Posted on | June 23, 2014 | 34 Comments
“Campus police questioned two University of Texas football players as part of a sexual assault investigation,” involving an incident that allegedly “happened early Saturday morning in the San Jacinto Residence Hall.”
Then there is this sentence:
According to the university’s most recent security report, victims reported nine on-campus sexual assaults in 2012.
Does anyone else remember how George Will became the living symbol of “rape culture” in American journalism? It involved two statistics cited by feminists: First, that 20% of college women are victims of sexual assault as undergraduates; and second, that only 12% (roughly 1-in-8) of sexual assaults are reported to authorities. Applying that math to enrollment figures and reported sexual assaults at Ohio State University, Will found that even if you multiply the number of sexual assault reports by 8.33 (thus to represent the 12% figure) the calculations showed “a sexual assault rate of approximately 2.9 percent — too high but nowhere near 20?percent.”
Well, what about these numbers for UT-Austin? If there were nine sexual assaults reported on campus in 2012, but only 12% of such crimes were actually reported, this would mean that there were 75 assaults total that year. If 2012 was an average year, we can multiply that number by a factor of four to reach 300 as the total number of sexual assaults (both reported and unreported) during the typical four-year undergraduate career of a UT-Austin student.
In 2011, there were 38,437 undergraduate students at UT-Austin, of whom 51.3% (19,718) were female. If my math is correct, this means that the sexual assault rate was slightly more than 1.5%.
Of course, the ideal number would be zero, but the point is this: Administration officials including Vice President Joe Biden have been touting these statistics — one-in-five college women victimized by sexual assault, only 12% of which are reported to authorities — as justifying a federal policy to combat what is being described as an “epidemic” of rape on campus. Yet when we apply these statistics to actual data, we find that the numbers don’t add up, and that the alleged “epidemic” involves a vast exaggeration.
The problem is not whether opinion columnists offend us by using language about “privilege” and victimhood as a “coveted status” (George Will’s thought-crime). Rather, the problem is something much simpler: The administration is lying to us, and these lies are being used to justify federal policies that could be very harmful.
There was more evidence that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction in 2003 than there is of a college rape “epidemic” in 2014. But if feminists cared about evidence, they wouldn’t be feminists, would they?
UPDATE: Thanks to Greg (@g56yu) on Twitter for pointing out this November item about “underreported” assault at UT-Austin:
“If you look at the national statistics, they’ll say one in four college women is likely to be a victim of sexual assault by the time they complete college, and for men it’s one in six,” said Jennifer Hammat, institutional Title IX coordinator and assistant vice president for student affairs. “For a campus population of 50,000 [students], that means we should be seeing 12,500 cases a year. And we’re not.”
There were only 18 forcible sexual offenses reported in 2012, including those occurring on campus properties, residence halls, non-campus buildings and adjacent public property, according to the University’s Annual Security Report released last month. The year before, there were 16.
Erin Burrows, a Voices Against Violence health education coordinator, said these low statistics should not be interpreted to mean UT students experience radically lower rates of sexual assault compared to students at other universities.
A couple of things: The 50,000 enrollment number includes grad students and, if you add in sexual assaults against students that reportedly occurred at “non-campus buildings,” the number for 2012 roughly doubles — so, about 3%, the same as at Ohio State.
More importantly, however, both Hammat and Burrows have it fixed in their mind — as a fact — that a certain large percentage (1-in-4) of students are victims of sexual assault, so the relatively low number of reported assaults at UT-Austin doesn’t mean anything.
In other words, ignore the available facts, believe the scary statistics.