NCFM Adviser Gordon Finley letter, “A false accusation can spell the end of college male’s future,”
Re “Rethink Harvard’s sexual harassment policy” (Op-ed, Oct. 15): While the legal critiques of the Harvard Law School faculty members are critically important, so too, from a psychological perspective, are false sexual allegations by women. Such allegations are dismissed by proponents of affirmative consent policies, who say that women never lie about rape, or who cite a 3 percent to 8 percent rate of false allegations.
A recent summary of the false abuse and rape allegation literature can be found in a 2013 book by Phillip Cook and Tammy Hodo titled “When Women Sexually Abuse Men.” While statistics in this literature are problematic, Cook and Hodo report four studies that found false allegation rates of 62 percent, 41 percent, 50 percent, and 60 percent.
Proponents of these policies also demand an evidentiary standard of “preponderance,” which basically is a coin toss where all a university administrative committee needs to deem a man guilty of sexual assault and expel him is a smidgen above 50 percent.
This “preponderance” standard raises the likelihood that a college male who engaged in consensual sex will be wrongly convicted and expelled. Once this happens, that college male has no future.
Gordon E. Finley
The writer is professor emeritus of psychology at Florida International University.