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Campaign reaction

...what of the false allegations?

While I agree that there is never any excuse for rape and I abhor those who think that those who dress provocatively "ask for it" - I think it has to be considered that there are allegations made wrongly as a result of "buyers remorse".

The real victims in these circumstances are the accused - innocent save for the foolish act of misplaced passion who has reputation and life ruined by false accusation. The alleged victim is granted anonymity while the accused is publically humiliated and tarnished for life. Once the truth is revealed, the public soon forget the accuser ... its a life sentence for the innocent one.

I have never been in this position but know of one who has - open and shut case of false accusation but the public memory lives on - his life ruined.

There is no excuse for rape this must be promoted heavily - but let's not forget that there are occasions when rape has not actually been rape at all - merely morning after regret.

Author: David, Male, Fife
Date: 07/07/2010

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Replies to this post

'Buyers remorse' is a horrible phrase to use in this context and deeply insulting.
Let us not forget the reality that false accusations of rape are actually very low (the frequency that this is reported in the media in comparison to the reporting of rape may help to skew perceptions as might the fact that even those reports of 'false accusation' are often untrue but this aspect doesn't get reported). Someone else on the site has mentioned this too i think, that the stats for false accusations are somewhere around 2%, the same as for any other crime but we don't hear about that.
It's just another myth to let men who rape off the hook and to maintain the blame on women.
It would be awful for someone to be wrongly convicted of any crime but given the tiny conviction rates for rape, the difficulty in getting cases to court, the barriers stopping women from reporting, the trauma of going through a trial etc.. i think the numbers of people wrongly convicted is likely to be minescule.

Author: angry, Female, scotland
Date: 08/07/2010

I don't doubt that being falsely accused, of any crime, is a damaging and life altering experience. The stigma attached to women who have been raped is also huge and long lasting whether or not there is a conviction.

There is no evidence that malicious accusations (where the accuser is aware that the defendant did not commit rape and is persuing the defendant maliciously) is any higher in rape cases than for other crimes. Where they do occur, people face charges resulting in prison sentences for false accusations.

With all due respect to the experience of your friend, I don't agree that 'morning after regret' is a widespread scenario - going through a prosecution of rape is by no means an easy thing to do. With intimate, intrusive examination, reliving the experience repeatedly to inform police, lawyers, the court, not to mention any stigma they might face.

That's not to say that there aren't malicious accusations and also that there aren't other situations where there is mistaken identity - i.e. the person has been raped but not by the defendant, or where a victim falsely believes they has been attacked (whether through alcohol or drug use, mental health, or learning difficulties) or indeed where consent has been disputed because it was assumed and the victim was unable to express dissent. (Which makes it important for people to express and request wholehearted consent, particuarly when embarking on sex with a new partner who's nonverbal signals maybe unfamiliar and a misunderstanding more likely).

There is no reason why rape defendants should be treated with more sensitivity than defendants of murder, GBH or child abuse. All it does is suggest that the victim in the case of rape is uniquely not to be believed.

Author: Pamela, Female, Montrose
Date: 08/07/2010

I have sympathy and compassion for any person wrongly accused of any crime. The ultimate victims in the scenario described above are genuine victims of rape and sexual assault whose testimony has a starting point of suspicion and disbelief. A tiny minority of women make knowingly false accusations of rape and the other 98% suffer as a consequence. Women are quick to criticize women who disservice them in this way and identify with the vast majority of women who would never dream of behaving in that way. One of the worrying things about our culture is that men identify with the tiny minority of men who are accused of rape by an even tinier minority of women. I don't think women can change this attitude on our own.

Author: Cath, Female, Scotland
Date: 09/07/2010

In addition to what I have said above, it is the responsibility of police gathering evidence and the crown prosecution service to ferret out malicious allegations. There is no evidence that they are unable to do this in rape cases opposed to other crimes.

In the case of the genuinely innocent: making it so that the defendant's name is kept out of the papers will not stop local people, friends, family and employers know that the person is accused - as anyone in a courtroom can hear and see this for themselves. Even if the defendant could keep things completely secret - I've no doubt being tried for a crime you didn't commit would have a horrible affect on someone.

So anonimity won't help, only making sure that the police do the best job of evidence gathering and scruitiny of the case by Crown Prosecution Service and any other relevant professionals will minimise the chance of wrongful prosecution.

Author: Pamela, Female, Montrose
Date: 09/07/2010

Cath: 'One of the worrying things about our culture is that men identify with the tiny minority of men who are accused of rape by an even tinier minority of women.'

Hear, hear.

It says a lot that someone's first reaction to an anti-rape campaign would be "But what about the innocent menz??"

Author: Nick, Male, Singapore
Date: 12/07/2010

The idea that 2% of rape allegations are false, and that this is the same as for other crimes is a myth. It dates back to 1974, and is sourced to a speech made by Federal Judge Lawrence Cooke. It appears to be the unfounding rate for rape reports in New York City for one or more years prior to the speech, but in truth, nobody knows for certainly where it did came from. Those involved in preparing the speech were contacted in 2000, and none could remember how they came by that figure.

Author: Daran, Male, Aberdeen
Date: 19/07/2010

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“Rape seems to be the only crime where it's seen as ok to put the victim on trial.”

Natasha, Female from Glasgow

“Short skirts don't cause rape. Rapists cause rape”

Joss, Female from Connecticut

“About time something like this was shown on TV. Hopefully it will make everyone realise there cannot be any excuse for rape - EVER.”

Helzo, Female from Renfrewshire