False Accusations Of Rape
By an ex police-officer ...
In October of 1992, I embarked upon what was to be one of the most profound
experiences of my life – a career in law enforcement. That career would span
the next ten years, and in that time I would serve in a cornucopia of positions
in the system. Six of those years were spent “on the street,” in direct and
daily contact with the public as a police officer. Four of those years were
spent in a major urban jail system as a supervisor, in direct and daily contact
with what had already been identified by others like me as the “criminal
I found that myths and lies about “Violence
Against Women,” with respect to both rape and domestic violence, were both
de rigeur, and vehemently defended
In that decade, I found that myths and lies about “Violence Against Women,”
with respect to both rape and domestic violence, were both de rigeur, and
vehemently defended by many who knew good and well they were defending myths and
lies, and would privately admit as much. Their justification for this dishonesty
was simple and pragmatic - police work is after all, a political job. Anyone who
seeks advancement to positions that involve more face time with cute reporters
and television cameras than with burglary reports and false alarm calls will
keep their ears open for the latest tune being called by the politicians.
“Violence Against Women” has been a buzzword for at least a generation
now, and any police officer of any rank that exposes a reality not in concert
with the absurd statistics and draconian measures put forth to combat this “epidemic
of violence” is unlikely to advance. Those for whom advancement was not a
concern overwhelmingly adopted the attitude of “What’re ya gonna do? I don’t
make the laws.” Yes, my experiences are anecdotal, like everybody else’s.
However, my experiences are not unique.
In ten years of keeping company with other police officers, I found few who
would privately disagree, or profess experiences different from my own. That a
report of a rape is in no way presumptive evidence that a rape has actually
occurred is common knowledge among police officers.
My experiences are no more
or less “anecdotal” than a story told by a self-proclaimed rape survivor.
Finally, I regard the use of “anecdotal evidence” as a dismissive epithet to
be an admission by the user that I must be a person of unique and truly
remarkable experiences that mine would so contradict the prevailing wisdom.
not believe that I am, or ever was anything more than an average guy and an
average police officer, doing average police work in an average town. Therefore,
it does not logically follow that my experiences there would be anything more
than average. If they are more than that, it is all the more reason they should
be carefully considered before being dismissed.
It is practically an impossibility for me to even
attempt an estimate of rape complaints I have responded to in a ten year
It is practically an impossibility for me to even attempt an estimate of rape
complaints I have responded to in a ten year career, which ultimately spanned
two separate police departments. I can say that, contrary to what one might be
lead to believe by hysterical statistics put forth by special interests, such
complaints are not everyday occurrences. But they happen often enough to be a
routine feature of the landscape. If an officer asks a friend what he is working
on and the friend responds, “a rape,” it is not really remarkable. The
officer who asked the question in the first place will then invariably ask, “a
good one?” In this context, “good” means “one in which a rape may
actually have occurred, in which case tell me how I can assist you.” If the
answer is “yes,” that is remarkable.
I can say with certainty that the number of rape complaints to which I have
responded that were “good ones” – One. I usually say two, in case the
mists of time have caused one to be forgotten. But, put to it, I cannot remember
more than one. That one I’ll never forget, which militates against the
possibility of one having been forgotten. But, by definition, it was atypical.
The point of this article is better illustrated with a typical example.
Late one afternoon I was radio assigned to investigate a report of rape at a
local high school. When I arrived in the principal’s office I made contact
with a seventeen year old girl. Her parents were unavailable for the interview,
for reasons I confess I have forgotten. In the presence of the principal and
school counselor, she related the following – on that day during her lunch
period, a male friend invited her to accompany him for a walk into the secluded
wood-line behind the school. There he raped her vaginally, using a condom. The
attacker was a fellow student, well known to her. She made the decision to
report the rape after enduring an afternoon of taunting by her friends in the
class to the effect that she was a “slut.” When I asked how her friends had
known the rape took place, she “guessed” that “he had told them.”
I observed two things that I felt pertinent in that first interview – 1.
She appeared to be somewhat slow (I would not say “retarded,” just maybe a
half step behind everyone else), and 2. She was very upset at what the other
girls had said, and as for the attacker, well, she wasn’t the slightest bit
upset about the rape – only that he had told everybody about it and now they
wouldn’t leave her alone.
I asked about the condom – where had it come
from, and what happened to it after the attack?
I asked about the condom – where had it come from,
and what happened to it after the attack? Well, she had brought it to school.
Did she commonly carry condoms to school? No, she just brought it today. Any
special reason she had just brought it today? No reason. Just a co-inky dink.
Where was it now? “He threw it in the bushes.”
I took a break to consult with the school counselor, principal and nurse. As
I suspected, she was a “special needs child,” in Special Ed for a low I.Q.
The attacker was a boy in the school, not in Special Ed. She was very proud of
her recent association with him, boasting often of it to her friends. She had
been overheard in class that day (by her teacher) bragging to her classmates
that she had had sex with the boy in the bushes on the lunch break and he was
now her “boyfriend.” When her classmates reacted with shock, she asserted
that it was “Okay, they had used a condom.”
They then proceeded to tease her
without mercy (and with the mindless cruelty characteristic of adolescents)
until she was reduced to tears. Other girls in the class had confirmed this
version of events. After the class session, she presented herself in the
principal’s office complaining of rape. They had notified police for obvious
reasons. In the room with all of us was a Great, Big, Fat Elephant. All of us
saw it. All of us saw each other seeing it. And all of us saw each other
pretending they didn’t see it.
I transported her to the local hospital where a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner
(SANE Nurse) conducted the necessary exam. I then filed a report of rape and
recovered the condom from the area clearly identified by her as the scene of the
attack. The report landed on a detective’s desk, whose follow-up investigation
reduced everything my initial investigation revealed to written, sworn
During questioning by detectives (an experience that is likely on
par with “Surviving An Artillery Barrage” on the list of “Unforgettable
Things You Never Want To Go Through”), the suspect stated he had been talking
to the girl for a couple of weeks, that they had planned to have sex that day,
that she had brought the condom for the occasion, that he had told no one about
it and hadn’t planned to until being approached by police and told he was
being investigated for rape.
this young man could have easily landed behind
After the investigation concluded (if memory serves, probably about two
weeks), no charges were brought for lack of evidence. It should be obvious to
any fair-minded reader how easily it could have gone the other way. Had I (or
any other official involved in the process) been motivated by any emotion, any
bias, any motive whatsoever save a commitment to the truth, this young man could
have easily landed behind bars.
Certainly, rewards were available for doing so
– any of us might have decided to champion the cause of this “poor, raped,
special needs child,” dropped a dime to the local media and would have been
immune to any criticism for doing so, as no one would have spoken out in this
young man’s defense who was not ready to be professionally ruined as a result.
He was lucky.
I have lived and moved among policeman and government officials for all of my
adult life. You may draw your own conclusions as to what percentage of them can
be trusted to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do, eschewing
career rewards for doing the wrong thing. You draw your conclusions –
experience has led me to mine.
This rather pathetic young woman lied, not out of malice, but for the simple
reason that motivates so much human behavior – she wanted to be liked and
accepted by her peers. She had in her hands a weapon to secure attention beyond
her wildest dreams, quite beyond her capacity to understand, and well beyond the
capacity of any of us to fully control.
Many people might view this young lady's situation as
“tragic.” No, it isn’t. It’s pathetic.
Many people might view this young lady's situation as “tragic.” No, it
isn’t. It’s pathetic. If someone’s life had been ruined, that would have
been tragic. How many feminists would have regarded his sacrifice an acceptable
loss? How many more would have regarded it as a victory? If you are one who
would consider the life of this young man to be no more than collateral damage
in your “gender war,” perhaps you might consider this – the one call I had
I will never forget her face, what she had gone through after the rape to
secure help from police. It occurred in the very rural area she lived in – her
youth, lack of education and naiveté had plunged her into a jurisdictional
nightmare of trying to find the agency responsible for that area.
How tiny she
looked next to me, how she clung to the wad of crumpled up clothes that she was
wearing when she was attacked. How quickly she handed them to me when I offered
to take them. How determined she was to negotiate, without complaint, whatever
obstacles stood in the way of her constitutional right to Petition the
Government for Redress of Grievances. How great that grievance was.
poor redneck girl didn’t know anything about jurisdiction, and I guarantee you
she couldn’t have spelled it. But she was smart enough to know that what had
happened to her was terrible, was wrong – was against the law - and she
expected, with the innocence of a child, that the law would stand up for her . I
assure you, she had no one else in her life that would. Ultimately, that belief
brought her face to face with me.
I don’t know what ultimately happened to her case. But if you went looking
for it, it likely wound up about two-thirds of the way down a big stack of cases
just like the one at the high school.