The XX Factor

Why Not Name the Hofstra Student Who Recanted Her Rape Story?

On Instapundit, the indomitable Glenn Reynolds says that by not publishing the name of the 18-year-old Hofstra student who falsely cried gang rape , I’m “protecting a perpetrator .” The student hasn’t been charged with a crime - the prosecutors on the case have talked about that possibility, but they haven’t done it. Still, why shield the identity of a woman who sent four men to jail based on a story she then recanted? As I said in my piece, there’s an argument against anonymity here .

I’m not naming the student out of some mix of pity and sisterhood. She has been suspended from Hofstra. She’s being ripped apart on the Internet. She is having her 15 minutes as the poster girl for untrustworthy slut. And Glenn is right, I am still making excuses for her, even though false allegations are a criminal justice nightmare, because while what happened to her in the bathroom wasn’t rape, she must deeply regret it, and she probably was drunk or otherwise not thinking straight when it happened. Plus, she’s only 18. So not naming her seems like a small-if fairly meaningless-shred of compassion to offer. It’s true that the names of the men she accused became public once they were arrested. That’s a really tough one: whether to publish based merely on an arrest. It always gives me pause, but if a case goes on for a long time before trial, hard to avoid. In this case, for whatever it’s worth, I didn’t publish the guys’ names, either.

Glenn also links to a post describing studies that, if correct, show a shockingly high rate for false accusations of rape. The comments from men who say this has happened to them are heartbreaking. I’d love to know more about this.