Allegations of Sexual Abuse

False Allegations

Nick Wills

The Evening Post
July 11, 2000

Rape crisis centre appeal draws raft of obscene mail
by Mary Longmore

Wellington's Independent Rape Crisis Centre has received a barrage of obscene mail in response to its household appeal after publicity over men falsely accused of rape and sex crimes.

Support worker Amy Ross said she was "shocked" to get about 15 replies ranging from obscenities to ripped-out copies of the media reports about false rape reports. They followed the mail-out of an appeal to about 40,000 households around Wellington.

It coincided with media reports earlier this month about a man who was awarded $88,000 compensation from a woman, Debra Helen Wood, who admitted she had falsely accused him of raping her. She was jailed for two years.

Other men cleared of rape subsequently spoke out, including former Waikato University student Nick Wills.

But Ms Ross said the publicity distorted the truth about false accusations, which were rare.

Conversely, only 10 percent of rape victims were estimated to go to police, fearing they wouldn't be believed or the long interview and examination process.

"This is about faults in our justice system. This isn't about nasty, dangerous women complaining or about nasty organisations like us pressuring police."

Compared with $10,000 for its last household appeal in 1993, Ms Ross said there had been little response this year.

"And the response we have had has been abuse . . . It really shocked me.

"It really makes me sad when I think we still have so far to go."

Senior lecturer at Victoria University's Institute of Criminology Jan Jordan said she was angry the publicity left a "backlash on organisations that are already pitifully funded and trying to help genuine victims".

"Any man who is falsely accused and is genuinely innocent, I think that's a tragedy . . . But I think that's a rarity and the attention that was given to these cases means we really lose sight of the genuine victims who are not believed."