Feminists And Progressives Attack College Football With More Dodgy Rape Statistics

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

College football. It’s macho. It’s testosterone-fuelled. It’s quintessentially American. So naturally, progressives want to destroy it.

Liberal, mainstream journalists are currently wetting themselves over a new paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research, which purports to show that sexual assaults rise on college football game days. The article, entitled “College Party Culture And Sexual Assault,” cross-references big game days with reports of sexual assault in college towns, showing spikes in reports.

The media is lapping it up. “Reported Rapes Go Through The Roof On Game Day At Big Football Schools” screams the Huffington Post. “Report: Rape Rates At Big Football Colleges Spike On Game Day” warns CBS. “Rape Rates Spike On Game Day At Big Football Schools” agrees New York Magazine. 

But guess what? The study is deceptive — and in several ways. Firstly, it purports to measure “college party culture” and sexual assault, yet the data the researchers use of rape isn’t confined to college campuses at all. The study conflates data from campus police departments, who have jurisdiction over sexual assaults and other crime on campus, and data from local law enforcement, who do not.

In other words, sexual assaults that happen in the worst part of town in Columbus, Ohio, are used to condemn students at Ohio State. There could have been no sexual assaults whatsoever at Ohio State, but if there were enough in Columbus, it would register in the data as a “spike.”

It seems the campus rape panic narrative is in such trouble that its proponents have to claim off-campus rapes as their own, just to beef up the numbers.

They also have to gerrymander the statistics. Under normal measures, the alleged “spike” in sexual assaults discovered by the researchers would not be considered statistically significant. But, inexplicably, the researchers set themselves a lower bar for significance.

A 5 per cent test of significance is the standard for most studies outside medicine – but the researchers couldn’t make it, so they increased it to 10 per cent. Can’t hit the bullseye? Just make it bigger!

In fairness to the researchers, they make concessions about the limitations of their study that the mainstream journalists who reported on it did not. They accept that their estimate of college football causing an additional 253 – 770 rapes per year across college campuses is a “back-of-the-envelope calculation.”

Speaking to The Washington Examiner, one of the researchers also admitted that his calculations had been based on a finding of just one reported rape every 12 Saturdays.

The most telling feature of the study, however, is its casual acknowledgement that all alcohol-related crimes, not just sexual assault, are seen to go up during big game days. Spikes in drunk driving offences, drunkenness, public order offences and liquor law violations were all observed as well.

“Alcohol Intake Increases Alcohol-Related Crimes” might have been a more accurate, albeit less sexy title.

Alcohol also has another effect, of course. It makes us have romantic flings that we sometimes regret, and which women are increasingly encouraged to regard as rape. Despite progressive propaganda, a regrettable drunken fumble does not equate to rape.

It should be remembered that the researchers only measured reported rapes, not convicted ones. With college-age women effectively being taught that regret equals rape, is it any wonder that advocacy research papers are able to concoct high numbers of sexual assaults?

In essence, the study is just telling us what we already know: on days when people go out and party, crime increases. Revellers are both more likely to commit crime and more likely to be the victims of it. It’s why there are more police on the streets on New Year’s Eve, Halloween and of course Ramadan.

Of course, proponents of campus rape panic are notorious for their use of shoddy studies and bad statistics. The oft-heard claim that 1 in 5 women will be raped at college, for example, has been thoroughly debunked on multiple occasions. When I saw some of the statistics in the study – up to 770 additional rapes in colleges due to football games, for example – I knew this one couldn’t be much better.

This study is simply another attempt to give life to the deranged, disastrous campus rape narrative, which suffered a near-fatal blow in late 2014 when Rolling Stone published a hoax rape claim against members of the University of Virginia’s Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.

Moral panic about “rape culture” has led to gross violations of due process against male students on campus, who can now be hauled before campus kangaroo courts to answer charges of sexual assault with no adequate legal representation and very low burdens of proof.

This isn’t about protecting women. It’s about man-hating. It’s a confected moral panic directed against young, male, mostly white American college students despite the fact that American college campuses are among the safest places for a woman to be, and despite the fact that rape rates have been dropping for 30 years.

It’s a campaign aimed squarely at undermining masculinity — the sort of healthy male athleticism and competition perfectly encapsulated by the great American tradition of college football. Don’t fall for it.

Jason Lindo, one of the authors of the study, writes: “The spike in reports of rape on game days is statistically significant at the *1* percent level. Focusing on home games, the spike is significant at the *1* percent level. Just to be clear, this is a *smaller* bullseye than is typically required for tests of statistical significance. Focusing on away games, the spike is significant at the *5* percent level. Consistent with professional norms, our tables report the level of statistical significance (1, 5, or 10) for all of our estimates. ” 

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