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Do Women Often Lie About Rape?


Society & Culture  (tags: activists, americans, crime, culture, education, ethics, freedoms, feminists, law, police, politics, Rape, rights, society, women )

Kit
- 433 days ago - everydayfeminism.com
But given that we live in a world where 54% of rapes are not reported to police and 97% of accused rapists never go to jail, the fact that some women lie about rape isn't exactly the most pressing conversation we need to be having.



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Kit B. (277)
Thursday June 13, 2013, 6:07 am
Image Credit: Getty Images


If certain men’s rights activists and other anti-feminists are to be believed, women have a power over men that feminists are afraid to talk about.

For example, some claim that women can casually drop rape accusations and be automatically believed, thereby destroying the lives and reputations of innocent men.

The thing is, feminists are well-aware of the fact that there are morally inept women out there who make false allegations of rape. Yes. It happens.

It’s not a secret that we’re keeping from anyone.

But given that we live in a world where 54% of rapes are not reported to police and 97% of accused rapists never go to jail, the fact that some women lie about rape isn’t exactly the most pressing conversation we need to be having.

Yes, lying about rape can have the potential to devastate the life of the person accused. The fact that women lie about rape is neither irrelevant nor unimportant to feminists.

After all, there is the racial history of black men being killed after accusations of rape from white women, as well as gaps in our justice system that lead to the imprisonment of innocent men.

However, overemphasizing the fact that some women accuse men of rape hurts the credibility of the greater number of women that report rape because it happened to them.

So, here’s why feminists tend to keep the focus on women getting justice in cases of rape rather than instances of “crying” rape.
Feminists Are Aware that Some Women Lie About Rape

I think part of the reason critics of feminism argue that many women lie about rape is because of another myth: Feminists don’t want anyone to think that women ever lie about rape.

But that’s not true.

It would be more accurate to say that the number of women who report rape when it happens so greatly outnumber false accusers that it would be unjust and heinous to act on the assumption that women lie about rape all the time.

The fact is: Rape is already a grossly underreported crime. Rape trials already involve a great deal of investigation and intrusive questioning of alleged victims, An estimated 2-8% of rape accusations are considered unfounded.

Lying about rape is not nearly as prevalent a problem as rape.
Victim-Blaming Exists

Accusing someone else of rape is not a guarantee of therapists and tea for women.

The very idea that women subject themselves, en masse, to the social, legal, and medical ramifications of reporting rapes that never happened is ridiculous considering how often our culture questions the victim’s credibility first.

What was she wearing? Why was she out late at night? What did she have to drink? Does she sleep around? Why didn’t she scream? Did she have sex with him before? Did she fight?

How often does anyone ask about the accused rapist’s sexual habits, clothing, or drugs of choice?

Furthermore, the belief that false rape accusations are commonplace fuels victim blaming.

Though people are rightfully outraged by cases of rape and lend their support to victims, we still live in a society where the credibility of rape victims is regularly invalidated.

We live in a world where victims of rape who do come forward may have their privacy and space to heal invaded by intrusive rape kits, probing questions from law enforcement and family, and testimony that forces them to relive their trauma in a public way.

Not to mention asinine things like the tightness of a woman’s jeans at the alleged time of rape are brought up in attempts to discredit rape accusations.
Rape Myths Hurt Accusers’ Credibility

The alleged victims of rape often go through a greater degree of scrutiny than alleged rapists, as in cases where the videos and names and identities of victims go viral on the Internet, or when the defense discredits victims by claiming that they didn’t fight enough or scream enough to have been raped.

As such, a woman who accuses someone of rape, whether through the criminal justice system or within a family or social circle, faces incredible risk herself.

If she’s not believed, she could face the risk of losing close relationships with people who continue to support and socialize with the accused rapist.

If she goes to the police and her case goes to trial, she will have to repeat the details of the alleged rape, and possibly her own sexual history, to a variety of people who aren’t necessarily understanding of consent.

For instance, a woman who accused five perpetrators of gang rape had her case dismissed because she’d made online statements about having group sex fantasies.

The dismissal of her case flies in the face of everything feminists understand about consent and victim blaming.

But from the perspective of the court, she lost her credibility because she was a woman with a “deviant” sexual fantasy life.

This brings me to another point: If people have different understandings of consent, desire, and what rape really is, we run the risk of calling credible accusations of rape lies for attention.

If a woman says yes to sex and later says no, but the person she’s having sex with continues, this is rape. But not every court, media outlet, or rapist believes that this constitutes rape.

So while those with an understanding of consent will see a need to investigate, others will dismiss the woman as lying, attention seeking, or over-reactionary, even though the incident she described constitutes rape.

The same can be said in cases of statutory rape, rape that involved the use of drugs or alcohol, rape by a spouse or intimate partner, and the list could go on.

In all of these situations, there are still people who confuse a lack of aggression with consent.



Feminists don’t want people to assume that all women who report rape are telling the truth.

We want people to remember that women who report rape are human beings, who are more than likely reliving a traumatic event in their lives while going through the entirely new trauma of dealing with the criminal justice system.

Conversely, we also don’t want men to be considered guilty-until-proven-innocent when accused of rape.

However, the side of caution we should err on is that of giving people the benefit of the doubt when they do something as exposing and risky as reporting rape.
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By: Jarune Uwujaren | Everyday Feminism |
 

JL A. (275)
Thursday June 13, 2013, 8:48 am
Excellent analyses. This sounds so much like the arguments related to child abuse charges in divorce cases 50 years ago before effective child abuse laws were enacted. Perhaps the problem is that the rape laws are not sufficiently strong to address the problems?
 

Jae A. (323)
Thursday June 13, 2013, 2:35 pm
Yes Excellent analyses kit, thanks for the share.

That being said, I'm guessing that they don't lie about it as often as the men who rape then say it was consensual.
 

Joanne Dixon (38)
Thursday June 13, 2013, 2:35 pm
I wish these men's rights people who are so fired up about lying women, as if any putative revenge is worth the slut shaming and the humiliation of rape kit collection and on and on and on, would just lay off women for a while and turn their attention to male victims of rape. There are many, you know, and they are not all in prison (although it scares me terribly how many people seem to believe that just being in prison constitutes "asking for it"). Do you suppose that conversations with them might lead to a little tiny bit of empathy, or does being a "men's rights" person just put you beyond empathy?
 

Kit B. (277)
Thursday June 13, 2013, 3:18 pm

I think, Joanne if the degree and magnitude of rape were acknowledged then the many counter arguments that she asked for it, would have to end. Blaming women who desired no reminders of the brutal vicious attack, including a pregnancy would dissolve. It's very difficult to acknowledge that rape is a horrific crime and also take a stand against the victim.
 

Kit B. (277)
Thursday June 13, 2013, 3:21 pm

If the estimates that only 54% of rape against women by men is correct, I think the percentage of men reporting the attacks is much lower. Men are also shamed and mocked when reporting rape.
 

Amy L. (82)
Thursday June 13, 2013, 5:06 pm
I like Jae's point that the men who do rape always lie and say it was consensual!
 

Kit B. (277)
Thursday June 13, 2013, 5:24 pm

I wonder how many black eyes and torn garments were also consensual?
 

Rose NoFWDSPLZ (273)
Thursday June 13, 2013, 5:28 pm
Like your last comment Kit
 

greenplanet e. (157)
Thursday June 13, 2013, 6:34 pm
Rape is under-reported and under-prosecuted (if that's a word). Sometimes the few women who lie about it have been abused by someone else, and it's a way of articulating the abuse in an oblique way.

Rape is a very difficult crime to report.

Rapists lie all the time, and get away with it. Also, society lies to itself about the reality of rape. It's pretty sad living in this world with such poor attitudes.
 

pam w. (191)
Thursday June 13, 2013, 6:36 pm
How many other crimes begin AND end with blaming of the victim?
 

Jennifer C. (172)
Thursday June 13, 2013, 7:05 pm
Thanks.
 

John De Avalon (35)
Friday June 14, 2013, 9:56 am
The number of women who lie about being raped are very few, but those that do do great harm to the cause and search for justice for those who really have been the victim of rape...

 

Sarah D. (0)
Friday June 14, 2013, 12:09 pm
False reports of rape happen at the same rates as false reports of any other crime (which is very low).
 

Scott haakon (4)
Friday June 14, 2013, 6:58 pm
The problem is two fold. Women's groups who will not admit that their are liars in the fold. And requiring shield laws. Women who have been raped need to come out of the closet. Women also need to fight for realistic laws. This pillar to post swing is dangerous. Better evidence rules to expose the liars. Better sex education with emotional education.
 

Lois Jordan (54)
Saturday June 15, 2013, 5:20 pm
Noted w/thanks for posting, Kit. I knew a couple girls who were date-raped in high school....and even became pregnant. They never told anyone besides a couple friends. All opted for abortion....back then it was right after Roe v. Wade became law, and there was no stigma to abortion at that time.
 

Stephen Brian (23)
Wednesday June 19, 2013, 10:58 pm
The problem is that this is an integral part of the discussion that people should be having. Much of the "victim-blaming" and other trouble comes from an attempt to protect the presumption of innocence and other aspects of due process meant to protect the accused from false allegations. If those false allegations did not exist, then victim-blaming and underreporting could be handled easily, but they do.

The problem is pretty much this: "Feminists don’t want people to assume that all women who report rape are telling the truth" gets followed by "the side of caution we should err on is that of giving people the benefit of the doubt when they do something as exposing and risky as reporting rape". With no evidence available, when a woman reports rape does the author want us to assume innocence or guilt?
 

Scott haakon (4)
Tuesday June 25, 2013, 9:26 am
The laws surrounding "rape" are so unfair that it becomes a pit. Actions like "petting" are now considered "rape" and makes it too easy for upset or angry people to destroy others. Rules like "shield" laws that were intended to protect victims also keep the truth from entering the courtroom. People who are accused are publicized but then if cleared they suffer decades of prejudice. For many it is the fears that are being talked about.
 

Kit B. (277)
Tuesday June 25, 2013, 9:46 am

I wonder Scott, do you ever read or bother to research for facts before leaving a comment? No petting is not rape, and that sure is not the point of this article.
The word "petting" implies mutual consent if it is not it then it is no longer "petting" but sexual harassment.
 

Thomas P. (468)
Wednesday June 26, 2013, 7:30 pm
Noted...thanks Kit. Scott h...do you have any idea what shield laws are? They were put in place PRECISELY to focus on the merits and the facts of the particular case at hand. A woman's sexual history, what she was wearing, her socioeconomic status, etc. have NOTHING to do with whether or not a rape actually occurred, and attempting to bring these types of things to light have NO place in a courtroom. These are the types of diversions and attempts to humiliate/intimidate/dehumanize victims or alleged victims that keep the gross majority of women from ever reporting rapes. Why do you seem to so often be against women's rights and justice for women...did mommy not hug you enough? Have you ever talked to or spent time with a woman who's been raped? The "closet" that you claim these women are in and need to come out of is often a kind of prison, and the metaphoric shackles that bind these women emotionally if not physically are only tightened by some people's bigotry and insensitivity towards them, particularly when red herrings such as instances of women lying about rape are somehow classified as being a bonafide "problem." In my opinion, there is no more repugnant crime, nor one more cowardly, than for a man to violate a woman. And that would most certainly include "petting" if it were done against her will.
 

Google Good (0)
Saturday June 29, 2013, 4:55 am
....
 

Google Good (0)
Saturday June 29, 2013, 5:05 am
I had two women in my life tried to falsely accuse me of rape lucky both because they found out i was seeing someone else lucky both told explained the false doing by voicemail other by text messages which showed police to drop charges both of which got no punishment so i punished them myself by actually doing deed which i was falsely accused of lucky for me noone believes girl who cried wolf they needed it teaches them hope this serves warning to women who try to lie about it
 

jan b. (3)
Friday July 5, 2013, 3:59 pm
I believe that more women are admitting to being raped by men after they separated from the relationship ---that is a former husband or boyfriend. And I imagine there are more than never report it.
 

Richard Anonymous (2)
Sunday July 7, 2013, 7:52 am
If a man is conclusively found guilty of rape, I would suggest that he be punished with prison AND THE LASH. However, we need to be mindful of the little known and politically incorrect fact that sex crimes are actually among the most commonly lied about (because some women view it as a trump card that can be played to hurt a man because political correctness requires society to automatically believe the female accuser and treat the male accused as lying scum regardless of the previous reputations of the woman and the man involved) and and the false accusers are not punished for fear of deterring other women from reporting.
 

Kit B. (277)
Sunday July 7, 2013, 8:34 am

Wonder how those prejudicial attitudes of yours Richard Anonymous hold up for the nearly 50% of rapes that are men on men? Very few women lie about rape, and the attitude displayed here is one of the many reasons why. "little known and politically correct...." Really? Do give the source for that brazen assumption. Women that lie about rape or assault are in fact punished, but that is just fact that get in the way of your sweeping denigration of women.
 

Richard Anonymous (2)
Sunday July 7, 2013, 10:58 am
Kit, a woman I know attended a tour of a police station with her women's group and they were all very surprised to hear the female sergeant leading the tour mention that sex crime is the most often lied about. It is a well known fact that most allegations of sexual abuse of children made by women during a divorce for the purpose of securing custody are found to be false but the women are not punished for the allegation. I even watched an episode of American Greed where a woman was trying to get her exhusband found guilty of sex crimes against children by even going as far as planting child porn on his computer. The show said how much money the man had to spend proving his innocence, but there was no mention of her being punished. It is vary naive to assume that a group that feels that it has a powerful trump card will not use it. It is the same dynamic that falls into place when people introduce the trump card of racial discrimination when they are trying to defend themselves legally. It is not a denigration of women. It is a denigration of human condition -- men sometimes exploit their physical strength, children can make or threaten to make false allegations of abuse, and women and minorities sometimes attempt to use their "victim status" to their advantage.
 

Kit B. (277)
Sunday July 7, 2013, 11:04 am

So as I thought, your personal opinion. No fact, just "I saw a show".....some how lacks the ability to impress.
 
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