No woman would ever accuse a man of rape if it hadn’t actually happened now, would they? A simple system of accusation and conviction should be suitable, don’t you think? For we must always listen to the voice of the victim. This insistence upon evidence is simply so patriarchal, testament does, after all, share the same root as testes.
Of course, we men are all rapists, you know; we just haven't been caught yet. However, whilst I know that these amount, in effect, to anecdotal evidence, here are a few reminders of what women have done.
So, to kick it off, here's the case of Paul Haslam, falsely accused by Gemma Gregory. [All emphasis mine.]
The worst day of Paul Haslam’s life began at 3.30am with a loud knock on the door from the police. They told him he was being arrested on suspicion of rape, and took him to Charles Cross police station in Plymouth.
There, he was questioned about what had happened the previous evening, when he had spent the night with a girl he had known for only a short time. He knew he had done nothing wrong, but he did not know how he could prove it.
Later that day Mr Haslam was released without charge. Three weeks later he received a letter telling him that no further action was being taken. By then he had lost his job and had to tell his family about the arrest.
Mr Haslam, 30, had hardly thought about that day nine years ago until he read in his local newspaper this week that the woman who made the false allegation against him had since done the same thing to seven other men.
Gemma Gregory left a trail of disrupted lives across the city of Plymouth. A judge gave her a 12-month suspended jail sentence for perjury for her latest false accusation and ordered her to undergo psychiatric treatment.
And now, the case of Aftab Ahmed.
A teenage girl destroyed a taxi driver's life by crying rape at the end of a drunken night out and then refusing to withdraw the claim out of embarrassment.
Married father-of-two Aftab Ahmed, 44, lost his house, livelihood and good name after a 16-year-old passenger accused him of attacking her when she was senseless through drink.
The teenager dialled 999 after being dropped off at home, believing the discomfort she was suffering indicated she had been sexually assaulted by the cabbie.
The court heard she realised Mr Ahmed had not touched her before police arrived to take her statement, but she was too scared to change her story.
Once sober she continued the pretence and took police to the remote moorland spot where she claimed the rape took place and officers carried out a full forensic examination in search of evidence.
Mr Ahmed, who was worried about the girl's health and made sure she got home safely, was immediately arrested in front of his family and locked up as a suspected rapist.
He was released on bail after spending 15 hours in police cells, but his taxi licence was revoked and he was shunned by members of the Muslim community in Bradford where he lived.
It took six weeks and an investigation costing £6,000 before police were satisfied he was innocent.
Although the girl, now 17, was charged with perverting the course of justice, she did not admit her guilt until last month - 14 months after the original incident.
Yesterday the teenager from Shipley, West Yorkshire, was sentenced to a four month detention and training order at Bradford Magistrates' Court and told she would be locked up for half that period.
And now the case of Dr Jan Falkowski.
A consultant psychiatrist who was falsely accused of rape by a deranged stalker has called for men accused of sex attacks to be granted anonymity.
Dr Jan Falkowski was 'terrorised' by Maria Del Carmen Marchese who threatened to kill him and his fiance in what detectives described as one of worst cases of harassment they had ever investigated.
The 45-year-old waged a 'prolonged and malicious' campaign against the father of two, bombarding him with sinister phone calls, emails and texts.
And now the case of Frank Chisholm.
An 18-year-old woman convicted of making a false claim of rape has been sentenced to six months in a young offenders' institute.
Katie Davis, of St Leonards, East Sussex, was sentenced at Lewes Crown Court on Monday after being convicted of perverting the course of justice.
Her claim that a stranger attacked her in an alleyway led to Frank Chisholm, 24, spending 10 weeks in a Sussex jail.
The judge said her "wicked lies" still had a dramatic effect on his life.
And the tragic case of the late Mr Gee.
A MUSIC teacher who died while serving an eight-year jail sentence for raping a pupil has been cleared posthumously by the Court of Appeal.
Darryl Gee was convicted in 2001 on the word of his accuser about incidents that she claimed happened more than a decade earlier, when the woman was 11.
Mr Gee, who always protested his innocence, died aged 55 in his cell in Armley prison, Leeds, from an undiagnosed blood cancer a month after his second appeal was turned down in 2002. He had served 18 months.
The woman made similar allegations against another man, John Hudson, who was jailed for 12 years at Leeds Crown in 2000. Mr Hudson’s conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal last year after a psychiatric expert concluded that his accuser’s recollection of abuses was “implausible”.
And, finally, the case of Warren Blackwell.
Sleep does not come easily to Warren Blackwell. Instead of drifting off when his head hits the pillow, his thoughts return to the time he spent behind bars. “My mind races constantly,” he says. “When I do fall asleep, then I dream that I am banged up again and not able to see my kids.”
Seven years ago, the 36-year-old engineer began a jail sentence, having been falsely accused of sexual assault. Every evening, in order to aid the oblivion that so eludes him, he drinks a glass or two of wine. And sometimes, according to his long-term girlfriend Tanya, “a bit more than that”. And, after what he has been through, who can blame him? Sentenced in October 1999, he spent three years and four months on a special wing for sex offenders.
But the battle to clear his name has taken a lot longer. That ended only two months ago in the Court of Appeal after an investigation by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) led to the quashing of his conviction.
His alleged victim was dubbed a fantasist whose injuries were self-inflicted.
Blackwell’s anger is compounded by the knowledge that while he was vilified and placed on the sex offenders’ register, anonymity laws meant that his alleged victim continued to be known as “Miss A” even after her claims were found to have been spurious. The appeal judges who found in Blackwell’s favour wanted to name her to warn the public, but were powerless to do so.
It was only when Lord Campbell-Savours, a Labour peer, used parliamentary privilege that she was identified as Shannon Taylor. He also took the opportunity in the Lords to condemn the police investigation that landed Blackwell in prison as “shabby and inadequate”.
Taylor, who is said to have a history of false accusations and multiple identities and may now be living under another name, is said to have made at least seven claims of sex attacks in the past, including one against her father.
False accusations of rape are not uncommon. Nor is it uncommon for those who make them to be punished. Last week, for instance, saw Katie Davis, a teenager from St Leonards, East Sussex, jailed for six months after a bogus rape claim. Her alleged attacker had to spend 10 weeks in prison on remand. Despite cases like this, police have told Blackwell that Taylor is unlikely to face charges of perjury or wasting police time, citing “insufficient evidence”.
s I said, this is a reminder, that's all. But these men were wrongly convicted under our current system, and often on the say-so of women who had done this more than once.