Robert, there are a lot of ways to slice and dice the statistics, made more complicated by the fact that many cases go unreported. And there are odd anomolies. For instance, the study you cite that shows college-attending women are a bit less likely to suffer rape than non-college attending women actually shows that that’s true for all ethnic groups save one. For some reason, the study shows that Hispanics are more than twice as likely to be raped if they go to college than if they don’t. Does that make sense? I can’t even begin to guess why or why not, or what conclusions one should draw from that. Plus, that study leaves out cases of “attempted rape,” which were included in the CDC study.
My main point is that I wish conservatives, as a group, would balance their rhetoric. By all means, let’s aim for accurate statistics as best we can. But let’s not merely talk about the need for accurate statistics. Let’s also talk about the ineadequacies of the criminal-justice system, as well as training that might help young women to be shrewder and better at self-defense, for instance. Let’s talk about the disintegration of the family structure and societal morals, the new kinds of sexual scripts and confused sexual expectations established by the modern college hookup culture — all things that contribute to sexual assault.
Sexual-assault prevention is one of those issues, like environmentalism, that conservatives have almost completely ceded to the left out of a partisan reflex. In reality, conservatives care just as much, but the conversation is dominated by the Left. That’s a shame, in my view. We saw conservatives briefly bucking this trend during the recent gun debates, during which conservatives did a good job of pointing out how handguns can offer women critical protection against assault. I’d like to see much more of that kind of message coming from the political right — and not merely when, conveniently, there happens to be a gun-control debate raging in Congress.
When the topic is rape, if nearly all conservatives have to say about it is “it’s not as common as liberals and feminists say it is,” then that’s a big mistake. The end result is that liberals end up with all the public credibility on the issue, when in fact, as I argued in my original post below, they are doing more than anyone else to radicalize the sexual culture on campus and ultimately put women at risk.