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What Should Be The Right Punishment For Making False Rape Accusations? By Claire Mom

February 13, 2022

Today, his accuser roams freely on the ground he lies in.

In the ecosystem, there are two distinct groups; predator and prey. Among humans, these groups exist masqueraded as sexual abusers and survivors. But one group is left out - false accusers of sexual harassment.
False sexual harassments and their miscarriage of justice are not novel. The Biblical Joseph was an example - finding his justice in a prison cell courtesy of his false accuser, his master’s wife. It has seemed as though that singular act laid the foundation for false accusations.


Sometime in 2020, a young man, Izu Mmadubueze, full of life had it snuffed out from him after he was added to a “list of rapists’’ by a Twitter Influencer, Nanichi Anese (@nanichianese). After he reached out to his accuser to clear his name, she confirmed there was no physical harassment but refused to retract her false claims. Izu resorted to ending his life with a tweet on July 17: “Oh and if you’re reading this, I’m dead lol.”
Today, his accuser roams freely on the ground he lies in.
Young Izu was not the only one dealt unfair cards by the justice system. In New Delhi, Deepak Sangwan, a differently-abled man, shot himself in the neck after a woman and her father had lodged a false rape case against him.
And just like Izu Mmadubueze, that was the last time Deepak Sangwan’s name appeared next to the police in the news.
Sadly, even in ‘’advanced’’ countries, the law doesn’t protect victims of false accusations. In the UK for example, rape sentences get punishments as intense as life imprisonment but when married Marianne Naughton made a false rape accusation against a man and ruined his life, all she had to do was forfeit work for 18 months and spend a miserly 10 months in prison. And to intensify the punishment, an order of a £2,000 fine was paid to the victim.
For the sake of clarity, what the UK law suggests is that when you are raped, the assaulter is most likely put behind bars forever, which is great, but when your life is ruined by one false accusation, you get justice by the accuser getting a £2,000 fine and some months in prison. Really?
Oftentimes, false rape allegations are a revenge tactic by a scorned lover or a cover-up of a perceived “embarrassing” sexual encounter – occurrences in the cases of Izu Mmadubueze and the latter for Marianne Naughton.
What then is the punishment for permanently putting a stain on innocent people’s names?
This is where perjury comes in, so you would think.
By definition, perjury is an offence of purposely telling a lie to incriminate the other party under oath. Now, I am aware perjury attracts a decent punishment for its offences. For example, in Nigeria, a person who commits perjury is liable to imprisonment for fourteen years and in the UK, 2-7 years depending on the gravity. So why can’t false allegations bear the same consequences as perjury? After all, they fall under the same category as telling a lie to miscarry justice.
The law needs to do better.
False accusers need to be held accountable to the highest extent. The severity of the consequences one should face has to directly be proportional with the amount of jail time/consequence the person being falsely accused would have had to face and not just be made to pay some fine.
Jail term is not the only remedy for these predators. Laws should be made to register these reprobates as false accusers like those who are sexual offenders [have to] do – a clear warning sign. That way, they can walk the shoes of people whose lives they [would] have ruined.
Money can be made back but a smeared reputation, no matter how reformed, will always have a dent.
As such, the billion-dollar question – will false accusers get the punishment they rightfully deserve or will innocent victims keep getting hashtags?
Claire Mom is a Nigerian journalist and a passionate advocate for sexual and reproductive health and rights. She has worked under the Ripple Project by the Spotlight Initiative as a peer educator and is notable for speaking strongly against sexual and gender-based violence.
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @speakclairely_