Recently I wrote a story on the false accusations that were raised against Tom Felton on Tiktok.
The reason why I am writing this now is that when the responses poured in, there seemed to be a lot of people that weren’t understanding the point of the story.
Some people said that claimed false accusations aren’t harmful to anyone if they are proved false and that there was no point in the story.
Within that same story were responses that this example of someone making up an accusation showcases that women constantly lie.
Immediately, warning sirens went off in my head and I realized that the comments showcased the issues we are facing in themselves.
False accusations are extremely dangerous. There are people who are just waiting for any excuse to invalidate our experiences. In fact, here are some examples of the comments left on my post that showcased exactly why false accusations are so detrimental.
One of the first comments on the article read as follows:
“Luckily, it wasn’t actually devastating. Upsetting for the man involved, certainly, but no harm at all has come about to his career or reputation, and that is the standard outcome for false accusations….
Fortunately, as we all know, sexual assault and related crimes are one of those areas where false reporting is extremely rare and almost never happens. And the only reason we know about this is she was so easily caught.”
First off, this happened to Tom Felton around a week ago. You don’t know the impact it’s had on his mental health. You don’t know if this will harm his reputation/career.
There are so many assumptions in this comment that it blows my mind. From where we are sitting we have no idea what has happened in the aftermath of these accusations whether they were proven false or not.
This comment also mentions that everyone knows false accusations are rare. This is untrue as well because the reality is that not everyone knows that sexual assault is an area where false reporting is extremely rare. In fact, this was exemplified in the comments below.
“This is, yet another example (including my own personal experience), why #beliveallvictims is problematic at it’s core. Women lie a lot more often than you think.”
“But wait, I thought we were supposed to #believewomen?”
Whether you want to believe it or not, a false accusation fuels the people who believe that we shouldn’t believe victims and that many of us are lying. Underestimating the downstream effects of something like this is dangerous whether you want to admit it or not.
The lovely advocate for women, Gillian Sisley summed up exactly what I was thinking in her comment on my story.
“As survivors, we’re already fighting tooth and nail to create a safe space for us to even be able to step forward and report, or be supported to be offered help after a trauma… shit like this just makes the lives of millions of survivors so much more difficult.”
How many girls/women had to come forward before Larry Nassar was held accountable for his abuse of hundreds, possibly thousands of women?
How many years was Bill Cosby accused of sexual assault and rape before he was held accountable?
How many decades did Harvey Weinstein have allegations raised against him?
The reality is that women already aren’t believed. The reality is that it usually takes dozens of women stepping forward before allegations are taken seriously as showcased in the examples above.
False allegations are a big deal. They hurt the falsely accused. They hurt the real victims, and ultimately the person making the false accusation.
Assuming that this happens and that everyone moves on without a scratch or any lasting damage is naive, dangerous, and wrong.