One thing we hear from rape apologists and misogynists is that the incidence of rape might be taken more seriously if it wasn’t for all the false reports. One line from the film “The General’s Daughter” comes to mind:
“You know what rape usually is? It’s a woman who changes her mind afterward.”
There’s a pervasive idea out there that many, if not most, women who claim rape do so simply because they later regret a sexual encounter and are trying to absolve themselves of the shame, or because they’re trying to get back at some man who upset them or hurt them (or some other stupid reason).
But guess what? That’s not true.
According to an article on Feminspire, in the U.K., studies of the reports of rape found that a whopping .03 percent are false. Her source for that is The Guardian, whose source is a report from The Crown Prosecution Service. So…three hundredths of a percentage of all rape reports there are false. The author of the article, Chelsea Liebow, wonders why the disconnect between reality and what people think. She writes:
Studies of rape cases that have been through the criminal justice system in Britain have shown that the rate of false accusations pales at .03% of all reported rapes and domestic violence situations. Yes, .03%, meaning 99.97% of rape and domestic violence cases reported are the cold hard truth.
Liebow also discusses that, according to RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network), for every 100 rapes, there are only 47 reported. Only 12 lead to an arrest, and only 3 will ever see the inside of a jail cell in the United States. She believes that statistics as abysmal as this are why many women never come forward. Along with that is the fact that many women know nobody will believe them. Why is that the case, when so few allegations are actually false?
Liebow’s conclusion is this:
“But [people] have to understand that the sexual climate in which we’ve been raised in this country teaches women to keep silent about our real wants and needs in the bedroom for fear of emasculation, rejection, and sometimes our own safety. We are afraid to speak up because we have been taught that we cannot.”
Men also learn, growing up, that sex is something women owe them for money spent, for giving a shoulder, for any number of things. It’s a payment for services rendered. It’s also required when a woman shows interest; we’re not allowed to “change our minds,” even if actually having sex with someone wasn’t on our minds when we were flirting.
Then we’re teases, prudes, what-have-you. The idea that false rape allegations happen all the time comes in part from that, too. “She obviously wanted it. She was giving me signals all night,” becomes “She said yes,” even when she didn’t.
That statistic out of the U.K.’s study is damning to all those who claim that women lie about rape “all the time.” As Liebow notes, not all cases are open and shut, black and white. Many of them are gray, but the bottom line is, if she feels she was violated because she never said yes, or was too intoxicated to give informed consent, it IS rape.