The rape of a name can be as vicious a crime and as destructive an act as the rape of a body. Sometimes the rape of a body is worse, sometimes the rape of a name is worse. But they are both rapes. And morally likening the two is in no way meant to lessen the horror of rape; it is meant only to heighten awareness of the horror of intentionally destroying the name of an innocent person.
These words are written in the aftermath of the destruction of three young men's names by a lying woman whose name is still hidden by The New York Times and other major newspapers whose commitment to truth is not as strong as their commitment to political correctness.
Upon first hearing a comparison of name-rape to body-rape, most people are likely to recoil. But upon reflection, it becomes clear that the two are morally comparable. In fact, I have had women listeners to my radio show call and e-mail me to say that they have been raped -- one woman had been gang raped -- and felt they were better able to go on with their lives than men they loved who had been falsely accused of rape or molestation.
If you are a woman and this seems far-fetched, imagine that a man you love -- such as your father, brother, husband or son -- were publicly accused of a rape he had not committed. Imagine the pain he and your family would endure. Why is that pain not comparable to the pain suffered by at least some women who are raped?
"Which office do I go to to get my reputation back?" That was the question the secretary of labor in the Reagan administration, Raymond Donovan, asked, after being acquitted of all charges for larceny and fraud.
Where, indeed, does one go after having one's reputation unjustly ruined?
A police officer recently acquitted of charges of molesting two boys told the press that he will never again be able to hug a child.
To this day, a decent human being named Clarence Thomas, who has become a major Supreme Court thinker, is identified by his political enemies with sexual harassment (of the most innocuous variety, even if true) and of having looked at pornography (along with the majority of other decent men in America), as if those charges define his life.
What do we have in life, after all, that is more valuable than our name and reputation? What do good people work hardest at maintaining, if not their good name?
The lying woman in the Duke lacrosse case, Crystal Mangum, raped three men. Generally speaking, it is meaningless to speak of women raping men's bodies; it is men who rape women's bodies. What women can rape is a man's name.
Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for Townhall.com and author of his newest book, “The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code.”