Anonymous said: I'm having a discussion with a guy in the comments of your video about false rape accusations, and he's saying that the Innocence Project proves that 1 in 4 men will be falsely accused of rape in their lifetime. I don't know if you know about the Innocence Project but they re-test DNA from rape crime evidence and see if it matches the accused rapist. Apparently it's got loads of men accused of rape set free. Not sure what to think because everywhere else says only 2% of rape reports are false =\
Every class I’ve taken and textbook I’ve read in relation to this has confirmed the 2% statistic as well. So I’m gonna go with the academic consensus rather than faceless commenters on the internet.
I was VERY surprised to read this, so I did a little digging. The Department of Justice put out a research report that, among other things, goes into the source of that 1 in 4 statistic. Key line is page xxviii, where Neufeld and Scheck (the Innocence Project founders) do claim that “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.”
The pair go on to qualify that with some fairly restrictive limitations on which rapes are in consideration here. They also acknowledge a number of reasons DNA tests might result in false negatives, but I’m not concentrating on that here. For that 1 in 4 statistic to carry, all four of the following factors must be true:
1) identity is at issue (no consent defense);
2) non-DNA evidence was an eye-witness identification;
3) the arrest or indictment was based on that non-DNA evidence; and
4) sperm was recovered from a place making identity dispositive.
So, let’s break down what this means. 1 in 4 men will not be falsely accused of rape in their lifetime. That’s a gross misrepresentation of what Neufeld and Scheck wrote. What’s more, the sample explicitly excludes cases where consent is an issue. So, cases where there’s no dispute about whether the two people had sex? Not considered. One of the other statistics that gets thrown out there is that in at least two thirds of all rape cases (sometimes the estimate is higher), the victim knew her rapist. We’re not really dealing with them here.
It’s dealing purely with witness misidentification in cases where they had DNA evidence, and didn’t use it. Notice what I wrote there? Witness misidentification. While that could presumably include these “false rape” accusations, what it’s likely dealing with are women who were actually raped, but were unable to identify their rapist.
That same year, the FBI estimated that 8% of complaints about forcible rape were “unfounded” - this is on the higher end of what you’ll see in studies. Things I can’t stress enough: unfounded does not mean false. If a woman finds herself under pressure by the community and recants? That’s generally considered unfounded.
In short: yes, witness misidentification is a very serious problem — in cases of rape, and in many other crimes. But it feels like when I see people throwing around these particular statistics, it’s not about issues of identification — it’s an attempt to accuse the victims of fabricating the crime. And that’s not what these statistics were addressing.
Thank you for taking the time to clear this up!
Oh my god, Michael.
Are you putting it into a video? Because that’s the biggest reason I don’t just sit and listen to music more often. I never know what to do with my brain while its playing! :)
Yep! It’s gonna be in the next TLG video. I’m not talking specifically about the way I imagine music, but it’s part of a sample of music that I want to illustrate somewhat. BUT I am starting to talk about form and structure, so you will get at least a little bit of help in the brain activity department :)
The dominant stereotype of Asians and Asian-Americans in the United States as passive, docile, and emotionless enrages me particularly when I think of my own heritage and history—my family members who fought against Japanese imperialism, my mother who was tortured after reporting on student activists disappearing during Park Chung-hee’s dictatorship, my Korean brothers and sisters who even today fight for true democracy and political transparency in their country, for Palestinian human rights and the rights of all indigenous peoples, for US political and military forces to withdraw from their lands—I could go on endlessly. I am so proud to be Korean-American, to continue this legacy of fighting for justice, and also so disappointed when I constantly face microaggressions and hostile ignorance from white Americans about this part of my identity.