In the most disturbing story of the day, if not the week, a woman was jailed for falsely claiming she was raped — all because her friend wouldn't lend her money for a taxi.
According to the BBC, twenty-two-year-old Leyla Ibrahim decided to "teach a friend a lesson" when that friend refused to lend her cab fare to get back to her home in Cumbria, England. She cut her hair and clothes with scissors, and even gave herself a black eye. Then she told police she'd been raped by two men on her way home; she wouldn't have been walking had it not been for her penny-pinching friend. Authorities actually arrested four men, one of whom was so distraught he tried to hurt himself in jail. Ibrahim's story started to fall apart when police found the scissors she'd used to cut her clothes, and she's now been sentenced to three years in prison. Making the story even more upsetting: Ibrahim is seven months pregnant, meaning she'll probably spend her child's infancy behind bars.
As we and others have written, all too often false rape claims are yet another symptom of rape culture, which shames women for consenting to sex. But sometimes, people are just thoughtless, self-interested jerks — and that seems to be the case here. Judge Paul Batty told Ibrahim, "Every false allegation of rape worsens the plight of those women who have been the victim of such a dreadful crime and makes it harder to prove when a crime really has taken place." And indeed, Ibrahim's false accusation is likely to give more ammunition to those who think women are always making up their rapes. Of course, people can — and do — make false accusations about all crimes, and Ibrahim's assholishness says nothing about the problem of rape as a whole. But we wish she'd thought about the men accused, the money wasted, and the other women whose real pain would be taken less seriously, before she turned a stupid fight about cab fare into a fruitless investigation of rape.
Image via Daily Mail.