You might be watching this and thinking, what is this song about? Why is it making Helen so angry? It's catchy and musically interesting and the video has some cool dancing! All of this is true and it makes me sad that I have to hate Plan B for it. Let's get the lyrics up for closer inspection.
...sorry about that. But I think it was necessary - you have to watch the video and hear or read all the lyrics to figure out what is actually going on. If you let it wash over you, you'll probably miss what the song is about. It's about a woman who falsely accuses him of rape. If you don't believe me, watch it again.
Where am I getting this from? Okay. The lyrics make it obvious that he has been falsely accused of a crime by a woman other than his girlfriend. The video together with the lyrics make it obvious that he slept with her and then rejected her, causing her to make this false accusation against him. I ask you: what other crime is there that she might accuse him of in this situation? I've tried to think of one.
Now comes the tricky part: explaining why this makes me incandescently angry. The immediate objection that is bound to be raised is: 'but this happens! Sometimes women do accuse men of rape, [insert case here as read about in tabloid of choice], why are you angry about Plan B rapping about it? Do you want to pretend it never happens?'
No. I am aware that there are occasions on which women have made the appalling and horrifying decision to falsely accuse someone of rape. It is of course an utterly detestable and unjustifiable thing to do, but it happens. Now, when this terrible thing happens, what do the tabloid media do? They sensationalise it, of course! They put it up in a big flashy headline to let everyone know: this is what women are like! Careful what do you (or who you do), boys, because they're out to get you! This has a threefold effect:
1) It puts the idea in people's heads that an accusation of rape is just as likely to be false as it is to be true.
2) Consequently, it makes it even harder for genuine rape victims to report their case and convict their attacker (more on this later).
3) It makes women aware that if you want to ruin a man's life, here is a way you can do it.
In other words, it makes everything worse for everyone.
So, back to Plan B. Is he sensationalising it? Actually, it'd be very difficult to argue that he is. The crime he is accused of is never directly referred to, and it doesn't seem to have been widely discussed (a Google search for "Plan B" + "She Said" + rape only turned up a few reviews stating that his music deals with subjects such as rape). So, given that he's being fairly subtle about it, why am I so angry?
Not being a Plan B fan, I had to do a little research into the album from whence this song came. It turns out the album tells a story about a singer who is imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit (this one, I guess) and his whole life is ruined. So, to clarify: he's the victim of a false accusation of rape, he is imprisoned for it and it ruins his life. Guys! This is exactly what the tabloids were trying to warn you about! False accusations of rape ruin lives!
You know what else ruins lives? Actual rape. And it's a hell of a bigger problem in our society than fake rape cases. Research suggests 1 in 4 women will be the victim of rape or attempted rape. Only a small proportion of actual rapes are reported. Only a small proportion of reported rapists are charged. And only a small proportion of charged rapists are convicted. The BBC news website gives me a conviction rate of 6.5%*. Everyone (who knows anything about the reality of the situation) knows that the justice system is not a friend of the rape victim. So why is Plan B presenting us with a story in which an innocent man ends up among that 6.5%? How unlikely does that seem? What motivation does he have for concocting such an unlikely story which also supports the negative effects on both women and men that the tabloids create?
I wouldn't like to speculate. I can only assume his reason was that it was an edgy, controversial subject. And that's just not a good enough justification for bolstering our society's tendency to disbelieve a rape victim.
Plan B, allow me to adapt your lyrics: you don't know what the reality about rape in the UK is. You wouldn't do this if you did. Oh no no no no.
[Thanks to Rosie, resident Plan B fan, for confirming my suspicion about the song.]
* to see a clearer breakdown of the increasingly small percentage, click here: http://www.cer.truthaboutrape.co.uk/3.html