By Liz Brazile
As you may have heard by now, our washed-up but memorable childhood favorite, Nelly was arrested over the weekend amid allegations of raping a 21-year-old in Washington. The woman filed a police report, saying the assault took place on Nelly’s tour bus. Additionally, videos have surfaced of the rapper creepily serenading young girls onstage and twirling their hair at his concerts. Film producer Harvey Weinstein is also making headlines as accounts of sexual misconduct with women in the industry are surfacing. And when sexual assault allegations against public figures arise, the rape apologists pull out their capes, ready to victim-blame and defend the men in question at all costs.
Before you commit yourself to being a champion for the voiceless, downtrodden men who have succumbed to women’s “lies”, there are a few things you should note. The first is that only two to ten percent of reported rapes are discovered to be false. Most reasonable people know that they will face hostility and stigmatization after making real accusations, never mind false ones. And amazingly, there are still people in who believe any rape case made against a male celebrity is simply an overblown conspiracy to cash in on his fortune and destroy his legacy. In the case of Bill Cosby, folks asked why his accusers waited so long to come forward, as though they would’ve stood a better chance of being believed had they come forward in Cosby’s hay day.
The second important truth here is that money, power, and fame combined is a helluva drug. Hell, even the male entitlement seen in broke jokers with no influence or name recognition is astounding. So just imagine how that entitlement is amplified once celebrityhood and the sense of invincibility that often accompanies it becomes a factor. I know firsthand how much couth male celebrities don’t have when it comes to how they treat women in their spaces. They thrive on impressing women with their status and behave accordingly, saying and doing things that your average, everyday man wouldn’t be so sure he could get away with.
Last but not least, consider this: only 310 out of every 1,000 rapes are reported to the police. And only 57 of those reports lead to an arrest. Ultimately, just seven cases will result in felony charges, and only six offenders will do jail time. Yet, one in three women and one in six men will experience sexual violence at some point in their lives. Rape and sexual assault have proven to be some of the most underreported crimes, globally. The likelihood of actual rapists being convicted is discouragingly low. Therefore, the likelihood of a person being falsely convicted and imprisoned for rape is almost nil.
The need for men to be protected from false rape allegations is not a legitimate social concern. But seeking justice for the victims who are re-victimized by your repeated shaming and denial is. So you can put your cape away and rest easier at night knowing that your celebrity fave is actually and factually not likely to succumb to the attention and money-seeking boogeywomen you swear are out to get them.