Saturday, January 03, 2009

Why Women Allegedly Lie About Rape

A few days before Christmas I was sent the following article by Randi James. I didn't have time to do more than glance at it until now. I will quote and respond to it in sections.

By Paul Clements

The National Organization for Women, radical feminists, and Women’s
Studies departments, often deny that women make false accusations
about rape by asking the naïve, simplistic, and self-serving question:
“Why would a woman lie?”
This intro sets up the biased agenda of this supposedly objective list.

Feminists are positioned as self-serving and monolithic while Paul Clements quietly positions himself as being the opposite of naive, simplistic and self-serving.

If any woman asks the question "Why would this woman lie?" in response to a barrage of unfounded accusations about an alleged rape victim then many like Clements wrongly claim that this woman therefore denies that any woman ever has or ever will file a fraudulent rape report.

Notice that this article is not titled, Why people lie about rape. Clements positions men as exempt from those who lie about rape or who lie about having been raped. That is a deliberate choice which is based on nothing more than gender.

Men have lied about not being rapists. In fact, this is so normal that it often gets forgotten that an alleged rapist's proclamation of innocence is by itself meaningless whether it is, "I didn't touch her," or "she consented." Men have also lied when they claim they were raped.

Just as with women and girls who report having been raped there is no credible evidence that the rate of fraudulent rape reports by men exceeds that of fraudulent crime reports overall.

The only reason for Clements to overlook the fact that men do lie about rape is that he doesn't want men who report having been raped or who are identified as alleged rapists to be viewed in the same harsh manner that he wants women who report having been raped to be viewed.

Clements wants men to be baselessly assumed to be more honest than women when it comes to rape cases whether they are the accused or the accuser. That cannot be described as anything other than self-serving.

Most of the time when I see people giving a list of motives for fraudulent rape reports, they are doing so in order to use the existence of a possible motive as proof that the reported rape never happened or as proof that there is so much doubt about the rape victim's credibility that the woman's rapist should never be rightfully prosecuted or rightfully convicted.

Despite no evidence that the report is fraudulent most girls and women who were raped can be dismissed as possibly being one of the multitude of rape liars.

For example, if a woman kicks her husband out of the house at the same time she reports that he raped her, the cited motive is to give her a false advantage in a bitter divorce. This view overlooks the fact that being raped by your husband might make a wife so upset that she would rightfully accuse him while also seeking to end the marriage.

Not surprisingly if a wife doesn't immediately kick her husband out after a rape then that is frequently used as proof that the report is false. Motives to back up this theory will be easy to find.

Any choice in accurate reporting of rape can be assigned motivations which are associated with false rape reports.

These all-inclusive motives which are cited frequently by those who chant, "women lie about rape," actually make those motives useless in evaluating the validity of a rape report. That means that using motives to justify having the criminal justice system treat women who report having been raped as the first person who should be viewed as being on trial are invalid.

It turns out that there are plenty of reasons women lie about rape,
either deliberately or out of desperation.

A U.S. Air Force study, “The False Rape Allegation in the Military
Community (1983) investigated 556 cases of alleged rape, and found a
60% rate of false accusations. As part of the study, women who were
found to have made false accusations were asked “WHY?”
The problem with using this study is that the US military has a bad track record in how it responds to rape of soldiers by other soldiers. When an organization has a motivation to deny violence within it's ranks then their studies about official rulings on the validity of rape reports cannot be viewed as objective.

There are investigative methods which advocate for having investigators seek recantations before a genuine investigation of the evidence even begins. This is an injustice that too many who claim to be against injustice support because it allegedly saves the innocent (men) from suspicion.

The 60% rate measures how Air Force investigators classified the reports they investigated as part of this study. It does not measure the actual rate of false accusations. Once the base measurement becomes unreliable then all conclusions based on that measurement also become invalid.

Those who cite this Air Force study or Kanin's study as proof (either stated or implied) that a majority of rape reports are false will regularly dismiss all studies which find that rape is common -- and which support claims that there is a low rate of fraudulent rape reports -- or which show that most perpetrators of rape are male.

This happens despite research that false admissions can be coerced by those in positions of authority. These false confessions can be coerced from innocent alleged rapists and they can be coerced from real rape victims yet you wouldn't know about this second group if you only listened to those who repeat, "Women lie about rape."

Motivations given by the women who acknowledged they had made false


Spite or revenge 20

To compensate for feelings of guilt or shame 20

Thought she might be pregnant 13

To conceal an affair 12

To test husbands’ love 9

Mental/emotional disorder 9

To avoid personal responsibility 4

Failure to pay, or extortion 4

Thought she might have caught VD 3

Other 6

TOTAL 100 %
Notice that most of these motives can be assigned by investigators and observers when a rightful report of rape is made.

The motive to avoid personal responsibility is an interesting one considering concepts such as deserved rape.

The study found that most false accusations are “instrumental” – they
served a purpose. If the purpose isn’t avoiding guilt, or getting
revenge, it might serve a more focused purpose, for example, telling
her parents; “I didn’t just go out and get pregnant, I was raped.”
Or, telling her husband, “I didn’t have an affair, it wasn’t my fault,
I was raped.”
Again the problem is that these instrumental motives can easily be read into genuine reports of rape. A young teen might report real rape because of a pregnancy scare. A wife who is raped by an acquaintance can be falsely accused by her rapist using the motivation that she only reported rape in order to hide an affair.

An unrelated Washington Post article, “Unfounded Rape Reports Baffle Investigators” (6/27/1992) also found a wide range of motivations to
falsely accuse men of rape. Anger toward boyfriends was common. One
woman had her boyfriend spend 13 months in jail before she
acknowledged that she had lied. One woman accused her newspaper
delivery man of raping her at gunpoint because she needed an excuse to
be late to work.

Neither woman was prosecuted or even reprimanded for lying to the
police and attempting to have a man frivolously imprisoned. In a
recent US case, police say a young woman who admitted to falsifying
two rape reports only wanted a day off from work.

If these women were not prosecuted then it is only an allegation that they committed the crime of filing a fraudulent rape report. Not surprisingly, "innocent until proven guilty" which is a mantra of many of those like Clements gets forgotten when they are talking about women and false rape reports.

If a woman is accused of lying about rape or reportedly recanted then for these people no due process rights apply.

All rape accusations need to be considered seriously, as, no doubt,
rape does occur. But a balance needs to be maintained between the
claims of the accuser against the all-too-often legitimate denial of
the accused.
Here we get the required disclaimer that male on female rape isn't totally a myth. Clements has to know that a total denial of rape would be easily debunked. So he just flirts with treating rape like like a myth.

His disclaimer reveals that Clements has a clear and huge bias against women who disclose having been raped and against those who want to see all reported rapes investigated. To paraphrase Clements:
All rape accusations need to be considered seriously, as, no doubt, not all women who report rape are liars.
Clements' desired balance is not in any way a desire for justice. It is a desire to have any possible motive for a false rape report used to dismiss that rape report.

Women who are found to have made a false sexual assault complaint
should receive the same jail sentence as the male victim would have
received if he had been convicted. That will put the brakes on fake
rape charges.
This equivalency diminishes the seriousness of rape.

Instead of reducing the number of fraudulent rape reports this move would severely reduce the number of genuine rape reports because of what could happen to rape victims who are falsely accused of filing a fraudulent police report.

Notice again that Clements doesn't suggest that, "People who are found to have made a false sexual assault complaint ..." His vengeful fantasy is directed solely at women who report rape.

Hmm. I wonder if Clements will put together a list of motives for men who want to see women who report rape treated like rapists.

I'll help him out with that list by giving him the top motive:

1) Rapists want to avoid legal accountability for their crimes.
"Put somewhat differently, 999,992 men and 999,997.7 per million women
do not kill their spouse. I would say that is not then a gender issue.
If such a miniscule group of either gender kills, then something else
beside gender must be involved. Government ministries that repeatedly
misrepresent domestic violence statistics to perpetuate their
existence do no favours to taxpayers, be they male or female”
This framing of gender violence deliberately diminishes the problem of rape and domestic violence and seeks to erase any gendered difference in who successfully rationalizes murdering a spouse and it completely ignores that most rapists are men.

Violence can be gendered without the person's sex organs or biology being responsible for that violence.

Lying is not a gendered behavior since everyone can lie yet Clements positions that as a gendered behavior. When it is convenient for Clements, he denies gender is involved and when it is convenient for him, he places gender front and center.

Distributed by
Jeremy Swanson
Fathers and Men's Rights Activist
Ottawa, Ontario
This distribution can easily be seen as having self-serving motivations. Yet only NOW and feminists are positioned as being self-serving.

Go figure.

It shouldn't take you very long.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:28 AM   17 comments links to this post


At January 03, 2009 1:48 PM, Blogger Rj said...

Thank you.

At January 03, 2009 11:52 PM, Blogger BloggerT7165 said...

Thank you Marcella. Your approach of saying "people" rather than one gender or another is refreshing.

The thing I find odd is that I never hear about "false allegations" when I talk about other crimes but as soon as sexual assault is raised one of the first things brought up is "but what about false allegations?". Yes they do happen and that is a tragedy. But the offenders themselves (both male and female) lie much more often.

As for false allegations, that is why our system is set up so that the accused is innocent until proven guilty.

At January 04, 2009 11:41 AM, Blogger Michael J. Murphy said...

"...that is why our system is set up so that the accused is innocent until proven guilty."

This is one of the major flaws in dealing with false allegations. Many men are sent to prison, their lives ruined, their families torn apart when false allegations are made. The resultant devastation far greater and widespread than one would think. The Duke case, fortunately, was figured out before those boys went to jail for a very long time.

Their lives, however, are forever changed and I suspect will haunt them as long as they live, yet they did nothing wrong. When one is cast into the abyss and darkness of false allegations then, and possibly only then, can one understand the utter devastation it causes.

Mr. Clement's is trying to make a point about the seriousness of these false allegations. The victim of false allegations is affected for life, as would be a real rape victim. The target of a false allegation is a real victim and will need ongoing help to overcome the trauma. The accuser cannot be allowed to walk away. They need to understand the seriousness of their actions and thast can only happen if the punishment is serious.

We have had cases in Canada where false allegations have been made resulting in the death of the alleged perpetrator and those making the allegations walked away. That is injustice to the extreme.

At January 04, 2009 12:38 PM, Blogger Rj said...

Holy crap, Michael Murphy made it to your blog!

As you have said before, Marcella, it is amazing how the same people do not come to bat on the false allegations of other crimes

Mr. Clement's is trying to make a point about the seriousness of these false allegations.

Clement negated the "seriousness" of his article by his dismissive attitude throughout. All of this was no more than a scare tactic which prevents women from reporting rape--thus the rapists escape any responsibility and the cycle continues.

At January 04, 2009 12:46 PM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...


If you are right and Mr. Clements is only trying to make a point about the seriousness of false allegations, he failed completely.

Rapists and others regularly make false allegations against real rape victims which changes the lives of these rape victims forever and not just emotionally.

These rapists, and those who help them, also do serious damage to the truly innocent alleged rapist yet they repeatedly get a free pass from men who speak out against false allegations.

These false allegations against crime victims can result in real rape victims being wrongfully charged with a crime, tainted forever despite a lack of criminal charges (and therefore more vulnerable to other rapists who know this person will be labeled as a serial false accuser), or it can result in guilty rapists going free.

Yet Clements only acknowledges that, "not all women who report rape are liars."

That is not the expression of someone interested in unbiased justice when it comes to rape cases.

When he deals with allegations of a fraudulent rape report as if that is identical to proof then he disproves his opposition to false and unfounded allegations.

If you don't understand -- or refuse to understand -- any of this you are not credible on the topic of false allegations.

At January 04, 2009 3:59 PM, Blogger Michael J. Murphy said...

Not once in my comment did I mention the word rape. One needs to read for comprehension as well as content.

I have not yet met a man who did not abhor any slime who would sexually assault a women. Even when those people go to jail I am told they are pretty close to the bottom of the dog pile, perhaps just above child abusers.

My argument is about false allegations and the impact they have on the target. They happen all too frequently and one of the outcomes is the real crimes don't get treated with the same seriousness they deserve. That may then dissuade a victim coming forward.

You ought not assume anything about me or my degree of credibility. I understand far more than most what false allegations can do to a person's reputation and life. It would appear from your last comment you walk a fine line between the emotional and the rational when it comes to others opinions.

I understand this given what you have gone through. The slime who did it would not last long in my company.

Best wishes.

At January 04, 2009 4:04 PM, Blogger Michael J. Murphy said...

I apologize

I did use the word rape once.

Mea Culpa.

My argument is more broadly defined than the topic of rape and applies to any crimes or indeed physical violence of any sort.

At January 04, 2009 5:38 PM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...


Your words are what undermine your credibility. Dismissing me as irrational won't help you to build credibility.

If my history makes me "walk a fine line between the emotional and the rational" then yours does as well when it comes to others opinions since you claim to be speaking from experience.

Your claim that you are talking about all false allegations is contradicted by this: "Many men are sent to prison..."

Your decision to omit the impact of false allegations on half of the population is more than troubling. If you believe that no innocent women have been falsely accused or wrongly sent to prison then you believe a falsehood.

It isn't false rape allegations which dissuade rape victims from coming forward it is how quickly real rape victims are falsely accused of being the only real criminal and how often they are assumed to be guilty of being liars unless they can prove their innocence. It is how often real rape victims are coerced into recanting a genuine report of rape.

Many of those who oppose the concept of "guilty until proven innocent" and demand that everyone view alleged rapists as innocent until they are convicted turn around and avidly support "guilty until proven innocent" when it comes to allegations against those who report having been raped.

The solution to false rape allegations is ethical, skilled and complete investigations of all rape allegations -- even those which investigators instantly assume to be false. If there is actual evidence to back up the assumption that the report is false then the investigation will find it.

At January 05, 2009 9:14 AM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...

To the 3 men who left comments during the night:

Personal attacks against me or all those who report having been raped violate my moderation policy.

To Paul Clements: Calling me a feminazi is a personal attack and disproves your claim that your only interest is in the truth. If you reject the possibility that women can be coerced into making false confessions then you must also reject the possibility that innocent men can be coerced into false confessions. This means that you must reject the exonerations of all men who confessed to committing violent crimes and later recanted.

To Anonymous: It's interesting that the only people who propose castrating all men are people like you who rant against those fighting sexual violence.

At January 05, 2009 9:50 AM, Anonymous Paul Clements said...

You are what you prove yourself to be. You clearly support the idea that all men who are accused are guilty. You further support the clearly disproved feminist ideology that women don't lie.
Your flawed argument flies in the face of ADMISSIONS by the women who DID lie. You only ASSUME that those admissions were coerced, because you are blinded by ideology and an obvious hatred for all men. Further proof of your ideologic lack of logic is the fact that you suppressed comments which disagree with it. Including supportive documents from me. Your only defense at the moment seems to be to disparage the messenger. The facts speak for themselves. Even in studies done by female investigators, a large percentage of women admitted they lied about being raped. Why are you afraid to post the study results I posted? Those studies clearly show, by the women's own ADMISSION that women do lie about rape. My original posting, which was pirated from another web site, only offered the reasons they freely gave for WHY they lied. Why did you post that study, and suppress the others? Why not post them here, and let readers make up their own mind? If your cause is so righteous, why do you have to hide the truth?
You decry what you term as personal attacks on yourself, but do the very same to others. That makes you a hypocrite as well.

At January 05, 2009 10:48 AM, Blogger Rj said...


You clearly support the idea that all men who are accused are guilty.

Did you say this? Point it out.

women don't lie.

Did you say this?

obvious hatred for all men

How do we confirm this?

you suppressed comments which disagree with it.

Is this your blog, or Pauls?

studies done by female investigators

Does this make the results any more or less true?

why do you have to hide the truth?

So this entire blog, since 2006, is about hiding the truth?

Wow. I don't know what to think.

At January 05, 2009 11:28 AM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...

Mr. Clements,

Your statement about me is provably false. I have never supported "the idea that all men who are accused are guilty."

If you will bother to reread this post you will see that I acknowledge fraudulent rape reports by both women and men. I also acknowledge fraudulent accusations against those who report having been raped.

The only one of these you acknowledged is false accusations made by women against men. By your own stated standards that would mean that you have an obvious hatred for all women.

When you make false accusations against me ("an obvious hatred for all men") your claim to be nothing but the messenger of the truth has been proven to be false.

Your assumption that the women in the Air Force study "freely gave" any information can be no more valid than my assumptions that the results of this study are not valid -- because confessions can be coerced.

Yet my assumptions are based on research about techniques which investigators can use to gain false confessions. Your assumptions seem to be based on nothing more than liking the results of the Air Force study.

As for multiple investigators being able to get a large percentage of women to confess that they lied, that reflects on investigator ethics and methodology -- the same standards which can result in false confessions from innocent men accused of violent crimes.

I oppose this methodology across the board. It's wrong to use on those who report rape and it is wrong to use on rape suspects.

I notice that you don't provide any study where actual investigations proved a large percentage of rape reports to be false.

I've posted on Kanin's study (where he selected who to study because he liked their investigative procedures rather than picking them randomly) and I've posted on other studies which commonly get cited by people such as yourself.

Your complaint about having comments rejected is invalid. You have plenty of blogs which will welcome your propoganda.

At January 05, 2009 3:43 PM, OpenID justice4mothers said...

Congrats on being referred to as Feminazis too, Paul had that in in comments to my site last week. Your article was a very intelligent treatment of the post Paul did...I can't get my head wrapped around such an article yet, as the statistics bear out 1 in 4 women will be raped in her lifetime (and I think that number is low..if I am remembering the statisitc right. Great job on your post!

At January 05, 2009 11:13 PM, Blogger Glenn's Cult? said...

I too have been referred to as a feminazi - by Michael and others (notably at Glenn Sacks' site). I simply want people to see that shared parenting as the norm is not the best idea for children. Men who abuse and/or rape will often try to twist the turth to suit their own purpose and by doing this they manage to pass the buck and blame the victim.

Granted my site can at times seem a little 'raw' and 'out-there', I am getting my words out in the only way I know. I was glad to find your blog (thanks to justice and Rj) and please keep up the great work!!!

At July 31, 2010 9:01 PM, Blogger Dani said...

Ok, I have just recently come upon this article as I was researching this project for a psych project.

First of all, I am a young woman, and I have a very close friend my age who has been raped. I will support her to the ends of the earth, and she has suffered much psychologically.

However, I also know of someone who was wrongly accused of rape and now has to suffer the consequences of something he obviously didn't do. And he has suffered much psychologically as well. Even to the point where he has trouble trusting women. But he is probably one of the most kind people I know of.

Now, my point for saying all that is I don't think the writer of that article meant to put women down at all, or insist that women are liers and shouldn't be trusted. If he was, I would be attacking him, too. I am all for women being heard. Hey, I am a woman, and I like to make myself heard as much as possible. However, I think he was merely stating the fact that SOME girls do lie, and there should be consequences. And while i don't agree with most of what he says at the very end of the article, I do believe that this is an issue that should be dealt with. It is unfortunate that girls, for whatever reason, feel the need to wrongly accuse someone of sexual assault. It almost belittles the women who have actually been raped in real life, and are real survivors. Women (and men) who have really been raped are the strongest people in the my friend. She amazes me every day.

But the fact is, people do lie about being raped...and it's scary.

At July 31, 2010 10:24 PM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...


You close by stating a fact (people do lie about being raped) which I have never denied and frequently discuss. Yet your comment positions me as holding a position which I clearly do not hold.

It doesn't matter if the writer of that article didn't mean to put all women down. Misinformation about false allegations and about those who advocate for victims of sexual violence causes real harm. He was not merely stating facts. He opened his article with a falsehood. That eliminates the possibility that he has an objective interest in false allegations.

His primary data comes from a system which is still notorious for it's failure in the way victims of sexual violence are treated. These systemic failures taint the data produced by those investigators.

An important fact of false allegations is that people who honestly reported rape have faced wrongful allegations and wrongful criminal charges. This fact is often ommitted when people call for discussions of innocent people falsely accused.

Some of those who are categorized as having filed a false rape report were coerced into confessions. This coercion undermines the reliability of the confession (and any statistics using this confession) just as it would if a boy or man accused of rape were coerced into a confession by investigators.

Unfortunately, many people who acknowledge men being coerced into false confessions eagerly cite any data which makes a huge percentage of rape reports appear to be false.

When you say you know someone wrongly accused of rape, you don't cite what evidence proves that obvious truth. If you are using his kindness as your evidence that is not reliable since many rapists can be otherwise kind.

If you are correct and your friend was falsely accused, then the approach taken by Paul Clements does nothing to help your friend. And it does nothing to separate him from all the guys who lie when they claim to have been falsely accused.

At July 31, 2010 11:28 PM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...


If you are looking for a better assessment of false rape reports than was provided in the article by Paul Clements which includes an in-depth discussion of the data frequently cited in discussions on this topic, I recommend reading:
False Reports: Moving Beyond the Issue to Successfully Investigate Non-Stranger Sexual Assault (pdf) by The National Center for the Prosecution of Violence Against Women.


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