I'm going to make this post as blunt and as to-the-point as I can. There's a wicked game being played by what is aptly described as the sexual grievance industry -- radical feminists and paid members of the sexual assault community. Its purpose is to pretend that false rape claims are largely a myth, which justifies ignoring the needs of the falsely accused and focusing solely on jacking up rape convictions.
Here's how the game is played: when discussing the prevalence of false rape claims, only include among "false" claims those that police are able to rule out as "false" in its initial investigation, and pretend the rest are actual rapes.
Read that last sentence again because as blatantly dishonest as that sounds, that's what's going on here.
Before we explain, let's understand the terminology used by the sexual grievance industry: "sexual assault cases are 'unfounded', if after a thorough investigation, they are determined to be false or baseless." It's fair to say that for both "false" and "baseless" claims, evidence is required to conclusively rule out rape. "False claims" differ from "baseless claims" in that for "false claims" a motive to deceive can also be shown. http://www.svfreenyc.org/survivors_factsheet_84.html
Thus, the sexual grievance industry explains that the following are not sufficient reasons to declare a claim either "false" or "unfounded": not being able to locate the victim; victim is uncooperative or won't follow through with prosecution; victim repeatedly changes her/his account of the rape; victim recants; and no assailant can be identified. http://www.svfreenyc.org/survivors_factsheet_84.html
Let's assume for the sake of argument that this terminology is appropriate. Does that mean that cases dropped for any of those reasons cited in the preceding paragraph were necessarily actual rapes? How about cases dropped for any other reason? How about cases that end up in trial where the defendant is exonerated -- were they necessarily actual rapes?
It absolutely does not mean that any of those were necessarily actual rapes, but the sexual grievance industry would have you believe they were.
Think I'm kidding? The sexual grievance industry says things like this: "Only 2% of all rape claims are false." Check it out -- it's all over the Internet. The implication is that the other 98% of rape claims are necessarily actual rapes, and that's as dishonest as it can possibly be.
The two percent (by the way, that number is typically much higher, depending on the jurisdiction) represents only claims for which the police conclusively ruled out rape in its investigation. It does not mean the other 98% were actual rapes. I don't know how much more clearly I can say it.
The fact is, we are reasonably certain a certain percentage of rape claims are false; we are reasonably certain percentage of rape claims were actual rapes. But for most claims -- claims in the vast middle area -- we have no idea whether they were false claims or actual rapes. To assume they were all rapes simply because police didn't have conclusive evidence to rule them out during its investigation (as the sexual grievance industry suggests) is a blatant lie.
The only fair way to discuss the prevalence of false claims is to talk only about the universe of claims for which we know, with reasonable certainty, whether a false claim or a rape occurred. And if we do that, by any measure, false rape claims are a significant percentage of the total.