Politics & Policy

Are One in Five College Women Sexually Assaulted?

The vice president buys into the campus-rape lie.

Imagine that there were a “terrible and alarming trend” of sexual violence on college campuses against female students. Imagine that 20 percent of college women were victims of rape or attempted rape — a rate of sexual assault astronomically higher than anything seen in America’s most violent cities (in Detroit, for example, there were 36.8 rapes per 100,000 inhabitants in 2009, a rate of 0.037 percent). If 18-year-old girls were in fact walking into such a grotesque maelstrom of sexual violence when they first picked up their dormitory room key, parents and students alike would have demanded a radical restructuring of college life years ago. There would have been a huge surge in all-girls colleges to protect female students from these outrageous levels of sexual violence; those colleges that did still admit boys and girls together would have been forced to prove to worried parents that the boys they were admitting were not rapists — perhaps allowing parents to interview these aspiring monks before they were accepted. Just to be on the safe side, administrators would provide round-the-clock protection for their female students.

Instead, over the last decade or so, the proportion of female students in co-ed colleges has skyrocketed, so that there are now more girls than boys in most of the nation’s co-ed schools. Parents relentlessly push their daughters into the most prestigious schools they can get into; competition among female students to enroll in co-ed colleges has never been higher. None of those girls demand bodyguards as a condition of acceptance; instead, their parents feel fortunate to cough up tens of thousands of dollars a year to keep their daughters on campus, where they are free to boogie through as many drunken frat parties as they can before passing out from overinhalation of Kahlua and Crème.

And yet, according to Vice President Joe Biden, the Justice Department, and the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights, college is in fact a nightmarish gauntlet of sexual violence and abuse. “There is a terrible and alarming trend in the country of sexual violence [on campuses],” Russlynn H. Ali, assistant secretary of education, told the New York Times. Ali’s Office of Civil Rights is investigating Yale for maintaining a “sexually hostile environment.” Somehow that sexually hostile environment did not discourage thousands of the country’s most academically gifted females from beating down the doors to get in; the acceptance rate at Yale this year was 7.35 percent, the lowest rate ever.

The White House claims that one in five female students has been victims of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault while at college. Such bogus statistics have been the mainstay of campus-rape-epidemic propaganda for years. They are generated by a variety of clever techniques, but the most important is this: The survey-taker, rather than the female respondent, decides whether the latter has been raped or not. When you ask the girls directly whether they view themselves as victims of rape, the answer overwhelmingly comes in: No.

Biden has just announced more college red tape on the laughable ground that schools ignore sexual violence. 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. But pressure from the feds will undoubtedly give those lonely college rape counselors further clout to push for increased funding, even as schools cut their German and Latin programs for lack of money. Meanwhile, the parallel campus sex bureaucracy — the Sex Toy Dispensary and Good Vibe Advice Office — continues to do record business, while the occasional professor even offers live XXX shows

Here is the reality on campuses, which the free-love baby-boomer college deans and provosts will never acknowledge: The sexual revolution and the disappearance of adult moral authority on campus have resulted in a booze-filled sexual free-for-all, in which testosterone-charged boys act boorishly, and the girls compete to match them in reckless promiscuity. (Only disrespect for “diversity” causes the deans and provosts to exercise any moral oversight over their students.) Yes, there are plenty of drunken hook-ups that result in the proverbial “roll and scream”: “You roll over the next morning so horrified at what you find next to you that you scream,” as Laura Sessions Stepp reported in Unhooked. A small percentage of those next-day regretters view themselves as having been raped; most think that they acted stupidly and irresponsibly.

There are a few, simple antidotes to 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. If every girl practiced those elementary rules, poor Ms. Ali might be out of a well-paying government job.

 Heather Mac Donald is the John M. Olin fellow at the Manhattan Institute and co-author of The Immigration Solution.


The Latest