I’d be interested to know how you went from being feminist-critical to where you are now.

Also, for those interested in the statistics, and who want to know about the demographics of who makes a false claim, here’s what I found when I wrote something similar around the time of the Kavanaugh hearing.

“Statistically, somewhere between 2–10% of accusations of sexual assault are indeed false accusations, but the story doesn’t end there. In “What Kind of Person Makes False Rape Accusations,” Sandra Newman explains:”

adult false accusers who persist in pursuing charges have a previous history of bizarre fabrications or criminal fraud. Indeed, they’re often criminals whose family and friends are also criminals; broken people trapped in chaotic lives.

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.”

“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.)

False accusers almost never tell stories that could, by any stretch of the imagination, be seen as an innocent misunderstanding. In a study of false rape claims made to the Los Angeles Police Department, 78% involved claims of aggravated rape — assaults involving a gun or knife, gang rapes, and/or attacks resulting in injuries.

When a woman says she’s been brutally raped by seven men at a public party on a bed of broken glass, as the UVA accuser did, and when that woman has a history of strange lies, as the UVA accuser also did, there’s nothing wrong with being skeptical. 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.”

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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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