The Time I Was Accused of Rape

 

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By Benjamin M. Adams on August 4, 2017     @BenAdamsO_O                                  Photo Credit Jamelle Bouie

Deep in my bones, I always knew that false rape charges were scarcely more than a malignant form of fiction. Not only was I certain that false rape charges were so rare as to be statistically insignificant, I further understood that the entire narrative about false rape charges was a misogynistic canard, invoked exclusively by men who were guilty of the sin-crime of rape. A revision to those beliefs hit me, quite like a brick to the head, when I was falsely accused of rape.

The background is boring. I had been divorced amicably. My ex and I had stayed on good terms for seven years. I had remarried, and my new wife had brought forth the first of our children. My ex-wife, Jennifer, was a frequent babysitter for that child. She often stopped by my house at holidays to catch up with my extended family and to spend time with our three kids. The divorce hadn’t been easy, but we had navigated the process fairly well by keeping things out of court, to the benefit of the children we co-parented and adored.

A period of dislocation ensued. Although she was Jewish, Jennifer became an evangelical Christian. She moved from our suburban home to a more rural upstate community. There was a decrease in the amount of financial support that she received from me. I will probably never understand the roots of her transformation, but I certainly will never understand why this transformation caused her to petition the family court for sole custody of our children when we had successfully shared custody for almost a decade. For whatever reasons, there we were — seven years after an amicable divorce — suddenly engaged in the most bitter custody fight that you could imagine.

Jennifer made the initial allegation of rape to a neutral, court-appointed psychologist, which I had requested. It was one of several grotesque, false claims that she made. She later repeated the rape charge in Court, under oath. Her story was that in the years before our divorce, I had anally raped her. She insisted that these repeated anal rapes had occurred while she slept. Further, she claimed — in Court and under oath — that she only realized that she had been anally raped upon awakening the next morning feeling strange sensations. According to her testimony, it happened repeatedly. She did not allege that I had drugged her. She just flat-out insisted that she had slept through being anally raped. This would be a dark comedy if it hadn’t been part of a proceeding which prevented me from having any contact with my three beloved children for over five torturous months.

For those who don’t believe my story, I really cannot blame you. My pre-accused self would not have believed me either. Many people reading this will think that there must be more to the story. Well…no. There really isn’t more, and I can provide court transcripts for those inclined to challenge me on this point. I won’t blame people who continue to think I must have done something very bad to Jennifer. It is natural to disbelieve the story I just told. At the core of this disbelief is a reluctance to face the fact that people we know are capable of evil. Even more troubling is the idea that someone can drop by your house for Thanksgiving and accuse you of rape a few months later — that someone who once loved you could try to destroy you in such a sinister way. It shakes one to their foundation. At least, it shook me to mine. Now imagine having to face the fact that such wickedness not only exists but that it is personified in your mother. I simply could not fathom that, which is why I’ve let seven more years pass without discussing the matter with my children, who are now adults. I’ve spent seven years living with the knowledge that some or all of my kids may think that I am a rapist. I’ve endured this to spare them the horror of knowing what their mother did. Handing that truth to my children would have made me the Serpent, feeding them fruit from a poisoned tree.

On one level, I was lucky. Jennifer’s story was so absurd that the psychologist immediately called bullshit and diagnosed her in an unflattering way, to put it mildly. However, I didn’t feel lucky while I was fighting these charges. I also don’t believe that my children felt lucky when and if they became aware of the allegations, especially without seeing the transcripts which revealed them to be lies. Like me when I was their age, they certainly would believe the allegations because, after all, why would a person ever lie about something like this?

Notably, Jennifer never called the police to report the crime of rape but, to my astonishment, I discovered that she had visited a rape crisis center as the legal process played out — many years after the alleged rapes. State law prevented me from discovering any information about that particular descent into madness, so I found no answers there. Why hadn’t she gone to the police? I don’t know, and I don’t really care. Jennifer failed to realize that she made the allegations to a number of people who could have themselves called the police and reported the alleged crime.

I cannot begin to imagine what might have become of me, and what might have become of my family, if I had been criminally charged with rape. I do not care to further contemplate what might have happened to all of us if I had been wrongfully convicted of the charge. What I do know is that false rape allegations are not statistically insignificant and that people accused of rape must be afforded the same protections as any other criminally accused. Like with other crimes, it is better to let ten guilty rapists go free than to imprison a single innocent man.

I do not read reports about false rape charges when they pop up in my twitter feed. This is an immensely unpleasant topic which I try not to re-experience. Most people are familiar with the events involving the Duke lacrosse team, which is detailed in this mildly unpleasant Slate piece. A more recent episode about a person who made multiple false rape accusations is described here.

The forensic psychologist explained to me that the amicable nature of our divorce flowed from the generous financial support that I gave to Jennifer, coupled with the fact that I had the kids so much of the time. Jennifer had plenty of money without having to work and lots of free time, including every weekend. Somehow these luxuries kept her hateful demons at bay. Eventually that dam broke, and I was deluged by her venom. This is one possible theory to explain what happened, but I don’t spend much time thinking about Jennifer anymore. My wife has blessed me with three children (making a total of six), so I have enough on my plate to keep me from pondering the sordid tale of my ex-wife’s derangement. For those interested, a profile of false rape accusers can be found here.

I am writing this piece now for two reasons. First, it is time for me to love myself, to tell my story, and to proclaim my innocence. I’ve also become convinced that my daughter is aware of, and deeply burdened by, the false allegations that her mother made against me. So now I must feed her the poison fruit, as an antidote to a more toxic venom that has sickened her soul for almost a decade. I am so sorry, my beloved daughter. Please forgive me.

About Benjamin M. Adams
Recovering Attorney, Dad of Six, Concerned Citizen

One Response to The Time I Was Accused of Rape

  1. Melissa Adams Reynolds says:

    You are so brave to come forward with this. In the long run you will be closer with Sabrina for the openness you are showing. Let me know if I can share this with Miranda. We all love and support you, Ben.

    On Aug 12, 2017 12:07 PM, “The Pretty Ugly Blog by Benjamin M. Adams” wrote:

    > Benjamin M. Adams posted: ” By Benjamin M. Adams on August 4, 2017 > @BenAdamsO_O Photo Credit Jamelle Bouie > Deep in my bones, I always knew that false rape charges were scarcely more > than a malignant form of fiction. Not only was I cert” >

    Like

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