Jeremy C. Young Profile picture
Sep 29, 2018 29 tweets 9 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Thanks to #KavanaughHearings, I've heard from a number of men this week who are terrified that they'll be falsely accused of rape. Good news, men: Kavanaugh hasn't been falsely accused, and you won't be either. Don't believe me? Let's look at the evidence.
How hard is it to get someone to falsely accuse a man of rape? In the last week of the 2016 election, Democratic donors Susie Tompkins Buell and David Brock decided to find out. They offered $700,000 to any woman who would say Donald Trump raped her.…
So these women had whatever normal incentives women have to lie about rape, plus added fistfuls of cash. The result? "It was not productive. One woman requested $2 million, Bloom said, then decided not to come forward. Nor did any other women."
This has happened before. During the Clinton impeachment, Larry Flynt offered $1 million to anyone who said they'd had an affair with a GOP congressman. Only one woman got paid, and the man she accused, Bob Livingston, admitted she was telling the truth.…
Why don't more women lie about being raped? Because the disbelief and ridicule they receive is so devastating that the lie isn't worth it. They don't have any motive. They can try to "ruin" a man, but most of the time it doesn't work, and they get ruined instead.
At the same time, I want to acknowledge that there ARE false rape accusations. So let's take a look at what those look like, courtesy of this outstanding article by @sannewman.…
It turns out there have been studies on the types of people who make false rape accusations -- and what's amazing is that they all fall into a few consistent categories.
Teen girls trying to cover up a pregnancy or a missed curfew. People with extensive criminal convictions for fraud. People with Munchausen's Disorder who fabricate a million health conditions. People seeking revenge, usually for petty things like someone stealing their truck.
Also: "False accusers almost never tell stories that could, by any stretch of the imagination, be seen as an innocent misunderstanding." If Dr. Blasey Ford wanted to lie about Kavanaugh, she'd accuse him of torturing her in a basement, not of attempted molestation at a party.
The takeaway: "If a woman without any history of dramatic falsehoods says she went home with a man and, after they’d kissed a while consensually, he held her down and forced her into sex—in the absence of compelling evidence to the contrary, you can just assume it’s true."
When it comes to Kavanaugh, false accusations of this type simply don't happen. Dr. Blasey Ford is telling the truth. So are Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick. If you know someone who's faced accusations like these, it's almost certain they actually did what they're accused of.
False accusations of rape do happen, but they are rare. Rarer than being struck by lightning -- in your house. If you're not lying awake at night worrying that lightning will come through your window and electrocute you, you shouldn't worry about being falsely accused of rape.
What we should worry about instead is what happens to women like Dr. Blasey Ford when they tell the truth and are still not believed. What's been said about Dr. Blasey Ford would land most people in therapy for years. Meanwhile, Kavanaugh's nomination still marches forward.
In summary: you literally can't pay women to falsely report sexual misconduct. But as Donald Trump has repeatedly demonstrated, you can certainly pay them not to report sexual misconduct that actually happened.
Wanted to add a few more thoughts here on the main thread. Several people have responded with the statistic that between 2% (according to activists) and 10% (according to skeptics) of rape accusations are false. This is true. But, there's more to it.
First, go back and read that article by @sannewman. When false accusations do happen, they follow specific patterns and are made by specific types of people. They're not random or hard to predict. Those accusers don't behave like Dr. Blasey Ford.
Second - and this is crucial - not a single false accusation mentioned in that article involved more than one accuser. With multiple accusers who are credible and don't know one another, the possibility of a false accusation is exponentially lower.
I'd go so far as to say that, if you have two credible accusers who don't know each other, you have removed the possibility of reasonable doubt. Kavanaugh has three credible accusers, and two more potentially credible ones. The chance that they're all lying is virtually nil.
The same argument goes for people who say memories are unreliable. Well, sure: people often don't remember the face of a stranger who attacks them. They do remember when it's someone they know. And three women don't misremember being attacked by the same man.
Another thing. People ask, why did she wait 40 years to come forward? @jentaub explains in this excellent piece. Coming forward is incredibly traumatic. But if he's going to be ruling on the rights of 150 million women? Suddenly it becomes more urgent.…
People say, these women all want to protect Roe. Okay, fine. So did all the women David Brock offered fistfuls of cash to in November 2016. Wanting to protect Roe, plus fistfuls of cash, wasn't enough to convince them to make false accusations. It's just too traumatic.
And again, important to consider motive here. People who make up false accusations ALWAYS accuse people of sensational crimes. Look at Duke Lacrosse: gangraped on a bed of broken glass. If Dr. Blasey Ford were motivated by politics, her accusation would be far more extreme.
One more: an article from @DLind with overwhelming evidence that between 2% and 10% of rape accusations are false. The highest rate in a credible study was 10.3%. If someone quotes you a rate higher than that, they don't know what they're talking about.…
Also: @jimhopper on memory. Takeaway: people forget peripheral details of traumas but not central details. They might misidentify the face of a stranger rapist, but they don't misremember the identity of their classmate, whom they know, who attacked them.…
A couple of corrections, pointed out by readers. False accusations DO happen, but they're almost always easy to spot, and almost never "credible." (And some of these are still true.) Also, I confused some of the details of UVA with Duke Lacrosse. I regret the errors.
On "non-credible" witnesses, consider Lisa Pennal, an obviously mentally ill woman found chained in the back of a truck in 1990. The arresting officer believed her anyway, and caught Ben Rhoades, the infamous "Truck Stop Killer." Always start by believing.…
You say, maybe Dr. Blasey Ford gets a book deal from this. But sexual assault survivors are 13 times more likely to attempt suicide than the avg. person - and report public victim blaming is one of the main reasons. All that for a book deal? Not worth it.…
To those who know men who have been falsely accused: how many people do you know who have been sexually assaulted? Data says it's 27% of ALL women - and 7% of men. The assaults you don't know about are far more common than the false accusations you do.…
By the way, I've gotten a couple of requests to write up this Twitter thread as an article. While I'm grateful for the offers, it's women scholars, not me, whose work should be foregrounded on this issue. Two smart people to ask instead of me: @sannewman and @NBedera.

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Jeremy C. Young

Jeremy C. Young Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @jeremycyoung

Jan 9, 2018
I'm glad people are finally taking Oprah seriously as a presidential candidate. I've been talking about this possibility for years, really ever since Trump announced his campaign. So as a historian of charisma, here are my thoughts on Oprah for president.
First of all, you have to understand that Oprah is almost certainly the most charismatic person in America right now. If she ran for office, she would be the most charismatic American politician since Ronald Reagan.
Read Kathryn Lofton's book on her (Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon). As Lofton points out, it's insufficient to understand Oprah's appeal in conventional celebrity terms; she makes more sense if you think of her followers as a religious movement.
Read 16 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Don't want to be a Premium member but still want to support us?

Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal

Or Donate anonymously using crypto!


0xfe58350B80634f60Fa6Dc149a72b4DFbc17D341E copy


3ATGMxNzCUFzxpMCHL5sWSt4DVtS8UqXpi copy

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!