During a recent event at a local college we polled students there asking “Which do you think is higher”? A) People who are insure of reporting sexual assault or B) People who falsely report.
While 71% chose A, 29% still chose B (In case you’re wondering the incorrect answer is B),
Many people believe that the majority of cases are false reports or a case of “morning after regret”, however, statistically we know this isn’t the case. In fact three different studies found false reporting to be at 7.1%, 5.9% and 2.1% https://www.nsvrc.org/sites/default/files/Publications_NSVRC_Overview_False-Reporting.pdf . I am not an a statistician, but I’d venture to say that those numbers don’t constitute a majority or even a large amount!
Often people will think that a victim recanting (taking back their story) is evidence that they were laying in the first place, there are many reasons a victim may recant. These reasons include, though certainly are not limited to; not feeling believed, fear of retaliation by the perpetrator pressure from family/friends to “drop the chargers”, embarrassment, etc. In fact the vast majority of cases are never reported; it’s estimated that 63% of cases are never reported to the police!
So next time you hear another #MeToo story or someone you know shares with you that they were sexually assaulted instead of asking yourself “Were they really?” ask yourself how you can support them through the very difficult reporting process because they need your support not your criticism.
By: Cassie Potts, MA, LPC.