TUSCALOOSA COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - New concerns about the effect fake sexual assault claims have on real victims after a fake sexual assault was reported in Tuscaloosa over the weekend.
Despite hashtags like #MeToo and others speaking out about harassment or sexual assault, experts said it's the most common crime women will encounter but it's still the most under-reported and made up incidents don't help.
It was all a lie according to investigators, 25-year-old Mariah Smith told police her ex-boyfriend came into her home on Greystone Drive and sexually abused her.
"It's unfortunate that we have situations where individuals make false accusations," said Equiller Mahone Turning Point Executive Director
Police said Smith's story didn't add up because her ex-boyfriend was out of state the entire time she said the assault occurred.
This is something Turning Point's Executive Director Equiller Mahone explains empowers the culture of victim blaming to those who are telling the truth.
"It makes it very difficult for true victims to come forward they are already reluctant to seek services. Now you have an added conversation and chatter of did this really happen to this individual," said Mahone.
It's important Mahone said to not blur the lines. Equiller said the number of individuals that make false reports is very low in comparison to actual victims.
"We get on social media especially and we start making comments and we don't know all the facts of the case. Each situation is completely different, and we need to look at it with a fresh set of eyes," said Mahone.
She hopes the focus shifts towards comforting the most vulnerable.
"How can we help those who've been victimized to come forward make it a safe space," said Mahone.
Smith was charged with filing a false police report