However you look at this, we’re doing something wrong

This is a very disturbing case. In January 2009 a girl called Layla Ibrahim went to the police with injuries to the back of her head and breasts, a black eye, and bleeding from her vagina. She reported being attacked by two strangers, and feeling a “thud” in her vagina, though she had a poor recollection of the details of what happened. A year later, six months pregnant, she was sentenced to three years in prison for fabricating the story. You can read more details in the article I linked to.

There are several troubling issues here. One is the depressingly familiar story of a rape victim becoming, for no very good reason, the target of suspicion. Another is the possibility that her ethnicity played a role. But there’s a third issue that may not be so obvious. Let’s imagine for a moment that the police were right, that she had fabricated the story. This would involve not only constructing the story, but cutting and bruising herself, including causing the bleeding from her vagina. How should our society treat people disturbed enough to do something like that? By putting them in prison for three years? However you look at this case, there’s something we’re doing wrong.

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