by anonymous reader
According to the FBI, a higher percentage of rape claims are false than any other criminal complaint, 8 percent compared to 2 percent for other crimes.
A study of all rape allegations in a Midwestern city over nine years found 41 percent were false and a study of more than a thousand rape allegations on air force bases over the course of four years concluded that 46 percent were false. In 27 percent of the cases, the accuser recanted.
The quotes are from Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama by Ann Coulter, published in 2012. Sources given for this info are at the bottom.
According to Coulter, “feminists” repeat a statistic from the book Against Our Will from 1975, which sourced an unprovable remark by a state court judge from a transcript. It says in the notes: “All claims of a 2 percent rate of false rape allegations can be traced back to Brownmiller’s book.”
If we take Ann Coulter at face value, false rape charges are 8%, could be higher, and anything that says 2% repeats something unprovable.
A Slate piece from 2009 suggests the Midwestern city study is unreliable because it was based on a sample of 109 reports and included iffy language. It calls a review from the Cambridge Law Journal, “the best we’ve found” and places “false rape charges” at a rate of 8% to 10%.
Earlier this year, there was an infographic from The Enliven Project. The graphic uses a 2% false accusation rate. (It also factored in a 10% reporting rate, meaning 90% of rapes are unreported, which is why it looks the way it does.)
That 2% was sourced to a 2009 PDF from NDAA.org, which says “estimates for the percentage of false reports begin to converge around 2-8%.” It also says “very few” of the estimates from the Cambridge Law Journal study “could be considered credible.” It gives another study from the Making A Difference Project, which puts the rate at 7%. About false rape reporting, the PDF concludes:
“To date, the MAD study is the only research conducted in the U.S. to evaluate the percentage of false reports made to law enforcement. The remaining evidence is therefore based on research conducted outside the U.S., but it all converges within the same range of 2-8%.”
The PDF talks about a case where a study in Britain gave an initial result of 8%, but was then revised to 2.5%. A study of rapes in Victoria, Australia showed a 2.1% rate of false reporting. Presumably these support the 2% lower bound. (Against Our Will isn’t cited in the PDF.)
A Slate XX piece in January criticized The Enliven Project graphic as overestimating the number of false accusations. Referencing the same NDAA data, it points out the difference between a false report and a false accusation: “victims who fabricate a sexual assault report may not want anyone to actually be arrested for the fictional crime. Therefore, they may say that they were sexually assaulted by a stranger or an acquaintance who is only vaguely described and not identified by name.”
The entry on Wikipedia for “false accusation of rape” questions the 1996 FBI data cited by Ann Coulter.
The NDAA PDF concedes, “Of course, in reality, no one knows—and in fact no one can possibly know—exactly how many sexual assault reports are false.”
– – – – –
Sources from the Notes Section of Mugged:
Crime Index Offenses reported, Section II, Department of Justice Uniform Crime Reporting, 1996 at 22. (It says in the book, “Data on “unfounded’ rape complaints after 1996 does not seem to be available.”)
Eugene J. Kanin, “False Rape Allegations,” Archives of Sexual Behavior, February 1994. Available at http://falserapearchives.blogspot.com/2009/06/archives-of-sexual-behavior-feb-1994.html (link works)
Charles P. McDowell, “False Allegations,” Forensic Science Digest 11, no. 4, December, 1985 (a publication of the U.S. Air Force of Special Investigation); Bruce Gross, “False Rape Allegations: An Assault on Justice,” Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association, December 22, 2008.
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