When I think of evil that does not involve physical violence, nothing strikes me as more horrific than the false accusation of rape. A false accusation of rape reveals a truly horrendous level of moral callousness. And there is no respect all in which a false accusation of rape can be motivated by a desire to do a good deed. No, anyone who makes a false accusation of rape is unequivocally the very incarnation of evil. In her article for the Rolling Stone Magazine entitled “A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA,” Sabrina Rubin Erdely makes up a story regarding a rape on the University of Virginia campus that simply did not occur. And I have asked myself over and over and over again: What could have motivated Sabrina Rubin Erdely to do such a horrific thing?
I understand the desire that a writer may have for fame. Likewise, I fully grasp the desire to write a riveting story that no one would ever forget. But what I cannot even begin to fathom is why anyone would make up such a horrific accusation. There is no amount of ratiocination on my part that makes it even remotely possible to grasp why a person would so behave.
Yet, I must confess that there a real respect in which I am not surprised. For it seems to me that we are living in a world in which people’s moral sensibilities have become more and more numb. And there is a respect in which I blame part of this on technology. As everyone knows technology has mightily facilitated the ease with which people lie. And surely part of the primary explanation for why technology has had this effect is that technology has mightily increased extent to which there can be communication that is not face-to-face. We send text messages and we post our thoughts on this or that social networking sight such as Facebook or Twitter. In either case, there is no one in place who is witnessing our behavior as we send false text messages or put up postings in which say is so very false. So guess what? There is a perfectly straightforward sense in which human beings have become or are becoming ever so comfortable with saying that which they know is obviously a lie. And once we have become ever so comfortable with lying on the sites mentioned, it does not take much effort to move from there to making a horrific lie in order to advance our standing at work or whatever.
For a woman, there are few charges that are taken to warrant immediate acceptance on the part of all like the charge of rape. One could be in the middle of nursing a child or helping one’s parents with taking the groceries into the house or paying a bill or boarding an airplane. Or just about whatever. And if a female friend should say “I was raped last night”, one is pretty much expected to stop whatever it is that one was doing or about to do and attend to the horrific horror that the female friend has just reported. One no more asks for evidence than one asks if chickens have wings. Or put another way, either one takes the woman seriously or one is a horrific moral scumbag.
Well, Sabrina Rubin Erdely unequivocally exploited the reality just articulated in the preceding paragraph by fully making up a rape story in the article that she wrote for the Rolling Stones Magazine entitled “A Rape on Campus: A Burtal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA”. Whatever else is true, Sabrina Rubin Erdely is a horrifically evil person. I have just heard that everyone at Rolling Stone Magazine will keep her or his job. Well, my thought is that surely Sabrina Rubin Ederly should be dismissed. I can easily enough make sense of why no one thought to challenge her story, precisely because we understandably assumes that no woman would make up a story regarding the horrific horror of rape. Indeed, that is part of what it means to take women seriously. Quite simply, Sabrina Rubin Erdely has forgone her right to be taken seriously. She is not owed the decency of being kept on as a writer for the Rolling Stone Magazine. And the Phi Psi Fraternity, some of whose members were falsely said to have committed the rape, should sue the living daylights out of her. From where I stand, although Sabrina Rubin Erdely has not killed a single person, she deserves the death penalty. For there is a respect in which what she did is more horrific than killing an innocent person. It is easy enough to imagine a scenario where the killing of an innocent person is absolutely excusable. But I have enormous difficulty imagining a scenario where the false accusation of rape is even remotely excusable. If there is hell in which human beings can rot, Sabrina Rubin Ederly deserves to rot there.
© 2015 Laurence Thomas