Why do people lie about rape?

We all know how damaging it is when someone lies about rape. It can ruin lives, not just those of the people directly involved, but those of all future rape victims, who are less likely to be believed as a result. So why do people do it? Why would someone who has not been raped do something that’s so harmful to those who have?

I don’t think there’s always a straightforward answer, although sometimes it’s obvious. For instance, if you’re an actual rapist you’d probably want to lie about rape if there’s a chance you’ll thereby avoid a prison sentence. Sure, it damages the credibility of the tiny minority of men who are falsely accused of actually raping someone, but what can you do? You’re a rapist! It’s not as though you give a shit.

But it’s not just rapists who lie about rape. For a long time we believed that those who made things up tended to be morally depraved individuals craving attention — George Galloway or A Voice for Men, for instance. The kind of people who either claim rape just isn’t rape, or that there’s evidence that a high proportion of women invent rape stories. Sadly, such lies are far more widespread than we’d like to believe. Plenty of “normal” people lie about rape and suffer no ill consequences whatsoever.

Sometimes it’s just ignorance. People simply don’t know what rape is, having somehow missed out on that part of human development that enables you to empathise with other human beings and recognise the boundaries of their bodies. For instance, a survey last week showed a third of women believe if a woman does not fight back she cannot have been raped. A 2010 survey had 46% of men saying it isn’t rape if a man continues to penetrate a woman after she’s said no, while the Wake Up To Rape study of the same year showed more than half of all men and women believe there are circumstances in which a victim bears some responsibility for being raped. In case you didn’t realise, none of these things are true. They are lies.

While it’s easy to dismiss the liars as selfish, callous individuals, perhaps we should try to understand. These people grow up imbibing rape culture. It’s not surprising some of them resort to making such heinous assertions. At other times it’s more difficult. Sometimes the lies are clearly calculated, such as when Peter Lloyd used a piece in the Daily Mail to falsely accuse Rape Crisis of claiming one in ten rape complaints is false. One hopes that Rape Crisis recovers from such a smear on its reputation but there will be many who think there is no smoke without fire. The likes of Lloyd know what they’re doing when they concoct these tales. Make no mistake, they’re out for revenge.

Worst of all, there are no serious consequences for people who lie about rape in this way. While women who are proven to have made false allegations of being attacked are told prison is “inevitable,” your average rape liar just goes about his or her business, ruining lives with impunity. I hope one day, through a mix of greater understanding of the liars but also harsher (or even some) consequences for persistent offenders, we get beyond this. Alas, I’m not holding my breath.

18 thoughts on “Why do people lie about rape?

  1. Women sometimes lie about rape because women can be petty, shallow, vindictive, or mentally ill. In other words, women are just people. People can be crazy and cruel. The fact that some women are crazy and cruel doesn’t make all of us that way, because we don’t exist as a monolithic class, any more than ‘people’ (e.g. men) do.

    1. Today’s women have indeed made the feminine gender a “monolithic class” by deliberately choosing to remain silent instead of publicly calling out those females and feminists. Who not only condone but support and promote those who not only lie about rape and sexual harassment but commit violent acts against their male partners and children as victims and heroines.

      1. I just had a look at one of your many websites. I enjoyed reading about how the goal of feminism is to rise up and kill all men! Not sure how we’re going to accomplish this, or even why, but it should be a good spectacle. I’ve got the popcorn ready.

        1. Contributors to A Voice for Men have been documenting the various feminist websites discussing the long term goal of reducing the worlds male population by 90% over the last couple of years. The long term goal of limiting, abridging and out right doing away with the political, social, civil and natural rights of the male gender. Can be clearly seen in the laws promoted by feminists not only here in the USA but all over the western world including India. You can lie to yourself all you want about the true nature of the ideology of feminism but the results of the feminist agenda have reached a point where they can no longer be hidden nor explained away by focusing blame on someone else.

        2. I guess the “natural rights of the male gender” could mean anything. I don’t even want to know what you mean by it, let alone have any plot to destroy this imaginary construct.

        3. “According to natural rights theory, as described by philosophers such as John Locke, everyone is born with an equality of certain rights, regardless of their nationality. Since they come from nature or from God, natural rights cannot be justly taken away without consent. As the Declaration of Independence asserts, natural (or “inalienable”) rights include “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Other natural rights are protected in the Bill of Rights, including freedom of speech, religion, and press.”

          http://billofrightsinstitute.org/resources/educator-resources/americapedia/americapedia-constitution/natural-rights/

      2. So let me get this straight – you think that women are capable of completely being responsible for all false allegations of rape – a “deliberate” conspiracy according to you, but that we can’t possibly understand the nature of feminism without having a learned bloke pop along and mansplain “what feminism *really* is”. That’s quite the feat of doublethink you have going on there.

  2. I just don’t see why people who deny having raped someone and yet are convicted of rape are never prosecuted for perverting the course of justice and and giving false evidence.

    1. Is this any different to anyone denying anything and then being found guilty? Where does rape come into that questioning?
      What a far more pertinent question is: Why are vindictive false accusers not charged with perjury and sentenced to at least the same sentence that their innocent “victim” would have attracted?
      Unless the law takes this option then false accusers receive no penalty and those that are true victims will not be believed.
      The Boy (or Girl)
      Who Cried Wolf.

  3. Hear hear Feminasty but then those ‘people who deny having raped someone’ are males’ and the ‘someone’ is overwhelmingly female.
    ruth is the correct one!

    So according to male supremacist legal system males convicted of rape had been given opportunity to present to their (male-centric) peers – the jury – his version of what happened which was not rape but sadly for the male rapist his version was not accepted as ‘the truth!’

    But male rapists are given opportunities to appeal their conviction because of course, males must be accorded every opportunity to overturn their conviction for that trivial crime (sic) of ‘male sexual violence against women and girls.’

  4. Evidence is that almost 60% of adult male rapists were sexually abused by a female adult when they were children. Mainly their own mothers.
    Anders Breivik who was Norwegian mass killer of 77 innocents was sexually abused by his mother.
    Let’s all stop this circle of violence where it starts. Stop the abuse of our children to stop the abuse in later life.

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