At Harvard, more than 18 percent of rape claims were false or baseless last year--at least. That's only the percentage that campus police have definitively determined were "false or baseless"--that's how the report itself defines "unfounded." Of the remaining rape claims, it is certain that a sizable percentage can't be classified one way or the other (that's true of every population of rape claims), and it is safe to assume that a significant percentage of those are also false or baseless. It would not be surprising if the total number of false or baseless rape claims approximated Prof. Kanin's much reviled 40 or 50 percent.
Shocked? Feminist Brett Sokolow, the leader of the campus sexual grievance industry who has done more to shape colleges' sexual misconduct policies than anyone in America, last year wrote that he sees "case-after-case" where "sincere victims [sic] . . . believe something has happened to them" even though "overwhelming proof" shows it did not. Mr. Sokolow suggested mental health issues may play an important factor in these false accusations.
Last year, no other criminal offense at Harvard had any "false or baseless" claims. What does that mean? Perhaps nothing, but it may also suggest that rape is unique among criminal claims that women either lie about or are wrong about. (It is easy to see how a lot of women might get it wrong: a new Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation survey reveals that almost half of all college women think that when a woman gives a guy a "nod in agreement," that isn't enough for consent. At least we know where the vast fortunes spent on the "war on rape" are going: to teach our daughters to mistake consent for rape.) Whether the accuser was lying or just mistaken--and it doesn't much matter to the wrongly accused--these alarming statistics underscore the necessity of greater due process protections for presumptively innocent college men accused of rape, per the counsel of 28 Harvard law professors who last year sounded this warning bell in words more adamant than even this blog could muster: "Harvard has adopted procedures for deciding cases of alleged sexual misconduct which lack the most basic elements of fairness and due process, are overwhelmingly stacked against the accused, and are in no way required by Title IX law or regulation."
More appropriately, rape and related claims of serious sex offenses ought to be left to law enforcement, per the wishes of 90 percent of likely American voters. As unjust as the criminal justice system can be for young men accused of rape (e.g., see here), the due process protections afforded persons accused of crimes promise fairer outcomes than college kangaroo courts are able to provide in the vast majority of cases, and the criminal justice system is subject to much greater accountability. It is astounding that fraternities--whose houses are unjustly caricatured as rape pits--are leading the charge to insist that rape claims be reported to the police.
One additional critical point needs to be made. The scare surveys that show one-in-five college women are sexually assaulted are rightfully attacked as politically biased and fatally flawed. But there's a problem with such surveys that is so fundamental it ought to be mentioned at the top of any such discussion: every allegation that meets the surveys' criteria of sexual assault is uncritically accepted as true and none are tested against competing claims of innocence. Harvard is an example of what happens when claims are actually investigated.
It's time to end the sexual grievance industry's witch hunt on college men.