Friday, May 05, 2006

False Rape Accusations

Betsy's Page points to Wendy McElroy asking the question of how common this is. I think it is a good, fair, and reasonably accurate post on the topic. I take minor exception to one bit of information and the way she uses it.
Politically correct feminists claim false rape accusations are rare and account for only 2 percent of all reports. Men's rights sites point to research that places the rate as high as 41 percent. These are wildly disparate figures that cannot be reconciled.
She then goes into a study of the percentage of cases where there is DNA evidence and what percentages of those cases are the accused a match. This is all very interesting and looks very similar to other data I have seen over the years.

There is just one problem. We have to separate what I would refer to as "false accusations" and cases where a woman was raped but she or the cops fingered the wrong man. The majority of rape cases are processed without DNA and at least some percentage of convictions involving DNA evidence are "false accusations", where a woman had consensual sex and then, for whatever reason, claimed rape later.

Statistics on these groupings are VERY difficult to ascertain. What I think we do know is:
  • a significant, and many people believe it is a majority, of real rape cases never legally file a complaint, yet alone get prosecuted.
  • some percentage of rape allegations charge the wrong person, mostly without any bad intent, and in such cases DNA can correct that if it is present
  • some percentage of mugging allegations charge the wrong person too and being mugged is less traumatic than being raped so one would guess that bad IDs are more common with rape than mugging
  • some percentage of rape allegations are patently false, made up out of whole cloth, usually as an act of revenge
Because of the nature of these things you can find studies putting the percentages of these categories from very high to very low. Ergo, you have to take each case on its own.


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