Women Fake Rape Accusations Because of “Regret Sex,” Says Fox Guest

Today on Fox News, guest and criminal defense attorney Keith Sullivan used a discussion about the St. Paul Prep School rape trial to air some pretty ugly views about women who report rape. Sullivan claims that many women falsify rape accusations merely because they have what he calls “regret sex.” He also claims that the defendant in the case, Owen Labrie, cannot possibly be guilty of rape because he does not look like a rapist and looks more like “Harry Potter.”

Unfortunately, this is all too common of a narrative–and a false one, based mostly in fiercely-held misogynistic beliefs about women: that women are untrustworthy, particularly in a sexual context; that women desperately want attention and pity at any cost and will do anything to get it, including going through the ordeal of an entire rape investigation and trial. And perhaps most importantly, that women should feel “dirty” for having had sex.

There are certain archetypes presented to us in movies, television, books and elsewhere that feed into this. The strapping young lad eager for sex and the nervous young maidens he seeks to cajole somehow into submitting to his desires. The man as predator and the women as prey. Men pressuring women into sexual activity has been normalized for pretty much forever and are as ingrained in us as tales of scorned women seeking their revenge.

People like Keith Sullivan see what happened between Owen Labrie and this woman as a young man’s successful sexual seduction. They see his accuser as a woman who realized later that she should have known better than to be seduced, and who is now trying to preserve her “purity” (which they see as her entire value to society) by taking revenge upon him in court.

They ultimately don’t see sex as something that is enjoyable to women, but rather as something women simply submit to in order to please a man. Lie back and think of England and all that. When your brain is wired that way–to assume women probably don’t want sex to begin with and must be cajoled, to think that women should feel tainted for having submitted to the wrong man–of course you think it is perfectly natural for women to regret sex so much that they’d file charges against the poor man for simply being a man and trying to get in their pants.

Obviously, we’ll all have to wait until all the evidence comes out in this to really formulate a strong opinion either way. But regardless of this case itself, this narrative is extremely damaging to survivors of sexual assault, who already fear that no one will believe them. It’s damaging to our justice system when we have cops telling women who report rape that they shouldn’t bother because everyone will think they’re making it up anyway because they had “regrettable sex.”

But let’s just throw this out on the table, shall we? If women claimed to be raped every time they had crappy sex, there would be lines around the block at every police station in the country. Women are not so stupid that they think bad sex or “regret sex” is the same thing as rape. We know the difference between “Oh god, why did I do that?” and being forced into sexual activity we do not want.

[Media Matters]