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False rape accusation...who would you believe?

  • 10-12-2016 12:59pm
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 484 ✭✭


    False rape accusation is an unlikely though possibly frightening thing that can happen to a man. He can lose his job, lose friends, go on the sex offender list, and even if he's removed of it, vigilantes will probably attack him. I'm not aware of anyone in Ireland who has been accused but then again I don't have many male friends.

    Getting to the point, rape is a pretty difficult crime to prosecute due to the nature (the act is legal itself), however on the unfortunate flip side, your 'character' and 'reputation' is usually judged regardless of evidence.

    An example is n the US, a high number of false rape cases involved poor African American males due to their generally low socioeconomic status, high crime rates (for that racial group, not every black person). Even if they would never harm their children or girlfriend, the idea that 'If you've done this in the past, then you've probably done this or are capable of this' is very prevalent.

    So now using an Irish example, if you go back to you secondary school as a teenager and knew this weird quiet lad who was quite creepy and made some sexual jokes and inappropriate jokes on and off. A girl you know in your social circle befriends this guy, they hang out and have rough anal sex, she doesn't like it, falls out with this guy and then she spreads this rumor that she was sodomized by this guy. Would you believe her? This guy is very weird and she does share weird things that he has said to her, but denies rape.

    It's scary to think that a bunch of teen lads from my school would probably beat up the guy based of a lie like that, but then again he doesn't have a good reputation.

    Realistically, what would you do?


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Comments

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,270 ✭✭✭clairewithani


    A girl i know made an accusation of rape against a guy once. The case was dropped as a friend of hers said it never happened. The awful thing was that the story followed him. Even those who didn't believe he raped her would tell others about it and there were a few "no smoke without fire" comments. Lad is married now, lovely family but it definitely left a cloud over him.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,847 ✭✭✭py2006


    I have no doubt that there have been many men in the past have done time in jail over false allegations. I also have no doubt that there are men currently in prison over a false allegation.

    The worrying thing is that regardless of being innocent the guys life is destroyed in EVERY respect and sadly I am sure many have committed suicide.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 37,053 CMod ✭✭✭✭ancapailldorcha


    Had it happen to a former friend. Fortunately, he was abroad at the time the purported assault occurred and the accuser had mental health issues so it didn't go far and he emerged largely unscathed.

    As for who would I believe, it depends entirely on context. It's mainly a matter for the police who'll have experience of such things. If I know someone is of good character and makes such a claim then I'd believe them. In such a case, if the claim turned out to be untrue then there's a complex set of reasons as to why that might be the case which may apply. Ultimately, it isn't my business unless this person is a friend who needs support.

    Much of the same would apply to someone being accused of committing a rape. My understanding of the subject is that most rapes are not violent and involve a lack of consent or a refusal instead of a victim being violently subdued while the aggressor performed the act. If I knew someone who'd had sex with someone who was too drunk to consent and they made a claim then I'd encourage him/her to contact a solicitor to try and mount a defence. Rape is not binary. A lack of evidence does not equal a false accusation. My answer to the question is that it would depend on the nature of the accusation and the people involved.

    We sat again for an hour and a half discussing maps and figures and always getting back to that most damnable creation of the perverted ingenuity of man - the County of Tyrone.

    H. H. Asquith



  • Registered Users Posts: 471 ✭✭jennyhayes123


    I know 2 girls that have done this. Bitches should be locked up. Nasty nasty evil thing to do


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,237 ✭✭✭Sonics2k


    I've seen this happen, actually I've seen both real accusations and false accusations.

    In all cases they should be treated as serious as any other crime, however they should be able to prove it the same as any other crime.

    1 guy I knew who was charged and jailed for it got the typical defence from people, he was a nice guy, harmless and kind, would never hurt a fly. There was overwhelming evidence and he eventually admitted guilt.

    Rape is imo the most heinous of crimes, and if proven guilty you should be jailed for a very very long time. However, if you make a false claim of rape, you should also be jailed for a period of time.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 14,521 ✭✭✭✭mansize


    Its is very very difficult to get a conviction in a rape case, i imagine the number of false convictions are extremely low.

    False rape allegations are disgusting and if proven to be entirely false, should be prosecuted.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 14,521 ✭✭✭✭mansize


    jeanjolie wrote: »
    False rape accusation is an unlikely though possibly frightening thing that can happen to a man. He can lose his job, lose friends, go on the sex offender list, and even if he's removed of it, vigilantes will probably attack him. I'm not aware of anyone in Ireland who has been accused but then again I don't have many male friends.

    Getting to the point, rape is a pretty difficult crime to prosecute due to the nature (the act is legal itself), however on the unfortunate flip side, your 'character' and 'reputation' is usually judged regardless of evidence.

    An example is n the US, a high number of false rape cases involved poor African American males due to their generally low socioeconomic status, high crime rates (for that racial group, not every black person). Even if they would never harm their children or girlfriend, the idea that 'If you've done this in the past, then you've probably done this or are capable of this' is very prevalent.

    So now using an Irish example, if you go back to you secondary school as a teenager and knew this weird quiet lad who was quite creepy and made some sexual jokes and inappropriate jokes on and off. A girl you know in your social circle befriends this guy, they hang out and have rough anal sex, she doesn't like it, falls out with this guy and then she spreads this rumor that she was sodomized by this guy. Would you believe her? This guy is very weird and she does share weird things that he has said to her, but denies rape.

    It's scary to think that a bunch of teen lads from my school would probably beat up the guy based of a lie like that, but then again he doesn't have a good reputation.

    Realistically, what would you do?

    But she was sodomised in your example???


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,767 ✭✭✭Ben Gadot


    It has always sounded like a living nightmare to me.

    I'm never quick to pick up the pitchfork anyway and certainly not quick to abandon someone. I mean if it was me that was falsely accused, I'd like to think that the people I count as friends and as my blood wouldn't rush to judgement of me.

    Anyway, as an aside I've no problem with one night stands but I think blokes could do with being a bit more sensible in that situation and steer clear of anyone that comes across as a mess. Just not worth the potential fall out.


  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Politics Moderators Posts: 14,463 Mod ✭✭✭✭johnnyskeleton


    A girl i know made an accusation of rape against a guy once. The case was dropped as a friend of hers said it never happened. The awful thing was that the story followed him. Even those who didn't believe he raped her would tell others about it and there were a few "no smoke without fire" comments. Lad is married now, lovely family but it definitely left a cloud over him.
    Sonics2k wrote: »
    1 guy I knew who was charged and jailed for it got the typical defence from people, he was a nice guy, harmless and kind, would never hurt a fly. There was overwhelming evidence and he eventually admitted guilt.

    Pretty messed up world we live in, if people believing guilt on the part of people who have been acquitted while at the same time insinuating innocence on the part of those found guilty. Its as if peoples instinct is to assume that the jury got it wrong.

    OP, the incidence of actual false claims is low. People are entitled to challenge the allegations against them in court and have the benefit of the doubt and the presumption of innocence. So while it is far from perfect, our criminal justice system isnt bad, as flawed systems of human justice go.


  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Politics Moderators Posts: 14,463 Mod ✭✭✭✭johnnyskeleton


    Had it happen to a former friend. Fortunately, he was abroad at the time the purported assault occurred and the accuser had mental health issues so it didn't go far and he emerged largely unscathed.

    Holey moley!


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 552 ✭✭✭Commotion Ocean


    Sonics2k wrote: »
    I've seen this happen, actually I've seen both real accusations and false accusations.

    In all cases they should be treated as serious as any other crime, however they should be able to prove it the same as any other crime.

    1 guy I knew who was charged and jailed for it got the typical defence from people, he was a nice guy, harmless and kind, would never hurt a fly. There was overwhelming evidence and he eventually admitted guilt.

    Rape is imo the most heinous of crimes, and if proven guilty you should be jailed for a very very long time. However, if you make a false claim of rape, you should also be jailed for a period of time.

    Jailed for the same amount of time and never believed again if she makes a complaint IMO with the "womans" name announced on the news who made false allegations so potential employers and future partners can avoid it.

    A man should never have his name published until he is actually found guilty. I find it abhorrent the way media publish names of men who are only on trial.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,216 ✭✭✭sharper


    dfeo wrote: »
    Jailed for the same amount of time and never believed again if she makes a complaint IMO with the "womans" name announced on the news who made false allegations so potential employers and future partners can avoid it.

    I think this is one of these things that sounds nice when you're imagining nefarious people getting their just desserts but it's the same type of thinking that attempts to demolish due process for those accused of sexual assault as well.

    Yes there are people that make false accusations but there are also people that were genuinely assaulted and never find justice. There are also people whose stories are inconsistent because something traumatic happened to them.

    Imagine if you were leaving for work one day and noticed someone suspicious hanging around your area. When you get home you find your front door broken and valuables stolen. When reporting all this to the police how do you feel about including the detail of the suspicious person knowing that it creates a possibility of you yourself facing the penalty for burglary if it should happen that events get turned around on you and now you're considered guilty of a false accusation?

    These types of things need to be considered relative to both the innocent and the guilty.
    A man should never have his name published until he is actually found guilty. I find it abhorrent the way media publish names of men who are only on trial.

    In general I think this would be good but there are also good reasons why it hasn't happened:

    -For the average person local gossip is what destroys their reputation so restricting the media doesn't help.
    -In an absence of information said gossip will fill the void, probably incorrectly so innocent people will be considered to be suspects when in reality they aren't.
    -We increasingly live in a world where everyone knows the details of cases that can't be reported on in the media.
    -It creates a class of a crime in which the police can arrest and detain you in secret.


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,906 ✭✭✭✭El_Duderino 09


    Much of the same would apply to someone being accused of committing a rape. My understanding of the subject is that most rapes are not violent and involve a lack of consent or a refusal instead of a victim being violently subdued while the aggressor performed the act. If I knew someone who'd had sex with someone who was too drunk to consent and they made a claim then I'd encourage him/her to contact a solicitor to try and mount a defence.

    It all depends on the nature of consent. People have never even thought about consent in my opinion. Can people even give consent if they're high on drink or other drugs? You wouldn't be allowed to do a lot of things while out of your mind on drugs because you can't really give consent. But for some reason people don't see a problem with assuming consent while they're both drunk! Crazy business. I'm not saying sex with a drunk person is always rape, but there gas to be a category where's person isn't capable to consent. Can they have consented if they're out of their mind?

    To say it's a blurry line would be an understatement.

    As for Who you would believe if someone made an accusation, Who the fcuk knows what went on? Making a snap decision and sticking to it is ridiculous.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,266 ✭✭✭source


    sharper wrote: »
    Imagine if you were leaving for work one day and noticed someone suspicious hanging around your area. When you get home you find your front door broken and valuables stolen. When reporting all this to the police how do you feel about including the detail of the suspicious person knowing that it creates a possibility of you yourself facing the penalty for burglary if it should happen that events get turned around on you and now you're considered guilty of a false accusation?

    There's a big difference between saying I was raped by Johnny murphy of 1 main street, and saying there was a dodgy looking character hanging around outside work when I was leaving.
    sharper wrote: »
    -It creates a class of a crime in which the police can arrest and detain you in secret.

    No it doesn't, it creates a situation where an accused is given the same anonymity rights as victims in rape cases. Something which I think is very necessary given what a false accusation or incorrect identification can do to a male accused of rape.
    It all depends on the nature of consent. People have never even thought about consent in my opinion. Can people even give consent if they're high on drink or other drugs? You wouldn't be allowed to do a lot of things while out of your mind on drugs because you can't really give consent. But for some reason people don't see a problem with assuming consent while they're both drunk! Crazy business. I'm not saying sex with a drunk person is always rape, but there gas to be a category where's person isn't capable to consent. Can they have consented if they're out of their mind?

    The one thing I would not like to see here, is a situation like in the US where when both parties are drunk, the male is guilty of rape as the woman was unable to consent. But yes consent needs to be clarified when alcohol or drugs are involved.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,767 ✭✭✭GingerLily


    source wrote: »
    The one thing I would not like to see here, is a situation like in the US where when both parties are drunk, the male is guilty of rape as the woman was unable to consent. But yes consent needs to be clarified when alcohol or drugs are involved.

    I think most sensible people agree that when two people are equally drunk and give their drunken form of consent, then morally no crime has taken place and the law should reflect that.

    It's possible the imbalance in the law is in the states is to prevent preditors knocking back a beer or two before dragging a drunk person home to take advantage of them. It doesn't make it right though that an innocent male can be guilty of rape because he's as drunk as his partner, but I believe it's worth looking at the issue from all angles.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,134 ✭✭✭Lux23


    Just because someone is not convicted or even officially charged it doesn't necessarily mean the accusation is false. People jump to this conclusion all too quickly. A criminal conviction requires a high burden of proof (beyond reasonable doubt) and so in the case of a rape where you have to weigh up the stories of two people, it is very hard for a prosecution to piece together a case. And prosecution services won't take cases unless they have a good chance of winning - certainly in Ireland and the UK.

    So if I heard a guy was accused by someone and the charges never got anywhere, knowing what I know about our legal system, I would always be wary of him. And really who could blame me?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,216 ✭✭✭sharper


    source wrote: »
    No it doesn't, it creates a situation where an accused is given the same anonymity rights as victims in rape cases. Something which I think is very necessary given what a false accusation or incorrect identification can do to a male accused of rape.

    The difference is the accused is the subject of state action. He can be arrested, detained and have other sanctions like his passport taken. The accuser is subject to none of these things.

    I'm not saying it shouldn't be available as an option but a class of crime in which people can be charged and detained in secret is one to have legitimate concern over.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,266 ✭✭✭source


    Lux23 wrote: »
    Just because someone is not convicted or even officially charged it doesn't necessarily mean the accusation is false. People jump to this conclusion all too quickly. A criminal conviction requires a high burden of proof (beyond reasonable doubt) and so in the case of a rape where you have to weigh up the stories of two people, it is very hard for a prosecution to piece together a case. And prosecution services won't take cases unless they have a good chance of winning - certainly in Ireland and the UK.

    So if I heard a guy was accused by someone and the charges never got anywhere, knowing what I know about our legal system, I would always be wary of him. And really who could blame me?

    Yes I could, just because someone is not convicted or even officially charged it doesn't necessarily mean the person is guilty with a lack of evidence.

    Our legal system is built on the presumption of innocence for an accused person, the current situation results in those accused of sexual offences tried by media before the evidence is ever heard.

    This trial by media results in a major attack on an innocent person's reputation. Often resulting, as highlighted by your post, in people treating them as though it has been proven they committed the offence, often with dire consequences for the accused.

    Remember they're innocent until proven guilty, not the other way around.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,266 ✭✭✭source


    sharper wrote: »
    source wrote: »
    No it doesn't, it creates a situation where an accused is given the same anonymity rights as victims in rape cases. Something which I think is very necessary given what a false accusation or incorrect identification can do to a male accused of rape.

    The difference is the accused is the subject of state action. He can be arrested, detained and have other sanctions like his passport taken. The accuser is subject to none of these things.

    I'm not saying it shouldn't be available as an option but a class of crime in which people can be charged and detained in secret is one to have legitimate concern over.

    So surely by that rationale the alleged victim in these cases should also not have their identity protected. Also why stop there, we're not talking about the exercise of justice in secrecy.

    I'm advocating the protection of the identity of the accused in sexual offences cases.

    The fallout on an innocent man for being falsely accused of a sexual offence, I do believe their identity should be protected.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,134 ✭✭✭Lux23


    That works both ways though. You could be just as easily condemning an innocent rape victim. Proceedings such as these should probably be held in camera to protect everyone and I would agree with you there. It really isn't in the public interest until there is a conviction.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,266 ✭✭✭source


    Lux23 wrote: »
    That works both ways though. You could be just as easily condemning an innocent rape victim. Proceedings such as these should probably be held in camera to protect everyone and I would agree with you there. It really isn't in the public interest until there is a conviction.

    I don't see how protecting the identity of the accused condemns the victim, if anything, given the fact that the majority of rape victims know their attacker, protecting the name of the accused gives greater protection to the victim.

    I wouldn't even say there is a need to hold the proceedings in camera, just an embargo on the reporting of the name of the accused, similar to what happens with victims.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,600 ✭✭✭Day Lewin


    There are many legally ticklish aspects to rape, as a crime, generically speaking.

    But one of the most awkward has to be this: often there are no witnesses and no evidence.

    In some cases, there may be witnesses - say, if someone saw the Accused dragging the Victim away by the scruff of the neck.
    There might be forensic, if the victim immediately goes to the police and can show signs of a struggle and of sexual intercourse.

    But very often, it was just two people, privately doing that deed. [Whatever deed it was]

    And then, afterwards - sometimes long afterwards --
    "He did!"
    "No, I didn't! You agreed."
    "No, well, Yes but I didn't want to..." etc etc etc

    And who's to know which of them is telling the truth? They can't BOTH be telling truth - one must be lying. But which?

    How is a judge or jury going to decide this, what will they use?
    The reputations of either? The stated intentions or common practice of either?

    I've known men who were falsely accused. Shocking.
    But I've also known women who were raped, and not believed. Awful.

    I don't think there's any easy way out, just be very sure you stay sober and that your partner agrees to everything you do.

    "I'd love to, darling: would you just sign this consent form, right here beside the X?"


    --- SO romantic! (NOT)


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,266 ✭✭✭source


    GingerLily wrote: »
    I think most sensible people agree that when two people are equally drunk and give their drunken form of consent, then morally no crime has taken place and the law should reflect that.

    It's possible the imbalance in the law is in the states is to prevent preditors knocking back a beer or two before dragging a drunk person home to take advantage of them. It doesn't make it right though that an innocent male can be guilty of rape because he's as drunk as his partner, but I believe it's worth looking at the issue from all angles.

    The problem is people aren't sensible, a person can be sensible, but you get the media involved and group think, then you wind up with a situation like in the US.

    You don't even have to look at the US, just look at the age of consent legislation here in Ireland, If an underage boy and girl of the same age have consensual sex, then the boy is deemed to be guilty of statutory rape.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,290 ✭✭✭orubiru


    Can people even give consent if they're high on drink or other drugs? You wouldn't be allowed to do a lot of things while out of your mind on drugs because you can't really give consent.

    I'm not sure how to properly consider this.

    Normally If a person cannot verbally give consent then there is no consent in my opinion. Of course there may be situations when a person cannot verbally give consent but does give consent in some other way. In general we could just focus on verbal consent for now.

    I do feel like if someone is drunk and/or on drugs and they give verbal consent then they have still consented. It seems like a bad situation if later on I could say "well I definitely said you could do those things but I was drunk at the time so I'll see you in court".

    If I arrived home blind drunk one night and decided to call up Babestation for an hour to chat to one of the women there then i seriously doubt I'd be able to contact them the next day and get my money back because "I was too drunk to consent".

    You could apply the same logic to shopping on Amazon while out of your mind on drugs. They would be unlikely to give you your refund because you couldn't consent due to drug usage. Right?

    Now, obviously rape is a far more serious issue than random drunken spending on the internet but at least some of the logic must apply.

    If it ever becomes possible that a man can ask a woman if she wants to have sex and she says "yes I would definitely like to have sex right now with you" and this man can be convicted of a sex crime because that woman was drunk when she said those words then I think we have taken our society to a bad place.

    I'm not saying that we are at that point. I'm not sure if we could even get to that point. How do you enforce those rules? If a young lady has had a few glasses of wine and then the guy from Uni that she really fancies shows up at the bar? She can't do anything because it's illegal?

    What if she tells this guy that she hasn't been drinking and they have sex and then a third party reports them to the police? Would we encourage third parties to report instances of intoxicated sex in the same way that we might encourage people to report drunk drivers etc?

    It would seem logical to me that if it becomes easier to abuse a legal system without proportionate consequences then the number of incidences of abuse of that system would increase.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,134 ✭✭✭Lux23


    We need a legal definition of consent. At the moment an honest belief of consent would be a good defence for an accused, even if the belief is unreasonable, i.e. like that case where the man raped his mother.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,029 ✭✭✭um7y1h83ge06nx


    You know we might not be all that far away from some formal consent system being created. Sounds mad but the world is getting a little crazier by the day.

    Consent could be captured via app either by a signature or a voice recording. Of course the snag is whether either person is so intoxicated that they cannot consent even if they say so.

    One night stands are extremely risky for lads, completely open to being ruined.

    I remember a one night stand once where she was the one to suggest we leave the pub and head back to my place, she was very definite and eager. When we did things escalated quickly and the deed was done. Dropped her home the next day and all was good. A mutual friend though noticed we had left together the night before and started to say it to all the lads, saying we must have had sex, couldn't shut his mouth.

    She started saying then that she couldn't remember what happened the night before as she was too drunk. I believe she was saying that to protect her from being accused of being "easy" etc. (I don't believe in that way of thinking, casual sex is fine in my eyes, but many are different). Granted we both had a few drinks but neither of us were drunk, a little tipsy at most.

    I got a bit of a shock and it really opened my eyes as to how things could escalate. Nothing more was said after the lads shut up, but it easily could have gotten out of hand.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,847 ✭✭✭py2006


    God that is scary. And I am sure that is how things escalate in certain circumstances.

    Could we see the death of the one night stand for heterosexual men??


  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    For me it is a no-brainer personally because one of the few axioms I hold passionately to at the root of most of my thinking on many issues - not just legal ones but moral ones too - is that of "Innocent until proven guilty".

    But it being a no-brainer does not mean it sits easily with me and I realise that some crimes - even some pretty awful ones like rape - are hard to prove and prosecute. So while I hold dear to my axiom - it is obviously an axiom that negatively impacts some victims of crimes much more heavily than others.

    I wish it were not so - I wish it were otherwise. But as awful as the reality of it is - is it awful enough to throw the axiom out of the window entirely? And replace it with what? Anything else I can think of is just worse.

    What is worse is that it does not take much imagination to come up with a thought experiment to test just how dedicated to that axiom one might be. One could say all day long that they hold true to "Innocent until proven guilty" but what if someone very near and very dear to you said "X raped me and I have no evidence of it". It is a moral and emotional minefield how one can proceed in that situation in a way that in some ways acts like you believe the accusation and in other ways that you do not.

    Not one aspect of rape before during or after is anything but a complete horror is it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,027 ✭✭✭H3llR4iser


    You know we might not be all that far away from some formal consent system being created. Sounds mad but the world is getting a little crazier by the day.

    ...

    Consent could be captured via app either by a signature or a voice recording. Of course the snag is whether either person is so intoxicated that they cannot consent even if they say so.

    The problem would stand, no matter what kind of "consent system" you put in place; There will always be an argument for "I signed the form but only because I felt compelled/forced/was drunk/feared for my safety, I really didn't want to"; Sure enough a system in place would give the accused individual a solid base of proof and defense on a legal standpoint, most likely get them acquitted of accusations but as we've seen, even in this very thread, it is often not enough - once the accusation is out, a lot of people automatically think "guilty as charged", even in the face of evidence - that person will be someone who "got away with it".
    She started saying then that she couldn't remember what happened the night before as she was too drunk. I believe she was saying that to protect her from being accused of being "easy" etc. (I don't believe in that way of thinking, casual sex is fine in my eyes, but many are different). Granted we both had a few drinks but neither of us were drunk, a little tipsy at most.

    I got a bit of a shock and it really opened my eyes as to how things could escalate. Nothing more was said after the lads shut up, but it easily could have gotten out of hand.

    You've been very lucky that, although it was a bit reckless of her to state she was "too drunk" publicly, she seems to have managed the situation well; In such circumstances, the odds of there being that one girlfriend starting to circulate accusations is extremely high.

    Also, your "common friend" is a disph1t through and through.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,857 ✭✭✭professore


    py2006 wrote: »
    God that is scary. And I am sure that is how things escalate in certain circumstances.

    Could we see the death of the one night stand for heterosexual men??

    This doesn't just apply to one night stands.


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