Wanetta Gibson Has Harmed Rape Victims Everywhere

Stop Abusive and Violent Environments
July 11, 2012

Sexual assault is the least-reported violent crime in law enforcement. Many victims say the reason they didn’t report the assault is because they were afraid investigators wouldn’t believe them.
Consider the recent case of Wanetta Gibson who accused high school classmate Brian Banks of rape. Rather than risk a lengthy prison term, Banks accepted a plea deal that destroyed his dream of playing college football.
Gibson and her mother then sued the Long Beach Unified School District, claiming the high school campus was not a safe environment. The two walked away with a $1.5 million settlement.
In May, Gibson admitted on tape the whole thing was made-up, and Brian Banks’ conviction was overturned.
Fake-Rape Undermines Victim Credibility
A growing number of persons are speaking out against problem of fake-rape:
• Rape is No Joke, a victim advocacy group, has charged that “Enormous damages are done by making a false allegation of rape.”
• Justice Enriques has decried that “False complaints of rape necessarily impact upon the minds of jurors trying rape cases.”
• New York Post Andrea Peyser columnist laments that false accusations represent a “huge problem for future rape victims.”
• Myron Pitts, columnist for FayeObserver.com, recently wrote, “Real victims of assault are never helped by phony claims. It is already difficult enough for women to report to police such a traumatic experience.”

Sending More Innocent Black Men to Prison

Persons look at the Brian Banks case and shudder that a man could be put in prison for 5 years when there were no witnesses or forensic evidence – only a woman making an unfounded accusation of “rape.”
The proposed VAWA reauthorization bills (S. 1925 and H.R. 4970) would dramatically expand the definition of sexual assault to include any “nonconsensual” sexual act.
That would shift the burden of proof to the accused. This definitional make-over would turn many New Year’s Eve revelers into rapists and rape victims.
If you or a loved one was accused of rape, how would you prove your innocence under the proposed definition?
The VAWA reauthorization bills need to remove bloated definitions of sexual assault that would open the door to would-be false accusers, put more innocent Black men in jail, and cause dire harm to the credibility of real victims.