Mutant Miranda Devine

Just in time for Mother's Day, News columnist Miranda Devine has trotted out a rather bizarre article blaming "mutant feminists" for creating an atmosphere of rape hysteria, where the merest hint of a rape allegation ruins men's lives and turns the accusers into media darlings.

 It's the continuing theme of right wing women relentlessly criticising feminism they don't understand, until one of their own comes under attack and they demand to know where is the "sisterhood" (if Julie Bishop, say, comes under sexist attack then I'll condemn that but I still hate her politics). In this case, Devine claims feminists have created such an hysteria about rape claims that . It's telling that Devine uses an example of an apparent false rape allegation from the US; apparently there were no Australian cases worth citing.

If we are going to deal in anecdotes, allow me to share one that's much closer to home, literally; a few metres from my house is a billboard featuring the grinning countenance of a man, a former sporting star from my hometown, who is now a well-paid breakfast radio presenter. Some years ago, he was accused, on a respected current affairs show, of taking part in the gang rape of a 19 year old girl whilst on a sporting trip. The clearly distressed young woman detailed the devastating effects of the incident, the post traumatic stress disorder and suicide attempts, stating that the men had ruined her life. The man made a public mea culpa seated next to his wife, admitting ten or more men, of whom he was one, had sex with the woman in a hotel room at the same time, but it had all been consensual. The police investigated, but with only the testimony of the individuals involved to go on, no charges were filed. The man at the centre of the allegations was stood down from his role as a commentator on one network, but quickly picked up by another, and built a radio and media career that continues to this day.

The merest hint of a rape allegation can ruin a man's life forever, decry right wingers and MRAs, as I see the face of a man I and many others legitimately believe to be a rapist staring down from his media profile and I feel a bit sick. And can I make a suggestion? We need a modified  version of Godwin's law - Elam's law? - that whoever mentions "false rape allegations" in a discussion on feminism, loses. I think that would be fitting.

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