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Reporting

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 7 months ago

Reporting


 

Underreporting

According to the 1999 United States National Crime Victimization Survey, only 39% of rapes and sexual assaults were reported to law enforcement officials. For male rape, less than 10% are believed to be reported. The most common reasons given by victims for not reporting rapes are the belief that it is a personal or private matter, and that they fear reprisal from the assailant. Fisher found that:

: "... many women do not characterize their sexual victimizations as a crime for a number of reasons (such as embarrassment, not clearly understanding the legal definition of rape, or not wanting to define someone they know who victimized them as a 'rapist') or because they blame themselves for their sexual assault."

 

Rape-related advocacy groups have suggested several tactics to encourage the reporting of sexual assaults, most of which aim at lessening the psychological trauma, often suffered by rape victims following their assault. Many police departments now assign female police officers to deal with rape cases. Advocacy groups also argue for the preservation of the victim's privacy during the [egal process; it is standard practice among mainstream American news media not to divulge the names of alleged rape victims in news reports.

 

Psychologists who research female-male, and female-female rape suggest that significant under-reporting of these crimes is occurring. They suggest that the double standards in perception that exist between male and female rape, the taboo nature (see incest) of some female rapes, and the lack of rapist-gender reporting in many jurisdictions contribute to this alleged under reporting in the United States. Canadian researcher, Linda Halliday-Sumner suggests from the slowing emerging information about female sex crimes, that women commit about one third (or about 33%) of all sexual offenses. However, she notes that in Canada, just 19 of 4545 (or just 0.4%) of federal prisoners convicted of sex offenses were women in 1997.

 

Overreporting and false reporting

According to the Encyclopedia of Violence the FBI states that in 1960 law enforcement cited false reporting statistics at 20%. By 1973 the statistics had dropped to 15%. After 1973 the New York city police department used female officers to investigate sexual assault cases and the rate dropped to 2%. (DiCanio, 1993) A 1997 article in the Columbia Journalism Review dealing with the debate surrounding false reporting, noted that wildly different figures, from 2% to 85% of all rape reports, have been presented:

:"... one explanation for such a wide range in the statistics might simply be that they come from different studies of different populations... But there's also a strong political tilt to the debate. A low number would undercut a belief about rape as being as old as the story of Joseph and Potiphar's wife: that some women, out of shame or vengeance ... claim that their consensual encounters or rebuffed advances were rapes. If the number is high, on the other hand, [advocate]s for women who have been raped worry it may also taint the credibility of the genuine victims of sexual assault." CJR

 

In her work, "The Legacy of the Prompt Complaint Requirement, Corroboration Requirement, and Cautionary Instructions on Campus Sexual Assault", Michelle J. Anderson of the Villanova University School of Law states: "As a scientific matter, the frequency of false rape complaints to police or other legal authorities remains unknown" SSRN. The FBI's 1996 Uniform Crime Reports states that 8% of reports of forcible rape were determined to be unfounded upon investigation FBI, but that percentage does not include cases where an accuser fails or refuses to cooperate in an investigation, or drops the charges.

 

In 1994, Dr. Eugene J. Kanin of Purdue University investigated the incidences, in one small urban community, of false rape allegations made to the police between 1978 and 1987. The falseness of the allegations was not decided by the police, or by Dr. Kanin; they were "... declared false only because the complainant admitted they are false." The number of false rape allegations in the studied period was 45; this was 41% of the 109 total complaints filed in this period. In Dr. Kanin's research, the complainants who made false allegations did so (by their own statements during recantation) for three major reasons:

*providing an alibi;

  • a means of gaining revenge; and/or
  • a platform for seeking attention/sympathy.

This is not taking into consideration the methodology of the study or how the admissions were extracted.

 

References

 

 

 

Inspired by the former wiki rape page deleted June 2006. Return to the table of contents/home.

 

 

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