Thursday, January 23, 2014

The White House's own numbers prove that nowhere near one-in-five women are sexually assaulted on campus


The White House is once again taking aim at sexual assault on college campuses and is talking about instituting yet more "prosecution reforms" to stem what it is describing as an epidemic of rape on campus. The problem is that the White House is using dubious statistics to justify chipping away at the due process rights of presumptively innocent college students (almost exclusively men) accused of sexual assault.

You don't believe they are using dubious statistics? Fine. Don't believe me. Use the numbers cited by the White House itself and do your own math. This is from the news report about the White House's initiative:
A new report published Wednesday by the White House Council on Women and Girls states that one in five women are sexually assaulted while in college. But only about 12 percent of victims report the assault, and perpetrators are often repeat offenders.
There are two different numbers used by the White House Council: (1) one-in-five women will be sexually assaulted in college; and (2) only 12 percent of all victims report their victimization (88 percent do not report).

So what, you say?

The problem is that the two sets of numbers the White House uses don't work together. If you look at virtually any university in America and take the number of reported sexual assaults, and use that number in conjunction with the White House's underreporting percentage, you don't get one-in-five. Nowhere near.

As I say, do the math yourself. I will cite a demonstration for you. In this demonstration, we use the actual number of sexual assaults reported on college campuses under the Clery Act. We use that number even though it is almost certainly inflated. Under the Clery Act, many anonymous reports of sexual assault are accepted as actual sexual assaults and are included as reported sexual assaults. Why is this a problem? Because we know that when sexual assault is actually reported and tested against competing claims of innocence, when the evidence surrounding the incident is actually examined, a significant percentage of claims are deemed to be unfounded (not necessarily false) even using a preponderance of the evidence standard. So anonymous reporting almost certainly inflates the rape problem on campus.

In any event, take the number of reported sexual assaults on virtually any college campus, then assume 88 percent of sexual assault victims aren't reporting their victimization (that's the White House's own number), and you can tell the percentage of women who are sexually assaulted. It ain't one-in-five.

Writer Chad Hermann carefully debunked the sort of "math" the White House employs by looking at the reports of sexual assault at three universities in Pittsburgh. He proved that even using CLERY ACT reporting stats, and using the sexual grievance industry's own underreporting percentages, the number of women sexually assaulted isn't one-in-four or five; it isn't one-in-ten; and it isn't even one-in-fifty. It's more like one-in-188. Mr. Hermann actually used a higher underreporting percentage (90 percent) than the White House. Here is the conclusion he reached (found toward the end of his article, here):
If you combine all of the crime statistics for Pitt, CMU, and Duquesne — again, the city’s three most populous urban campuses — and run an average for 2009 . . . , here’s what you get: 
# of Female Students: 24,400 
# of Reported Sexual Assaults: 13 
Chances of Being Sexually Assaulted: 1-in-1,877.
If you accept the claim that 90% of college sexual assaults are not reported, you get:
# of Female Students: 24,400
# of Reported Sexual Assaults: 130
Chances of Being Sexually Assaulted: 1-in-188.
There are several points that all reasonable people should agree on.:

We should all agree that sexual assault is an unacceptable problem.

We should all agree that government officials shouldn't exaggerate the problem or lie about it.

We should all agree that inflated statistics should never be used to chip away at cherished due process rights of persons accused of sexual assault on campus.

It's time to get the politics out of sexual assault and to stop pandering to women's groups for votes.