Sen. Claire McCaskill was asked about the infamous statistic that one in five college women are sexually assaulted in light of the overriding evidence that it’s not a reliable statistic. What’s the overriding evidence? A new DOJ study shows that the real number isn’t 1 in 5, it’s 1-in-52 — that means it isn’t 20 percent of all college women, it’s 1.9 percent. Beyond that, the lead author of the principal one-in-five study, Christopher Krebs, recently told Emily Yoffethat it simply is not a representative statistic that can be relied upon when discussing American college women in general. Even before that, the Washington Post concluded that the stat couldn’t be relied on as representative. Over the weekend, The Washington Post said it is “misleading to suggest that [the one in five stat] is representative of the experience of all college women.” The New York Times says the stat is “flawed.” And even Scott Berkowitz, head of the national advocacy group RAINN, says the 1 in 5 stat “is probably too high.” And see this.
How did Sen. Claire McCaskill react to this overriding evidence? Did she explain that she needs to carefully consider it? That it might actually be good news because the problem is not as severe as the White House and others have insisted?
She did not. McCaskill said this: “Frankly, it is irritating that anybody would be distracted by which statistics are accurate.”
Let us explain why this comment is so terribly inappropriate for anyone, much less someone in McCaskill’s position. McCaskill is spearheading legislation in response to the supposed campus rape epidemic. It is clear that this effort is premised, in large measure, on the one in five stat (a stat that should not be relied on). Back in April, McCaskill wrote this: “According to the available statistics, 19 percent of undergraduate women have been the victims of sexual assault. Because many crimes aren’t reported, though, that number is probably higher.” (Likewise, a co-sponsor of her sexual assault legislation, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, also bought into the one in five canard: “A college woman has a chance of one in five to be raped during her college career,” Gillibrand wrote. Gillibrand’s website recently dropped the one in five canard and it is not clear if she still buys into it.)
So can you guess what is irritating to us, Senator McCaskill? That you are pursuing legislation based, at least in part, on an unreliable stat that could hurt innocent male students. And when asked about it, you said you find it “irritating that anybody would be distracted by” the truth.
The public outcry over the one in five canard has already led to public policy solutions that are grossly unjust to presumptively innocent male students (e.g., reducing the standard of proof to preponderance of the evidence, which makes it easier to punish the innocent for rapes they didn’t commit). And no doubt, McCaskill’s own legislative “solution” to the phony epidemic will pile more injustice atop the existing injustice.
We’ve had enough policy made on the basis of lies, Senator. Exactly how unjust are the existing laws and policies promulgated as a result of the phony campus rape epidemic? Among many, many others, twenty-eight (mainly liberal) Harvard law professors have decried the policies, as have law professors at Yale, Univ. of Tennessee, and George Washington University. The American Association University Professors has criticized the“Dear Colleague” letter. Even Brett Sokolow, the head of NCHERM and the foremost advocate for rape victims on American college campuses, says colleges are treating men unfairly when it comes to sex charges.
Innocence Project guru Prof. Mark A Godsey has explained that “the risk of wrongful conviction is the highest when there’s public outcry. Most of the exonerations and wrongful convictions have occurred in rape cases.”
Beyond that, McCaskill said something back in April that is downright weird even by the standards of the sexual grievance industry. She claimed that the “number is probably higher” than one in five — because of alleged underreporting. This is how terribly uninformed she is on the subject, despite the fact she is spearheading legislation on it: the one in five stat takes underreporting into account. Yet her statement suggests she thinks that 19 percent is the percentage of REPORTED sexual assaults when, in fact, the percentage of reported sexual assaults is a tiny fraction of that.
The one in five canard, along with the “rape culture” meme, are the wicked twin sisters of the sexual grievance industry. Both need to be challenged at every turn. Because she is helping to foment a public outcry based on a phony epidemic, Claire McCaskill is unfit to serve as a United States Senator.
At the University of Virginia — which is to “rape” what Loch Ness is to real monsters — a council of student leaders from a variety of different organizations has put together a list of action points to battle rape. One of their suggestions calls on the state legislature to enact “Closed Criminal Trials” for rape. They write: “One hurdle to pursuing criminal resolution may be the painstaking public nature of trials. Introducing privacy could make that path more attractive.”
We are raising a generation of nitwits. Too many say stupid things like this, and too many others don’t object when they hear stupid things like this said.
In this case, they have it exactly backward, of course. Criminal proceedings involving rape ought to be more public, not less. The news media ought to stop shielding the identities of rape accusers as if they were children. No less an authority than Professor Alan Dershowitz has written: “People who have gone to the police and publicly invoked the criminal process and accused somebody of a serious crime such as rape must be identified. In this country there is no such thing and should not be such a thing as anonymous accusation. If your name is in court it is a logical extension that it should be printed in the media. How can you publish the name of the presumptively innocent accused but not the name of the accuser?” Prof. Dershowitz also wrote: “It is absolutely critical that rape be treated like any other crime of violence, that the names of the alleged victims be published along with the names of the alleged perpetrators, so that people who know the victim or know her reputation can come forward to provide relevant information.”
Feminist Naomi Wolf once wrote: “Feminists have long argued that rape must be treated like any other crime. But in no other crime are accusers kept behind a wall of anonymity. Treating rape so differently serves only to maintain its mischaracterization as a ‘different’ kind of crime, loaded with cultural baggage and projections. . . . . Though children’s identities should, of course, be shielded in sex-crime allegations, women are not children. If one makes a serious criminal accusation, one must wish to be treated – and one must treat oneself – as a moral adult.”
Prof. KC Johnson wrote this about the UVA actions points:
The students’ recommendations were extraordinary. The most eye-popping came in a call for UVA to use its influence with the General Assembly to change Virginia law, and make all rape trials in the state secret (on grounds that the “painstaking public nature of trials” discourages victims from reporting crimes). The students seemed unaware—or indifferent to—the fact that secret trials are anathema to the U.S. legal tradition, or that open trials afford a critical protection to the wrongly accused.
Prof. Johnson dignifies the student’s idiocy with a rationale that ought to be apparent to a ten year old.
We all know that college campuses are breeding grounds for puerile groupthink and conformity to the PC meme du jour — in their defense, the ones doing the “groupthinking” are barely older than children, and a staggering percentage of them still think like children — but all the supposed good intentions in the world can’t excuse idiocy that would put innocents at risk.
All persons of good will need to start calling these sorts of morally grotesque ideas exactly what they are: stupid, and dangerous.