|Willis Hart: On President Obama Spouting that Thoroughly Discredited Claim that 1 out of Every 5 College-Aged Women Will Ultimately Be Raped... Do they simply not have a fact-checker at the White House? Yes, folks, there is a study from the CDC (and an older one by an activist named Mary Koss) which claims what the President is claiming, but it is seriously flawed (the main flaw being that they count all episodes of drunken sex in which the woman regrets it in the morning as "rape" and all episodes in which the man lies to the woman in an effort to get her in the sack as "sexual violence"). A much more accurate number (one that is considered the gold standard) is the one which comes from the Justice Department Crime Survey; 1 in 50 (still a troubling number but not the type that produces hysteria).|
Of course the $64,000 question is why in the hell did Obama use the bogus stat? Stupidity? More pandering? I'd kind of like to know. (11/16/2015 AT 4:16pm).
First of all, the CDC study (the one Willis refers to) has NOT been "thoroughly discredited" nor are it's stats "bogus". I looked into it and found that some Libertarian-types have concerns with how one of the questions was worded.
|...the wording of the question measuring "incapacitated rape" (which accounted for nearly two-thirds of the CDC's estimate of rapes that occurred in the past year). Respondents were asked about sexual acts that happened when they were "drunk, high, drugged, or passed out and unable to consent". This seems to imply that "unable to consent" is only one of the variables and to include situations in which a person is intoxicated - perhaps enough to have impaired judgment - but not incapacitated as the legal definition of rape requires.|
A CDC spokesperson told The New Republic that "being unable to consent is key to the CDC's definition of rape". Presumably, this is conveyed by the introduction to the question about alcohol and drug-enabled rape: "Sometimes sex happens when a person is unable to consent to it or stop it from happening because they were drunk, high, drugged, or passed out from alcohol, drugs, or medications". However, in a telephone survey, some people may focus only on the question itself and let the introduction slide by.
Moreover, the introductory message ends with an advisory that may create more confusion: "Please remember that even if someone uses alcohol or drugs, what happens to them is not their fault". Obviously, the intended point is that even if you got drunk, you're not to blame for being raped. But this vaguely phrased reminder could also be taken to mean that it's not your fault if you do something stupid while drunk or on drugs. At no point are respondents given any instructions that could result in fewer reports of alleged victimization: for instance, that they should not include instances in which they had voluntary sex while drunk but not incapacitated. (The CDC's Rape Numbers Are Misleading by Cathy Young, contributing editor for Reason Magazine. Time 9/17/2014).
Note the three words in RED. "May" (twice) and "could". Is this how the study was "thoroughly discredited"? By guessing how someone may or could interpret a question based on the wording? Obviously this is an absurd conclusion to reach. I say the wording might produce some false positives, but 90 freaking percent?
That's what the false positive rate would have to be if you say 1 in 5 is wrong and 1 in 50 is right. 1 in 5 would be the same as 20 out of 100, while 1 in 50 would be the same as 2 out of 100. Which would mean Willis is saying 18 out of 20 women are saying they were raped when they actually were drunk when they consented to sex (but later regretted it).
Which is a figure I'm not buying. The way the question is worded might produce some false positives, but no freaking way would it result in a 90 percent false positive rate. Yet this is EXACTLY what the Harster concludes.
That Justice Department Crime Survey, by the way refers to "forced sexual intercourse including both psychological coercion as well as physical force". But it doesn't say anything about no force being needed because the victim is drunk (or under the influence of drugs). Taking advantage of someone while they're too incapacitated to say NO is still rape in my book. Which explains why the CDC got higher numbers (I'm guessing).
The stats were obviously good enough for the president, and YES I think he has fact checkers, and NO I do not think he quoted the CDC stat due to either "stupidity" or "pandering". I'd say he used it because he felt the CDC stats were (questioning of question wording not withstanding) more accurate than the Justice Department Crime Survey figures... and I'm inclined to agree.
I'm certainly NOT inclined to believe that 90 percent of women who responded to the CDC survey misunderstood the question and answered that that they were unable to consent when they actually did consent (did "something stupid while drunk or on drugs"). Actually, there is no f*cking way I believe that. I am, however, inclined to believe the Harster buys that this is the case due to his (previously demonstrated) misogyny.