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The False Allegation

Claims of false allegations get a lot of airtime, but very little scrutiny.

The backlash is unending.

“It was devastating, you know? Turned my whole life upside down.”
“So what happened in court? How come they found you guilty?”
“Oh, I wasn't found guilty...”
“That's fortunate, I suppose. But it must have been awful having to defend yourself in the courtroom.”
“Well, it didn't actually make it to court.”
“Oh, the CPS didn't think it met the standard of proof?”
“Well, no, it didn't make it to the CPS...”
“But when the police charged you, didn't they think there was a case worth pursuing?”
“Well, I never got charged with anything.”
“So the police couldn't collect enough evidence to back up the allegations?”
“Uh, well, the police never really got involved.”
“But you said there was a false allegation – somebody must have reported it.”
“Well, not exactly.”
“Riiiight, so was an allegation actually made?”
“Well, yeah, of course.”
“To whom?”
“Um, well it started off as a rumour in our department, and then when I told her to shut up, she went to HR.”
“Oh, so what did HR do to you? Did you lose your job?”
“Well, no. Of course not. They know I'm trustworthy.”
“So nothing happened to you then?”
“Well, of course it did! What about my reputation?”
“I dunno, sounds like your reputation's pretty safe to me.”
“Well, I was lucky this time. You never know when some spiteful woman will try to ruin your career.”
“This time?”
“Well, you know how it is. Every female employee's a lawsuit in waiting.”
“Um, sure. So what happened to her, then?”
“Oh, she got the sack.”
“Wow, that sounds pretty serious. But then, you must have some strong evidence to refute her claims.”
“Well, my word was good enough. I've worked there 20 years — who are they going to trust, eh?”
“It doesn't sound like a fair process at all —”
“I know! I got hauled over the coals because of a single false allegation! It's just not on — women have too much power.”
“I meant that it doesn't sound fair for her.”
“Well, if she was telling the truth, she should follow due process.”
“It sounds like due process wouldn't have been much use here.”
“Exactly! Now you're getting it!”
“No, what I mean is that it sounds quite easy to avoid due process.”
“Are you saying I did it?”
“Well, did you?”
“Look, it's her word against mine. A misunderstanding. These women, they never say what they want, and then they change their minds afterwards.”
“Hold on, are you saying that something did happen between the two of you?”
“Yeah, but that's between me and her. I told her to keep her mouth shut.”
“So what do you mean by a 'false' allegation, exactly?”

False rape allegations occur at a rate of between 2% and 6%, similar to the rate for other crimes. This number includes victims that withdraw their evidence due to fear of repercussions, intimidation and the stress of the judicial process — so they are not strictly “false” allegations at all. The conviction rate for rape is 6%. 50% of male managers worry about working with female staff. 50% of women employees have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. The evidence from the media and the personal experiences of numerous employees (of all genders) indicates that powerful men face virtually no consequences if they harass and abuse in the workplace.

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The False Allegation
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