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False Rape Allegations Are Rare

September 9, 2010

Any regular readers here are likely to already know this. The reputable, methodologically sound reviews put the frequency of false reports in the single-digit percentages. There are people who, for propaganda reasons, keep saying that the incidence of false reports is much higher. They create these figures with biased reviews or intellectually dishonest mislabeling. In an effort to add more sunlight to kill those germs, I’m going to give you tomorrow’s headlines today. A new study is set for publication this December in the journal Violence Against Women, based on a review of every single rape allegation made to a US university police department — the study does not disclose which school — over a ten year period. The result: 5.9 percent false allegations.

The lead author is David Lisak, a psychology professor at the University of Massachusetts who specializes in interpersonal violence. He is one of the few psychologists to study rapes committed by assailants who are not institutionalized, and I have written about his work many times before. See here, here, here, paper online here, and a summary here.

Lisak’s methodology was simplicity itself. Four researchers paired up into two teams. Each team went through the entire universe of rape reports, having access to the whole file. They used four categories:

False Report: After a thorough investigation, evidence showed that the assault had not occurred.
Case Did Not Proceed: Whether because of insufficient evidence, inability to identify the perpetrator, the survivor withdrew from the process or the survivor’s account did not meet the definition of a sexual assault.
Case Proceeded: Either formal or unformal disciplinary measures were taken.
Insufficient Information: The file lacked basic information necessary to categorize it.

After the two teams independently reviewed all the files, the compared coding to see if they all agreed on the coding. There were no disagreements on the false report cases and only seven overall.

One important part of the paper is the definition they used for false reports. They didn’t make it up. They applied the guidelines issued by that notorious bastion of feminist indoctrination The International Association Of Chiefs of Police:

The determination that a report of sexual assault is false can be made only if the
evidence establishes that no crime was committed or attempted. This
determination can be made only after a thorough investigation. This should
not be confused with an investigation that fails to prove a sexual assault occurred.
In that case the investigation would be labeled unsubstantiated. The
determination that a report is false must be supported by evidence that the
assault did not happen.

Applying the IACP guidelines, of 136 cases reported to the university in ten years, eight, or 5.9%, were false reports.  (44% resulted in no disciplinary action.  35.3% resulted in the case proceeding, and the file in about 14% was too insufficient to code.)  It is perhaps important to note that the coders agreed with the university police about the eight false report cases:  There were only eight files that the university had deemed false reports, each coding team indepently agreed with those determinations, and neither coding team found a file that should have been deemed a false report but was not.  So essentially over a ten year universe of cases three independent groups of people reached precisely the same conclusions about which reports were false, and it was less than six percent.

In three of those eight, the complaining witness admitted fabrication during the investigation.  A fourth involved a partial admission of fabrication with supporting evidence of fabrication.  In three cases, careful investigation revealed that the complainants’ story was likely untrue even though the complainant stuck to the story.  The last of the eight Lisak’s paper describes this way:  “The complainant recanted her report but the facts yielded by the investigation suggested that her initial report was as much a mislabeling of the incident as a deliberate effort to fabricate.” So in the one instance that could be called ambiguous, each team of coders independently decided to make the judgment call in the direction that would produce the higher number of false allegations; one could apparently argue that the number should be seven and not eight.

Lisak’s paper included a literature review that explains a great deal about how people who want to artifically inflate the number of false reports do so.  They simply sweep in other categories!  If “false report” is a catch-all category that included not only actual false reports but cases that the police decide not to prosecute because the victim will not be a good witness, or does not want to press charges, or cases that are true but where they can’t find the assailant, or cases where the conduct the survivor describes doesn’t make out the elements of the offense … well, a single-digit percentage can quickly swell to eye-popping and propaganda-friendly numbers.  That kind of thinking would lead a researcher to code this as a false allegation, because the cop didn’t want to take a rape report from a women who had been drinking, even though the subsequent evidence in the civil case, including sworn deposition testimony, make it pretty clear that it did happen. Or, a researcher could say that this case was a false report because the jury acquitted, though the rapist admitted it happened and the jury of assholes decided that sex workers are outside the reach of legal protection.

This kind of sweeping-in is easy to do when the researcher does not have access to or does not look at the underlying facts.  If a police department only prosecutes half the rape complaints, and a researcher is of a mind to deem as many cases false as possible, he can simply call the other half false.  That’s not methodologically sound or even intellectually defensible, but it’s a easy way to produce a big number.  Which, in turn, gives people excuses to act like skeptics and inquisitors to women who report allegations of sexual assault.  Which it turn causes more women to decline to report.

False reports sometimes happen.  False reports are a single-digit percentage of the total reports, which is already a massive undercount of all sexual assaults because the majority of rape survivors decline to report.  The incidence of false reporting is simply not high enough to justify the propaganda put forth by the pro-rape lobby.

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121 Comments leave one →
  1. marissa permalink
    September 9, 2010 10:07 pm

    I <3 Lisak
    :)

  2. Sam permalink
    September 10, 2010 1:50 am

    Thomas,

    there is an important conceptual difference between a *proven* false report – as per the quote you mention – and a false report that cannot be proven false. Those numbers don’t tell us how many reports were false reports, they tell us how many of the false reports were proven to be false, something which is – given the often private nature of the alleged crime – inherently difficult. So, just as it not rarely difficult to prove a rape has occured if one has actually occured, it is equally, if not more difficult to prove that no rape has occured, since the account of the alleged victim is not rarely the most important evidence available.

    To cut this short, the number of of proven false reports doesn’t tell us a lot about the actual number of false rape reports, just as the number of rape convictions doesn’t tell us a lot about the actual amount of rapes happening… we can only speculate about the actual numbers.

    Even so, 6% proven false positives seems to be a lot. How does this compare to other crimes?

    • September 10, 2010 3:14 am

      Sam, I think that single-digit percentages is in line with other serious crimes. Also, when you say “proven,” bear in mind the difference in standards. In criminal cases, for example, the burden is “beyond a reasonable doubt,” and in civil cases usually “preponderance of the evidence.” I would say that the IACP guidelines used are something less than that, even “some evidence, after reasonable investigation”, which is more like the current pleading standard in federal court than a standard of proof. Also, since the purpose of each false allegations is to make the allegation itself, and to see it though, I would say that the number of allegations where there is evidence of falsehood tells us a bit more than you suggest.

      • Jack permalink
        October 20, 2010 4:31 am

        Thomas MacAulay Millar

        “Sam, I think that single-digit percentages is in line with other serious crimes.”

        You THINK? Meaning you did not actually bother to check before writing an article that false rape allegations are rare?

        In any case you are WRONG. The average for all crimes is is only 2%. This makes rape the most falsely reported violent crime by a factor of 2.5 to 4 according to FBI crime index.

        http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/Cius_97/95CRIME/95crime2.pdf

        http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/Cius_97/97crime/97crime2.pdf

        “The “unfounded” rate, or percentage of complaints DETERMINED THROUGH INVESTIGATION TO BE FALSE (my emphasis), is higher for forcible rape than for any other Index crime. In 1997, 8 percent of forcible rape complaints were “unfounded,” while the average for all Index crimes was 2 percent.”

      • Jack permalink
        October 20, 2010 4:51 am

        One correction, in both of the reports I pasted the false rate for rape accusations is 8%, or 4 times greater than the average, not 5% as I first thought.

        And even if we take the number from your study as correct, 5.9% of PROVEN false reports is still nearly 3 times more than the average, so it really makes me wonder to what statistics did you compare this to to conclude that false rape accusations are rare.

      • ginmar permalink
        October 20, 2010 10:18 am

        Yeah, Jack, because this study might prove something about these cases, but in general, sexism has nothing to do with cops, prosecutors, or guys like you on the internet who really really want to believe that women are lying about rape in huge numbers.

    • September 10, 2010 5:03 pm

      I understand that the percentage of false rape reports is in line with other crimes, Sam, though I don’t have time to Google anything that backs that up.

    • September 11, 2010 9:29 am

      This comment only makes sense if you make the misogynist assumption that women are, as a group, prone to lying and should be considered guilty until proven innocent.

      • Sam permalink
        September 11, 2010 4:03 pm

        Amanda,

        I don’t understand your reasoning. Even assuming that only women report rapes there’s a lot of other variables besides gender that could account for differences, including especially the private nature of the alleged or real crime. There is nothing in the argument that suggests women are inherently more prone to lying than men – maybe men would lie more if there was a similarly difficult to prove crime that men could accuse women of (oh, and btw, they do seem to lie when they are given the opportunity to behave opportunistically in other cultures… think adultery charges in some Islamic contexts – so, yeah, it sucks that humans aren’t always as good as we’d like them to be, but that’s a charge that cuts both ways).

    • ginmar permalink
      October 5, 2010 4:05 pm

      Oh, for fuck’s sake already. You’re comparing false rape reports to….actual rapes? What an unbelievably slimy thing to do.

      I can’t imagine why MRAs have problems with women. “Sure, baby, you got sexually assaulted, raped, blamed, and called a liar but….none of that happened to me!”

      If men are so bloody concerned about false rape reports, here’s what they can do to end them: end the double standard. Every false rape report is due to sexism, and specifically the sexism that labels women whores or sluts, and to a lesser extent due to all the other smaller, more general sexist slurs: liar, hysteric, nuts, flighty, emotional, crazy, etc, etc.,

  3. Michael permalink
    September 10, 2010 8:58 am

    Your misspelling of “propaganda” shouldn’t affect your argument – but it does. False reports of rape shouldn’t affect the way actual rapes are prosecuted – but they do.

    False reports of murder don’t affect the way actual murders are prosecuted. What makes it different? Our sex-negative society. Being murdered doesn’t hold the same stigma for the victim as being raped does (or wouldn’t, because the victim of a murder isn’t around to see the aftereffects).

  4. Jeff permalink
    September 10, 2010 10:07 am

    “…the survivor’s account did not meet the definition of a sexual assault.”

    It’s unclear why this is not categorized along with false accusations. Is it because these accounts were not fully investigated and thus failed to meet the IACP’s standard for false accusation?

    • September 10, 2010 11:17 am

      No, it’s because “false accusation,” for the purposes that the discussion serves in the wider culture, means “the accuser made it up.” And in fact, the case of a truthful account that does not meet a particular definition of wrongdoing isn’t “false” in any meaningful sense. Rather, it’s simply mislabeled, or in legal parlance, “fails to state a claim on which relief can be granted.” If such a situation presents a problem at all, it is one of statutory or disciplinary rule reform — for example, spousal rape. But it does not present a situation of any interest to the discussion of “false reports.”

      • Jeff permalink
        September 10, 2010 12:22 pm

        I’m still unclear what you mean– if a truthful account doesn’t meet a particular definition of wrongdoing, doesn’t that render the accusation false? Take for example, a woman who has been severely battered; she accurately identifies her assailant and states that she was assaulted, battered, and raped. Certainly this is a mostly truthful account while simultaneously being a false accusation of rape.

        “Rather, it’s simply mislabeled, or in legal parlance, ‘fails to state a claim on which relief can be granted.'”

        That’s precisely the source of my confusion– who has mislabeled it? The police department, which filed these instances under rape allegations, or the researchers? Is it a true allegation of rape that somehow falls outside of the legal definition of rape?

      • September 10, 2010 2:09 pm

        No. You’re not confused. You’re being obtuse. A false allegation is one that is made up; where the events in the description of the victim did not occur. That’s what we are all talking about and that’s what is important for purposes of the large cultural narrative about whether women tell the truth when they describe experiences of sexual assault. If a woman says, “I was raped by my husband,” but the state statute makes it impossible to prosecute a husband for raping his wife, that’s not a false allegation. It’s just not.

        You’re simply arguing for any definition that will increase the number in the “false” bucket, which antifeminist assholes will then use to argue that many or even most women who allege rape are making it up.

      • September 11, 2010 9:33 am

        Question: of the 6% of allegations that are false, how many were actual *accusations*? Misogynist propagandists argue that women finger actual men out of spite, and this accounts for many to most rape accusations. It seems 99% of rapists claim this is what happened to them, and rapist-supporters are eager to believe. But when you actually look at cases of false allegations, most of the liars are actually trying to keep real people out of it. They ascribe the rape that didn’t happen to strangers in bushes, and often only cough up details if they feel they have to in order to be believed.

        The myth that MRAs propagate is that when a woman says “X raped me,” she is usually lying. But in reality, lies about rape are often, “Some guy I don’t know and can’t recall raped me.”

      • Holly permalink
        September 11, 2010 3:18 pm

        Thomas, I think you’re being a bit unfair on Jeff. I think he is genuinely confused and it doesn’t help our feminist cause to be rude to people who don’t understand straight away.

        Jeff, from what I understand (and I admit that, as a Brit, I do not know the details of US rape law, so I could be wrong) the kind of situations that could come under “survivors account does not meet the definition of rape” might be a situation where violent sexual assault has occurred, but no penetration. The woman feels violated and understandably considers herself to have been raped. She reports it as rape, but when she gives details of what happened it turns out that no penetration occurred and it is therefore not legally defined as rape.

        The woman has not made anything up, she just did not understand that the precise legal definition of rape specifically includes penetration, and what felt like rape was not legally defined as rape. She did not make a false accusation, she simply mislabelled the crime.

      • David C. permalink
        September 12, 2010 12:09 pm

        @AM: Yeah, I like that question. Out of all rapes reported with a specific perpetrator named, what proportion are false?

        It seems plausible to me too that a disproportionate amount of the false reports are ‘stranger in the bushes’ stories. Not only for the reason you name (trying to keep real people out of it), but because that’s the story you’re ‘supposed’ to tell.

    • ginmar permalink
      October 5, 2010 4:07 pm

      It didn’t meet the definition of sexual assault because often times sexual assault is still defined according to what men think is important, not what women do. Ergo, that means there’s still stuff that guys can do to a woman against her will and not come afoul of the law in doing so. Partay! Example: upskirt videos. Imagine a woman having the sheer temerity to think she can have some privacy under her clothes.

      I’m sorry, Thomas, I must resort to sarcasm after seeing actualrape being compared to an accusation.

  5. September 10, 2010 5:01 pm

    Calling it the “pro-rape lobby” is a bit much, but this is still a great post.

    • CDG permalink
      September 11, 2010 2:31 am

      It’s provocative, sure. But after lurking through many, many, many a thread (not just here) anytime the topic comes up, and seeing the same types pop up with the same arguments, I can understand why Thomas shorthands it like that. The level of investment some men have in the rape status quo is astonishing.

    • September 11, 2010 9:33 am

      I’m not sure there’s a meaningful distinction between those who are for rape and those who just advocate that rapists don’t face justice.

      • Sam permalink
        September 11, 2010 4:25 pm

        Amanda,

        would you check this post/comment-thread in which Thomas wonders why so many guys are using defensive coverage in this discourse –

        http://yesmeansyesblog.wordpress.com/2010/03/24/talking-past-each-other/#comment-2348

        and states –

        “It would seem to me that the revelation that even the alcohol-fueled acquaintance rape is the work of the deliberate premeditated serial rapist would set most men’s minds at ease.”

        But statistics are not usually good at helping people deal with fear. They can help with risk assessment, but fear is a different ballgame. So when you say that men who are afraid of being wrongly accused are all rape apologists because their risk assessment is faulty, you’re not helping them to get over their fear. As I said in the other thread, if you want these men to stop hedging verbally, you have to take their fears seriously, and – to the extent that you can, as an influential feminist – help your own cause by helping them get over their fear – for example by having a positive discourse about male sexuality occasionally. I mean, look at this blog – it’s called *yes means yes* and pretty much all posts about masculinity are posts about problems of masculinity. That’s not yes means yes, and that’s one, certainly not the only one, explanation of why you apparently fail to see any meaningful difference between rape apologists and guys who are verbally hedging because their afraid of being wrongly accused.

  6. Stephanie permalink
    September 14, 2010 10:41 am

    I really admire David Lisak. I’m definitely going to read the study in December!

    Also, loving Sam’s little, “It’s your fault men won’t help work to end rape because you hold us responsible for perpetuating rape culture,” bit. I haven’t heard THAT one before.

  7. September 17, 2010 11:48 am

    “False reports are a single-digit percentage of the total reports, which is already a massive undercount of all sexual assaults because the majority of rape survivors decline to report.”

    That is not what the results state. The report states that 5.9% of the allegations reported to the authorities were determined to be false. That does not mean that only 5.9% of the allegations reported to the authorities are actually false. It is entirely possible and likely that false reports could not be proven false and were therefore labeled unsubstantiated, that there was not enough to work with for the case to proceed, or that false reports were convincing enough to move on with the investigation and perhaps resulted in the case going before a court.

    In short, the same logic that applies to the reporting of rape would also apply to false accusations. The reported rate is not necessarily the actual rate with which a crime occurs.

    Of course, I am curious as to whether your assertion is that of the thousands of sexual assaults against women reported to the police each year (I am certain none of the cases counted included male victims) that it is somehow acceptable for hundreds of innocent men to be imprisoned for crimes that never occurred just because the rate of accusations determined to be false is only 5.9%. I can understand that as a feminist you may not consider this issue important. However, I do not understand the use of loaded terms like “propaganda,” especially since many of those concerned about sexual violence against women resort to the same kind of “propagandist” tactics.

    • ginmar permalink
      October 5, 2010 4:41 pm

      Yeah, toysoldier, it only makes sense if you not-s0-secretly fear that women are lying whores who just LOVEZ to put men away for rapes they didn’t commit, what with rape accusations being so spiffy and fun!

      You’re basically demanding that every accusation of rape be regarded as false until it meets your standard. Because Lysek and others did not assume that all the women they were dealing with were lying whores, you don’t trust this study.

  8. September 17, 2010 1:19 pm

    Toy Soldier, where are the hundreds of which you speak? The only large numbers of exonerations of convicted rapists I’m aware of are stranger assaults, where the crime happened and the identification was wrong, and therefore the wrong man was convicted. If you’re aware of some other large number of wrongful convictions, I’d like to hear what you’re talking about.

    Or are you just speculating?

    • September 17, 2010 2:57 pm

      “Toy Soldier, where are the hundreds of which you speak?”

      A certain number of sexual assaults against women are reported per year. If the study is accurate, then 5.9% of those reports are false. For instance, 90,000 incidences of sexual assault against women were filed in 2008. That would mean that 5.9% of those reports — 5,310 reports — were false. That in turn means 5,310 innocent men were questioned, arrested, jailed, or tried for crimes never occurred.

      “The only large numbers of exonerations of convicted rapists I’m aware of are stranger assaults, where the crime happened and the identification was wrong, and therefore the wrong man was convicted.”

      It would be difficult to prove no rape occurred if a person has no physical evidence supporting that. Likewise, it would be difficult to prove a no rape occurred if a person contended the sex was consensual. So it is likely that there are innocent men imprisoned for crimes that never occurred, yet they possess no means of proving their innocence.

      “Or are you just speculating?”

      No, I am suggesting that the police are not infallible, so they will make mistakes, especially under political pressure, which may in turn result in innocent men paying the price. Do you disagree?

      • September 17, 2010 4:09 pm

        The 5.9% were demonstrably false. They produced no disciplinary action. Many of those that were not demonstrably false also produced no disciplinary action, because of insufficient evidence. Of the universe of reports that identify a specific person, against whom some sort of disciplinary consequences are assessed, what percent are false? I don’t care what you guess; what can you demonstrate?

  9. September 17, 2010 7:53 pm

    Thomas, you are moving the goalposts. The issue is not disciplinary action taken by a university, but what police do while investigating accusations. I also cannot give you information about what was covered in a study I have not read it. Likewise, I do not care what you guess; I care what you can demonstrate.

    Your post does not demonstrates that false rape accusations are rare. It does demonstrate is that of the cases reported to a university’s police department only 5.9% were determined false. Unless study explains why it is impossible for some of the cases from the other categories to also be false, the 5.9% rate should not be used as the definitive rate of all false rape accusations.

    On a side note, while I understand the appeal of doing so, perhaps it is best not to call advocates for the falsely accused the “pro-rape lobby.” You can disagree with someone without assuming the absolute worst of them.

    • September 18, 2010 6:13 am

      Toy Soldier, you said, “it is likely that there are innocent men imprisoned for crimes that never occurred, ”

      That’s your goalpost. But you can’t demonstrate that any of the false allegations were sufficiently substantive fakes to ever result in conviction.

      • September 18, 2010 10:46 am

        Thomas, it is demonstrably false that no false allegations ever resulted in conviction, and it is not moving the goalposts to note that innocent men are likely imprisoned for rapes that never occurred. Unless one assumes the police catch every false accusation, some false cases will proceed, possibly to trial.

        I ask not that you care about false accusations, only that you set aside the politics and stop using the 5.9% statistic for support rather than illumination. The reports from one police department do not represent all reports from all police departments, so using the 5.9% statistic as the rate of all false accusations  makes as much sense as using a low rate of rape in one jail as the rate of all prison rape. Just because one place’s low statistic fits your political position does not make it representative. Likewise, unless the study explains how none of the cases from the other categories could possibly be false, it remains possible and probable that some of those cases are. That does not mean that one should count unsubstantiated cases as false, only that one should acknowledge that some of the cases are likely false, making the 5.9% misleading.

      • September 18, 2010 11:02 am

        Now you’re moving the goalposts. I said “and of the false allegations”, meaning in the Lisak study. In the Lisak study, there were 8 demonstrably false cases. Of the remainder of the data set, how many were false and resulted in disciplinary action?

        It has happened in the history of the world that a false allegation put a man in prison for rape. But you made an empirical claim that hundreds of men are in jail for rapes that never occurred. What’s your support for that?

    • ginmar permalink
      October 5, 2010 4:37 pm

      It is a pro-rape lobby. Sucks to be called out for what it is, but the men arguing that women are lying whores who love to put men in jail in huge numbers for pure spite are nothing less. They’re obsessed with the notion that men are being put in jail in huge numbers. The reality is obviously otherwise. Men lie and people believe them. Women tell the truth and get called liars.

      I think it’s funny that while the pro-rape men always whine that they’re just as concerned about other types of false crime reports, they never seem to worry about anything but false rape reports—and their alleged support is conspicuously absent from, say, discussions where women are routinely falsely accused of crimes against men.

      Nor do the rapist apologists like to address the sexism in police departments, which not frees rapists, but employs some rapists in the ranks. Yeah, sure, let’s get all wound up about the equivalent of being hit by a comet.

    • Delianth permalink
      November 14, 2010 3:33 pm

      You shittin’, man.

      You’re pro-cop, but you basically don’t want them to do the job that you want them here for. If investigation of potential charges isn’t a cop’s job, then what is? Intimidation of people walking down the street? You know, because I’m walking on the main road carrying a bag full of groceries – I must be up to no good. Save the men!

      Questioning and detainment are the minimum tasks police are there to do. At least they’re questioning and detaining you, or the next I-swear-I’m-not-a-rapist-she’s-just-a-whore-who-deserved-it MRA down the block, on ACTUAL charges, as opposed to, say… “You’re walking down the street at night and, MORE IMPORTANTLY, not being deferential enough to me.”

      Get a thicker fuckin’ skin, son.

    • ginmar permalink
      March 5, 2011 7:22 am

      Thomas, it’s entirely possible that that 5.9 percent are not demonstrably false. Several police departments have been disciplined for callously dumping rape complaints without investigation or by automatically defining them all as unfounded. That’s not to mention just how sexist some cops can be.

  10. September 18, 2010 12:22 pm

    Thomas, I explained before that I have not read the study and do not have access to it as it has not been published, so how can I answer questions about something from a study I have not read?

    More so, I never stated that any of the cases from the study resulted in imprisonment. I stated that it is probable that innocent men are imprisoned for crimes that never occurred. While there is no study illustrating the exact number, it is police procedure to question and sometimes hold suspects of crimes in jail while conducting an investigation. So even if only a small number of men accused of rape are arrested and only 5.9% of those men are falsely accused, there would still be hundreds of innocent men imprisoned for a crime that never occurred, no?

    I am only applying the 5.9% statistic to the existing numbers about arrest and reporting rates and drawing the logical conclusion one would draw based on that and other available information, so I am unsure why regard this logic as unsound. Are you suggesting that I should not apply the 5.9% number to other information?

    • Chris Whitman permalink
      September 24, 2010 3:41 am

      Reading this gave me a headache.

      In the report, the 5.9% of reports verified as false reports did not result in prosecution. In your description, you assume (without evidence) that some significant percentage of false reports result in not only prosecution, but conviction and imprisonment.

      In reality, we have little evidence on what the intersection of those falsely accused is with those imprisoned. I’m sure people are falsely convicted of rape, but there’s no reason to assume the rate at which this happens differs from people falsely convicted for other crimes. And that’s the point, right there. People have no need to give impassioned speeches about all those falsely imprisoned for breaking and entering (I mean, specifically).

      This just isn’t that difficult.

  11. December 29, 2010 11:08 am

    Why does the percentage matter? If the number of accusations of rape that are false was 50%, would that make a false accusation of sexual violence by one human on another any more wrong? If the number of accusations of rape that are false was .001% would that make a false accusation of sexual violence by one human on another any less wrong.

    Do you accept this kind of argument about low percentages in other debates? If an anti-gay-marriage advocate said “only 10% of people in this country are gay, so why does it matter if they cannot marry”, would you say “oh, well good point”? I would hope that you would not, because we should end the foul treatment of people who happen to be homosexual regardless of the percentage of people in this country who are gay.

    And I am not going to say that there are problems amongst the false rape advocates who seek to shine a light on the problem of false rape. Many come of as misogynists, and I bet some actually are.

    Just like there are women who wrongly state that every male is a potential rapist. There are men out there who make it seem like every woman who claims that she was raped was lying.

    We need to do a better job as a society of protecting actual victims of rape and empowering them to do what is needed after a rape takes place (including but not limited to a post rape examination, a police report, and potentially therapy). But we also need to do a better job of protecting victims of false accusations of rape and making sure that giving false accusations that could potentially ruin the life of the falsely accused results in much harsher penalties.

    And I will point out that it is VERY important to understand that there is a difference between a false accusation of rape and an accusation of rape that is not proven to be true.

    In a perfect world, no woman would ever lie about being raped. Of course, in a perfect world no woman would ever be raped either. And seeking to end those false accusations does not make one part of a “pro-rape” lobby. It makes one part of the “anti-crime” lobby because making a false police report is a crime and people who do so should absolutely be punished for it.

    • January 21, 2014 11:11 am

      If even only one person died in the Holocaust, it would still be one too many.

      If even only one person in all of history was raped, it would still be one rape too many.

      If even only one person in all of human history was ever falsely accused of a crime, it would still be one false accusation too many.

      • January 21, 2014 1:04 pm

        Quote: . “If even only one person died in the Holocaust, it would still be one too many.

        If even only one person in all of history was raped, it would still be one rape too many.

        If even only one person in all of human history was ever falsely accused of a crime, it would still be one false accusation too many.”

        Jesus, get off the cross.

        Here you see the MRA mindset in action. The Holocaust, in which eleven million people were murdered? Actual rapes, in which women are actually physically violated? Bad! What a prince for acknowledging that!

        But here’s the kicker. False rape accusations? Just as bad as the violation of womens’ bodies and the systematic murder of millions. I bet if he stubs his toe it’s a human rights violation.

        Notice how guys like this never get wound up about the way WOMEN get falsely accused all the time—-of making false accusations.

      • January 21, 2014 8:38 pm

        My point was the the relative (in)frequency of an evil act does not justify nor excuse the evil.

        Over three thousand years of legal, ethical, and moral traditions proclaim that murder is evil, rape is evil, false accusations of evil. That an evil act is infrequent is no defense, excuse, or justification for committing it.

        One thing ab\out false rape accusations is that they harm our criminal justice ststem, which is supposed to protect all of us.

      • January 21, 2014 9:00 pm

        Give me a fuckin’ break, you apologist. You compared mass murder to something sexist that dudes like you use to bash women. You’re not fooling anybody.

      • January 22, 2014 9:52 am

        Who here is bashing women?

  12. ginmar permalink
    December 29, 2010 1:08 pm

    Oh, gee, Daniel, do you get this worked up about other crimes?

  13. December 29, 2010 2:14 pm

    Worked up about? Or passionate about?

    Am I passionate about fighting crimes other than rape and the filing of a false police report alleging a rape that did not occur? SURE!

    I get worked up over the crime of our nation failing to follow the constitution and treating citizens who happen to be homosexual like second class citizens. I am very passionate about that.

    I am very passionate about the fraud and abuse that has taken place in the health insurance industry where large insurers eliminated coverage for phone reasons, basically committing theft at the cost of someones health (or even life). This is why I was passionate about the passage of healthcare reform and why I will continue to fight to make the reform even better.

    I am passionate about the fraud that takes place every day in the credit card industry and how they had use bait and switch tactics to rip people off. Some of those went away with the recent credit card reform act but other tactics remain.

    I am very passionate about the criminal negligence that caused the BP oil disaster that cost people lives and their livelihoods.

    You are free to read my blog if you want to see more issues that I am passionate about. But those things have nothing to do with the topic of this thread. So I am unsure why you would ask me about my passion for other topics when the topic of discussion here is rape and false accusations of rape.

  14. ginmar permalink
    December 29, 2010 2:18 pm

    You’re a rapist apologist. Comparing a false rape charge to the BP oil spill and all that other shit? Get over yourself and your fears of being justly accused. It’s embarrassingly transparent.

  15. December 29, 2010 2:26 pm

    Where did I compare the false accusation of rape to the BP oil spill? You asked if I was passionate about other subjects. I gave you a short list. I did not make any comparisons between the two.

    I doubt you actually took the time to read or comprehend the words that I wrote. Instead, you are just resorting to name calling. Anyone who actually bothered to read the entirety of what I wrote could not, logically, call me a rapist apologist. Did you miss this part? “We need to do a better job as a society of protecting actual victims of rape and empowering them to do what is needed after a rape takes place (including but not limited to a post rape examination, a police report, and potentially therapy).”

    Our society is still doing a TERRIBLE job of empowering victims of rape/sexual assault/etc to get medical exams after being raped, get prophylactic medications to prevent potential HIV infection as well as taking plan B to make sure the rapist did not impregnate her, filing police reports, getting any therapy that might be needed after an assault, etc. We MUST do better at this.

    But if you think a guy who believes in the former paragraph is a “rapist apologist”, then I have no idea what planet you are living on but it is not Earth.

    • ginmar permalink
      March 5, 2011 7:32 am

      I have to come back to this idiotic defense by pointing out that Daniel doesn’t understand why including ‘false rape accusations’ with treating gay people as second class citizens and the BP oil spill heavily implies that he ranks these things as equal in importance and severity. And that he thinks being accused of sexual violence is a huge crime. Rape itself? False rape accusations, he toys with saying, are far MORE serious.

      Here’s the money quote: “Am I passionate about fighting crimes other than rape and the filing of a false police report alleging a rape that did not occur? SURE!”

      So you’re saying that rape and false accusations are things that are equal enough in your mind that you can call them both crimes, as if there’s no difference. Rapist apologist.

      And you know what, dude? When you link, without qualification, rape and a non-violent, non sexually invasive, non life threatening rape accusation in the same sentence what you whine you’re not doing doesn’t meant shit because everybody who tries to get away with this shit always whines about how they ‘didn’t mean to.’ You are. YOu did. And your constant performance as someone who’s equally ‘passionate’ about rape and false rape accusations is a really obvious dodge.

      • March 5, 2011 2:36 pm

        Ok, one more bit of food for the troll, then I am really done. (Because I personally just cannot stand people posting such false statements about me)

        “I have to come back to this idiotic defense by pointing out that Daniel doesn’t understand why including ‘false rape accusations’ with treating gay people as second class citizens and the BP oil spill heavily implies that he ranks these things as equal in importance and severity.”

        Again, you fail to understand English. The reason I listed those other things is because YOU ASKED about other issues that I am passionate about. Your trollish behavior took the answer to that question and then falsely asserted that I believe those things are comparable to rape.

        ” And that he thinks being accused of sexual violence is a huge crime. Rape itself? False rape accusations, he toys with saying, are far MORE serious.”

        LIAR. Never have I said this and I have repeated, multiple times, that rape is more serious.

        “Here’s the money quote: “Am I passionate about fighting crimes other than rape and the filing of a false police report alleging a rape that did not occur? SURE!”

        So you’re saying that rape and false accusations are things that are equal enough in your mind that you can call them both crimes, as if there’s no difference.”

        If I was you, I would go back and sue every English teacher you had. Because obviously they have failed you. False accusations of rape is a crime. Rape is a crime. Stealing a candy bar is a crime. Stealing a billion dollars is a crime. Murder is a crime. Driving while drunk is a crime. Following your ridiculously flawed logic you just displayed, you are saying that because I can call all of those things crime that there is no difference between the two. That stealing a candy bar is equivalent to stealing a billion dollars and driving drunk. Do you see how ridiculous you are? Everyone else should!

        And just i case I have to spell it out for you, NO I do not believe that the CRIME of filing a false accusation of rape to the police department is anywhere near the equivalent to the crime of being raped.

        “And you know what, dude? When you link, without qualification , rape and a non-violent, non sexually invasive, non life threatening rape accusation in the same sentence what you whine you’re not doing doesn’t meant shit because everybody who tries to get away with this shit always whines about how they ‘didn’t mean to.’”

        Without qualification?!??!?! How many times on this thread have I clearly stated how much worse rape is than the false accusation of rape?

        And I will remind you, again, that this is a discussion about false accusations of rape.

        And your constant performance as someone who’s equally ‘passionate’ about rape and false rape accusations is a really obvious dodge.””

        Your constant misrepresentations of my arguments and ignoring of my words just goes to show how horrible of a debater and of a person you really are. You have no integrity, and now I am really done with you.

  16. December 29, 2010 2:36 pm

    Could somebody please explain to me how taking the stance of wishing false accusers of rape to be punished as the criminals they are under the law makes one a rapist apologist?

    Rape is horrible and rapists should rot in jail. Hell, people who take the time to know me would know that I am even open to the idea of opening up the death penalty for rapists. My wife was almost raped and fortunately she was able to overpower the guy who tried to rape her and got away. Many are not so fortunate and our society needs to do a much better job supporting them when they need it.

    So do not think for a SECOND that I am in any way a supporter of rapists in any way, shape or form.

    And instead of name calling, why not just debate the issue and explain the problems you have with what I have suggested (as I cannot seem to fathom why any person would want false accusers of rape to not be punished).

    • PrettyAmiable permalink
      December 29, 2010 3:42 pm

      You’re ignoring that false rape accusations are in line with false-other-shitty-crimes accusations. False rape accusations are the only ones that frequently strike fear into the heart of apparently innocent men. Do you frequently post and defend your honor on websites that discuss false-theft accusations? No? There’s sexism in that.

      When I don’t have to fear getting sexually assaulted again while my assaulters walk-free, I’ll give a shit about poor white dudes whose lives continue on despite the rarest of false rape accusations.

      • December 29, 2010 4:25 pm

        Actually, I would contend that false rape accusations are much different than other false accusations of crimes. Why? Because the crime of rape is that much more traumatic than most other crimes. To be accused of doing something as horrid, as terrible, as evil as committing an act of sexual violence against another human and knowing that the punishment you might get all based on the just the word of someone else IS much more traumatic than being accused of stealing a car when you never stole a car or from robbing a bank when you never robbed a bank. In order to be convicted of crimes of theft, there needs to be evidence. When the evidence of rape is only the accusers word, and the accuser is lying, that is what makes it much much different. Of course, I have never been accused of stealing a car or of robbing a bank.

        If I told you that I was, as a teenager, falsely accused of sexually assaulting someone, would you still contend that I am sexist? If I told you that to this day, whenever cases of false accusations of rape come up that all those memories of the fear I felt come rushing back to me (even though it was over 15 years ago) would you perhaps understand that I am also a victim and that the absolute terror that I had to deal with over her false accusations impacted my life in a much more significant way than many people realize?

        And I will freely admit that I was lucky. The claims made by my false accuser did not hold water. No charges were filed. No press was contacted. No stories ran through the newscasts and papers. I never spent 1 day in jail. I was never arrested. STILL, the fear I felt was unbearable. And the impact on my life that one lie had is immeasurable. I cannot imagine how those young men at Hofstra made it through their ordeal.

        This is not about the fear that one might be falsely accused one day. This is about the reality that people HAVE been falsely accused and they should never have to go through that trauma.

        And yes, I am 100% certain that the trauma victims of rape have gone through is MUCH worse than what I have dealt with in my life because of my false accuser. That does not make my trauma any less real.

        And as I have said, the problem with some of the people who try and shed light on false claims of rape is that they do often come off as misogynists and many of those are. They often diminish the claims of actual rape victims because “what if”. They blame the entirety of feminism for the bad actions of women who lie, and that is absolutely wrong of them to do. One does not act as a feminist when one makes a false claim, and they need to understand that just because one is a feminist it doesn’t mean that they hate men. It just means that they wish to see true equality in our society when it comes to how it treats people of different genders. I disagree with their tactics when it comes to shedding light on this issue.

        I don’t see why people who seek to support victims of crimes cannot both seek justice for victims of rape AND for victims of false accusations of rape.

      • marissa permalink
        December 29, 2010 5:10 pm

        @Daniel

        “I don’t see why people who seek to support victims of crimes cannot both seek justice for victims of rape AND for victims of false accusations of rape.”

        I think we can and at least from the perspective of a University and College instructor, I do.

        Though, personally I get a little miffed that there are WAY TOO MANY men claiming “false accusation” to be practical and I’m always left wondering if he’s claiming “false accusation” because HE, personally, doesn’t consider what he did to be “rape rape.”

      • May 27, 2011 7:30 pm

        Oh! Didn’t see that I got a reaction. To this: “To be accused of doing something as horrid, as terrible, as evil as committing an act of sexual violence against another human and knowing that the punishment you might get all based on the just the word of someone else IS much more traumatic than being accused of stealing a car when you never stole a car or from robbing a bank when you never robbed a bank. ” Hey, guess what? I don’t care what it’s like to be accused of doing something horrid and terrible and whatever. I’m more concerned with the legions of people who experience something horrid and terrible and whatever and aren’t believed because maybe you fell into that 5.9% – but more likely, you raped someone and are arguing semantics because you think you couldn’t do it. Fuck off. Being falsely accused has nothing on actually being raped.

      • May 29, 2011 8:34 pm

        I never said being falsely accused had anything on being raped. Why can’t some of the people responding to this thread understand that just because one is concerned about false accusations of rape that are made that they are not saying that being falsely accused of rape is anything like being raped itself?

        Do you think it is “ok” for someone to be falsely accused of rape? Or do you think it is no big deal?

  17. ginmar permalink
    December 29, 2010 5:16 pm

    Yeah, you’re passionate about….a subject that identifies guys who have an unreasonable fear and hatred of women. You reel off a long list of shit you’re passionate about, and refuse to recognize that you’re passionate about attacking women in a stereotypically sexist way, and claiming it’s all one of the same—BP oil spill, what have you cause of the day—-makes it look less sexist.

    Only a certain type of guy gets wound up about false rape accusations, dude. You’re trying to make it into this big huge injustice to men. It’s not. But it IS a great way to bell certain kinds of cats, so to speak.

  18. December 29, 2010 5:21 pm

    @marissa I appreciate that you do! And I am sure that many men who do have sex with a woman without her consent do not see anything wrong with what happened between him and her. I am sure most actual rapists will say that the woman accusing him of rape is lying.

    And a lot of people do not understand what constitutes rape. Our society should be doing a much better job of explaining that it is not just rape when the woman says no. It is rape when the woman does not consent to the rape. This includes situation where the woman is too drunk to legally consent…. even if she says yes in her altered state, it is still rape. (Though, I still have to question what happens if both are drunk…..)

    Our society fails rape victims in so many ways it is disgusting. In my opinion, one of the way we fail rape victims is by not punishing those people who falsely accuse others of rape.

    • Alex permalink
      February 6, 2011 1:51 am

      Daniel, I want to five you the benefit of the doubt here. I agree that whether accusations are 50% false or 0.001%, false accusations shouldn’t happen at all. But my concern is this: nearly every time (and I do mean nearly *every* time) a discussion about rape is held, you have at least one person crying “But what about false accusations?!?” I, for example, will discuss with people how we need to understand that “no means no” simply isn’t enough and someone will suddenly go off about presumed guilt. What the hell did I say about presumed guilt?!? This fear is bred into men that they will be falsely accused of rape which is highly unlikely to happen given that most false accusations don’t even accuse any specific person.

      In my personal experience every single woman close to me with the possible exception of one (because it’s never come up in conversation, but I suspect she has as well) has been sexually assaulted at least once, including myself (if I count everything happened to me as a baby as one, and everything my stepfather did to me when I was seven as one, then I’m up to five now). And nearly every single woman I’ve ever met has been sexually-harassed, including myself, and I couldn’t count that number if I tried. Several men I’ve known have also been sexually-assaulted or harassed, but not nearly as many. However, I don’t know and haven’t known a single man who has been falsely accused of sexual assault or sexual harassment. I’ve known two who claimed to have been falsely accused, and I know firsthand that they were both lying because my little sister was accused by her assailant of lying, but I know she wasn’t because he often sexually harassed me, and the second accused me of lying only to sexually assault another woman. This is, again, however, personal experience.

      I would say that any crime that involves an accusation is one where only the accuser and accused really know what happened. That being the case, yes, the accused deserves to be protected by law under the “innocent until proven guilty” presumption. Likewise, however, the accuser deserves to be protected under the same presumption when it comes to false accusations. If lying about a crime is a crime, then they, too, are innocent until proven guilty. But I do believe a sense of proportion is needed.

      The highest number I have ever seen of false accusations of rape is 40% and that was on (surprise, surprise) an MRA site and substantiated by absolutely nothing. But let’s pretend for a second that that number is true. We would also have to assume that 100% of the false accusations result in convictions. That would still mean that 60% of rape accusations are true, therefore still 20% higher than false accusations, and that of course would only be reported rapes, and a further 60% of rapes are never reported to police, so even if 100% of true accusations ended in convictions, at least 60% of all rapes never would. And this of course is dependent on the definition of rape being used. For example, if defining whether a sexual activity is rape or not does not use the yes means yes model or even always follow the no means no model, then there would be a lot rapes that were actually rapes but weren’t considered rapes. Now apply all of that to the FBI’s number of 25% false accusations, which at least includes false identifications. Bring that number down to 5.9% or 3% as in other studies, and surely you can see why the fear of being falsely accused is disproportionate to how many false accusations there actually are.

      Is it not more important to deal with the more prevalent and more severe of two crimes? It’s not that the lesser shouldn’t be dealt with at all, but for it to be constantly brought up in every discussion of rape is way out of proportion.

      Furthermore, most people concerned with false accusations seem to be deadset against improving the laws against rape because “it will increase the number of false reports, which is already rampant!” To which a lot of us feel obligated to say “Why are we spending so much damned time on false reports when rape is still such a huge problem and far more prevalent?” And given even the bogus statistics from the MRA, the latter would seem to hold much more weight.

      Now all of this seems to assume that the two can’t be dealt with at the same time. Many women who falsely accuse do so because they don’t want to be shamed for having had consensual sex. Many women who accuse tell society what they want to hear (she was beaten up by a guy in a parking lot late at night, she screamed, etc.). This essentially means that destroying all the rape myths and accepting that consensual sex is neither dirty nor sinful gives women who would falsely accuse much less of a reason to lie, thus less false accusations.

      I hope I can give you some peace of mind here.

      • February 7, 2011 12:14 pm

        Alex: I also have the same issues with those who claim to be “MRA” who feel the need to bring up false accusations of rape at every turn. I would even say that most people who are in the MRA movement are either misogynists or do not realize that their behavior comes of as misogynistic. Conversations about “no means no” and “yes means yes” have nothing to do with false accusations. They have to do with the fact that human beings have the right to make decisions about how their bodies will be used. This is why I usually restrict my comments on false accusations of rape to the topics specifically dealing with false allegations (such as this one) or to conversations where that topic has already been brought up and it is why I am going to be sharing my own blog about the issue of false accusations of crimes shortly. (It is actually up but I havn’t shared the link with anyone else yet).

        I agree with you that while we should treat people as innocent until proven guilty that we should also be supportive of those who claim that they have been a victim of sexual violence. I, for example, would like to see the same anonymity that is given to the accuser given to the accused as well. I reject the notion that embracing the presumption of innocence means that you have to treat the woman as if she is lying. I believe we can embrace the presumption of innocence while supporting the accuser. It seems as if you also agree with that statement.

        And I also agree that the proportion of attention given to combating rape should be much more than the attention given to combating false accusations of rape. But time for the latter should be given.

        I know I am not the first person to say it but that 40% figure is B.S. Even if it is true in the one area where the research is done, all that would prove is that the sample population was not accurate for the country as a whole. I am more than willing to accept the numbers that put the percent of false accusations in single digits. But as I said (and you also seem to agree) that when false accusations do happen, they are wrong and it is wrong regardless of how many (or how few) people they happen to.

        And I guess I am one of the “few” who believe that only good can come from improving laws around rape and that people who are concerned with any amount of false accusations should also embrace anything the law does to help legitimate victims come forward and seek justice. It is likely that there are more people like me out there, but unfortunately some of the more vociferous on the issue of false accusations tend to grab most of the attention and they tend to be horrible people. I hope that as a supporter of improvement of laws to both help women who have been raped and to help those who have been falsely accused, that I (along with others like me) can change the perception a bit.

  19. ginmar permalink
    December 29, 2010 5:26 pm

    Yeah…no. It’s not false accusations that are the problem. It’s the people that are so pantingly eager to make a federal case out of them that’s the problem. I’m sure you’re out there beating the bushes and sounding the alarm over false burglary accusations, too, aren’t you, Daniel?

    People want to believe that women lie. Even when women tell the truth, they get called liars. A fair percentage of false rape accusations are cases where the woman probably IS telling the truth, but nobody wants to believe her.

    In a society where lots of people protest that they DO take false burglary accusations seriously, just like false rape accusations, these protestations are a little hollow.

  20. December 29, 2010 5:31 pm

    @ginmar How am I attacking women? Women are wonderful and beautiful. Women are our mothers, our sisters, our daughters. Without women, we would not be and we should cherish them as equals.

    But there are SOME women who choose to be criminals. I do not think that all women are car shoplifters because there are women who shoplift. I do not think that all women kill children because some women have killed their own children. And I do not think that all women falsely accuse men of rape even though some women do falsely accuse men of rape.

    And (since you seem to have a problem with reading comprehension) I will again state that this is not about FEAR of a possible false claim of sexual assault. This is about actual people who have been falsely accused of sexual assault.

    And again, I have NEVER said it is one and the same as the BP oil spill. That is your strawman that you have erected. That is your logical fallacy.

  21. December 29, 2010 5:38 pm

    @ginmar: I already answered another person why I view false rape accusations in a different light. I guess you couldn’t be bothered to read that either.

    There are people who lie. Some of them are men and some of them are women. Some women lie about being raped. They should be punished for it. This does not mean that I am advocating some position that we should just think that all women are liars and no allegation of rape is true.

    And perhaps you are confused… because I am not talking about cases where a person is not convicted of rape. I am only talking about cases where the woman is lying about being raped. There are FAR too many cases where a woman is raped and her rapist(s) walks free. I am not claiming that these cases are examples of false allegations.

  22. ginmar permalink
    December 29, 2010 5:40 pm

    It’s called sarcasm, Daniel, look it up before you patronize me by trying to avoid the implications of how ‘passionate’ you are about things like false rape accusations and a whole list of other shit that’s not even close. Again: where’s false burglary and false arson charges on your list? Hm?

    And protesting that women are great and wonderful is too creepy for words, as well as being a bit too too much. Women aren’t wonderful and great and all that as a group. Nobody is. Women are human, which means they’re neither the lying whores of male false rape fantasies, nor are they the perfect angels at the other end of the spectrum.

    So, where’s the outrage over those fake burglary charges, huh?

  23. ginmar permalink
    December 29, 2010 5:42 pm

    Newsflash, Daniel: I don’t need to read your same old same excuses for why you have fantasies about false rape accusations. You’re just like every other guy out there who thinks he’s found a great hook for his new found ability to bash one group of women. The clue is that guys who are obsessed with false rape accusations never, ever, ever, care about any other kind of false allegation. Ever. That includes you.

  24. December 29, 2010 5:56 pm

    It is not sarcasm, you are misrepresenting my words. That is called a strawman argument.

    Again, you can go read why I view false rape allegations differently than other false accusations of crimes. Perhaps I am more vocal about false accusations of rape because I was once falsely accused of sexual assault. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t punish all people who make false accusations. In fact, one of the things I wish to do in the new year is develop a website devoted to all people who are falsely accused, not just those who have been falsely accused of rape. Of copur

    Just as I am sure that I cannot know what it must be like to be raped, I am also sure that you cannot know what it is like to be falsely accused of a crime like rape unless you have actually gone through it. (And just in case you neglected to read my words previously, I will repeat that I am sure that the pain that I went through is nothing like the pain that someone who is raped has to go through).

    But you are incorrect, I do not have FANTASIES about false rape accusations. I have nightmares about the false rape accusation that someone made about me!

    And what “group of women” are you claiming that I am bashing exactly?

    I will not apologize for wanting society to do a better job of treating women equally and protecting them equally under the law. Women are our mothers, our sisters, our daughters, our wives. We should never forget that.

    I will also not apologize for wanting society to punish false accusers.

  25. ginmar permalink
    December 29, 2010 6:10 pm

    You were falsely accused of rape? Why am I not surprised?

    You can make all the excuses you like, dude, but there’s no good reason to be obsessed with this. There are nothing but wrong reasons—-and pathetic excuses. It’s pure misogyny. Whine all you like about how I don’t appreciate your speshul snowflakeness, but the fact is, you’re just another guy who thinks he’s found a good excuse to bash women. Every guy who complains he’s misunderstood is probably smarting from the fact that at least a few women understand him entirely too well.

  26. December 29, 2010 11:52 pm

    You should be surprised that ANY human being would falsely accuse another human being of sexual violence. That you are not says volumes about you and your ethics (or lack thereof).

    Are you one of those people who believe that false accusations of rape are “no big deal” and that someone who is falsely accused of rape should just “get over it”?

    Saying that something is misogyny is not proof that the action is misogynistic. It is clear that so far YOU are the only one who is misunderstanding what I am saying. I am not sure if that is because you do not care to bother to understand what I am saying or if you are incapable of understanding. Either way, I knew I would deal with people like you when I decided to start making public statements about my experiences with this issue. I will not let people like you deter me in speaking out about this issue.

    The good reason to deal with this issue is to seek to prevent false accusations from happening as much as possible. Saying that such a goal is misogynistic proves that you do not know the meaning of the word. I suggest that is one item on a long list of things you personally do not know. But i am sure that when I talk to people about this issue, people like you will be the exception and not the rule.

    • ginmar permalink
      January 3, 2011 2:54 pm

      Daniel, you’re acting like false rape accusations are on a par in seriousness with actual rapes. You have repeatedly refused to address the issue of what other false crime accusations you are ‘equally’ passionate about. You put false rape accusations on a list with the BP oil spill and other wide-scale issues. In short, you are the classic male false rape accusation troll. That you claim you were ‘falsely’ accused is just the icing on the cake.

      • January 3, 2011 3:22 pm

        Ginmar: “you’re acting like false rape accusations are on a par in seriousness with actual rapes.”

        False. In fact, I said earlier: “And just in case you neglected to read my words previously, I will repeat that I am sure that the pain that I went through is nothing like the pain that someone who is raped has to go through”

        So there it is, repeated a third time for your benefit. Perhaps you will actually comprehend the statement this time.

        “You have repeatedly refused to address the issue of what other false crime accusations you are ‘equally’ passionate about.”

        Why would I discuss false accusations of other crimes on a topic that is about false accusations. Any false accusation of any crime is wrong. Period. But I was falsely accused of a sexual assault so perhaps you might understand why I would be a little more vociferous about those false accusations than I would be about others.

        I guess the difference between you and me is that I would NEVER ask a victim of rape why she was more vociferous about victims of rape seeking better treatment in the system. To me, that would be common sense. As a victim of a crime, that victim is more likely to speak out on issues pertaining to that crime. I guess you do not understand the common sense that would say that as a victim of a false accusation of rape that I would be more likely to to speak out about that false accusation than others.

        I suggest you go check out the innocence project to see the impacts that false accusations can have on lives of the innocent.

        “You put false rape accusations on a list with the BP oil spill and other wide-scale issues. ”

        So? Does that mean I view them all equally? Of course not. That is just your false logic at play here.

        “In short, you are the classic male false rape accusation troll. That you claim you were ‘falsely’ accused is just the icing on the cake.”

        I do not claim it. I state it as a matter of fact. And I am stating it on a thread that discusses the rarity of false accusations. I do not doubt the rarity of false accusations. I am just saying that the rarity SHOULD NOT MATTER because it is wrong to do to one person, to 100 people or to a million people.

        And if anyone here is acting trollish, it is you and your misrepresentation of statements made by me and others.

      • ginmar permalink
        February 7, 2011 12:29 pm

        No, Daniel, the big difference between you and I is that you don’t see that your little obsession with false rape accusations and only false rape accusations makes you just another dewd with an issue he refuses to address—and it’s the same issue as all the other guys with the same obsession. False rape accusations, no matter how much you whine about them, are just a red herring that misogynists think they can use as a bona fide excuse.

      • February 7, 2011 4:33 pm

        How on Earth is discussing false accusations in a blog post about false accusations a red herring?!?!?!

        There are men who have been falsely accused of rape by a woman. Yes, it happens. Yes, it is rare. Yes, it is wrong. And yes, people who do it should go to jail.

        Such a statement is not misogynistic. Though, we have already proven that you do not understand the meaning of the word.

  27. Sherry permalink
    February 7, 2011 1:36 pm

    As the very feminist mom of a son falsely accused I tend to be quite passionate about justice for everyone. Rape is wrong. Period. But so is falsely accusing someone of a crime.

    As a result of a false accusation made against my son there is a misdemeanor warrant out for this woman’s arrest. She left the state and faces zero consequences unless she happens to get caught back here.

    On the other hand my son faced possible prison time for a felony. He also faced a label of sex offender for the rest of his life. No charges were ever filed against him and yet we had to engage an attorney to navigate this situation. This has cost us a fortune. My son was kicked out of his university and we are still navigating a possible reinstatement. In the meantime, he is not sure he can apply to other schools because his transcript may say that he was suspended from the university for sexual assault. So, right now his degree and career plans are on hold and that may never get cleared up. He lost his job coaching at the local high school. He has suffered the humiliation of being accused of a violent sexual crime, a taint which, even though he is innocent of, may never leave the minds of some people. He is unable to trust another female enough to even kiss her, much less pursue a log-term relationship. He continues to seek counseling. Thankfully, with help from family and friends, he continues to work hard toward establishing a normal and successful life. There are good days and bad days.

    This blog has nothing to do with saying rape is okay. It is not about equating the physical, psychological and emotional pain of being raped versus the same pain of being falsely accused. It has to do with justice, doing the right thing. Those falsely accused face very real and traumatic consequences. And so do their loved ones. If we are true feminists and humanists we should care about the pain and consequences of all crime on all individuals. Just because some people lie does not mean society should wholesale dismiss an entire gender by saying they all must be lying.

    • ginmar permalink
      February 7, 2011 2:23 pm

      Dismissing a whole gender by saying they’re all lying? Who did that? Oh, wait, that’s right, nobody—-unless it’s people who are obsessed with branding false rape accusations as a horrible scourge perpetrated by vengeful, evil women.

      As a general rule, anybody who starts off by saying how passionate a feminist they are is usually about to prove otherwise, and with that concluding paen to how feminists have to care equally for false rape accusation victims you just proved it. How odd, too, that your son happened to suffer consequences which befall very few men. Care to provide any verifiable details?

      Humanists generally are people who don’t want to wrestle with the true dimensions of just how badly women are treated and so they whine about how both genders get discriminated against, blah blah blah.

      • February 7, 2011 4:30 pm

        Ginmar: “unless it’s people who are obsessed with branding false rape accusations as a horrible scourge perpetrated by vengeful, evil women. ”

        Who has done that here? I sure haven’t and neither has Sherry. There ARE evil women in the world, just as there are evil men. The mere bringing up false accusations of rape does not mean that we are claiming it is a scourge on society. But it is a horrible action perpetrated by a very small percentage of women…. women who should be punished for their crimes. If you do not think so, that makes you a false rape accuser apologist.

        And perhaps Sherry felt the need to reveal herself a feminist because she knew that someone like yourself would come along and doubt it just because she is also passionate about spreading awareness about a horrible false accusation that happened to one of her loved ones. Perhaps she hopes that the pain felt by her son and her family will not have to be felt by anyone else.

        Could you open your mind for at least one second and try to understand that it is possible to both fight the crime of rape and fight the crime of falsely accusing someone of rape? Pretty please? With sugar on top?

    • think permalink
      March 4, 2011 4:41 am

      Those falsely accused face very real and traumatic consequences. And so do their loved ones.

      Well, here’s the thing. For every one special snowflake innocent son of a feminist humanist mom, there are thousands, tens, hundreds of thousands of women and girls who are falsely accused of lying about rape. You know, they WERE raped but have the *very real and traumatic consequences* of being told that they are an evil lying b*tch, that it never happened (and even if it did they were asking for it).

      What about those false accusations ? What about those ?

      • Sherry permalink
        March 4, 2011 10:18 am

        One wrong does not detract from any other wrong or the pain felt when victim of a crime. This is not, never has been, nor ever will be an agument that any crime is okay.

        While to me my son is special and loved I don’t consider him to be special above all others. My children have been taught to care about others in the world and to strive for tolerance, justice and peace. They most certainly are not perfect. Nor am I. What I do know is wrong is wrong. Advocating for some wrongs to be allowed or pursued will never help fix the wrongness of something else.

        I don’t even see how rational people can argue it to be alright for one crime to be excused and allowed to happen just in case it prevents the criminal justice system from prosecuting a completely different crime. That is a slippery slope down which many cultures have fallen, much to their detriment.

        Peace.

      • March 4, 2011 10:26 am

        What is this with the “special snowflake” stuff? Why do you see to delegitimize the real pain that the falsely accused go through.

        Here is a newsflash. As someone who was himself falsely accused, I do not seek to delegitimize, dehumanize, or in any other way take away disregard the pain that victims of rape go through. Yet people like yourself seek to do that to those of us who want society to both stand on the side of victims of rape AND on the side of victims of false accusations of rape.

        You are basically making the argument that since we are not being vociferous about all other kinds of false accusations (or even some other false accusations) that there is somehow a flaw in are argument. Well, how would you feel if rape victims who became advocates for better treatment of rape victims in our system were told “why should we listen to you, you don’t stand up for victims of mail fraud and drunk driving so you obviously do not care about victims of other crimes”? You wouldn’t like it would you? You would think that their argument is absurd (as you rightly should) because it is reasonable to assume that someone who has been a victim of rape would be more likely to be an advocate for rape victims than for any other crime. This doesn’t mean that they do not care about other victims of other crimes. But they are trying to help people in situations that they are familiar with.

        So why shouldn’t those of us who have either been falsely accused or who have loved ones who have been falsely accused not stand up for those people who we can best identify with?

        Furthermore, if someone is making a false accusation that a woman is lying about being raped, then that person is a rapist. The system already goes after that person for being a rapist. IF the rapist is actually able to get away with his false accusation and is able to get the woman he raped arrested and convicted of filing a false police report, the jail time she would spend would be minimal and there would be no life altering consequences. I am unaware of any women currently sitting in jail who was actually raped but was convicted of a false accusation of rape.

        A person who is falsely accused of (but successfully convicted of) rape can go to jail for a very long time and will be required to file as a sex offender for the rest of his life. Look at this guy http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/05/raymond-towler-convicted-_n_564158.html He sat in jail for 30 years for a crime he didn’t commit or even this guy http://missoulian.com/news/local/article_51773d90-080c-11e0-b501-001cc4c002e0.html who is seeking to overturn his conviction because the accuser recanted.

      • ginmar permalink
        March 4, 2011 10:53 am

        Well, you see, Sherry apparently skimped on the specifics and won’t address those, because it’s so much to use false equivalencies and act like one alleged false rape accusation—which we’re supposed to accept at, what, third hand?—-equals not one rape victim, but thousands of them. So her baby boy, about whom she protests way too much, equals many many women which she is very determined to avoid thinking about.

  28. Sherry permalink
    February 7, 2011 2:38 pm

    Wow, I’m sad for you. It must be miserable to have so much anger and to have so little empathy for other human beings. I hope you get the help you need. Honestly. Peace.

    • ginmar permalink
      February 7, 2011 2:53 pm

      Aaaaannnndd….I rest my case. Thank you for playing rapist apologist bingo.

      • Sherry permalink
        March 4, 2011 1:13 pm

        1. My personal details and those of my son are not your business. However, if you should read an AP story, which I expect to come out in the future, that will be verification of our particular story. We did decide to go public and every detective and investigatve reporter has come to the same conclusion.

        2. My question is why you think you have the right to demand my personal details but seem unwilling to provide details, verification and references about the many “facts” you quote. Personally, I do not want to know the details of your story, your personal business is yours.

        3. Contrary to your statement that I avoid thinking about rape victims, you should know that I work with rape victims, I advocate, march and rally on the behalf of rape victims and I have worked for 20 years as an educator determined to impact the very real statistics of rape. There is rarely a day that I am not thinking of rape victims. Again, their stories do not justfy what happened to my son. These are all separate crimes; tragic and horrific to all involved.

        4. Lastly, again your pain and anger are loud and clear in the wild ranting and raging you do on this blog, especially in personal attacks on other contributors. I repeat, I feel sorry for you. I was not apologizing for the rape of any person. It seems sad that you seem to find your tactics appropriate or constructive in any way.

        I will now disengage in this unproductive exchange. I have made the points I wish to make. Anyone reading may accept or disregard as they choose.

        I wish you peace.

    • February 7, 2011 4:21 pm

      Sherry: In your limited exposure to the user Ginmar, your observation has hit the nail right on the head. To Ginmar, any person who dares to bring up false allegations of rape is a rapist apologist who seeks to discredit all women.

      • ginmar permalink
        March 4, 2011 10:51 am

        Well, let’s se, Daniel: we have the fact that false accusations are rare while rapes are common, which logically means that quite a lot of those men who claim to be falsely accused are in fact RAPISTS. Then there’s the fact that it’s all about YOU YOU YOU and OMG did you know that YOU WERE FALSELY ACCUSED and you, like every other guy who claims he was falsely accused, you spout platitudes about how awful rape is but what’s really, really awful is false rape accusations.

        You know, I got mugged once. I’m not passionate about muggings. And it was a black guy. I don’t go flinching around black guys. But I’ve had a lot of female friends get raped, and I’ve seen a lot of assholes whine that they were falsely accused and they only do it such a way as to contradict the notion that false accusations are rare. Which is what you’ve been doing this whole fucking time.

        As the other poster says, women are falsely accused of making false accusations, and there’s a fuck of a lot more of them than there are false accusations, so who’s lying? It looks like anybody who claims it was a false accusation.

        And finally, you spend an awful lot of time being ohtuse about rape and false accusations and making it all about you so it does tend to indicate that you’re an asshole. Your final comment there to me confirms it. You’re passionate about ‘false rape accusations’, you said. Yeah. Passionate about something that rarely happens and is used to attack and discredit women. Citing one or two cases doesn’t say anyt9hing about women, dear, but it says volumes about you.

      • ginmar permalink
        March 5, 2011 7:40 am

        Let’s see, why do men or men posing as women with sons, bring up false rape accusations in discussions about yet again false rape accusations are scarcely the scourge that people like Dannie Z would have you believe?

        They want to discredit the idea that they’re not common. Period.

        “Sherry” posted her convenient and pathetic tale of woe without realizing or caring that it’s classic ‘FOAF” stuff—-except she tried to dodge that by making the poor unlucky victim of a false rape accusation her son, about whom she won’t provide details.

        But the bottom line is this: there are an incredible number of women out there who’ve been raped and haven’t reported it. And every conversation about rape is bedeviled by these whiny liars who claim that they were falsely accused. Gee, sorry, you’ll have to take my word for it that I was falsely accused.

        So after a while you have to realize that what you’re probably talking to is one of those guys who got away with it because his victim didn’t report it, and his extreme defensiveness is because he knows what he did, and he’s angry that the bitch dared call it for what it is.

        Nobody with good intentions posts with a ‘I was falsely accused of rape’ story. Never. Nobody. It’s always and only intended to contradict the central premise that false rape accusations are rare, because, hey look! Special snowflake here has a story he wants to tell—and oh, by the way, rape isn’t that bad. What’s really bad are false accusations.

  29. March 4, 2011 11:11 am

    In response to Ginmar:

    “Then there’s the fact that it’s all about YOU YOU YOU and OMG did you know that YOU WERE FALSELY ACCUSED and you, like every other guy who claims he was falsely accused, you spout platitudes about how awful rape is but what’s really, really awful is false rape accusations. ”

    Lie. I never ever claimed that rape is less awful than false accusations of rape. That is your strawman, not reality. And it is not all about me, me, me. Yes, I was falsely accused. All that means is that I have gone through the pain that comes with it. Nothing more.

    “You know, I got mugged once. I’m not passionate about muggings. ”
    Your point? I never said that people who are victims of crimes are always advocates for victims of those crimes.

    “And it was a black guy. I don’t go flinching around black guys. ”
    Your point? I never said that I flinch around all women just because one made a false accusation about me.

    “But I’ve had a lot of female friends get raped, and I’ve seen a lot of assholes whine that they were falsely accused and they only do it such a way as to contradict the notion that false accusations are rare. Which is what you’ve been doing this whole fucking time. ”

    Again, another lie by you. I have stated, multiple times, that false accusations are rare. They are rare. They are rare. They are rare. How many times do I need to say that they are rare for you to understand that I am not trying to contradict the notion that false accusations are rare? What I am saying is that just because they are rare it doesn’t make them any less wrong.

    “As the other poster says”

    Other poster.. sure. The other poster whose comments sound a lot like yours. You are an internet troll. You proved this to me when you asked if I had other issues that I get “worked up” about and when I listed them (one of them was the BP oil spill) you called me a rapist apologist for “comparing” the oil spill to rape (even though all I was doing was giving you the list YOU had asked for). I have no doubt in my mind that the “other poster” was you.

    “You’re passionate about ‘false rape accusations’, you said. Yeah. Passionate about something that rarely happens and is used to attack and discredit women.”

    I am passionate about something that happened to me that I had bottled up for a long time. When cases come on the news about false accusations (like the Hofstra case) it impacts me. By talking about what happened to me, it not only helps me cope with what happened to me so long ago, but I hope it might also help someone else who might have to deal with the same situation.

    And just because SOME men use false accusations to attack and discredit women, it does not mean that ALL men use false accusations to attack and discredit women. But you imply that all men who bring up false accusations are doing it to attack and discredit women. That speaks volumes about you and the kind of person you are.

  30. think permalink
    March 5, 2011 5:31 am

    Not that Ginmar or myself need to justify, but the blog owner will be able to verify to his own satisfaction that we are in fact different people living on *completely different continents*.

    For anyone else who’s wondering: consider that our responses to DanielZ may sound similar because knobs like him are universally recognised by, and nothing new to feminist women the world over.

    They are dishonest in the extreme claiming they don’t support rapists, but it’s just that “false accusations” are the worst thing ever.

    Because what they mean is false accusations against women (who have been raped and then have the double whammy of the disbelief to add to it) count for nothing – but that if someone said something bad about them one time it means that the whole universe and *every single rape discussion ever* must revolve around them instead.

    And there is a very telling comment posted by DanielZ upthread, where he describes the after-effects for a woman being told that she is lying about her rape as: “there would be no life altering consequences”.

    Sums the attitude up really

    • March 5, 2011 2:05 pm

      Well, if you two are really not the same individual, perhaps you were separated at birth.

      “They are dishonest in the extreme claiming they don’t support rapists, but it’s just that “false accusations” are the worst thing ever.”

      I have NEVER said anything of the sort. YES they are bad. Yes people who make false accusations of rape and try to have someone locked up for years and branded a sexual predator for the rest of their lives should absolutely be punished. But I never said that false accusations are the “worst thing ever”. Furthermore, I have explicitly stated, repeatedly, than being raped would be worse than being falsely accused of rape. So you just have proven that you are either too lazy to read the comments that I have posted or you lack the ability to comprehend simple English.

      “Because what they mean is false accusations against women (who have been raped and then have the double whammy of the disbelief to add to it) count for nothing – but that if someone said something bad about them one time it means that the whole universe and *every single rape discussion ever* must revolve around them instead.”

      Again, I will repeat (because you seem to have failed to read or understand what I have written here) that people who falsely accuse women of making a false accusation about them are rapists, and OF COURSE they should be locked up.

      And I would ask you to look at the topic of this discussion thread. This happens to be a discussion about false accusations of rape. So I brought up my feelings about false accusations of rape on a threat pertaining to false accusations of rape. I absolutely DO NOT believe that all discussions of rape should include discussions of false accusations. Again, that is your strawman argument and not the reality of the posts that I have made here.

      “And there is a very telling comment posted by DanielZ upthread, where he describes the after-effects for a woman being told that she is lying about her rape as: “there would be no life altering consequences”. ”

      Yes, I urge everyone to go read the comment I made IN CONTEXT. There would be no life altering consequences FROM THE FALSE ACCUSATION made about her.

      That you must lie and misrepresent the comments of others is very telling about you.

      • think permalink
        March 5, 2011 3:42 pm

        Yes, I urge everyone to go read the comment I made IN CONTEXT. There would be no life altering consequences FROM THE FALSE ACCUSATION made about her.

        This is exactly what I was referring to so it’s hardly a misrepresentation. But thanks for stating it again so clearly.

        That is, you are saying that women who are told that their rape didn’t really happen (ie a false accusation against her) will suffer “no life altering consequences”.

        How wrong you are, and how utterly wrapped up in yourself and your misogyny that you cannot even recognise it.

      • May 27, 2011 5:08 pm

        “That is, you are saying that women who are told that their rape didn’t really happen (ie a false accusation against her) will suffer “no life altering consequences”.”

        How you took my words and turned it into that bizarre statement is beyond me and should be beyond any rational person seeking to have an honest debate about this subject.

        A woman who is raped would obviously have had her life altered. This is without question.

        A woman who is falsely accused of making a false accusation of rape cannot be branded a sex criminal for the rest of her life for something she did not do. This is what I am talking about here.

        A man who is falsely accused of rape WILL be labeled as a sex criminal for the rest of his life.

        This is what I was talking about and you would have reached that conclusion if you actually took my words within the context that they were given and not in the cherry picked manner in which you presented them.

      • ginmar permalink
        May 27, 2011 5:15 pm

        ” A woman who is falsely accused of false accusation can never be….”

        What the fuck is wrong with you? I just actually spent the day researching false accusations and false rape accusation assholes like you don’t want justice. They want revenge and often over cases where they’re inflating a mistake into a vicious act.

        The problem is, rapists don’t think that what they did is rape. The only person who can determine if it was rape is the victim. The rapist doesn’t have the right to move the goal posts.

        Christ, if all I had to worry about was something that hasn’t happened yet, rarely happens, and is realistically never to happen, I’d be happier than a clam. I know DZ here claims he was the victim of a false accusation, but his vengefulness and pissiness just make the whole thing awfully difficult to believe.

      • May 29, 2011 8:39 pm

        I would encourage anyone who seems to think that I am pro-rapist or supportive of the “MRA” movement to check out my blog.

  31. March 5, 2011 2:21 pm

    Ginmar: “Let’s see, why do men or men posing as women with sons, bring up false rape accusations in discussions about yet again false rape accusations are scarcely the scourge that people like Dannie Z would have you believe?”

    Please tell me where I have suggested that false accusations are a “scourge” Again you have failed to read that I acknowledge the FACT that they are RARE. THEY ARE RARE. Need I say it 12 more times for you to actually understand that I believe false accusations are rare? 20? 100? Or will you just never understand that I believe false accusations are rare? Is that just something that is beyond your ability to comprehend?

    “They want to discredit the idea that they’re not common. Period.”
    Not my intent. You are just a liar who seeks to deny that no men suffer from false accusations of rape and that men who dare speak out about what happened to them must hate all women (even if they know that most women would not do such a thing).

    “But the bottom line is this: there are an incredible number of women out there who’ve been raped and haven’t reported it.”

    That is true, and as a society we should do much more to help victims of rape come forward in a way that is supportive and not demeaning.

    “And every conversation about rape is bedeviled by these whiny liars who claim that they were falsely accused.”

    News flash genius, this conversation was started as a conversation about false accusations of rape. And look at your hypocrisy. You would complain about how society is quick to doubt victims of rape yet you automatically doubt men who claim that they were falsely accused.

    “So after a while you have to realize that what you’re probably talking to is one of those guys who got away with it because his victim didn’t report it, and his extreme defensiveness is because he knows what he did, and he’s angry that the bitch dared call it for what it is.”

    Uh…. if she didn’t report it THEN HE WASNT FALSELY ACCUSED! Sheesh.

    “Nobody with good intentions posts with a ‘I was falsely accused of rape’ story. Never. ”
    That is your (wrong) opinion. That is not fact.

    “Nobody. It’s always and only intended to contradict the central premise that false rape accusations are rare”

    Um, where on this thread have I said that my false accusation of rape is proof that false accusations are not rare? I have repeated (again and again and again) that false accusations ARE RARE. If I am trying (as you wrongly assume) to say that false accusations are not rare, then why would I repeat (over and over and over again) that false accusations are, in fact, rare?

    ” because, hey look! Special snowflake here has a story he wants to tell—and oh, by the way, rape isn’t that bad. What’s really bad are false accusations.”

    AND AGAIN you fail to read what I say. NEVER have I said that rape is not bad. Rape is horrible and rapists should be punished to the full extend of the law. And I have also said, repeatedly, that false accusations of rape are not as bad as rape itself (in any way, shape or form)

    I am done responding to you though. You have proven yourself to be a troll and I will feed you no more.

  32. Hugh permalink
    January 17, 2013 11:27 pm

    I do have a bit of a complaint about Lisak’s methodology here. He’s comparing rape allegations that were proven to be false with rape allegations where the result was uncertain. As it is not known what percentage of the 44% were false (probably very low, in fact probably much lower than 5.9% as false allegations tend to be backed up by lots of corroborating details) it seems that the number is probably slightly higher than 5.9%, though still very low.

  33. Robert permalink
    January 31, 2013 8:52 pm

    According to Lisak’s study, 5.9% of rape reports were coded as false after a thorough investigation. The difficulty I have, is that this figure is being treated as an estimate in Lisak’s written conclusion, when it’s simply the percentage of rapes that could be determined false through investigation. In other words, this figure only represents reports that could be positively identified as false by either evidence or credible recantation. But isn’t it illogical to presume that every false report in Lisak’s sample could be readily identified as such? Given the complex and difficult nature of these cases, it would be difficult to imagine that the majority of them could be definitely determined either true or false, and indeed that is what Lisak’s study found.

    According to Lisak’s paper, 44.9 of the cases did not proceed to disciplinary action for one reason or another, and a further 13.9% could not be coded for lack of information. That leaves 58.8% of the reports determined to be completely unknown where the veracity of the complaint is concerned. The final 35.3% of cases were referred for prosecution or disciplinary action, meaning an investigation determined that they were likely genuine complaints, but that 58.8% of complaints represent a lot of unknowns. Isn’t it reasonable to suspect that some of those 58.8% of complaints may have actually been false, despite the fact that they could not be conclusively determined to be false? The issue is that the study presumes that all complaints are completely truthful unless and until they can be conclusively determined otherwise. But this is completely illogical. There’s no rational basis for such a presumption.

    Imagine if we applied this presumption in reverse. Say I were to conduct a study to determine which percentage of rape reports are true. After collecting and thoroughly investigating a sample of cases, I determined that 35% of these cases could be found to be very likely truthful. The remaining 65% of cases were coded as either “false” or “inconclusive.” I, therefore, conclude that ONLY 35% of rape reports could be proven truthful, so the rest are presumably false. That would be outrageous, wouldn’t it? Yet that is precisely what Lisak’s study has done in the reverse. Lisak treats the percentage of PROVEN false reports as if it were a reliable estimate for the percentage of TOTAL false reports. Presuming that every false report can be proven false is just as illogical as presuming that every truthful rape report can be proven true. The vast majority of these complaints can’t be conclusively determined one way or the other, and are therefore capable of being either true or false.

    Lisak applies a different standard to reports he considers false than to reports he considers true. A report is false only if it can be proven false. A report is true so long as it CAN’T be proven false. Wouldn’t a more honest and rational approach apply the same standard to both? A report is false only if it can be proven false, and a report is true only if it can be proven true. Inconclusive reports are, therefore, not included in the final analysis. So applying this approach to Lisak’s numbers, we can say that, for those reports that contained enough information to make a conclusive determination: 8 were found to be likely false (false reports) and 48 were found to be likely true (case proceeded). The rest are not included in the final analysis because they are completely unknown and could be true or false. So, of those reports that had enough information to make a determination, 14.3% (8 out of 56) were false reports.

    Honestly, though, wouldn’t it be even more accurate to just say that the ACTUAL number of false reports is almost completely unknown as a scientific matter? Applying a rigorous standard for what counts as a false report, and then treating all cases that fail to meet this standard as “definitely true”, is illogical and dishonest. The fact that 5.9% of cases could be proven false does not, in any way, suggest that the remaining 94.1% of cases are all definitely true. All it suggests is that the remaining 94.1% of cases could not be proven false. Though their actual veracity or falsehood still remains completely unknown for the majority of these cases. I understand the desire to enforce strict standards when it comes to the police encoding of false reports, but the percentage of cases proven false by authorities is not an estimate for the percentage of total false reports. The actual percentage of false reports remains a complete unknown. That 5.9% is the floor, not the ceiling, for the actual number of false reports in Lisak’s sample. The truth is that no one knows what percentage of reports are factually truthful or factually false, so can we please stop pretending otherwise?

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