Although it is true that horrific crimes like sexual assault, sexual harassment, and rape happen regularly on college campuses, it is also true that there are times when the allegations are false.
Why Would Someone Make A False Sexual Assault Allegation?
In most cases, there are four main reasons which cause an individual to pursue a false allegation, including:
The human ego can be very fragile and even a perceived slight, which may not be grounded in reality can set someone off. A false accusation will certainly cause the student being accused a great deal of stress and pain which is the goal of someone who is seeking revenge.
When someone is suffering from mental illness, they may experience a psychosis which means that they truly believe that the assault took place. Often there is a pattern that will eventually be established because over time, without help, their illness will progress and they will continue to make accusations against others.
An Excuse Or Alibi Is Needed
Changing the narrative of what really happened is one way for someone to either make an excuse for their own behavior or to obtain an alibi. Making themselves the victim is often the “easier” path so that they don’t have to deal with the consequences of their own actions.
Sadly, there are people who believe that they may be able to obtain monetary funds if they make a sexual assault allegation, not realizing that the process of proving the assault took place will be a long and difficult road.
The bottom line is that even if the student being accused is aware of why this other party is making a false claim, it doesn’t mean that the process of clearing their name will be simple.
What Should I Do If I’ve Been Accused Of Sexual Assault?
There are steps that every student should take if they have received written notice from their academic institution that they are being investigated. These steps are:
Contact An Attorney
It is never a wise decision to face these allegations alone. If found guilty, a student may have a permanent mark put upon their academic record or could be expelled. This will impact their ability to find a job in the future. In addition to this, if criminal charges are filed, it’s best to already be in contact with an attorney.
Don’t Speak To The Accuser
Most people want to understand why someone has accused them of something terrible or think that they could fix the situation if they could just talk to them. While this is a natural reaction, it’s best to avoid speaking with the person who has made the allegations. Any contact may be seen as attempting to intimate them. The same rule applies to any witnesses.
It’s important to document EVERYTHING during this time period. Phone calls, paperwork, meetings, and even any social media interactions. You never know what could be the key to proving innocence. A personal journal may even help to document things that the student may think is unimportant.
What Should I Do If I Am Contacted By The Police?
Call an attorney immediately. Don’t say anything without an attorney present.
Don’t Hesitate To Get Additional Support
This time is going to be both confusing and stressful. In addition to the actual allegations, the accused student may be prevented from attending classes or school functions that they share in common with the person making the accusations. To top it all off, it’s not uncommon for those close to the student to assume they are guilty.
Talking to a therapist throughout this process can be key to staying emotionally healthy. Don’t hesitate for one second to ask for help.