One of the news stories dealt with a new smart phone app created to help prevent sexual assaults on the University of New Hampshire campus. That in itself was not what bothered me. There's nothing wrong with creating and using such an app. Call it just another measure women can take to help protect themselves. My gripe is the reasoning behind the creation and use of the app, that reason being nothing more than the result of the most recent Big Lie being touted as truth.
"If you send your daughter to college, there's a one-in-five chance she'll be a victim of a completed or attempted sexual assault," said Sharyn Potter of the UNH Prevention Innovations Research Center. (emphasis added - dce)And there it is. One of the most blatant lies being used to justify things like college kangaroo courts that ignore basic rights like due process. The “one-in-five chance” 'statistic' is being used to justify all kinds of blatantly unconstitutional actions by college administrators. That 'statistic' is around ten times the rate outside college campuses. It's also completely untrue.
Ask someone quoting the 'one-in-five' line where it came from. They may point out reports here and there that have touted that line, but hit them again with it, asking them where the reports got their information. It is highly unlikely that they'll know, but it won't matter to them because it sounds true.
But the truth is that the wholly misleading statistic came from a non-scientific study that polled self-selecting respondents on two college campuses. The researchers posed questions to female students about a number of different situations in regards to interactions between them and male students on the two campuses. They ran the gamut between being asked out by someone they didn't want to date, 'stolen' kisses, unwanted advances, stalking behavior, one-night stands, drunken sexual encounters, consensual sex, and outright rape or attempted rape. (There was a wider range of examples given, but these few give you a pretty good idea of the range of behaviors covered in the questionnaires filled out by the students.)
Other than the last two, no information was given in the questionnaire whether any of the other activities constituted sexual assault. That was determined by the researchers, and the definitions were so broad as to be worthless. (I'm sorry, but being asked out by someone you really don't want to date isn't sexual assault, even if the “rape crisis” weenies on campuses say it is. It's merely an uncomfortable and maybe embarrassing inconvenience.) When the study was cited by a number of organizations and college groups as proof of the campus rape crisis, the researchers themselves said their study should not be used because it wasn't authoritative and wasn't designed for that purpose. The researchers themselves stated the numbers were misleading and were being misconstrued. But by then, it was too late.
Ironically, the Department of Justice stats show the incidents of sexual assaults on college campuses is lower than compared to the rest of the population. The DOJ didn't use the bogus, misleading, and overly broad definitions of sexual assault being used by colleges as justification to railroad male students. They used the definition of sexual assault as laid out in law:
Sexual assault refers to an assault of a sexual nature on another person. It can include a wide range of unwanted sexual contact such as rape, forced vaginal, anal or oral penetration, forced sexual intercourse, inappropriate touching, forced kissing, child molestation ,exhibitionism, voyeurism, obscene phone calls, torture of a victim in a sexual manner etc. The actor causes submission of the victim by means that is reasonably calculated to cause submission against the victim's will. Definitions of offenses are primarily governed by state criminal laws, which vary by state. It is generally a felony.That is the only definition that should apply.
A drunken hookup where both parties are equally intoxicated should not be a sexual assault, yet many colleges say it is because supposedly the woman involved could not give consent because she was drunk. But so was the man and he would be just as incapable of giving consent, yet he is deemed the guilty party. (There was one case I recall reading about on Instapundit where a male student was passed out and the drunk female student he was with fellated him, taking some selfies as she did so. Later he was charged with sexual assault after she stated she had some regrets about doing so because “she couldn't give consent”.)
So the Big Lie generates an false meme. A witch hunt ensues which traps many an unsuspecting male college student in a hellish limbo.
Am I saying sexual assaults don't happen on college campuses? No. Not even close. But redefining so many actions, many of them innocuous, as sexual assault does a disservice to everyone and creates a very hostile environment on campuses.
As the good Professor Reynolds has stated on more than one occasion, if that one-in-five claim were true could parents of a female college student be charged with child neglect for knowingly sending them into such a dangerous environment? What parent in their right mind would do so?