The recent guilty verdict in the case involving Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s spurred an immediate spike of sexual assault claims. The National Sexual Assault Hotline received a 23 percent increase in call volume, according to USA Today.
Erinn Robinson, press secretary for the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) and operator of the hotline, said the media focus on Weinstein’s case, as with other prominent cases like that of actor Bill Cosby, “is leading many more survivors to reach out for help – often for the first time.”
Cosby’s sexual assault conviction in 2018 brought a 6 percent increase in call volume to the hotline. Other high profile events have brought even greater sudden increases in claims of sexual assault.
In June 2019, after New York Magazine ran an excerpt from writer E. Jean Carroll’s memoir claiming that President Donald Trump raped her in the 1990s, calls reporting sexual assault surged by 53 percent.
But the biggest increase came after Christine Blasey Ford testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee that then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her. At that time, calls rose by 338 percent.
RAINN President Scott Berkowitz said many such calls come from women whose memory of painful events in their past is stirred by news reports of sex crimes. He said many callers “are looking for emotional support. They’re looking for someone empathetic who understands and who believes them and who they can talk honestly to.”
Sexual assault claims can have collateral damage
On the other hand, claims of sexual assault spurred by prominent convictions, as well as the impetus of today’s #MeToo movement, can have collateral damage. That’s the damage caused by false claims of sexual assault — claims which can lead to unfounded and unfair charges of sex crimes.
Beyond the many women who have been victims of sex crimes are women who may lash out at a former lover or ex-spouse by claiming a sexual assault when none actually occurred. In today’s heated environment toward such crimes, defendants often are considered guilty in the realm of social media and public opinion, despite America’s long-held and Constitutionally protected legal standard of innocence until proven guilty.
As for society in general, false claims of sexual assault can comprise as many as 10 percent of all sexual assault claims, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
False sex crime claims can lead to prison
This is not to discount the claims of many actual victims. But those numbers are a warning that sudden surges of sexual assault claims may include false claims, along with those that are true.
And those who are accussed also have a right to be protected — especially since those convicted after false sex crime claims can spend years in a prison as a result.
If you or a loved one faces a false claim or a false accusation of a sex crime, alert an experienced sex crime defense lawyer immediately. At Neal Davis Law, we can fight to protect your legal rights by providing the best defenses for sex charges.
Contact us to receive such help if you live in Houston, Harris County, Montgomery County or Fort Bend County. We’ll quickly provide you a free and confidential legal review of your case. Then, you can decide how you want to proceed.
Don’t be another statistic when high-profile verdicts spark spikes in sexual assault claims which may include false accusations. Protect your legal rights by getting the best Houston-area sex crime defense lawyer you can find.