From time to time, something will happen on the Internet or in real life that I know I should write about for Man Boobz, but it’s so infuriating or depressing that I can’t bring myself to write about it. The recent bullshit on Reddit involving a young woman whose story of a sexual assault was met with angry disbelief until she provided video proof that her injuries were real is a perfect case in point.
Briefly, what happened is this:
A young woman posted about a sexual assault she’d endured a day or so earlier – a man had tried to rape her, pushing her to the ground and scraping her face on the pavement. In a separate topic she posted a picture of her injuries, most notably a giant scrape on her cheek. You can see it at right; click on the picture to see it full size.
Then another Redditor noticed that some time back, the same woman had posted a picture of herself in zombie makeup. This, he said, made him skeptical that her injuries were real — it was probably just a good makeup job.
That was all it took to send Reddit into a full internet lynch mob frenzy: obviously this woman was a liar and an attention whore and, even worse, possibly a feminist anti-rape activist! Redditors suddenly became both medical and makeup experts, and declared that the giant scrape on her face was obviously phony. (Not to me; I tried arguing with several of them to no avail.) It got ugly, very ugly, very quickly.
The woman at the heart of the storm asked if she needed to post an actual video of her cleaning the wound on her face to show that it was real; a redditor demanded that she do just that.
So she did. (Here it is.) Long story short: the scrape is real. The woman also posted a picture of the business card given to her by the police detective she’s spoken to when reporting the incident. It’s now pretty clear that there is no reason to doubt that her story is true. Even the Redditor who originally challenged her story realized that she was almost certainly telling the truth.
Here’s her post offering proof to back up her story.
At this point the lynch mob lost its steam; some people even apologized to her.
But the evidence of the ugliness remains in a host of different threads and different subforums on Reddit. I honestly don’t have the energy or the patience to sift through all of the ugliness; luckily, Jezebel has given a decent account of the whole spectacle; you can go there to get some more of the details.
You might also want to look in to the main thread where most of the ugliness occurred — though at this point many of the vile accusatory comments that got upvoted when everyone seemed to assume she was lying have been retroactively voted down. (The screenshot I posted above gives a better idea of what it looked like at the time; here’s another screenshot with some of the choicer comments.)
Naturally, Men’s Rightsers contributed to the ugliness – though most of the worst comments appeared outside of the Men’s Rights subreddit, and a surprising number of r/mr regulars refused to jump on the original “she’s a liar” bandwagon.