A little less than a year ago I had a knock at my door. My roommate answered and told me some police were there to see me. I assumed they wanted to ask me about my rowdy neighbours, only to find out they were there to arrest me on the charge of sexual assault.
I was baffled. I’m squeamish about hurting flies, let alone human beings. They told me my accuser’s name. I had done her taxes last year, under the warning from other industry professionals that she’s insane.
I was taken away in handcuffs by the police, without ever having done anything wrong. I was taken away in handcuffs without a shred of evidence that I had ever done anything wrong. I was put in the back of a police car, and they carted me off to the police station.
I hired a lawyer. I was contractually obliged to tell my employer about any charges laid against me, so I did. After three years of loyal dedication, being a top seller, showing up on snow days when no one else would, they terminated my employment. I now had legal fees that I’m still in debt for, with no income.
My skill set in finances — AML — requires a criminal record check. I’ll be spending nearly a year as unemployable in my field. Even entry jobs won’t hire me. They see that I’ve worked in the hedge fund industry and assume I’m not a good fit for something like cleaning air ducts or changing oil. I’m not sure why; I literally will change oil for these companies if they pay me, but for some reason, hedge fund service guys aren’t deemed to be cut out for that.
My social life deteriorated. My roommates were women, and I can’t imagine it was comfortable for them to have me around. My invites to parties diminished. Visitors became less frequent. Most friends who know me refused to believe the charges, but there was some lingering doubt among others.
Perhaps the most infuriating was the judgments of those people. An angry, “No comment”, said one feminist, with a nasty glare, when she heard the news.
The police officer heard her claim that she offered to let me touch her breasts. She took one of her breasts out, and I pulled the other one out. This constitutes sexual assault in Canada — she had only consented to one breast, according to her. This isn’t true. She just drunkenly pulled her top down and texted me the next morning to apologize. For the record, she got drunk on alcohol that she brought and poured herself.
After months of waiting, it all came down to my trial. My accuser gave her testimony. She couldn’t remember her ex-boyfriend’s name properly. She frequently contradicted herself under cross-examination. She heavily contradicted her police report. And she contradicted text messages she had sent me after the fact. My lawyer did his job well and caught her delusions.
She confessed that when she did decide to leave, several hours after the incident in question, that I didn’t impede her in any way. My lawyer asked, if she was so uncomfortable being there for hours, why she didn’t just leave. Her bizarre defense was that she forgot that I had a door to my house.
After the court case was done, my family and I saw her walking on the sidewalk. We decided to go to a nearby restaurant and I said I was frustrated that she could just walk in here and I’d be expected to leave. My sister joked and told me not to worry about her coming in, between the restaurant and the sidewalk there’s an entire door, and she doesn’t know how to use doors.
Three months passed and I went to hear the verdict. After not being able to work for close to a year, I was told that the judge failed to put together his judgment, and I’d have to wait another two months, with no income and very little possibility of gaining one.
After all that, a year of my life was gone.
I don’t blame my accuser. She’s delusional and insane. I blame the police officer who decided to press charges. I blame the sexual assault crisis center she went to, who urged her to file a police report without bothering to raise questions.
They do this because telling a legitimate victim of sexual assault that you don’t believe them is one of the worst things one can do. Nevertheless, the morning after I was taken in handcuffs, I was intensely curious about why someone would lie about it. Most resources made the empirically false claim that no one ever lies about being sexually assaulted.
Dr. Elizabeth Loftus has done a great deal of research on this, and her lectures can be found on YouTube. She’s an expert in identifying false memories — her work is empirically sound and is a worthwhile study. She could help in obtaining more convictions for actual rapists, but she also occasionally finds alleged rape victims have false memories. For that, she’s received death threats from feminists.
Her work was building on a tradition that started shortly after the Titanic sank. One group of survivors witnessed the ship submerging intact. Another group remembers the ship breaking apart and both pieces submerging separately. That’s quite an event to misremember, and yet one group has to have it wrong.
Two experiments guided her work. One showed a group of individuals a car pulling out onto a road and then getting into an accident. They were asked about the yield sign. They gave conflicting descriptions of it, only to be reshown the video finding out that it wasn’t a yield sign, it was a stop sign (many remembered this correctly, others fell prey to the false suggestion). When the yield sign descriptors had a friend that reinforced their false memory, their confidence shot up.
This happens in sexual assault crisis centers. The hazy recollection someone has and thinks that they may have been assaulted the night previously is as accurate as the memory will ever get. Reinforcement from crisis centers and affirmations of a possible assault cause confidence in the accusation to rise, but not the accuracy of the memory.
The other experiment showed a collision between two vehicles. One group was asked how fast the vehicles were going as they collided and the other was asked how fast they were going as they smashed. The ones who were told the more violent description claimed the vehicles were going much faster than they were, some could even describe glass patterns on the ground that didn’t exist. This image was implanted by the violent language.
Harsh language — the way a question is phrased — causes false memories. The power of suggestion, reinforcement, violent language, each of these practices is used by crisis centers. If you believe yourself to have been assaulted, many of their counselors will assume, then insist that you were, and reiterate an experience violently. These are templates for false memories creations.
It’s doubly tragic, because there are women who are currently experiencing psychological trauma that they don’t need to be suffering. Some women aren’t lying when they claim to remember an assault, but the memory exists because they were never questioned about speculation they had.
My accuser had all the earmarks of false memory. The next morning she didn’t think of herself as a victim — again, this is empirically the most accurate memory she has of the events. She comes from a Muslim background, and likely felt guilt and questioned her actions, which evolved into a call to the crisis center, who then hypervalidated her questioning, causing a false memory, using violent language to solidify details in her mind that never happened.
The falsehood of the memory, as evidenced by the fact that she continually contradicted herself on the stand, giving absurd answers to questions.
A friend who I had to delete from social media made a post that innocent men in jail on the false charge of sexual assault is okay — it’s merely justice for all the women who aren’t believed. I can’t fathom a more evil position to take — taking joy in the suffering of innocent people is the most perverse and false brand of justice I can imagine. It’s wretched to its evil core.
I don’t harbour resentment toward feminism for having dangerous psychopaths within their ranks. Every movement has evil psychopaths. I blame feminism for tolerating these people. I blame feminists who know better for being cowards and unwilling to take a stand when one of their own has become toxic poison.
Yes, the #MeToo movement is necessary. Loftus’ work has clearly shown that many memories are reliable and they’ll never receive justice. Evidence is overwhelming that Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby are predators. But we can never lose sight of the fact that #MeToo is a double-edged sword that causes victims as well.
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