The Myth About Rape Myths

I’m inspired to write this post because I have, for some time, been awaiting publication of research by Professor Cheryl Thomas of UCL on rape trial juries and associated matters. I find it has been published – back in November 2020 – but not for us plebs as yet.

To avoid burdening the thrust of this post with the rape statistics themselves, I relegate a review of them to the Appendix, below.

The salient point is that prosecutions, and convictions, for rape have been falling. Some people might regard this as a good thing – just as some of us would regard the falling rate of domestic abuse as a good thing. But not the feminists, who require more prosecutions – far more – and all those prosecuted must be convicted: to be accused is to be guilty. Not that there is any shortage of men in prison for sexual offences, namely around 13,500 men, accounting now for 18% of the prison population. This number has been climbing steadily for many years, having doubled since 2005.

Readers may recall a petition to the Government in 2018: “All jurors in rape trials to complete compulsory training about rape myths”. The petitioners claimed that,

Research shows that jurors accept commonly held rape myths resulting in many incorrect not guilty verdicts. Rapists are walking free from court, although evidence is robust.”

And that,

Research by Rape Crisis & Alison Saunders, Director of Public Prosecutions, finds that jurors often accept rape myths & thus acquit rapists who are in fact guilty. 66% of jurors do not understand judges’ legal directions which attempt to dispel rape myths, but fail. Jurors need proper rape myth training prior to & throughout trials.”

Leaving aside that Alison Saunders is hardly one’s first choice if the objective is to bolster credibility…The petitioners’ claims were followed by three links, as if to material reporting the ostensible “research”. Not so. All the links merely list the supposed rape myths (e.g., this one); none provide any evidence whatsoever that there is widespread public belief in them.

There is no such research.

I can be pretty confident about that for two reasons. Firstly, had there been any, it would certainly have been linked.

More fundamentally, though, to support the contention regarding rape trial jurors’ views it would be necessary to interview such jurors. This is problematic because jurors are prohibited from discussing cases. Special dispensation would be required to permit jurors’ to answer questions put to them by specifically authorised researchers. To-date the only researcher granted this permission in England is Professor Cheryl Thomas. Hence my interest in what she would report.

Her report is here: The 21st century jury: contempt, bias and the impact of jury service, Criminal Law Review (11) pp. 987-1011. You will be disappointed to find that you cannot access it, and not only due to a paywall. It is restricted to staff within UCL Discovery until 2nd November 2021. (This is likely because it has been published in the law journals which need to justify their exorbitant subscriptions before it is made available to the hoi polloi). My knowledge of its contents comes entirely from a brief review by Joshua Rozenberg QC. I’ll get to that shortly.

“Training” juries prior to trial, which the petition requests, is a terribly disturbing suggestion. We know who will do the “training”, those whom the establishment consider “experts” in the subject. It would subvert the purpose of an independent jury, namely that the accused be judged by his peers: ordinary untainted citizens. Any “education” prior to the trial is prejudicial to this ideal, even if it were of benign motivation. It would not be of benign motivation – it would be motivated by the objective of gaining more convictions, not a more accurate verdict. As just one example, what if the jury were told, as they certainly would be, that “false allegations of rape are extremely rare”? If the jurors believed it, the verdict would be assured.

Those who interpret any not-guilty verdict in a rape trial as the jury’s error have also called for juries to be scrapped entirely in rape trials, for example Bindel, 2016 and MP Ann Coffey. The debate in Parliament on the matter in 2018 was not a debate but feminist MPs agreeing with each other. Coffey also suggested “specialist rape courts” and referred to juries being “reluctant to convict young men”. With 24 times as many men as women in prison, with the number of men in prison for sex offences increasing yearly despite smaller volumes of cases – what planet is she on?

Readers may recognise the name Cheryl Thomas. She has previous in respect of upsetting the feminist position on rape juries. In her 2010 review of this subject, (Thomas, 2010), she concluded that, contrary to popular belief and previous official reports, juries in rape trials convict more often than they acquit. In 2010 Professor Thomas also concluded that,

‘Jury conviction rates for rape vary according to the gender and age of the complainant, with high conviction rates for some female complainants and low conviction rates for some male complainants. This challenges the view that juries’ failure to convict in rape cases is due to juror bias against female complainants.

In other words it is men, not women, who get short-changed by the justice system when complaining about rape. In Tables 19.4a-c of my book I compare conviction rates for male and female complainants (of all ages), data which is fully consistent with Thomas’s conclusion. She also concludes,

Juries are not primarily responsible for the low conviction rate on rape allegations.’

And so to Professor Thomas’s latest research which was commissioned by the senior judiciary specifically to respond to the 2018 petition. What I report is brought to us by Joshua Rozenberg QC. He reminds us that all judges in the Crown Court are provided with guidance on the issues specific to rape cases. Judges have been directing juries on rape myths and stereotypes for more than a decade. In respect of the petition’s claims regarding jurors’ widespread belief in the “rape myths”, Thomas was scathing…

At the time of the petition there had been no research in England and Wales with real jurors on the issue of whether they accepted commonly held rape myths or understood judges’ directions on such myths. This meant that the petition’s claim that research showed jurors accepted commonly held rape myths and did not understood judges’ directions on these myths could not have been correct.”

That’s academic speak for “lying toerags”.

What Thomas actually found was,

Hardly any jurors believe what are often referred to as widespread myths and stereotypes about rape and sexual assault. The overwhelming majority of jurors do not believe that rape must leave bruises or marks, that a person will always fight back when being raped, that dressing or acting provocatively or going out alone at night is inviting rape, that men cannot be raped or that rapes will always be reported immediately. The small proportion of jurors who do believe any of these myths or stereotypes amounts to less than one person on a jury [of 12].”

Consistent with Thomas’s 2010 research, Rozenberg writes,

Existing research showed that juries convict in rape cases more often than they acquit, Thomas explained. The jury conviction rate in rape cases is higher than it is for other serious crimes such as attempted murder, grievous bodily harm and threatening to kill.”

It is interesting to compare coercive control in the domestic abuse context with the MO of feminism society-wide. The constant repetition of the claim that “we” believe the ostensible rape myths is akin to gaslighting. You don’t believe them yourself, and you’re fairly sure most people you know don’t either – but you begin to doubt whether maybe the infamous teeming hordes of deplorables are the problem. No, it’s an invention. It springs from the darker recesses of the psyches of our accusers. It does not come from a desire for justice, or even a desire to protect women. It comes from a blood-lust to punish men, for being men. What lies behind this is insatiable prejudice.

There are myths about rape, though. One is that we live in a rape culture. Another is that women’s allegations are always strictly honest, including those about rape.

Appendix: Rape Prosecution and Conviction Statistics

Actually I will not be giving you rape statistics here, but the statistics which the CPS are pleased to refer to as rape, namely “rape flagged cases”.

Recall that the CPS is the organisation in whose VAWG reports, “Violence” does not mean violence, “Women” does not mean women, and “Girls” does not mean girls. Instead VAWG, we are told, is a category of crime and includes men and boys as victims (in some cases, e.g., modern slavery, the majority of the victims). There is absolutely no intention to mislead or to bury male victimisation, I’m sure.

Cases are “rape flagged” if an allegation of rape has been made. Such cases retain their rape-flagged status even if any ultimate prosecution is not for rape but for a lesser offence. Hence, what the CPS appear to class as “convictions for rape” are actually convictions in a case that was rape-flagged, but the conviction may not be for rape.

As a rough guide, MOJ data for true rape cases indicates that about half of the CPS’s “rape prosecutions” are not for rape, and about half of the CPS’s “rape convictions” are not for rape. Bear that in mind throughout the stats below.

I start by reproducing Table 19.2 from my book, which was based on the 2008/9 CPS VAWG report. Of cases going to jury trial, the jury convicted more often than they acquitted,

Table 1 (from TEG Table 19.2): Outcome of Rape-Flagged Prosecutions

Jury acquittal578539575
All other acquittals*908943902
Jury conviction701786788
Guilty plea1,0771,2351,230
*Almost all due to prosecution dropping the case, most often because they had no evidence to offer

More recently, taken from the 2018/19 CPS VAWG report, the data are given in Table 2, where the rows are defined as follows,

  • A = numbers referred by police to CPS for a charging decision
  • B = numbers of cases where the legal decision was to charge (excludes cases where the accused has already pleaded guilty)
  • C = numbers of cases where the legal decision was not to charge
  • D = numbers of cases “administratively finalised”. These are cases where a prosecution cannot proceed because a defendant has failed to appear at court and a bench warrant has been issued for his or her arrest; or the defendant has died, or is found unfit to plead.
  • E = completed prosecutions (includes cases where the accused has pleaded guilty)
  • F = numbers of guilty pleas
  • G = convicted at trial (approx. 93% at Crown Court, i.e., with a jury)
  • H = prosecution dropped (generally because of no evidence or insufficient evidence)
  • J = acquitted at trial
Decision to charge or not (CPS)
Prosecution or other disposal
Table 2

Note that the columns may appear inconsistent. This is because referrals from the police may not have a charging decision in the same year but in a later year, and cases with a charging decision in a given year may not become a completed case until subsequent years.  

Recall all these data relate to “rape flagged” cases, not rape cases. For comparison, the total convictions for rape in 2018 was 919 (including guilty pleas and convictions at trial).

9 thoughts on “The Myth About Rape Myths

  1. SB

    What a spot-on analysis. I have just been released from prison after four years. I was told about this site early on in my sentence, and have keenly waited this long to read it. I was on bail for fourteen months, pleaded not guilty, and have tried multiple appeal avenues. The jury consisted of nine women and three men, and every other man in a similar boat in prison seemed to report a similar gender divide in their juries. I have much to write, but I’m sure this site has heard it all before!

    I refuse to use the terms victim or offence, because I don’t see them as statements of fact. I was interested to read that the Probation Guidance agrees on that point too. As a writer and artist first (and prisoner maintaining innocence second), I now include justice reform in my academic offer, and will be giving talks on hidden disabilities in prison – of which there are legion – at various universities in the new academic year. I find it important to get some positive if you can out of what look like otherwise totally wasted years. Great site, so glad I waited. I shall now buy the book…

    1. William Collins Post author

      Good luck with the university talks, and running the gauntlet of the no-platformers.

  2. family coalition

    Thanks for another insightful article. I recently watched USAWATCHDOG which had Steve Quayle on who mentioned his upcoming conference:

    “EXTINCTION PROTOCOLS – The destruction of the human race has kicked into high gear, with the Globalists plotting the deaths of 90% of the Earth’s population. We are currently facing an unimaginable list of haunting challenges: Forced Vaccinations, Alien Disclosure, Geological Upheaval, AI Terminator Robots, Solar Storms, Volcanoes & Earthquakes, Loss of Freedoms & 2nd Amendment Rights, the End of Paper Money, and the Explosion of Crypto Currencies and Precious Metals.”

    It seems ALL your articles could be referenced under Extinction Protocol since the outcome from all the hate, venom, injustice and lack of care will sontribute towards the demise of humanity.

    Just stepping back to see the wood for a moment always helps… 😉

  3. Purity

    I was just getting my hair done today and my hairdresser was in her early 30’s and described herself as a happy wife that was a feminist because she didn’t need her husband to pay the bills. As we spoke longer, she described parental alienation that her husband was experiencing from his ex-wife, as his ex had custody of his two kids from his prior marriage. His daughter 13, was refusing to see him because his ex-wife was planting seeds that her dad was basically garbage. His son, still at this point, wanted to spend his allotted 50% custody with him. His ex is committing child abuse by alienating his kids from him by speaking negatively to them constantly. She then told me about when she was in college and a promiscuous friend had falsely accused her guy friend of rape. She was with her friends and knew that he didn’t do anything to her or with her. She made the whole thing up and ruined his reputation. Then she preceded to tell me about her brother that has main custody of his two sons, but was fine with mom seeing the kids 50%. His ex had him followed, hired a lawyer, to wreck his custody, career, and reputation. The judge didn’t buy it, and flagged her as a false accuser. She was astounded that 3 men in her life have gone through hell, from false accusations from women. She wondered about her “feminist” beliefs now! Don’t accept the lie that feminism pushes, it is a radical view that not only ruins the family, it hurts women, because men are catching on that many women, are just not worth the trouble:( and its big trouble!

  4. MrInquisitive

    You know we’ve had this huge surge in male suicides over the last year or so, well I was wondering if anyone has looked at the stats to see how strongly the male suicide rate correlates with the rise of the #MeToo hashtag on social media? Maybe there is no link, just thought it might be worth looking into.

  5. Logan

    It’s yet more of the perpetual ipse-dixit rhetoric feminists use. It is because they say it is, and they all cite each other as evidence. ‘Boys will be boys’, ‘Juries acquit rapists due to myths’, ‘People think if a woman is wearing a short skirt she’s asking for it’, etc, and pretty much any statement that starts with ‘Society teaches girls…’

  6. Groan

    Even more striking in the fall in referrals is that this coincides with the belated prosecutions of the so called “Asian” abusive rings. With the most recent case going to court just last month with 29 defendants one would expect a significant effect of these unprecedentedly large groups of prosecutions from 2016/17 when the long period of silence about these crumbled, and the Police , child protection agencies and CPS overcame their concerns about being accused of racism. It suggests a greater fall in the more general cases prosecuted.
    As you say the actual statistics show that in a rapidly growing population during the first two decades of thus century rape has become even rarer in this country.
    You do a great service in giving the references to actual research. Many academics bemoan the lack of attention to their research by public bodies. And they are absolutely right. It is in fact very rare to find any rigorous use of accredited research (often funded by public money through research councils) in any branch of local or national government. Perhaps even more surprising is that such bodies rarely use of even interrogate their own statistical data. Given that all public and publicly funded bodies are required by the Equality Act to collect data for all equality strands including sex. I learned that although many do it is in fact rare for this data to be collated and rarer still for it to be used. In my final job, which had some influence, I was able to make some posite changes locally, in prioritising boys reading, Male reporting of DV, homelessness and men’s health. Largely by using graphs of the Council and NHS own local data. I was only “radical” in that I bothered to talk to the respective organisations’ information teams and asked the right questions! My point is not to blow my own trumpet but to point out the importance of constantly making “visible” both research such as that referred to here and the actual data from public organisations. One important tool is making use of FOI requests, frequently such a FOI will be the first time any one at all has ever requested the data for males.
    I found there was no “conspiracy” on the part of the public servants, it was more complete ignorance and a lazy reliance on the sort of “sound bite” figures regurgitated by pressure groups. On the plus side the information officers rather liked someone taking an interest and asking for various breakdowns of data.


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