With the surfacing of yet another falsified rape allegation, this time by UC nursing student Kristen Lamb of Lebanon, Ohio, many are left questioning just how many rape claims are fabricated. Statistics show that such fake claims happen at an unfathomable rate.
The false allegations of Lamb's are not unusual, unfortunately. A 1994 study conducted by Purdue University professor Eugene Kanin, Ph.D. found that 41% of forcible rape allegations made during a multi-year period were false. While the Kanin Study has its critics, the findings of falsehood in the report were all based upon confessions by the alleged victims that their claims were fabricated.
The Kanin Study found three primary reasons for women making false rape claims, all reported by the women themselves: providing an alibi, a means of gaining revenge, and a platform for seeking attention or sympathy.
Regardless of the reasons for the false claims, a fabricated rape claim carries some of the most damaging, far-reaching consequences. For example, when a woman claims rape and names a particular man as her assailant, the accused male is typically arrested after a short investigation. After arrest, the man's face is plastered across media outlets locally, sometimes even regionally. The alleged victim, however, remains shielded with her name and identity hidden by media, police and prosecutors.
Once it becomes known that a rape claim is false, the woman (much like in the case of Kristen Lamb) faces a possible criminal charge, though oddly enough such a charge is not as automatic as the original false rape charge itself. Many then begin to cast doubt on other potentially true rape allegations, creating pressure on true victims of rape to not even come forward in the first place.
Whether Kanin's Study accurately places that false rape claim figure at 41% (rape victim advocates would argue strongly that it does not) or if the number is some smaller percentage, any false claims at all are devastating. The only way to reduce the number, whatever that number is, is to prosecute those that file false charges to the fullest extent of the law.
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