Understanding False Rape Allegations

Unlike what some proponents of the #MeToo movement might have you believe, false rape allegations do happen in real life.

The problems with thoughtless slogans like "believe all women" are pretty self-explanatory. A very brief Google search will show you that people do make false rape allegations. More specifically, look no further than the Duke Lacrosse case that ruined the lives of several innocent men over a malicious lie.

There can be no denying that it's human nature to tell lies. The gravity of such dishonesty doesn't stop before accusations of sexual assault. Acting like such deception is an impossibility is outright naïve.

Even though public perception and Twitter might try to convince you otherwise, victims of false rape accusations still benefit from due process.

Before getting into the main points of this article, I’ll make one last point:

Forming the best defense against these false allegations necessitates your understanding of their nature.

A Condition That's Unique to Women?

Statistically, false rape allegations are disproportionately made by women, as made clear in a research paper called "False Rape Allegations." (See Eugene J. Kanin. False rape allegations. Archives of Sexual Behavior Feb 1994 v23 n1 p.81(12).)

Initially, it was believed to be attributed to "the masochistic nature of women," highlighted by a fantasized desire to be raped. This was something regularly referred to by legal scholars in the earlier 20th century and led to rape complainants being subject to psychiatric evaluations.

In theory, these fantasies would manifest themselves into false memories. It was believed that this condition, known as pseudologia phantastica, led to the false allegations being made.

There was pushback from feminist groups who – as pointed out in the introduction – have gone so far as to claim that false rape allegations don't exist.

However, there are more recent findings shedding more light on the issue. This information, provided by police and medical examiners, supports the fact that not all complainants are telling the truth, alhough the reasons for lying about these allegations do go beyond the archaic explanation.

The Three Major Functions of Rape Allegations

Let’s first look at the results of a study cited in the research paper mentioned above. Over nine years, rape allegations were examined in a Mid-Western US town with a population of 70,000.

Over this time, 109 rape cases were disposed of, of which 45 were deemed to be false – making up 45% of the initial number. Now, these numbers aren't based on a police hypothesis. They stem from the women in question admitting their accusation was a fabrication.

Why Would This Happen, Though?

How could someone tell a lie that would destroy an innocent person's life?

According to the data, those who made false claims presented three main motives or functions to their act:

  • Providing an alibi
  • Seeking revenge
  • Obtaining sympathy or attention

Many detractors of this research claim that such motivations don’t exist, but data and the facts tell a different story.

Counterarguments to Consider

There is the elephant in the room regarding women admitting to false claims of rape. The research does bring up that these recantations might be a survival mechanism in and of themselves. For instance, this might concern avoiding another assault. Some women may wish to forego the trauma of a police investigation and the prying questions that come with it.

Some false recantations do happen for those reasons. However, the idea that each retraction of an allegation isn't truthful would be highly unlikely, and something nobody could possibly prove.

Furthermore, the article points out that the police had little reason to believe the recantations were false. Generally, the lying was proven through the strength of a rigorous police investigation.

Perhaps most people aren't going to make false allegations about such a thing, but the fact that it’s a possibility means diligence in preventing an innocent person from being found guilty is critical.

The Magnitude of False Rape Allegations

Society has its perceptions about people who've been accused of rape. You could prove your innocence 10,000 times over and still have your reputation tarnished and be perceived as someone who's done something wrong.

Still, you didn't do anything wrong.

There is plenty of motivation to make false claims, all of which your legal team should examine in tremendous depth. Since you're innocent, after performing some much-needed due diligence, the truth will eventually come out, and you'll be in the free and clear.