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Junk Science

Christina Hoff Sommers has this op-ed at the Washington Post on a study by the Centers for Disease Control that is completely off the wall.

How many people are raped each year?  That is a difficult question to answer.  The FBI's Uniform Crime Report tells us that 84,767 rapes were reported to law enforcement in 2010, but of course not all rapes are reported.  Not even a majority.  The National Crime Victimization Survey, which calls up a sample of people Gallup-style and asks them, estimates more than twice as many -- 188,380.  But now the CDC claims there are nearly seven times that many rapes and seventy times that many incidents of sexual violence.

How do they figure?  According to Sommers, "It found them by defining sexual violence in impossibly elastic ways and then letting the surveyors, rather than subjects, determine what counted as an assault."  How bad does it get?
Participants were asked if they had ever had sex because someone pressured them by "telling you lies, making promises about the future they knew were untrue?" All affirmative answers were counted as "sexual violence." Anyone who consented to sex because a suitor wore her or him down by "repeatedly asking" or "showing they were unhappy" was similarly classified as a victim of violence. The CDC effectively set a stage where each step of physical intimacy required a notarized testament of sober consent.

The fight against violent crime is not helped by nonsense that stretches the definitions beyond rationality.  The guy who lies or badgers is a cad but not a rapist.  Our justified outrage against rapists and calls for their severe punishment should not be diluted by lumping them together with mere cads.

And why is the CDC spending its budget studying crime anyway?  Are the research needs for cancer and infections and heart disease and diabetes so fully satisfied that this agency has to look outside its area of expertise to spend its budget?  Here is an area of government duplication that can be eliminated in the next budget.  Let CDC go back to its microscopes and leave the study of two-legged infections to NIJ.


Kent --

This is an important post because of the light it sheds on cultural decay and its implications for criminal law. The whole point of creating more victims through the ploy of redefined words is to, well, create more "victims." In the culture of victimization, that is, after all, the inventory.

From the liberal perspective, this has at least two advantages. First, any spread of the culture of victimization adds credibility -- albieit faux credibility -- to the notion that WE'RE ALL victims, especially (you know who) criminal defendants. So what's needed for them is not punishment but (you know this one too) treatment.

Second, by diluting the definition of violence, it will make it that much more difficult and costly to focus on those who actually are violent, to wit, men who accomplish their ends by force. This dilution of meaning is a prize for the Left, since it is (and is designed to be) the precursor to the now-routine argument that law enforcement -- now needed to track down all these newly-defined "rapes" -- costs too much, so we need to find some places to pare it back.

Of course the aspect to be pared back will be law enforcement against actual rapists, while the part to be preserved will be the aspect devoted to the newly enhanced need for "community prevention." "Community prevention" will turn out to mean sending out teams of taxpayer-funded politically correct/feminist propagandists to high schools to tell the boys that they're a bunch of either present or, at the minimum, wannabee rapists, and that "You'd better behave yourself on your next date or you'll wind up in Re-education Camp."

As you correctly imply, there has been no previously undiscovered change in male sexual behavior. The only change is in the aggressiveness and audacity of the Left in attempting to use the power of the state to control more and more of what used to be private life. Like the Leftist speech and behavior codes on campus, that's what this is really about.

The feminist gestapo was able to get the numbers they wanted regarding sexual violence against women by including the following as instances of rape or sexual violence:

*any alcohol or drug facilitated penetration;

*intercourse after having been "repeatedly asked" for sex;

*intercourse after having been made promises about the future they suspected to be untrue; etc. etc.

These ambiguous definitions do nothing but trivialize an otherwise serious law enforcement matter.

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