• Citing a recent USA Today article, discussing the miracle of DNA and FBI studies of sexual assault suspects, DNA testing exonerated about 30 percent to 35 percent of the more than 4,000 sexual assault suspects on whom the FBI had conducted DNA testing over the past three years.
• In the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit's study of False Allegations conducted in 1983 of 556 rape investigations, a total of 220 (40%) of these reported rapes turned out to be false. Over one fourth of these 556 turned out to be hoaxes. And yet, some feminists and rape counselors claim that only two percent of rape reports are false.
• Linda Fairstein, who directs the prosecution of sexual assault in New York, says that there are approximately 4,000 reports of rape each year in Manhattan. Of these, about half simply did not happen. Says Fairstein, "It's my job to bring justice to the man who has been falsely accused by a woman who has a grudge against him, just as it's my job to prosecute the real thing."
• In New Zealand, police officials have stated that 64 percent of rape reports are false and that some women are making a business out of being raped, collecting sometimes up to $10,000 compensation per case.
• The FBI stated that in 1990 over 8,500 of the rapes reported proved to be false. False reports of child abuse were twice that figure.
growing belief that false accusations of sexual assault have become commonplace has prompted a demand for fairer treatment of those accused, especially from the media. Critics of the media coverage seem particularly bitter about the standard policy of extending anonymity to accusers but not to the accused. They believe the double standard stigmatizes the accused, who should be presumed innocent, and encourages false accusations.
The criticism assumes that false reports are widespread. Estimates vary wildly.
At the high end is a study by the now-retired Purdue University sociologist Eugene J. Kanin who worked in cooperation with the police in a small metropolitan town. Kanin examined reports of forcible rape from 1978 to 1987 during which 109 accusations were lodged; 45, or 41 percent, were discarded as false. Three factors commonly motivated the false allegations: revenge, the need for an alibi, and a desire for attention.
At the low end of the estimate is the much-cited but vaguely supported "feminist" figure of 2 percent, popularized by Susan Brownmiller's 1975 book "Against Our Will." The extraordinarily low "feminist" figure only adds to a growing sense that accused men are often victims. First, they are victimized by false accusations and, then, by politically correct feminists who are seen to provide the ideological framework that enables false reports.
(The true number probably falls somewhere in between. In the absence of a signed confession, the adjudication of rape allegations as either "true" or "unfounded" does involve some subjective evaluation, a problem endemic to all studies and statistics on rape.)