Greer Grenley, the News Editor of voice, Scripps's student newspaper, has written an editorial about apathy on campus. She tries to link "feminism," the right to be offended, the White party speaking out on campus, and you guessed it, campus rape.
In the process, she doesn't check her facts. She writes that Harvey Mudd statement was "Hillary is a sexy lesbian." The statement was actually "Hillary is a foxy lesbian."
But that isn't really what caught my eye. In her paragraph about rape, Ms. Grenley cites statistics that are downright disturbing. Fortunately, they aren't accurate in the slightest!
Here's the paragraph in question. (I have bolded the especially relevant sections.)
"Being too afraid to speak out against something you do not believe is right can lead to terrifying results. One extreme example is rape. One in six American women are victims of sexual assault, and more than half of these assaults go unreported. According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, in 2006 there were 272, 350 victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assaults -- and these are just the ones that are reported. On college campuses alone, one in four women surveyed are victims of rape or attempted rape. Some of the biggest reasons for not reporting rape are that victims are afraid of reprisal from the assailant and that they feel like it's a personal matter or that's their own fault."Ms. Grenley is probably unaware that the statistics she just cited has been throughly debunked.
Fortunately, I'm not the first to recognize how ridiculous those statistics are.
- First, the National Crime Victimization Survey. Robert VerBruggen of Phi Beta Cons has done the leg work for me. Here's his analysis of the National Crime Victimization Survey.
Yikes! Numbers certainly are tricky beasts.
Also, on the number itself, I took the time to look it up in the National Crime Victimization Survey (PDF). Note that this is not a measure of reported crime — it's a survey of a cross-section of Americans about crimes they've experienced, whether or not they reported them to police. Per 1,000 women 12 and older, 1.4 said they'd suffered rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault in 2005. Looking at the age of the victims, those in the 16-19 group had it worst, with 3.2 2005 rape victims in every 1,000 respondents. (The latter includes men and women, so the female rate is probably around 6 per 1,000.) The 20-24 group's rate isn't statistically reliable, but for what it's worth, it's 1.1.
These numbers aren't directly comparable to the one-in-four number, which purports to tally rape incidence over many years. But if, in a group of 1,000 women, six different ones were assaulted each year, it would take 33 years for 20 percent of them to have been victimized, and almost 42 years for a quarter of them to suffer.
The one-in-four statistic (from the feminist and throughly criticized researcher Mary Koss) that Grenley cites has also been torn to pieces by Heather Mac Donald, who cites a study that just devastates Koss's statistic by looking at those same women that Koss classified as "raped."
The 2000 Department of Justice study of campus rape found that those women whom the researchers characterized as rape victims “generally did not state that their victimization resulted in physical or emotional injuries.” . . . Moreover, 65 percent of those whom the researchers called “completed rape” victims and three-quarters of “attempted rape” victims said that they did not think that their experiences were “serious enough to report”—a judgment inconceivable from a real rape victim.Like the carelessly with which she cites the Mudd incident (and the White Party), Grenley probably doesn't know the number she cites actually represent. Maybe she also doesn't understand that the reason most choose to attend college isn't the activism, but the academics.
Let's end on a statement from Grenley.
Women's colleges like Scripps are supposed to help teach women to feel empowered, yet how are we going to feel this way if everyone else around us, and even those among us at Scripps, aren't demonstrating a tolerant and supportive environment?That's funny. I thought the purpose of college was to be educated, not feel empowered. But of course being educated doesn't necessarily lead to a "tolerant and supportive" environment. It can sometimes be deemed subversive. Just ask Socrates.