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False Allegations and Sexual Assault: An In-Depth Look

The idea of false rape allegations has caught the imagination of our country in a major way. Unfortunately, the high profile cases involving these false allegations serve as a reminder that they are more than just imagination. Cases like the false gang rape allegations at the University of Virginia are fodder for every person who wishes to highlight the danger of false rape allegations. The problem is much of the conversation regarding this matter has fueled a number of dangerous false narratives.

Innocent Men and Rape Charges

No one agrees on the percentage of rape allegations that prove to be false, but estimates range from 2 to 10 percent. It is important to note, however, that men accused falsely of committing rape are often able to escape serious damage to their lives.

It is difficult for some people to believe that the lives of most men are not irreversibly damaged when falsely accused of rape due to the severe penalties attached to such a crime. The National Registry of Exonerations reports that since 1989, only 52 men have been exonerated due to the false rape allegations. This number is compared to 790 overturned murder cases. This means that men falsely accused of rape are often able to dissolve these matters before spending substantial time in jail.

Motives for False Reports

One academic study identified teenage girls as the most likely source of a false rape allegation. Teenage girls often make these allegations to avoid getting into trouble with their parents. Additionally, half of the rape complaints are initiated by a person other than the alleged victims. Many times parents are an original complainant.

Another common source of false rape allegations is a "victim" in search of medical care or psychiatric medication. Most times, these accusers do not pursue the allegations they make once they have obtained what they needed.

False Accuser Profile

Unfortunately, some false accusers do continue forward with the cases they initiate. And because it is impossible to identify false and real rape victims on sight, it can be uncomfortable to talk much about either group. A good point to remember is that real rape victims have no distinguishing qualities at all. They can be young or old, a member of any race or ethnic background, and rich or poor.

One striking pattern that has been identified among false rape accusers who continue forward with allegations is a prior history of criminal fraud. These people are often broken and come from environments filled with crime and violence. One false accuser that fits this description is Duke Lacrosse team accuser Crystal Mangum. Ms.Mangum had reported a false rape and kidnapping on a previous occasion.

Motivation

Despite the similar histories shared by many false rape accusers, they often file claims for several different reasons.

Three of the main motivations for false rape allegations include:

  • Personal Gain - Accusers who make false rape reports are similar in personality to individuals that purposely slip and fall in a public place to file a lawsuit. This type of false rape accuser often claims a sexual assault on government property or by a government employee.
  • Mental Illness - People who have severe psychosis have been known to allege instances of rape that never took place. Many of these false accusers have a personality disorder that compels them to make fictitious assault claims.
  • Revenge - Revenge is another common motive for false rape accusations. What may surprise a lot of people, however, is the fact that this revenge almost never is in response to being dumped by the accused. The potential reasons for these revenge accusations are endless. Two examples are a woman who was upset with the number of drugs she purchased and a woman who accused a man whom she believed stole a truck from her husband.

Get The Help You Need

If you or someone you know is accused falsely of rape allegations, it is in your best interest to move as quickly as possible in your own defense. These matters are complicated legal issues, and you should trust a skilled attorney with experience in these matters to fight on your behalf.

The attorneys at Schweitzer & Davidian Law firm have served the interests of clients in the Fresno, California area for more than a quarter of a century. Lawyers at the firm are available to clients through the most trying times of their lives.

You can call the dedicated attorneys at Schweitzer & Davidian at (559) 206-2322.