Should women who knowingly falsely accuse men of rape or sexual assault face charges? Should there be a statute of limitations on filing a rape charge?

Prescott Valley, AZ Correspondent-Depending on a thorough and complete investigation of rape charges where the accused rape perpetrator is completely exonerated, women who knowingly accuse men of false rape or sexual assault should face charges. Just as with any other violent crime, if an accused person is proven innocent, the accuser should have to face the consequences.

Most police department protocols make it standard that those who falsely report rape are charged and arrested as law officials do attempt to deter false accusations, but according to most reports on the issue, different police jurisdictions have classifications for false accusations that include rape cases where there was no resistance or injuries sustained. These cases are designated as unfounded or unproved.

Also, many police departments don’t keep track of how often it arrests people for falsely reporting rape or sexual assault, so that makes it impossible to know how many people are actually being arrested for false reports. Without the records, it is hard to say how many cases go by the wayside, which is also true of what happens with actual rape kits that women turn in to police departments for investigation.

Most research on false allegations has determined that only about 2% of rape and sexual assault charges are false and while rapes and sexual assaults do occur, the situation surrounding a rape or assault always carries extraneous problems. While rapes and sexual assaults do happen, the belief factor is always an intervening factor. Police interrogators are more likely to believe that a woman has been robbed as opposed to being raped or assaulted.

Another interrelated problem with rapes and sexual assaults is that they go unreported because victims know that their lives will be scrutinized in every way possible, from their everyday behavior to their sexual history and beyond, and when a reported case does make it to the courtroom, degrading and grueling cross examination expands the accusations even further. Just because a rape crime has not been reported doesn’t mean the attack didn’t occur, and according to statistical information from rain.org, only one in two claims lead to prosecution, so if a district attorney decides to not go forward with a prosecution, there is no indication as to whether the crime occurred.

As far as statutes of limitations in filing a rape case are concerned, there are currently statutes for rape and sexual assault cases in most states that vary from three to 30 years. The reasons for the limitations are due to it being harder to prosecute a rape perpetrator years after the act took place. In spite of the horrific crime, the memories of the rape victim and the alleged perpetrator are diminished as are those of possible witnesses related to the crime, plus evidence in cases disappears. The statutes also bring closure to suspects so they don’t have to live their life with an allegation that was never resolved by a trial.

With the number of rape cases that go unreported and the number of cases that are not pursued, it is hard to say exactly how many women are actually being prosecuted for false accusations of rape and sexual assault, which leads many that really are affected by this crime out in the cold for any kind of real justice.

There are many perpetrators going free over the contradictions with this type of crime. Many who have raped women never pay for their crimes because of the stigma that is attached to rape and the reversals that seem to occur with charges being turned on the victim. Physical evidence is crucial in solving rape cases, but that is hard to come by without actual direct testimony, rape kits and video surveillance of a forcible rape or sexual assault. Until that kind of evidence becomes the recognized standard, accusations and assaults will continue with little justice for the rape victim and the alleged assailant.

Owatonna, MN Correspondent-My knee-jerk reaction to question one is yes, of course, women who falsely accuse men of rape should face charges. Lying is wrong, and lying about something that gets a man arrested and charged with a crime is either libel, slander, or defamation. However, the use of the word women implies females of legal age who are fully capable of understanding the severity of those false statements.

Since rape and sexual assault happen to people (mostly females) of almost all ages, some of those “women” might be eighteen-year-olds, fifteen-year-olds, or even younger. These women may not fully understand the meaning and seriousness of the terms rape or sexual assault. The men in question may be their eighteen- or fifteen-year-old boyfriends, who may be equally as ignorant of the legal implications of what they are doing. Maybe the underage couple had a fight. Maybe the boy paid too much attention to another girl. Maybe the girl thought having sex was a good idea at first, then got scared but didn’t share that with her boyfriend because she didn’t want to seem “immature” or “not in love.” So they continued, she got pregnant, wasn’t willing to take responsibility for her own inaction, and claimed rape to put the blame on him.

In these cases—and many other similar situations—ignorant, unsophisticated, underage females shouldn’t be penalized as severely as mature, informed adult females should be, assuming identical circumstances. No clear line exists for when or when not to charge a woman for false accusations, so each case must be dealt with on its merits.

Statutes of limitations on rape and sexual abuse charges should be enforced within reason and dependent on the age of the victim. Even though changing attitudes and education about child sexual abuse has brought a hidden problem into the light over the past generation or two, the fact remains that many young children are sexually abused by adults. These children are often threatened or coerced into silence for years. They may repress memories so deeply that the incidents are forgotten for decades but are subsequently brought to the surface by a catalyst that may result in adverse effects on the victims’ lives. With childhood abuse, there should be no statute of limitations because there exists no reasonable method of predicting if or when a victim will feel compelled to press charges or sometimes even remember they had been abused.

Mature adults who presumably have been educated on the definitions of rape and abuse are theoretically less immune to intimidation and coercion to remain silent. Sufficient, but not excessive, time should be given to press rape or abuse charges in these situations. Between one and five years seems reasonable. Extenuating circumstances such as blackmail or threats of violence for speaking up should always be considered if a victim reports sexual abuse to authorities after the statute of limitations has expired.

Gastonia, NC Correspondent-For a woman who is raped, getting up the courage to file charges and face her accuser is one of the most torturous experiences of her life. She will face suspicion, doubt, damage to her reputation and intimations that she either was a willing participant or somehow encouraged the rapist. The trauma of the trial can make an already horrid situation unbearable.

However, when a woman knowingly lodges a false accusation of rape against a man, she is not only dishonoring other women who have gone through the horror of rape, she’s destroying the life of an innocent party. Whatever her reason for doing so, the making of the accusation sets in motion tidal waves of public opinion, familial distress, marital discord and even difficulty with employment that will follow the victim for the rest of his life.

I believe most, if not all, states already have statutes on the books that specify criminal punishment for the filing of false charges, but I’m not sure they’re stiff enough when it comes to rape. If it can be conclusively proved that a woman (or a man, in fact) knowingly and with premeditation filed a false charge of rape, the punishment should include substantial time behind bars.

As for a statute of limitations on a rape charge: These already exist. I support them, except in the case of the rape of a child. Children often don’t process traumatic experiences until they are older, and there is abundant clinical evidence (as in the Catholic Church priest cases) that accusations made by adults concerning rape committed on them when they are children have merit and are prosecutable. For adult victims, however, I believe there should be a statute of limitations. I understand that it takes tremendous courage and support to file the charges, but that must be balanced against the rights of the accused.

Sheffield, Jamaica Correspondent-The defamation on the character of men has been occurring for quite some time. If a woman assaults a man sexually and it’s reported, the man is either scoffed at or spoken of derogatorily.

In fact, some men are called “wusses”. Diametrically opposed, if a woman reports an assault or rape that has not even occurred, the man is treated in the most militant manner, as if he’d just commit an act of terrorism.

Too long have women concocted against men to defame their good name. Too long have men been victimized for an act they’ve not committed.

If a female knowingly accuses a man of rape or assault and is later found out, that female should be charged severely, even jailed for quite a period of time. In fact, the man being victimized should be allowed to sue for defamation.

Women have been playing the ‘rape’ game since it’s effective and yields the results they desire.

Not only does it give way to shame and embarrassment, ruins a person’s character, but it destroys futures and leave behind nasty scars.

Even if a rape charge is filed against a man, unless there are strong evidences to indicate that the act happened, the individual should be allowed to walk freely.

I’ve seen it happen before. My husband worked closely with a guy who was accused of raping a girl. That was far from the truth. The entire incident was schemed, because the young man refused her advances and she wanted to get back at him for rejecting her. Wrong and disgusting on all levels.

There should definitely be a statute of limitation when filing a rape charge.

One thought on “Should women who knowingly falsely accuse men of rape or sexual assault face charges? Should there be a statute of limitations on filing a rape charge?

  1. “The reasons for the limitations are due to it being harder to prosecute a rape perpetrator years after the act took place.”
    This is reverse of actuality. Statutes of limitations are not to protect the state (the government) from wasting its resources in futile prosecutions when the witnesses are gone, dead, and physical evidence is stale or missing. It is to protect the accused from being subjected to prosecution when witnesses in his favor have disappeared, died or their memory has faded, physical evidence in his favor has deteriorated or disappeared.

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