opinion

"The Brit is a wh**re." Why this story shouldn't be dominating news headlines today.

A British tourist has admitted to falsely accusing a dozen teenage boys of gang raping her in a Cyprus hotel room.

The story is making headlines worldwide and it shouldn’t be.

A story about “false allegations of rape” is the exception not the rule, and it’s giving the rule a bad name.

By reporting on it this sensationally and this much, it’s actually downplaying the rule. It’s giving the exception centre stage and making it seem a lot more common than it is.

CYPRUS COURT ISRAEL
12 Israeli tourists were arrested after a UK woman accused them of gang-raping her in Cyprus. She later retracted the allegations. Image: AAP.

You see in the world of news when something out of the ordinary happens, it's exciting. News editors rub their hands in glee.

In a sea of similar headlines (Read: Man rapes woman. Woman flees domestic violence. Another woman killed at the hands of someone she knows.) the media is always on the lookout for a new story. Something 'different', that'll rock the boat and prick up consumer's ears.

But the truth is, that's not fair.

It's actually an insult to the one woman murdered by her current or former partner every week, and that's just a figure for Australia alone.

Women and violence: The hidden numbers. Post continues after video.

Video by MMC
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It's an insult to the 250,000 cases of rape or attempted rape recorded by police annually in 65 countries according United Nations data. 

The statistics for false reporting of rape and domestic violence are incredibly low. In Australia, it's roughly four per cent which is in line with the false reporting for other crimes. If we look at US figures it's similar, it's between 2- 10 per cent of accusations.

And yet the 19-year-old British teen being charged with public nuisance in Cyprus for a fake gang-rape claim is getting all of the airtime, and front pages worldwide.

Let's look at the case a bit closer.

Originally the UK citizen, who hasn't been named, told police she was gang raped by 12 Israeli tourists in a hotel room in a holiday resort in Cyprus.

The boys, who were aged between 15 and 18, were arrested on July 17 and held in custody for a little over a week.

She recounted being held down by her arms by two of the teens while she cried to be released - she said the boys then took it in turns raping her.

On Sunday, she changed her tune. She told police she had consensual sex with three of the teenagers and when she refused to let a fourth take part, he kicked her out of the room, according to Channel 12.

She also claimed the teenagers filmed her having sex without her consent.

She says she made the false report because she was "angry and insulted," reported the Cyprus News Agency. 

When the boys were released they were filmed by Times of Israel at the airport after arriving home chanting "the Brit is a wh**re".

They're now suing her.

CYPRUS COURT ISRAEL
The teenagers are filing a joint lawsuit against the woman, seeking damages. Image: AAP.
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They want damages and their lawyer says, “there are 12 cases to be heard and this will be a very expensive case for her. The claims will run into millions for the suffering she put them through," reports The Sun.

They weren't kidding, they plan on filing a joint lawsuit against the woman for a whopping AUD $97,000. As is their right.

If the woman is convicted for the charge police have laid against her, she could be facing a prison sentence of up to a year.

Just to make one thing clear - if the woman's revised version of events is true, she of course did something very, very wrong. There's no doubt about it.

But so did those boys.

Columnist Hen Artzi-Sror put it perfectly when he wrote for Ynet News, "So what we have here is a group of teenage boys, who it turns out are not rapists, just the type of boys who would engage in group sex with a drunk girl, film it without her permission and then send it around to their friends".

“There’s no doubt, they are obviously good boys,” he added sarcastically.

But it's all beside the point, yes both parties did something bad here and the ramifications of false allegations are horrible. But at the end of the day, this anomaly is distracting from the endless stories of domestic violence, murder and sexual assault suffered by women at the hands of men.

Unfortunately that story is just too common. It's too boring to keep putting something so normal on the front page. Even writing that sentence makes my skin crawl, but it's true.

Violence against women is common, horrifically common. So much so we get fatigued by the amount of stories that are written about it.

So instead we report on the exception.

Read more about violence against women:

Seven weeks after her wedding, Tamara was almost killed by her husband.

"If we took violence against women seriously, the Bourke Street victims would still be alive."

Australian women deserve better.

"Five years after my friend's husband and friend raped me, I can finally talk about it."

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