Is The Concern About Rape Culture Making Things Worse? by J. R. Bruns.
The internet blogs are aflame about the “rape culture” on college campuses across the country. The ground work was first established three years ago when the US Department of Education Office for Civil Rights’ “Dear Colleague” letter put colleges on notice to formulate policies on sexual harrassment and sexual violence as required under Title IX. Under such prompting California became the first state this April to pass (and eventually sign into law by Governor Jerry Brown) a “Yes means yes” campus sexual standard statute just as the Obama Administration announced that they had found that 20% of women attending college are victims of unwanted sexual acts by men. In late September the Obama Administration followed up with the unveiling of a “It’s On Us” campaign to combat sexual assault on college campuses.
But is this new founded concern about “rape culture” on college campuses based on empirical evidence? Or are certain interests promoting this meme for political or ideological ends?
The Justice Department’s 20% sexual assault statistic that is the basis for these campaigns, policies and legislation, is problematic. For instance, writer Ryan Fleming, looking at Brown University, found that from a female student population of three thousand, there was an average of 8 reported forcible sexual offenses per year or roughly 0.20%, not 20.00%. The University of Southern California reported a similar roughly 0.20% incidence based on an average of 19 forcible sexual assaults at the University Park campus and resident halls over three years from a population of over 9000 Trojan undergraduate coeds. And Fleming noted that looking at any major city, the total violent crime rate including murder as well as forcible sex offenses is more like 2-3%, not 20%.This 20% figure bandied around by our highly educated opinion makers just doesn’t add up from a simple common sense standpoint.