The Comments About The Latest Celebrity Rape Accusation Are So F***ing Frustrating
The Debrief: After another celebrity was arrested after being accused of rape by a fan, the response from online commenters proves exactly why reporting sexual assault isn't always an easy decision.
Last weekend, a celebrity was arrested after a woman accused him of raping her in a hotel room in Wolverhampton.
The celebrity has denied the allegations and the investigation is ongoing.
The Sun reported the story over this past weekend and, entirely unsurprisingly, the comments generated by the public have been wholly negative towards the accuser.
What is reported to have happened is this: The celebrity appeared at Gorgeous Nightclub in Wolverhampton on the night of December 1st. Afterwards, two female fans, one aged 20, the other age unknown, headed back to his hotel room. According to The Sun's source they, 'Eventually left the room but once outside they realised they had left behind coats and, more importantly, a handbag with a purse in it containing their taxi money to get home. One of the girls knocked on the door saying she wanted to retrieve her stuff and was let back in. It’s then she says she was raped.'
As is always the case with a high profile accusation like this, people are keen to have their say on the matter. And their comments have fallen into two distinct categories - firstly, that it is wrong to name the celebrity accused when nothing has been proved yet - his name is readily available on the internet but is not published here - and those accusing the woman of lying.
'One of the girls knocked on the door to go back in and get the stuff so what was the other doing standing there thinking wow she's taking a long time! Or was she in the room while it was happening and did nothing!!! I smell silly girls (well grown woman) trying to get a pay out.' Said one woman (yes woman) on Facebook. 'Yet again we have a slapper making accusations against a famous man who she was a fan of she probably did sleep with him and didn't like it when he asked her to go straight after.' Said another.
'All these girls going back to these famous guys hotels then crying rape what did you think you was going back for, to play monopoly?! Silly girls.' The comments continued and 'Always the same .. dragging a poor mans identity through the mud and you don't even know facts if she found to be Lyin 5 yr in jail n name and shame the slag.'
All of those comments came from female commenters and none were hard to find. They were all amongst the top ten comments on the story on the Sun's Facebook page.
At the moment, in the UK, just 15% of rapes and sexual assaults are reported to the police and, with attitudes like this taking precedence, it's not hard to see why victims might think twice about involving the police. To the commenters judging the woman already, it's worth remembering that, according to the most recent investigation by the Crown Prosecution Service, just 0.06% of prosecutions involving allegations of rape were for false allegations.
Since 1992, those accusing people of sexual violence have been entitled to anonymity during a case. However, as can be seen with the recent Ched Evans case, anonymity is a luxury that accusers of celebrities may not be entitled to. Although the case was overturned in the high court, the accuser (who, notably, isn't being charged with false accusations), has been forced to move house and endure horrendous threats online. She was, after the case, afraid to return home after Evans supporters threatened to slash her face.
Those calling for anonymity for both accuser and accusee until proven guilty may well be onto something - although not for the reasons they think. In a world where anonymity for an accuser is no longer possible, could the key to keeping their identity secret be to also hide the identity of the high-profile accusee until proven guilty?
Perhaps - without their online army of unofficial jurors to back them up, a trial might be able to continue as intended - in a courtroom. Without the jury of Twitter getting to have their say too.
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