These Viral Tweets About 'Lochtegate' Slam a Double Standard in Criminal Investigations

August 18th 2016

Danielle DeCourcey

Gold-medal-winning Olympian Ryan Lochte told a story about a robbery in Rio that spread across the world's media. However, Brazilian authorities are now claiming that that Lochte lied, and women on Twitter are pointing out a sexist double standard.

The U.S. swimmer told NBC's Billy Bush earlier this week that he and several other U.S. swimmers were pulled over and robbed at gun point by men dressed like policemen.

"Then the guy pulled out his gun, he cocked it, put it to my forehead and he said 'get down' and I was like, I put my hands up, I was like 'whatever,'" Lochte said in the interview.

However, inconsistencies in Lochte's and the other swimmers' stories have led Brazilian authorities to believe that the story was fabricated to hide alleged vandalism at a gas station, according to the New York Times. The full details are still unclear.

Generally, the American media didn't question Lochte's initial story, and two viral tweets point out a sexist double standard.

Wendy Brandes' tweet about Ryan Lochte.

Caitlyn Kelly's tweet about Ryan Lochte.

The satirical tweets ask if Americans will believe future male robbery victims' stories in light of Lochte's alleged false report — a play on common questions targeted at female victims of violence. Society heavily scrutinizes female victims, particularly sexual assault survivors, and oftentimes there is reluctance to believe their stories.

Women who report rape often find their character and sexual history questioned.

In the Justice Department's scathing report on the Baltimore Police Department that was released last week, police officers and prosecutors used sexist language to describe sexual assault survivors even labeling one a "conniving little whore."

"I am not excited about charging it," an unnamed official wrote in an email to an officer according to the Chicago Tribune. "This victim seems like a conniving little whore." The officer agreed, according to the Tribune. The report also showed that some officers blamed sexual assault survivors for the attack.

"In their interviews with women reporting sexual assault, BPD officers ask women questions such as 'Why are you messing up that guy's life?'" investigators wrote, according to the Chicago Tribune.

When a false allegation is revealed people hold onto that as evidence of a wide spread problem of false rape allegations. When a rape accusation in an 2014 Rolling Stone story turned out to be false, many people seized on it as proof that false rape accusations run rampant and unchecked.

However, false rape allegations are rare.

Only 334 rape cases out of 1,000 are actually reported to the police, and women are telling the truth in the vast majority of those cases. Only about 2 to 10 percent of reported rape accusations are found to be false, according to a 2010 analysis by University of Massachusetts, Boston and Northeastern University researchers.

Out of 1,000 rapes that happen in the U.S., only 13 of them will actually reach a prosecutors desk and only 6 out of 1,000 will result in the attacker going to prison, according to the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network. About 90 percent of adult rape victims are females, and more than 17 million American women have been raped since 1998.

"The Vast Majority of Perpetrators Will Not Go to Jail or Prison"

RELATED: The Disturbing Type of Sexual Assault We Rarely Hear About