Falsely accusing a man of rape can seriously destroy his life. Men who are falsely accused and then later cleared don't always get their lives back. They can lose their education (if in a university), jobs, career, family, reputation, etc...I even wonder sometimes if it would be worse to be falsely accused of rape be a woman than to actually be raped by another man, because at least with the latter your life is still in tact.
In the Duke Lacrosse case, the false accuser was virtually let off scott-free, until she committed a s**t ton of other crimes including murder and was finally put away. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duke_lacrosse_case#Subsequent_arrests_and_convictions_of_accuser)
The only downside to this is that it might make actual rape victims more afraid to come out, which would be horrible in and of itself. But people who falsely accuse someone of rape can be destroying someone's life.
http://www.kerryman.ie/news/teen-girl-i-lied-that-stephen-lyne-raped-me-3034806.html <---This popped up today. What the ********?
If there's proof that the alleged victim purposefully and falsely accused someone of rape, then it should be treated like any other false accusation. However, I think the falsely accused should have a strong civil case.
It's a difficult issue. I think it should be a definite crime, but like has already been mentioned, it might make women who have actually been raped more hesitant to come forward with it. As someone who's been through that, I know it can be really hard.
I'm honestly disgusted by women who lie about it. It's not a game.
The penalty for false rape accusations should be the same as the penalty for rape.
The damage a false accusation can do can never be fully undone , and there will always be a stigma of "did he do it?" following that guy around for the rest of his life , damaging his chances of getting jobs, totally ruling him out of certain professions such as teaching or nursing (and if he is a teacher or a nurse, 4 years of college gone and all the experience he gained on the job is gone and can never be used again since he will never work in that profession ever again).