Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 81–92 | Cite as

False rape allegations

  • Eugene J. Kanin


With the cooperation of the police agency of a small metropolitan community, 45 consecutive, disposed, false rape allegations covering a 9 year period were studied. These false rape allegations constitute 41% the total forcible rape cases (n =109) reported during this period. These false allegations appear to serve three major functions for the complainants: providing an alibi, seeking revenge, and obtaining sympathy and attention. False rape allegations are not the consequence of a gender-linked aberration, as frequently claimed, but reflect impulsive and desperate efforts to cope with personal and social stress situations.

Key words

rape sexual assault unfounded rape rape mythology 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abelson, E. S. (1989). The invention of kleptomania.Signs 15: 123–143.Google Scholar
  2. Bessmer, S. (1984).The Laws of Rape Praeger, New York.Google Scholar
  3. Bronson, F. R. (1918). False accusations of rape.Am. J. Urol. Sex. 14: 509–510.Google Scholar
  4. Brownmiller, S. (1975).Against Our Will Simon and Schuster, New York.Google Scholar
  5. Clark, L., and Lewis, D. (1977).The Price of Coercive Sexuality Woman's Press, Toronto.Google Scholar
  6. Comment. (1968). Police discretion and the judgement that a crime has been committed.Univ. Penn. Law Rev. 117: 227–322.Google Scholar
  7. Comment. (1970). The corroboration rule and crimes accompanying a rape.Univ. Penn. Law Rev. 118: 458–472.Google Scholar
  8. Comment. (1973). Complainant credibility in sexual offense cases: A survey of character testimony and psychiatric experts.J. Crim. Law and Crim. 64: 67–75.Google Scholar
  9. Deutsch, H. (1944).The Psychology of Women, Vol. 1, Grune and Stratton, New York.Google Scholar
  10. Edwards, S. (1981).Female Sexuality and the Law Martin Robertson, London.Google Scholar
  11. Edwards, S. (1983). Sexuality, sexual offenses, and conceptions of victims in the criminal justice process.Victimology 8: 113–130.Google Scholar
  12. Freud, S. (1933).New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis Norton, New York.Google Scholar
  13. Grablewski, J. T. (1958). Necessity and corroboration of prosecutrix's testimony in prosecution for rape.Villanova Law Rev. 3: 220–222.Google Scholar
  14. Grano, J. D. (1990, Spring). Free speech v. The University of Michigan.Acad. Quest., pp. 7–22.Google Scholar
  15. Guttmacher, M., and Weihofen, H. (1952).Psychiatry and the Law Norton, New York.Google Scholar
  16. Hibey, R. A. (1973). The trial of a rape case: An advocate's analysis of corroboration, consent, and character.Am. Crim. Law Rev. 11: 309–334.Google Scholar
  17. Horney, K. (1933).Feminine Psychology Norton, New York.Google Scholar
  18. Hursch, C. (1977).The Trouble with Rape Nelson-Hall, Chicago.Google Scholar
  19. Jay, D. R. (1991). Victimization on the college campus: A look at three high-profile cases.Campus Law Enforce, 35–37.Google Scholar
  20. Juliver, M. (1960). Psychiatric opinions as to credibility of witnesses: A suggested approach.Cal. Law Rev. 48: 648–683.Google Scholar
  21. Kanin, E. J. (1982). Female rape fantasies: A victimization study.Victimology 7: 114–121.Google Scholar
  22. Kanin, E. J. (1985). Unfounded rape. Paper presented at the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences annual meeting, Las Vegas, NV.Google Scholar
  23. Katz, S., and Mazur, M. (1979).Understanding the Rape Victim Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
  24. Krasner, W., Meyer, L., and Carroll, N. (1976).Victims of Rape U. S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  25. LaFree, G. (1989).Rape and Criminal Justice, Wadsworth, Belmont, CA.Google Scholar
  26. Lowe, M. (1984). The role of the judiciary in the failure of the sexual offenses (amendment) act to improve the treatment of the rape victim. In Hopkins, J. (ed.),Perspectives on Rape and Sexual Assault Harper and Row, London, pp. 67–88.Google Scholar
  27. MacDonald, J. (1971).Rape Offenders and their Victims Charles C Thomas, Springfield, IL.Google Scholar
  28. MacDonald, J. (1973). False accusations of rape.Med. Aspects Hum. Sex. 7: 170–193.Google Scholar
  29. Menninger, K. A. (1933). Cited in Wigmore, J. (1940).Evidence in Trials at Common Law Little Brown, Boston.Google Scholar
  30. McDowell, C. P., and Hibler, N. S. (1987). False allegations. In Hazelwood, R. R. and Burgess, A. W. (eds.),Practical Aspects of Rape Investigation Elsevier. New York.Google Scholar
  31. Newsweek. (May 16, 1983). Burying crime in Chicago.Google Scholar
  32. O'Reilly, H. J. (1984). Crisis intervention with victims of forcible rape: A police perspective. In Hopkins, J. (ed.),Perspectives on Rape and Sexual Assault Harper and Row, London, pp. 89–103.Google Scholar
  33. Payton, G. T. (1967).Patrol Procedures Legal Book, Los Angeles.Google Scholar
  34. Pepinsky, H. E., and P. Jesilow (1984).Myths that Cause Crime Seven Locks Press, Cabin John, MD.Google Scholar
  35. Russell, D. E. H. (1984).Sexual Exploitation Sage, Beverly Hills.Google Scholar
  36. Schiff, A. (1969). Statistical features of rape.J. Forensic Sci; 14: 102–110.Google Scholar
  37. Schiff, A. (1971, October). Rape needs a special examination.Emergency Med., pp. 28–29.Google Scholar
  38. Sherwin, R. V. (1973). Commentary.Med. Aspects Hum. Sex. 7: 193.Google Scholar
  39. Smith, T. L. (1953–1954). Competency of female child as prosecutrix in case of sexual offenses.Ala. Law Rev. 6: 96–99.Google Scholar
  40. Weihofen, H. (1959). Compensation for victims of criminal violence.J. Public Law 8: 209–218.Google Scholar
  41. Wigmore, J. (1940).Evidence in Trials at Common Law Little Brown, Boston.Google Scholar
  42. Wilson, P. R. (1978).The Other Side of Rape University of Queensland Press, St. Lucia, Queensland, Australia.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eugene J. Kanin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

Personalised recommendations