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.
It is a symptom of the major sexism of our time — against men (see Christine Hoff Sommers' "The War Against Boys" for a detailed discussion of this sexism) — that not only is the rape of men's reputations not considered anywhere near as serious as the rape of a woman's body, but the women who perpetrate such destruction are protected by feminist, politically correct news media. That is why, to this day, The New York Times and most other liberal newspapers refuse to publish Crystal Mangum's name, let alone advocate that she be tried or punished for her cruelty.
The Talmud, the set of books of Jewish law and philosophy that rank in Judaism second in importance only to the Torah, says, "Whoever humiliates his friend in public is considered as if he has shed his blood." That is why some rabbis call undeserved public shaming "emotional murder."
That was written nearly 2,000 years ago. The lack of interest by elite America in even identifying, let alone punishing, a woman who "emotionally murdered" three young men proves that those who believe in the inevitability of moral progress frequently delude themselves.
Dennis Prager hosts a nationally syndicated radio talk show based in Los Angeles. He is the author of four books, most recently "Happiness Is a Serious Problem" (HarperCollins). His Web site is www.pragerradio.com.