8 Categories of Motives Cited:
3) Disturbed Mental State
4) Material Gain
5) Relabeling* (see below)
Motives for Filing a False Allegation of Rape
André W. E. A. De Zutter, Robert Horselenberg, Peter J. van Koppen
Published online 2017 Feb 17.
Arch Sex Behav. 2018; 47(2): 457–464.
Abstract: The list of motives by Kanin (1994) is the most cited list of motives to file a false allegation of rape. Kanin posited that complainants file a false allegation out of revenge, to produce an alibi or to get sympathy. A new list of motives is proposed in which gain is the predominant factor. In the proposed list, complainants file a false allegation out of material gain, emotional gain, or a disturbed mental state. The list can be subdivided into eight different categories: material gain, alibi, revenge, sympathy, attention, a disturbed mental state, relabeling, or regret. To test the validity of the list, a sample of 57 proven false allegations were studied at and provided by the National Unit of the Dutch National Police (NU). The complete files were studied to ensure correct classification by the NU and to identify the motives of the complainants. The results support the overall validity of the list. Complainants were primarily motivated by emotional gain. Most false allegations were used to cover up other behavior such as adultery or skipping school. Some complainants, however, reported more than one motive. A large proportion, 20% of complainants, said that they did not know why they filed a false allegation. The results confirm the complexity of motivations for filing false allegations and the difficulties associated with archival studies. In conclusion, the list of Kanin is, based on the current results, valid but insufficient to explain all the different motives of complainants to file a false allegation.
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Excerpt on “RELABELING" ~
A Dutch defense lawyer, Veraart (2006), described two other motives for filing a false allegation. Sometimes consensual sex is afterward presented by the complainant as rape to the police, because of its disappointing or shameful character. The relabeling, however, is not internalized as the complainant is still aware of the fact that she was not raped at all because the sexual encounter was consensual. If consensual sex afterward is, due to external pressure or influence, relabeled as rape, the complainant might not have desired the sexual encounter but did consent without any abuse of power or manipulation by the other party. The complainant, however, did not convey her lack of desire. Unwanted but consensual sex is common (Bay-Cheng & Eliseo-Arras, 2008; Erickson & Rapkin, 1991; O’Sullivan & Allgeier, 1998; Philips, 2000). In the study conducted by O’Sullivan and Allgeier, 26% of men and 50% of women reported at least one occasion in which they had engaged in unwanted, but consented, sexual activity in a 2-week period. The element of a not wanting, a lack of desire, is used to justify the false allegation of rape. But the complainant is still aware of the fact that she was not raped and consented to the sexual encounter. Lay people tend to associate rape with not wanting. De Zutter, Horselenberg, and van Koppen (2017) conducted a quasi-experiment in which they asked 35 women to fabricate rape and file a false allegation. They found that the fabricated stories of rape, the false allegations, resembled unwanted sex. Studies on fabricated rape have consistently shown that lay people tend to associate not wanting sex with rape (De Zutter, Horselenberg, & van Koppen, 2016; De Zutter et al., 2017). Thus, if a complainant recounts her unwanted consensual sexual encounter to friends and family, her social environment will react with the label of rape. Once the consensual sexual encounter is labeled rape by the environment, it creates a proverbial point of no return in the head of the complainant who decides to file a false allegation of rape at the police station instead of confronting her social environment with the assertion that their label is invalid (Veraart, 1997, 2006). Sometimes scholars have been said to engage in the process of relabeling consensual sexual encounters as rape. Sommers (1995) argued in her book “Who Stole Feminism?” that relabeling by scholars caused an inflation of the prevalence rates of rape reported by some scholars in the USA, because only one in four women who were labeled victims of rape by scientists in these studies believed that they were, in fact, raped. [Excerpt from: André W. E. A. De Zutter, Robert Horselenberg, Peter J. van Koppen, “Motives for Filing a False Allegation of Rape,” Arch Sex Behav. 2018; 47(2): 457–464. Pub. online 2017 Feb 17.]