(This probably needs a trigger warning for sexual assault discussion)
Fetlife is apparently taking steps (link may need a site profile) to prevent users from naming names of the other users who’ve sexually assaulted them. Of course, people are upset, but I thought maybe I should explain what they’re trying to do here.
Imagine a world in which anyone could just, willy-nilly and without any consequences, accuse men of rape. Why, men would have an incredible burden to bear in such a society! We’d have to be very careful whom we let into our lives, and be sure that anyone we spent time alone with was someone we could trust. We’d have to avoid being alone with strange women, lest we be hit with a damning accusation out of nowhere. When going on first dates, we’d have to be sure someone knew where we were, and was willing and capable to act as an alibi if we got a strange vibe.
It wouldn’t prevent us from living our lives, of course, but some part of our minds would always have to be devoted to making sure someone knew where we were and could vouch for us. At night, walking down the street, we’d have to be careful not to enter dark areas where we couldn’t be seen. We’d probably want to do most things in groups of other men. In particular, those men who did get accused of such by a good friend or family member would have–justifiable!–trouble learning to trust women again. And of course, despite the stereotype that would develop, most of the accusations would come from friends and family.
In such a world, the prevalence of rape accusations would no doubt be incredibly high. I’ve heard estimates that, if such a thing could happen, as many as one in five or even one in four men might be accused of rape in their lifetimes, and even those men who weren’t in that large minority would always have that possibility hanging over their heads.
Luckily, we have people like the Fetlife admins, and basically all of the rest of society, to levy enormous social consequences on anyone who makes a rape accusation. Of course this means that rape goes wildly under reported, but it does mean that some small number of innocent men are spared tarnished reputations, and that’s–clearly–much more important to us.
See this post for a more clear and serious discussion