Rape is one of the worst human experiences known to its victims. More than not, the victims are women and children, which tends to greatly outrage the media more than most other crimes. In recent times, however, there has been a split in how the general public responds to allegations of rape.
Some quickly flock to the defense of the damsel in distress or the children involved. Others begin to raise questions about whether or not the claim is a true one. This is particularly true when the woman knows the person she accuses or the man publicly declares his innocence.
Over the past few years, sympathizers have admitted that false claims are possible. This is not always intentional. A woman may honestly mistake the identity of a stranger with someone else who closely resembles him or reminds her of him. Still, there are instances when people deliberately accuse someone of a crime they did not commit.
The Washington Times reports that most people claim only about 2% of rape allegations are false. Similarly, in the 1990s, an FBI agent believed that as few as 8% of rape allegations were false. An even more recent study claims that up to 40% of rape allegations may be false. Even in the military, investigators dismiss a quarter of allegations for lack of evidence, though admittedly, lack of evidence does not mean the incident never happened.
Psychology Today puts forward that this may be the reason for the wide variances. It believes that many researchers confuse an unfounded allegation with a false one. There are instances where a victim may not have sustained physical injuries or where proof is difficult because of the existence of a romantic relationship at the time of the incident.
Further research might be necessary to draw a clear line between the two. Researchers may also need to better define how they decide what counts as an untrue or unproven accusation. Until then, the figures nonetheless stand as high as 40% for false accusations.