Research: Rate of False Sexual Assault Accusations Very Low

Males are much more likely to be sexually assaulted than to face false sexual assault allegations.

Research: Rate of False Sexual Assault Accusations Very Low

Only about a third of sexual assaults are reported even though one in three women and one in six men have been sexually assaulted. Photo

In the wake of Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court and the #MeToo movement, some fear that there is a high likelihood that men and boys will be falsely accused of sexual assault.

Some parents, politicians and other individuals on social media have appropriated the hashtags #ProtectOurBoys and #HimToo to address their perception that the boys and men they love will be unjustly accused of rape, sexual harassment, sexual assault or some other form of sexual misconduct, reports the Chicago Tribune.

But are their fears justified? According to Kaeth Morris Hoffer, executive director of the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, they are not.

“It’s a very powerful lie, and that’s why it recurs so frequently,” she told the Tribune.

Contrary to the #ProtectOurBoys and #HimToo proponents’ perceptions, studies have found the rate of false sexual assault reports to be between 2 to 10 percent.  Additionally, experts believe those numbers are inflated because of the lack of standardized terminology used by law enforcement. Also, according to the Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey, only about a third of sexual assaults are reported even though the CDC has found that one in three women and one in six men have been sexually assaulted in some physical way at some point in their lives.

Because so few sexual assaults are reported, the percentage of false reports is probably much less than the 2 to 10 percent statistic often cited in studies.

“There are hundreds of thousands of men who have engaged in sexual violent conduct who have never been accused of that by the people that they hurt,” said Morris Hoffer.

Additionally, with one in six males having been sexually assaulted at some point in their lives, a boy or man is much more likely to be a victim of sexual assault than to be the victim of a false accusation of sexual assault.

About the Author

Robin Hattersley Gray

Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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