Very little formal research has been conducted on the prevalence of false allegations of rape. One study looked at the 109 cases of forcible rape that were disposed of in one small midwestern town between 1978 and 1987 (Kanin, 1994). The given town was specifically selected for study because the police department used a uniquely objective and thorough protocol when investigating rape complaints. Among other procedural safeguards, officers did not have the discretion to drop rape investigations if they concluded the complaint was "suspect" or unfounded. Every rape accusation had to be thoroughly investigated and included offering a polygraph to both the accuser and the accused. Cases were only determined to be false if and when the accuser admitted that no rape occurred.The reality is that rape is a relatively uncommon crime in the United States; the one in five figures bandied about by feminists at candlelight vigils are pure and unmitigated fantasy. Of course, it is not exactly a mystery why so many women are more than a little disposed to fantasize about rape.
The researchers further investigated those cases that the police, through their investigation, had ultimately determined were "false" or fabricated. During the follow-up investigation, the complainants held fast to their assertion that their rape allegation had been true, despite being told they would face penalties for filing a false report. As a result, 41% of all of the forcible rape complaints were found to be false. To further this study, a similar analysis was conducted on all of the forcible rape complaints filed at two large midwestern public universities over a 3-year period. Here, where polygraphs were not offered as part of the investigatory procedure, it was found that 50% of the complaints were false.
Charles P. McDowell, a researcher in the United States Air Force Special Studies Division, studied the 1,218 reports of rape that were made between 1980 and 1984 on Air Force bases throughout the world (McDowell, 1985). Of those, 460 were found to be "proven" allegations either because the "overwhelming preponderance of the evidence" strongly supported the allegation or because there was a conviction in the case. Another 212 of the total reports were found to be "disproved" as the alleged victim convincingly admitted the complaint was a "hoax" at some point during the initial investigation. The researchers then investigated the 546 remaining or "unresolved" rape allegations including having the accusers submit to a polygraph. Twenty-seven percent (27%) of these complainants admitted they had fabricated their accusation just before taking the polygraph or right after they failed the test. (It should be noted that whenever there was any doubt, the unresolved case was re-classified as a "proven" rape.) Combining this 27% with the initial 212 "disproved" cases, it was determined that approximately 45% of the total rape allegations were false.