Aesop wrote a famous fable about the ‘boy who cried wolf.’ Whether out of boredom or a plea for attention, that boy lied so many times that when he got into real trouble and needed help, no one would answer his calls.
Fast forward to non-fabled times, and the case of former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn. The word of the hotel maid who cried rape is now being called into question, and the prosecution may now have to drop its case.
For me, this brings back memories of the Duke lacrosse rape case. Those young men’s reputations and lives were forever tarnished by an overzealous prosecutor, and by a woman who had cried rape before. In fact, who had falsely cried rape.
I don’t know if that same scenario is also true with the DSK case, but I do know that whenever false allegations of rape are made, they hurt all ‘righteous’ complainants.
Having prosecuted sexual assault cases, I know that victims are often afraid of being “raped all over again in the courtroom.” After the trauma of rape, women don’t want their lives exposed in the courtroom.
Great strides have been made in our country to help women who have been raped, including ‘rape shield’ laws, which assure that a woman’s sexual past will not be part of a rape case.
But women who falsely cry rape, for whatever motive, hurt those women who really have been hurt, and make it more difficult for them to face what they think will be an inevitable assault in the courtroom.
My message to women (or boys) who cry wolf is simple: DON’T. Your words can hurt not only the one you accuse, but victims whose stories are still to come.
Lis Wiehl is a Fox News legal analyst. She is a former federal prosecutor.