A Highly Scientific Study Proves Women’s Feelings Prevail

Words. Definitions. Feelings. Lies. Agendas. Sound and fury signifying nothing.

A new survey released Monday purports to prove that 1 in 5 women (or more) will be sexually assaulted while in college.

The survey, conducted by the Association for American Universities, included responses from 150,000 students at 27 colleges and universities, including many Ivy League schools.

Whether fault should be levied on the AAU for the study, for its methodology, or whether no study, no matter how sincere in its effort, could achieve a valid conclusion is unclear.

There are plenty of reasons to believe that the study was framed in such a way as to steer clear of some criticism, such as its broad definition of rape and sexual assault, intended to be sufficiently inclusive that no advocacy group could claim it left anything, anyone out.  Then again, definitions accepted, no demanded, on college campuses defy any cognizable definition anymore.

Many people would truly like to see a viable survey to appreciate the depth of a problem that advocates claim is an epidemic.  But to make that happen, it would require the use of words defined by something beyond subjective feelings.  When someone says they’ve been raped, we’re constrained to ask what happened, because the word rape, a historically horrible crime, no longer has meaning.

And yet, the New York Times headline tells the story advocates want it to tell, that it was destined to tell:

1 in 4 Women Experience Sex Assault on Campus

And some women will tell you, with certainty, that this conforms with this experience, that they have been touched at some point in their college career in a way that they found undesired and sexual in nature.  In the legal sense, and even in the commonly understood sense of the words “rape” and “sexual assault,” there is no nexus between the survey results and what, in fact, happened.

But we will never know.

There is no time in history when male students were more aware of the issue of sexual assault on campus. There is no time in history when female students were more militant about their sexual victimhood.  There is no time in history where a woman will enjoy greater support among her peers for claiming victimhood.  There is a strong incentive to falsify claims, to exaggerate conduct, to claim that the banal conduct that happens to everyone is sufficient to justify a lie in response to surveys.

Some will parse this survey, as they have past surveys when they were taken seriously as efforts to ascertain the existence and scope of a potential problem.  We are past the point of trying. There is no possibility that a survey can be conducted that will produce a viable result.

This isn’t because of flawed methodology, although the methodology will almost certainly be flawed. It’s because the issue of campus rape and sexual assault is so deeply mired in gender politics that there is no possibility that trustworthy definitions will be used, or trustworthy responses will be obtained.

“[M]any news stories are focused on figures like ‘1 in 5’ in reporting victimization. As the researchers who generated this number have repeatedly said, the 1 in 5 number is for a few [institutions of higher education] and is not representative of anything outside of this frame,” the researchers wrote. “The wide variation of rates across IHEs in the present study emphasizes the significance of this caveat.”

More radicalized schools will see higher numbers, sometimes absurdly higher numbers suggesting Yale is more lawless than the Congo, because women there are determined to prove their point. No one asks a respondent to prove the truth of their response, and so when the political need to achieve an outcome is combined with no penalty for lying to do so, you get absurd results.

Next, the survey’s developers “specifically avoided” using the words “rape” and “assault” so that, as they said, “respondents would use a set of uniform definitions when reporting on the types of events that were of interest.”

Even if respondents could be trusted not to put their ideology ahead of truth, the language would doom any hope of reliability.  When the wiggle room in rhetoric allows for willing sex to be categorized as “without consent” because the woman drank alcohol or smoked a joint with the man, initiated sex but didn’t utter the words “I consent” to her own actions, decided the week or month after she saw the guy with another gal that her consent wasn’t sufficiently enthusiastic, or was silently withdrawn mid-act, the definitions are rendered meaningless.

Nearly 60 percent of students who had responded to what researchers defined as sexual assault said they did not report the incident because they did not consider it serious enough. Vast majorities of students gave this as the reason for individual classifications of assaults, including harassment (78.6 percent), sexual touching due to physical force (75.6 percent) and sexual touching due to incapacitation (74.1 percent). These were the types of “sexual assault” most students said they had experienced.

The one number that can’t be sufficiently fudged is whether conduct was reported to colleges or law enforcement. And that the women who complain of rape and sexual assault couldn’t be bothered to report these alleged offenses speaks volumes as to the efficacy of any attempt to ascertain the seriousness of the problem.  If they’re too trivial to bother with, then they’re too trivial to bother with.

There will be no study worthy of consideration, capable of answering the serious question of whether there is a problem (as so many concede, because it’s strategically sound to not appear to be a denier, and thus dismissed as a misogynist or rape apologist).  That women insist that they are entitled to control their bodies by reinventing the problem as one of their feelings, an issue that will always elude definition, is now an integral part of the social fabric these survey seek to determine.

Do 1 in 4 women feel as if they’ve been sexually assaulted?  That would likely be a fair characterization of the result. But the problem, the epidemic, isn’t that they’ve been subjected to sexualized harm, but that they’ve become so hypersensitive to their feelings that everything is now an offense to their feelings. And this will drive a wave of penalizing men for failing to meet women’s desire for control over them.

What this will ultimately produce in law, in reality, in gender relations and in the struggle for control over others, has yet to be seen. But this survey proves conclusively that we’ve gone beyond the point where any survey can produce results unbound by politics and the desire to achieve the sought-after proof that women’s feelings must prevail.

Maybe we will laugh at this ridiculousness one day, but there will be terrible harm to undeserving males in the meantime because of studies like this and the actions taken against men to vindicate women’s feelings.

29 thoughts on “A Highly Scientific Study Proves Women’s Feelings Prevail

  1. John Barleycorn

    Speaking of editors. I wonder if the editors of that newspaper you read even took the time to read the executive summary of the study? Too bad some of the bullet points weren’t highlighted in red.

    All things considered though, it’s good to hear that by the time the freshmen become juniors and seniors they are no longer playing spin the bottle after having consumed the bottle or if they have consumed the bottle their selectiveity in their choice of game partners seems to improve considerably.

    Now if those Jr high and high school kids could just get their shit together and include some consent forms with their playing-doctor and sexting the country just might save itself from the dark ages.

  2. mb

    “the issue of campus rape and sexual assault is too deeply mired in gender politics”

    I think it’s the other way around, that gender politics needs this issue in order to show its face. To support affirmative consent is to openly embrace the radical lesbian separatist view that all sex is rape. To claim that any campus where a female student can’t have her male peers ejected without the least showing of any wrongdoing is hostile to her based on her sex necessarily entails the belief that normal men excuse rape out of a hope that women’s fear of it will inconvenience them to our benefit. It is impossible to have even the most rudimentary understanding of the legal concepts involved and not know this. It should be impossible for any second year law student to not know this.

    But the general public doesn’t know which legal concepts are implicated by any of this. Why defend radical feminist insanity when you can just lie, and use the time while people are responding to come up with more lies?

    The casual observer no doubt believes, as they’ve been told, that affirmative consent is required for all kinds of human interactions, and that the standards of acceptable behavior are inexplicably lower for sex. He also surely thinks, as he’s been told, that due process is somehow as applicable to “victims” as to people accused of wrongdoing. This is laughably stupid, but the righteous anger that would be appropriate if the lies were true create a culture of lawlessness because those lies are lies being told by lying liars who lie.

      1. mb

        I had that much before I got here, but I think you’re right to continue to pursue the issue. I’d go talk about it elsewhere, but I’m banned from the internet.

  3. Charles Platt

    I plowed through some of that report. One of their assault categories is kissing. Now, true, some kisses are quite unwelcome (from my aunt Doris for instance) but, forgive my legal ignorance. Is kissing often prosecuted as a form of assault?

    Another problem with the study is that its response rate was below 20 percent, which the authors admit is unusually low–probably because the questionaire that they sent out was extremely long. The authors speculate that *maybe* the 1/5th of respondents who answered were more likely to have a complaint than the 4/5ths who didn’t answer. Indeed. But then they claim to have compensated for this using three different methodologies … which are extremely difficult to understand and must, of course, remain speculative.

    But, doesn’t matter. They came up with “1 in 4” for headline writers. That’s all that mattered.

    1. SHG Post author

      Statistical surveys make themselves sound very official and scienc-y. But as you correctly note, it doesn’t matter, as long as it returns the desired result.

    2. mb

      “Is kissing often prosecuted as a form of assault?”

      Kissing could easily be considered a harmful or offensive bodily contact, but nobody is arguing you should be allowed to kiss people without their permission. What is up for debate, here is whether you are guilty of a violent crime, and should be punished accordingly, when you kiss someone, who does not object in any way, and who cannot articulate any reason whatsoever why she was unable to do so.

      1. SHG Post author

        Let’s break it down a bit. First date, guy goes in for good-night kiss without asking permission first (regardless of whether or not she does so too, cooperates, or otherwise: boom. Guy grabs random girl, forces her face to his and kisses her: boom. Are they the same? Is it offensive bodily contact at the end of a date? There is a spectrum of conduct potentially involved, and it matters where the conduct falls along the spectrum.

        1. mb

          You would argue that the contact was not sufficiently harmful or offensive because it was at the end of a date?

          I would argue that a lack of protest or of pulling away at the end of a date is reasonably construed as consent.

          (obviously, there could be other factors that would come into play and we’re both talking about a date in which nothing weird happened)

            1. SHG Post author

              Entitled? No. In the old days, a fellow might try. If a gal found it disagreeable, she would say, “no.” Good times.

  4. Pingback: RAPE! The Joys Of Victimhood Feelz. | The Sun Also Rises

  5. Mark

    You have some unrealistic expectations for empirical research, which doesn’t claim to have the ultimate answer that you mock this one for lacking. This study adds some data points and modestly expands the methodology used to study the issue. They make their methodology and their study’s limitations clear. Of course, the mainstream media reports it superficially. The mainstream media reports almost all research without question, even nutritional or medical research. The result is, Vitamin E starts out as good for you, then it turns out to be bad for you. The original research didn’t lie. The researchers didn’t have a bias. Their research had inevitable limitations that are either ignored by media or news consumers.

    1. Charles Platt

      Did you read the report, Mark? I got the distinct impression that the researchers had confirmation bias, knew what they wanted to prove, and packaged it for the media while hiding the serious implications of the poor 19% response rate to their study as much as possible. Also, by avoiding the word “rape” in their questionnaire and asking respondents to name pretty much any imaginable form of contact, they did their best to encourage as many people as possible to give a positive response.

      Despite its academic tone, I feel that this is a disreputable piece of work.

      1. SHG Post author

        I, too, thought it was subject to significant confirmation bias. I was unimpressed. But as I said, even if it was perfect (if such a thing was possible), the survey would still fail.

      2. Mark

        I didn’t read it from beginning to end. I read the executive summary, looked at the questions, methodology, and some of the results. I’m less concerned about confirmation bias than sample bias. The best methodology would be to sample the entire population or do a random sample of the population. Voluntary responses are hard to validate. I think some of the contradictory findings previously noted here are among the more interesting. How exactly do college students regard sexual matters?

        I’ve read a lot of empirical research in the social sciences. This is pretty much par for the course. As far as publicity goes, big studies are all the same. They get released and emphasize their findings, not their limitations. This study will generate some headlines, then it will fade into the background. Research is playing catch up to public perception and the push for policy changes on this issue.

        1. SHG Post author

          No, they are not “all the same,” and aside from the fact that your initial comment turns out to be unsupported by your cursory reading of the report, this is a survey that will be used to destroy lives. This isn’t a joke. This isn’t “par for the course.”

          This is a survey that was meant for a critical purpose, and lives will be affected by it. Don’t be so cavalier or ignorant. If you can’t be bothered to read it, then you have nothing to say about it.

          1. Mark

            Nice fallacy: I didn’t READ the survey because I didn’t read the unnecessary parts. Therefore, we can discount my opinion. What matters is what I know and don’t know regarding the survey.

            And yeah, it is par for the course. It’s par for the course in medicine; it’s par for the course in education; it’s pretty much par for the course across the field of research. I could dig up examples, but you’d just find a way to dismiss them. And yes, people suffer or die all the time based on research or its effects. Usually it’s medical research, but social science research can also have an effect. The press can report it accurately (see the Crimson), and the public will interpret it incorrectly. People suffer and die because we vote for particular candidates that implement particular policies, whether they are based on research or not.

            The problem with this (non-)issue is that “common sense” says there’s a problem: the general public is pre-disposed to believe sexual assault is a problem on campus. True or not, it’s unlikely more information will persuade them otherwise. Colleges have to preserve their reputations, which include projecting an image that they are safe. They are going to treat this as a problem, whether it is or isn’t one.

            For what it’s worth, the way to protect innocent people from being accused is to protect due process. Make an affirmative case for the Constitution as you’ve been doing. Attacking the research and gender studies people might work in conservative circles, but it’s won’t work in colleges, which are the institutions that will make the policy.

            1. Lee Thompson

              Do you know why it’s “common sense”? Because of the 2007 study “The Campus Sexual Assault Study” from which the 1-in-5 statistic was born. That study managed to be even more BS than this new study. And yet, it didn’t “generate some headlines, then fade into the background”, it sparked a huge destructive movement. And that (demonstrably false) statistic is still being used by people like the President and Vice-President in discussions around sexual assault.

              Publishing another horrendously misleading paper was dangerously irresponsible of the researchers, and has added more fuel to this destructive fire.

          2. Mark


            The campus rape issue has been percolating since the 1980s when I was in college and there were posters warning about “date rape.” I also remember a book called “Fraternity Gang Rape” that came out in the late 80s or early 90s.

            In 1990, the Clery Act, signed in 1990, which required colleges to report crime statistics. It was named after Jeanne Clery, a 19-year-old Lehigh University student who was raped and murdered in her campus hall of residence in 1986. There was salience then.

            More recently, there have been well-publicized incidents of sexual assault on campus or in frats. There have been other incidents involving college athletes and school administrations taking no action or hiding investigations. (University of Florida, if memory serves). The “common sense” part, and I use the term disparagingly, is that everyone assumes horny college kids and alcohol leads to a greater frequency of sexual assault.

            Have “neo-feminists” played a role in promoting the “issue”? Certainly. Was the 2007 research poor? Yep. Does the research in question help clarify things? It remains to be seen. The headlines are more impressive than the research itself. But this issue does not arise from a single piece of research 8 years ago. And politicians misunderstanding or misappropriating research? Is that a surprise? Look what they do economics research.

            1. SHG Post author

              Mark, you’re going off the rails now. There have been “waves” of feminist reform, and the one we’re in now is a new, separate one from the 80’s. Just because you’ve chosen to dive into the rabbit hole doesn’t mean this now requires everyone else dive with you. Your effort to defend your position has reached the point of making people stupider. Give it a rest. No more on this.

  6. Fubar

    She promised a kiss on the beach,
    But I moved so she couldn’t quite reach.
    She proceeded to topple
    My claim by estoppel,
    When I took her to court for the breach!

  7. John Neff

    I wondered who was responsible for this BS so I started reading the report and the answer to my question was Hunter Rawlins.

Comments are closed.