Jennifer Gries, a 25-year-old Stanford University employee, has been arrested and charged with fabricating multiple stories of being raped on campus. Her lies had terrorized students, many of whom already believe that rape and sexual violence are far more prevalent than they actually are.
The reported assaults had led to campus-wide safety alerts, and prompted a large campus protest.
Facing overwhelming evidence against her, Gries has now confessed.
In response to the news, Stanford officials solemnly wrote that “These false reports are damaging, both for true survivors of sexual assault and for the members of our community who experienced fear and alarm from the reports.”
What they should have said is that uncovering these lies demonstrates a law enforcement program that is effectively addressing sexual violence; that actual sexual violence, while always egregious, is unusual; and that while most accusations of rape are true, this case shows that some are not.
They could have added that this case is a perfect example of why all rape accusations need to be investigated—because we must ascertain the truth behind every one: “Just as we vigorously investigated this case and discovered the truth, we investigate all allegations of rape equally determined to discover the truth.”
And finally, it would have been powerful to say “Let’s all sympathize with the falsely accused, an actual person whose life has been badly damaged.”
Unfortunately and predictably, anti-rape activists are using this occasion—where no rape occurred, and the investigation was swift, accurate, and successful—to decry the exact opposite.
The student group Sexual Violence Free Stanford reaffirmed their position of caring “not for one survivor, but for all survivors that remain unheard, undervalued, and continually victimized on Stanford’s campus.” In a complete dismissal of reality, they said “Sexual Violence Free Stanford will continue to always believe survivors.” Will they “always believe” men claiming to be survivors of false accusations?
Was Jennifer Gries a “survivor” or a criminal? Will the next person claiming rape definitely be a “survivor”? Probably, but not definitely. We don’t know. That’s why all criminal accusations should be investigated, including rape.
Responding to the lack of a rape, activist law professor Michele Dauber repeated her common claim that there’s an “epidemic” of sexual violence at Stanford. Sofia Scarlat, co-director of Sexual Violence Free Stanford, said that she initially felt “incredibly hurt” upon hearing about the charges—not relieved that Gries wasn’t raped, nor sympathetic toward her victims. And Ava DeConcini, one of Dauber’s students, complained that this truth—that Stanford is a little safer than people thought—was getting too much attention: “how about the actual rapists who just keep doing it and don’t get convicted for that?”
Dauber actually questioned the judgment of the district attorney in bringing charges, saying it could deter future victims from reporting sexual assault. Instead, she should have said “This case should encourage those raped to step forward, as the DA clearly investigates such allegations quickly and seriously.”
STANFORD VS. UKRAINE
A 2019 campus survey suggested that 40% of female students have experienced some form of nonconsensual sexual contact at Stanford. But Dauber deliberately misrepresents this as “40% of female undergraduate students experience sexual violence.” This would make Stanford more sexually dangerous than Rwanda, Ukraine, or Syria. It isn’t difficult to frighten or anger young people, especially if you lie to them. Why is Dauber so determined to do so?
In fact, Dauber led the drive to oust the last judge to work on a high-profile local sexual assault case. She was outraged that he gave the sentence recommended by the prosecutor’s office (including lifelong sex offender registration), which she deemed too lenient.
Government statistics show that the rate of false accusation of rape is similar to that of other crimes. No one says “Always believe a survivor’s claim of arson or theft.” That’s why we have a justice system, developed in Europe and America over the last 800 years. Should we throw it all away for a certain class of crime?
There are real victims in the Gries case, yet activists ignore them, asking “what about other victims of other crimes?” The case proves that local rape allegations are pursued seriously and swiftly, but activists claim the opposite? With two false claims of rape in this week’s local news, local students and faculty still insist “always believe the woman.”
I always want to ask these activists—if it were your brother or husband or son who was accused of rape, would you want a full investigation—or would you insist “always believe the victim?”
For my short videos about a wide range of sexual topics, see www.YouTube.com/@Marty_Klein/videos