[Update: Added more citations of fake rape allegations]
A preview for the first episode of Rising Of The Shield Hero aired, and some of the regular anime reviewers shared their thoughts about the show. To absolutely no one’s surprise, the typical Social Justice Warrior crowd began to attack one particular plot point, which is that the main character gets framed for rape, leading the SJWs to proclaim that this doesn’t happen in real life.
The show itself is about an otaku named Naofumi Iwatani, who one day gets transported into a mystical fantasy land after reading a light novel at the library. Once in the land, he teams up with several other adventures, including an alluring female named Myne. Myne, however, ends up framing Naofumi and falsely accusing him of raping her, which results in him being castigated by the kingdom and his entire reputation tarnished, resulting in him becoming bitter and angry.
The website S1E1 took umbrage with this element of the plot, writing…
“ The first and most important thing worth mentioning is that false rape accusations of this nature aren’t really a thing (think about the social consequences for women even when their accusations are extremely credible; people don’t do this kind of thing for fun). It’s as if Myne’s actions sprung fully-formed out of a misinformed, misanthropic incel fantasy; Kitamura is even depicted as some kind of an alpha male who gains women’s attractions unearned. I feel like Myne’s betrayal could have come in any number of different forms and not been half as problematic; unfortunately this choice reads to me as having been made with particular intent.
“The consequence of this is that it positions Naofumi to harden his emotions, come into his anger, and embody the type of toxic masculine traits that just make him into an unlikable protagonist. He begins to violently hassle shopkeepers and threaten people by confronting them with the low-level biting monsters he keeps hidden beneath his cape. He turns into the kind of world-reviling jerk that goes on to commit mass violence, inspired by the type of event these sorts fantasize as a common truth. It’s dangerous and vile.”
So, first of all, false rape accusations that ruin people’s reputation (or worse) are “really a thing”. We saw how unsubstantiated allegations can nearly ruin someone’s life and their reputation. A perfect example of that is Supreme Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexual assault. Regardless of the opinions on Kavanaugh, there was no corroboration of the allegations nor any evidence sexual assault took place. As noted in the report on USA Today…
“The Supplemental Background Investigation confirms what the Senate Judiciary Committee concluded after its investigation: there is no corroboration of the allegations made by Dr. Ford or Ms. Ramirez,”
Kavanaugh was also further exonerated when some of his accusers admitted that they fabricated the allegations, as detailed on Real Clear Politics.
Even though Kavanaugh managed to withstand his false allegations, not everyone else does.
VanDyke Perry spent 11 years in prison, and Gregory Counts spent 26 years in prison on a rape allegation that turned out to be false, as recounted by The New York Times.
The court listened and believed without properly going over the facts and it cost those men years in prison they’ll never get back.
Outlets like Anime News Network didn’t care about that, though, with James Beckett scolding the writers of Rising Of The Shield Hero for including the very real occurrence of fake rape allegations, scoring the episode a 1.5 out of 5. In the preview guide for the anime’s 40 minute first episode, Beckett wrote…
“Every trick in the book is employed to frame Myne as an exaggeration of the duplicitous, promiscuous harpy that uses her beauty to lure men to their doom, and Naofumi is the innocent everyman who’s punished for being too trusting, thus justifying the hatred and misanthropy that follows him. It’s not just a cliché, it’s a fantasy of persecution that’s frequently propagated by men in order to justify mistreatment and mistrust of women. It would be foolish to say that no person has ever falsely accused another of assault, but the fact is that society more often does not take allegations of assault seriously and often punishes victims for speaking up about it. The situation is so bad that the majority of victims choose not to report sexual violence, because it is assumed that they will be ignored or harassed further. This is why Rising of the Shield Hero’s treatment of this subject matter deserves to be discussed. The idea that men are aggrieved victims of some matriarchal conspiracy is not only an imaginary boogeyman, it’s something that has caused real harm in the world outside this work of fiction.”
Beckett is right but for the wrong reasons.
Yes, the subject matter has caused real harm in the world outside of fiction, but especially for men who were accused of a crime they didn’t commit, and either are imprisoned for it or end up dying in result of paying for said crime.
Tim Cole was one such fellow, who actually died in prison after being falsely accused of rape, with the Star-Telegram explaining…
“Saturday marks a decade since officials formally learned what Session and his family have always known: DNA evidence proved that Cole, who died in prison from an asthma attack in 1999, had been unjustly convicted of rape more than a decade earlier.”
Others had their reputations permanently tarnished, such as the Duke Lacrosse team, who were dragged through the mud by the now disbarred prosecutor and the agenda-laden media who refused to put facts before propaganda, as recounted by The Washington Examiner.
Then there were the high-profile cases like the University of Virginia story published by Rolling Stone, which resulted in a widespread fear-mongering fest pushed by the media that – for many years – sullied the very mention of “UVA”. At least there was some sense of vindication, as the Rolling Stone had to pay out settlements after getting sued for fabricating such a damaging story, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
And who could forget the Mattress Girl case? Where the student carried around a mattress on campus claiming she had been raped… just until the evidence emerged indicating that it was a false allegation, as noted by the National Review, and covered in a lengthy video by Sargon of Akkad.
But even with the damage of false rape accusations looming over every critic’s riposte to denounce their efficacy in ruining a man’s life, writers like Nick Creamer from Anime News Network are still convinced that using fake rape allegations is bad for character building…
“Framing a show around a false rape accusation doesn’t automatically make for a terrible story, but it does potentially provide an indicator of where the author is coming from. Though some authors are more transparent in their attempted social commentary than others, each choice a writer makes will carry with it some unavoidable real-world baggage. A false rape accusation isn’t always the wrong choice, but it is always a weighty choice that relies heavily on context. We exist in a world where rapes are staggeringly under-reported, women are constantly shamed and attacked for acknowledging abuses against them, and false rape reports are a tiny statistical aberration, vastly overshadowed by the number of assaults that are not reported at all. Given all this, Shield Hero’s premise feels like a tone deaf story choice at best, and an indicator of the author’s own feelings about women at worst.”
Creamer doesn’t provide any stats on the “vastly overshadowed” number of assaults that are not reported at all, nor does Creamer go the extra distance to compare them to percentage of false rape allegations that have landed men in prison. Of course, Creamer completely ignores situations like the one involving Jemma Beale, who made multiple fake rape allegations, and eventually was jailed for efforts, as reported by The Guardian.
Instead, he relies on the hyperbole of downplaying one sin to propound another.
Creamer, like many other Social Justice Warriors out there, completely forfeits the intellectual fortitude to weigh and gauge the dangers of falsely accusing anyone of any crime. Something that many people have suffered many years for all at the expense of their freedom, their livelihood, and their dignity.
Funnily enough, the responses from the media was predicted by anime fans way back in October of 2018, who were betting on Social Justice Warriors getting triggered over the show’s themes.
(Thanks for the news tip Josh Beoulve)