By Scott Tibbs, December 9, 2010
A month ago, an Indiana University student (not named by the Herald-Times) reported to police that she had been "raped" at knifepoint. On Friday, she admitted that she fabricated the story. It is understandable that she would not be named in the initial story, since it is common practice not to name alleged sexual assault victims. There is no reason to withhold her name in the second. After all, she is not a victim. She is a criminal.
Fortunately, the search for a suspect didn't result in an arrest, so the liar didn't cause as much harm as she could have. Had a suspect been arrested and named, an innocent man would have been smeared as a "rapist" in the newspaper while HTO commenters had a field day damning him for a phantom "crime" he never committed. We should at least be thankful that, unlike other cases, these fabrications did not destroy an innocent man's life.
False allegations of rape are despicable not only because of the harm to an innocent man's reputation, but also because fabrications like this make it more difficult for real rape victims to come forward. It is a despicable insult to legitimate victims of rape, to cynically exploit their suffering so this woman can get some attention. Furthermore, what if this student is legitimately raped in the future? How credible do you think her story will be? How much more difficult will the prosecution of the rapist be? You better believe any criminal defense attorney worth his salt will exploit this.
This woman should not be able to hide behind anonymity, and the Herald-Times should not protect her identity. She needs to be named and shamed for her despicable actions. She should also be prosecuted for the crimes she committed by fabricating this story and then punished to the fullest extent of the law.