COLLEGE WOMEN ARE LESS LIKELY TO BE RAPED ON A COLLEGE CAMPUS THAN NONSTUDENTS ARE ELSEWHERE
Sexual assault and rape cases that are allegedly occurring on college campuses are a hot topic. Numerous articles have appeared throughout a broad media spectrum, some reporting on the rape trials on student football players, others on mere unsupported allegations of rape, and even book writers are hoping to cash in on the plague of campus rape even at a small “typical college town.”
And it is official, according to President Obama, “Campus Sexual Assault” is a “particular problem.” He apparently believes that 1 in 5 women have been “sexually assaulted” while in college and that “Perpetrators often prey on incapacitated women, and sometimes surreptitiously provide their victims with drugs or alcohol.” The President recently signed into law an Act designed to confront these and other “violence” against women’s concerns.
Studies that purport to give statistics on rape and sexual assaults in this country relating to female students are often confusing because of their definitions. For example, in a 2014 special report, the Bureau of Justice (BJS) used a National Crime Survey (NCVS) that collected rape and sexual assault data about female victims from the ages of 18-24, including students and nonstudents.
The report concluded that the rate of rape and sexual assault was higher for nonstudents but that student victims were more likely to deem the incident not significant enough to report. The confusing part is that the NCVS counted their victims in attempted rape, completed and attempted sexual assault, and threats of rape. What is a “threat of rape”? At a minimum, the definition is too obscure to lend meaningful impact to a study of this type and likely inflates the number of actual victims.
Moreover, the report appears to debunk the notion that sexual assaults are any more prevalent in a college campus setting than elsewhere. This appears right even though a college setting typically and naturally exudes ample opportunities for students to socialize- often in small quarters where alcohol and other forms of entertainment are present. The alleged need to reinforce policing of campus sexual assaults by college staff is misplaced, and the practice is often conducted without regard to due process- let the actual police do their work.
But statistics and common sense will not likely deter college administrators from hopping on this hot issue to show their concern; they will want to ban alcohol, parties, and certain groups from campus property and beef up and specially train campus security, even though the facts do not support the need for such actions.