False rape claims - what are the real statistics?

I tried using SD-search, because I’m sure we discussed this before, but it hates me.:mad:

Using actual, factual studies and statistics, what are the rates of false reporting?

Rape Statistics at Wikipedia has some coverage of false reports.

It would be impossible to know, surely?

A false claim could end in at least five ways:

Someone reporting that they have been raped to a police officer, and later refusing to press charges.

Someone reporting that they have been raped to a police officer, and the police being unable to obtain sufficient evidence to prosecute.

Someone reporting that they have been raped to a police officer, and the prosecutor being unable to obtain a conviction.

Someone reporting that they have been raped to a police officer, and the accused protesting their innocence even after sentencing.

Someone reporting that they have been raped to a police officer, and the accused admitting guilt and contrition to secure a lenient sentence/early release.

In any of these cases the number of false positives could be anywhere between 1% and 99%. No one is likely to admit that they made a false accusation of rape, and many people who have been falsely accused might well plead guilty/profess guilt after sentencing for the reasons given above.

Without the ability to read minds it seems impossible to obtain accurate figures on false accusations of rape.

There are many more possible ways a false rape claim could go down. For example, someone could claim rape without reporting it to the authorities at all; they may do this to publically embarrass the alleged perpetrator without seeking to actually have him serve prison time. Also, someone could claim rape to the authorities, and then at any step in the ensuing process admit to fabricating the story. It’s this latest case for which it’s probably easiest to obtain reliable statistics.

Hence “A false claim could end in at least five ways”

In which case it doesn’t really have any relevance to a thread about “the rates of false reporting”.

But as I pointed out, no one is likely to admit that they made a false accusation of rape. So while we could get reliable statistics on the number of people who did confess, we can also assume that this is a perishingly small percentage of false accusations. Even if most people who make false accusations later repent, it would seem more likely that they would do so by failing to co-operate with the prosecution, rather than by admitting to committing a serious a crime.

Don’t known. I remember watching a doumentary about a police unit specialized in sex crimes, and in the part about false accustaion, the police officer seemed to say that many authors of false accusation admitted to having lied during the early steps of the enquiry. In the two video taped examples shown, one accusator recanted when it became obvious that what she was describing wasn’t physically possible, and another when she realized that the boyfriend she was accusing was facing a long jail sentence rather than some annoyance by the police (she wanted revenge because he hadn’t loaned her some minute amount of money he had promised or something similar).

During the Duke lacrosse case it was reported that Durham NC was one of a good number of jurisdictions in which no evidence beyond the accuser’s word was required to prosecute and convict - the only serious crime of which this is true.

Anectodal, but the source is certainly qualified to have an opinion:

A friend, who is an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn, New York, tells me that approximately half the rape accusations she deals with turn out to be false.

Of course, her experience may not be typical. I don’t know what the selection process is for funelling cases to ADAs, and she may get a disproportionate amount of questionable accusations.

Still, how many cases have there been where the alleged actions weren’t impossible, and where the “victim” was vindictive enough to want her boyfriend to go to jail?

50% sounds high, but maybe not by much. Rape is an easy crime to fake, especially if the “perp” is your boyfriend, so you conveniently already have the DNA evidence.

Rape is so highly charged that police and the state/crown/ prosecutor tend to err on the side of moving ahead.

So where other claims would not even be investigated as they are ridiculous, rape claims will, where other claims are dismissed after investigation, rape is sent to the prosecutor, where in other claims the prosecutor will decide not to go ahead, rape cases will go to trial, where in other cases, the case would be dismissed at the conclusion of prosecution evidence, the rape case goes ahead.

All this results in s waste of money, time and effort, and a ridiculously low rape conviction rate.

Look iof you want a high cnviction rate, convict the guy by means of an Act of Attainder. Otherwise, let us do our job.

Probably a lot more today than in years go by. Older children are well aware of their ability to claim abuse and be believed today. Teen and older women are well aware that they can make serious trouble for the guy by claiming rape. The social stigma is also not what it used to be for the victim. Generally, that’s a good thing.

I know some friends whose kids said stuff along the lines of “spank me and I’ll tell the school counsellor you’re abusing me.” His response was - “go ahead. They’ll put you in some foster home where you don’t get vacations or birthday gifts, and they only reason they look after you at all is because they get paid. ANd once you do, you can’t change your mind.”

Another family, the daughter - 15, IIRC - did not want to leave town and her friends when the family was moving so she accused her older brother of molesting her. SHe later recanted, but the social workers would not just drop the matter and let her move back home. Never did hear how long that took to resolve.

Used to be decades ago,even if the victim was roughed up and in tears, it was difficult to prosecute without physical evidence (I.e. semen) and one psychologist I remember reading said with many assaults, the perp would not necessarily reach orgasm. Of course, it used to be the charge was rape, and part of the trial minutae would deal with whether penetration occurred. Now many jurisdictions have sexual assault as the charge, and so the actual details are irrelevant as long as sexual parts are involved.

Also, all the education about “your body, your rights” and don’t be afraid to report it - have given women with vindictive inclinations a channel to “get even” with the guy. The Duke case, for example - the suggestion there was that the girl was making the story up because she was afraid her boyfriend would find she had been cheating on him, another common motivation… “I didn’t want to, he forced me…” Women’s lib types would like you to believe that women don’t lie about this, just as child advocates and the prosecutor against Michael Jackson would like us to believe children never lie.

But yes - in a he-said-she-said situation, only 2 people know what really happened. When she knows the cops will automatically charge based on her story, then there’s motivation. People say a lot of things in the heat of anger that they regret later.

And don’t forget, actual rape still happens and should not be trivialized.

While reading the link, a thought came to me. Actual rapes are under-reported. And fake rapes are over reported… Naturally, the statistics will seem skewed compared to false reports of other crimes.

Many don’t report a rape for fear of being stimatized, (etc. The Wiki said as many as 75%-95% are not reported,) but no one would decide to be the “victim” of a “fake rape” and not tell someone. Once you’ve decided to get revenge by pretending to be a victim, the whole point is to say something, (or whatever other motive there might be; getting sympathy, for one.)

People falsely report all kinds of crimes for all sorts of reasons. But it seems that rape would be an easy crime to accuse someone of. So false accusations of rape are likely to be a high percentage of false accusations.

So, it seems probable that false accusations of rape are a much higher percentage of reports than would be normal for false accusations of other crimes. I was both surprized and not really surprized that it might be as high as 50% as both Saintly Loser and the wikipedia link suggested.

There was an article in Slate a couple of months ago discussing this issue.

The article goes on to explain the problems with some studies that suggested much higher rates of false accusation, such as small sample size and faulty methodology. For instance, one study involved only 34 rape accusations, and accusations were judged to be false for flimsy reasons such as the victim not being badly injured or not seeming as upset as the police thought she ought to be.

Another complicating factor is that actual rape victims have sometimes been pressured into making false recantations by either the police or peers. There was a high-profile local case when I was living in Wisconsin in the late '90s involving a rape victim who was bullied/tricked into (briefly) recanting by the police. It’s a complicated story and I won’t try to summarize it here, but you can find more information on the website for the book written about this case, Cry Rape: The True Story of One Woman’s Harrowing Quest for Justice by Bill Lueders.

This is a good point. Now that I’ve thought better of it, 50% does seem awfully high. But I still think that rape is probably one of the most common falsely-reported crimes.

You could do a study as long as you defined your terms specifically and had the full cooperation of the victims. But as others have pointed out, this won’t happen. So you can’t be sure of the reliability of it.

Alleged victims.

And if by “full cooperation” you mean they will magically admit that they have falsified the complain as soon as you ask.

nods It DOES seem like there’s a minority of women who are so fucking vindictive that they would make up that story for revenge. That in turn fucks things up for those who have really been raped. Yes…the percentage of sociopathic rapes is overall low…but still…

Statistics in general are pretty slippery, and this one seems like it has the potential to be even more slippery than most.

For one thing, what’s a false report? I’ve heard of girls going along with the rapist so that they would only be raped and not killed, and then feeling guilty because to the rapist it probably looked exactly like consent. I’ve heard of girls getting too drunk and regretting. I know of one case where it was rape by any standards I’ve ever heard of but the guy was acquitted. Which one of those counts as false?

I’ve also heard that rape is underreported, by some huge amount. The people who compile these statistics, how do they know? Do they sneak around eavesdropping for people talking about how they didn’t report it?

You don’t get to claim that the sex you had last night was rape just because you regret it.

A buddy of mine has been a sheriff’s deputy for a long time. He’s not a good 'ol boy; he’s a moderate/liberal. And he says most of the rape cases he deals with ultimately turn out to be false allegations.