Created By: ChaosVincent1 on September 15, 2011 Last Edited By: AuroraGreen on June 12, 2012
Troped

False Rape Accusation

An innocent person is accused of rape.

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Please lock this trope!

Exactly What It Says on the Tin

Someone claims to be raped. However, the accusation turns out to be a lie. Depending on the scenario, it can be a matter of this fact already being known by the audience or a plot twist. In the case of the former, the conflict is about the credibility of the accused instead of whether or not rape ever happened.

In order to qualify for this trope, the following is required:
  • There must be an accusation of rape. The victim does not need to be the accuser
  • The person accused must be innocent beyond a mere court ruling of "Not Guilty". This is because the "not guilty" ruling could also be played off as the criminal getting away with his actions.

There are also a few ways this can play out

  1. Mistaken Identity: The accused did not have sex with the alleged victim at the time claimed. They may have had sex with the alleged victim at other times. This is generally seen in fiction with "stranger rape", cases where the alleged victim was too impaired to correctly identify the attacker or cases where the victim was also murdered and is unable to provide an identification. This is also the easiest type to clear up.

  2. Post-coital Regrets: The accuser decides (or has it decided for them) after the case that the sexual encounter was rape based on embarrassment, new information about the accused or social pressure.

  3. Malicious Slander: The accused is simply accused of having committed rape for the purpose of harming them. For this, there need not have been any actual sex or alleged victim at all. Usually does not involve legal charges, unlike some of the others as it is "just" a rumor.

No Real Life Examples, Please!


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • Occurs in Bitter Virgin, by the Clingy Jealous Girl. Unfortunately, the one she's telling it to (the girl she's trying to scare away) is an actual rape victim, with good reason to know how victims behave afterwards.

Comic Books
  • In XIII, Felicity Brown gets rid of XIII by ripping the shoulder off her dress and shouting for the guard, covering herself up while claiming he'd tried to rape her.

Film
  • The Crush. A 14 year old girl named Adrian develops a crush on an adult man named Nick. When he declines her advances she tries to get him in trouble, including using semen from one of his condoms as evidence to falsely accuse him of raping her.
  • In The Wizard, one of the main characters, a young girl, falsely claimed that a man touched her breast as a distraction so that he would be tackled by nearby bystanders and they could escape. The kids had run away and were on their way to a video game tournament and the man in question was sent to take them back to their parents.
  • In Wild Things two teenage girls falsely accuse their high school guidance counselor of raping them in order to get revenge on him for various slights. Later on we find out that the guidance counselor was in on it; he sued the parents of one of the girls for a hefty sum after the false accusation and then the three of them split the money.

Literature
  • To Kill a Mockingbird. During the Great Deptression, a black man in Alabama is falsely accused of raping a white woman. Even though his innocence is proved during the trial, he is convicted anyway by a racist jury. He is later killed while trying to escape prison.
  • Both played straight and thoroughly subverted in the book Factoring Humanity by Robert J. Sawyer. The main character is accused of molesting his daughter, and he is known to the reader (but not the other characters) to be innocent. However, a significant plotline involves him striking up a friendship with another teacher on the same university campus who was falsely accused of raping one of his students. They discuss how their allegations have affected them and the older peer comforts the main character. Near the end of the story, however, the other character admits that he actually did it.
  • Of Mice and Men: shortly before the action in the story, Lenny had caressed a woman's dress - not the woman, just the dress - and she ran to the sheriff's office claiming rape. Lenny & George barely escaped town with their lives.
  • A Passage to India: During a trip to the Marabar Caves, Adela accuses Aziz of attempting to assault her. Aziz's trial, and its run-up and aftermath, bring out all the racial tensions and prejudices between indigenous Indians and the British colonists who rule India.

Live-Action TV
  • The McPoyle twins in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia accuse their elementary school gym teacher of molesting them, forcing Charlie to get involved in the charade.
  • This happens occasionally on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
  • The last episode of the original Law & Order features several teachers--including the Villain of the Week--who's lives were ruined by false accusations of molestation from their students. This includes a guy who tried to stop a student from taking a leak in front of the class, and was accused of sexually assaulting the boy.
  • There was a Baywatch episode where one of the male lifeguards caught one of the female lifeguards using drugs and she accused him of rape when he threatened to report her.
  • In the episode "A Minor Operation" of Hetty Wainthropp Investigates, DCI Adams is accused of attempted rape to conceal a larger crime.
  • In Degrassi: The Next Generation, Darcy accuses Mr.Simpson of assaulting her to get back at him for rejecting her advances and trying to convince her to tell her family about her actual rape.
  • In The Ringer, two students claim that their young teacher raped them. This is all an elaborate con to collect money from the countersuit.

Religion
  • In The Bible Potiphar's wife tries to seduce Joseph but he refuses. So she tells her husband that Joseph has raped her and he's imprisoned. Similar tales appear in many other old myths and tales, usually when a powerful but married woman tries to seduce a hero but is rejected.

Western Animation
  • South Park, "Wacky Molestation Adventure." The boys, upset at their parents' being too strict, call the police on their parents saying they "molestered" them. The parents are taken away. Soon there are no adults at all in South Park and they descend into a Children of the Cornesque society.


Again, No Real Life Examples, Please!. The YKTTW had a flame war over real life examples. I do not want this in the trope entry.
Community Feedback Replies: 106
  • September 15, 2011
    ladygem
    this is obviously a very sensitive subject. Let's just put a No Real Life Examples Please tag on it right away.
  • September 15, 2011
    Ryuuma
    In The Bible Putifar's wife tries to seduce Joseph but he refuse. So she tells to his husband that Joseph has raped her and he's imprisoned. Similar tales appears in many other old myths and tales, usually when a powerful but married woman tries to seduce a hero but is rejected. Bonus point if the hero is actually a girl in disguise (it happened in some tales).
  • September 15, 2011
    Psychobabble6
    There are ways that this example fits, and ways that it doesn't fit. I'll just write up the example and let you decide the criteria.

    • The McPoyle twins in Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia accuse their elementary school gym teacher of molesting them, forcing Charlie to get involved in the charade.
  • September 15, 2011
    randomsurfer
    South Park, "Wacky Molestation Adventure." The boys, upset at their parents' being too strict, call the police on their parents saying they "molestered" them. The parents are taken away. Soon there are no adults at all in South Park and they descend into a Children Of The Cornesque society.
  • September 15, 2011
    dyson88
    This happens a lot as you might expect on Lawand Order Special Victims Unit
  • September 15, 2011
    kyeo
    This is a really, really terrible idea for a trope page and should never be launched.
  • September 15, 2011
    CrypticMirror
    ^False Rape Claim is used as a trope, so we do need to have to document it. However, I support that it be locked on launch to prevent nastiness.
  • September 15, 2011
    AmyJade
    Questioning the line about how it happens more often in real life because no one wants to see a crime show where there's no crime. A rape victim who turns out to have lied about the rape is a common plot twist on crime shows almost to the point of being a discredited trope. Also, removing any mention from the description of how often false rape claims do or do not occur in real life and focusing instead on their use in fiction will go a long way in preventing edit wars.
  • September 15, 2011
    elwoz
    [[up]] I object to that line too. To the extent that we actually know (rape statistics are notoriously inaccurate), in Real Life, to first order, this never happens. What does happen all the time is, people who actually were sexually assaulted are accused of making it up and pressured into retracting the claim or at least not pressing charges.

    The entire trope description, to be frank, reads like the sort of reasoning that gets used to pressure people into retracting. I do not want to see this launched without a major rewrite.
  • September 15, 2011
    ChaosVincent1
    let's first establish the firm criteria and then rewrite around said criteria.

    First, there must be a rape accusation. Second, the accused person must be innocent. (This is to prevent it from overlapping with any of the tropes that try to say that said rape was either not a real rape or justified.)

    I think it would still be used used to the same effect in most settings whether any actual intercourse happened or not. However, in a setting with modern forensics, some who plan to make the false claim will intentionally engage in intercourse to obtain a DNA sample to use against the target. So we can make the occurance of intercourse an optional piece.

    Any other points anyone wishes to make about the criteria before I get around to the rewrite?
  • September 15, 2011
    AmyJade
    ^ It's probably worth noting that the trope plays out differently in fiction depending on whether the false accusation is against a specific person (who may or may not have had consensual sex with the accuser) -- this is where the motives of revenge or anger usually come in -- or is a claim of stranger rape by an unknown assailant -- which more often uses the motive of avoiding embarrassment, without any particular malice directed towards a person, but can spiral out of control if an actual suspect is picked up.

    (I'm basing this on examples I've seen, so someone correct me if my generalization is off.)
  • September 15, 2011
    PunosRey
    It's probably best to post a link to this page to counter the knee jerk reactions that are sure to follow if the current ones are any indication

    http://falserapesociety.blogspot.com/
  • September 15, 2011
    ChaosVincent1
    this is more of a qualification criteria. many other tropes can play out way differently while still being considered to be played straight.
  • September 15, 2011
    CommanderPanda
    An interesting Real Life note (given the No Real Life Examples direction this appears to be going, I'm fine with this not being used. It really is an interesting example though, soo), Police in Japan regularly put out warnings and advisories to prevent abduction of school age children. Citizens are warned of devious suspicious characters generally whenever a man talks to, is talked to, smiles at, asks directions of, or even rescues a school-aged girl.
  • September 15, 2011
    ChaosVincent1
    So, it looks like there are no objections to what's in the criteria.

    • Rape accusation
    • accused person is innocent
    • (optional) occurrence of consensual intercourse beforehand

    Time to completely rewrite the body of the draft.
  • September 15, 2011
    Jordan
    You know, a page already exists called Malicious Slander, which would probably cover these examples. The current suggested trope is really offensively titled and seems like one of those pages that's just asking for soapboxing.
  • September 15, 2011
    AmbarSonofDeshar
    I don't understand what's up with all the people saying they don't want to see this launched. Yes it's an incredibly sensitive subject, but rape period is an incredibly sensitive subject. That doesn't change the fact that it is a trope. It's happened numerous times in both Law And Order and its spinoffs alone. And that's without getting into historical pieces that will use it (especially those that deal with the Deep South, Reconstruction, and lynching). It's a trope.

    On another note, the new criteria sound fine to me.
  • September 15, 2011
    CommanderPanda
    The cause for backlash can probably be attributed to the title. Proposing False Rape Accusation for the most boring neutral descriptive title possible.
  • September 15, 2011
    Jordan
    Well, I'm personally guessing that even if there is a no real life examples thing, one or more men's rights activist tropers will probably put a bunch of (biased) statistics in the description and write it to basically say that this really is the norm in real life.
  • September 15, 2011
    flauterfli
    This may not be an entirely horrid idea (it really is a popular trope and has recieved equal criticism) but it is written in an accusationary manner, as if all real life women are faking a rape to protect their virginal image, or to exact some kind of societal revenge on a man. This, obviously, is not the case, and should be thoroughly addressed within the text (it isn't.)
  • September 15, 2011
    AmyJade
    Retitling it to just False Rape Accusations would be a good idea.

    @Ambar Sonof Deshar People don't want it launched because no matter how many No Real Life Examples Please warnings there are, it's going to be Flame Bait. The fact that it was only a dozen comments before someone linked a men's rights blog and accused people with legitimate concerns of kneejerking is pretty clear evidence of that. Personally, I think keeping the description neutral and fiction-focused and locking the page should solve potential problems.

    EDIT: Ninja'd.
  • September 15, 2011
    margibso
    In the Joseph example the correct spelling is Potiphar or Potifar not Putifar.
  • September 15, 2011
    ChaosVincent1
    there. The body has now been rewritten. I removed as much Flame Bait as I could find. The trope title can easily be launched differently. Anything related to real life examples will be refused immediately. This is simply about fake accusations outside real life examples. I don't care if it's a man accusing a woman, a woman accusing a man, a man accusing another man, or even a man accusing a horse.
  • September 15, 2011
    PunosRey
    @Amy Jade:

    Nice attempt at slandering the FRS blog I linked to, that's not a men's rights blog, that's a falsely accused of rape blog(which happens to effect men more than it does women, but there are indeed cases of MEN who lie about being raped as well, which the FRS has several stories about.) Once again, Kneejerking.
  • September 15, 2011
    NetMonster
    "Evidence pours in to prove his innocence, from witness testimonies from the local bar pointing out how they were really hitting it off, to some neighbors in the apartment building, who couldn't help but overhear the bedroom foreplay, and maybe even a sex tape that catches some of said foreplay."

    I must point out that the fact that two people flirted or even reached the foreplay stage is no evidence that things couldn't have turned ugly after that.
  • September 15, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    I agree this one could easily go nuclear. As NetMonster points out, evidence of flirtation or even previous consent doesn't preclude one party from a change of mind at a later point in the process. Also, a marriage license is not a license to rape. That said, it is sadly common in various media to characterize a rape accusation as false; that's usually how actual rape victims are either dissuaded from reporting the crime or vilified if they do so. It's why rape shield laws were passed (not that those seem to have helped matters much, if at all).
  • September 15, 2011
    Falco
    It does happen in real life- there were a couple of women in the UK recently jailed for it. But that's neither here nor there. It is a trope, it has been used in fiction and we should list it with a No Real Life disclaimer. If it really gets bad, lock it.
  • September 16, 2011
    Chabal2
    • Occurs in Bitter Virgin, by the Clingy Jealous Girl. Unfortunately, the one she's telling it to (the girl she's trying to scare away) is an actual rape victim, with good reason to know how victims behave afterwards.
    • In XIII, Felicity Brown gets rid of XIII by ripping the shoulder off her dress and shouting for the guard, covering herself up while claiming he'd tried to rape her.
  • September 16, 2011
    Arivne
    Film
    • The Crush. A 14 year old girl named Adrian develops a crush on an adult man named Nick. When he declines her advances she tries to get him in trouble, including using semen from one of his condoms as evidence to falsely accuse him of raping her.

    Literature
    • To Kill A Mockingbird. During the Great Deptression, a black man in Alabama is falsely accused of raping a white woman. Even though his innocence is proved during the trial, he is convicted anyway by a racist jury. He is later killed while trying to escape prison.

    More film and TV examples with the keyword "False Accusation of Rape" can be found on IMDb here.
  • September 16, 2011
    TwinBird
    @PunosRey: ...hell no.

    And yes, that is a men's rights blog. Look at the feed; some of the blogs on the feed make that one look like change.org.

    This definitely needs a ban on real life examples, and probably a warning against soapboxing, including feminist soapboxing.
  • September 16, 2011
    ChaosVincent1
    The blog will not be added to the trope entry because it contains real life examples. remember: No Real Life Examples Please. I'm going to turn the warning bold now.
  • September 16, 2011
    Medinoc
    Also, this is definitely a subtrope of Wounded Gazelle Gambit.
  • September 16, 2011
    ChaosVincent1
    I may need further opinions on that. It could be a subtrope, it might not end up being one after all.
  • September 16, 2011
    LoopyChew
    • The Wire has a girl accusing two boys (who did have sex with her in a bathroom, but it was voluntary) of raping her, getting them and one of the main characters (who was acting as lookout) into trouble. It Got Worse for our main character, even after she retracts the accusation.
  • September 16, 2011
    TwinBird
    It can be Wounded Gazelle Gambit, but it's often a result of delusions or compulsions.
  • September 16, 2011
    Madrugada
    No, it's still horrible. Shove it out of the airlock. {Personal attack deleted --@/Madrugada}
  • September 16, 2011
    Bisected8
    It's a trope whether you like it or not, kyeo. You can't call for it to be scrapped because you didn't like someone who responded to it's attitude....
  • September 16, 2011
    Madrugada
    {Personal Attack deleted --@/Madrugada }
  • September 16, 2011
    pcw2727
    Happens in season two of Dexter Lila has sex with Angel Batista then intentionally takes a roofy in order to accuse him of Rape.
  • September 16, 2011
    thedragoness
    I personally do not have a problem with such a trope, and fail to see why people are so upset about it.
  • September 16, 2011
    Madrugada
    {Inflammatory post deleted --@/Madrugada}

  • September 16, 2011
    CrypticMirror
    it's tropable, so we should trope it. We just have to ask it be a locked page to keep the trolls out.
  • September 16, 2011
    Madrugada
    Trolls don't need an excuse to attack a page. We had Gaddafi regarded as a hero with gushing over how he ordered mass rapes, they will find something, anything to vandalize.
  • September 16, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    ^ I don't have a problem with it either, and I agree it's a trope. It happens in real life, and it happens in the media. We can argue frequency and appropriateness 'til the end of time, but those facts do not change.

    As for the problems, they're tied to the nature of the crime touched on by the accusation. Part of the trouble, I gather, is due to what I mentioned before: some women and girls who make a complaint of rape have had this trope invoked against them, at times before/without any actual investigation. Another part of the trouble is, as has also been pointed out, sometimes false allegations are made, and the accused pays the price (in the cases of some black men in the American South, that price has been their lives). On top of it all, it is really true that Rape Is A Special Kindof Evil, in that it taints what should be a pleasurable experience and makes interpersonal relationships/trust difficult (if not impossible) for the victim. Put all that together, and things can get toxic rapidly.

    If I may, I'd like to suggest to the OP that "A woman runs to the police station" might be problematic phrasing, and the following sentence is likely to also stir some ire. I know we're breezy around here, but in this context, that's likely to be taken badly (dismissive of actual victims and so on). I recommend more revision, specifically adopting a tone closer to that of the other rape tropes' articles, as well as the measures against real life examples, including locking if it comes to that.

  • September 16, 2011
    Madrugada
    {Personal attacks and Inflammatory statements deleted @/Madrugada}
  • September 16, 2011
    Falco
    The YKTTW does not bode well for a page that will be neutral and focussed on fictional uses of the trope. I say we ask it for it be locked from the start...
  • September 16, 2011
    ChaosVincent1
    We'll need to have an admin perform the launch here so the entry can be locked.

    Also, about the problems with the main body. I can turn the first part into an Alice and Bob story in order to provide a name for the victim. If we have a name to attach to the victim, it will be more sympathetic. I think I'll also convert the part about the criteria into a bulleted list, and explain why the innocence has to be beyond a court ruling "not guilty".
  • September 16, 2011
    CaissasDeathAngel
    Punos Rey would it be possible for you to take your soapbox to some other site, since it really isn't wanted here? I'd agree that a lock from the start is a good idea. It's a trope - but one that will attract trolls, and edits should be made through the locked pages thread.
  • September 16, 2011
    AmyJade
    ^^ I don't think an Alice and Bob story is necessary. The main problems pointed out were making the first sentence less flippant and removing the implication that evidence of foreplay equals evidence of consent to sexual intercourse.
  • September 16, 2011
    ChaosVincent1
    Well, I guess the easiest way to write it is to make it turn out that there was never any sexual intercourse in the first place. Then I would also be able to take out the line about actual intercourse being optional.
  • September 16, 2011
    Falco
    But it can often be played as intercourse having happened, and accusation of rape afterwards. Lets not limit the trope.
  • September 16, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    ^ Not necessary, and sometimes the accusation is false because there was intercourse with consent that later proves embarrassing or dangerous or otherwise provokes regret for one of the participants. Consider some of the examples already cited (such as the one from TheWire).

    Perhaps reading some of the tropes from the Rape Tropes index will help suggest a different tone?
  • September 16, 2011
    MinotaurWarrior
    I really don't like the idea of using a story to introduce this trope. First off, its just jarring - most Alice & Bob's are much lighter in tone. Second, it makes it sound like the trope is narrow then it is, over-emphasizing the variant where there was consensual sex beforehand. Third, it involves unnecessary details in a triggering topic (collecting the semen sample, for instance). Something like.

    Not all who are accused are guilty. This is true of accused thieves, murderers, and yes, rapists. Sometimes the accused had consensual sex with their alleged victim, who decided for some reason to claim it was rape. Sometimes the accused has never even been alone in the same room as their alleged victim. Regardless, the accused is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, completely innocent of the crime.

    Example:

    • In A Song Of Ice And Fire, there are a few background cases where a woman's family members claim she was raped, when in fact she clearly just had consensual sex with someone the accusers didn't want her to marry.
  • September 16, 2011
    Jordan
    I like that suggestion for the phrasing. I agree that Alice And Bob are not suited to this trope.

    RE A Song Of Ice And Fire, I remember that Dareon (forget the spelling of his name- the singer guy in the Night Watch) says that this was the case with him- the woman was high born and claimed rape when he was caught with her. I'm not quite certain that the audience is supposed to believe him unconditionally though, even though the other Night Watch characters do.

    IMO (at least), it seems like rape in-universe means "brutal and with a lot of physical violence" and anything short of that, even if it's forced sex, isn't considered rape.
  • September 16, 2011
    Madrugada
    {personal, deleted --@/Madrugada}

    As far as the trope goes, as it is now I'm fine with it, there's more than enough media examples that can be used. Also it being trimmed down to be as succinct as possible should take care of the complaints from the feminists/chivalrists.
  • September 17, 2011
    Madrugada
    I think certain real life examples should be allowed in cases where it's been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that the accusation was false, like the Duke lacrosse team case.

    {Attack deleted --@/Madrugada}

  • September 17, 2011
    StevenT
    On the surrealist British sketch show Jam, one sketch has a woman invite a man to her room and once they get there she calls the police accusing him of rape.

    The man looks on confused, but when she asks him to come over and kiss her he stupidly accepts, just as a policeman arrives and takes him away.
  • September 17, 2011
    CommanderPanda
    ^^ Disagree. People still bring up controversial cases that have been "proven," and argument can still occur years after the case is resolved legally. If that weren't the case, I would have listed examples. I stand by No Real Life Examples.

    The issue is unpleasant, yes. Let's keep this civil and make our mission to present this as balanced and neutral as possible. Lest our debate foreshadow further argument.

    The concept is used in fiction. Stick to that.
  • September 17, 2011
    Madrugada
    {Offtopic and attack deleted. --Tropers/Madrugada}}}

    Oh, and here's a related example: In Persepolis, which is set in Iran under Ayatollah Khomeini, when guards come in a raid, Marjane (the author) accuses a man of saying something indecent to her in order to save herself from being confronted over wearing lipstick. He's never seen again. Later on, she tells her grandmother about the incident—and also laughs about it. Grandma is far, far from amused. Since the movie takes place in post-revolution Iran, the man could've been tortured or even executed.
  • September 17, 2011
    Madrugada
    {attack deleted --@/Madrugada}}}
  • September 17, 2011
    blackcat
    Moderator speaking

    The purpose of this wiki is to document tropes in fiction. This not a sounding board for opinions about the larger issues a trope may represent. We are interested in the trope. Your opinions about the trope do not belong in this discussion. If you find that you are incapable of discussing this objectively LEAVE THE DISCUSSION AND DON'T COME BACK. This is a first and only warning. Ignoring this warning will result in an edit ban.

    Continued discussion should only be about the trope in question IN FICTION. Keep your opinions about other issues and other posters off this discussion.

    Have I made myself clear?
  • September 17, 2011
    CommanderPanda
    Of course :)

    Objective and neutral exploration of this concept in fiction has long been the goal of silent majority, and we hope moderator support will help us achieve that.

    To start things off, I'm not terribly fond of the Alice And Bob example in the description. I agree with some of the others that it's not necessary, and may be contributing to the incendiary tone.
  • September 17, 2011
    FastEddie
    Oh, and Punos Rey has been 86'ed, because I can spot a jerk pretty easily.

    Please don't feed that type. Just report him and move on.
  • September 17, 2011
    Madrugada
    Different Moderator speaking:

    I've deleted the fighting and personal attacks. If the reply that you were going to respond to is gone, don't respond to it, even if you remember what it said.
  • September 17, 2011
    elwoz
    I think I'd be happy with this if: we ditch the Alice And Bob story and the discussion of police response (Minotaur Warrior's second paragraph, above, seems like a good starting point, maybe all we need), and we say that this is much more common in fiction (particularly crime fiction, where it is a popular twist ending) than in Real Life. I am okay with that being the only thing we say about Real Life, but I do think it needs to be in there.
  • September 17, 2011
    ChaosVincent1
    if anyone has an idea about what should replace the Alice And Bob story, please enlighten me.
  • September 17, 2011
    AmyJade
    ^ Something like:

    A character says they were raped; it turns out they were lying. Sometimes revealing the lie is a plot twist, while other times the audience knows about the lie beforehand.

    In order to qualify for this trope, the following is required:
    • There must be an accusation of rape.
    • The person accused must be innocent beyond a mere court ruling of "Not Guilty". This is because the "not guilty" ruling could also be played off as the criminal getting away with his actions.

    No Real Life Examples Please


    It's a bit short, but hopefully serves as a starting point.
  • September 17, 2011
    SKJAM
    We might want to have a list of "types" to clear out some confusion...

    1. Mistaken Identity: The accused did not have sex with the alleged victim at the time claimed. They may have had sex with the alleged victim at other times. This is generally seen in fiction with "stranger rape", cases where the alleged victim was too impaired to correctly identify the attacker or cases where the victim was also murdered and is unable to provide an identification. This is also the easiest type to clear up.

    2. Culture Clash: The sexual encounter is not rape in the accused's culture but is in the accuser's culture. May involve issues of dubious consent or differing legal codes.

    3. Post-coital Regrets: The accuser decides (or has it decided for them) after the case that the sexual encounter was rape based on embarrassment, new information about the accused or social pressure.

    4. He Said She Said: The sexual encounter occurred, but the accused and accuser have very different takes on what happened. The most difficult to sort out as both stories may be entirely sincere. Whether the audience believes the rape charge is valid or false may depend on which character they find more sympathetic.

    5. Malicious Slander: The accused is simply accused of having committed rape for the purpose of harming them. For this, there need not have been any actual sex or alleged victim at all. Usually does not involve legal charges, unlike some of the others as it is "just" a rumor.
  • September 17, 2011
    ChaosVincent1
    ^^sounds reasonable. The title is self-explanatory, removing need for a long summary.

    ^About the five types, I'm not sure that He Said She Said would be enough to qualify. There has to be some proof that the accused was innocent and that doesn't leave much room for ambiguity.
  • September 17, 2011
    AmyJade
    ^^ #2 doesn't fit, either; if the accuser genuinely believes it was rape, and is backed by legal and cultural definitions, it may be a morally ambiguous situation but it's not a false accusation.
  • September 17, 2011
    ChaosVincent1
    ^ well, I would say #2 only works when the accuser is the outsider to the culture. Perhaps some alien believes that grabbing someone's hand without permission can be considered rape, or some strict culture considers a forced kiss to be rape. Groins may have never made contact, but the accusers in these situations will believe it to be rape.
  • September 17, 2011
    AmyJade
    ^ Which just emphasizes the problems as the idea applies to this trope: if the question surrounding the event is not whether a rape occurred or whether the accused raped someone, but the specific definition of rape itself, it doesn't fit with the whole must be proven completely innocent thing. And that ambiguity will lead to flamewars and attempts to shoehorn examples.
  • September 17, 2011
    SKJAM
    Forgot: Entrapment: The entire point of the sexual encounter or near-sexual encounter was to set the accused up for an accusation of rape; either for blackmail purposes or to ruin their reputation.

    With Culture Clash, I was thinking of things like "In accuser's culture, getting your partner so drunk they can't consent" is rape; in the accused's culture, that's not rape at all. So from the accused's POV it's a false charge.
  • September 17, 2011
    Jordan
    I was just thinking. As indicated by some of the examples on the list, "Just because someone claims to be raped doesn't make it true" isn't always accurate.

    Besides the Culture Clash one, someone could be raped and mis-identify their rapist. Not sure how much that scenario comes up in fiction, but I'd guess Law And Order must have had it at lest once. That's a scenario where the accused is innocent, but the accuser is not lying.
  • September 17, 2011
    CommanderPanda
    Where the Alice And Bob was, I would have a paragraph detailing the different ways this could be used to advance the story. This trope plays very differently in a Police Procedural than it would on say, a mafia movie. This could be used to: move the investigation closer to the right person by intentionally or inadvertently bringing the "rapist" under the magnifying glass, move the investigation away from the right person as a Red Herring, portray that a character is less-than-nice, and... I know there are other ways this is used, but I can't think of any more.
  • September 17, 2011
    randomsurfer
    A joke: (may not be a funny joke, but a joke nonetheless.)
    Woman #1: A man just gave me 50p to have sex with him!!
    Woman #2: That bill is counterfeit.
    Woman #1: My God!!! I've been raped!!!!!
  • September 17, 2011
    AmyJade
    ^ Pretty sure offensive jokes should fall under No Real Life Examples, since it's not about the use of the trope in fiction.
  • September 17, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Alright then; that exact joke was used in a sketch on The Benny Hill Show spoofing Charlies Angels.
  • September 18, 2011
    dangerwaffle
    Maybe add a note that it must be clear the accuser is deliberately lying, so that cases where one person was drinking/on medication and doesn't fully remember what happened and jumps to the wrong conclusion, or cases where a person was actually raped but innocently misidentifies their attacker, etc., don't count. Or if we do want them to count, we should probably explicitly say that.
  • September 18, 2011
    Duckay
    False accusations of attempted rape come up in a couple of Sweet Valley High books: is that the same thing?
    • In the original edition of #1 Double Love, Jessica tells Elizabeth that Todd "tried just about everything. The horrible thing was that I could hardly make him stop. I had to beg him and beg him to please stop!", because she's upset that he's more interested in Elizabeth than in her. In the 2008 updated re-release of the same book, Jessica claims "he didn't rape me, but he tried just about everything else. No matter how many times I told him to stop or that I wanted to go home. He was just... he was all over me."
    • In #11 Too Good To Be True, out-of-towner Suzanne claims that the twins' high school English teacher tried to kiss her, unbutton her blouse and "tried to - I mean, he - oh, I can't say it", because she's upset that he rebuffed her advances. It's presented in contrast to the B plot, involving Jessica being actually assaulted (by Suzanne's boyfriend) while visiting in New York.
    • In Magna Edition: A Night to Remember, Lila falsely accused her therapist of having tried to assault her, because she's recovering from being actually assaulted by an ex-boyfriend, and freaked out/misunderstood her therapist's actions.
  • September 18, 2011
    JepMasta
    back on topic...

    Pro Wrestling

    Averted on a certain 1999 Episode of WCW Nitro Miss Elizabeth accused Goldberg of "Aggressive Stalking" of her, thus preventing him from making a World Title match that night. According to some sources, she was originally going to accuse him of rape, but Goldberg put the ki-bosh on that one.
  • September 18, 2011
    StevenT
    There are also cases of False Memories being the cause of a false rape accusation.

    On Drawn Together, Wooldoor got Foxxy to remember being gang raped and she takes the accused to court. After she loses the case she takes them down in a Roaring Rampage Of Revenge a'la Kill Bill. It turns out Wooldoor just implanted a false memory in her mind so she would feel better about herself believing that her promiscuous nature is the result of past trauma rather than just her naturally being a slut.
  • September 18, 2011
    ChaosVincent1
    ^^^^ That will reduce the pool primarily to the malicious slander variant. I'll go change the laconic version to account for the expanded definition this YKTTW grew into, as mistaken identities and culture clashes can have the same effect on the accused, while still painting the accuser as sympathetic.
  • September 19, 2011
    CommanderPanda
    ^/^^^^^ Another problem with the deliberateness clause is how seldom this is played straight in Police Procedurals. A clear cut "Alice deliberately falsely accuses Bob" scenario is not as Dramatic as the insane convoluted scenarios that the genre is known for.

    New laconic is an improvement.

    Proposing adding Rule Of Drama to the description at least twice so the readers' natural reaction is to think of fiction rather than Real Life?
  • September 19, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    This trope is sometimes used as a Frameup or Abomination Accusation Attack.
  • September 19, 2011
    ladyofprocrastination
    As disturbing as it sounds, Played For Laughs in an episode of MASH in which Frank, a Jerkass and Butt Monkey, is accused of rape by an old nurse and higher-ranking officer after she was discovered trying to seduce him.
  • September 19, 2011
    OmarKarindu
    Comic Books
    • An arc in Gotham Central revolved around a mass murder carried out by a supervillain avenging a friend's daughter's rape by the jocks. As it turned out, the daughter had lied to her mother to cover for a pregnancy scare after fooling around with her high-school sweetheart.
  • September 19, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    I stayed off for a while with a cold, and I missed some of the bile. Thanks to the mods.

    Description tone is much better; I'm hoping that will help matters. I'm curious as to how this sentence in the new description is supposed to end: "In the case of the former, the conflict is about the credibility of the accused instead of whether or not".

    I concur with CommanderPanda's suggestion about references to the Rule Of Drama. While it's true the drama in question has parallels in real life (past and present), citing the Rule might help emphasize to readers that we're dealing with uses of the trope in fiction.

    I think SKJAM's Culture Clash category is asking for trouble, and would not include it, no matter what the dominant culture/legal system says about the definition of the crime. He Said She Said is just as likely to cause the same problems. I can see including Mistaken Identity, Post-Coital Regrets, and a combination of Malicious Slander and Abomination Accusation Attack (with either a generally malicious intent, or a specific harm intent such as goading the accuser's father/brother/lover/spouse to attack the accused).
  • September 19, 2011
    elwoz
    We should also make clear that the accusation might come from a third party: for instance, in the backstory of Holes, a black man was lynched because he kissed a white woman - the mob didn't care what she thought about it.
  • September 19, 2011
    HiddenFacedMatt
    ^ This. This is important.
  • September 19, 2011
    BooleanEarth
    Both played straight and thoroughly subverted in the book Factoring Humanity by Robert J. Sawyer. The main character is accused of molesting his daughter, and he is known to the reader (but not the other characters) to be innocent. However, a significant plotline involves him striking up a friendship with another teacher on the same university campus who was falsely accused of raping one of his students. They discuss how their allegations have affected them and the older peer comforts the main character. Near the end of the story, however, the other character admits that he actually did it.

    Also, this 100% definitely needs to be locked basically the instant it's launched. No No Real Life Examples Please warning will stop this article from becoming a flame war.
  • September 19, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Of Mice And Men: shortly before the action in the story, Lenny had caressed a woman's dress - not the woman, just the dress - and she ran to the sheriff's office claiming rape. Lenny & George barely escaped town with their lives.
  • September 20, 2011
    AmbarSonofDeshar
    The last episode of the original Law And Order features several teachers--including the Villain Of The Week--who's lives were ruined by false accusations of molestation from their students. This includes a guy who tried to stop a student from taking a leak in front of the class, and was accused of sexually assaulting the boy.
  • September 21, 2011
    vijeno
    (book and film:) A Passage To India: During a trip to the Marabar Caves, Adela accuses Aziz of attempting to assault her. Aziz's trial, and its run-up and aftermath, bring out all the racial tensions and prejudices between indigenous Indians and the British colonists who rule India.
  • September 21, 2011
    StevenT
    There was a Baywatch episode where one of the male lifeguards caught one of the female lifeguards using drugs and she accused him of rape when he threatened to report her.
  • September 21, 2011
    BooleanEarth
  • September 21, 2011
    CrypticMirror
  • September 22, 2011
    AmyJade
    ^, ^^ It might help if the first paragraph got fixed so it didn't cut off in the middle of a sentence first.
  • September 22, 2011
    BooleanEarth
    Oh...aye, it might.
  • September 23, 2011
    AP
    • In The Wizard, one of the main characters, a young girl, falsely claimed that a man touched her breast as a distraction so that he would be tackled by nearby bystanders and they could escape. The kids had run away and were on their way to a video game tournament and the man in question was sent to take them back to their parents.
  • September 23, 2011
    ChaosVincent1
    I'd like a mod to launch it so it can be locked right away to prevent a flame war.
  • September 23, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Another one in Of Mice And Men: Curly's Wife threatens the African American stable buck with this if he doesn't let her do what she wants.
  • September 23, 2011
    ChaosVincent1
    I remember that one. She never got around to actually making the accusation before Lenny killed her.
  • September 23, 2011
    Alan57

  • September 24, 2011
    Xzenu
    Depending on how it is done, this trope often come in the form of either a Frameup or an Abomination Accusation Attack.
  • October 1, 2011
    ChaosVincent1
    I'm tired of waiting on a mod for this. I'm changing the warning at the top and just launching it.
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