Rape is Basically Legal

And I’m not even kidding

Amber Fraley

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Photo by Grant Durr on Unsplash

I don’t like writing these things. I swear I don’t. But lately I’ve noticed an incredible anxiety among American men about being falsely accused of rape and having their lives “ruined.” They talk about it in a panic, as if thousands and thousands of innocent men are locked up in prison on false rape accusations.

The truth is we’re are so far from that mythical scenario most men probably have a better chance of being imprisoned for false murder charges than false rape charges. But the number of men out there who honestly believe will all their hearts there’s a real threat of them being falsely accused of and punished for rape is astounding, especially when you consider the cold, hard facts:

Rape is the least reported crime in the US, as in most societies. In the US, it’s estimated that only about a third of rapes are reported to authorities. Why? Because rapists generally aren’t held accountable, so there’s no reason for victims to through the invasive, time consuming, often demeaning process of reporting. Reporting a rape to the authorities means a mandatory trip to a hospital where the victim is required to strip naked while medical staff checks them over, takes photos of their bodies to document any injuries, as well as DNA swabs from various orifices, in case you didn’t know. This is a nearly impossible task for many rape victims to face.

And for the victims brave enough to report, their rape kit could sit gathering dust for years due to widespread backlogs. Tens of thousands of rape kits remain untested in the US. In 2022, 30 states and Washington D.C. reported 25,000 backlogged rape kits — the total number is unknown.

Of the rapes that are reported, only 8 percent — that’s 8 out of every 100 men reported for rape — will ever see the inside of a prison cell, and lots of those guys won’t do much time. (Think Brock Turner, who served only three months in prison for a brutal rape two other men actually witnessed with their own eyes. One of those men cried at the brutality of Turner’s rape.)

None of this is unique to the US either — the truth is, most nations can’t manage to punish male rapists. (I’m not suggesting prison is the best punishment for all rapists, nor is it rehabilitation.)

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Amber Fraley

Writing about abortion rights, mental illness, trauma, narcissistic abuse & survival, politics. Journalist, novelist, wife, mom, Kansan, repro rights activist.