What would be the incentive to overestimate the number of women who are victims of rape? Doesn't seem like there is one, does it? Yet, that's exactly what some critics are accusing the White House of doing.
Vice President Joe Biden visited the University of New Hampshire on Monday to speak about sexual assault prevention and issue a new set of guidelines for all colleges and universities receiving federal funds. It's important information, especially in light of the fact that one in five female students has been a victim of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault while at college.
Most of us reacted with compassion and sadness at that horrifyingly high number. But others, like Heather Mac Donald writing in The National Review, accused the White House of using "bogus" inflated statistics to spread campus-rape-epidemic propaganda and even went so far as to deny that sexual assault victims exist on college campuses! Let's take a look at her ridiculous rationale, shall we?
Here's Mac Donald's argument in a nutshell: If campus rapes were as prevalent as the White House maintains, parents of college students would rise up in protest. The absence of a parental revolt obviously means an absence of rape. Furthermore, she reasons, the fact that there are now more girls than boys in most of the nation’s co-ed schools is evidence that rapes aren't happening -- because, obviously, if they were, girls would be too scared to enroll in co-ed schools, right?
Perhaps most infuriating, however, is her suggestion that the government -- and Biden in particular -- is buying into the "campus-rape lie" and bogging schools down with more sexual assault "red tape." She explains:
In fact, virtually every campus has a robust sexual-violence bureaucracy which sits idle, waiting for the shell-shocked casualties of rape to crawl through their doors. The victims never come -- because they don’t exist.
The reality, of course, is that it might seem like sexual assault victims "don't exist" because so many of them don't come forward -- either because they are too scared, don't have enough support, or simply tell themselves they are to blame for what happened to them. Moreover, Mac Donald makes no mention of the fact that it is in the best interest of schools to downplay, under-report, or simply fail to investigate the number of instances of sexual assault on campus. What parent would send their child to a school that was honest about the fact that 20 percent of its females were victims of sexual assault?
Oh, and instead of silly guidelines for schools, Mac Donald offers the following solution to what she terms the "alleged campus-rape crisis":
Don’t drink yourself blotto. Don’t get into bed with one of your fellow drunken revelers. Keep your clothes on.
(Hear that, ladies? Keep your clothes on, and harm will never ever come to you! If only life were so predictable ...)
Really, the only thing Mac Donald has done in her piece is convince us that there is an incentive to underestimate the number rape victims (and blame drunk, horny college women instead). But to overestimate? Nah, I'm not buying it.
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