July 30, 2015

MEGAN MCARDLE ON those bogus campus rape studies:

Back then, the assumption was that most campus rape was caused by a bad culture — that men were committing rape because they’d been raised to understand that women who placed themselves in certain situations were “asking for it.” In the years since then, however, that assumption has been shifting. Now the focus is on serial predators, men who may be enabled by a culture that shames victims of sexual violence, and fails to do enough to protect them, but are very different from the majority of men who realize that rape is not really all right if she showed up at your fraternity party in a short skirt.

One of the major foundations of this shift in focus is a 2002 study by David Lisak, which has been widely cited in support of the emerging model of campus rape as a crime committed by serial predators who will perpetuate a cycle of violence unless stopped. This has major consequences for how you address the problem. If the issue is that most boys don’t understand a woman’s right to say no right up until the end, then what you need is a lot of education, combined with punishment of those who don’t get the message. If the problem is a small number of repeat offenders, then what you need is not so much education as much as better methods to identify and neutralize them.

Unfortunately, a new article in Reason magazine suggests that this foundation is much shakier than most people working on this issue — myself included — may have assumed. . . .

In short, Lisak’s 2002 study is not a systematic survey of rape on campus; it is pooled data from surveys of people who happen to have been near a commuter campus on days when the surveys were being collected.

Before I go any further, let me note that I’m not saying that what these men did was not bad, or does not deserve to be punished. But if LeFauve is right, this study is basically worthless for shaping campus policies designed to stop rape.

Nope. But it provided an excuse for people who want to turn college campuses into man-hating sexual police states. And that was the goal.

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