March 26, 2015

TALK OF CAMPUS “RAPE CULTURE” IS, BASICALLY, UNSCIENTIFIC HATE SPEECH, AS REUTERS POINTS OUT:

Campus rape is a serious problem. But while public attention is focused on students carrying mattresses and the discredited Rolling Stone report about rape at the University of Virginia, the fact is that sexual assault is more common off campus than on.

Consider this: If you lived in Gallup, New Mexico in 2013, you were 47 times more likely to be raped than if you attended Harvard, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) statistics. Yet chances are you won’t see any protesters in New Mexico. Coverage of campus rape has likely increased for a variety of reasons – the social media influence of the at-risk demographic, the ability of victims and supporters to articulate the problem and because it — like any other type of violent crime in poor communities — is more of a surprise. That’s not to lessen one or the other; just a diagnosis of the arc of public attention.

A 2014 report from the Department of Justice called Rape and Sexual Assault Victimization Among College-Age Females, 1995–2013 found that non-students aged 18-24 were 20% more likely to be sexually assaulted than students. Also, as these Reuters graphics show, the severity of the assault was worse for non-students, the rate of completed rape as opposed to other kinds of assault being 50% higher.

Follow the link for the graphics. Also, note that 6.1 out of 100,000 isn’t the same as 1 in 5.

UPDATE: Eugene Volokh emails: “I think 6.1/100,000 is the yearly attempted/completed/threatened sexual assault rate as reported by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, and so isn’t directly comparable to the 1 in 5 assertion, which purports to measure the rate for the entire span of time in college; to make it comparable, I think you’d need to multiply it by 4 or 5 years. The difference remains vast, but not quite as vast.” A fair point. 24.4 out of 100,000 is still well below the 20,000 out of 100,000 we’d need for the 1 in 5 figure.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Apparently, Reuters is wrong. Eugene sends a further email:

Glenn: It looks like the Reuters story on which we were both relying got things badly wrong, and I’m sorry I didn’t catch it when I first corresponded with you. 6.1 per 100,000 would indeed be a very low attempted/completed/threatened sexual assault rate, amounting to only an equivalent of 9,000 per year for all women in the U.S. – even though women of college age are much more likely to be targeted for sexual assault than women who are materially younger or materially older. As the correspondent below notes, the original Bureau of Justice Statistics number (http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/rsavcaf9513.pdf) is that the yearly victimization rate for college-age women is 6.1 per 1000, not 6.1 per 100,000. Again, even multiplied by 4 or 5 it’s well below 20%; but it’s about a factor of 7 or so below, not a factor of 700.

Wow. That’s quite an error.

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