My wording of this study results differs in a significant way than it will be quoted by those who view this study as confirming what they already knew.
In almost every fifth incident, or, in 18.3 % cases to be precise, rape is used as a weapon to malign and attempt revenge, found a group of psychologists who assist Delhi Police in investigating sexual assault allegations. [...]
In the face of such cases, the five-year study assumes significance. Sexual assault is tricky to investigate and wrong convictions can harm the falsely accused and discredit the ordeal of real rape victims. Zero tolerance to sexual crime has a flip side to it as a person’s testimony can be taken at face-value in the absence of evidence or corroboration.
Since this result came from psychologists, this result is not a measurement of the findings of proof or even supporting evidence. It is mostly a measurement of how reports matched the expectations of those psychologists.
It is an accurate measurement of perception about false rape reports which is not the same as being an accurate measurement of the reality of false rape reports.
The number I would want to see is what percentages of the studied rape reports were proven to be fraudulent through objective evidence. That data was conspicuously absent from this story.
When assumptions are made that a report of rape was false, when there was no evidence proving the report to be false, and that is followed by attempts to get the alleged rape victim to recant, that injects errors into the measurement because the innocent who are also rape victims can be coerced into false confessions.
Error-prone methodology can be enshrined in textbooks. Too often when people talk about errors in rape cases the only errors they count are errors that harm alleged rapists.
Many people acknowledge the existence of false confessions when the confession comes from an alleged rapist or an alleged rapist/murderer but deny this same fact when the confession comes from an alleged rape victim.
The examples given are used to make all of the 18.3% of rape cases studied to seem validly false, but that is no more valid than using a few horrific rape cases to prove that all rape reports are true.
One of the examples was of a girl who was gang raped but her rapists weren't strangers, but family members who threatened her if she identified them. The cause of the false details in this case came from the real rapists not the real rape victim.
What the second quoted paragraph overlooks is that wrongful accusations against real rape victims also discredits the ordeal of real rape victims. But that harm never gets mentioned since the study results are assumed to be 100% accurate even though the report acknowledges that rape cases are tricky to investigate.
In cases of false allegations, it’s the structure of the stories that most often give the game away. ‘‘The pre and post-sequence, the language used and the structure of events is obvious when it is coached,’’ says the clinical psychologist.
This methodology is dangerous since it is not based on evidence. Many real rape victims don't want to relive their rapes or may not be able to do so in a way that strikes a clinical psychologist as authentic. There was a long stretch of time where remembering my rapes was like watching a bad movie that happened to a stranger. If I'd tried to describe those memories they would have sounded artificial and completely lacking in emotion.
This mismatch between assumption and proof would become clear if the 81.7% of rape cases not listed as false were to result in convictions based on this assessment alone. This assessment cannot be both valid proof against alleged rape victims and be invalid as proof against alleged rapists.
This finding tells us more about those psychologists and the practices used when a case cannot be proven or disproven through evidence collected by the police than it does about the rape cases they evaluated.
An example of the mismatch between assumption and proof is contained in a recent India Supreme Court ruling which was highlighted in the post Absurd Reason for Rape Acquittal at Lawmatters.in. Where the Orissa High Court judgment included: "Law is well settled that it is not possible for a single man to commit sexual intercourse with a healthy adult female in full possession of her senses against her will."
This ruling mirrors the Italian court ruling that women in jeans cannot be raped which took almost a decade before this defense strategy failed in Italian court. Both rulings are based on the fallacy that if someone or a group of people cannot understand how a particular rape could happen that this is proof that the rape did not in fact happen.
Any psychologist who agrees with this overturned Orissa High Court ruling will quickly classify many real rapes as false and once that faulty conclusion is made then that expert will have no trouble declaring that there is a vengeful motivation behind a genuine report of rape wrongly labeled as false.