Froma Harrop: When believing all women leads to evil

Article here. Excerpt:

'The hashtag #BelieveWomen stemmed from an era when women claiming to have been sexually assaulted were broadly dismissed. That is, if you ignore the history of white women falsely accusing black men of rape. Those women were largely believed and the accused often summarily tortured and hung by the neck from a tree.
Between 1881 and 1968, 3,446 black men were killed by lynching, a number drawn from the Tuskegee Institute archives. Almost a quarter of lynching victims had been accused of sexual assault, according to the Equal Justice Initiative.

A scholar, Wells didn’t ignore the reality that some rapes happened. She held, rather, that many such charges followed the discovery of consensual relationships between black men and white women – of which there were many.

Regarded as a vessel of Victorian purity, a white woman’s word was rarely doubted. That made legal proceedings unnecessary in the minds of the racist mob.

Wells cites the case of a Mrs. J. S. Underwood, a minister’s wife in Elyria, Ohio. Underwood claimed that during her husband’s absence in 1888, a man forced his way into the house and violated her. The woman identified William Offett, a black married man, as the attacker.
The reality behind such allegations then and now is that some women are actually raped; some lie; and some charge rape under murky circumstances. Mental instability can also play a part in the telling of what did or did not occur.

This is not to say that women’s charges of sexual abuse shouldn’t be investigated, just that it is intellectually squalid to automatically believe them without adequate evidence. Thus, whether or not you “believe” Tara Reade’s story that Joe Biden digitally penetrated her is irrelevant.'

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