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On the Hofstra Rape/Recant Case & the Campus Rape Epidemic

September 17, 2009

I’m talking about it all on CNN tonight during the 5PM broadcast. In the meantime, check out my related piece from the Prospect last week.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. phrodeaux permalink
    September 21, 2009 4:23 pm

    I have two problems with this:

    “…Estimates suggest that nearly one in every 10 female college students will be raped while she’s at school. ”

    We all know how statistics can me made to… ehrrr… “fit one’s agenda.” I’d be curious to know where your numbers are coming from, and what the opposition says. As usual, the truth would be somewhere in the middle.

    “For starters, (colleges should) provide in-depth programs on healthy sexuality and sexual safety, instead of getting by with a pamphlet and an hour demonstration at orientation.”

    I doubt that this sort of program would do much to penetrate the sick psyche of “repeat-offender sociopaths who know exactly what they’re doing,” and, as you yourself pointed out, they’re the ones doing the majority of these assaults.

    For everyone else, it would be a waste of money and resources. Aren’t college tuitions high enough already? Throwing more money at a problem isn’t always the best solution.

    I’m not saying that schools shouldn’t be “implementing real policies that work,” but simply arguing that what you’re suggesting wouldn’t seem to be that so much as another case of “just going through motions that make them look concerned.”

  2. jaclynfriedman permalink*
    September 22, 2009 8:54 am

    The 150,000 number comes from the The Campus Sexual Assault Study (Krebs et al., 2007), which assessed forced penetration as well as penetration that occurred when the participant was passed out, drunk, drugged, incapacitated, or asleep, regardless of whether substances were voluntarily used or administered without their knowledge. Results suggest that 3.4% of the women who completed the web survey reported physically forced penetration, and 8.5% reported physical penetration during some kind of incapacitation since they began college. There are two important caveats about this study’s results. First, average time in college was not reported but did vary by participant, for example freshman likely had not even been in
    college for a whole year while seniors had been in college for several years, thus the
    estimates are collapsed across the whole time of “since entering college.” Second, the two
    estimates for physically forced sex and incapacitated penetration cannot be added together
    as they are not necessarily mutually exclusive and the report does not give one overall
    figure for physically forced and incapacitated penetration.

    Factoring in those two caveats (some respondents hadn’t even yet been in in school a year), and the unknown overlap between the two groups, I estimated an overall sexual assault rape of 10%. USDOE expects 18mil+ college students this year. Divide by two to get just the women (though we actually know that women make up more than half the nation’s college students, again, being conservative here), that’s 9 mil. 10% of 9 mil = 900,000. Divide by the four years of college, that’s actually 225,000, but I revised down to 150,000, again, to be profoundly conservative with the numbers.

    There are other studies that suggest that 3-5% of all female college students will be raped in an academic year (Drug-facilitated, Incapacitated, and Forcible Rape: A National Study, Kilpatrick et. al, 2007). 3% of 9 mil is 270,000, 5% is 450,000.

  3. jaclynfriedman permalink*
    September 22, 2009 8:56 am

    As for real, healthy sexuality and safety education? No, it wouldn’t educate rapists out of raping. But it would create a different culture – one in which the rapists’ behavior is obvious as rape, and not written off as a misunderstanding or “boys will be boys” behavior, as happens so, so often now.

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