Occidental College’s administration received approximately 400 false reports of rape incidents in 36 hours, the work of “men’s rights” activists who sought to hit back at the college’s online rape reporting form.
Reddit and 4chan comments on both sites’ “Men’s Rights” pages spurred initiative. There, critics of Occidental’s reporting system pointed out that the form allowed the victim to remain anonymous while the accused would immediately be called into office on a rape charge with or without evidence.
The commenters accused “feminists” of setting up the system before inundating Occidental’s rape report forms with hundreds of false incidents. Many of the Internet trolls were not affiliated in any way with the liberal arts college.
“Some of the reports we received, which named such respondents as ‘Occidental College,’ ‘feminists’ and ‘Fatty McFatFat,’ were clearly not made in good faith,” wrote Lauren Carella, Occidental’s interim Title IX coordinator. “This form is an important option for the Oxy community to use to address the serious issue of sexual assault.”
The anonymous online form was created after Occidental admitted in October that the college had been underreporting the number of sexual assault crimes on campus. The college’s administration intended to raise awareness of such incidents by using the form to track sexual assaults and provide victims with another option to step forward.
But after the “men’s rights” trolls flooded the system with false claims, Occidental is now looking to design a more secure and effective reporting mechanism.