Please do not lie about rape

Saturday October 6 2018

False claims about sexual assault only take away credibility and justice from the real victims. PHOTO| FILE| NATION MEDIA GROUP

False claims about sexual assault only take away credibility and justice from the real victims. PHOTO| FILE| NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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There was a news story the other day about a woman from Migori who claimed that she was attacked in her house in the dead of the night and raped. After a review, doctors said there were no signs that it happened.

Speculation has been that it was an attempt to divert attention from an ongoing murder case. It is not quite clear yet what happened to this woman so I will not comment on her situation.


This piece of news, however, reminded me of something that we do not talk about. Something that we pretend doesn’t happen – women lying that they have been raped.

Perhaps we imagine that talking about false rape accusations will take away from the recognition that sexual assault against women is finally getting from society.

It’s easy to figure out why women do it: It’s one of the easiest ways to grab attention. Scream rape and women and men will be rallying around you trying to get your story so that, as is common with us today, they can tweet about it and assign blame.

Others do it for revenge. Women have also lied about sexual encounters which they, in retrospect, feel ashamed of in a bid to salvage their reputations.

“No. I couldn’t have agreed to sleep with that man. He raped me,” she will say.

What the women who so easily lie about rape seem oblivious to, are the effects of their actions. You see, a false rape claim isn’t just a lie. It’s a criminal offence.

You could be jailed for crying wolf. This will disrupt your life, yes, but there are other, deeper running effects that this lie has both on the men falsely accused and on other women.


If news reports are anything to go by, it looks like womanhood is under siege. Women and girls are getting raped and murdered, left, right, centre. We all should be doing something to reduce if not altogether stop these acts of violence. And we can start by not lying about rape.

A woman who lies about getting raped is very much like the woman who sleeps with her boss to get a promotion in an industry where women are struggling to break through.

Both of these women are failing womanhood, bringing down all other women with them. If you lie about rape and get caught in your lie, how hard do you think you have just made things for the next woman who actually gets assaulted?

Who is going to believe her? Every time a woman lies about rape, they set the stage for actual rapist getting away in the future.

We are still some distance away from having every woman who has been raped get justice. This however doesn’t mean that we should become insensitive to justice for falsely accused men.

Let’s restrict the lying to the little white lies that help us get through the day. Tell your son that he is a great artist even if you can’t quite make out what the ink blob on the paper is; tell your boss that her hair, which looks like a bird’s nest, looks great.

Tell your friend that you do not mind her dating your ex but do not lie about rape. Don’t do it.