On National Review Online this morning, IWF Vice President Carrie Lukas takes a look at the 1 in 4 rape statistic. Having just graduated college, I can attest that the 1 in 4 statistic gets thrown at students A LOT. The trouble is it’s not accurate. Inflating statistics on a serious subject like rape does nothing to help women. If anything, it just makes feminists look like the boy who cried wolf. Read the article here.
“Christina Hoff Sommers of the American Enterprise Institute delved into these uncomfortable waters in Who Stole Feminism. The one-in-four statistic, she found, was derived from a survey of 3,000 college women in 1982. Researchers used three questions to determine if respondents had been raped: Have you had sexual intercourse when you didn’t want to because a man gave you alcohol or drugs? Have you had sexual intercourse when you didn’t want to because a man threatened or used some degree of physical force… to make you? And, have you had sexual acts…when you didn’t want to because a man threatened to use some degree of physical force… to make you?
Based on women’s responses, researchers concluded that 15 percent of women surveyed had been raped and 12 percent had experienced an attempted rape. Therefore, 27 percent of women – more than one in four – were either the victims of rape or attempted rape. This is the origin of the one-in-four statistic.
Yet other data from that same survey undercut its conclusion. While alcohol surely plays a part in many rape cases, the survey’s wording invites the label of rape victim to be applied to anyone who has ever drank too much, had a sexual encounter, and then regretted it later. In addition, only 25 percent of the women whom researchers counted as being raped described the incident as rape themselves. The survey found that four in ten of the survey’s rape victims, and one in three victims of attempted rape, chose to have intercourse with their so-called attacker again. The survey researchers scratched their heads as to why these women would return to their attackers, but Sommers asks the obvious question: “Since most women the survey counted as victims didn’t think they had been raped, and since so many went back to their partners, isn’t it reasonable to conclude that many had not been raped to begin with?”
Correcting for the biases in the original survey yields a radically different picture of the prevalence of rape in America. Subtract the women identified by the alcohol and drug question and those who didn’t think they had been raped, and total victims fall to between 3 and 5 percent of the women surveyed. This remains an alarmingly high number, but significantly less alarming than the one-in-four figure.”