As all too many rape victims discover when they speak out, many react by just wishing the victim would shut up and go away.
Most rapists attack someone they know, which means that holding them accountable means tearing apart whatever community — school, work, friend group — that the accused and accuser belong in. Often, it feels just easier to pressure the accuser to shut up and go away so everything can return to normal, even though that often requires ignoring that there’s a sexual predator in your midst.
In a report released on Thursday, Human Rights Watch turned up alarming evidence that, in the military, forces that want to shut accusers up and make them go away have found a disturbingly potent weapon: Misogynist stereotypes. By leaning on prejudiced beliefs that women, especially outspoken women, are either dishonest or crazy, the military was able to get rid of women who came forward with rape accusations.