New Justice Department study reveals White House exaggerating campus rape problem by a factor of ten

Rape is a horrible crime, but the issue of rape is also a political tool of the left, useful in efforts to control people in the name of compassion. As the depth of the fraud perpetrated by the Rolling Stone article that caused all fraternities and sororities at the Uiversity of Virginia to be suspended becomes clear, other fraudulent claims are being examined.

One of those claims comes from a White House report that asserts, “One in five women is sexually assaulted in college.” This implausible figure turns out to exaggerate the crime rate by a factor of ten.  A new study from the Justice Department reveals that the actual figure is 1 in 52.6. Mark J. Perry of the American Enterprise Institute explains:

 The report was based on the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) of women ages 18-24 for both reported and unreported cases of rape and sexual assault. Rape and sexual assault are defined by the NCVS to include: a) completed and attempted rape, b) completed and attempted sexual assault, and c) threats of rape or sexual assault, so the study provides a pretty comprehensive analysis of rape and sexual assault among young women. The report includes both: a) students (enrolled in college, university, trade school, or vocational school) and b) nonstudents for the 18 to 24 age group, which allows for a comparison of “campusrape/sexual assault” and offenses that take place for that age group among nonstudents. Here are some of the report’s findings:

1. Over the 1995-2013 period, the rate of rape and sexual assault victimization was almost 25% higher for nonstudents ages 18-24 (7.6 cases per 1,000 females) compared to students enrolled in a post-secondary institution in that age group (6.1 cases per 1,000 females), see chart above. So despite all of the media attention on campus sexual assault, women enrolled in colleges and universities are actually much safer compared to women in that age group who are not attending a post-secondary institution.

2. Over the 1995-2013 period, the rate of rape and sexual assault victimization for both students and nonstudents has been falling (see chart).  For women attending college, the rate of rape/sexual assault has fallen by more than 50%, from 9.2 incidents per 1,000 women in 1997 to 4.4 cases per 1,000 in 2013. According to the media, politicians and gender activists, there is supposed to be a college “rape epidemic” when in fact, the rate of college female victimization has been trending downward for the last two decades.

3. What might be the most important statistic (and was not provided in the report and is not being reported by the media, except Ashe Schow at the Washington Examiner) is that the data provided by the NCVS show that only about 1 in 41 women were victims of rape or sexual assault (threatened, completed and attempted; and reported and unreported) while in college for four years during the entire period investigated from 1995 to 2013, based on this analysis:

6.1 women per 1,000 = “1 in 163.9 women” per year, and over four years attending college would then be = “1 in 41 women” while in college. 

Because the victimization rate has been trending downward, that same analysis using data from the last four years (2010 to 2013) reveals that 1 in 52.6 women have been sexually assaulted or raped in recent years. (emphases in original)

For the fewer than 2% of women who are raped or assaulted in college, the rate is still too high. I do not want to trivialize their trauma. But those who exaggerate the problem by such a huge factor also do serious harm to women and men, both.  They sow anxiety and suspicion, and subject people to stresses that complicate the already difficult task of coming to sexual maturity.

Rape is a horrible crime, but the issue of rape is also a political tool of the left, useful in efforts to control people in the name of compassion. As the depth of the fraud perpetrated by the Rolling Stone article that caused all fraternities and sororities at the Uiversity of Virginia to be suspended becomes clear, other fraudulent claims are being examined.

One of those claims comes from a White House report that asserts, “One in five women is sexually assaulted in college.” This implausible figure turns out to exaggerate the crime rate by a factor of ten.  A new study from the Justice Department reveals that the actual figure is 1 in 52.6. Mark J. Perry of the American Enterprise Institute explains:

 The report was based on the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) of women ages 18-24 for both reported and unreported cases of rape and sexual assault. Rape and sexual assault are defined by the NCVS to include: a) completed and attempted rape, b) completed and attempted sexual assault, and c) threats of rape or sexual assault, so the study provides a pretty comprehensive analysis of rape and sexual assault among young women. The report includes both: a) students (enrolled in college, university, trade school, or vocational school) and b) nonstudents for the 18 to 24 age group, which allows for a comparison of “campusrape/sexual assault” and offenses that take place for that age group among nonstudents. Here are some of the report’s findings:

1. Over the 1995-2013 period, the rate of rape and sexual assault victimization was almost 25% higher for nonstudents ages 18-24 (7.6 cases per 1,000 females) compared to students enrolled in a post-secondary institution in that age group (6.1 cases per 1,000 females), see chart above. So despite all of the media attention on campus sexual assault, women enrolled in colleges and universities are actually much safer compared to women in that age group who are not attending a post-secondary institution.

2. Over the 1995-2013 period, the rate of rape and sexual assault victimization for both students and nonstudents has been falling (see chart).  For women attending college, the rate of rape/sexual assault has fallen by more than 50%, from 9.2 incidents per 1,000 women in 1997 to 4.4 cases per 1,000 in 2013. According to the media, politicians and gender activists, there is supposed to be a college “rape epidemic” when in fact, the rate of college female victimization has been trending downward for the last two decades.

3. What might be the most important statistic (and was not provided in the report and is not being reported by the media, except Ashe Schow at the Washington Examiner) is that the data provided by the NCVS show that only about 1 in 41 women were victims of rape or sexual assault (threatened, completed and attempted; and reported and unreported) while in college for four years during the entire period investigated from 1995 to 2013, based on this analysis:

6.1 women per 1,000 = “1 in 163.9 women” per year, and over four years attending college would then be = “1 in 41 women” while in college. 

Because the victimization rate has been trending downward, that same analysis using data from the last four years (2010 to 2013) reveals that 1 in 52.6 women have been sexually assaulted or raped in recent years. (emphases in original)

For the fewer than 2% of women who are raped or assaulted in college, the rate is still too high. I do not want to trivialize their trauma. But those who exaggerate the problem by such a huge factor also do serious harm to women and men, both.  They sow anxiety and suspicion, and subject people to stresses that complicate the already difficult task of coming to sexual maturity.