What was once thought a rare occurrence has now unfortunately become common place. Jemma Beale, a twenty-five-year-old woman from the United Kingdom, is being brought up on charges of perjury for lying to courts stating that she was sexually assaulted and gang raped from anywhere between six to fifteen men. One of these men, Mahad Cassim, was jailed for seven years as a result, being guilty of only giving Ms. Beale a lift home in his cab that fateful (or not so fateful) evening.
Falsifying statements of rape and sexual assault appears to be relatively old hat for Ms. Beale, with some reports having been filed by her as far back as 2012 and 2013. Ms. Beale maintains her innocence and the sincerity of her reports, despite CCTV footage illustrating that on one of the nights she was allegedly raped, the injuries she sustained were in fact, self-inflicted.
Reports of false rape accusations seem to be capturing more media attention, and while some may say that this is not a benefit, and is usually associated with feelings of anger towards an over reaching news media, I would posit that in this case, a media spotlight is well warranted.
Not so long ago, in 2006, three young men on the Duke University Lacrosse team were falsely brought up on charges of rape at a house party off campus. Despite overwhelming evidence pointing to their innocence, and with a corrupt district attorney actively working to smear the collegiate athletes and their reputation, the national media jumped to paint the three men in the most negative light imaginable. Once the truth was exposed, exonerating the men, very few media outlets came forward to right their wrongs, and almost no apologies were issued.
In the eleven years since however, the media seem to have been making strides to call attention to those who falsely accuse men of sexual misconduct. While there is much work to be done in restoring the reputations of those unjustly accused to their former splendor, we can acknowledge that at least for now, Ms. Beale and alleged perjurers like her, will get the justice they deserve.