The American Psychological Association released a statement regarding what the scientific research says about the reporting of sexual assault in light of the allegation by Christine Blasey Ford, Ph. D, with respect to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh:
“Sexual assault is likely the most under-reported crime in the United States. About two-thirds of female sexual assault victims do not report to the police, and many victims do not tell anyone. Sexual assault is a terrifying and humiliating experience. Women choose not to report for a variety of reasons — fear for their safety, being in shock, fear of not being believed, feeling embarrassed or ashamed, or expecting to be blamed.
“A lack of reporting does not mean an assault or attempted assault did not happen or is exaggerated. Research demonstrates that false claims of sexual assault are very low — between 2 and 7 percent. This tells us that far more women are assaulted and don’t report than women who make false claims.”
Ford’s alleged assault is reported to have occurred when she was 15 — the developmental stage of exploring and determining one’s identity, a time when many teenagers do not feel comfortable discussing any sexual issues with their parents, let alone an assault.
In addition, Psychologists For Social Responsibility released a statement of support for Ford, urging the creation of conditions of safety for her and others to testify, including a full investigation if requested, in recognition that the matter bears directly on the decision of suitability of a nominee to the Supreme Court.
Robert E. Griffin
Member, Psychologists For Social Responsibility