The concern trolls of the feminist media are very, terribly awfully horribly concerned about the conclusion of Johnny Depp’s recent lawsuit against Amber Heard. Multiple news outlets used the same phrasing in their headlines, claiming the outcome would have a “chilling effect” on domestic abuse survivors. No concern was expressed, of course, for the effects false allegations might have on the accused.
“The Johnny Depp-Amber Heard Verdict Has Domestic Violence Orgs Worried!” screamed The Daily Beast headline of an article filled with quotes from advocates implying that the jury got it wrong, and the case will be damaging to abuse victims. Vox labeled it a backlash against the me-too movement, including mention of it in an article that jumped from feminist issue to feminist issue and labeled the feminist-disapproved side of political debate on each one a backlash against something to do with feminism, as if feminism is the default position, and any non-feminist position must be considered some form of apostasy. Teen Vogue used an emotional appeal, setting the stage at the beginning of their article with a description of the writer’s experience as a rape victim and brief lesson on DARVO attacks (that’s Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender) before discussing the case and concluding that the spectacle it created would hinder victims from seeking help.
More mainstream establishment news sites repeated the “chilling effect” talking point, as well, each mentioning it in diatribes that in various ways condemned Depp for defending his reputation, his supporters for encouraging him and judging Heard, and the outcome of the case for imposing liability on a woman who had leveled an allegation of abuse.
PBS and NBC both discussed memes responding to Amber Heard’s subpar acting during her testimony, calling them “character assassination” and labeling them “misogynistic,” then predicting that these responses will keep real victims from coming forward. NPR said “experts” were warning that “anti-feminist groups were using the trial to mobilize and that defamation lawsuits were being used to silence survivors of domestic violence.” The BBC, which referred to the public response as “Trial by Tik Tok,” lamented the existence of “a growing “cottage industry” of lawyers and PR consultants who advise young men on how to clear their name after being accused of sexual assault in college,” including suing their accusers for defamation. Of course, the article makes no mention of how many of these allegations are false. USA today quoted the director of a legal clinic for domestic violence victims as stating that the verdict made a client reticent to pursue her legal claims, out of fear “that she’d be seen as a liar, like Amber Heard.” The article heavily implied that any recognition that any one individual woman anywhere can lie will automatically result in the assumption that all female accusers everywhere are lying.
The message we’re clearly supposed to take from this media campaign is that acknowledging the issue and incidence of false intimate partner and sexual violence allegations is harmful to victims of these types of crimes. We’re obviously expected to conclude that in order to protect victims, we must excuse false accusers. But is this the truth?
I don’t think it is. This subject was my entry point into men’s rights activism. My decision was made after years of witnessing friends dragged through the bowels of the criminal and family court systems by liars whose only reason for accusing them was to gain an advantage in the custody and property division aspects of their divorce cases. I’ve watched this phenomenon damage the reputations, earning capacity, relationships, and mental and physical health, of the men around me who were targeted, and I’ve seen the collateral damage within their families, as well. Along with these, every man I know personally who was abused by a female partner has described to me how his abuser, knowing her legal and social power in the situation, used false allegations or threat of false allegations as one of her tools of coercive control: Do what you’re told, and don’t make me angry, or I’ll say you hit me, and you’ll face repercussions for that.
The phenomenon of policy-facilitated false allegations is a huge problem that profoundly impacts individual victims. It also impacts our society, which experiences a multitude of more subtle effects such as damage to the overall relationship between the sexes, as well as extensive and expensive abuse of our criminal justice system.
When men’s advocates discuss this issue, feminists respond with more lies. For instance, rather than recognize that leveling a false allegation is an act of aggression, they minimize the experiences of the accused, and try to link the false accuser’s status with the experiences of real crime victims.
Their talking points on this topic can be mostly distilled down to 6 harmful myths.
- False allegations are rare (so they can be ignored.)
- False allegations are harmless (so the false accuser hasn’t done anything wrong.)
- If the allegation is false, the accused has nothing to fear (so concerned men must be guilty of something.)
- Even if the allegation is false, the accused is never truly innocent (so he deserved it.)
- Skepticism regarding allegations is misogynistic if the accuser is a woman (so believe all women!)
- Admitting some allegations are false hurts real victims (so we can never talk about this problem.)
HBR Talk will be discussing these 6 harmful myths feminists use to shield false accusers this Thursday, at 7:30PM Eastern with Deborah Powney. You can find links to the discussion on honeybadgerbrigade.com
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Deborah Powney – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3DOT_N7Ib0Pwi4m4XbX04A
- More feminist “proof” of Patriarchy! | HBR Talk 227 - June 16, 2022
- 6 myths feminists use to shield false accusers from accountability | HBR Talk 225 - June 9, 2022
- Have feminists finally proved Patriarchy? | HBR Talk 224 - June 2, 2022