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Only 2–8% of Rape Reports Are False? Betsy DeVos Is Still Right to Fix Title IX.

Misleading statistics aside, accused students are owed due process no matter what.

DeVosGage SkidmoreVictims' advocacy activists are not happy that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos intends to re-prioritize due process in campus sexual assault disputes. Dana Bolger and Alexandra Brodsky, former co-directors of the group Know Your IX, spoke for many when they called her plan "a signal that the Trump administration will make way for what is nothing less than an all-out attack on survivors."

Of all the arguments activists are making against DeVos's new approach, their favorite one seems to be this: Due process is well and good, but it's not particularly important in sexual assault cases because victims rarely lie about being raped. To this point, they cite a statistic that suggests the rate of false rape reports is somewhere between 2 and 8 percent.

"The truth is that there is no scourge of innocent young men being unfairly targeted," wrote Jessica Valenti. "Only 2 to 10 percent of rape accusations are shown to be false, and rapists themselves are rarely punished."

Here's why this argument makes absolutely no sense.

First, there are some reasons to be skeptical of the statistic. The various studies that produced it are, to varying degrees, flawed. Some of them aren't even studies: When the 2 percent false-rape-report statistic first appeared in feminist author Susan Brownmiller's 1975 book Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape, the sole source was something a judge had said at a public meeting. And there are outliers—a study by Eugene Kanin found a 40 percent false-report rate. Like other studies on this subject, it has its flaws: Researchers relied on the police to make determinations about whether an allegation was demonstrably false or merely unproven.

Indeed, this is a serious problem with all of the studies—a reported rape is only considered false if the police can actually prove it false, usually because the victim recanted her statement or a witness other than the perpetrator contradicted the account. There could be more false rape reports than we think, because the police are not able to definitively prove the victim lied; or there could be even fewer, because the police erroneously classified some unproven rapes as false. As Bloomberg View's Megan McArdle wrote about the false report rate, "Here's the real answer: We don't know. Anyone who insists that we do know should be corrected or ignored."

One study that seems like it might be especially relevant to campus sexual violence is "False Allegations of Sexual Assault: An Analysis of Ten Years of Reported Cases," which focused on reports made to the police department of a major university in the northeastern United States. This study put the false-rape-report rate at 5.9 percent. But this study was co-authored by David Lisak, the subject of Reason's investigative series debunking many of his claims relating to serial rapists on college campuses. His canonical study on repeat offenders, which activists often cite when claiming that most campus rapists are serial predators, is hopelessly flawed; among other problems, the data were gathered at a non-traditional commuter college, and no effort was made to exclude non-students from participating.

But even if Lisak and other researchers are right that the false report rate is somewhere between 2 and 8 percent, there's a bigger problem. These were reports made to the police. The present debate, in response to DeVos's speech, doesn't concern rapes reported to the police; it concerns sexual misconduct reported to university officials. It could well be the case that few people file a false report with the police (since they could be charged with a crime themselves for doing so) but are less discriminating when it comes to the campus process. This isn't an indictment of victims: Keep in mind that in some of the most infamous university rape cases, the person filing the complaint wasn't even the alleged victim. Critics who say that DeVos's defenders are assuming that victims lie about rape should remember that Zoe Katz, the alleged victim in a University of Southern California case, said that she was not raped and that the accused student (her boyfriend) was innocent.

And even if very few reports were falsely filed, this would still not be a reason to flout due process. The rights of the accused still matter, after all. And the current system, in depriving the accused of certain protections to which they are entitled, all-but-guarantees subsequent court battles. DeVos was absolutely right to call this a "failed system." Believing or disbelieving victims has nothing to do with it.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

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  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Let's just give in to the demands of the modern feminists and accept that women are weaker.

  • Remnant Psyche||

    Weaker when it gets them what they want, but also stronger when they feel like it. Schrodinger's Gender.

  • MSimon||

    No woman should be raped without her consent.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    Unless she will not have do want it wanted that way.

    Sorry. Got lost in verb tenses trying to figure what the right answer is, was, will be, ah fuck it.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Oh, my, yes. And since they are weaker, and must be protected for their own good, lets us revoke their right to vote (which they are surely unsuited to do) and require every woman to be in the custody of a male owner.

  • Radioactive||

    will leashes be required?

  • Mark22||

    Jessica Valenti seems to be preaching to the choir. She isn't going to win over a lot of independents or conservatives with her kind of language or views.

    But I suppose preaching to the choir brings her the most income and notoriety, particularly if she also uses come agents provocateurs to send threats to herself.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Victims' advocacy activists are not happy that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos intends to re-prioritize due process in campus sexual assault disputes."

    Who the fuck gave the Secretary of Education the right to de-prioritize or re-prioritize the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments?

  • Zeb||

    I don't think they apply to campus kangaroo courts.

    And rights have nothing to do with it. That's power, which is always justifiable because fuck you, that's why.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Yeah, why would Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment due process rights apply to federal Title IX regs as applied by any given state college that's partially financed with federal funds?

    Are you being facetious?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Nobody is ever facetious on Hit'n'Run.

  • MSimon||

    A cute.

  • Radioactive||

    bless you...

  • Crusty Juggler - Lawbertarian||

    The Commerce Clause did, bucko.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Congress, by writing Title IX rather vaguely, and th e under Obama's directive to "solve" the campud rs pe problem. Whether Congress or the Presidency have legitimate authority to give the Education Secretary such power is another question.

  • Brandybuck||

    If rape is a crime then it needs to be handled through the criminal justice system. By insisting that it be handled by college administrators is to assert that rape is not a crime. That's a huge slap to face of every rape victim.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Not handling it through the college administrators would be a slap in the face to performance artists everywhere.

  • Brandybuck||

    True dat.

  • lap83||

    the slap will give them inspiration for their next piece, everyone wins

  • Radioactive||

    does this mean we get to slap all the mimes? wooh hooh!

  • DJF||

    Women never lie about rape.

    Women also never lie about who is the father of their children, just ask Maury Povich..

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    People lie. I think one obnoxious thing about this argument is that rape is viewed largely as a woman problem. I won't delve further into the truth of that statement.

    Because it's viewed as a woman problem it means that attacks on the validity of statements made about it become an attack on a specific sex, when really it's just an inherent weakness in humanity.

  • Brother Kyfho||

    It's a weakness more common to the weaker (women). Men will duke it out. Women will spread rumors until one of them develops an eating disorder.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    Binge and purge preferred.

  • Barbara Yarhead||

    Actually the problem with rape is that its still caught in ethos of traditional gender norms.
    There should be no distinction between battery and rape. The thorny issue of consent is what makes such a claim less than obvious.

    I've yet to understand how a pelvic thrust to the groin is more traumatizing than a punch to the face.

  • Radioactive||

    how about a pelvic thrust to the face?

  • MarkLastname||

    Or a punch to the groun?

  • Mark22||

    I think one obnoxious thing about this argument is that rape is viewed largely as a woman problem.

    Well, it kind of is a woman's problem, just like not getting hit by cars is a bicyclist's problem, or not getting attacked by a bear is a hiker's problem.

    Realistically, you simply won't get reduce rape significantly below current levels by targeting men, and no amount of self-righteous feminist indignation is going to change that. Furthermore, feminists are stepping on the rights of innocent men, and that is also not acceptable.

  • Paloma||

    And children never lie about being molested! Believe the children! (Wait that's so 90s)

  • Crusty Juggler - Lawbertarian||

    Dana Bolger and Alexandra Brodsky, former co-directors of the group Know Your IX

    Sad fact: "Know your IX" is not the title of an adult film.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Blow your IX on the other hand

  • Cro's Innumerous Basterds||

    Other Sad Fact: "Know your IX" was not written by Frank Herbert.

  • ||

    Tragic how many of the Dune books weren't...

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    That would be "Know Your LXVIX".

  • AlmightyJB||

    Marie Claire claims some rape accusations are false. Nazis!

  • Ken Shultz||

    It should be said that, whatever our rights are, they exist without respect to whether they're popular or to everyone's advantage.

    In reference to our First Amendment rights, the question as to whether any particular religion is popular or a net benefit to society is irrelevant. In reference to the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, the question of whether due process is popular or utilitarian in any particular situation is also irrelevant.

    The appropriate and considered response to the question of whether the due process rights of accused rapists should be violated by the government is, "Fuck you!"

  • AlmightyJB||

    So at least 2,000 of STEVE SMITH'S accusers are lying. That we know about.

  • some guy||

    STEVE SMITH is a known outlier and anyone who wants there study to be taken seriously in peer-reviewed jounals will control for him.

  • Sports Reporter Charles Manson||

    The question is whether a college is discriminating based on sex. Unless their own officials (or faculty?) are rapists, or they try to cover up rapes by students, I don't see how student rapists implicate the college itself in discrimination.

    If they have a policy allowing crime victims, regardless of sex, to call the cops (and I don't think they can legally discourage this in any event, apart from Title IX), then shouldn't that be considered a nonsexist response to any rape-y students?

  • some guy||

    This is exactly it. And this is, by and large, what colleges were doing up until the infamous "Dear Colleagues" letter. After that the colleges were running scared of the Federal Gov't and instituted kangaroo courts just to be sure their funding didn't suddenly disappear. Basically, I think they weighed the cost of losing federal funding against the cost of a few lawsuits from railroaded students and sided against the students and saw which one was easier on the pocketbook.

  • Zeb||

    That's what really gets me on all of this. College students are mostly (legal) adults. Why should the college have anything more to do with their non-academic lives than any landlord? If someone gets raped by another tenant in an apartment building, the landlord doesn't hold a pretend trial.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    But if the tenants are up to stuff that the landlord considers unbecoming they will try to remove them from their complex.

    That is the logic here. Colleges do have power to choose who is there and who isn't, so they can use this as a weapon against people that would likely not receive punishment in the legal system. That's the point of it.

    It is like how they will ban fraternities from campus that party too hard. Perhaps not particularly illegal in society at large, so they act to remove them from their own campus.

  • Sports Reporter Charles Manson||

    I'd say they need to prove discriminatory intent, but that's just me. So if they deliberately ignore or cover up rapes because they don't like women, that would be one thing. But to have a bunch of students, some of whom are rapists, whose behavior they don't endorse...that seems like a stretch, but what do I know?

  • Sports Reporter Charles Manson||

    "But if the tenants are up to stuff that the landlord considers unbecoming they will try to remove them from their complex."

    One would hope so, but if it's a matter which needs criminal investigation and the landlord cooperates with the cops, I wouldn't call that sexist - and if a tenant gets arrested and convicted for rape then presumably they won't be a tenant any more because they have new accommodations courtesy of the government.

  • Sports Reporter Charles Manson||

    One angle for landlords and colleges would be for crime victims to sue for lax security - I don't know the ins and outs of this, but it's a separate legal zone from anti-sexism.

  • Myth Buster||

    Lax security has nothing to do with the vast majority of campus sexual assault claims as far as I can tell.
    The majority seem to fall into one of two categories :

    I: Someone told a dirty joke or made a lewd remark in the presence of a female student.

    Adding security guards and installing addtional security cameras isn't going to have any impact on
    these kinds of "crimes".

    II. A boy gets drunk. A girl gets drunk. They find a room somewhere and have sex. At some point days,
    weeks, or monthes later, the girl has second thoughts about what happened and she (or one of her friends or
    someone in the college counselors office) decides that she was too drunk to have given consent to sex, so
    the boy is therefore accused of rape.

    Again, more security guards and cameras won't have any impact on this kind of "crime".

  • Sports Reporter Charles Manson||

    I'm not endorsing the idea of a rape epidemic, simply saying that fighting such an alleged epidemic isn't really the job of an antidiscrimination law - unless the institution is deliberately encouraging rape.

  • fafalone||

    And never forget just far alcohol goes...
    IIb - A boy gets blackout drunk and passes out. A girl has a couple beers. The girl blows the guy while he's unconscious. The boy is found responsible for sexual misconduct against her because she could not consent, and expelled. (I'm pretty sure Reason covered this one, it was a real case)

    Women should just admit they're not demanding equal rights, they're demanding superior rights. When it comes to sex, they want absolute guilt-upon-accusation, not subject to any proof or any challenge. Any kind of due process whatsoever is unacceptable to these people. If a girl says a man is guilty, he's guilty, period, proceed to sentencing. But if a guy says a girl did something wrong, even 'beyond a reasonable doubt' isn't a high enough burden of proof, and of course if she contradicts his story that's it, dismissed. Doesn't matter if has video proof, her word supersedes video.

    And of course if you point this out, you're shouted down as a sexist white male shitlord, and they go right back to advocating for it, now that the guy exposing their endgame has been shut up.

  • MSimon||

    "Women should just admit they're not demanding equal rights, they're demanding superior rights. When it comes to sex"

    I'm OK with her on top.

  • An Non||

    Some of us insist she asks first. After all, you might decide that you're still not drunk enough and possibly will never be drunk enough, perhaps even to the extent that you'd not do that with your worst enemy's borrowed equipment.

  • p3orion||

    Good points. But if you're going to cut and paste an argument you've made elsewhere, fix the formatting before you post it.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I'm only saying that is the logic they are performing this Title IX work under. It would be difficult to get them on real legal charges, but institutions have much more leeway in how they perform these actions. So they try to get them there.

    I am not making any comment about whether it is right. Hell, keeping everything hyper-secretive is possibly even worse than nothing, as it adds an air of unfairness that allows every single person to reasonably dispute whatever conclusion is reached.

  • Sports Reporter Charles Manson||

    Sure, that's where they've gone with Title IX, I was simply exploring the logic (or lack thereof) of that approach.

  • Paloma||

    There is at least one case in Colorado where the woman DENIES she was raped but since someone else reported it, the college considered it rape. Translated to the landlord case, some gossip tells landlord she saw a tenant get raped by another, and landlord throws the guy out and keeps his money.

  • Zeb||

    But no one is claiming that landlords are legally obliged to punish rapists on their own. If landlords want to kick accused rapists out of their buildings, that's their thing (though I think most states have laws that would make that difficult).

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    And that's the logic of it. It's weirder because there are federal funds attached to colleges, but that's the devil's deal that intrudes upon all institutions of some size these days.

  • Mickey Rat||

    The majority of colleges are state and local government institutions. Given the recent court decisions on immigration enforcement that the federal government cannot threaten state and local governments with withholding funding to coerce policies on them, then Title IX should be toothless. That is, if thhe courts were consistant in their logic rather than finding rationalizations why their policy preferences should not be tampered with.

  • some guy||

    Seattle is looking to make this a requirement once they finish banning plastic straws.

  • Rat on a train||

    Plastic straws are used in 2-8% of rapes.

  • Radioactive||

    would that be the rape of Mother Earth?

  • Crusty Juggler - Lawbertarian||

    "The truth is that there is no scourge of innocent young men being unfairly targeted," wrote Jessica Valenti. "Only 2 to 10 percent of rape accusations are shown to be false, and rapists themselves are rarely punished."

    It's only 20%, stupid, whiney men, and rarely do the other 80% even receive punishment, so fuck yo rights.

  • Rat on a train||

    More surveillance will help catch the 80%. Use drones.

  • Paloma||

    I love this. "Rapists themselves are rarely punished". We have the largest prison population in the world, but rapists are rarely punished.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    There are no false rape allegations in prison.

  • Remnant Psyche||

    So "rarely punished" that a simple accusation can and often does ruin a man's life. Even if the accusation is later proven false.

  • vcx||

    Actually, we do not have accurate information for several reasons 1. culture. 2 varying definitions of rape and asinine consent ideology. Then the political sensitivity of the issue.

  • some guy||

    Anyone who's willing to pass summary judgement on a whole class of people while knowing that some of those people are innocent deserves nothing but a brief period of ridicule followed by intellectual ostracism.

  • MattyPants||

    But are you referring to the falsely accused as the "class of people", or the victims of rape?

    Either way, our current system will fail to adequately help either group.

    If rape weren't so immediately gendered, I think it could be dealt with more logically and with less emotion. We need to remember that anyone can be the victim of rape, not just women. Also, it seems counterproductive for an online community of mainly white men to discuss the terrors of 2-8% false accusal rate without even mentioning how many rapes go unreported or even simply unsolved.

    When we gender the problem and run to our idealogical corners we end up with men defending the point of view of rapists because that is the only position they view themselves in this equation. We need people in power to have an understanding for both the victim and the accused, but instead we get a Stanford alumni giving slap-on-the-wrist sentences to someone he sees as a younger version of himself. Judges cannot simply decide for those most similar for themselves, and thus far men are having a hard time doing so consistently.

    I mean, unless you yourself are a rapist, try to defend the rights of accused and victim alike without demonizing entire groups.
    Rape is a more personal crime than most, so it should be dealt with the utmost compassion.

  • Libertymike||

    Do you have incontrovertible truth that the percentage of false allegations of rape is less than the percentage of rapes that go unreported?

    We know that there are large numbers of false allegations; we do not know that there are large numbers of rape rapes that go unreported - unless you are a Brownmiller wannabe.

  • Paloma||

    She doesn't have to. She's a woman. She just KNOWS. You're a man. You couldn't possibly. Evidence schmevidence.

  • creefer||

    No one is trying to deny the rights of any victim in the least. But we have some values that have served us well for a long time in the form on inalienable rights for the accused to be able to face their accusers, and to have due process.

    To ignore that is like saying "barely anyone convicted of murder is innocent, so let's skip the trial."

  • creefer||

    No one is trying to deny the rights of any victim in the least. But we have some values that have served us well for a long time in the form on inalienable rights for the accused to be able to face their accusers, and to have due process.

    To ignore that is like saying "barely anyone convicted of murder is innocent, so let's skip the trial."

  • some guy||

    I'm referring to the accused as the "class of people". I agree that the current system is failing everyone because it isn't as focused on healing as it should be and it is focused on retribution when it should be focused on justice.

    Also, you're the one gendering the problem. I deliberately didn't mention gender at all.

  • MSimon||

    You didn't mention race either. Which just goes to show that you have a problem.

  • Radioactive||

    Black Vaginas Matter?

  • Paloma||

    How does one "gender" a problem? Give it false eyelashes and heels, like Minnie Mouse? What a stupid, fatuous concept.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    Triggered.

  • Radioactive||

    Surgery, Hormone Treatments and Psycho-Therapy...

  • Remnant Psyche||

    Also, it seems counterproductive for an online community of mainly white men to discuss the terrors of 2-8% false accusal rate

    Opinion discarded.

  • Remnant Psyche||

    Also, it seems counterproductive for an online community of mainly white men to discuss the terrors of 2-8% false accusal rate

    Opinion discarded.

  • MSimon||

    "Anyone who's willing to pass summary judgement on a whole class of people while knowing that some of those people are innocent deserves nothing but a brief period of ridicule followed by intellectual ostracism."

    I'd settle for hanging.

  • Zeb||

    I don't know what the false reporting rate for any other crime is, but 2-10% seems pretty high to me.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    The thing I wonder about is the size of the window. At the high-end we have 5 times as many false accusations as the low end. That seems like a huge level of uncertainty to me.

  • some guy||

    And Robby points out in the article that the uncertainty is likely even higher than that because all of the studies those numbers are based on were flawed in some substantial way.

  • Sports Reporter Charles Manson||

    "The thing I wonder about is the size of the window."

    That's exactly what a rapist would focus on - the size of the window and whether they'd be able to climb through.

    /sarc

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Well, sarcasm or not, I am a 7x7x7 meter cube of flesh made sentient. So I can only rape in places that basically are missing an entire wall.

  • Remnant Psyche||

    I Have No Genitals and I Must Sexually Assault

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Few other crimes are as subjective and open to question, and have evidence of such little value. Finding fingerprints or DNA inside a burgled home is seldom challenged by "But the owner said I could take his TV".

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Solution...everyone must have sex in full public view.

  • Arcxjo||

    If that's what it takes to get some, sign me up!

  • Remnant Psyche||

    Better (but not much better) solution: record all sexual encounters.

  • Radioactive||

    and sell the porn to fund the Rape Crisis centers?

  • creefer||

    As well, the emotions of failed intimate relationships would certainly play on this.

    No one goes home and figures they'll accuse a random neighbor of stealing his guitar for shits and giggles.

  • p3orion||

    The scenario you posit is applicable to a woman being attacked on a jogging trail, dragged into the bushes by a stranger, and raped. Most of the "he said, she said, let's believe HER" cases that Title IX is blowing apart are much less clear cut, simply a matter of "was there or was there not permission given" for something that had been done many times before.

  • Mark22||

    Well, women could give written consent in order to distinguish rape from consensual intercourse.

    I think we used to call that "marriage".

  • Paloma||

    Not only that, but the definition of rape is stretched waaaaaay beyond logic by college authorities at the behest of the women's studies crowd. If he didn't SPECIFICALLY ask permission, or you didn't SPECIFICALLY say yes, and if you can't remember saying yes you were probably not sober and in no condition to say yes, well, then it's RAPE. And you need your consciousness raised if you don't realize it.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    At my school, they enacted a policy that said if you were sexually assaulted, you'd wouldn't be punished if you were caught drinking under age. It's not hard to imagine how allegations trended after that.

  • Remnant Psyche||

    People respond to incentives?!

  • Sports Reporter Charles Manson||

    Now, let's suppose that there are rapists on campus who enjoy raping students of both (or all) sexes - that wouldn't be sex discrimination, would it?

    Title IX seems a fairly unsuitable instrument to address the rape problem.

  • Libertymike||

    Title IX is just plain unsuitable for a free society.

    Why assert that rape is some kind of huge problem? To so assert suggests that one subscribes to one of the tenets of cultural Marxism - to sew the seeds of inter-gender discord by promulgating the agitprop that rape is rampant and we need more government to solve the problem.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    Women never lie about rape, unless the man is a progressive politician. (cough Bill Clinton cough) In those cases the women are lying their asses off.

  • Sports Reporter Charles Manson||

    "It's a lie, and in any case, everybody does it!"

  • Memory Hole||

    2-8% is alot of victims. And I bet it's even higher considering the fucked up way rape is defined these days. Protecting innocent people from false accusations is more important to me than punishing rapists.

  • some guy||

    Absolutely. It sucks that sexual assault often occurs in situations where there are no third-party witnesses and often hinges solely on the question of consent. But that's the world we live in. You can't reduce people's due process rights just because it's a difficult case to solve. Instead we should be educating and empowering people so they can reduce their chances of being assaulted.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I think we can also help change societal views of rape, it's unfortunate that it is viewed as almost shameful for the woman that they were raped. If doing this requires a reduction in due process though, no justice has truly been done.

  • Libertymike||

    Why buy the cultural Marxist clap-trap that rape is rampant and that the "victims" are viewed with shame? In what world do you live? Mecca?

  • Paloma||

    I really really doubt that rape is rampant on college campuses.

  • fafalone||

    Well that is changing. Being a survivor gets you some oppression points on the victim hierarchy.

  • Rat on a train||

    Victim blaming. Train men to not be rapists. (Actually read somewhere. Also split infinitive bitches.)

  • MSimon||

    Bring your girlfriend along?

    Sure. She can watch.

  • creefer||

    I could not agree that it's more important, but it as important.

  • Adam330||

    The wrongful conviction rate for crimes generally is likely in the single digits too. So let's just dispense with all trials!

  • some guy||

    The Baltimore PD endorses this message.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    People follow incentives. If I wanted to get back at someone and knew that a particular category of crime was never investigated, that the victim's word was taken verbatim as the final word, it would be incredibly tempting to take advantage of it.

    But *women* would never do that? Oh ya

  • damikesc||

    a signal that the Trump administration will make way for what is nothing less than an all-out attack on survivors."

    They would claim that Mattress Girl is a "survivor" in spite of an actual crime being committed upon her.

    "The truth is that there is no scourge of innocent young men being unfairly targeted," wrote Jessica Valenti. "Only 2 to 10 percent of rape accusations are shown to be false, and rapists themselves are rarely punished."

    How many murder accusations are false? I'm betting it's a smaller number.

    Like other studies on this subject, it has its flaws: Researchers relied on the police to make determinations about whether an allegation was demonstrably false or merely unproven.

    Is there a "better" way to determine it?

  • Paloma||

    Jessica would be right at home in the Salem Witch Trials.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Let's say 2-8% is completely accurate. How is that acceptable?

    Better innocent people are punished than one rapist walk free!

  • jdgalt1||

    Victims, by definition, never lie about being raped. But accusers do, nearly all the time, and everybody knows it.

    Of course, this controversy was never about real rape at all. What deVos' opponents started out to do, and partly achieved, was to broaden some rape laws to cover a whole lot of conduct that is not rape in order to criminalize the normal process of seduction, because they're too chickenshit to take responsibility for saying NO loudly and clearly.

  • Paloma||

    Or never having the opportunity to say NO?

  • p3orion||

    "Or never having the opportunity to say NO?"

    They're just extending the the "NO" period to the next morning. "No" mean "no," even if it's only afterwards.

  • Radioactive||

    I demand mandatory weekly fuck sessions for all college students...masks will be provided at no expense...partners chosen by lottery, no returns for fatties...

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    Close... But the real reason was to generate employment for 100s of otherwise useless graduates of women's studies programs. Follow the money.

  • ||

    something a judge had said
    ...
    a study by
    ...
    Like other studies

    Check me if I'm wrong Sandy, but isn't the whole purpose of a trial to determine who's factually guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt? You spend a lot of time and gratuity rationalizing the 2-8% number and contorting to fit it but, by any empirical legal definition it's not even in the ball park. That is to say, I was certain that 90-95% of crimes go without conviction and, effectively, unsolved. Rape crimes, in reality, go unsolved at an 'absurdly disproportionate' rate of 92-98%. An artifact of the justice system we have where we can't convict a rapist of rape but we'll get an hold him on a third strike and/or possession of an illegal knife.

    Even if 2-8% of reported murders were completely false and we eliminated the false reporting by design or by force, it does nothing to address the, even by optimal numbers, ~40% of murders that go unsolved every year.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    I hate picking at nits (actually, I don't, but do feel obliged to say that I do), but the standard is not "beyond a shadow of a doubt", it's "beyond a reasonable doubt". That is, belief that something is true to an abiding certainty (we used to say "abiding moral certainty", but "moral" no longer has anything to do with it). Put another way, one can almost always articulate *some* doubt, but unless it arises to *reasonable* doubt it is not enough to prevent conviction in a criminal trial

  • p3orion||

    The "Dear Colleague" letter mentioned making the standard the "preponderance of evidence" meaning (by at least one school's policy) 50.01% surety. Even there, they're not letting the accused BRING any evidence, such as supporting testimony of witnesses.

  • Paloma||

    Hey, Lt. Joe Kenda solved more than 90% of his.

  • J Mann||

    Robby, it's worth reading the Lisak study. Lisak didn't say that his team found that 94% of reports were true - he said that 6% were proven false by the complainant recanting or by substantial contrary evidence. We don't know what number of the remaining 94% weren't true.

    Specifically, his methodology is on pages 1327-1329 of the study you linked. Of 136 cases case reports provided his team from a university police department (1998-2007):

    8 cases were coded as conclusively false after investigation.

    61 cases did not proceed to prosecution because of factors such as insufficient evidence to proceed; the complainant withdrawing the accusation; complainant unable to identify the perpetrator; or the facts, even if true, would not constitute sexual assault;

    48 cases were referred for prosecution or disciplinary action, which means the police recommended something ranging between criminal charges and administrative remedies such as barring the alleged perpetrator from a particular building. Lisak did not track how many of those referrals resulted in actual discipline or what it was.

    19 cases lacked sufficient information to be coded.

    The bottom line is that Lisak didn't claim to have concluded that 94% of accusations are true, only that in one sample, only 6% were determined false on the available evidence.

  • Paloma||

    Yet Jessica thinks those 94% should still be punished. Because rapists are seldom punished.

  • Arcxjo||

    It sounds to me like 65% of those accusations were false, then.

  • MSimon||

    69/136 = 50.7%

  • Radioactive||

    you relize dat de wemenz can't do da mathz, coreckt...

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Betsy DeVos won't be satisfied until everyone is raped.

  • Uncle Jay||

    RE: Only 2–8% of Rape Reports Are False? Betsy DeVos Is Still Right to Fix Title IX.
    Misleading statistics aside, accused students are owed due process no matter what.

    No, students do not have a right to due process when it comes to rape allegations.
    Just ask any feminist.

  • p3orion||

    Some feminists will tell you that EVERY man is a rapist, and that every sexual encounter is an act of rape. All this overzealous prosecution in kangaroo courts does is give them the chance give to the few men who give them the opportunity, the punishment all that all men apparently deserve.

  • josh||

    Due process is simply the acknowledgment that you can't simply look at a person, or feel your way to deciding who did what.

    In our current context, it's the willingness to sacrifice 2-8% of the accused because it makes you feel like you care. What's funny is if an accusation is enough, why do these groups even support any hearing whatsoever? Surely the money and time spent pretending that you care about anything other than your own righteousness could be better spent on the less fortunate and deserving. The illusion of justice is simply admitting that they know better and don't care.

  • XM||

    How many rape allegations actually make it to trial and result in a conviction? That's the number that ultimately matters.

    Like Robby says, rape reports not proven "false" by the cops could be mostly bunk. And in the small sample of the recent headline grabbing campus sexual assault cases, the accusers who were caught in a lie or kept on lying outnumber victims who insisted no rape had occurred.

    If you just look that numbers without context, we're made to think "Only 2-8% of accusers lied, while 92-98% did get raped!" It's a sleight of hand.

  • Arcxjo||

    0% of murder victims make false reports about it, should there be no due process for accused murderers?

  • MSimon||

    Rarely do murder victims make any report.

  • Brother Kyfho||

    > a study by Eugene Kanin found a 40 percent false-report rate. Like other studies on this subject, it has its flaws: Researchers relied on the police to make determinations about whether an allegation was demonstrably false or merely unproven.

    Indeed, this is a serious problem with all of the studies—a reported rape is only considered false if the police can actually prove it false, usually because the victim recanted her statement or a witness other than the perpetrator contradicted the account.

    This is pure, unadulturated horse shit. Rape is by far the most common false accusation/report. More common than all other crimes put together. There was an Air Force study in the '80s that demonstrated that about 45% of rape reports were false. (False= "victim" recants, drops charges or physical evidence to the contrary) Ask any detective in a large metro area. When cops start exposing women's lies they get real itchy and either recant or drop charges or "become uncooperative"/disappear. Most detectives will, if you get them alone out of range of recording devices will tell you that over half of rape reports turn out to be fake.

  • PlaystoomuchHALO||

    I remember reading that report. I found that, if anything, it was seriously understating the problem.

    I knew any number of women that had attempted to get their man tossed in jail for dumping them, nailing their sister/best friend/mom, or just angry over random bullshit. So glad to get away from the trailer trash people I knew growing up.

  • p3orion||

    "a reported rape is only considered false if the police can actually prove it false, usually because the victim recanted her statement or a witness other than the perpetrator contradicted the account."

    Whereas in these cases, a third party can report the incident, but when the "victim" actually denies that there was ever any assault, her "battered woman syndrome" is taken as further evidence of rape.

  • josh||

    Estimations of this type are sort of like the CBO. It's always more.

  • PlaystoomuchHALO||

    I read once that the police usually put the false rape accusation rate at about 40 - 60 percent. Way too much "I'm going to ruin your life for dumping me" going on.

  • p3orion||

    Have you noticed that those who are so willing to give away some young man's presumption of innocence and other due process in these cases are the same people apt to say "better a hundred guilty men go free than that one innocent is convicted" in the case of capital punishment?

    Liberals have NO intellectual honesty, just "whatever works to get the result we want for the people we favor."

  • Praveen R.||

    I classify myself as a progressive with libertarian leanings. But this case has nothing to do with libertarianism or progressivism. what I saw was just flat out hysterical overreaction from feminists and wannabe feminists on the left. I am not a fan of Devos. But the logic used by a lot of these rape victim advocates on campuses is so ridiculous. I got banned on DailyKos twice(Under different names) for making crazy sexist statements. The second ban had to do with this issue.

    These idiots on the left don't realize how their stridency and tunnel vision lead to many defections from the liberal ranks. I personally do not take it to heart as I realize there are idiots on every side. But these morons on the left gave birth to the Rush Limbaughs of the world(I still remember watching and laughing at Rush's show when he would make fun of feminazis until I realized he was a repulsive fat toad).

  • borabosna||

    "or there could be even fewer, because the police erroneously classified some unproven rapes as false."
    That is NOT the case in the Kanin study. In that study, women were told to sign an affidavit that if they admitted to making a false report, they could be held responsible as a result. The 41% false rate is DESPITE that. Women admitted it DESPITE knowing that they could be prosecuted for it. So the police did NOT erroneously classified anything as false. Therefore in the Kanin study there CANNOT be FEWER than 41%.

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