If you’ll recall, last year there was a horrible incident in which Rolling Stone botched a piece about a gang rape at UVA. They issued a retraction after it came out that details in the story were incorrect and that they did not have enough evidence to support the story.
After the retraction, many people felt the need to gloat or simply remind the world that this is why we shouldn’t believe accusations of rape. They come from horrible, lying women who just want to ruin the lives of poor, innocent women. Like so many people in minority groups or oppressed groups, one woman’s (anonymous) (not willing stated) experience was held up as the defining experience of all the people in that group. If we have one example of a woman lying about rape, then most rape accusations are probably lies, amirite?
So given the fact that Bill Cosby recent confessed that he had bought drugs in order to drug women and have sex with them, isn’t it about time that we recognize that all rape accusations are probably true? Shouldn’t we recognize that most men accused of rape are skeevy creepers who will blatantly lie in order to protect their reputations?
Oh wait, that’s not how facts work?
The general response to Cosby’s confession is telling. I have heard crickets from the sides of the internet that were up in arms to defend him, or the folks who were gleefully sharing the retraction from Rolling Stone. The think pieces that questioned the journalistic integrity of Rolling Stone for posting something without doing due diligence seem to be notably invisible in regards to those who spoke up in defense of Bill Cosby.
But there’s no double standard here folks, no cognitive bias. None at all.
Let’s just take a moment to remind ourselves that men don’t have to speak or behave for everyone of their gender. Everyone admits there are some rapists out there, even some rapists who lie or who have prominent positions. And yet we don’t think that all men or all prominent men are lying rapists. But for some reason when one person makes a false rape accusation we think all rape accusations are false.
Think about that.