Rape Crisis Center says falsely reported rapes affect their work - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Rape Crisis Center says falsely reported rapes affect their work

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)
CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) -

Police still cannot confirm the circumstances surrounding the arrest of an 18-year-old female they say falsely reported a sexual assault. 

Savannah-Chatham Metro Police's Special Victims Unit arrested Jennifer Woodard for an alleged false report on an assault on Deerwood Road on Wilmington Island. Woodard said she was attacked and raped by a black man driving a black Mustang. Police say her facts didn't add up, but because of their investigation, they can't say why. 

We met with Rape Crisis Center employees on Friday who say that rape is the most under-reported crime and also only two percent of rapes are determined false. They treated Woodward and worked with her on this case as well. They say it's extremely rare for this to happen, especially because of the invasive testing process and embarrassing questions a victim must answer. 

"The questions, the pictures, the swabs, the pokes and the prods...those are all pieces someone doesn't readily subject themselves to," said Kesha Gibson, Rape Crisis Center, Director. "The stigma that comes with being raped. The stigma that comes with being sexually assaulted. No one really wants to own that."

The Rape Crisis Center says the main reason victims recant their story is because the investigation becomes too intense. 

"They just get worn down or tired or aggravated to the extent that they want to give up," Gibson says.

WTOC asked Savannah-Chatham Metro Police how they determined Woodard lied. 

"We follow the facts and evidence of each of our cases. We have not rushed to judgment in this investigation," says Tiffany Manuel, Special Victims Unit, SCMPD. 

The Rape Crisis Center says they can't perform a rape kit unless police give approval. Metro Police gave consent to test Woodard. However, the Rape Crisis Center says The DNA from the kit was NOT the determining factor in Woodard's rape case. The alleged rape took place Sunday. Police arrested Woodard four days later. With nearly 5,000 rape kits backlogged in the GBI crime lab, the rape crisis center confirms that it is not possible Woodard's kit has been tested.

The only alternative the Rape Crisis Center considered is Woodard might not be medically sound. 

"You have to bring into question that this person may be exhibiting some mental deficiencies, right," Gibson said. 

That was also not confirmed by police. How and why police feel Woodard was dishonest is still a big question. The Rape Crisis Center says this false report now affects their work and scares victims even more from coming forward. 

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