A feminist once stated about false accusations
“The accused would have a rough period. He might be suspended from his job; friends might de-friend him on Facebook. In the case of Bill Cosby, we might have to stop watching, consuming his books, or buying tickets to his traveling stand-up routine. These errors can be undone by an investigation that clears the accused, especially if it is done quickly.”
I wonder if she would apply that logic to Matthew Green. He went missing in 2010. This followed a tumultuous time he experienced dealing with a false accusation of rape. According to reports:
Matthew was investigated by police following an allegation of rape made by a girl, then aged 16.
Police surrounded his home and he spent 10 hours in custody as officers investigated the case.
But video footage taken from CCTV cameras showed that Matthew was at a petrol station in east London at time the alleged attack took place some 40 miles away in his hometown of Sittingbourne.
The girl then admitted her story was a complete fabrication and police dropped the case against Matthew.
His father Jim said today: ‘I think after everything that happened, it pushed him to the limit. From that time [his arrest] the boy we knew as outgoing, football and girls mad – he seemed to just stop.
‘From that he was never the same. Police officers came round to apologise after, I said look at that young boy. That’s what you’ve done to that young lad.
‘He became very withdrawn. His social life just went to nil. He packed up playing football, he wouldn’t go out. He began isolating himself in his bedroom and ate meals upstairs.’
Green turned to drugs and alcohol, ending up in a severe cycle of drug abuse prior to going missing. He remained missing for six years, and was recently discovered living in Spain. He reportedly is in psychiatric care refusing treatment.
This sounds like more than a “rough period” as the feminist described. Indeed, it sounds more like the reaction rape victims have to their trauma. I have stated this over years, much to some people’s discontent, however, I continue to believe it: victims of false accusations can and often do suffer as much psychological and emotional trauma as rape victims. The damage can be just as devastating and lead to the same responses rape victims would exhibit. Matthew Green is an example of this.
Everything he did, from isolating himself to going missing, is something we typically hear about rape victims. The notion that accusing someone of this crime, bringing public and social judgement against them, arresting them, imprisoning them, questioning their behavior, and labeling them a social monster is harmless is ridiculous.
This is not to say that accusing someone of rape is the same as raping someone. Clearly they are different acts. It is to say, however, that the emotional toll is often the same. There is no harm in acknowledging. Two different things can be equally bad at the same time.
According to the articles, it appears that Green does not want to see his family. It is not clear why. I hope that if he is in need of psychiatric treatment that he will allow the doctors to help him. He did not deserve to go through what he has been through, and perhaps getting help dealing with it will provide Green with a better means of coping rather than turning to drugs or running away.