Protection from Harassment Act or under privacy laws.
If you believe that you are being harassed by false accusations, you should also consider reporting harassment to the police. If you engage with your accusers, the police might not consider this as harassment but as banter or an expression of free speech.
In most cases, if you are falsely accused of rape or of sexual assault, you should avoid direct engagement with the person who falsely accuses you. A false accusation could be considered defamation and harassment and, in some cases, might also breach your data and your right to private life.
If someone is falsely accusing you of rape on social media, or any kind of sexual assault, you should seek legal advice and have all communications sent to them by your lawyers. Your lawyers will issue the person falsely accusing you with the appropriate reply, warning or words, which in most cases should result in a retraction of the false allegations.
Accused of rape on social media