When discussing false rape allegations, there seem to be two main camps of people.
The first group is people who believe false rape allegations do not happen at all.
The second group believes these allegations do occur, and the main reason they occur is that women are prone to lying — particularly about their sexual encounters.
Both of these trains of thought, of course, are incorrect. In reality, false rape allegations occur from both men and women for any number of reasons.
The sad part is that these false accusations not only make it more difficult to know when someone is telling the truth, but also creates huge problems for those who are falsely accused.
The truth about false rape allegations
Sadly, false accusations of rape do occur — sometimes even in high-profile cases.
In 2014, for example, a student at the University of Virginia published a harrowing tale of gang rape in Rolling Stone, only to retract it as false later on.
And in 2006, an exotic dancer accused three Duke University lacrosse players of rape — an accusation that was later disproven.
As one of the accused said in an interview with 60 Minutes, “I don’t think it really will ever be over … No matter what, you can try to move on, but ‘rape’ will always be associated with my name. ‘Innocent’ might be a part of that, but when I die they’ll say, ‘One of the three Duke lacrosse rape suspects died today.”
So why would someone want to falsely accuse someone else of rape, and how do they choose who to accuse?
The four main categories of false accusers
While of course every situation is different, research has shown that false accusers typically fall into one of the following categories:
- Personal gain
Sometimes the personal gain is financial, or the accuser makes the allegation with the hope of receiving medical or psychiatric care. Other times, they’re hoping to win something from the government or just have a history of making bizarre accusations at their whim.
- Mental illness
Another common misconception about false allegations is that people who suffer from common mental health problems like anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder make these types of accusations. In reality, however, the mental illness accusations usually come from someone with psychosis (who may truly believe they were raped) or a personality disorder.
This is the point people often discuss, and it’s true — many false rape allegations stem from a relationship gone wrong. However, allegations from the “woman scorned” are really not as common as people think. Sometimes, the accusations come from completely random revenge reasons, such as not receiving the amount of drugs they wanted, or being dissatisfied with their doctor.
- The need for an alibi
Another reason someone might falsely accuse someone of rape is the need for an alibi. For example, someone might be covering up an infidelity, or, quite commonly, a teenage girl lies to her parents about a sexual encounter to avoid getting in trouble for missing curfew or an unwanted pregnancy.
Consequences of false allegations
Obviously, one consequence is that people are less likely to believe accusations when a real crime has occurred.
Another problematic consequence regarding false rape allegations is that the accused are either sentenced and convicted, or — at the very least — have to deal with the stigma of these accusations for the rest of their lives.
That’s why it’s so important to make sure the accused always has a defense attorney who is willing and able to fight not only for a not guilty verdict, but to clear their client’s name, as well.
However, there is some good news for victims of these false allegations.
- First, false rape allegations do not often lead to prison time, particularly if the accused has an attorney who can help them reveal the true story.
- Secondly, false accusers often drop the charges when they get what they want — which could be anything from alimony to medical attention, as discussed above.
Contact Jacqui Ford Law today
No matter what the reason for these false allegations, they not only take away from true rape victim stories, but also lead to the innocent accused becoming victim to another type of trauma. At Jacqui Ford Law, we fight for your rights, regardless of the accusation. Contact us today to get started on your case.