You are probably here because this graphic has gone viral (again). If you are looking for the detail behind the graphic, scroll down. The response – positive and negative – to this graphic has informed my work, which is now focused on engaging men in meaningful and productive conversations about sexual violence.
If you want to know more about what I’ve learned, go watch my TEDx talk.
If you want to check out current materials that approach this topic in ways that incorporate men’s experiences and perspectives (and are entertaining!), check out The Uncomfortable Conversation.
If you want to comment about the original graphic, please feel free to do so. This graphic did miss the mark in many ways, and I own that. Against common sense advice, I read every comment you write.
The purpose of this graphic is to compare (primarily men’s) fear of being falsely accused of being a rapist to the many challenges around reporting, prosecuting, and punishing rapists.
Two key figures drive that point home:
- A reporting rate of 10%
- A false reporting rate of 2%
The other decision we made was to present data that fell within documented ranges, rather than reflect the findings of a particular report, because of the inherent challenge in collecting data on this issue. Said another way: at the moment, an argument could be made that every source is flawed in some way. The reason we pursued a composite approach instead of relying on one study was exactly to spark discussion about the underlying data and definitions, and – perhaps most importantly – the current challenges in data collection.
For example – here are a handful of challenges that we encountered while putting together the infographic and, as a result, some limitations of the infographic itself:
- The federal data provides arrest, conviction, and incarceration rates on forcible rape only, NOT other forms of sexual violence.
- Until 2012, the federal definition of rape was limited to penetration of a vagina by a penis. Therefore, 100% of rapists would have to be men.
- The difference between a false report (how data is counted and being falsely accused (the fear at the individual level). Lonesway, Archembault, and Lisak, the authors of the article from The National Center for the Prosecution of Violence Against Women, use the following definition: A false report is a report of a sexual assault that did not happen (i.e., it was not completed or attempted).” The report goes on to discuss the challenges of defining whether the assault in fact didn’t happen or whether investigators or prosecutors decide that it did not happen based “simply on their own views of the victim, the suspect, and their credibility.” Individuals who are falsely accused of rape outside of the justice system would not be counted in this figure.
Despite these admitted flaws, here’s what’s not disputable:
- Rape and sexual violence continue to impact men, women, and children across the country and around the world.
- Fewer than 100% of rapes are reported to the police because social, emotional, and legal barriers still exist.
- Sexual violence has an enormous emotional and financial cost to our society, and many bystanders don’t even know they are being affected by it when in reality, they are.
- Individuals, foundations, employers, and the government do not invest deeply enough in awareness, prevention, intervention and recovery.
- Our justice system isn’t perfect. Sometimes innocent people are charged. And sometime guilty people go free. That doesn’t mean that men and women aren’t being raped and sexually assaulted. It means there are improvements that can be made all around.
Finally, there is something that this graphic does NOT represent. And that is the impact of false accusation on an individual’s life. The purpose of the graphic was to put the FEAR of false accusation in perspective, not to discount the very real impact that a false report or false accusation has on someone’s life.
We certainly plan future infographics and have learned from this overwhelming and humbling response that visualizing these issues can be quite powerful, and careful sourcing and stating assumptions up front is also important. Our primary goal – and that of The Enliven Project as a whole – was to start a conversation that desperately needs to be had in our country. We’ll let others decide whether or not we were successful on this front. However, in the future, the kind of analysis and background information provided here and below will be made available at the time the infographic is released so that there are no misconceptions about our intent and message.
[title size=”2″]Breakdown of Graphic and Statistics[/title]
1,000 Rapists (technically 1,000 rapes as pointed out by Slate, a distinction we missed in an effort to bring some reality to the numbers.)
Of those 1,000 rapes, we applied a 10% reporting rate (100)
- Source: http://www.hmic.gov.uk/media/without-consent-20061231.pdf
Page 8: “Estimates from research suggest that between 75 and 95 per cent of rape crimes are never reported to the police.”
- Source:http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=dcdetail&iid=245 (2011 Criminal Victimization Survey): Reported to the police (US): 27% in 2011, 49% in 2010
Of those 100 reported rapes, we show 30 faced trial (this includes those that were jailed). This is 30%. Faced trial, for the purpose of this graphic, uses composite data reflecting the terms prosecution, arrested, and faced trial.
- RAINN (http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/reporting-rates) lists for 46 rapes, 9 get prosecuted. This is 19.5%.
- Tjaden, P., & Thoennes, N. (2006). Extent, nature and consequences of rape victimization: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice. – 37% of reported rapes are prosecuted
- Patterson, D., & Campbell, R. (2010). Why rape survivors participate in the criminal justice system. Journal of Community Psychology, 38(2), 191-205. – 14-18% of reported rapes lead to prosecution
- http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/clearances – 40% clearance rate in 2010 (arrested or cleared by exceptional means)
Of the 100 rapes brought to trial, 10 are jailed. This is 10%. Or, of the 30 rapes prosecuted, 10 are jailed. This is 33.3%.
- When considered 10% of the 100 reported rapes: http://www.ncpa.org/pub/st229?pg=11Table A-4 in 1997, Probability of prison for rape is 9%.
- When considered 10% of the 100 reported rapes: http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/fdluc06.pdf
page 11 in 2006: 62% of felony rape defendants are convicted, 50% of a felony
page 12 in 2006: most severe sentence of convicted offenders
For rape: 80% incarcerated. Combining these, 0.62 * 0.8 = 0.496 (49.6%)
- When considered as a portion of prosecuted rapes that are jailed: RAINN (http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/reporting-rates) lists for 9 prosecuted rapes, 3 are jailed. This is 33.3%.
Of the 100 rapes reported, 2 are false accusations. The 2% false accusation rate was applied only to the number of reported rapes.
- Source: http://www.ndaa.org/pdf/the_voice_vol_3_no_1_2009.pdf page 2: “when more methodologically rigorous research has been conducted, estimates for the percentage of false reports begin to converge around 2-8%.”
This is great. I have a lot of time for infographics and the understanding they bring. However, this needs improvement.
Firstly, citation needed. I see that you’ve detailed the study on this site but put it at the bottom of the image as well so when the graphic gets reposted and goes viral it’s always there. And have a link to the study that the stats actually come from being as specific as possible.
Add a title to your infographic. It’s obvious to see here but once reposted what does it explain.
Also what is the dataset? Is this covering the 4.5% of the world’s population that is the US or is it global? Western civilization? Countries that report these stats? The highest hitting city of the US? Add this info to your title.
How many figures are there in the rapists set that fall outside of reported / wrongly reported? There’s a lot so it’s hard to tell. Add a number to the graphic.
I find the mixing of factual and estimated data a little unsettling, it’s easy to know how many reported cases there are but unreported cases? How do you gauge that? Should it be detailed that it is estimated or do you expect people to realise this?
All the best.
Thanks D. Trump. I had the same reaction: “great!…. Ok but who are we talking about here?”
Major math problems here. Why are only 2 icons black colored?
There are 1000 icons in the infographic so 2% is 20 black icons, or double the number jailed.
Hi Rega. This graph assumes that a rape can’t be falsely reported unless its reported in the first place.
I’m sorry… So are you saying that most of the false rape reports are not reported? Think about that.
Also, the 2-8% figure has been traced back to a speech by a judge and has NO statistical back-up. It is literally made up to sound punchy in a speech.
It’s also a touch “skewy” to use the lowest number for false reporting (and not putting them in the correct reported block) but use almost the highest number for estimated incidences (75-95%), is it not?
where did you find that it was “punchy”. why do you think there’s no statistical backup?
D. Trump Good review and pointing out the shortcomings of the data that was presented. Some should also point out that the heading Rapist should be changed to Rapes. After all that is what is being reported. Plus, some rapist commit more than one rape a year.
Hi Sarah, in that case you should still either show 2 out of 100 people or 20 out of 1000. Can you explain how it is mathematically accurate to show 2 out of 1000? (The point here is to quantify the extent of the problem, so a factor of 10 is fairly important).
Also, from the people who “faced trial”, one third were jailed. This means that 2/3rds were found not guilty. This number less the false negative rate (someone declared not guilty when they are guilty) will give you the fraction of people who were falsely accused.
Why is there a distinction made between not guilty and falsely accused (apart from false negative rate)?
Hoping to learn more. Thanks!
The real question is what is classified as rape? I do not mean to diminish those who have faced the horrible issue at hand. Being realistic and conservative when defining rape; would be; “involuntary penetration/intercourse with repulsion of the perpetrator expressed by the victim”. The terms aren’t defined, so how can one study it without knowing what you are looking for? Rape is horrible, it needs to be stopped and those who do deserve punishment. But this study seems pretty flawed at the base, meaning how can you get to another tier without a proper base?
Seriously, read the source links to the info. Read all her info. I think it gives you a pretty clear understanding of what she means.
This is sobering and important, if true, and I’d like to share this on my social networks or write about it on my blog. But how do they know of so many rapes if they aren’t reported?
Amy: There have been numerous studies done where they asked women about prior encounters; often they didn’t use the term rape, but rather the legal definition (ie, sex without consent, whether through force, intimidation or intoxication). Comparing the results of those surveys compared to the results of actual rape reports yields percentage of unreported rapes.
Could you cite the specific source for this infographic? I was able to find the info on the total number of sexual assaults vs. the number reported but I was unable to verify the other data points.
Also, could you explain the details of why, of the 50 that faced trial, only 10 were jailed? Did the other 40 get probation? Were they found innocent? If they were found innocent, why do they not go into the “falsely accused” category?
those people tried and not found guilty are found not guilty, but they are not found innocent. Big difference. Not guilty just means that there was not enough evidence to convict or convince the jury
To assume that someone found not guilty is actually guilty of the crime is incredibly dishonest.
Lol. By definition, someone found not guilty is not guilty. If we follow your logic people found guilty are not guilty, because they didn’t find enough evidence to defend their case.
And how exactly does one get a number that great to represent rapists? I doubt people are lining up at the census bureau to join the list of rapists.
“Unreported rape” is unquantifiable. So your rapist figure is just arbitrary; it’s an estimation.
Also, under the law a “rapist” who has been reported, faced trial, and found not guilty, *is not a rapist*. Sorry if that bothers you, but there are two types of legal errors: Type one involves the guilty party getting off innocent; type two involves an innocent person being incarcerated. Most civilized countries make it their job to avoid type 2s at all cost, even if that cost is a type 1. This is a good thing. And it’s not going to change any time soon.
Not going to change soon? We’ve already reached a society that believes in Guilty until Proven Innocent, and Innocence is often a failure of justice and the perpetrator got away with the crime they were accused of.
I have mentioned this elsewhere on your site, but the comment appears to have disappeared so this seems like the best place for it. The data that you cite here: show that you intend to illustrate a 2% false-report rate. Since there are 1000 person-icons here, that should mean that 20 of the icons are colored black. Right now you are illustrating a 0.2% false report rate, which contradicts your cited data. I hope this can be corrected while everyone is still hot-linking this image and before it starts being mirrored. I’d hate for the actual data to be lost in the noise of people arguing about whether MRAs are starting some misinformation campaign to derail what would otherwise be a very useful discussion.
For everyone commenting that there are too few “false reports”, because it is 2 out of 1000, which does not accurately represent the 2-20% (depending on your data) count, you need to take it out of the REPORTED values.
Lemme break it down for you.
100 REPORTED incidences were reported
2 REPORTED reports were false.
That is within the 2% that some reports estimate.
While some may not agree with this figure – personally I have issues with how the figure is represented, sometimes the falsely accused goes to prison (it is rare though….it is difficult enough to get a conviction when the individual IS guilty), and the way the infographic is set up is designed for impact, not clarity…. but it shouldn’t take you more than a moment to realize it is not intimating a 0.2% false rape number.
Anyone with a brain should be able to reason this out.
Yes it is the target readers job to re-clarify a propagandists message. Much like a politician that blames the voters for not understanding their platform as the reason for low votes. Get a grip, or enough balls to admit reality.
Why are the ‘rapists’ on the left 30 pixels in height, while the ones on the right (red) only 24 pixels in height? Is that some subliminal thing? I don’t see how it could’ve been unintentional–while creating the infographic, a mere copy and paste process of the iconography would yield the exact same size with each item….
There are decent studies (if not ideologically biased) that place false accusations as high as 11 percent. This graph is misleading.
It is perfectly legitimate from the data here to draw that conclusion. Juries are refusing to convict. The feminists assume this is for some reason other than the alleged rapist is innocent. The problem is how far the jury’s rejection of the allegation is of itself evidence of a false report, and how far is it merely that the evidence is not wholly convincing.
What we appear to have is a spectrum from wholly false allegations through to the balance of probability is that it was rape, but not beyond reasonable doubt. The infographic is arguing that all alleged rapes are rapes, but only proven false allegations are false allegations. This is…. incoherent, to put it politely!
All rape is a horrible thing to deal with. It would appear that all the figures here are men, while not all victims of rape are women, not all rapists are men either. 13% of men report having been raped or sexually accosted, 1 in 21 say their attacker was female, usually none are taken seriously, and women are almost never charged at all. *The FBI reports consistently put the number of “unfounded” rape accusations around 8%. So these numbers must be questioned.
By your math that’s about 0.6% of men. Not the same. Besides, Sarah’s explanation above says outright that the data are exclusively derived from accused males because rape was legally defined as PIV only until 2012. Don’t fall prey to false equivalency.
This is excellent, and profoundly distressing. Thank you so much for creating it.
Amy Logan wrote: >”But how do they know of so many rapes if they aren’t reported?”
The source given was “Statistics from Justice Department, National Crime Victimization Survey: 2006-2010 and FBI reports.”
The link leads to “Victimizations not reported to the police 2006-2010”. A summary is here: http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/press/vnrp0610pr.cfm
stating: “Although serious violent crime was generally less likely to go unreported to the police than simple assault, a higher percentage of rape or sexual assault (65 percent) than simple assault (56 percent) victimizations went unreported over the five-year period.”
This corresponds to a 35% rate of report. The graphic assumed 10%, which is considerably lower. The source for the lower value is not cited.
i wonder how many thefts go unreported…
Suggested stats to include/reference:
See of note the resultant window of percentages of false accusations; also, to support others who’ve previously noted, resolving the mixing of estimated & factual data, in addition to increased geographic clarity regarding the statistical picture, only add more intellectual honesty and credibility to the graphic.
I hold parents responsible for this. We need to educate our children about their sexual activities. We need to raise our son’s to be respectful of women. I am sure that many of us have had a relative. friend or even ourselves that have been exposed to this sic behavior. No means no….I imagine the false accusations are far and few in between.
Until you are a victim of one.
Why did you make the men on the left big and then shrink them in size as you went to the right of the graph? Was that to make it look worse than the data actually suggests?
Thank you for making this chart. Does this report include a correction for the number of rapes per offender? for example http://www.wcsap.org/sites/www.wcsap.org/files/uploads/webinars/SV%20on%20Campus/Repeat%20Rape.pdf
It is more important that no innocent man, or woman, ever be put in jail for a crime he did not commit than it is to punish the guilty.
Also I would want to call into question the validity of the statistics used to make this graph.
As high as 61% of all rape accusations are false. Realistically the number is more than likely 50%. False rape claims are also against the law yet females are almost never prosecuted for them. That is the truth, the cold dark truth about rape in USA/Canada/UK. The feminist falsehood is this 0.2% and sometimes 2% number thrown around. Feminists biggest fear in their ever-pressing ideology are facts and science. False rape accusations out-number real rape accusations. On top of that, when a female claims a male raped her, the legal system changes in most countries where her word is simply enough for conviction. It is not this way for any other crime, or even for when males accuse females of rape. Did you know that men get erections when under great deals of fear or anxiety? Probably not, because you probably think male rape by females is a myth! All of you need to learn the truth about false rape accusations: http://www.cotwa.info/ and http://register-her.com.
“In her book, Brownmiller said that only 2 percent of rape allegations are false, citing findings by the female police in a New York City rape squad. The problem is that while this statistic has been widely repeated, with dutiful mentions of New York-based “research,” no one has ever tracked down its source.”
Ah shoot can’t edit/add to my previous comment. Another site of sources: http://falserapesociety.blogspot.ca/p/prevalence-of-false-rape-claims.html
Falsely accused are those in which it is ‘proven’ that the person was falsely accused. Until they are proven to be falsely accused they are simply accused. The graph assumes perfection in determining one from the other.
Consider for instance that the Cook county states attorney explanation that dna from a different man than the accused was found in the victim was necrophilia.
That the woman was raped by the person HER office charged with the crime. Then after that assault. A convicted multiple offense rapist came across the dead body and had sex with it. That is how she explains why no dna from the accused was found and dna from a rapist was found.
These are the lengths which prosecutors will go to defend bogus charges. They never admit they were wrong.
The graph is flawed.
In case somebody can’t see the graphic or doesn’t feel like counting, this graphic, which applies to the United States, says that out of every 1,000 rapists 70 are reported, 20 face trial, 10 are jailed and 2 are falsely accused.
In America we do not have “innocent,” we have “not guilty.” Let’s make our critiques accurate. Let’s make them reasonable, too. If you want to know why or how so many unreported rapes are represented, do a little homework.
Does the graphic mean to depict one rapist per rape? If so, that would be inaccurate. Work by Lacey and others indicates that more than half of rapists are serial rapists who will rape an average of ten times. Would love to get your answer on this. Thanks.
How come the icons for “Jailed rapists” on the right are smaller than the icons for “rapists” on the left?
I’m going through your references in more detail. You give this as the reference for your statement “Assuming that 2% of reported rapes are false”: http://www.ndaa.org/pdf/the_voice_vol_3_no_1_2009.pdf
From that document:
“when more methodologically rigorous research has been conducted, estimates for the percentage of
false reports begin to converge around 2-8%.
“For example, in a multi-site study of eight U.S. communities involved in the “Making a Difference” (or “MAD”) Project, data were
collected by law enforcement agencies for all sexual assault reports received in an 18- 24 month period. Of the 2,059 cases that
were included in the study, 140 (7%) were classified as false. This is particularly noteworthy [explains why the study was well conducted]… To date, the MAD study is the only research conducted in the U.S. to evaluate the percentage of false reports made to law enforcement.”
While the initially quoted range “2-8%” does include your “2%” figure at the low end of the range, the single data point for the US was 7% false. (I should also note that this is the number of cases proven false: more cases may actually be false, but the investigators were unable to tell– it is just as hard to prove that a rape didn’t happen than it is to prove that it did.)
I’m not impressed by the distortions of fact and design used to try to make your case. The numbers are sobering enough; you don’t need to distort them. I appreciate the commenters here fact-checking the data, too. It really does look like 7%, not 2% is a better number to use for the number of false accusations. That seems quite high, and I wonder how it compares to other serious crimes—are 7% of murder accusations false?
The “falsely accused” icons should be outside of the box marked “rapists”, because they’re not rapists. It’s not clear how many of the icons “faced trial” but “not jailed” were innocent, and whether they count as “falsely accused”—some of them, surely. Again, that means they’re not rapists.
The percentage jailed is almost the same as the percentage falsely accused, so that unfortunately provides another reading of the infographic: that for jailed rapist, there’s another man falsely accused; or that accused rapists are as likely to be the victim of a liar as they are to be jailed. Not the conclusion you’re intending to promote!
awesome work you make it really clear how badly truth is being communicated here, if it is at all.
Is nobody else seeing that if you have 1,000 stick figures, 2% of them are 20, not 2?
The graphic suggests a 0.2% false accusation rate (2 / 1000). It’s not even consistent with the previous feminist rhetoric (2%) which itself was proven to be false (too low!) multiple times.
Also, pretending to know the exact number of unreported rapes is dishonest to say the least, feminist-inspired mumbo-jumbo notwithstanding. The definition of an unreported rape is that it is NOT REPORTED so nobody knows how many of them exist.
Also, people deemed innocent by the courts are NOT rapists, and most of the people accused but not sent to trial are not rapists either.
Also, instilling this false sense of security in actual potential rapists (you’ll get away with it 99% of the time) is actively HARMING women because it encourages potential rapists to commit the crime.
Also, this is unnecessary fearmongering and it displays a stunning hatred of men.
While I think that this infographic is seriously misleading and based on faulty assumptions, I think that your comment improperly represents the implications of of a not guilty verdict.
It is by no means a fair statement that someone not convicted of a rape accusation is not guilty. It is merely a statement regarding whether a trier of fact determined that the evidence presented at trial was sufficient to meet the burden by the prosecutor.
Personal testimony is certainly used as evidence in these cases, so it is often a matter who is more believable in cases where there is no clear exculpatory or damning evidence.
The flip side, of course, is that there are those who are convicted who are not guilty as well as those who are falsely acquitted.
Lastly, if you ever have the urge to say that a court found someone “innocent,” please repress that urge. The court may find you guilty, or it may find that you are not guilty. It never makes affirmative declarations that an individual is “innocent” of a crime.
This is a great article. I think its safe to say from the pile of evidence, and from thorough articles such as this, with extensive picture diagrams, that most men in existence commit a rape against innocent women at some point in their life. I would also like to note quite seriously that this is overwhelmingly from white males. After all, it is white males who hold a continued out-dated power structure and patriarchy over US society. It is said that 85% of white males exhibit rape tendancys in their lifetime, where as it is just 2.7% for non-white males.
WE MUST ELIMINATE WHITE RAPE CRIME, AND WHITE PRIVILEGE, BY CUTTING THE HEAD OF THE SNAKE AND ELIMINATING THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCT OF “WHITES”
Join me sisters, trans, gays, bisexuals, semi-trans, transmorphic bisexual heteros and other beautiful colorful walks of life. We WILL dismantle the racist, rapist white patriarchy
A nitpick unrelated to the input stats – you have two too-many reported rapists in the graphic, since your two falsely-accused ought to come out of that set.
What’s the source?
It’s funny and revealing how most of the folks questioning the info-graphic and the cited research appear to be male. If it ain’t about you, then why all the hand-wringing?
we would have the most to lose if being aquited or not reported also came to mean not caught rather than not guilty, basically putting our social interactions further at the mercy of neurotics.
thanks for censoring my previous comment, although there was nothing offensive in it, simoly asking for more accuracy…
I am a rape victim from Europe, and we also have lots of talk about how most of rape accusations are false. So I am happy about the idea of the graphics.
What I don’t agree with, thoug,h is how you have placed the “black men” (“falsely accused”) under “unreported rapists”. They should be under “reported”, “faced trial” or “jailed”.
And what is a false accusation? Is Strauss-Kahn a “brown man” (“reported”) or a “black man” (“falsely accused”)?
From my point of view, my rapist should be a “brown man” (“reported”). My rapist would say, that he should be a “black man” (“falsely accused”).
“Reported” means reported to the police or other authorities, not “told anyone ever.” So, there are many surveys, hospitals, and other media/methods where people can self-identify as a survivor of rape or other sexual assault without it actually being reported.
So let me get this right according to some of the comments, if the accused isn’t convicted then they are not a rapist?
See my thinking is that if rapist has non-consensual sex with the victim, then they are a rapists. The act makes the person a rapist not whether they are convicted or not.
Really gotta misrepresent people that bad to get in a point? Might wanna try somewhere else to score your points, not doing well in this ring.
Amanda Marcotte points out the many, many flaws in this inforgraphic here:
“The fear of getting falsely accused of rape just doesn’t compare to the fear of an actual rapist getting away with his or her crime.”
If you were looking to destroy your credibility before you started, you did a magnificent job.
Victor, you are a vengeful angry man. That’s not how justice works. You don’t out vengeance above the potential incarceration of an innocent human,
Paul, your an idiot, hes pretty much saying that. That lost vengeance is not a greater pain than illegitimate jailing. Reading Comp Fail.
Your own sources suggest a false report rape of 2-8%. Choosing the lowest of these numbers shows your agenda. You could show 2-8 figures falsely accused.
Drowning the number of false reports in the sea of unreported rapes confounds two problems, and makes the false report problem seem smaller than it is. At the very least the falsely accused should go in the group of reported rapes.
Finally, the 2-8 % are those proven false, using rather strict criteria. They should be compared to those cases that are proven true, like those convicted. The numbers provided by sources show, then, that false reports is not ubiquitous, but also not insignificant.
You are correct that the fear of being falsely accused may be overblown, and I do not compare it to the fear of rape. It is unlikely. But the severe consequences of being accused still make it a terrifying prospect. Perhaps it can compare to the fear of being sued. It’s not likely for most, but it’s a terrifying thought.
America has a very high proportion of its people in prison, but thankfully we can look at this info-graphic and know they all deserve it.
Your graphic is 20 by 50 silhouettes. as such it depicts 1000 people. By only shading 2 as falsely accused, you undershot your 2% figure by an order of 10. Either accidental or intentional, Misshaping even your own statistics in such a way invalidates your point.
Every false accusation makes it that much harder to get justice for the genuine victims. Every false accuser does violence not only to the one whom she falsely accuses but also to every single rape victim, whom she has made it that much harder to believe. A false accusation of rape should therefore be punished as severely as rape itself, and rape should be punished by life in prison only because the Supreme Court says we can’t execute people for rape.
so few are convicted because few are actually guilty. Report the crime on time, do not destroy evidence. that way more will be convicted. trouble is a lot of women will take their problems with a man out by accusing rape. He cheated on her so she reports him for rape to mess up his life. Happens with child abuse as well. Women also think that a man should be locked up for life just based on the fact that a woman accused him of doing something
“The purpose of this graphic is to compare (primarily men’s) fear of being falsely accused of being a rapist to the many challenges around reporting, prosecuting, and punishing rapists.”
And that’s important because?
“Until 2012, the federal definition of rape was limited to penetration of a vagina by a penis. Therefore, 100% of rapists would have to be men.”
Wrong, women have vaginas so the definition goes both ways, maybe those who created and/or acted based on that definition are too biased or shortsighted to see it that way or maybe you paraphrased the definition very badly. (I believe it’s the latter because according to that definition, all parents that have kids raped eachother and the material proof for that crime would be their own kids)
Sorry to piss on your bonfire but even if the data in your graph was correct (I believe it may be a close approximation to reality, but it’s just a feeling because looking at the evidence I just can’t conclude that) you would have absolutely no way to back it up, here’s why:
You’re assuming 1000 rapes happened (for illustrative purposes) and worked your way into the rapes who resulted in jailtime, well, let me do the same thing but in reverse and if you’re a smart person it’ll get to you in a second.
You have 10 jailed for 30 trialed, crimes are supposed to be proved in court in order to jail someone, this means that from those 30, 20 have been falsely accused or escaped justice.
You have 30 trialed for 100 reported, from those 100, 70 have been falsely accused or escaped justice.
Then you have 100 reported from 1000, from that 1000, 898 did not happen at all or escaped justice.
The 2 falsely accused on the corner come from that study you quoted on the end and are supposedly all of the falsely accused, I know, but here are the problems…
Those that have been arrested (10), as you know, may have innocents amongst them, but you can’t count them as falsely accused because it was proven to a certain degree and decided by court that they are rapists.
Those that went to trial and were not arrested were declared based on evidence for innocence or lack of evidence for guilt to be not guilty, but in your “informational graph” they’re rapists anyway, you’re basically saying the court fails in at least 66% of rape cases which is something you can’t know even with a scarce degree of certainty, if you did, then the graph would have more jailed than it already has because proving they raped would be possible to the court since it was possible to you in the first place.
Just here you may have gained around 20 falsely accused to your graph, but in your graph, they’re all rapists even in the face of lack of evidence or evidence for the contrary.
30 trialed from 100 reported, why? Social pressures, intimidation, blackmail, falsely accused, lack of evidence for rape, etc…
Apart from the 30 trialed that we’ve just talked about, you have 70 left for lots of possible reasons, but in your graph, they’re rapists.
900 left, but why? Same thing, social pressures, intimidation, blackmail, falsely accused, lack of evidence for rape, etc…
But in your graph, they’re rapists.
The justice system should work based on the presumption of inocence, innocent until proven guilty, not the other way around, the fear that nice people have of being accused of rape is real because they know how corrupted the system is, especially when people like you put pressure and do campaigns that sway the public opinion into jailing innocents, making the fear more real and that situation more likely to happen every single day that passes.
Your graph, in reality, expanding the supposedly well-fundamented court rulings (30) to all of the other cases that never got to court, implies that your graph is likely to have about 33% real rapes and 66% fictional rapes, instead of 99.8% real rapes and 0.2% false rapes, which is a lot different than what you wanted to say when you made the graph. (And i’m not even considering that it may be more likely to be innocent the further away you are from the “trial” section which can be a very real possibility)
I think you’re trying hard to do a good thing but you’re going in the wrong way, don’t understand this message as unneeded bashing.
Due to the nature of the crime itself it’s very hard to condemn rape and sometimes even to identify rape and I’m yet to know of a way (any way) that will change that, other then maybe tracking dangerous individuals and increase the awareness of possible victims (everyone really).
Encourage rape victims to report rape and go through with the trial to see the criminal get punished, disencourage false rape reports (which will give more credibility and increased legal process agility for real victims that really suffer), think of innovative ways (procedures, tests, evidences, inventions, whatever) to prove a real rape and disprove a false one, now THIS can actually do something useful.
The infographic slanted some what, as you went with the lowest numbers in both the false accusation (2) when it says 2-8% of those who are accused in your source. Also, the the fact is says 75-95% of rapes are never reported but your infographic shows it as only about 10% when in reality it should be more in the 15% range I know this is all about awareness of much rape occurs , but to lie or take the numbers that are easy to display over the actual number is hurtful to your cause as people will call you liars.
Grey, that’s what happens when you start with an agenda and look for evidence to support your position. Rape is a problem but websites like this do a horrible job of quantifying it.
Also, the range for the percentage of false accusations is between 1 and 90%, with most studies falling in the 20-40% range. The 2-8% figure is only touted by agencies that want to make people believe that false rape accusations are so rare, we should assume men are guilty until proven innocent when they’re accused of rape.
The ‘False-Reporting’ rate is confirmed to be at most 5.9%. See:
If you read correctly that graphic the rate is the same, false acusation implies face trial so the rest of info dont count, 1 of 16 acusations face trialed are false, thats a 6,25% and thats the truth
Last summer, a study came out that suggested that more than one in ten of the men convicted of sexual assault in Virginia between 1973 and 1987 were innocent. To be precise, the proven wrongful conviction rate was between 8 and 15 percent — significantly higher than the false conviction rate for homicide, which was found to be 5 percent only when combined with sexual assault convictions. This means that in homicide cases, the false conviction rate is significantly lower than 5%, and therefore an order of magnitude lower than in sexual assault cases.
Thanks for this comment. We would love the link to this study so we can look at it!
So false rapes are merely designated as such at the discretion of the legal authorities, and maybe this takes into account retracted accusations? And this is the statistic that gets used to say how many false rape accusations are made out of the number of “reported” rapes? And this is a statistic people take seriously?
Brian Banks was convicted of rape. His statistic was a legitimate rape accusation and a conviction. He was completely innocent, as are many other men who are falsely accused and imprisoned, but statistically these men are rapists and their accusers are filing legitimate rape accusations, and sites like this pretend the false rape percentage is 2? Amazing. Utterly absurd to base statistics and an argument about false rape accusations on such nonsense. False rape charges are impossible to quantify because 99% of the time it is nothing but he said she said… yet the false rape statistic is claimed to be 2%… utterly absurd.
Thanks for finally talking about >The Enliven Project – The truth
about false accusation <Liked it!
Only wanna tell that this is very useful , Thanks for taking your time to write this. dfekeaedfbfe
A modified version of your graph has been translated to Spanish and largely shared on Twitter and Facebook. I felt the percentage of false accusation was too low to be true, so I started investigating and found your website.
I also took my time to read the whole article “False Reports: Moving Beyond the Issue to Successfully Investigate and Prosecute Non-Stranger Sexual Assault” on whose data this graph is supposed to be based on and found that the graph didn’t really translate the numbers of the article.
So I wrote a large entry on my blog (you can get to it by clicking on my nick in this comment) explaining all the things that I found to be wrong in it. It’s quite a large text and it’s in Spanish, so I thought I should let you know what information I feel is wrong there, in case you are interested in fixing it:
1 – You are basing your graphic on an article that estimates a percentage between 2% and 8% of false accusations, but picked only the lowest value (2%). If you don’t want to use 2 different values on your graph to make it easier to see, it would be more fair to pick an average value of 5% instead.
2 – You have created the graphic adding also estimations of the total amount of rapes, and including reports, trials and jailed all as a subgroup inside it. This has 2 negative effects.
First, it makes it look like the amount of false accusations is 0.2% instead of 2%-8%.
Second, the fact that an acusation could not be proven false does not mean that it was true. By adding all of the accusations as a subgroup of the rapists you are assuming that the 90% of cases that didn’t end in a prison sentence were also true! That’s far from right. We know for sure that many of these will be cases where lack of evidence led couldn’t avoid a rapist from remaining free, but the only truth is we don’t know how many were.
In my opinion, it would be best to keep reports and estimations based on surveys as different graphics to avoid these misleading information.
All these errors together mislead anyone who sees the graphic into thinking that the number of false reports is way lower than it really is, and that 98% of the people who were accused were really rapists, which is also false, or at least that’s an information that we do not have.
I expect these errors were not made on purpose with the intention of spreading some wrong information that minimizes the number of false accusations, but that is the result. So it would be great if you could fix these issues.
If you think any of my corrections is wrong, please let me know, I’ll be willing to talk about it!
PS: I’m Spanish, so please forgive the multiple errors this text may contain 😛
US Population: 250 million
Female population: 125 million
1 in 4 women are raped: 31.25 million
2% of those are false accusations: 625,000
So, using their statistics (high percentage of rape and low percentage of false accusations), there are 625,000 Americans falsely accusing people of rape. That’s not a low number. That’s like the entire state of Vermont falsely accusing someone of rape.
How do you get the numbers of unreported rape?
As it’s three years later, I doubt I’ll get any response to this. It’s also possible that the issues I’m going to bring up have been mentioned by other commenters, but I haven’t got the time to read through each and every one of the comments. I do see a number of serious flaws in the presented “infographic” however.
First, the location of the falsely accused figures. They are included under the category of “rapists.” If they are indeed falsely accused this would seem an inappropriate category for them to be placed under.
Second, the falsely accused figures are placed under the “not reported” category, but this also makes no sense. In order to be falsely accused, one must first be accused. They should be located, at the very least under the “reported” category. I understand how this might seem at odds with my first point, but given the graphic’s presumption of guilt, it’s hard to know where else to place them. Also worth pointing out is that at least some of those falsely accused will be tried, and worse, some of those will be convicted.
Third, and perhaps most egregiously, the raw information presented is in percentages, but the chart presents 1,000 figures. I’m sure you have good reasons for this, and it wouldn’t be a problem except that you haven’t scaled up the number of falsely accused to match. Based on the raw data the graphic ought to have between 20 and 80 figures under the “falsely accused” category. I say that this is perhaps the most egregious error because it represents a substantial misrepresentation of the number of falsely accused. Moreover, considering that you did appropriately scale up the number of reported, tried, and convicted “rapists” one could be forgiven thinking this more than a mere oversight. Someone who simply looks at the infographic without bothering to check the raw data could easily be led to believe that the false accusation rate was only 2 in 1000, or 0.2%.
Kevin, thanks for your comments here. Much of this has been addressed through other posts and also on this one. This graph is based on a 10% reporting rape, and assumes that a false accusation can only exist if something has actually been reported. Thus the 2 in 1000.
Amanda Marcotte at Slate also wrote a thoughtful critique, which you can read here: http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2013/01/08/the_enliven_project_s_false_rape_accusations_infographic_great_intentions.html.
And if you are wondering why I haven’t revised the original graphic, you can look here: http://theenlivenproject.com/the-truth-about-false-accusation-revisited/
I’d also encourage you to check out some of the other graphics I’ve created since this one started circulating. The issue of false accusation is just one aspect of sexual violence, and there is more we can understand and share to help male and female survivors reach their full potential
Here is a thought on why men are so worried about a false rape report being leveled against them. America used to execute men who were convicted of rape, and there is a history of men being murdered after being accused of rape, especially black men who were accused of raping white women. Today there are still Fathers,Husbands,Brothers,and Sons willing to kill a man who has been accused of raping their Mother,Daughter,Wife and Sister.
and there just aren’t nearly enough people willing to kill the false accusers. That would certainly help even things up. 😛
Jokes, but yeah, you are right.
Your “statistics” are erroneous, biased and very misleading. You would reach a much more sympathetic audience if you held more firmly to truth and non-biased reporting.
I’ve some problems with the graphics:
1. The term “rapist“ for the entire box suggests that all the men in the box are rapists, even including the two false accused. Sure the false accused are certainly not rapists, they must be outside the box.
2. False accusation is a criminal legal term, with the “in dubio pro reo” principle. So even those reported rapes, where the charges were dropped before or after going to trial, rarely result in a conviction of the false accuser. AFAIK, most charges that are dropped are dropped, because it becomes clear that the story is made up, e.g. to cover up adultery; so those reported and dropped for good reasons should be outside the “rapist” box, as well. Of course, another part of those reported and dropped before or after going to trial are not found guilty because of “in dubio pro reo”, but rape accusation is taken serious these days; you better prove your innocence if you want to get free. It’s not like the old days where “she wore hotpants, she wanted it” was enough to close a case. We now have a culture of “men are rapists”.
The biggest problem of reporting rape is that most rapists are people close to the victim, and therefore, reporting is not an option to them. It’s like “my partner raped me when I didn’t want sex, but I still love him”. Love is a weird thing. Most reports of rape within a partnership are reported after the end of the relationship, often as part of the inevitable war of the roses.
Let’s say it shortly: Just like we have a lot of unreported rapists, we have a lot of unreported false accusers. Fortunately, those unreported false accusers are way less than the unreported rapes (just about 80% of the reported rapes), but unfortunately, we see that the set of rapists and the set of people that are accused of rape barely overlap. And that’s a real problem: We have a crime that is almost never prosecuted, and those who are actually accused very likely didn’t even commit it.
I think that (after reading the statistics you posted) this [ https://ibb.co/dKaLgR ] is actually more accurate. Of the whole thousand (where you have the 2 little falsely accused men) only 0.2 would be falsely accused. 2 of the 100 reported are actually falsely accused, according to the information you gave. Therefore, the 2 little falsely accused men should be in the 100 reported section, right?
The 2 icons for “False Accused” are a subset of the “Reported” Icons. They should be moved up to replace two of the “Reported” icons, otherwise you have too many “Reported” Icons.
Note that at the time of writing this comment, the link to a PDF on false accusations–the last document link in the body–is dead.
You use a 10% reporting rate. You cite two sources, one of which says that 75-95% of rapes aren’t reported – meaning that 5-25% of rapes are reported (midpoint 15%). Your second source says that 27% of rapes were reported in 2011, and 49% in 2010. I don’t see how those numbers support the 10% figure you use.
The chart seems to be flawed in one aspect concerning false accusations. The percentage is based on reported 100 of 1000. So the two false accusations should be in the 100 area. For the 1000 it would be twenty on the bottom line, not two.
I was just hoping you could rework a more accurate version of this graphic. I feel like those number too wil have a dramatic reaction, while being more educational. Thanks!
Totally biased, bigoted, un-realistic and badly-researched data. It would reach much more of a sympathetic audience if these faults were remedied.
Beaulieu said she intended the graphic to be a conversation-starter: “The intention of the graphic was to create a way to capture people’s attention so that there can be dialogue about it.”
Nice graphic, but not sure how informative it is. As some others have commented it doesn’t relate to gender or location and it isn’t clear where the data has come from.
Rape is terrible. That being said, any and all proposed remedies may not be worthy of being used. You are attempting to promote the idea that rape is never the result of any actions taken by a woman. This is ludicrous. It is fallacious to see rape as an either/or scenario. Numerous factors certainly enter into the situation. No one should say any woman deserved to be raped but neither should they say someone who built their house on the sea shore deserved to get washed away.