Given how cases of rape continue to rise even amidst a pandemic in India, it seems like the fight for women’s empowerment and safety is a long one. One of the biggest obstacles in tackling this problem is the issue of false rape cases. No sooner than we say ‘believe all survivors’ we are pointed to incidences where women levied false allegations of rape against men. Take this recent video that went viral on social media in which a woman can be seen threatening a bank employee with false rape charges while hurling expletives at his colleagues.

Rape is one of the most serious, dangerous threats that women in India are vulnerable to today.  In this scenario, doesn’t issuing a false rape charge belittle the extent of the problem of rape? Isn’t it an exploitation of the fight for women’s safety? Lastly, when a woman threatens someone with a fake rape charge, doesn’t it mean she is taking undue advantage of her gender and compromising the safety of a thousand other women?

Also Read: Rape Cases Show No Signs Of Stopping, Even As COVID-19 Cases Mount

Woman Threatens Man With Fake Rape Case

Reportedly, the woman and her husband were visited by the bank employees for loan recovery. In the video, she says to one of them, “Stand away from me. I’ll put you under rape case.” She further goes on to say, “There is a way to ask payment. F*cking bastard. How dare you talk to my husband like that?”

Watch the viral video here:

Fake Rape Cases Insult The Experiences Of Rape Survivors

Fake rape cases come at the cost of the authenticity of other women’s experiences. It is instances like these that detract from the strength of the #MeToo movement, which aims at harbouring safety and equality for women across the country.

Nithya Nagarathinam, an academic, using data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) and the National Family Health Surveys (NFHS) quotes that “only 6 percent of incidents of sexual violence against women are reported to the police.”

If women begin screaming “wolf,” even in the non-event of it, will it not pose the risk of public disbelief in the next rape survivor? In a country, where a rape complainant already runs the risk of not being taken seriously, won’t the phenomenon of false accusations of rape disadvantage them further? And lead to further under-reporting of assault cases?

Also Read: 13 year old Raped in UP. Her Tongue Cut, Eyes Hacked. Body Found in the Fields: Report

Will Such Cases Not Discourage Male Allies Of Feminism?

In 2018, a woman in Punjab allegedly threatened her husband with a fake rape charge for Rs 13 lakh. The same year, another woman was arrested for trying to extort Rs 35 lakh from a man by threatening to accuse him of rape. And then in a highly popular case from 2015, a DU student had accused Sarvjeet Singh of harassing her at a red light signal from his bike. Singh allegedly lost a lot of job opportunities due to the viral complaint that was later found to be fake.

What of the character assassination of these innocent men caught in false rape charges? Will such instances not be discouraging for male allies of feminism? When men who believe in women’s equality find themselves at risk of facing a false rape allegation every time they falter, or don’t, will their resolve to fight for our equality still be as strong?

Also Read: Tripura: Online Protests Erupt Following Gang-rape Of A 17-year-old Girl

Rape Shouldn’t Be Used To Drive Personal Agendas

Such incidents are often taken by men’s rights activists to justify their cause of men being victimised by women today when that theory couldn’t be far from the truth. All through the north to the south, rape is a gruesome reality for women of all ages in India, COVID-19 notwithstanding.

The Tribune reports that Haryana “has recorded 66 rapes, 62 cases of abduction and 142 incidents of molestation in April this year.” Out of 66, as many as 17 have been gang rapes. Data by The New Indian Express indicates that between March and May this year, there were a total of 64 rape cases and 716 molestation cases in Karnataka. As many as five cases were reported between the months of March and May where fathers had raped their daughters, including one incident involving a 75-day-old baby girl.

Also Read: She Went to Fill a Scholarship Form. 17 year old Raped and Killed in UP’s Lakhimpur Kheri

In the face of these alarming figures, aren’tt fake rape allegations detrimental to the cause of women’s safety as a whole? Shouldn’t personal vendettas be kept out of this fight that is much bigger than any one person? To proffer an agenda on the back of a crime as grievous as rape or to take the upper hand by virtue of identifying as a gender against whom crimes are committed is neither justified nor moral. And it needs to stop, for the sake of women everywhere.

Picture Credit: Twitter

Views expressed are the author’s own.

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