In 2012, there were 2,661 completed investigations, meaning that the 444 false complaints accounted for about 17 percent of all closed cases last year. False reports accounted for about 13 percent of closed cases in 2009.
Half of all rape accusations are false:
In a follow-up study of rape claims filed over a three-year period at two large Midwestern universities, Kanin found that of 64 rape cases, 50% turned out to be false.4 Among the false charges, 53% of the women admitted they filed the false claim as an alibi.
How many reported rapes are false?
Here's what we do know: The 2 percent number is very bad and should never be cited. It apparently traces its lineage back to Susan Brownmiller's legendary "Against Our Will," and her citation for this figure is a single speech by an appellate judge before a small group of lawyers. His source for this statistic was a single area of New York that started having policewomen conduct all rape interviews. This is not data. It is an anecdote about an anecdote.
The 41 percent number beloved of men's-rights activists is better; it involves a peer-reviewed study by Eugene Kanin
False rape reports
At whatever rate such cases occur, they should not be dismissed as statistical blips: These lies can have tragic results. Two years ago former California high school football star Brian Banks, who had spent five years in prison for raping his classmate Wanetta Gibson, was exonerated after Gibson contacted him to apologize and admitted making up the attack. In 2009, New Yorker William McCaffrey was released after serving four years of a 20-year prison sentence for a rape his friend Biurny Peguero had made up to explain her injuries from a fight with several women. In 2012 a Michigan man, James Grissom, was freed after nearly 10 years in prison when the woman who accused him, Sara Ylen, was caught making another false allegation (and faking cancer to bilk money from insurance companies and sympathetic donors). Even without a wrongful conviction, the consequences of a false accusation can be devastating—from a terrifying middle-of-the-night arrest to lengthy pretrial detention.
New York DA Admits Half of Rape Claims are False
That false allegations are a major problem has been confirmed by several prominent prosecutors, including Linda Fairstein, who heads the New York County District Attorney's Sex Crimes Unit. Fairstein, the author of Sexual Violence: Our War Against Rape, says, "there are about 4,000 reports of rape each year in Manhattan. Of these, about half simply did not happen."Craig Silverman, a former Colorado prosecutor known for his zealous prosecution of rapists during his 16-year career, says that false rape accusations occur with "scary frequency." As a regular commentator on the Bryant trial for Denver's ABC affiliate, Silverman noted that "any honest veteran sex assault investigator will tell you that rape is one of the most falsely reported crimes." According to Silverman, a Denver sex-assault unit commander estimates that nearly half of all reported rape claims are false.
Idaho Sheriff Indicates Many "Rapes" Are Actually Consensual
Facing Polygraphs, 27% of "Rape" Victims Admitted to Having Lied
Charles P. McDowell, a researcher in the United States Air Force Special Studies Division, studied the 1,218 reports of rape that were made between 1980 and 1984 on Air Force bases throughout the world (McDowell, 1985). Of those, 460 were found to be "proven" allegations either because the "overwhelming preponderance of the evidence" strongly supported the allegation or because there was a conviction in the case. Another 212 of the total reports were found to be "disproved" as the alleged victim convincingly admitted the complaint was a "hoax" at some point during the initial investigation. The researchers then investigated the 546 remaining or "unresolved" rape allegations including having the accusers submit to a polygraph. Twenty-seven percent (27%) of these complainants admitted they had fabricated their accusation just before taking the polygraph or right after they failed the test. (It should be noted that whenever there was any doubt, the unresolved case was re-classified as a "proven" rape.) Combining this 27% with the initial 212 "disproved" cases, it was determined that approximately 45% of the total rape allegations were false.In fact, only 2% of rape accusations are true:
That's why rape shield laws exist. They're meant to protect victims, but it's now becoming clear that the "victim" in many accusations is actually the accused. Activists often claim that the number of false accusations is between 2 percent and 10 percent. But these statistics refer only to accusations that are proven false. An equally small number of cases result in convictions, so following the same logic, we should also be claiming that just 2 percent of rape accusations are true.Characteristics of a False Rape Report
Therefore, if you were going to file a false report of sexual assault, you would probably describe a sexual assault that looks like the stereotype of “real rape” that we have discussed at such length throughout this article. For this reason, it is not surprising that the potential indicators of a false report are actually the same as the stereotypic characteristics of “real rape.”