Allegations of rape have become a flashpoint for both problems with the legal system and its intersection with pop culture. On one side, it’s a terrible crime and one worthy of our most severe condemnation. On the other, it’s often a tough crime to prove, and that’s resulted in watering down the demand for proof, sometimes to the point of mere finger-pointing.
The problem is that this doesn’t bother certain societal interest groups, who don’t seem to have a problem with the potential of wrongful convictions if it results in more convictions. It’s the old “take one for the team” theory, or better to convict ten innocent men than let one guilty rapist go free theory of law.
Praise Martin-Oguike, 20, once had one of the most inspiring stories of a young Nigerian raised by a pastor father and poet mother who went to college in the United States and achieved acclaim on the football field for Temple. That all came crashing down when a Temple business student accused him of rape. He was arrested, stripped of his scholarship, suspended from Temple, and denounced nationally as a football thug. The problem is that he appears entirely innocent.
It’s not that the allegation turned out to be open to challenge, but that the “victim’s” emails show that it was a wholesale lie, a fabrication, created to pay back Praise (that’s his first name, for those who find such things confusing) for not being interested in her romantically. Well, she got him, right?
And who is this false accuser? Who knows? The names of rape victims are shielded. Then again, she is no rape victim. That never happens, you say? Tell it to Brian Banks. Tell it to the Duke Lacrosse team. Tell it to Praise.
The argument is that if the identities of false rape victims, even when they’re liars, are revealed, it will scare others into not reporting rapes and sexual assaults. The argument is grounded in the contention that these crimes are already grossly underreported, which is a rather difficult claim to prove by definition, but it’s an article of faith for its adherents and so no proof is needed.
Similarly, most false accusers, engaged in rank perjury and falsely reporting, are subject to prosecution for the harm they did an innocent person. Not usually the case in false rape cases, again because of the pressure brought to bear by those who want nothing to stand in the way of as many allegations of rape and sexual assault as possible. It’s not that they support false claims, though given the amorphous definition of sex crimes, the line between crime and non-crime is so blurry as to defy credulity at times, but are happy to suffer the false accusations to be sure that no guilty person go free.
In the meantime, Praise Martin-Oguike’s life has been ruined.
Martin-Oguike was suspended from the team after he was charged. He now attends a New Jersey community college.
No Temple (good job, Temple, supporting that innocent until proven guilty thing). No scholarship. No reputation. No football career. He’s been relegated to a community college in New Jersey, which is one step below Club Fed, except Fort Dix.
What isn’t mentioned was that this was a college kid, now 20 years old. The accusation came in May, 2012, meaning that he’s had this gun pointed at his head for a year and a half. Who gives a 20-year-old a year and a half of his life back? Who gives him the parties, the dates, the good times and the bad, that make up the normal college experience? No one does. It can’t be done.
“So what?,” the nasty haters respond. What’s the loss of a year and a half, an education, a career, a life, to some jock (because football players are animals inclined to sexually assault women) when compared to the harm done a woman who has been raped?
The surface appeal of the question is a delusion, because we are not comparing a rapist to a rape victim. We are comparing an innocent young man to a perjurer.
What it all boils down to is whether one is prepared to sacrifice the innocent on the altar of never doubting that a cry of rape is true. They may be fine with the jurisprudential construct that it is better that ten guilty people go free rather than one innocent person be convicted when it comes to any other crime. Just not rape.
When it comes to a sexual crime against women (and let’s be frank, this is only about sexual crimes against women), everything changes. Tough nuggies, Praise. You may be innocent, but the gals want you to take one for the team even though it turns out that you were the true rape victim here.