False Rape Accusations: How Common Are They?

False rape accusations

The possibility of being falsely accused of rape is a fear many men might share, whether justifiable or not.

Who would want to go home from a party, no matter how wild, and wake up the next day being branded as a criminal when you did nothing wrong?

The label of rapist could haunt you for the rest of your life, especially if you are accused in a high-profile case like the one against Duke lacrosse players in the early 2000s. In this case, these players were falsely accused and later acquitted. Of course, their lives were changed forever.

What kind of person falsely reports a rape?

One idea that lives on in the public perception is that women frequently regret having sex and then decide to call it rape. Another idea is that a woman will accuse a boyfriend of rape to get back at him.

Is there any truth to these ideas?

False Rape Accusations Statistics

According to Vox, researchers have come to a consensus about the real statistics for false rape allegations. It’s between 2 and 8%. In fact, ⅔ of all rapes are not even reported.

Even after that number, only a small fraction of rapists will see jail time for their crimes. We tend to see violent stranger rape as the “real” rapes, when in fact these are the most likely to be false reports.

The rapes – whether reported or not – tend to be thought of as a gray area. When the victim knows or is dating the perpetrator, was intoxicated or didn’t fight, are the actual types of rape that occur frequently and don’t always get reported.

Statistically, it’s much more likely that boyfriends are raping their girlfriends and getting away with it than the other way around.

A Pattern of False Rape Accusations

While there is no pattern to actual rape reports: no age, race or gender, there is a pattern to false rape accusations.

  1. Personal Gain
    Those who make false rape accusations for personal gain generally are the same types of people who are looking to sue the government for a fabricated and self-inflicted injury. These reports are usually made about rape on government property or by a government employee in the hopes of winning a legal settlement.

  2. Mental Illness
    Those who make false rape accusations because of mental illness usually have a severe psychosis making them believe they’ve been raped or are, sadly, victims of a fictitious disorder akin to Munchausen’s syndrome.

    Sara Ylen of St. Clair Shores is one such false accuser who is now serving a sentence for her false accusations. She has a previous history of making false claims of the same kind.

  3. Revenge
    The kinds of revenge cases are not what you would think. However, not the “woman scorned” story. Instead, false accusers making false rape claims are mad about something else.

    An article published by Quartz Media LLC offered these examples: the quantity of drugs being traded for sex, going back on a promise to buy a car for sex or getting a truck stolen to name just a few.

  4. Need For An Alibi
    An unwanted pregnancy by a teenage girl can sometimes turn into rape accusations when the parents get involved and the girl is afraid to own up to her actions.

    According to the article named above, an alibi for missing curfew turns up disturbingly often as well. Sometimes adults claim rape as an alibi in order to cover up an affair.


False rape accusations are not at all common. Most men who commit rape will walk free in this country. This is because of the lack of reporting and lack of prosecution of rapes. False accusations are only about 2-8% of all reported rapes and they follow a pattern.

If you are facing false reporting charges or rape charges, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney. Please call my office today.

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