Ã¢â‚¬Å“Oh, I just got raped.Ã¢â‚¬Â
With those five words, Danmell Ndonye turned the lives of four innocent men into a living nightmare. For several days last September, Stalin Felipe, Kevin Taveras, Jesus Ortiz, and Rondell Bedward were publicly branded as rapists, mauled by jail guards, and threatened with 25 years behind bars.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not even 25 years old. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m just 19,Ã¢â‚¬Â a relieved Felipe said later, following news that the tryst had been taped on a by-standerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s cell phone, which showed the encounter to be entirely (and enthusiastically) consensual.
Afterwards, classmates were Ã¢â‚¬Å“calling my daughter the sister of a rapist,Ã¢â‚¬Â explained Ramiro Taveras, father of one of the falsely accused men. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Unfortunately, everything doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t stop because the DA says go home and drops the charges.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ndonye, a freshman at New YorkÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Hofstra University, had been spotted by her new boyfriend following a raunchy bathroom romp, and she didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want him to think she was a Ã¢â‚¬Å“slut.Ã¢â‚¬Â So she conjured up the rape ruse to conceal the truth.
False accusations of rape, sexual assault, and domestic violence are not an anomaly.
Sociologist Eugene Kanin did two studies of rape claims among university students. The first found a 50% false accusation rate, the second reported 41% of women later recanted their stories.
Studies of domestic violence accusations paint a similar picture.
One analysis of protective orders in West Virginia found seven of 10 orders were unnecessary or false. A Massachusetts inquiry found over half of protective order petitions did not even allege physical abuse.
Another study, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Prosecution and Conviction Rates for Intimate Partner Violence,Ã¢â‚¬Â published last year in Criminal Justice Review, found only one-third of persons arrested for domestic violence are convicted of the crime. Considering one million Americans are arrested every year for DV, thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a whale of a lot of persons tossed into the back seat of a squad car without probable cause!
Lawyers are well aware of the problem. Elaine Epstein, former president of the Massachusetts Bar Association, revealed, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Everyone knows that restraining orders and orders to vacate are granted to virtually all who apply.Ã¢â‚¬Â And Casey Gwinn, a nationally-known domestic violence prosecutor, admits, Ã¢â‚¬Å“If we prosecuted everybody for perjury that gets on a witness stand and changes their story, everybody would go to jail.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The federal Violence Against Women Act Ã¢â‚¬â€œ VAWA — bears much of the responsibility for this legal travesty. VAWA teaches women to bear false witness in five ways:
First, VAWA subscribes to the dubious proposition that any slight Ã¢â‚¬â€œ physical, psychological, or financial Ã¢â‚¬â€œ is a form of Ã¢â‚¬Å“violence.Ã¢â‚¬Â That includes raising your voice, furrowing your brow, even sticking out your tongue. In most states, any woman who claims to be Ã¢â‚¬Å“fearfulÃ¢â‚¬Â Ã¢â‚¬â€œ no evidence required — is entitled to a protective order.
Second, VAWA-funded public awareness programs bombard the public with images of violent men, leaving women hyper-vigilant and fearful. These feminist indoctrination campaigns dishonestly veil the fact that women are equally likely to strike their male partners. And donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t expect them to murmur a peep about former NFL star quarterback Steven McNair, shot four times in the chest by his ex-girlfriend last July.
Third, VAWA hires so-called Ã¢â‚¬Å“domestic violence advocatesÃ¢â‚¬Â to work in police departments and courthouses. These persons coach women to gussy up their stories so judges become convinced they are victims of abuse.
Fourth, the system offers loads of bennies to women who have ascended to the cult-like status as Ã¢â‚¬Å“survivorsÃ¢â‚¬Â of domestic violence. Not only do they get free legal help, they are also entitled to preferential treatment by the family law system, welfare services, and public housing.
Fifth, there are no penalties for women who manipulate the system. If a woman wants to make a manÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s life miserable, she can keep going back to the courthouse, rehashing her sob-story about being Ã¢â‚¬Å“harassedÃ¢â‚¬Â or Ã¢â‚¬Å“stalkedÃ¢â‚¬Â or Ã¢â‚¬Å“abused.Ã¢â‚¬Â No evidence is required, not even an allegation of actual violence.
I have known good, upstanding men who have been broken by the calumnies of their vindictive exes. Their reputations savaged and savings depleted, their lives have become filled with court hearings and legal consultations to the point they can no longer find steady employment.
In a disturbing sense, these men are the lucky ones.
Freddie Peacock of Rochester, NY was convicted of rape in 1976 and sentenced to hard time. Six years later he was released on parole. For the next 28 years, Peacock fought to prove his innocence.
Two weeks ago Mr. Peacock became the 250th person in the United States to be exonerated through DNA testing. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Freddie Peacock was released many years ago, but he hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t been truly free because the cloud of this conviction hung over him,Ã¢â‚¬Â explained Olga Akselrod, the attorney handling his case.