Look, I find numbers hard, but I took my maths GCSE a (probably) record amount of times. You've seen Elf right? You know that scene with Will Ferrell in elf class being too big for this elfin desk? That was me. Only I was the oldest in the class – not the biggest (in fact I was the smallest and so my desk, like my school trousers, overwhelmed me. I probably would have ACED elf class. But that's enough Squeamish Kate trivia for one day). However I can usually work out which number is the larger and therefore more concerning/bigger piece of the cake.
Using the same figures and story the BBC Newsbeat decided to use the headline “False rape claims 'devastating' say wrongly accused” kicking off the article with: “Two people a month are being prosecuted for making false allegations of rape and wasting police time, new figures show...The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) looked at a period of 17 months. In that time 35 people were charged.” Yeah, keep on fighting that good fight Newsbeat.
So. Over the test period of 17 months the number of prosecutions for rape was 5,651. The number of prosecutions for domestic violence in England and Wales was 111,891 Like I said, I'm not great with numbers but those are pretty big, yeah?
During the same time period of 17 months the number of prosecutions for making false allegations of rape was 35. The rate of prosecutions for false allegations of domestic violence was 6. For false allegations of both domestic violence and rape was 3.
I'm not saying these numbers should be dismissed. I am saying they are small. Even without the comparison to the prosecutions of actual rape crime. I have no doubt the BBC Newsbeat coverage of the young man falsely accused of rape was correct in saying it was a devastating occurrence.
What is the devastating trauma caused by being accused of lying?
What is the devastating trauma caused by being accused of lying? I understand evidence is necessary but it isn't much testimony to police faith when a woman has to undergo an invasive procedure to confirm she was physically violated. The procedure, the treatment, the risk all contribute to the under-reporting of rape.
This is the only time I would suggest we treat rape as any other crime. No, actually, scratch that. I wish we treated rape like any other crime. There is a rape analogy that comes up every now and again about a man visiting a police station to report a mugging. I'd be interested to know how many people report a burglary and undergo routine questions that could easily be interpreted and summarised as a wrinkled nosed: '...really?'
Start a conversation about Chris Huhne's imprisonment and I bet, I bet, someone will make a joke about picking up soap in the showers. Remember The Onion's response to comedian Daniel Tosh's hilarious gang rape joke? HA-HA imagine if Tosh got gang-raped. Start a conversation about rape and someone will usually, very earnestly, broach the serious subject of false accusations. I say serious because when it happens it is serious. You know what happens more? Rape.
Make no mistake. This is rape culture.