I just came across this very interesting (though slightly dated) article written by feminist academic Wendy Elroy whereby she examines the wildly diverging statistics regarding false allegations of sexual assaults. In trying to reconcile the figure oft cited by feminist activists of 2% and the 40-50% rate cited by men’s advocacy groups, she correctly places credence in the 25% figure cited in a 1996 study published by the U.S. Department of Justice: Convicted by Juries, Exonerated by Science: Case Studies in the Use of DNA Evidence to Establish Innocence After Trial. She quotes Peter Neufeld and Barry C. Scheck, prominent criminal attorneys and co-founders of the Innocence Project
Every year since 1989, in about 25 percent of the sexual assault cases referred to the FBI where results could be obtained, the primary suspect has been excluded by forensic DNA testing. Specifically, FBI officials report that out of roughly 10,000 sexual assault cases since 1989, about 2,000 tests have been inconclusive, about 2,000 tests have excluded the primary suspect, and about 6,000 have “matched” or included the primary suspect.
The authors continued, “these percentages have remained constant for 7 years, and the National Institute of Justice’s informal survey of private laboratories reveals a strikingly similar 26 percent exclusion rate.”
If the foregoing results can be extrapolated, then the rate of false reports is roughly between 20 (if DNA excludes an accused) to 40 percent (if inconclusive DNA is added). The relatively low estimate of 25 to 26 percent is probably accurate, especially since it is supported by other sources.
Something to think about before judging someone who is charged with sexual assault (or any other crime for that matter) too quickly or too harshly.