Planned Parenthood is dusting off an already debunked statistic to urge opposition to the Trump administration’s proposed campus sex misconduct rule that emphasizes both the seriousness of sexual assault and due process for those accused of misconduct.
Students are raising their voices in opposition to this rule. They won’t stand for this threat to their health, safety, and education, and they won’t be fighting alone.
— Planned Parenthood Action (@PPact) January 6, 2019
“1 in 5 women experience sexual assault or attempted assault while in college,” Planned Parenthood tweeted Sunday. “Students are raising their voices in opposition to this rule. They won’t stand for this threat to their health, safety, and education, and they won’t be fighting alone.”
However, the “1 in 5” statistic – spread widely by the Obama administration through its Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – is “wildly at odds with the official crime statistics,” said American Enterprise Institute (AEI) resident scholar and former philosophy professor Christina Hoff Sommers, in a fact-check video:
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, a division of the Department of Justice (DOJ), the actual rate of sexual assault on college campuses is 6.1 per 1,000 students, or .03 in 5. The rate of rape and sexual assault for non-students is actually 1.2 times higher than for students – 7.6 per 1,000.
“Where did the CDC find more than a million and nearly 14 million victims of sexual violence that professional criminologists somehow overlooked?” Sommers asked in the video. “It found them by using a poorly constructed telephone survey with a low response rate and a non-representative sample of respondents. No one interviewed was asked if they had been raped or sexually assaulted.”
Armed with the false “1 in 5” statistic, however, the Obama administration threatened to cut funding to colleges and universities who did not implement its policy.
The Obama administration also instructed colleges and universities to use the lesser “preponderance of evidence” standard to resolve allegations of sexual misconduct, rather than the higher “clear and convincing evidence” standard.
To promote its policy, the Obama-era education department engaged the media and allies such as Planned Parenthood with the statistic, and even the former president himself repeated it in his speeches.
The Obama policy delivered “kangaroo courts” on college campuses in which mostly male students were accused of sexual misconduct with little information about the allegations against them and no recourse to defend themselves.
In November, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced the proposed new rule and opened it to public comment.
“Throughout this process, my focus was, is, and always will be on ensuring that every student can learn in a safe and nurturing environment,” DeVos said.
That starts with having clear policies and fair processes that every student can rely on. Every survivor of sexual violence must be taken seriously, and every student accused of sexual misconduct must know that guilt is not predetermined. We can, and must, condemn sexual violence and punish those who perpetrate it, while ensuring a fair grievance process. Those are not mutually exclusive ideas. They are the very essence of how Americans understand justice to function.
For further information on how to urge the Trump administration to “keep their #HandsOffIX (Title IX), abortion vendor Planned Parenthood links to a pro-survivor group known as End Rape on Campus.
“If the proposed rule becomes law, survivors will lose access to their education and schools will continue to sweep sexual violence under the rug,” End Rape on Campus insists. “The new rule will stop survivors from coming forward and make schools more dangerous for all students.”
In her announcement of the new rule, however, DeVos cited cases of students, nearly all male, who were either expelled or punished in some other manner after being accused of misconduct actions which were never proven.
“Instead of working with schools,” DeVos said, “the prior administration weaponized the Office for Civil Rights.”
The public comment period on the proposed rule ends January 28.