As Karen Straughan (GirlWritesWhat) has noted, rape is a unique crime in that it can often occur only in the mind of the alleged victim. Between adults, the same sexual acts can also be characterized as consensual sex to outside observers (or participants) if they have no understanding of the alleged victim’s actual internal mental state, or lack thereof.
The importance of this mental state is best summarized by the Latin legal term “mens rea” or “guilty mind,” a necessary element in most criminal prosecutions. The intent to do harm can not be ascertained where the perpetrator is unaware that harm is being done. This core, essential principle of law has vanished when it comes to the crime of rape. Instead of concerning ourselves with the accused’s state of mind and presumed innocence, feminists demand we concern ourselves only with the feelings and thoughts of the accuser.
The contents of a victim’s mind are, admittedly, important. Even a depraved perpetrator who WANTS to rape will fail if his or her desired victim is mentally willing.
In addition to mens rea, we must also concern ourselves with what “rape” has been degraded to mean. Feminists have lobbied for decades to expand the definitions of rape to include sex with women who have been drinking – although women used to be considered adult and equal enough to men to be able to drink alcohol and consent to sex all in the same evening, feminists are now crying foul. That is not the sort of equality feminists want.
Instead, they seek to keep women in an infantilized condition relative to men. Men, if they are wise, must decline the bubbly advances of tipsy lady-flowers lest the delicate sensibilities of these women transform the experience during their walk-of-shame hangover time and, feeling slightly put off, they have “recovered memories” of nonconsent. #ThanksFeminism
The push for the recognition and greater visibility (and risibility) of intoxication rape got a boost recently when my love-muffin Amanda Marcotte cited the 2007 U.S. Department of Justice funded study entitled rather blandly ” The Campus Sexual Assault (CSA) Study”, hereafter “CSA”, as the latest source for the feminist claim that 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted in college on campus. The CSA claims that an overwhelming percentage of those sexual assaults are “intoxication” related.
If Marcotte were anything like a journalist, she might have read the CSA study herself to see if it actually supported these claims of “1 in 5” but, lazy woman of leisure that she is, she instead cited the gold standard: that a male journalist had checked the numbers, so everything must be fine, right? Please get my date another Grey Goose Martini? The maths do so give ladies like Marcotte the vapors.
According to Marcotte, “The White House spent this week rolling out its task force for combating sexual violence on campus, and part of the campaign has been to routinely cite the claim that 1 in 5 female college students is sexually assaulted during her time in school.” [emphasis added]
If Marcotte were anything like a journalist, she might have read the study to see if it actually supports this claim. It does not.
The first clue that Marcotte is either lazy, lying, or both. “1 in 5” occurs at the end of page viii/9 of the CSA, which states “In the CSA study, sexual assault includes a wide range of victimizations, including rape and other types of unwanted sexual contact (e.g., sexual battery”[such as forced kissing or fondling, as defined on page 3-14/55].
In other words, in this study, grabbing a breast (sexual battery) during a drunken make-out session as an exploratory move towards greater intimacy would count as the equivalent of a full-blown jump-out-of-the-shadows-with-a-knife rape, if the woman disapproved of the act. Both cases are counted as sexual assaults in the CSA, and one has to wonder if college women are so naive they see both as equivalent crimes. (The answer: they aren’t naive at all, despite what Marcotte and other feminists assert. But we’ll get to quantifying that later.)
At this point, the illustration on page xiii/14 reports that these sexual battery boob grabs occurred to 75+144 = 219 of the women out of 1,073 total sexual assaults. That’s about 20%, so the 1 in 5 sexual assault number is really 1 in 6 if those horrible boob grabs are excluded.
The second clue is that although 5,446 women enrolled at two universities were asked to participate in the survey, less than 43% did (42.2% and 42.8%, page x/11). Not much is known about the 57% of women who declined the paltry $10 bribe the CSA authors paid the students who wasted 15 minutes clicking through the online form, but the authors imply that their overall findings can be extrapolated to the entire campus population of women – a shaky assertion at best. I would argue that some women who haven’t been sexually assaulted (or who might be sexual predators themselves) might be reluctant to waste their precious time on some dumb survey when they otherwise could use it for studying – or shopping for shoes. You know, important stuff.
Digging down into the CSA, even the authors admit that “It is logical to surmise that students who did not participate in a survey about sexual assault may differ from those who did participate” [page 3-7/48].
Considering this alone, the “1 in 5” number falls to about 1 in 11, or 1 in 14 if you eliminate sexual battery – but it gets a lot lower.
The third clue that something is amiss is in the results section at the top of page xiii/14 – quoting the report, “Nineteen percent of women reported experiencing completed or attempted sexual assault since entering college…” [emphasis added].
Why the hell are attempted assaults – those that failed by definition in this context – counted as the same as completed ones? So, both grabbing a boob while making out AND pantomiming a boob grab are both sexual assaults in this study? The study admits that only 13.7 percent of women experience “completed” sexual assault, not 19 percent. All of a sudden, the numbers fall again – from “1 in 5” to “1 in 11” to “1 in 14” to now “1 in 19” .
The fourth clue that something is amiss is that most of the “campus” assaults touted by Marcotte [see above] occurred where? OFF CAMPUS.
“The majority of sexual assault victims of both types reported that the incident had happened off campus (61% of incapacitated sexual assault victims and 63% of physically forced sexual assault victims)” [ xvi/17] . So, “sexual assault on campus,” per Marcotte, somehow includes off-campus assault as well. Even Amanda can’t be so stupid as to blame colleges for sexual assaults that don’t occur on their campuses – can she? The University of Wisconsin has little jurisdiction over the drunken sex that happens on South Padre Island in Texas over Spring Break.
Removing these non-campus assaults from the numbers, and the original “1 in 5” bullshit number that Marcotte parroted has now dwindled to a paltry 1 in 31.
The fifth clue that something is amiss is the tiny number of supposed victims who bothered to report their supposed assaults to school or police authorities. On page xvii/18 of the report, it is admitted that the students didn’t think it was serious enough to report (56% forced / 67% incapacitated) or that they didn’t think a crime had been committed or harm intended (35%/35%). In other words, these women didn’t consider themselves to be victims at all, and they certainly did not consent to being called victims, even though both the CSA and feminists like Marcotte want to force them into a victimhood status they are resisting. Being involuntarily cast into the role of rape victim – when you are not one because you don’t agree that you are one – is both ludicrous and a violation of personal autonomy.
So, let’s dig deep down into the study for the real numbers. In Exhibit 5-7 on page 5-16/79, we finally find the total number of forced sexual assaults on campus – 49 out of 5446 female students surveyed. This is equivalent to 1 in 111, not 1 in 5.
The number of intoxication sexual assaults (including sexual battery) on campus was 196 – exactly 4 times larger, but still equivalent to about 1 in 28 overall, not 1 in 5.
And finally, in a line on Exhibit 5-9 on page 5-27/90, we discover how many of the 5446 women were so upset by their 526 supposed intoxication sexual assaults that they sought criminal charges against their alleged rapists – 1. That’s right. One did. One woman, maybe the same one, also filed a “grievance or other disciplinary action” with university officials.
One woman in 5,446.
While feminists bemoan the low reporting rate of sexual assaults, at some point someone will notice that maybe women aren’t too delicate, or too scared, or too stupid, or too helpless to make those reports. Maybe this wildly inflated and histrionic feminist rape mongering does not reflect the reality of normal women.
There are other howlers in Marcotte’s beloved CSA study – here are a few of them:
In the bottom of Exhibit 4-1, over 40% of college women reported being drunk/high during sex, with half of those doing it more than once a month. I would speculate that women who regularly practice intoxicated sex might actually be enjoying it, and that efforts by feminists to criminalize their preferred sexual habits and partners will not be well-received. This explains why some women say they aren’t feminists because they love men – perhaps those women aren’t ignorant of feminism, but rather, they understand the ways that feminism demonizes men and subverts their own sexual practices.
“Women who experienced physically forced sexual assault before entering college had almost 7 times the odds of experiencing forced sexual assault since [after] entering college…” [page xiv/15]
The fascinating implication here is that certain women are rape-prone – either rapists tend to focus on them, or they make poor decisions that place them at a much higher risk, or they unconsciously seek situations in which dangerous encounters occur, or their sexuality is such that they continue in relationships with their supposed rapists. It is no wonder feminists are so obsessed with their anger toward so-called “victim-blamers” – that these rape-prone women might start taking actual responsibility for their own safety has to drive feminists nuts.
When the CSA looked at women who had experienced BOTH types of sexual assault (forced and incapacitated) before college, those women were 8 times as likely to experience both since entering college [bottom of page xv/16] as compared to other women – meaning that women who had repeat experiences in dangerous situations were less capable of (or less willing to) take steps to protect themselves from repeating the supposed trauma.
“In the CSA study, we consider as incapacitated sexual assault any unwanted sexual assault occurring when a victim is unable to provide consent or stop what is happening because she is passed out, drugged, drunk, incapacitated, or asleep… ” [page ix/10 – emphasis added]
Why was the word “unwanted” used in the above? Can passed out, drunk, incapacitated or sleeping women actually want sexual assault? According to this phrase in the study, they apparently can, which is why only unwanted sex in those situations counts as sexual assault, even though the rest of the study makes no clear distinction between wanted and unwanted sex while tipsy or tired. Marcotte has lazily (or maybe drunkenly, I guess) endorsed a study that violates the feminist’s “sober-enthusiastic-consent-or-else-rape” standard.
Good for you, Amanda.
This is not an exhaustive list of the problems with this study: the citing of nine flawed works by feminist Mary Koss, the data massaging, the bribing of participants, the programming errors, and many other diamonds of comedy await the intrepid souls who can bypass their laziness and trigger warnings to dive into the report.
Marcotte’s closing statement in her article includes the penultimate line “This issue isn’t about demonizing men as a group or scaring women into thinking men are inherently dangerous.”
Correct, Amanda – it is about misleading the public by lying your ass off and using inflated statistics you don’t care to check.
[A note on page numbers in the cited study – the CSA has its own convoluted page numbering scheme but the pdf document reader uses a straightforward absolute page count. “page viii/9”, for example, means “page viii” was printed on the report and the absolute page number was 9.]