Do you believe Christine Blasey Ford? This question has been everywhere, and it’s a real problem. The simple fact is, the vast majority of people who say they were sexually assaulted are saying it because it’s the truth.
Ford came to national attention two weeks ago when the contents of a letter she wrote were made public. In the letter, Ford accused Trump Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her 30-plus years ago, when both were high school students.
Sexual assault is often treated as a he-said, she-said situation, but evidence says it’s not.
According to Pacific Standard, false allegations of rape are highly uncommon. Their findings show that since the National Registry of Exonerations began keeping records in 1989, men who were convicted of sexual assault were found to have been falsely convicted only 52 times. For the same period of time, 790 people were found to be falsely convicted of murder.
As with other felonies, only 2 to 8 percent of rapes are falsely reported, according to Resilience (formerly Rape Victim Advocates).
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network statistics show that 994 rapists out of 1,000 rapes will go free. Only 57 reports will lead to an arrest, seven cases will lead to a felony conviction, and six rapists will be incarcerated.
And the truth is, these are not shocking numbers. Everyone has heard numbers like these before, because it’s well-known that women who say they have been raped or sexually assaulted end up being put in a position to defend themselves. They are often made to prove themselves in some way.
All the numbers and studies and statistics show that it’s extremely difficult to report sexual assault and rape. All the information shows that people very rarely accuse someone of sexual assault when no assault has taken place.
Christine Blasey Ford tried to keep her information confidential. That didn’t happen. Instead, the letter she wrote and sent confidentially was leaked to the media. Instead, she was asked to stand before the Senate Judiciary Committee and a ton of TV cameras and talk frankly about the sexual assault she experienced.
All the studies and all the statistics support her claims. But the legal system still seems to support those who stand accused of committing sexual crimes. It was 1990 when Anita Hill gave her testimony about the sexual harassment she experienced at the hands of then-nominee Clarence Thomas. And today, 1990 doesn’t feel like it was so long ago.