Just How Common Is Campus Rape?

Andrew Sullivan —  Dec 8 2014 @ 5:48pm

This is a question on which I am utterly unqualified to offer an opinion. My sex life at college was zero; my sex with women at grad school was not mainly (ahem) at my instigation; and all my boyfriends were off-campus. I knew of no alleged rapes when I was at either place; and have minimal knowledge of the whole heterosexual thing. So what actual solid data do we really have of a crime that is notoriously under-reported and thereby very difficult to assess? Emily Yoffe – in a piece that shows how long-form journalism has a real and vital future online – unpacks it for us. As well as providing chilling evidence of kangaroo courts and procedures, designed to eviscerate any due process for the accused, Yoffe reveals the very thin statistical base on which the left-feminists have launched their crusade. Here, for example, is the author of the study that is used to claim that one in every five female students is raped:

“We don’t think one in five is a nationally representative statistic.” It couldn’t be, he said, because his team sampled only two schools. “In no way does that make our results nationally representative,” Krebs said.

Then this:

The Sexual Victimization of College Women, a 2000 study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Justice, is the basis for another widely cited statistic, even grimmer than the finding of CSA: that one in four college women will be raped. The study itself, however, found a completed rape rate among its respondents of 1.7 percent.

They got to 25 percent by extrapolating that number for five years and doubling it because the survey was conducted in the spring semester:

In a footnote, the authors acknowledge that asserting that one-quarter of college students “might” be raped is not based on actual evidence: “These projections are suggestive. To assess accurately the victimization risk for women throughout a college career, longitudinal research following a cohort of female students across time is needed.” The one-fifth to one-quarter assertion would mean that young American college women are raped at a rate similar to women in Congo, where rape has been used as a weapon of war.

Are American campuses as dangerous for women as war-torn Congo? To express any skepticism about this is to be a rape-denialist or a rape-truther. But the inviolate truth of one in five women raped on campus requires no skepticism at all.