The social media site Reddit, far from a bastion of tolerance on its best days, has done it again. On Tuesday, a user posted to the "Men's Rights" subreddit with a link to a reporting page where students at Occidental College in Los Angeles could anonymously inform administrators about sexual assaults on campus. The so-called activists, concerned that this might lead to false accusations of male students, decided the best course of action would be to flood the reporting system with blatantly misleading claims. As Raw Story explains: 'Looks like there is an epidemic at Occidental, particularly female-on-female assault,' redditor Your_Bacon_Councilor wrote. 'Even though most of these will be scrubbed, I promise the numbers will be kept and used to justify programs.' 'I like this. Where can I fill it in. I’ve been raped all over the place,' another redditor wrote. 'Let’s get submitting boys? Has anyone been raped by the dean of women’s studies? Surely somebody.' 'I’ve also been raped by the president of the US,' he added. 'And by everyone I don’t like. There. That ought to do it. Nothing like the practical demonstration of the absurdity of an idea.' Considering that false accusations of rape are quite uncommon, it's unlikely that any unwitting students at Occidental needed the Men's Rights members' assistance in the first place. But it's very possible that the outpouring of fake stories masked those of assault survivors who genuinely wanted help.
Kathleen Jercich is an assistant editor at In These Times. Her work has appeared in Sacramento News and Review, BUST Magazine and on The Rumpus and Bitch Media blogs.