Debunking the Misconceptions that Women "Cry Rape"

As a college woman, one of the most irritating things to hear come out of a guy’s mouth is anything along the lines of “I don’t actively talk to women anymore because I don’t want to be accused of rape.” I’ve heard so many variations of this statement, and I hear it often. Not only is it incorrect, but it’s a bit disheartening. 2017 brought about several moments of awareness for sexual assault and violence and it is so inspiring to see victims from around the globe telling their stories and raising awareness. However, these increased awareness attempts do not correlate to an increase in false accusations of rape.

These snide comments that they were making just didn’t seem right. So I did my research. Before I get started, I do want to note that I used different sources for my statistics, and each organization uses different sampling methods and had different response rates so the percentages may be different for different organizations. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), in a 2015 report, “rape is the most under-reported crime; 63% of sexual assaults are not reported to police.” RAINN, the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network, makes it easier to grasp. Out of every 1000 rapes, 310 are reported to the police.

According to the NSVRC, of this small percentage of actual reported sexual assaults (37% for NSVRC and 31% for RAINN), false reporting is between 2-10%. A study of eight U.S. communities of 2,059 total cases of sexual assault, only 7.1% of those were false reports. Another study of 136 sexual assaults in Boston found that only 5.9% were false reports. 812 reports of sexual assault were studied and it was found that only 2.1% of them were false reports.

In fact, according to an article by Quartz, two different studies have found that half of all false rape complaints are made by someone other than the victim. It’s also interesting to note that adult false accusers who pursue charges typically have a history of fabrications or criminal fraud. Contrary to popular belief, relatively few of the wrongful accusers were seeking revenge. False accusations just don’t happen in our hookup culture. This is determined because false accusers fabricate stories that could never be mistaken for an innocent misunderstanding. A study of false rape claims made to the Los Angeles Police Department found that 78% involved claims of aggravated rape which involved the use of weapons and/or the attack resulted in injury.

For more information and statistics about sexual assault, visit the following: