Statistical sentences to ponder

A Washington Post review of federal campus safety data for more than 2,200 colleges that offer bachelor’s or advanced degrees found that more than 1,300 of the schools had no reports of rape on campus in 2014, the most recent year for which data is available.

Here is more from Nick Anderson.


Oh I love The Washington Post and their ability to put a spin on every story. Fox News is a rank amateur.

"There were no rapes reported in 2014 at California State University at Long Beach, a public university with about 36,000 students. That could seem like a positive sign. But school officials aren’t boasting about it. They know sexual violence victims are often reluctant to step forward, and they want to hear more often from survivors."

How is that any different than citing the U6 unemployment rate?

It's pretty clear that the subjective evidence already indicated college campuses weren't anymore dangerous with regards to rape than most of the rest of the country. The current survey supports that conclusion.

The Washington Post is trying to counter the facts with a Missing Data fallacy.

Not only not more dangerous but actually safer than the most of the rest of the country

I suggest waterboarding the student body until reticent victims start talking. That should get the stats more in line with where administrators think they should be versus where they are.

"I suggest waterboarding the student body until reticent victims start talking. "

No, I don't think that would fly. How about they start waterboarding all of the males on campus until they get the appropriate confessions? This approach would be much more politically palpable.

That sounds like a clear Title IX violation, limiting enhanced interrogation techniques to males. Shame on you.

Sorry, no again.

The administrators should be waterboarded until they release all the hundreds of campus rape cases they must obviously be hiding. And all the humanities faculty too because patriarchy.

I though it was common knowledge that university presidents salivate over the prospect of rapes on their campuses.

No, that's the head of Title IX stuff

Why is it spin if it's true?

“We always operate under the assumption that zero does not really mean zero,” said Cal State Long Beach spokesman Mike Uhlenkamp. “We realize that under-reporting will happen. It is a fact based on the national data. We’re going to try to do what we can to change that culture on our campus.”

Do you think he's lying? If so, that would be a story in itself.

Read the quote again.

"We realize that under-reporting will happen. It is a fact based on the national data."

Under reporting will happen with just about everything. Because reporting is not, in general, 100% accurate. The under reporting is only relevant if it's statistically more likely to happen with regards to rape on campus versus rape anywhere else.

If all rape is under reported by 20%, there's no 'campus rape crisis'. For that matter, Federal statistics indicate that rape is 25% less likely on campus. So, even if under reporting is more likely on campus, it's still not likely to be higher than elsewhere.

I don't see where in this article they claim or insinuate that rape is more likely to happen on college campuses. In fact they even discuss the side of experts who are outspoken in denying a "campus rape crisis".

What if schools think their campuses should in fact be especially safe places and want to ensure women feel comfortable reporting every incident? Good information can aid them in doing that. I think the fact that many of them have literally zero reports is newsworthy.

"I don’t see where in this article they claim or insinuate that rape is more likely to happen on college campuses."

We most have read different articles:

"The numbers underscore what is often a huge gulf between the estimated prevalence of sexual violence on campus and the actual number of reports schools receive. A Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll last year found that one in five young women who attended college in a four-year span said they had been sexually assaulted during that time ..."

"Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said there are two explanations for why schools would have no rape reports: “Either they don’t have an adequate reporting system … or they know about the rapes and are putting them under the rug.”"

Again, what you excerpted does not say nor imply that the rate of rape is higher on college campuses.

The reason colleges are a relevant unit of measurement is because they have high concentrations of a young demographic that--whether in college or not--experiences a higher than average rate of sexual assault. And because sexual assault is a focus of Title IX, among other reasons, schools track it pretty closely. Colleges also strive to be communities for young people where those risks are minimized. It's a totally valid environment to look at.

"Again, what you excerpted does not say nor imply that the rate of rape is higher on college campuses."

Let me try an explain this to you in short words. When an article claims that 1 in 4 women are raped on Campus, then anyone with a 3 digit IQ would assume that rape is more prevalent on Campus. Since it's clear to everyone not named Jan, that far less than 1 in 4 women in the general population are raped every 4 to 5 years.

What about all the survey data saying young women are sexually assaulted at a pretty high rate, often exceeding rates of one in five for college women? Schools with thousands of students and zero recorded rapes obviously have significant underreporting, even if the survey data is off by an order of magnitude.

Of all things to throw a tantrum about, this isn't it. Bro.

There is no survey data that shows high rape rates on US college campuses. It is certainly nowhere near 1 in 5.

The survey data is off by by *four* orders of magnitude. Not 1 in 20 but something like 5 in 100,000.

I said sexual assault and that is what survey data says*:

If you really think rape is ~5 in 100,000 people, I have a Baylor football player party to take you to. (Even as a rate across all citizens, of both genders and across all ages, that is a ridiculous figure--the true rate is five times that)

*And I never said and this Post article does not say that rape is higher on college campuses. That is you and JWatts trying to divert the discussion.

No the survey does not. The survey says sexual assault and sexual misconduct. Which they spell out. The Cornell survey, at any rate, includes a failure to obtain affirmative consent as sexual assault. So if someone does not ask at each and every step it is assault.

It also has the usual dishonest bullsh!t. The sample size was not small but it was voluntary and by e-mail. Only a fifth of students asked to take it bothered. The questions were leading. It is the usual garbage in fact.

It takes work to be gullible enough to repeat that one, Jan

I, for one, *know* tyat there are tiger attacks in every majory city in the USA. Sadly, victims of tigers are too embarrassed to come forward. Thye think people will mock them, "There are no tigers in Houston," they will say. Deniers!

There is a crazy system where consensual sex between a 17 year old and an 18 year old is called "rape" while a stranger attack involving rape and violence is called "rape" and two young adults who choose to have sex but later because of a subsequent disagreement one party decides that they really didn't want to have sex and claims "rape" and of course there is the occasional instance of a party with alcohol and consensual sex that later is decided to have been unwanted sex and alcohol absolves one party of any responsibility and the other party, just as drunk, can not use that excuse so it's called "rape".

So which "rape" was not reported?

"So which “rape” was not reported?"

Only the illegitmate ones.

17 year olds' bodies have a way to try to shut that whole thing down.

Doesn't matter because the dumpster was not on university property.

They should just launch a national campaign, - if you must rape, do it off campus. They could even create stat padding zones, which are city parks surrounded by campus, and therefore out of the reporting area.

2,200 - 1,300 = 900. In 2014, 900 colleges reported one or more rapes on campus, which means that a college student has an over 40% chance of attending a college where someone is raped on campus.

Scary! Did you know that every state that voted blue in 2012 and every liberal, coastal city has had at least 1 reported rape? "That means..."

How many of those reports were false? Probably a good chunk. 10% or better.

Oh, I'd say most of them. Same with child molesting.

Well you are the type of person who takes a voluntary response survey about unwanted flirtation as evidence of a rape epidemic. You might as well be a flat-earther for how unscientific your beliefs about campus sexual assault are.

The WaPo article eventually restricts the data to about 2,000 schools with enrollment of +200 students and gets to "a little more than half" having no rape.

The real problem is that the WaPo analysis is basically worthless and just presents an opportunity for culture warring. What we would like is to compare college rape per capita and rape per capita for young people outside of college or for young people who have recently graduated from college. Is the college per capita rate lower? If so, I am fairly inclined to believe that there is some significant underreporting going on at colleges. Is the college rate higher? Then I am inclined to believe that colleges have a greater rape problem than society at large and we should indeed worry about it.

I realize that some commenters will say that a relatively high rate of reported rape at colleges should make me think that many of these rapes are not "real". Personally, I am inclined to have an initially generous outlook to people reporting crimes. I am also having trouble coming up with a mechanism that I believe that would make this happen, since I don't find the idea that there is some feminist (men are evil!) or religious (consensual sex is a sin!) group running around and convincing girls that their hookup was really a rape to be very plausible.

"Is the college per capita rate lower? "

Yes, that's what the evidence indicates.

1. Over the 1995-2013 period, the rate of rape and sexual assault victimization was almost 25% higher for nonstudents ages 18-24

2. Over the 1995-2013 period, the rate of rape and sexual assault victimization for both students and nonstudents has been falling

6.1 women per 1,000 = “1 in 163.9 women” per year, and over four years attending college would then be = “1 in 41 women” while in college.

"If so, I am fairly inclined to believe that there is some significant underreporting going on at colleges."

Based upon what evidence?

"I realize that some commenters will say that a relatively high rate of reported rape at colleges should make me think that many of these rapes are not “real”. "

There is no relatively high rate of rape. The headlines are based upon conflating rape with other actions, many of which are not crimes.

It seems almost a truism that of two otherwise similar populations - one college educated, one not - the rate of violent crime will be lower in the college educated group. derek is being willfully naive here; there are clearly people whose job depends on fostering a belief in a "campus rape epidemic." Just like police chiefs have an incentive to underreport crimes (attempted murders become batteries), those folks have an incentive to overreport them.

Not really willfully naive, just trying to get someone else to do the research for me. I would believe that there is some underreporting of college rape if there was a drastic difference, as I don't really see why it would be drastically lower than the average for non-students. (All police departments have incentives to keep violent crime statistics low, so I'm not too worried about that. The other factors are ambiguous on net: college students might be less likely to be raped due to demographics/class, but they could be more likely to be raped because of heavier drinking.)

The data is plausible to me basically as is. I agree with JWatts' conclusion that there does not seem to be a college rape problem over the past decade, although I would reverse this conclusion if student rapes were to increase for a couple more years or remain at or above the non-college level (upward track since 2009, see top chart in his link), as this would be counter to the historical trend that he notes. I don't really think people should freak out either way over this data since there seems to be a lot of volatility in the difference between college and non-college. The non-college rape data seems like unambiguously good news. Maybe 4-5 rapes per 1,000 females is the lowest we can get and so all we will see in college from now on is volatility. But I would be concerned if college got up to 6 again for very long, so it's worth keeping an eye on.

Couldn't a relatively low rate of reporting at college vs. elsewhere among the same age group just show that people are safer in a college environment than elsewhere? I mean, I'd be surprised if people weren't safer on campus/in college than they are in other potential environments at that age, if for no other reason than the type of peers in each situation.

If I'm a parent sending my child to college, one rape on a campus is one rape too many. Colleges know they are selling more than a degree: they are selling a safe place for students, which is belied by one rape. All I did was flip the statistic around so that it appeared threatening rather than reassuring, but it's still the same statistic. Presentation is everything - economists are experts at that. One commenter suggested the statistic should be rapes per student population (presumably to account for the different sizes of colleges). A parent would find that a very small comfort, whether it's a campus with 2,500 or 25,000. I attended the two flagship state colleges in my state, each experiencing a brutal (heads severed, bodies dismembered) mass killing of female students by a lunatic. Parents still send their children to those colleges.

Yes, but, is one false accusation also "one too many"?
Is one denial of due process also "one too many"?
Is one expulsion (and lifetime black mark) on the basis of 51% of the evidence "one too many"?

It may probably possible to get the rape rate on campus down to zero, but, assuming it is, what would you be willing to give up to get that?

A college with 40,000 students is likely to experience all kinds of outlier effects occasionally. A rape, a murder, robbery... It's unrealistic to expect that you can have a population of tens of thousands of people with zero crime.

But think how far away that silly '1 in 5 students are sexually assaulted' statistic is from the reality. If it were true, then a university with 20,000 students, roughly 50% of which are female, would have 2,000 cases of sexual assault. You cannot wave away zero reported rapes with the 'under-reporting' argument in that case.

The other possibility, of course, is that these surveys have defined sexual assault down to the point where any unwanted touch or comment is a 'sexual assault', where a consensual hook-up in a bar is 'sexual assault' if the woman had so much as a glass of wine, or where a 'sexual assault' can mean, "He talked me into it." Mixing such 'assaults' in with rape does a tragic disservice to people who are actually raped or assaulted in violent ways.

If I’m a parent sending my child to college, one rape on a campus is one rape too many.

Well, better hope your kid can get into Deep Springs. Barring that, lock them in a nice padded room and let them experience college via skype

The "Rape-Culture" industry claims that 1 in 4 university women are raped during their time on campus.If more than half of the institutions experience zero rapes then either some places are really bringing up the average or the poor girls are too intimidated to report the incidents.

Of course the real reason is that the Rape-Hysteria industry likes to conflate "genuine rape" with regrettable drunken hookups, drunken diddlings with possibly hazily given consent, and unwelcome flirtatious behavior that is subject to subjective interpretations whether it's harmless or crossing the boundary of acceptability to aggressive criminal attack.

Nobody disputes that rape does happen and that there are certainly predators on the prowl. Nobody is defending predators, but the Rape Hysteria industry undermines their own credibility and the gravity of genuine rape when they try to elevate the "victims" of regrettable drunken hookups to be equivalent to vicious sexual assault. Furthermore by often characterizing men adversarially as intrinsically dangerous in their propaganda and training they turn off many men who would be natural allies in a fight to deal with the predators

Finally if the likelihood of actually getting raped was really 1 in 4, then would you take your chances? Would you go? Would you let your daughter? If there were a 1 in 4 chance of something so terrible happening if I moved to a place or traveled on vacation I would certainly think more than twice.

"Of course the real reason is that the Rape-Hysteria industry likes to conflate “genuine rape” with regrettable drunken hookups, drunken diddlings with possibly hazily given consent, and unwelcome flirtatious behavior that is subject to subjective interpretations whether it’s harmless or crossing the boundary of acceptability to aggressive criminal attack."

I've been saying that for years!

Unwanted flirting = sexual assault according to a stat used by President Obama. The left has no problem lying.

Really, what's the unwanted flirting stat he trotted out there?

Upon further review, I was wrong. The stat Obama used instead defines all sex before which the woman has consumed any alcohol as rape. Note to all the leftist tools on MR: the CDC politicized the definition of rape and Obama signed on. The CDC can't be trusted.

I suppose as a general rule, when a body supposed to be concerned with one type of thing goes out of its way to report on other things, you'd expect there to be some motive other than just doing their job

No Senator (in an alternate but more just universe) Akin, you called it "legitimate rape."

I'm sure you intended "genuine rape" but the hysterical bulldogs wouldn't let go the fact that you misspoke and called it "legitimate rape." Of course neither you, I nor any decent citizen wants to "legitimatize" rape.

One in four, five or six is the prevalence of sexual assault during the years at university, not rape. There have been several surveys. One in four is a rare result, one in five is more common.
The definition of sexual assault must be considered before the number can be interpreted - quite a wide definition is usually used, which includes incidents which would be very unpleasant but not traumatic for most people.

The CDCs survey on campus rape is worth mentioning since it gets attacked so much. I'll just defend the alcohol thing. It is claimed that sex after drinking gets recorded as "rape". This is not true, if you look at the breakdown and compare numbers of rapes involving physical force, there would be a vastly greater incidents of happy drunk sex. But the recorded incidence of rape facilitated by alcohol is not hugely different to the forced rape category, which shows a loose definition of alcohol rapes was not used.

A key part of the question might be the "on campus" qualifier.

We can't be far from the implementation of rape report quotas.

Women aren't stupid. If they honestly believed that entering a university would lead to a 1 in 4 chance of being raped, wouldn't they switch to online schools or female-only universities?

Would you drive a car that had a 1 in 4 chance of killing you? Use a toaster that had a 1 in 4 chance of burning your house down?

counterpoint: women *are* stupid

Let us say you have a 24-year-old son. He went with his younger brother to a sorority party. There he massages a sorority girl's shoulders. The sorority girl and your son get drunk. But your son passes out. Later, your son is found behind a dumpster and the sorority girl has his pants down and is fondling him.

You call the cops and charge the 19-year-old girl with rape. She is publicly identified and stands trial.

We have just had a case like this. A drunken college student - male student. Some drinking. Wakes up and a girl is giving him a blow job to which he did not consent.

He was charged with sexual assault.

If you are talking about the case of the Amherst College student, that was outrageous but it was not a criminal case. It was an internal college kangaroo court that expelled him with no due process.

The weird thing that nobody wants to talk about is that a disproportionate number of sexual assaults on campus are committed by a small percentage of black football and basketball players recruited at vast expense and much bending of the admissions standards especially because they muscular and aggressive. Liberals would rather make up Haven Monahans, while conservatives love winning at college sports.

This was the central plotline of Tom Wolfe's novel "A Man in Full:" the white daughter of the Chairman of the Board of Trustees at a southern college accuses the football team's black Heisman Trophy winner of rape, and everybody in town who is anybody, white and black, tries to make the charges vanish.

Where there are undisputed cases of rape on campus they are often on Historically Black colleges. But the media is not interested in those. I doubt that anyone here has ever read a single article about a rape at one of those colleges.

Tom Wolfe search for the Great White Defendant goes on.

Jan's link that he provides up-thread shows that homosexuals are also much more likely to report sexual assault.

Yet for some reason the narrative is always about White heterosexual males.

It's quiet out there. Too quiet.

Problems generally come in pairs. If not groups.

There certainly is a Title IX/overenforcement/overdefinition/lack of due process problem (accelerating over the last 5-6 years, but building steadily for ~25 years).

Thing is, foreign conquerors didn't force this on us. Our elected representatives (yes, from both major parties), and officials whom they nominated and confirmed and whose paychecks they sign, did it. Why?

Because probably for as long as we've had co-ed colleges, we've had not only campus rape but also administrations who sweep it under the carpet (yes, especially when the accused are athletes or otherwise privileged). Up to and including silencing and threatening complainants -- a majority of whom, of course, were actual victims.

The Soviet Communist regime was indeed the Evil Empire. How'd the Communists get into power in 1917? By ousting a very weak regime which had just taken over after the brutal Czars were finally overthrown.

(And how'd they stay in power after June 22, 1941? Because the Nazis were the alternative.)

Thesis. Antithesis. Synthesis. I'm hoping and working for the day when we see some sanity in our campus rape policies. But we're not going to turn back the clock to, say, 1976 or 1966.

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