Fact Checking Feminist Claims About False Rape Accusations: Part 2

In the first part of this series, I discussed the reason for the feminist backlash against discussing false rape accusations, and tackled LefthandedLunatic’s (LhL) opening arguments regarding false rape accusations.

This brings me to the author’s list of statistics, which prove to be rather misleading, and given the repeated nature of the inaccuracies, misrepresentations, and omissions, I am inclined to believe this was deliberate. For example, the first citation is a 2012 report from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. LhL cites this section about false reporting:

  • A multi-site study of eight U.S. communities including 2,059 cases of sexual assault found a 7.1 percent rate of false reports (Lonsway, Archambault, & Lisak, 2009).
  • A study of 136 sexual assault cases in Boston from 1998-2007 found a 5.9 percent rate of false reports (Lisak et al., 2010).
  • Using qualitative and quantitative analysis, researchers studied 812 reports of sexual assault from 2000-2003 and found a 2.1 percent rate of false reports (Heenan & Murray 2006).

What the author fails to also cite is the context:

To date, much of the research conducted on the prevalence of false allegations of sexual assaults is unreliable because of inconsistencies with definitions and methods employed to evaluate data (Archambault, n.d.). A review of research finds that the prevalence of false report is between 2 percent and 10 percent. The following studies support these findings[…]

In other words, the studies the report cites are admittedly inaccurate, which in turns means that neither the researchers nor the police have any real idea how frequently false accusations occur. They merely have data on the instances they caught, which they inexplicably combine with cases that lacked enough evidence to prosecute.

None of these studies can tell us how many reported cases are actually false, how many make it through to trial, or how many result in conviction, which makes this claim from the report rather presumptuous:

Research shows that rates of false reporting are frequently inflated, in part because of inconsistent definitions and protocols, or a weak understanding of sexual assault. Misconceptions about false reporting rates have direct, negative consequences and can contribute to why many victims don’t report sexual assaults (Lisak et al., 2010). To improve the response to victims of sexual violence, law enforcement and service providers need a thorough understanding of sexual violence and consistency in their definitions, policies and procedures.

That is not at all what the research shows, however, it does fit with the feminist narrative that false accusations rarely occur, which is the purpose of the report. It is meant to dismiss the concern about false accusations, not investigate the actual frequency of false accusations.

LhL goes on to state:

Now I know that 2-10% is alot and enough to give anyone pause considering how epidemic sexual assault is.

That would not appear to be the case. The author cites a study that showed:

[…] that between 2006 to 2010 the Average number of false rape accusations or baseless accusations was 5.55%, and robbery had a higher false and baseless accusation rate of 5.76%

It appears LhL thinks a 0.21% difference is evidence of the rarity of false rape accusations, so it would be fair to conclude that the author does not 2-10% is “a lot”.

The author continues: Continue reading