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While we are often told to “believe women” – and are assured no one would lie about being raped, false reports do happen. In Port Clinton, Ohio, some 20% of sexual assault reports are classified as false.

That’s nearly twice as many as the highest (misleading) claim that just 2% to 10% are false. As I’ve explained previously, that number comes from claims that are proven false, which may be just as difficult to prove as cases that are true.

This number also does not mean that the other 90% to 98% (or 80% for Port Clinton) are true. Some are classified as baseless, which is different somehow than false. Some lack evidence and some go to trial. A small percentage that go to trial result in a guilty verdict, so using the same logic as claiming just 2% to 10% are false, one could argue that just 3% to 5% are true.

The same goes in Port Clinton. Though police detective Corbin Carpenter told the Port Clinton News Herald that about 20% are considered false, that is just one classification.

“Between 2013 and 2017, law enforcement in Ottawa County opened 126 sexual assault investigations,” the Herald reported. “Of those 126 cases, 57 cases were either closed due to lack of evidence, or the victim declined to press charges.”

That’s another 45% of cases that aren’t proven true or false, and could be either. At most, since there isn’t information on the other cases, one could say 35% might be true, but some of those might result in an arrest but no trial, or the person is found not guilty, or they’re found guilty.

The bottom line is we must be honest about statistics and the realities of this crime. People lie about the worst things imaginable, mostly because no one wants to disbelieve them. But that means that sometimes the real victim is the person being falsely accused.

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