You can not have an article on sexual assault in college, of course, without a solemn invocation of that infamous, oft-repeated, almost-as-oft-debunked One-in-Four statistic. The Trib does not disappoint:
The National Sexual Violence Research Center in Enola, northwest of Harrisburg, estimates 20 percent to 25 percent of women are victims of forced sex during their time in college.
But where the Trib, like everyone else who uncritically accepts this uncritical notion, does disappoint is in its failure to acknowledge that the numbers do not add up. And, in fact, that they do not even come close.
As a supplement to that same article, the Trib published a Campus Safety sidebar that provided a list of reported sexual assault offenses for eight local colleges over the past three years. All told, there were 65. 65. At 8 colleges. Among tens of thousands of female students. Over 3 years.
At the University of Pittsburgh, there are roughly 14,800 female students. If their chances of being sexually assaulted are 1-in-4, there should be about 3,700 sexual assaults each year. In 2009, the most recent year for which full statistics are available, Pitt students reported 4.
At Carnegie Mellon University, there are roughly 3,900 female students. If their chances of being sexually assaulted are 1-in-4, there should be about 975 sexual assaults each year. In 2009, CMU reported 6. (That figure was a three-year high.)
At Duquesne University, there are roughly 5,700 female students. If their chances of being sexually assaulted are 1-in-4, there should be about 1,425 sexual assaults each year. In 2009, Duquesne reported 3.
Just to be clear, and so those numbers stand out, here are the total number of reported sexual assaults for each of the three campuses in 2009, followed in parentheses by the numbers those universities should have suffered, according to the 1-in-4 figure:
PITT: 4 (3,700)
CMU: 6 (975)
DUQ: 3 (1,425)
Which means that, instead of 1-in-4, their chances of being sexually assaulted in 2009 were:
There is, of course, a widely reported (if virtually unverifiable) statistic that says 90 percent of sexual assaults go unreported. The Trib piece took note:
90 percent or more of those victims do not report the assault.
If we grant that claim and adjust the numbers, then here are the total number of sexual assaults that occurred in 2009, followed in parentheses by the numbers those universities should have suffered, according to the 1-in-4 figure:
PITT: 40 (3,700)
CMU: 60 (975)
DUQ: 30 (1,425)
Which means that, even if we grant the 90%-are-unreported figure, women’s chances of being sexually assaulted while attending those universities in 2009 were not 1-in-4 but:
Is it possible that these numbers are just anomalies? That they represent a down year for sexual assaults on these local campuses, one that is not indicative of a typical year?
Not according to the crime statistics published for the past three years.
In 2009, Pitt reported 4, CMU 6, Duquesne 3. For the period 2007-2009, Pitt averaged 3.33 per year. CMU averaged 4 per year. Duquesne averaged 1.33 per year.
Which means that, in each case and on each campus, the three-year average was lower than the 2009 figure.
If we use those three-year averages, women’s chances of being sexually assaulted while attending those universities from 2007-2009 were not 1-in-4 but:
If you combine all of the crime statistics for Pitt, CMU, and Duquesne — again, the city’s three most populous urban campuses — and run an average for 2009 (which, as we’ve already seen, is above the most recent three-year average), here’s what you get:
# of Female Students: 24,400
# of Reported Sexual Assaults: 13
Chances of Being Sexually Assaulted: 1-in-1,877.
IF you accept the claim that 90% of college sexual assaults are not reported, you get:
# of Female Students: 24,400
# of Reported Sexual Assaults: 130
Chances of Being Sexually Assaulted: 1-in-188.
The “micro aggression” thing is more a case of whether you consider it offensive to call a guy a pussy or a member of either sex a bitch when their behaviour doesn’t match their biologically predetermined gender roles.