Wendy McElroy has written another great article about the damage that can be caused by false and trivial sexual harrasment accusations, and says that the tide is turning against automatic belief in the alleged victim. She gives a couple of examples of how easily a man's life can be ruined; here's one.
Daphne Patai is one of the few feminists to demonstrate compassion for such wrongfully accused men. In her book "Heterophobia," Patai describes the savagery of sexual misconduct policies by which the accused has no due process or presumption of innocence but must prove his non-guilt to committees with the power to ruin his life.As I wrote before:
One of the examples Patai cites is of an over-weight professor who was both well-liked and competent. One day, in the middle of a lecture, a female student called out a comment about the extreme size of his chest. He observed that she had no similar problem and, then, continued lecturing.
The student filed sexual harassment charges against him, based solely on the classroom incident. The ensuing witch-hunt was so extreme that the professor committed suicide. Thereafter, the university administration released a statement expressing its main concern: The professor's death should not discourage other similarly "abused" women from "speaking out."
Women who claim to have been raped make very sympathetic victims, and for good reason. There are few crimes more terrible than rape, but I would argue that a false accusation of rape is one of them. I advocate a system in which a perjurer/false-accuser would face the same penalties as their victim would have, had he or she been convicted of the crime they were falsely accused of. (Naturally, in many circumstances it may be impossible to prove that either a crime was committed or that the accusation was false, in which case no one should be prosecuted.)