The Review Through the Years

By: Editor-in-Chief Frank Pray

Each week, in a recurring series, Editor Frank Pray will search the archives for a noteworthy article from a graduated staff writer in our publication’s long and successful past. This week’s article is from a staff writer who wishes to remain anonymous due to the politically sensitive nature of his current job and was originally published in 2013. We hope you enjoy the read.

“The Left is Lying About Sexual Assault”

-By anonymous

“I saw the statistic for the first time when I was a freshman, written on banners hanging from the ceiling at the Student Union. It’s a chilling number: over a four year period, 1 in 4 undergraduate women at US colleges will be sexually assaulted.  The corollary is perhaps even worse.  Assuming that there are only a small number of serial sexual assaulters, the inescapable conclusion to 1 in 4 is that close to a quarter of undergraduate men commit rape or sexual assault during their time at the University.  It seemed to me at the time then the policy measures being undertaken to combat this alleged rape epidemic were wholly inadequate.

1 in 4 is part of a constellation of statistics derived from feminist scholarship, along with assertions that there are 683,000 rapes a year in the United States , only 2% of rape claims are false, and 90% of rapes go unreported.  These numbers provide the underpinning of the theory of “Rape Culture.”  The ideology of Rape Culture holds that rape is endemic to the Western world and is used by men to create a climate of terror and intimidation whose purpose is the wholesale oppression of women.

If 1 in 4 were true, you’d expect a mass exodus of American women from coed universities like UNC.  Why would any sane parent pay thousands of dollars for their daughters to attend what would amount to a state-subsidized rape camp?  But there is no exodus, and female enrollments at American colleges are exploding.  At UNC 58% of the students are women. Either the 1 in 4 statistic is an extraordinarily well-kept secret (unlikely considering the banners) or it is false.  There are no other rational conclusions.

Proving a negative is normally difficult, but in this case it’s not.  The methods used to produce these numbers are highly suspect, but there isn’t any need for me to go into detail on scientific processes or lack thereof.  Simple arithmetic is all that’s necessary.  There are 11,389 female undergraduates at UNC, and according to 1 in 4, 2,873 of them would experience sexual assaults before graduation.  Dividing by four, we’d expect 712 sexual assaults per year at our university.  In reality, there are around 12 sexual assaults per year.  Feminist scholars would reply that over 90% of sexual assaults are unreported.  Leaving aside the difficulty of counting unreported rapes, let’s assume that they are correct.  With 12 reported sexual assaults, if 90 percent were unreported, that would leave us with 120 rapes at UNC per year, well short of the 712 rapes asserted by 1 in 4.

So what’s the point?  Why do I care about a fake statistic in world filled with lies and damned lies?  Because policymakers have had the same horrified reaction to 1 in 4 that I did as a freshman, and they’ve started to take action. My colleague Kelsey Rupp recently dealt with the Department of Education’s attempt to lower convictions standards for sexual assaults on college campuses.  Due process rights for men accused of sexual assault have been pared back nationwide.  A male student was expelled from the University of South Dakota after a university judicial probe found him guilty of sexual assault. Shortly afterward the police charged his accuser with filing a false report.

The people at the DOE would be right to make changes if 1 in 4 were true, but it isn’t, and these policies can and do increase the risk of wrongful conviction and prosecution for men on campus.  False statistics aren’t dangerous in and of themselves, but numbers don’t exist in a vacuum. People make choices based on the information they have.  If the facts underpinning the debate are wrong, then our decisions will be wrong. Pure and simple.”

3 thoughts on “The Review Through the Years

  • There are two problems with publishing this piece, and it surprisingly doesn’t have to do with the piece’s information:

    1. There is no reference to this piece ever existing, at least with its current title. A quick Google search can prove this.

    2. If you look up the second paragraph on Google, you can find the link to the original piece. If one was to do this, you will notice the piece was not originally titled “The Left is Lying About Sexual Assault.” Rather, it was titled “Deconstructing 1 in 4.” However, clicking the link will result in an error message, presumably because someone deleted the original post to protect the original author’s name (which begs the question why Mr. Pray didn’t just pick another piece from the same author, but that is a whole other subject).

    In addition, one can see the link to the original author’s page on WordPress, making the “anonymous” angle worthless. Apparently, no one at the Carolina Review thought this anonymous plan through.

    3. One can run a search on Archive.org of carolinareviewonline and its predecessor, crdaily.com, and find the original piece. Why delete it when it is so easy to find?

    There is publishing bad information, and then there is flat out lying to your audience. How Mr. Pray’s behavior is tolerated by his staff is beyond me.

    • Hi Melody,

      Thank you for your concerns.

      The original author of this piece wished for all of the works he or she wrote for this publication to be taken down due to the politically sensitive nature of his or her current job, as stated in description of the article.

      This publication has quite a large collection of articles taken down from our site (all for similar reasons) that our Editors will occasionally post in a throwback series like this. The title of this article was changed to make more sense when not responding to the immediate issue that this article had addressed in 2013 and also to further protect the identity of the original author.

      Publishing a post written for the Carolina Review in years past with a title altered for clarity and the graduated Staff Writer’s name not given for personal reasons in no way constitutes a lie or even plagiarism, as all work written for this publication is property of this publication.

      Furthermore, you disproved your own argument about this piece not existing by looking for time captured archives of the website on archive.org.

      In the future, it would behoove you to address the content of articles on this website, rather than attempting to attack the credibility of it’s editors and journalists.

      Lux et Libertas,

      The Carolina Review

  • The article squarely hits the issue (though its author does so facetiously) because isn’t it quite possible that we live in an academic culture where sexual assault is a well-kept secret? One in which 24.3 percent of UNC undergraduate women surveyed say they’ve experienced nonconsensual penetration or touching since starting college* and there are still deniers? Deniers like the author, and like Editor Pray for implicitly endorsing this argument by republishing it instead of throwing it in the bin.

    If you think the 1 in 4 statistic is false, try talking to women about it. Try talking to survivors of any gender. Or better yet, run a survey of 28,000 UNC students. Oh, wait, somebody already did. It upheld that statistic. Is the stat quoted frequently without clearly cited evidence? Yes. But does it hold at UNC? Yes. At UNC over 2,500 undergraduate women and over 1,000 other students reported in the Association of American Universities’ (AAU) Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct that they had been sexually assaulted.

    The “banners” the author mocks are trying to tear down the well kept secret, a secret universities uphold so there ISN’T a mass exodus. This issue is still new to the public forum. It’s just coming out of the bag.

    What is the motivation for denying people witness to their own assault? Or the aim of denying the work of academics struggling to study a social problem that is pervasive, but hidden in the shame unfairly felt by its victims, the guilt felt or unfelt by its offenders, and the ignorance of others who walk by survivors every day?

    *See UNC’S 2015 AAU Campus Climate on Sexual Assault Survey, Table 3.1a. Tables 3.1b-f report numbers for males, gender non-conforming and/or graduate students. http://safe.unc.edu/create-change/aau-survey/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s