Scotland Rejects Proposal to Preserve Anonymity of Men Accused of Rape

The BBC reports that a committee of Scotland’s parliament unanimously rejected a proposal to grant anonymity to men accused of rape until their guilt is proven in court.

The proposal was submitted by the UK Men’s Movement which argues that men accused of rape need anonymity to avoid the stigma that even false allegations of rape can have on innocent men. UK Men’s Movement spokesman George McAulay said in September of a similar proposal introduced by his group,

We are alarmed by the proliferation of false rape allegations, and the seeming indifference with which the authorities treat this offence, often not prosecuting even when there was a prima facie case of false allegation to answer, and even when the accuser admitted it was a complete fabrication.

False rape claims may be made for a number of reasons, the most common being revenge, attention-seeking, malice, fiscal reward via the Criminal Injuries Board or civil suit, and advantage in marital disputes now that prosecutions are made for rape in marriage.

According to the BBC, the committee that voted to reject the idea argued that “the move would discourage women from coming forward.”

McAulay responded that the Scottish Parliament’s doesn’t seriously its own goal of ensuring sexual equality,

This parliament and this executive make much noise about their commitment to equality, but I have seen little of it with regard to men. We ask that an accused who may be innocent is given the same anonymity as their accuser, who may be malicious.

Unlike in the United States, it is generally illegal in the UK to publish the name of accusers in rape cases. In the United States, the Supreme Court has upheld the right the media to publish the name of rape accusers, but by custom most do not.

In general, the ideal would be equal treatment — if an outlet is not going to name the accuser, then don’t name the accused. If they’re going to name the accused, they should also name the accuser (except where minors are involved on either side).

Sources:

Rape case protection bid rejected The BBC, January 7, 2004.

Minister to hear rape plea. The BBC, September 26, 2000.

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