False Rape Claims Undermine True Victims


Two recent stories of false rape accusations across the pond show that, while the overwhelming majority of rape claims are true, there are women who falsely cry rape in order to fulfill some personal need or gain an advantage over the accused.

Last week in London, rape charges were dismissed against nine men, aged 21 to 30, who were accused of repeatedly raping a 14-year-old girl over the course of six months. However, shortly before the trial was set to begin, prosecutors discovered a series of archived tweets from the girl's former Twitter account which they say "render this a case where there is no realistic prospect of conviction.” Several of the falsely accused men had been held in custody since their arrests six months ago.

In an earlier case in Wales, 32-year-old Leanne Black was jailed after admitting she fabricated a rape claim against her boyfriend following a domestic dispute. Shockingly, this was Black's fifth false rape claim in eight years, all against boyfriends with whom she had been fighting or with whom her relationship had recently ended. Claims included being raped, being drugged and raped, and being kidnapped and sexually assaulted. In the most recent case, her boyfriend called police to report a domestic violence incident in which Black threw plates at him. However, when police arrived, she changed the story, saying that her boyfriend had raped her. Although each man she falsely accused would have faced five years in prison, Black was sentenced to only two years in jail for her false reports. The judge told her that her accusations undermined the "the whole system and police investigations." 

When people make false accusations, it makes it more difficult for true victims to come forward out of fear that they will not be believed. It causes enormous turmoil for the wrongfully accused, and it makes investigation more challenging for police.

Statistics vary widely on how often false rape allegations occur. Victims' rights groups provide statistics saying as few as 2 percent of all rape claims are false, but a report by Eugene G. Kanin of Purdue University estimates that nearly half of all rape claims are fabricated.

The truth likely lies somewhere between the two figures. According to a 2006 Fox News report by Wendy McElroy, there is nothing to substantiate the "2 percent" statistic first cited in the 1975 book Against Our Will by Susan Brownmiller. Likewise, the report says, Kanin's statistic comes from such a small and narrow sampling of that it is statistically irrelevant. However, the McElroy's report points to FBI statistics that have remained relatively unchanged since 1989 showing that approximately 20 percent of accused rapists are exonerated by DNA evidence. An additional 20 percent are "included" as potential suspects but not conclusively identified as the rapist. Because this statistic has remained unchanged for decades, it seems to be the most accurate statistic of false rape claims.

If you or someone you love has been accused of rape, competent and skillful legal counsel is imperative. Police must necessarily investigate all claims and treat each accusation with due care. However, a false rape claim can destroy the life of the accused. Click here to find an attorney equipped to handle your defense.

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