Hot, Holy & Humorous

Q&A with J: What about All the Sexual Misconduct Allegations?

Last week, I answered a specific question posed by a reader about sexual misconduct and modesty, and how they might or might not relate. Not surprisingly, there was some disagreement in the comments section. A few times, I found myself defending against charges that I wasn’t siding with victims. Which, for those who’ve been around me lately, was surprising — I’ve been ranting quite a bit to people I know personally about how thrilled I am with this whole #MeToo movement.

In hindsight, I probably should have explained my whole take on the situation before answering last week’s question, so when a related question landed in my inbox, I decided it was worth tackling:

I was writing to ask just now about your thoughts on the plethora of sex abuse allegations….

Do you sense or feel any effect on frank discussions of sex with this sex abuse scandal going on? Any reluctance to really say what’s on your mind, or how you’re feeling? … How about other readers? Do they sense any inhibition or freeze up in the wake of all this, or do you sense it from them?

… I get the feeling that distrust of men has escalated with each new report or allegation. Not that I have been accused of anything even verbally. It’s more a sense of malaise taken to a new level.

I have a LOT of thoughts about the plethora of sex abuse allegations. How much time do you have?

Since you probably have other things to do than read a thesis-length treatise on sexual harassment, abuse, and assault, I’ll keep my thoughts to the highlights and trust readers to understand that I cannot cover every aspect of this topic in a single blog post.

Blog post title + man covering face with hand and many fingers pointing at him in accusation

In short, I’m 100% behind victims coming forward and telling their stories, others believing and taking them seriously, and harassers and assaulters paying a price for their inexcusable behavior.

As someone who advocates for sex in marriage by God’s design, I’ve been involved in many discussions, read many resources, and heard many stories about where married couples are sexually. And I know with absolute certainty that spouses who have been sexually harassed, assaulted, and abused have a more difficult time embracing God’s gift of intimacy.

Spouses who have been sexually harassed, assaulted, and abused have a much more difficult time embracing God's gift of intimacy. Share on X

But I want to look at this issue biblically, so let’s take two stories from the Bible that deal with this topic.

Joseph. After being sold by his brothers into slavery, Joseph was taken to the home of an Egyptian officer named Potiphar. Then Genesis 39:7-12 tells us:

And after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, “Lie with me.”  But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge. He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” And as she spoke to Joseph day after day, he would not listen to her, to lie beside her or to be with her.

But one day, when he went into the house to do his work and none of the men of the house was there in the house, she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand and fled and got out of the house.

Definitely sexual harassment.

Now, Joseph didn’t report her actions. As a slave, to whom would he have complained? Who would have believed him? Indeed, we find out that, despite being promoted to a high position in Potiphar’s household, he wasn’t believed when Potiphar’s wife claimed that Joseph was the one doing the harassing. Instead, he was thrown into prison, where he remained for more than two years.

Yes, God redeemed that situation (see Genesis 50:20), but sexual harassment wasn’t God’s doing. It was an injustice done to Joseph.

Tamar. Tamar was King David’s daughter by one wife, while Amnon was his son by another. Amnon declared that “I’m in love with Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister,” but it wasn’t love. Rather, “Amnon became so obsessed with his sister Tamar that he made himself ill. She was a virgin, and it seemed impossible for him to do anything to her.”

Just think about that: He was upset because he thought he couldn’t “do anything to her” — a completely selfish perspective. Yet he did do something: He pretended to be ill and asked for food to be brought to him by Tamar. 2 Samuel 13:7-14 explains:

David sent word to Tamar at the palace: “Go to the house of your brother Amnon and prepare some food for him.” So Tamar went to the house of her brother Amnon, who was lying down. She took some dough, kneaded it, made the bread in his sight and baked it. Then she took the pan and served him the bread, but he refused to eat.

“Send everyone out of here,” Amnon said. So everyone left him. Then Amnon said to Tamar, “Bring the food here into my bedroom so I may eat from your hand.” And Tamar took the bread she had prepared and brought it to her brother Amnon in his bedroom. But when she took it to him to eat, he grabbed her and said, “Come to bed with me, my sister.”

“No, my brother!” she said to him. “Don’t force me! Such a thing should not be done in Israel! Don’t do this wicked thing. What about me? Where could I get rid of my disgrace? And what about you? You would be like one of the wicked fools in Israel. Please speak to the king; he will not keep me from being married to you.” But he refused to listen to her, and since he was stronger than she, he raped her.

Amnon used deceit, verbal pressure, and finally his physical strength to sexually assault her. Then Amnon’s obsession turned to hatred, and he threw Tamar out.

Later, verse 21 says, “When King David heard all this, he was furious.” That’s it. Their father, the king, was furious, but he did nothing. Nothing whatsoever! The outcome was that an even more furious Absalom determined to get rid of both his brother and his father, thus becoming a thorn in the kingdom for several years. And Tamar? She lived out her days in her brother’s home, feeling utterly ruined.

What if the people around Joseph and Tamar had responded differently? What if Potiphar’s wife had been caught harassing him and Potiphar had sided with his servant instead? What if King David had held his predator son responsible for his sin against Tamar?

God worked His sovereign plan in spite of these bad events. But these incidents took a toll on their victims.

If these events happened today, what side would we be on? How might we intervene? And what does our answer tell us about how we should respond to the current slew of sexual misconduct allegations?

1. We cannot ignore sexual harassment, abuse, and assault. Ignoring what’s happened won’t make it go away (just ask King David), and we need to be squarely on the side of the victims.

This problem didn’t just start happening. It happened to Joseph and Tamar thousands of years ago. And it’s happened throughout history in various ways. Sometimes, the misconduct was more overt, sometimes more secret … but it’s always been with us.

What’s new is the public airing of accusations, spurred on by the #MeToo movement that began with stories about Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, a man who was clearly disliked by many. But as I write this, the most recent powerful man to face consequences for sexual harassment is Matt Lauer, a TV anchor long beloved by his audience. You see, perpetrators run the gamut of people we might have known to be bad to people we really thought were good.

But sin that is obvious and sin that isn’t aren’t different to God. He sees it all.

Who can hide in secret places
    so that I cannot see them?”
declares the Lord.
    “Do not I fill heaven and earth?”
declares the Lord(Jeremiah 23:24)

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account (Hebrews 4:13).

We have to be willing to believe accusations, whether the sinfulness comes from someone we expected it from or someone we didn’t. Yet in the wake of many revelations, some people don’t want to believe certain allegations despite credible witnesses and corroborating evidence.

Let’s face it: To each story, we bring personal baggage, prejudices, and politics. But we have to intentionally set those aside and let our Christianity outweigh our biases or longings for truth to go one way or another.

Consider that Potiphar wanted to believe his wife. So he did. But that didn’t mean she wasn’t a sexual harasser. Let’s not make the same mistake.

2. False accusations will also happen. Among the many credible victims, there will be some opportunists who make up allegations. Joseph was wrongly accused of being a sexual harasser, and it cost him dearly. Being labeled a sexual harasser, assaulter, or abuser can carry serious negative consequences, especially in our current climate.

It’s terrible when resources and good will are wasted by the deceit of someone claiming a violation or crime that never happened. For example, if law enforcement are tied up investigating a fabricated “rape,” that’s less time they have to spend investigating a real rape. Not to mention the damage to the person wrongfully accused.

However, false allegations aren’t as common as one might think. I did a bit of research and took a rather skeptical approach, leaning toward “yeah, some people lie.” Even then, it’s maybe 1 in 10 accusations that are false. And false allegations tend to be personal, like an accusation of abuse that accompanies a child custody battle. When repeatedly rejected and left with Joseph’s cloak in her hand, Potiphar’s wife had a reason to lie about what happened. But most accusers don’t. What would be the payoff that’s worth the cost?

But let’s take our cues from the Bible again. You’ve probably heard about the “two witnesses” standard in the Bible:

One witness is not enough to convict anyone accused of any crime or offense they may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses” (Deuteronomy 19:15).

Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses” (1 Timothy 5:19).

Clearly, God doesn’t want people to go down for something they didn’t do. And this is why allegations with more than one accuser, or several, are more credible. Most harassers and assaulters don’t target a single person; they repeat their misconduct.

However, it’s interesting that a few chapters later in Deuteronomy, sexual assault is dealt with this way: “But if out in the country a man happens to meet a young woman pledged to be married and rapes her, only the man who has done this shall die” (Deuteronomy 22:25). In this scenario, there are no witnesses but the young woman herself — “for the man found the young woman out in the country, and though the betrothed woman screamed, there was no one to rescue her” (v. 27) — and yet she is apparently to be believed.

Regardless, Deuteronomy 19:16-19 also says:

 If a malicious witness takes the stand to accuse someone of a crime, the two people involved in the dispute must stand in the presence of the Lord before the priests and the judges who are in office at the time. The judges must make a thorough investigation, and if the witness proves to be a liar, giving false testimony against a fellow Israelite, then do to the false witness as that witness intended to do to the other party. You must purge the evil from among you.

Our responsibility is to make sure there’s a “thorough investigation.” Most allegations are not false, but an accuser could be lying and we should take that into consideration.

3. We have to draw distinctions. Joseph’s story and Tamar’s story are not the same. They were both victims who deserved compassion and justice, but Joseph getting harassed was not as bad as Tamar getting raped. In fact, despite the horrible jail time, Joseph came back, got married, and had children (Genesis 41:45, 50). Meanwhile, Tamar lived out her days with her brother Absalom, “a desolate woman” (2 Samuel 13:19-20).

Some of what’s gotten lost at times in all of the current revelations is understanding that sexual misconduct exists on a continuum. We cannot lump everyone in categories of “predator” and “victim.” Yes, those are accurate labels in many ways, but equating one person’s verbal harassment with another person’s sexual assault is ignoring degrees that matter. It’s like slapping and stabbing are both violence, but we intuitively understand that the latter has a greater impact on the victim and deserves a far worse consequence for the perpetrator.

Romans 5:6 says, “God ‘will repay each person according to what they have done.’” Likewise, our treatment of the perpetrator should be equal to the crime.

That said, our treatment of sexual harassers, assaulters, and abusers has historically been unequal to their misconduct in the sense of being far too little, and the current movement to stir up tangible consequences for those who have behaved so poorly is long overdue. For the vast majority of those getting a bit of comeuppance right now, my response is “About time!”

Yet, I’m also cognizant of the need to avoid what my father referred to as “falling off the other side of the horse.” That is, when you’ve leaned too far to one side, it’s tempting to over-correct by leaning too far to the other side. I haven’t seen much of this happening yet, but we should guard against it by making truth and justice our guiding principles.

4. The antidote to bad sexuality is good sexuality. The questioner in particular asked: “Do you sense or feel any effect on frank discussions of sex with this sex abuse scandal going on? Any reluctance to really say what’s on your mind, or how you’re feeling? … How about other readers? Do they sense any inhibition or freeze up in the wake of all this, or do you sense it from them?

I can’t speak for my readers, but I haven’t sensed anything different. What I do know is that I have no reluctance to say what’s on my mind. (Which is probably what gets me into trouble sometimes…)

But I firmly believe that the antidote to Satan’s terrible messages about sexuality is God’s truth about sexual intimacy.

The antidote to Satan's terrible messages about sexuality is God's truth about sexual intimacy. Share on X

If we want a world in which fewer people sexually harass and abuse and assault others, we need to proclaim what God says about our bodies and our hearts and our sexuality. God says that we have intrinsic worth and are not to be used or abused by anyone for their power or pleasure. God says that sexual activity belongs in the covenant bond of marriage. God says sexual intimacy is to be consensual, mutual, and intimate.

When more of us understand what sex is supposed to be, as created by our Heavenly Father, we’ll be better able to spot those times when someone is behaving outside of His will. We’ll know when we’re being harassed or abused, recognize that it’s not the victim’s fault, and take steps to stop it. We’ll have courage to pursue the best of sexual intimacy and oppose the worst behavior in the sexual realm.

And yes, questioner, we’ll know it’s not all men. It’s nowhere near all men. So many good and godly men exist. For me, one of the best outcomes of the #MeToo movement has been watching my two sons, high school and college age, respond with just as much disgust at creepy men who harassed and assaulted women. They don’t understand why any man would do that.

We women would be wise to remember that, even if the men in our lives sometimes don’t fully understand all the ways in which we’ve been impacted by sexual harassment and assault, most of them would never do what the harassers/assaulters have been accused of doing. Let’s keep our perspective that too many men are behaving badly, but it’s still a small minority.

Like I said, I didn’t cover everything I could say (even though Leo Tolstoy himself would be proud of my wordiness). Perhaps you can summarize your thoughts more succinctly in the comments!

So what’s your take “on the plethora of sex abuse allegations”?

42 thoughts on “Q&A with J: What about All the Sexual Misconduct Allegations?”

  1. J, this was a well balanced article and I think everything you said is right on point, especially the last part. The biggest impact to stop most harassment and assault is living sexually as God intended in the first place. Remaining sexually pure in mind and body as individuals and as families is the most important and most impactful thing we can do.

    I predict that this period in our history could morph into a strange new sexual era that somewhat resembles Puritanism, except without the devotion to God. Young women will begin to feel even more afraid to interact with men for fear of harrassment or rape, and equally men will begin to ignore women in favor of risk free sexual gratification at the hands of porn, virtual reality sex toys, and sex dolls/robots.

    I think there’s a real danger that we may go from our current culture of sexual promiscuity to something potentially even more harmful. We could become completely disconnected to each other as men and women in a way that has never been since God created Adam and Eve. This is all wild conjecture but I wonder if that isn’t Satan’s plan in all of this: to stop men and women from ever coming together at all in the beautiful picture of Christ and the Church. Culturally we are already halfway there as non-Christians are deciding not to marry at all more and more.

  2. In a way, Potiphar believed Joseph. In that day, punishment for rape, especially against someone of such high standing as Potiphar’s wife, was death (immediate). Because Joseph was only thrown in prison, we can assume that Potiphar didn’t believe his wife and did believe Joseph but still needed to take some action against the slave because of the accusation.

    What I love about Joseph’s story is that he had a plan. Who knows if he’d had it since he was a youngster, but he recognized what Potiphar’s wife was doing and determined to NOT be seduced by her. He knew what he’d say (“How can I do this to my master and sin against God?”) and how to avoid it (GET OUT OF THE HOUSE). It is a great reminder that no matter what your reputation is, you still need to have a plan to avoid trouble.

    1 Corinthians 10:12-13 “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

    Tamar’s story is heartbreaking. Amnon’s friend encourages him to take advantage of her, and she does everything in her power to talk Amnon out of it. Then her father did nothing about the rape. Finally her full brother Absalom took matters into his own hands and killed Amnon, and he was estranged from King David for many years because of it. If only someone had stepped in, or stepped up, for Tamar immediately! Amnon’s friend, David, Absalom, etc. It’s almost like, it’s not like they didn’t believe her but they didn’t know what to do about it.

    I really hope that through all this discussion and commentary about the sexual assault/harassment happening now, we take this to heart and figure out what to do about it right away to stop or at least stem it. My heart breaks for all the affected women, and yet it rejoices at the fact that good people are beginning to act in opposition to the offenders by defending victims.

  3. It is a good time to be a guy.
    The good guys who have been practicing life the right way
    should get a round of applause from those surrounding them.
    The guys who thought they were above the rest are now finding out
    that what is done in the dark will eventually be brought to the light.
    chalk one up for the good guys.

    1. John, it’s not that I disagree with what you said, but I don’t think it will happen. Despite what some women like J preach (rightfully so), I think men in general are going to be painted with a very broad brush. Not that I need some kind of congratulations for not sexually abusing women, but I haven’t heard very much recognition at all that a tiny minority of men are the offenders.

      1. That’s interesting, Brian. Because I’ve heard that very thing in several circles of women — that a small minority of men are the offenders. Perhaps the news is just covering all the bad stories (more ratings that way), but many women are not privately talking that way. We have shared that a few men have managed to impact a whole lot of us, but not that it’s all men.

        1. I’m glad to hear that J. Do you think this message is being heard by teenagers and young adult women?

          1. Well I honestly don’t know, but I can imagine how young girls would feel in such a situation if almost every single woman suddenly came out speaking of their sexual abuse and harassment. I can only assume that it would give them a deep seated fear and distrust of all men, even moreso than today’s adult women have already. I hope that is not the case.

          2. Well, if you read the part about my two sons, maybe there’s hope there. A lot of guys have grown up with girls in very equal positions to them, and perhaps that will play into less harassment and thus less fear of harassment. (This is my pessimistic self trying to be optimistic! But it could happen. 🙂 )

          3. I guess if anything we will learn if sexual harassment is primarily about power (I don’t think it is) as opposed to lust and a lack of respect for women.

          4. As the mom to four teenage girls, yes, it is being thought and talked about by them. It is also making them more aware of how easy it is to get into situations where they could be taken advantage of or harassed and taking steps to avoid that.

          5. If nothing else, I hope that is one thing that comes from this…that girls learn ways to protect themselves.

          6. I feel like we need more this time. We women have shared “protect yourself” tips for years. I’m certainly in favor of continuing to do that, and even doing it better, but as a society — and especially as Christians who should take the lead — we need to go further.

          7. For the sake of future generations I hope things do fundamentally change, but I don’t see Americans turning to God in droves and unless that happens I don’t know how much good will come our way as a society. I pray I’m wrong.

          8. Another thing you will appreciate is our pediatrician. Even if I hadn’t already talked to my girls about these kinds of issues he does. They all went last week for annual visits and he covers all kinds of things when he’s examining them. Don’t text while driving or walking in parking lots, be aware of your surroundings, eat a well balanced diet, etc. But he also talked about boys and how teenage boys’ brains aren’t fully developed and they sometimes do stupid things to show off, he advised my girls to speak up when someone is doing something stupid, talked about if you’re at a party with drinking and drugs to get out, and if a boy pushes you to do something you aren’t comfortable with or says or text things that make them feel uncomfortable to firmly tell him to stop. And if needed get someone else involved if it doesn’t stop. I hope all medical professionals, especially those dealing with youth and young adults take this same approach. As parents we can tell them all this but sometimes when a professional says it they take it more seriously.

          9. I think that’s great and I do many of the same exact things with my friends’ daughters. I wonder what that doctor tells the boys?

  4. J, there is a type-o in the “What if the people around Joseph and Tamar had responded differently?” … shouldn’t that be “Potiphar’s wife” and not “Joseph’s wife” ???

    1. Ack! Thank you. You’re right, and I fixed it. (I re-read this post like four times and never caught that. Really…thank you.)

  5. Totally on spot. Especially regarding the varying levels of abuse. Society tends to lump them all together as sexual abuse. I’ve been sexually harassed but I haven’t been forced down, stripped of my clothes, struggling and fighting against someone raping me. I can’t imagine the physical and emotional scars that leaves. While I want those who harass to be punished, their punishment should be lesser compared to the rapist. One of the verses you used said the person who falsely accuses should have done to them that they tried to do to the person they falsely accused. We need to have punishment for sexual assault be equal to the level of assault.

    I’m not trying to discount those who have been sexually harassed or assaulted but I do wonder if with this #MeToo we are having an increase in false allegations. I know you mentioned those tend to be personal but in this day of instant “fame” could there be women looking for attention? It’s a thought and I would hate if there was any truth to it because that discounts the women who have been harassed and assaulted.

    Thanks for addressing this with such a balanced approach.

  6. This is not just a guy thing. Have you seen the number of cases of female teachers having sex with male students lately? There are multiple allegations a week, most of them with solid evidence.

    This is a societal issue, not a man or woman issue. We see sex as cheap and only physical, we worship power and prestige, and we wonder why people in positions of power use others sexually? It’s not all that surprising.

  7. Completely love this post, J! I congratulate you on your take on this issue, which is such a sensitive, controversial topic! I love how you’ve backed up your opinion with biblical examples and scriptural wisdom! Really, really well done!

  8. Great post, I am a long time reader and first time poster but this one hit too close to home not to say something. False accusations are far more prevalent then can be properly recorded. Unfortunately, the justice system is flawed and forces innocent people to plea to things they didn’t do because no one will believe the truth. A “victims” words hold 75% more value then a “abuser” and his defenders. I know, my husband is currently awaiting sentencing for a crime he didn’t do, he truly is Joseph. We stated facts and evidence (including living in another state and a full forensic psychology report that showed he was not capable of such crimes) and none of it mattered to a jury. The judge refused to allow us more then 1 day to present a defense, despite experts and character witnesses and even CPS workers lined up for well over 2 weeks. My husband was profiled and convicted before a single person testified against him. Most of the people my husband has talked to “in the system” couldn’t afford the expensive lawyers and were advised not to fight the allegations, and just plea out by the public defender. We hired a mid-price lawyer and we found out too late he was incompetent. We now have hired the $$$,$$$ lawyer and have a 50/50 chance to fight this. The justice system still goes to the highest bidder.

    Unfortunately, I think this is what we will continue to see more of. More innocent men behind bars, good dads, great husbands being taken away from their families because young girls are finding power in ruining people’s lives. I am reminded of 2 Timothy 3 when it says the people of the last days will be so full of pride, arrogance and malicious gossips. I just find it hard to believe that it will only be the “abusers” that will have these characteristics and not the “victims” too. “Victims” are getting paid out to not go public with information that could ruin “abusers” reputations. This is blackmail, and once corrupt society discovers a get rich quick scheme I feel that we will see this “me too” movement escalate rapidly and wrongly.

    For the record, I was molested as a child, so I have great compassion for the truly victimized. But I feel very strongly that there needs to be social justice for the innocent.

    1. Oh my! That is indeed a Joseph story. My heart breaks for you and your family. Praying that you will find justice, well as comfort and strength through this difficult process.

      Ultimately, we must be about “the truly victimized,” as you say — whether those are people who’ve been harassed, assaulted, or abused or those wrongly accused of doing so. God is on the side of the innocent.

    2. M, I’ve seen false accusations greatly harm a man even after the charges were found to be rediculous, but if your husband truly is innocent then this truly is terrible. What I’ve seen personally is that while men seem to have a natural instinct to protect women, and other women tend to band around a woman who they think has been harmed, almost no one cares about a man being wronged in these situations. Maybe it’s because men feel a man should be able to take care of himself, but men and women both tend to take a woman’s side in these situations despite the stereotype that we don’t believe victims. If anything, I think it’s women that are more likely to disbelieve an accusation.

      Overall, there seems to be a large sympathy and empathy gap skewed towards women. If I’m honest I often have this same gap. If I saw a man being abused by a woman I would be far less likely to step in a help him than if I saw a man lay a hand on a woman. Whether God puts that in us or we are socialized from birth to be that way, the result is that most people just don’t tend to care about what happens to men relative to women.

      I truly hope that God gives justice in your situation. God is still in control and if he can change the mind of pagan kings then he can sway the minds of appellate judges.

      1. I hear what you’re saying, Brian. And I agree with all of what you said to M.

        But the evidence doesn’t bear out this notion that we always believe the victim. Just look at the stories where people were hushed up when they reported sexual misconduct. And I’ve seen it myself.

        I did say that we can “fall off the other side of the horse,” and I believe in specific instances that happens. It could very well be what’s happening in M’s case, and it’s wrong by a million miles. But once again, let’s make distinctions and take these cases as they come, doing everything we possibly can as believers to support the innocent and oppressed, whichever side they fall on.

        1. I don’t say that there aren’t some instances where accusers were silenced, and I definitely didn’t say we always take the side of the accuser. I’m saying that men and women both tend to take the side of a woman over a man. This is why even though a national crime victimization survey reported that of all sexual assault victims, about 38% were actually men (and 80% of those perpetrators were women), almost none of those crimes were ever reported to police. This is because men are far more ridiculed for having something like this happen to them. So, although I do believe there are many times that women don’t get justice for sexual abuse, the evidence supports that men are even less likely to be taken seriouslyas a victim.

          This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t continue to seek justice for women who have been abused. I’m saying that many men have been wrongfully accused of sexual misconduct and harmed by it, and society has little regard to seek justice for these men in general. After all, thanks to DNA evidence, the most common criminal sentences that are overturned are rapes. If we never believe the accuser then how did juries of their peers convict these men in the first place despite the fact that most rapes are he said/she said?

          As you said J, we should weigh the evidence seriously before judging any of these accounts. If accusers are telling the truth then let their stories and evidence be heard. Punish the accused if they are guilty, and punish the accuser if they are found to be lying.

          1. J, here are two links. The first refers to an article describing the National Crime Victimization Survey (I couldn’t find the document on the BLS website with the data by sex), but the second is much more informative. The second is a link to the Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey by the CDC. You’ll have to wade through lots of charts, but in particular pay attention to the definition of rape and a category called “made to penetrate), which is basically the equivalent of a female forcing a male to have intercourse. It was pretty shocking to me to see this the first time.



          2. Thank you so much for this information! I had read an article months ago somewhat like the first one, but honestly hadn’t followed up with the information. It’s intriguing, though. And while the second document is indeed lengthy, I scanned it enough to know I really do want to pore over it and understand the full situation more thoroughly.

            My website’s bent is toward women, so I primarily focus on those issues. But I agree entirely that we haven’t paid nearly enough attention to sexual assault and harassment against men. If you listen to the podcast episode we did on Sexual Harassment – #UsToo, I’m pretty sure I mentioned a female teacher I had who very clearly harassed her male students. The crazy thing I think looking back, is that we mocked that situation, but we weren’t horrified by it. Why weren’t we disgusted and reporting her? If she had been a male teacher doing that female students, we might have. And that makes me sad. I apologize right now to the guys in that high school English class: I should have stood up for you more.

          3. J, I believe that sexual abuse against boys and men affects us very differently than it does for females. In many cases men don’t even realize that a crime or serious wrongdoing has even occurred to them. There a several factors at work here:

            First, in our culture we seem to highly value women’s sexuality and purity, even though this has been greatly decreasing in recent decades. A woman who is a virgin or at least not highly promiscuous is regarded and virtuous person, and is someone that even non-Christian men would want to have as a mate. This same standard is not at all upheld for men. Men’s sexuality is somewhat of a joke in popular culture at best, and a dangerous threat at worst. While a woman who has a bad sexual experience with a man would generally be sympathized with, almost the same episode would be regarded as humorous or if the genders were reversed.

            Second, the male sex drive is so much higher than that of a females generally, that unwanted sex is very complicated in the mind of a guy. The average boy is having every fiber of his being scream out to him for sex, even if his mind is telling him that he shouldn’t. And so a boy pressured or forced into sex he doesn’t want with a female can feel deeply confused. It’s hard to blame anyone but yourself because deep down you know that you desperately wanted to say “yes” to it, and didn’t it feel good anyway? Wouldn’t tons of
            guys in your same situation have given their right arm to get sex that you just had forced on you? And so a boy convinces himself that what was done to him wasn’t wrong, or at least not at that wrong.

            Finally as males we are taught not to be victims very early on. Most little boys want to be soldiers and firefighters and superheroes. We are the ones who want to save the damsel in distress, not be the ones in distress ourselves. We are taught to suck it up and deal with it, and so the thought of being victimized, especially by a woman, is hard to grapple with. It makes us feel weak and small, and the opposite of masculine.

          4. There’s some truth in what you say here, but I think a few things are off as well. Yes, I agree that it’s particularly complicated for men. But for instance, the idea that men feel confused in that moment but women don’t isn’t accurate: In fact, some raped women report feeling physiological pleasure or even experiencing an orgasm, which can be especially confusing — as if your body is betraying you (see

          5. I just don’t think the self conflict is anywhere close to the same level. A woman can definitely feel pleasure or even orgasm even as she fights her attacker off, but I don’t believe that women typically feel the level of arousal men feel prior to the rape. In order for intercourse rape to occur, the male has to experience physical arousal first, whereas this isn’t the case with rape against women at all. Many men may have very much wanted sex physically and yet didn’t want it mentally or emotionally. I’m not saying this doesn’t occur for some women but I think the scale isn’t anywhere close.

          6. Did you read that article? I agree that it’s more for men, but I disagree that it “isn’t anywhere close.”

  9. This was fantastically written. Excellent job on covering as much as you could. I agreed with it whole heartedly and I will be sharing this article with everyone.

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