Robert VerBruggen: Take That, Rape-Awareness Lobby!

I am confused and troubled by this Robert VerBruggen post on Phi Beta Cons in response to the article I blogged about earlier, which reported that several years of U.C. Davis’ sexual assault statistics had been inflated:

The University of California at Davis ‘fesses up — in three years, it says, an employee doubled-to-tripled the number of sexual assaults in reports to the federal government.

What’s interesting is that even the fake numbers are lower than the “rape crisis” crowd would have you believe. There are more than 24,000 students enrolled at the school, and of [sic] 70 different students were raped each year, you’d have a total victimization rate of 1.2 percent. Given, there’s the additional issue of unreported rapes, but still.

But still what?

I want to react to this with a nuanced argument, with something more mature than “Robert VerBruggen’s blog post is ignorant and moronic,” but it’s tough. What point is he trying to make here? And the scare quotes around “rape crisis” are classy—as though there’s some giant evil lobby benefiting from false accusations of rape. (And unless I’m missing something very obvious, which wouldn’t be unprecedented for me when it comes to math, I also have no idea what numerical system he is using to determine that 70 is 1.2 percent of 24,000.)

He’s right, though, that all those unreported rapes (about 60 percent of all that occur) add up. Assuming there hasn’t been a dramatic dip from the statistics available in December 2005, one out of every five female college students experiences rape. (I mean, if we’re to believe that bastion of feminazis and liberal overreaction that is the U.S. Department of Justice.) One in five. In many cases, their lives are simply never the same—after the rape they are much more likely to suffer from depression, alcohol and drug abuse, and post-traumatic stress disorder, and are more likely to contemplate suicide. It is one of the most horrific crimes there is.

I’d love for VerBruggen to elaborate a little more on what he’s getting at. Because from here, his take on the subject appears to be completely idiotic.

Jesse Singal

Jesse Singal is a former opinion writer for The Boston Globe and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. He is currently a master's student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy. Follow him on Twitter at @jessesingal.