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Rape Myths and False Rape Accusations

It’s amazing the people who talk about rape without any qualifications to do so, yet feel no qualms about the damage that they may inflict by perpetrating rape myths. These are from the United States but it still applies here in Canada. 

For example in Canada intoxication is not defence in Canadian Law. If you’re having drunk sex, you’re taking a risk that the other person isn’t consenting.no defence of intoxication to sexual assault. It is legislatively barred after Daviault decision.

These points on rape myths aren’t Canadian, but they still apply. The exception is the particulars on both parties being drunk the law is similar but I have stated the specific Supreme Court case above. The false rape statistic is the FBI statistic and debated on both sides of the issue as to the usefulness. 

Myth: Women often make false reports of rape.

Fact: According to FBI crime statistics, during the 1990s around 8 percent. The “unfounded” rate, or percentage of complaints determined through investigation to be false, is higher for forcible rape than for any other Index crime. Eight percent of forcible rape complaints in 1996 were “unfounded,” while the average for all Index crimes was 2 percent.


Myth: Rapists are strangers. If people avoid strangers, then they will not be raped.

Fact: In 60% of the rapes reported to the Orange County Rape Crisis Center in 1991, the rapist was known to the victim. 7% of the assailants were family members of the victim. These statistics reflect only reported rapes. Assaults by assailants the victim knows are often not reported so the statistics do not reflect the actual numbers of acquaintance rapes.

And what is acquaintance rape? Well from my RAINN training on sexual assault:

Three Stages of Acquaintance Rape:

Intrusion- Attempt by the offender to violate the victim’s personal space and level of comfort. May draw close by revealing personal information or through “accidental” touches and stares.

Desensitization- Occurs when the victim feels comfortable with the offender and has come to regard intrusive actions as no longer or, at least, less threatening. The victim of the desensitization may feel uneasy but convinces him/herself that the feeling is unfounded.

Isolation- The offender uses victim’s trust to isolate him/her from others.

Social Norms:

Social norms put pressure on many of us to be polite and passive. Relying on these norms, many victims of such assaults may suppress feelings of fear and discomfort in an attempt not to offend. Acquaintance assault prevention demands that we set aside such social norms and listen to our instinctual sense of fear and discomfort.


Myth: If the assailant, victim, or both are drunk, the assailant cannot be charged with rape.

Fact: Forcing sex on someone who is too drunk to give consent is second degree rape in North Carolina. [It carries a prison sentence of up to 17 years.] Rape is a crime. People who commit crimes while under the influence of alcohol or drugs are not considered free from guilt.

R. v. Daviault [1994] 3 S.C.R. 63, is a Supreme Court of Canada decision on the availability of the defence of intoxication for “general intent” criminal offences. The Leary rule which eliminated the defence was found unconstitutional in violation of both section 7 and 11(d) of theCanadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Instead, intoxication can only be used as a defence where it is so extreme that it is akin to automatism or insanity.

And as always what about false rape allegations? I like what Ally Fogg has to say

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  • Well, this is a surprisingly helpful post.

    1) You clearly explained that the “False Allegations” data for Rape/Sexual Assault according to the FBI in 1996 is NOT 2% but 8%.

    2) You say that you agree with U.K writer Ally Fogg who clearly states:

    “I also wish some feminists would refrain from suggesting that being falsely accused is no big deal, when it is often devastating for those affected. Making a malicious false allegation is a horrible crime, and no one should be reluctant to say so.”

    Karen Smith needs to re-acquaint herself with these statements.


    • I’m not sure who Karen Smith is but thank you. What I forgot to mention is that the FBI counts “unfounded” rape accusations which isn’t the same thing as a false allegation which isn’t helpful as a report of rape might be classified as unfounded if the victim did not try to fight off the suspect. Statistical analysis would be far more helpful is researchers would set criteria and count the same thing.

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