Last December, a woman using the name “Joanie Faircloth” wrote in the comments section of websitexoJane that she was raped by singer-songwriter Conor Oberst when she was just a teenager. Word spread, Oberst denied the claims and brought a libel suit against the woman when she refused to retract the words she had posted. That July, “Faircloth” admitted that she had lied and made up the story just to get attention. But rather than taking Oberst’s side, some attacked him for taking legal action to defend himself against the accuser for what could have been a career-damaging charge.
False Rape Allegations
False accusations of rape have recently become a hot-topic button in the nation. In Oberst’s case Chris Ostendorf of the Daily Dot, argued that Oberst’s actions could intimidate real victims of rape from coming forward, and that the taking of the lawsuit promoted the idea of men as often being falsely accused, despite the fact that Obersts was falsely accused.
There is a fine line we are walking as a society – do we “believe victims en masse,” as Jessica Valenti urges us to do? Or is that even more dangerous than questioning all those that come forward with rape allegations? Aren’t both sides damaging innocent lives?