Last Friday, Ansel Elgort was accused of sexual assault by a girl called Gabby. He has denied the allegations claiming that he had a “consensual relationship” with her. The next day accusations against Justin Bieber were posted on social media. And then accusations against four members of the Riverdale cast, Cole Sprouse, Vanessa Morgan, Lili Reinhart, and KJ Apa, were posted on Twitter. They immediately denied and denounced the tweets. And Twitter users pointed out that the accusations seemed similar, and that they came from anonymous Twitter handles that were newly created, and all of those handles were similar too. Then one of those accounts posted the following message:
"Do you see how easy it is to lie and you guys will believe it? Vanessa Morgan and KJ Apa didn't do jack sh-t. You will believe anything.”
So it would appear that this a hoax. A really dangerous, disturbing, f-cked up hoax. The only purpose here is to discredit victims of sexual violence. And we should all be terrified by it. Because the thing that sexual assault deniers love to do is point to cases of false accusation. The percentage of rape allegations that are false is very, very, very small. And the percentage that is commonly floated out there is 5% - but even this is inaccurate because this stat comes from studies done on college students who reported their assaults. But it’s estimated that only 8-10% of college rape survivors report. Which means that almost 90% do NOT report. And that means that the percentage of people who make false claims is practically negligible, like 0.5%. The fixation on that nano percentage pulls focus from the 99.95% of people who are telling the truth, who deserve all our attention. Unfortunately, more and more, what we’re hearing is “but what about the time when”. Which is crazy because the “the time when” is actually ALMOST NEVER.
That sh-t is working though. For a while now, there’s been a sinister faction out there, and they’re devastatingly effective at mobilizing online, trying to undermine the legitimacy of rape victims because men are hard done by, or something. And whatever happened to the Riverdale cast is an extension of that. It harms people who have already been harmed. It also further enables a culture of silence. Which is why it’s important to be aware of it in our own circles, to be fully armed against it. Because this sh-t will trickle into our bubbles. And before we know it, we might get infected.