Actually, it’s probably a whole lot lower than that, based on the fact that 1 in 16 women have been forced during their first sexual experience. “This is not “flirting gone awry” or miscommunication between partners about whether or not the sex was mutually desired — it’s out and out predatory rape from men who have intentionally selected younger, less confident and less likely to be able to resist targets. These men believe that women owe them sex and should these girls be reluctant or resist, they will simply coerce them or force them to comply.”

The most comprehensive research about false accusations indicates that the cultural narrative you are subscribing to is completely off base.

“Sandra Newman notes that even within that group, a comparatively small number of false accusations that are made are ever reported to the authorities. Although personal gain and revenge are often motives, they almost never involve previous lovers. Teenaged girls may indicate they’ve been assaulted to get out of trouble with parents for missing curfew or being discovered to be sexually active, but in these instances, it’s overwhelmingly the parents who are insisting on pursuing reporting and not the girls themselves.”

But if a woman without any history of dramatic falsehoods says she went home with a man and, after they’d kissed a while consensually, he held her down and forced her into sex — in the absence of compelling evidence to the contrary, you can just assume it’s true. This is not because of any political dictum like “Believe women.” It’s because this story looks exactly like tens of thousands of date rapes that happen every year, and nothing at all like a false rape accusation.

“Furthermore, in the most detailed study ever conducted of sexual assault reports to police, undertaken for the British Home Office in the early 2000s, out of 216 complaints that were classified as false, only 126 had even gotten to the stage where the accuser lodged a formal complaint. Only 39 complainants named a suspect. Only six cases led to an arrest, and only two led to charges being brought before they were ultimately deemed false. (Here, as elsewhere, it has to be assumed that some unknown percentage of the cases classified as false actually involved real rapes; what they don’t involve is countless innocent men’s lives being ruined.)”

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Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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