"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Media and the "Rape on Campus" Hysteria

I've been paying some mild attention lately to the oddity of liberal politicians (including President Obama) spending a good deal of effort to highlight what they allege to be an "epidemic" of sexual assaults on the predominantly liberal campuses of America's elite universities.   Many have touted the supposed statistic that one in five young women undergraduates will be sexually assaulted on campuses, including in the article in the Washington Post linked above, which cites how "studies" have reached that conclusion.  

Hmmm... pro tip to the media... here are two easy methods to determine whether this claim is fact or fiction.

First, you might just check the incidence of sexual assault in the United States as a whole.   This information is available with about fifteen seconds of clicking on the Internet through the FBI's data bases here.   The answer:   the rate of forcible rape in the United States in 2012 was 26.7 per 100,000 inhabitants.   Let's assume that all of the rapes were of women (note:  they weren't), and let's assume that there is roughly one woman to every man.   So 26.7 per 50,000 women would be about 1 in a little under 2000.  

In East St. Louis, Illinois, the incidence of rape is 60 per 100,000.   So a little more than double the national average, but still you're looking at only a little more than 1 in a thousand women getting raped in one of the historically and famously worst cities for crime in the nation.

That's a little different than 1 in 5, isn't it?

But, hey Mr. Reporter, if arithmetic and casual research is too much for you, how about just doing about five seconds of hard THINKING.   Consider this logic:

  • Any one of your Ivy League liberal friends in your nice liberal enclaves in nice suburbs in New Jersey or Massachusetts or Maryland or northern Virginia would absolutely be horrified if their 18 year-old daughter was required to spend even a single night in a hotel in East St. Louis.   (And rightly so.)
  • But the same exact people will celebrate the admission of the same daughter to Princeton or Harvard or Yale, even though, according to the statistics cited by Obama and WaPo, the likelihood of them being raped at those august institutions is about two hundred times greater!

Look, I'd say Q.E.D., but I suspect that our educational system has failed to teach Americans any Latin either.   But here's the gist... the "rape epidemic on campus" story cannot possibly be true, because if it were true, the applications to Princeton and Harvard and Yale, etc., would plummet.   The same parents who won't let their kids ride their bikes without helmets aren't going to send their daughters to rape factories.  


P.S. The fact that this campaign against rape is coming out in September before a November mid-term in which the Democratic Party is facing a big uphill climb leads me to two conclusions:

1. The Dems are really worried about voter turnout among young women and particularly young college women, who voted heavily for Obama in 2008 and 2012.   So they are going to try to gin up a not-so-subliminal campaign theme that, if you oppose Obama and the Democrats, you are pro-rape.

2. Look for reporters to ask "gotcha" questions of Republican candidates for Senate about campus rape.    Can you imagine what will happen to a Republican who has the audacity to suggest that the statistics are bogus or that the so-called "epidemic" is hysteria, or, worse, has the audacity to suggest that maybe we should be teaching young women to avoid drinking too much and/or to practice abstinence sexually?  

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