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« Hot Dog Pricing Paradox | Main | Secret Menus »

Rape Statistics: 1 in 4?

By Chris | September 11, 2009

My university recently hosted a forum on rape for female college students.  They emphasized that rape is a serious issue on campus using statistics.  Fact: 1 in 4 college women have either been raped or suffered attempted rape.  At least that is what women’s centers at colleges around the United States claim.  That’s scary high.  Too high.  I was suspicious. I care quite a bit about a few college women.  How much danger are they in? I decided to check out the figure.

Fortunately, it is bogus.  The number comes from a study of sexual assault on campuses done by Mary Koss in 1985 for Ms. Magazine.  I was born in 1985 and I’m a young graduate student.  How can this study be relevant to today’s college students born in the 90’s?  More notably, I found this interesting critique of the study by Christina Sommers of Clark University.  She notes that the study asked students:

Have you had sexual intercourse when you didn’t want to because a man gave you alcohol or drugs?

An affirmative answer was counted as rape.  In other words, a women who regretted a one night stand after a night of drinking was considered as having been sexually assaulted.  The ambiguous nature of the questions and inclusive definition of rape is evident from the following statistics.  Only 27 percent of the women Koss counted as having been raped identified themselves as rape victims.  Moreover, 42 percent of labeled rape victims, went on to have sex with their attackers at a later date.  Clearly, something is wrong.  If we just consider women who considered themselves to be raped, the figure falls to a more believable 1/14.

Rape is an egregious wrong.  I have no desire to minimize the seriousness of this evil.  However, I don’t think women’s advocates advance their cause by using shoddy studies from the 1980’s to make rape seem more prevalent than it really is.  We shouldn’t have to lie to young college women to frighten them into taking safety precautions.  In fact, making  rape seem ordinary is counterproductive.  Evidence suggests that young people drink less when they realize that most students don’t binge drink.  People adjust their behavior to conform to what they perceive as normal.  If women think that 25 percent of their friends have been assaulted, they may be less likely to report it when it happens to them.  Moreover, potential criminals may be encouraged.  If 1/4 of college women are being raped, that means that a lot of rapists are roaming the streets free.  Maybe it’s not that risky of a crime.

So why do journalists, activists, and women’s centers cling to the 1 in 4  figure?  It catches your attention.  It outrages you. It makes you want to do something.  Such responses are good for circulation, donations, and support from the university.  But they come at the cost.  Sacrificing their credibility for more attention, these “advocates” inadvertently hurt students.   That’s a tragedy in and of itself.

Topics: College, Economics |

108 Responses to “Rape Statistics: 1 in 4?”

  1. Angie M. Tarighi Says:
    September 11th, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    The reality is that rape and sexual assault are still insidious crimes that women “don’t talk about.” The reality that some statistics are skewed depending on your view, is not new. The goal of most, if not all advocates, is to teach women and young girls how to find their voice and be able to fight back. The statistics, regardless of which ones you want to use, are still too high after 25 years of “awareness” and are getting worse.

  2. Chris Says:
    September 11th, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    I agree that it is an insidious crime and I applaud advocates for educating and empowering women. I take issue that many advocates choose statistics with the biggest shock value, not those that are the most sound. It hurts their cause.

    You say that the statistics are getting worse. What is the evidence of that? What has changed? How can we reverse the trend? These are critical questions that depend on the transparent and responsible use of statistics.

  3. Barry Deutsch Says:
    September 12th, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    I hope you don’t mind if I treat your skepticism, skeptically.

    1) Using a more recent figure wouldn’t have made much difference. For completed rape, more recent major studies have found that around 10%-15% of women have been raped sometime in their lifetime, which is in line with what Koss found. (For example).

    2) I also agree that the wording of that one question, regarding alcohol, was too ambiguous. However, removing that question’s results didn’t make a large difference to Koss’ findings.

    Also, later researchers repeated Koss’ study with that question replaced by “Have you engaged in sexual intercourse when you didn’t want to but were so intoxicated under the influence of alcohol or drugs that you could not stop it or object?” It didn’t change the results.

    3) “Only 27 percent of the women Koss counted as having been raped identified themselves as rape victims.”

    73% answered no to the question, “it was definitely rape”; it’s not safe to conclude from that they’re sure it was not rape!

    We have to consider context: we’re talking about young women, most of whom were raped by someone they knew (usually someone they were dating and had already been sexually fooling around with), who were in high school over 20 years ago, when discussions of date rape were extremely rare. It is any surprise that most of them weren’t positive that their experience was “definitely” rape?

    4) “Moreover, 42 percent of labeled rape victims, went on to have sex with their attackers at a later date.”

    All we know from the study is that 43% had intercourse with their rapist (or “rapist”) at some later date. We don’t know anything else; we don’t know how many of those later occasions were voluntary and how many were repeat rapes, for example. We do know, however, that the typical rapist is very often a boyfriend - someone the victim is dating before the rape.

    So what does this 43% figure really tell us? IMO, it could show that girls who are violently abused (and rape is a form of violent abuse, no less than battery) by boyfriends don’t always immediately break off the relationship. Is that really a shocker, or anything that we should accept as proof that a girl or women can’t really have been raped? (Over 50% of the rape victims in Koss’ study were raped by someone they were dating - and had gone at least as far as “petting above the waist” with them before the rape.) (Also, keep in mind that we’re hardly talking about a group of experienced, sexually confident woman here; over 40% of the rape victims were virgins at the time of the rape.)

    This critique of Koss just restates the old “a woman who stays must not really have been abused” myth.

    5) “If 1/4 of college women are being raped,”

    That’s a misstatement of what the study found. Koss was measuring lifetime prevalence, not rapes that take place during college years. (Also, the 1/4 figure includes attempted rapes, which isn’t clear from how you state it here.)

    An more accurate statement of Koss’ finding is “one in four college women has experience rape or attempted rape in her lifetime.”

    6) I’m not sure that you know or appreciate the historic context of Koss’ work.

    Before Koss, many people argued that rape happened very, relatively rarely — Neil Gilbert argued that the “real” number of rapes was around 1 in 1000 women, for example. Koss’ findings — which have been replicated by later studies — showed that rape was a much more serious and widespread problem than that; that most rapes aren’t reported to police; and that the typical rapist is not a stranger jumping out of the bushes, but a friend, acquaintance or boyfriend.

    None of these findings are at all controversial today.

    Koss’ studies weren’t perfect, but they were innovative and important, and their major findings have been replicated by later studies. I don’t think calling her work “bogus” is reasonable, or shows much familiarity with the field of rape prevalence research.

  4. Chris Says:
    September 12th, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    @Barry
    I think we slightly disagree on the implications of 3) and 4) but overall I think you misinterpret the point of my blog post. I’m not calling Koss’ study bogus. I’m saying that it is bogus to use Koss’ study to justify the claim that 1/4 women are raped by the time they leave college —a claim that is routinely made. You concede that doing so is a “misstatement of what the study found.”

    Thanks for your comments. You make some good points about the inexperience of victims and the historical significance of Koss’ work.

  5. Frankie Stix Says:
    September 13th, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    Barry Deutsch- I think you miss the major part of Chris’s post. He pointed to some very real negative consequences for women when YOU use exagerated figures.

  6. rohara Says:
    September 24th, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    The one in four rape statistic is nothing but a scare tactic used to accomplish three things:

    1. To terrorize young women everywhere that there is a bogey man behind every corner waiting to rape them.

    2. To demonize men so that they can more easily be railroaded in the workplace and in custody and divorce disputes.

    3. To purport within the popular culture that women are forever victims of gross injustice and as such require special privileges and rights to “protect them”

    Why in God’s name can’t the federal government commission a neutral party like the RAND Corporation or some other entity to do an unbiased and thorough scientific analysis on the incidence and prevalence of rape as well as false rape accusations?

    Seriously, I hear numbers like “300,000 women are raped every year in the U.S.” and “only one in five rapes are reported.” Almost every time I hear a statistic on rape it comes from some victims advocacy group that gets public funding for their activities and of course they are going to exaggerate the numbers. The press always publishes these stats and purports them to be the gospel truth. And anybody who is not naive enough to believe them and says something about it is immediately attacked and branded as a “rape apologist”, or worse yet, a rapist themselves.

    Can’t we have a serious debate about this very important issue that affects both women AND MEN without the hysteria?

  7. Secret Menus: Price discrimation through hidden prices. | AspiringEconomist.com Says:
    September 24th, 2009 at 11:33 pm

    […] Rape Statistics: 1 in 4? […]

  8. Jeffrey Horn Says:
    September 29th, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    Perhaps my cynicism toward this phenomena is unfounded. Great footwork.

    I felt like a pariah recently when we looked at crime data in a class, when we were supposed to be astounded that there were thousands of sex offenders living in our county. I was met with nervous laughter and strange glances when I commented that it was easy to be a sex offender in America.

    I meant, of course, that the sex offender registration laws cover far too many offenses for the registry to be useful.

  9. Natalie Says:
    November 19th, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    This “1 out of 4″ stat is just messed up. Presuming that 99.9% of rapes upon women are perpetrated by men, are we to believe that 1 out of 4 men has raped a woman? Or, perhaps 1 out of 40 men commit rape, and they each average 10 (different) victims without any overlap of victims? The ability to adequately define “rape” is a problem. The ability to get truthful answers from those taking surveys is a greater problem. One famous example of this lack of truth — or lack of knowledge of the truth — by survey takers is a study of adult males who, on average, claimed to have taken the virginity of two women. Of course, the statistic is nonsense, as the average ought to be one because the population of men and women are roughly equal at the ages that people customarily lose their virginity. The men answering the survey were probably giving the answer they believed to be true. The likely truth is that half the women from whom the men thought they were taking virginity were lying about their virginal status. Another statistic is that men report an average of 7 sexual partners (lifetime), women report 4. Again, this is simply not possible.

    How does this virginity issue fit into the question of rape? Simply that accurate stats about sexual issues, be it a voluntary surrender of virginity or a forcible rape, are hard to come by.

    If one were to believe that 25% of men have perpetrated a rape, our society would be totally broken down by now. There are some cases of forcible rape. However, those numbers pale in comparison to the number of “non-forcible” rapes that the statisticians give us. If we are to believe that it is rape for the sole reason that the woman is drunk and thus legally unable to consent, then I guess 25% is too low a number. But at the same time, did she not also rape the man? Afterall, he was probably drunk, too, and legally unable to consent to having sex with her. I’ve heard plenty men state that they were totally embarrassed by their drunken “choice” of sexual partner (a gal he wouldn’t even hold hands with if sober), but nobody seems to want to call that rape. Fact is, if they are both drunk, then they should BOTH be arrested for mutually raping each other. Of course that notion is ridiculous, but it seems to be where we are going these days.

    My educated guess is that the definition of rape has been so perverted, that nobody knows what it means anymore. Girl A’s rape might be Girl B’s regret. Girl’s C’s rape might be Girl D’s “I shouldn’t have gotten drunk and did a strip tease at a party with a bunch of drunken men around.” Girl E’s rape might be Girl F’s “that’s what happens when I get naked with a guy and get in his bed and stupidly expect he would stop whenever I said stop.” Girls G’s rape might be Girl H’s “I wanted free drugs and he wanted sex in order for me to get them.” Girl J’s rape might be Girl K’s “I really didn’t want to, but I didn’t know how to say no.”

    I believe the term “rape” should be reserved for those situations where the woman is clearly not contributing to the occurrence of the sex act that delineates rape from some other form of assault. Please understand that I’m not defending any measure of bad conduct by the men. However, I have a tough time calling it “rape” when a woman voluntarily does everything necessary to put herself in a position to have sexual intercourse, absent her possible “just before he does the deed” objections. If someone teased a dog with food to the point of putting it in his bowl and setting it down in front of him, it would be asking quite a bit for that dog to not eat it based simply on a last-second verbal command as he reaches for that firs

  10. Natalie Says:
    November 19th, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    Sorry, here’s that last sentence again:

    If someone teased a dog with food to the point of putting it in his bowl and setting it down in front of him, it would be asking quite a bit for that dog to not eat it based simply on a last-second verbal command as he reaches for that first bite.

  11. oldfeminist Says:
    December 1st, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    “If someone teased a dog with food to the point of putting it in his bowl and setting it down in front of him, it would be asking quite a bit for that dog to not eat it based simply on a last-second verbal command as he reaches for that first bite.”

    All men are dogs?

  12. Sarah Says:
    December 6th, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    Has anyone heard of “No means No”, even if it is said to your HUSBAND OR WIFE! Many domestic violence situations being or end in rape. Yes, you can be raped by your significant other. A title, such as boyfriend, or a piece of paper that says you are married does not entitle any other person to have sex with you whenever they please.

  13. 1 in 4 South African Men Admit to Rape - Page 7 - Fires of Heaven Guild Message Board Says:
    December 13th, 2009 at 10:54 am

    […] admit they raped a woman, and something completely different to say 1 in 4 women have been raped. Rape Statistics: Are 1 in 4 women raped? Skeptical analysis. | AspiringEconomist.com is an interesting read. Specifically, “Have you had sexual intercourse when you didn

  14. Ally Says:
    December 14th, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    There is something really wrong with you. Why are you so suspicious of how many women really are raped? You have deep-seated psychological issues and you need professional help. Get help. Now.

  15. The St. Angilbert Press » On why conservatives shouldn’t downplay some rape statistics… Says:
    April 21st, 2010 at 10:22 am

    […] let’s begin with a disclaimer of sorts: there are false rape statistics which conservatives — which everyone, ideally — should rightfully decry the use or […]

  16. Barry Deutsch Says:
    April 22nd, 2010 at 10:37 am

    “I think we slightly disagree on the implications of 3) and 4) but overall I think you misinterpret the point of my blog post. I’m not calling Koss’ study bogus.”

    Please reread your post, Chris: You said that “the figure,” referring to Koss’ finding that “1 in 4 college women have either been raped or suffered attempted rape,” was “bogus.” Your arguments in support of that claim don’t stand up to examination, as I’ve already pointed out.

    In addition, you don’t deal with the fact that Koss’ three primary findings — that actual rape prevalence is much, much higher than standard crime measurements indicate, that most rapists are known to the victim (i.e., not strangers), and that most rapes are never reported to police — have been replicated multiple times by major studies.

    Natalie: The evidence on the question of how many men rape (including Koss’ study) indicate that approximately 95% of men never commit rape. However, the small minority of men who commit rape, includes some men who commit rape multiple times in the course of their life.

  17. Tyrell Says:
    July 25th, 2010 at 3:39 am

    Barry, do you have any real data to back up your subjective, unqualified comments about Chris’ post?

  18. 1 in 4 College girls will be raped before graduation. - Page 3 - Stormfront Says:
    September 12th, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    […] Re: 1 in 4 College girls will be raped before graduation. That "one in four" number (which isn’t restricted to campuses) comes from some very questionable sources: Researching the "Rape Culture" of America Deflating the Date Rape Scare Rape Statistics: Are 1 in 4 women raped? Skeptical analysis. | AspiringEconomist.com […]

  19. Dani Says:
    November 1st, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    There’s an error in this post:
    “‘Have you had sexual intercourse when you didn’t want to because a man gave you alcohol or drugs?’ An affirmative answer was counted as rape. In other words, a women who regretted a one night stand after a night of drinking was considered as having been sexually assaulted.”

    You’re misreading the question. A woman who regretted a one night stand after a night of drinking would not have said she had sexual intercourse when she didn’t want to. She would have said she wished she hadn’t had it, in retrospect.

    It’s a small difference in wording (regretting something later versus not wanting it at the time) but it makes a big difference, as you point out: if they only regretted it later, of course it wasn’t rape. But the question is asking them to say whether they (a) were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, (b) were given the drugs or alcohol by the person in question, and (c) didn’t want the sexual intercourse that was occurring with that person, at the time that it was occurring.

  20. Chris Says:
    November 18th, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    1-in-4 IS a myth .

    I’ve actually looked over the “study” and it’s about as scientific as a wad of wet toilet paper .

    -Firstly , the study actually said 1 in 8 .

    -Secondly , THAT figure was arrived at by multiplying the reported number by a factor of ten . In other words , it was just ASSUMED to be 1 in 8 . The truth was closer to 1 in 80 women responding (often unknowingly) that they had been a “victim” of rape .

    -Thirdly , a lot of the people questioned had no idea they were raped because , as far as they were concerned , they weren’t . It was Ms. Koss who decided that they’d been raped , not the purported victim . Koss did this by , you guessed it , shifting the definition of rape to encompass the greatest number of “victims” as possible .
    -Fourthly , the whole point of the study was to provide inflated figures by reworking the numbers to suit an ideological agenda . The real results of the study weren’t “shocking” so certain liberties were taken to increase the pucker factor .

    -Fifthly , there are no truly reliable figures pertaining to rape . Comparing South Africa (which is both a different culture and a violent one at that) with the United States is apples and rubber tires . Most rape “statistics” come directly manufactured from the offices of NOW . That’s like getting your evolutionary biology education from the Vatican … “Yes , that’s right , Moses rode a dinosaur.”
    The only truly reliable rape figures come from the DOJ and the tabulated conviction rates . Are they particularly reliable ? Not really but they’re a better barometer because , unlike most statistics produced by women’s groups , the DOJ can only do a simple head count . On the one hand there are plenty of rapes that go unreported but at the same time there are plenty of people who are sent to prison despite no crime having occurred .

    Rape is under reported , that’s certainly believable . Counting a drunken grope as a rape (which is another means by which this “fact” was arrived at) is simply ridiculous .
    If you use the same methodology as Ms. Koss did and you apply it to the entire U.S. population using rape convictions as per the DOJ , what you find is that half the women in the United States were raped .
    So… if fifty percent of all the women in the U.S. are violently raped then it stands to reason that at least a quarter of all U.S. men are raping somebody .
    Does that seriously seem even remotely believable to anybody with half a brain ?

    I don’t know how high the actual rate is and I agree that one rape is too many . On the other hand , if you want to solve a problem you’ve got to know what it is . As it stands , we’ve been operating on a terribly false assumption that doesn’t bear any resemblance to the truth . How can that possibly solve the problem ?

  21. Jean Valjean Says:
    December 27th, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    @ Barry Deutsch

    The original Koss study HAS been used to disseminate the 1 and 4 college rape myth.

    What’s more the 10-15% over a lifetime is NOWHERE near the same as 25% within the 4 to 5 years a woman attends college.

    Finally, more recent reports, like the 2000 DOJ funded survey which used the same methodology of the Koss report made similar findings but not the same.

    For instance, in order to inflate their numbers they included attempted rape in the overall statistics. Attempted rape being anything from a guy trying to have sex with her and her saying no, to a guy feeling her up, or any other failed sexual advance. Under any objective viewpoint these sexual advances would be considered normal mating rituals not sexual assault or attempted rape.

    Like the earlier Koss study, the 2000 study also found a large percentage of participants did not feel they had been raped and continued to date their rapists.

    Tell me Barry, in the year 2000, do you think young women weren’t educated about date rape?

    Doing the math, Barry, at U of L where I attend there would be over 500 rapes on campus per year. In 2009 the University reported ZERO rapes. U of L is in a city of about 750,000 people. According to the FBI, the rape rate is 28.7 per 100,000. That means we should expect about 200 rapes in Louisville a year. In 2008 there was 230, in 2009 there were 179. But with the University of Louisville in the city we should have had 500 on campus and another 200 in the city.

    Let’s also do the math here.

    28.7 (rape rate per 100,000) times 74 years (average lifespan of white women) would mean that out of 50,000 women (which is roughly half the population or half of 100,000) the number of rapes is 2123.8.

    Divide that number by 50,000 to get the percentage and you come up with 4.24 % lifetime rape victim rate.

    Of course this number is before we start subtracting the false allegations of rape that are made to cover up and explain embarrassing behavior, infidelity, or just to be vindictive.

    In the U.S. what passes for “beyond the shadow of doubt” is often met by just the testimony of one woman with no corroborating evidence.

    But I digress. As the feminists have told us all, women would never lie about rape. Just ask Duke Lacrosse.

  22. Sean Says:
    January 29th, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    Why does everybody seem to assume that there are more male than female rapists because of patriarchy? Men are more capable of rape because they have external genitalia and are therefore much, MUCH more capable of penetrating an unwilling victim! I agree that we need to take social measures to decrease the amount of rapes, but we can’t ignore biology - it’s like claiming that non-amputees commit more crimes than amputees because society is ruled by non-amputees.

    Many men are also raped too, especially in prisons, (this is laughed about =/ I think it’s disgusting) - and although the overall amount of male rape victims is less than female victims, males are NOT getting a proportionate representation in this issue. I myself was a victim of stalking and attempted rape at age 15. It shouldn’t be a gender issue, it should be a HUMAN issue!

  23. Pamela Says:
    February 17th, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Is the 1 in 4 a little skewed? Possibly…. But the 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men is accurate which is what most groups. Remember - is in their lifetime. Read the report done by the US Dept of Justicem, which was based on 8000 women and 8000 men and the questions they asked are spelled out. And if you look at the the numbers - 14.8% of women were victims of completed rapes with only 2.8% as attempted. Including attempted rapes did not “skew” the numbers very much. Not sure how you can say 1 in 7 women have been completely raped in their lifetime is a much easier number to swallow than 1 in 4. To see the report:
    http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles/172837.pdf

    I agree that statistics get twisted…but it is a huge issue that still no one wants to talk about

  24. Amy Says:
    February 24th, 2011 at 11:06 am

    I If you don’t believe there is a high rate of rape on college campuses, take a group of seniors - women out to lunch and ask them if they know of someone or had a friend that was raped.

    While most men do not rape women, the ones that do are almost always predatory. Check out David Lisak’s work if you want to learn about college rapists. Pay particular attention to their use of alcohol as a date rape drug.

    There is a correlation between alcohol and rape, but there is not causation. If you aren’t a rapist sober, you aren’t going to be one drunk.

    It is astounding the amount of victim-blaming here. I believe men aren’t dogs, and they can stop themselves if asked – IF THEY WANT TO. I believe most men don’t take advantage of or rape women. However, some men think they are entitled to sex with women. They need to be held accountable for their actions. To look at it critically, if that woman hadn’t been there that night, another one would have. And he would rape whoever just the same. You remove him from the scene and nobody gets raped. He is the only one to blame.

    It is sad that on our campuses we accept that all men rape all women who go out and drink. OR that all women who behave provocatively (as a car-washing-burger-eating -Paris Hilton would role model) that they are inviting rape. So what the heck - dressing sexy like I am expected to get men’s attention and at the same time, it shouldn’t surprise me if the attention is rape? Women have to give up their rights to be given a right not to be blamed for their rape.

    Men - you should be outraged about the small number of men that represent you as a sex-crazed, raping, & violent group. - The kind of men that we have rules for - like don’t set your drink down at the bar, don’t walk home alone at night, don’t wear that dress, walk with your keys in between your fingers, don’t go to almost any social event or location alone, don’t leave your friends alone, ‘cry fire’ when being raped because no one will come when you yell for, ‘help or ‘rape’; take self-defense (yeah, that helps when you have been drugged); park under a street light, never stop to help someone on the side of the road, never jog with head phones, don’t go on a first date alone, etc etc etc. AS A WOMAN, I HAVE BEEN CONDITIONED SINCE I WAS A LITTLE GIRL THAT YOU WILL RAPE ME AT ANY GIVEN TIME FOR ALMOST REASON. And that conditioning comes from everyone - regardless of policitcs and gender.

    You should help women address MEN’s violence against women. If you want to know how to do that - check out Jackson Katz.

  25. Rebecca Says:
    March 9th, 2011 at 12:55 am

    Attention: having sex when you don’t want to IS rape. That is kind of the definition of it, albeit sugar-coated. An unwanted one-night stand is rape, no matter what the woman was drinking of snorting. If she consents to the one-night stand, that’s find, but consensual sex requires, you know, consent. Without that, it IS rape. Stop kidding yourself.

  26. Thefremen Says:
    March 9th, 2011 at 1:07 am

    When you wake up to find someone inside you/vice-versa that’s rape. When you have sex that you didn’t want to have, that’s rape. Whether it’s because of a drug, sleeping, or having sex because there is a threat hanging over you of bodily harm, all that shit is rape.

  27. Houston Says:
    April 2nd, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    I think the author needs to re-read the question.

    Have you had sexual intercourse when you DIDN’T want to because a man gave you alcohol or drugs?

    This question does not ask have you ever regretted having sex. Regret Vs NOT wanting to have sex are competently different.

    I believe women understand this question to bad the author did not.

  28. donna23 Says:
    April 7th, 2011 at 7:28 am

    this is completely too high. i myself have been a victim of rape and am conducting a paper to talk about the mind of a rapist. it is not sex biased, i am well aware that men and women rape. it saddens me to find out most rapes happen under the age of 12. if you have any info you would like to be shared in my paper please comment back.

  29. Kristan Says:
    April 9th, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    “Attention: having sex when you don’t want to IS rape. That is kind of the definition of it, albeit sugar-coated. ”

    Rebecca - please.

    I am a man. I have had sex many times with girlfriends and one night stands when I did not want to. I did it so they wouldn’t feel bad, or rejected, or unattractive. I did it because, although I did not want to, it was “no big deal”. I simply thought about Demi Moore, and off we went. I would have rather read a book.

    Apparently I have been raped quite often without realizing it.

  30. nihan Says:
    April 16th, 2011 at 8:33 am

    Kristan - how very kind of you. Still, I think you’d be surprised to find out how many girlfriends did the same for you.

    Rebecca - Kristan is kinda right. Your wording should have been “Having sex when you don’t consent is rape, no matter what you did before or in which fashion you were dressed.”

    Natalie - You’re unbelieveable. “Girl’s C’s rape might be Girl D’s “I shouldn’t have gotten drunk and did a strip tease at a party with a bunch of drunken men around.” When I read this sentence, I picture a half-naked, dancing woman attacked by a bunch of hungry-looking, drooling monsters, for your choice of words gives no information on IF THE WOMAN CONSENTED OR NOT. I agree that the action described is a highly sexually provocative one, but since it is not specifically inviting anyone, don’t you think it’s unhealthy to find it natural that it gives any one of those men to grab the woman and have sex with her? You need to think it over, girl.

    I understand that when both people are drunk, it is very easy for women and men to misinterpret signals and get carried away, or misunderstand the true intentions of the other person. However, I know that it is a very real, very clear, very human fact that it is NOT normal to want to have sex with somebody who’s OBVIOUSLY not liking it, who’s said NO, and that’s true even if she was flirting and giggling and petting a moment ago.

    Some of the comments here seem to draw a picture of a seductive woman who enjoys teasing men just for fun and then complain about it. C’mon guys, you’re much better than this. You know as well as I do that when a teenage girl does want petting but not penetration it’s not because she likes to torment her boyfriend, but because she doesn’t feel ready. You know that women are as likely as men to do stupid things during moments of weakness, which is a part of their human nature, and that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be traumatised if they are “punished” with an assault on their bodies. Taking advantage of the trust or weakness of a woman in any situation is a rape, only you don’t want to admit it because it makes the world seem more just to believe that most of the women that claims to have been sexually assaulted have brought it on themselves, and the violence and exploitation going on in the world are exaggerated.

  31. Sexual Assault Awareness Month « Decrepit Old Fool Says:
    April 24th, 2011 at 9:38 am

    […] everyone agrees with the 1 in 4 figure. I looked for a skeptical analysis but the rebuttal didn’t convince […]

  32. Samantha Says:
    May 3rd, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Chris, first I want to say that I understand that your original post wasn’t meant as some pro-rape rant, only that you were skeptical of the statistics given. Though you must admit that calling a revolutionary study “bogus” calls your authority into question (even if the study was misquoted by your college’s center). Yes, the Koss study has gotten some flack for the very reasons you have pointed out AND has been skewed by a variety of organizations BUT that doesn’t diminish the fact that there are way too many rapes occurring and too much victim blaming going on.

    Natalie- I was horrified when I read your post. So you think people (in your case you only mention women and leave men out of it) provoke their rapists? If that is the case, then maybe everyone should be a hermit- that way no one will accidentally “tease the dog”. Ugh, not all men are dogs. Most people (both men and women) have the decency to understand that “no means no”.

    Kristan- I believe Rebecca meant not giving consent. Being raped = being violated. You may have had sex when you didn’t want to/wanted to read a book instead, but you ultimately GAVE your consent to the girl! Same goes for the girls who consented to have sex with you to save your feelings (when they’d rather be doing something else).

    As for the alcohol element… yes if both parties are drunk it poses an issue. Neither can really consent. BUT if one party says “no”, comes to while being assaulted or doesn’t want the act to be happening AS it is occurring, that is rape.

    Amy- I agree with you that the women are conditioned to try to “protect” themselves. What is even more scary is that someone can use the buddy system (aka never leave a friend alone), wear highly conservative clothes, take defense lessons, etc. AND STILL GET RAPED. And you are totally right that those precautions really don’t help if you have been drugged.

    I think the thing we can all agree on (no matter the real numbers) is that rape happens too much and it isn’t talked about enough (without victim blaming or name calling). In my opinion, we (as a whole society) need to recognize that the reporting process of rape is counter-productive for victims who already feel ashamed and violated. Shock and pain causes many victims to stay quiet for years- long after the statutes of limitations are up.

  33. Samantha Says:
    May 3rd, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    “Most rape “statistics” come directly manufactured from the offices of NOW . That’s like getting your evolutionary biology education from the Vatican … “Yes , that’s right , Moses rode a dinosaur.””
    _______________________________________________

    Moses riding a dinosaur… really? You obviously have your religions confused. I know isn’t off topic but I couldn’t ignore this misinformation!

    First, the Vatican does not condone a “word for word”/literal interpretation of the bible. Evolution is officially accepted by the Catholic Church as truth (see Pope John Paul II’s address: http://www.newadvent.org/library/docs_jp02tc.htm). Before that, the Church stayed out of the debate and didn’t provide any official stance (Catholics could believe anything they pleased about evolution).

    So you know for the future, it is some evangelical protestant sects that don’t believe in evolution… just look at the funding for the Creation Museum (hint it is NOT the Catholic Church).

  34. hazel Says:
    May 7th, 2011 at 11:12 am

    So they changed the wording to: “Have you engaged in sexual intercourse when you didn’t want to but were so intoxicated under the influence of alcohol or drugs that you could not stop it or object?” ?

    Well, if men are out there spending the night drinking with a woman, and that culminates in sex that she did not object to, I think I just figured out why so many “rapists” never go to jail.

    Sex is not preceded by a meeting with a lawyer and a document signed by three witnesses. Most of the time it’s not even preceded by a question. Consent for sex is garnered through interpretation of body language and everyone who’s ever had a one-night-stand knows it. Grabbing a girl in an alley and threatening her with a knife is a crime. Misinterpreting a drunk friend’s body language is an accident. A lot of times the thing “slipped into your drink” was alcohol.

  35. Jack Says:
    May 10th, 2011 at 10:53 am

    “Have you had sexual intercourse when you didn’t want to because a man gave you alcohol or drugs?”

    Are you seriously using this question to discredit the study? Are you an idiot or do you think that it’s ok to have NON consensual sex with a woman if she was given too much alcohol and drugs? That is rape. What is the matter with you.

    What part of “sexual intercourse when you DIDN’T WANT TO” did you not understand????

  36. Pauline Says:
    May 29th, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    Drugs and alcohol administered to someone in order to get them to have sex with you is the definition of rape. Just because a girl is unaware of the circumstances does not make it okay. Date rape is still rape. If you don’t think so just ask a victim.

  37. Open Eyes Says:
    June 6th, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    U.S. STATISTICS

    Fact #1:17.6 % of women in the United States have survived a completed or attempted rape. Of these, 21.6% were younger than age 12 when they were first raped, and 32.4% were between the ages of 12 and 17. (Full Report of the Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women, Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey, November, 2000)

    Fact #2: 64% of women who reported being raped, physically assaulted, and/or stalked since age 18 were victimized by a current or former husband, cohabiting partner, boyfriend, or date. (Full Report of the Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women, Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey, November, 2000)

    Fact #3: Only about half of domestic violence incidents are reported to police. African-American women are more likely than others to report their victimization to police Lawrence A. Greenfeld et al. (1998). (Violence by Intimates: Analysis of Data on Crimes by Current or Former Spouses, Boyfriends, and Girlfriends. Bureau of Justice Statistics Factbook. Washington DC: U.S. Department of Justice. NCJ #167237. Available from National Criminal Justice Reference Service.)

    Fact #4:The FBI estimates that only 37% of all rapes are reported to the police. U.S. Justice Department statistics are even lower, with only 26% of all rapes or attempted rapes being reported to law enforcement officials.

    Fact #5: In the National Violence Against Women Survey, approximately 25% of women and 8% of men said they were raped and/or physically assaulted by a current or former spouse, cohabiting partner, or date in their lifetimes. The survey estimates that more than 300,000 intimate partner rapes occur each year against women 18 and older. (Full Report of the Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women, Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey, November, 2000)

    Fact #6: The National College Women Sexual Victimization Study estimated that between 1 in 4 and 1 in 5 college women experience completed or attempted rape during their college years (Fisher 2000).

    Fact #7: Men perpetrate the majority of violent acts against women (DeLahunta 1997).

    Fact #8: Every two minutes, somewhere in America, someone is sexually assaulted. (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) calculation based on 2000 National Crime Victimization Survey. Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice)

    Fact #9: One out of every six American women have been the victims of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. (Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences of Violence Against Women Survey, National Institute of Justice and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1998)

    Fact #10: Factoring in unreported rapes, about 5% - one out of twenty - of rapists will ever spend a day in jail. 19 out of 20 will walk free. (Probability statistics based on US Department of Justice Statistics)

    Fact #11: Fewer than half (48%) of all rapes and sexual assaults are reported to the police (DOJ 2001).

    Fact #12: Sexual violence is associated with a host of short- and long-term problems, including physical injury and illness, psychological symptoms, economic costs, and death (National Research Council 1996).

    Fact #13:Rape victims often experience anxiety, guilt, nervousness, phobias, substance abuse, sleep disturbances, depression, alienation, sexual dysfunction, and aggression. They often distrust others and replay the assault in their minds, and they are at increased risk of future victimization (DeLahunta 1997).

    Fact #14: According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, more than 260,000 rapes or sexual assaults occurred in 2000; 246,180 of them occurred among females and 14,770, among males (Department of Justice 2001).

    Fact #15: Sexual violence victims exhibit a variety of psychological symptoms that are similar to those of victims of other types of trauma, such as war and natural disaster (National Research Council 1996). A number of long-lasting symptoms and illnesses have been associated with sexual victimization including chronic pelvic pain; premenstrual syndrome; gastrointestinal disorders; and a variety of chronic pain disorders, including headache, back pain, and facial pain (Koss 1992).Between 4% and 30% of rape victims contract sexually transmitted diseases as a result of the victimization (Resnick 1997).

    Fact #16: More than half of all rapes of women occur before age 18; 22% occur before age 12. (Full Report of the Prevalance, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women, Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey, November, 2000)

    Fact #17: In 2000, nearly 88,000 children in the United States experienced sexual abuse (ACF 2002).
    Fact #18:About 81% of rape victims are white; 18% are black; 1% are of other races. (Violence Against Women, Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Dept. of Justice, 1994.)

    Fact #19:About half of all rape victims are in the lowest third of income distribution; half are in the upper two-thirds.(Violence against Women, Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Dept. of Justice, 1994.)

    Fact #20: According to the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey (YRBSS), a national survey of high school students, 7.7% of students had been forced to have sexual intercourse when they did not want to. Female students (10%) were significantly more likely than male students (5%) to have been forced to have sexual intercourse. Overall, black students (10%) were significantly more likely than white students (7%) to have been forced to have sexual intercourse (CDC 2002).

    Fact #21:Females ages 12 to 24 are at the greatest risk for experiencing a rape or sexual assault (DOJ 2001).

    Fact #22: Almost two-thirds of all rapes are committed by someone who is known to the victim. 73% of sexual assaults were perpetrated by a non-stranger (— 38% of perpetrators were a friend or acquaintance of the victim, 28% were an intimate and 7% were another relative.) (National Crime Victimization Survey, 2005)

    Fact #23: The costs of intimate partner violence against women exceed an estimated $5.8 billion. These costs include nearly $4.1 billion in the direct costs of medical care and mental health care and nearly $1.8 billion in the indirect costs of lost productivity and present value of lifetime earnings. (Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States, Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Atlanta, Georgia, March 2003).

    Fact #24: Domestic violence occurs in approximately 25-33% of same-sex relationships. (NYC Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, October 1996.)

    Fact #25: Boys who witness their fathers’ violence are 10
    times more likely to engage in spouse abuse in later adulthood than boys from non-violent homes. (Family Violence Interventions for the Justice System, 1993)

    Fact #26: An estimated 50,000 women and children are trafficked into the United States annually for sexual exploitation or forced labor. (U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, 2000)

    Fact #27: Somewhere in America a woman is battered, usually by her intimate partner, every 15 seconds. (UN Study On The Status of Women, Year 2000)

    Fact #28: A University of Pennsylvania research study found that domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to low-income, inner-city Philadelphia women between the ages of 15 to 44 - more common than automobile accidents, mugging and rapes combined. In this study domestic violence included injuries caused by street crime.

    Fact #29:Following the Supreme Court’s decision in 2000 to strike down the civil-rights provision of the Federal Violence Against Women Act (ruling that only states could enact such legislation), only two states in the country (Illinois and California) have defined gender-based violence, such as rape and domestic violence, as sex discrimination, and created specific laws that survivors can use to sue their perpetrators in civil court. (Kaethe Morris Hoffer, 2004).

    Fact #30: A study reported in the New York Times suggests that one in five adolescent girls become the victims of physical or sexual violence, or both, in a dating relationship. (New York Times, 8/01/01)

    GLOBAL STATISTICS

    Fact #31: At least 60 million girls who would otherwise be expected to be alive are “missing” from various populations, mostly in Asia, as a result of sex-selective abortions, infanticide or neglect. (UN Study On The Status of Women, Year 2000)

    Fact #32: Globally, at least one in three women and girls is beaten or sexually abused in her lifetime. (UN Commission on the Status of Women, 2/28/00)

    Fact #33: A recent survey by the Kenyan Women Rights Awareness Program revealed that 70% of those interviewed said they knew neighbors who beat their wives. Nearly 60% said women were to blame for the beatings. Just 51% said the men should be punished. (The New York Times, 10/31/97)

    Fact #34: 4 million women and girls are trafficked annually. (United Nations)

    Fact #35: An estimated one million children, mostly girls, enter the sex trade each year (UNICEF)

    Fact #36: A 2005 World Health Organization study reported that nearly one third of Ethiopian women had been physically forced by a partner to have sex against their will within the 12 months prior to the study. (WHO Multi-country Study on Women’s Health and Domestic Violence Against Women, 2005)

    Fact #37: In a study of 475 people in prostitution from five countries (South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, USA, and Zambia):
    62% reported having been raped in prostitution.
    73% reported having experienced physical assault in prostitution.
    92% stated that they wanted to escape prostitution immediately.
    (Melissa Farley, Isin Baral, Merab Kiremire, Ufuk Sezgin, “Prostitution in Five Countries: Violence and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder” (1998) Feminism & Psychology 8 (4): 405-426)

    Fact #38:The most common act of violence against women is being slapped—an experience reported by 9% of women in Japan and 52% in provincial Peru. Rates of sexual abuse also varies greatly around the world—with partner rape being reported by 6% of women from Serbia and Montenegro, 46% of women from provincial Bangladesh, and 59% of women in Ethiopia. (WHO Multi-country Study on Women’s Health and Domestic Violence Against Women, 2005)

    Fact #39: So-called “honour killings” take the lives of thousands of young women every year, mainly in North Africa, Western Asia and parts of South Asia. (UNFPA)

    Fact #40: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan reported that 2002 saw a 25% increase in “honor killings” of women, with 461 women murdered by family members in 2002, in 2 provinces (Sindh and Punjab) alone. (Pakistan Human Rights Commission, 2002)

    Fact #41: More than 90 million African women and girls are victims of female circumcision or other forms of genital mutilation. (Heise: 1994)

    Fact #42: In eastern and souther Africa, 17 to 22% of girls aged 15 to 19 are HIV-positive, compared to 3 to 7% of boys of similar age. This pattern—seen in many other regions of the world—is evidence that girls are being infected with HIV by a much older cohort of men. (UNICEF/UNAIDS 2007)

    Fact #43: : A 2005 study reported that 7% of partnered Canadian women experienced violence at the hands of a spouse between 1999 and 2004. Of these battered women, nearly one-quarter (23%) reported being beaten, choked, or threatened with a knife or gun. (Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile, 2005)

    Fact #44: In Zimbabwe, domestic violence accounts for more than 60% of murder cases that go through the high court in Harare. (ZWRCN)

    Fact #45: a study in Zaria, Nigeria found that 16 percent of hospital patients treated for sexually transmitted infections were younger than 5. (UNFPA)

    LINKS TO STATISTICS:

    The following are a selection of other web sites at which to find and verify violence against women statistics:

    • Bureau of Justice: Crime and Victim Statistics
    • Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women
    • Family Violence Prevention Fund
    • RAINN Statistics
    • Violence Against Women Online Resources
    • World Health Organization: Gender Based Violence

  38. Educated Critic Says:
    June 6th, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    I think there would be a lot more concern being expressed and much less doubts being articulated if one in four men’s backdoors were being violated. The arguments that I’ve seen on this forum trouble me because some of them attempt to excuse this type of behavior.

    One rape is too many!

    Fellas, I’m sure you would think so if your backside was being violated or had the potential to be violated at least once during your lifetime. We need to act as if every rape victim could be our sisters, mothers, girlfriends or daughters. How would this approach make your loved ones more safe?

  39. Anonymous woman Says:
    June 9th, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    @ Chris and Barry.
    Luckily I can be anonymous on this post. Here’s some personal data to coincide with the real data Barry has been giving. I have found in my studies and personal experience (and experiences of friends) his data to be altogether too true. I cannot unfortunately cite the data as I was learning more about what happened to me when suffering from PTSD from my experience, and that it is unfortunately very normal. I am keeping all details possible out- trying just to relay the basic story and how it pertains to the misinformation I’ve seen on here.

    I had dated my boyfriend since I was 16. We made out and such. I was uber religious and had a very clear and defined line, but trusted the boyfriend as he had shown to be trustworthy. Let him spend the night one night, as he had in the past- it was hot so I was wearing boyshorts and a tank. Was rudely woken up by a terrible nightmare that turned out to be real. Kicked him out and cried. I cried for a year, missed classes constantly. Slept when I wasn’t supposed to and was up all night freaking out. For a year straight. I thought I was crazy. I thought it was all my fault- I let him spend the night. I got back together with him 3 days after it happened. I thought it was my fault and as I was uber religious, I thought I was doomed to be stuck with him forever. I didn’t care about myself anymore. I would do dangerous stupid things to feel like I was alive, to feel a semblance of control. If you would have asked me if I had been raped I would have either said I don’t know or no. The following year I was in my sociology class- the only class I didn’t routinely skip (before the assault, I was a dedicated student btw), and was dumbfounded when they described what had happened to me and labeled it date rape. I finally wasn’t at fault. I wasn’t crazy. I had a name now for what he always called “his problem”. I had control and power. I went home and told him what had happened to me- I named the infraction. He cried. Up until this point I was repeatedly “assaulted”. I put that in quotes because after the initial assault I didn’t care anymore. I was an empty vessel and I just exited my body when he decided he would take. After I had a name for what happened I began to assert my control over my own body until I broke off with him because he wouldn’t listen to me when I repeatedly said no. I had to be violent back to defend myself, but I was finally free.

    I told everyone we mutually broke up. I told everyone we were still friends. I even acted friendly so no one would know. My family was still seriously religious, even if I wasn’t at this point. He always came to my parent’s house unannounced (he knew the code to get in, so he would just walk in). He would make a point to be there if I was around, particularly if I brought anyone I was dating. He decided to get really close to my siblings. He threatened to date my sister. He became my brother’s best man (I wasn’t made aware of this until 2 weeks before the wedding…). Finally ten years after the first rape I told my family what had happened. I now live very far away, so they confronted him and he cried and left. Because I finally admitted what had happened, it caused me to completely freak out. I suffered severe PTSD for around 6 months or more. So far that’s the end.

    Interesting thing- as I was doing massive research during the time I had the PTSD (to make sure I wasn’t going crazy), I ran into many stories like my own online, and directly out of the mouth of many women face to face. I only had read one or two accounts of what you may call “classic rape” where they don’t know the person. This is also where I ran into many statistics- many from government websites. I didn’t have the presence of mind to record them…

    I guess what I’m trying to say:
    @ Chris- you would say I wasn’t raped because I never reported the act (which I didn’t know was rape), because I got back with the guy (since I thought it was all my fault for allowing him to spend the night, and then under my Christian faith at the time I thought I was required to marry him), and also because I shut down mentally when he would assault me repeatedly instead of fighting back- but why should I fight back if I believe it all to be my fault? I still hear men talk about rape- she shouldn’t have been out drinking alone. She shouldn’t have been wearing that outfit. She shouldn’t have been out walking in that park alone. You’ve no doubt heard many more yourself. But as far as I know we don’t live under shariah law and women are “free”- as free as their societally programmed mind will allow. These false and negative connotations get programmed into young women’s minds. They blame themselves, and their rapist continues a decent life as your favorite small business owner.

  40. Anonymous woman Says:
    June 10th, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Also, it’s very interesting the amount of people on here (and women at that), who believe that the majority of women are either liars or behave in totally promiscuous degrading behavior… To get the 1 in 6 or 1 in 4 numbers that government studies routinely get (many links in above posts), that would mean that 1 out of every 4-6 women you know is a liar and a slut. Your mom, grandma, sister, daughter, and aunt. At least one of them is a liar or a slut. I think the social rammifications of perpetrating these slanderous falsehoods about women’s character is a huge reason women don’t want to tell their mom, dad, sister, brother, or best friend what happened to them. Because of social implications they are now labeled these things- not only by society, but also by their conditioned mind. I know this far too well from experience as I had planned on taking my secret to the grave- had someone not been a total stalker. By admitting you were raped you take on the social stigma that all of you are talking about above. Self esteem booster for sure. Perhaps you will change your thinking and judgement when your own daughter, mother, grandmother, aunt, cousin, best friend, sister, or whatever comes to you with the hardest news of her life, but maybe you will insist on calling her a liar or tell her she asked for it. If that happened to me, I may have killed myself at that point in my life. PTSD is a terrible thing- ask any vet or rape survivor.

    And my rape occurred in 2000- when posts on this blog say women should know what non violent rape is. There is virtually no education on this matter unless you scour the Internet for it, and the Internet was very different back then. Hopefully in the future women won’t have to suffer for decades without any support from others- constantly being blamed by family for their strange change in mannerisms and thought patterns- “whatever happened to my daughter?”- (you are not the same person after a rape), finding relief in a bottle because then you can forget. Time doesn’t heal everything, it doesn’t even make the pain more dull. Rape takes away a woman’s right to soverignty, and if you don’t like the government statistics, make your own study. Just be sure to be scientific and fair. Violent rape (at gunpoint, etc) is only a small portion of a huge problem that needs addressed with progressive discourse. Ask yourself- which is easier- committing a known crime ie. rape at gunpoint, or silently and stealthily drugging some poor girl’s drink?

    I AM NOT THE EXCEPTION TO THE RULE! Many women are facing the same thing I am- I’ve spoken to them, I’ve heard their stories on message boards for survivors who often have nowhere to turn. Perhaps instead of arguing abstract numbers you can go out and offer help to those who’ve been “victimized”- yet another dirty word. Who wants to see themselves as a victim? What does that do to a person? These are far better questions to be asking yourselves from a social standpoint than “this 1 in 4 can’t possibly be right! Someone is lying. They probably asked for it.” Then show me statistics on that! Either shut up or help out- how very cold and crass people can be when they are only talking about a “number”, a “statistic”. You can remove yourself from the whole issue and pass judgement on those “numbers” since they are not people anymore… Get on a blog post that helps women suffering from the effects of rape. Listen to their damn stories and try to call them liars. Just do something other than trying to judge something that hopefully you will never have to experience yourself.

  41. David Jackson Says:
    June 11th, 2011 at 11:58 am

    I couldn’t force myself to read all of the above resonses…I get bored easily. Most colleges and universities don’t keep very good records (even falsify thiem), in spite of the Clery Act requirements. They just don’t want Ma and Pa Checkbook seeing that their daughter is prety likely to be sexually abused in some fashion at their old Alma Mater or college of choice. From what I’ve been able to research, most colleges are terribly remiss in student safety, at every level. “My school” (Ball State University) is a sick joke on every level. Before I returned to “school’, I tried to locate some venue to teach a rape awareness and prevention course - I’ve been a personal defense and small arms training specialist for over 30 years - and was told, politiely, to go away, sonce they already have training. THEY DO NOT! Anyway, women at Ball State are in danger before, during, and after the fact - It is my belief that the school doesn’t give a —-. One in four is a little “high”, as the current average is one in five. which means nothing, since the percentage is 100 to a victim, and, pardon the personal observation, one at all is one too many.

  42. anonymous Says:
    July 4th, 2011 at 5:27 am

    i have been raped and almost every single female in my family has been either raped or sexually assaulted and many of my friends have been raped too. i am the only one who actually took any action and reported anything.

    its waaayyy more common than most think and victim self blaming is such a common occurrence after rape is hardly ever reported because of that. Girls feel like it was their fault for drinking and they shouldnt have flirt, but when it comes down to it, if they never approved and even if they said yes but were hammered, thats still rape! it is important to educate girls on rape and how easily it can happen!

    i was in such a normal situation and totally not expecting it and then it just happened and i never thought it would happen to me! i was even educated on the topic! but movies portray it as being threatened and physically forced, but its not always like that. when its not like that is when a girl gets really confused and then jumps to the conclusion that she wasnt raped even though she didnt want it.

    maybe the stats are wrong, but coming from someone who probably wasnt raped, and is probably is oblivious to how all the situations vary soooo greatly, its hard to understand the seriousness of the situation. i know at least ten girls who were raped and none of them reported it at all. its hard to account for all the rapes when probably half of them arent even reported.

  43. anonymous Says:
    July 4th, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    also, just because a girl has sex again with her rapist, it doesnt mean it wasnt rape. I had a friend who was raped by her own bf multiple times but she didnt think it was rape because it was her bf. Another one of my friends was raped and just started letting guys have sex with her left and right, practically all raping her because she thought thats how sex was supposed to be. Rape makes you vulnerable and weak and you dont know how to react and how it will change you after, especially if its by someone you know.

  44. Gamloo Says:
    July 22nd, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    well,what i have read about all the comments above has given me all about what, why women are being rape for reasons..can anyone kindly explain how we can minimise or give the solution to rape??

  45. Lilly Says:
    August 12th, 2011 at 6:27 am

    I haven’t read all of the comments, but it seems I agree with many. I realise I’m a little late but wanted to add my voice. Many, many victims don’t report what happened to them, don’t even know that what happened was rape. Doesn’t mean it wasn’t. I have no trouble believing 1 in 4.

  46. Dave Says:
    August 23rd, 2011 at 8:00 am

    Chris,

    Your contention that a drunken one night stand is not rape does not fly in the face of law. Precedent has long been set that you cannot consent to anything while intoxicated because your ability to reason is greatly reduced. I agree that it’s a bit of a grey area, and there’s all kinds of questions brought up when both (or lets just say all) partners are intoxicated. But when you add the “and didn’t want to” condition, you’ve clearly crossed the line. I would put down money that the vast majority of people taking such a survey would not interpret that line to mean pity sex.

    Also, it is known that rape is poorly understood by the general public. Just ask yourself these questions.

    If someone has sex with a person who is unconscious after getting drunk, is that rape?

    If someone has sex with a person who is conscious but really out of it after getting drunk, even though they don’t say no or resist is that rape?

    If someone consents to sex with their abusive boyfriend/girlfriend because they are afraid of them, is that rape?

    If someone does not consent to sex with their significant other and they do it anyways, is that rape?

    The courts say yes.

  47. Conor McCartney Says:
    September 7th, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    If you ever want actual numbers about rapes on campus, the clery act requires that all universities receiving federal funding (all but 2 nation wide) report their rape statistics.
    Typically universities have a handful or so a year.

  48. Conor McCartney Says:
    September 7th, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    At dave.. I do love the paternalistic irony that says if a man and a woman are both very drunk he raped her. Because for that to be true it means
    1. The man is responsible for his actions
    2. The women is not responsible for her actions
    3. The man is responsible for her actions
    I guess paternalism isn’t dead yet.

  49. tabby Says:
    October 20th, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    about two years ago i was raped i was only 13 turning 14 and it still comes back to haunt me …. my mother was raped all of her child hood by her father and his friends. i was also raped last year in a different area then last time and this was done by someone whom still goes to school with me and i’m deathly afraid of him but i’m to scared to tall anyone at school

  50. me Says:
    November 15th, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    The question listed in the article about drinking before intercourse is not if she regretted it afterwards it’s if she didn’t want to in the first place, but was under the influence, don’t twist it like they’re trying to tally up as much rape as they can or something

  51. Rape statistic | Agraphicpro Says:
    December 5th, 2011 at 8:14 am

    […] Rape Statistics: Are 1 in 4 women raped? Skeptical analysis …Sep 11, 2009 … Examines the study that justifies the claim that 1 in 4 college women are raped. It examines the consequences of such an exaggeration. […]

  52. Amber Unmasked » Are male gamers’ rape jokes repelling girls from the games? (links nsfw) Says:
    December 29th, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    […] a little bit of Google searching, I came across a piece from 2009 debunking Shake’s claim that 25% of women are victims of sexual assault. The author presents […]

  53. mano Says:
    January 10th, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    There are genuine problems with the question “Have you had sexual intercourse when you didn’t want to because a man gave you alcohol or drugs?”, which are significant enough to cast doubt on the results of this study. There are at least two interpretations of an affirmative answer that would not meet a legal definition of rape:

    1. As others have mentioned, it is vaguely plausible that in an era in which the contextual background of the question was less clear (because issues like date rape were less openly discussed), some respondents might have interpreted it in terms of wishing they hadn’t done something that they in fact consented to at the time. I’m not sure that is very plausible, but it is worth considering.

    2. Another interpretation that I think is more plausible could be paraphrased as the question “Have you ever consented to sex under the influence of alcohol or drugs even if you didn’t really want to do it?” There is a discernible difference between consent and wanting. The question could be interpreted as asking if respondents had ever consented to sex to make their partners happy when they didn’t feel like doing it. This may be an unrewarding experience (resembling prostitution), but if it’s consensual, it wouldn’t meet a legal definition of rape.

    No study should be taken in isolation even if its methods are flawless. To assess the prevalence of rape, it’s not even sufficient to point out that other studies have found similar results. One has to take the totality of evidence that is available so as to avoid the charge of cherry picking just those results that agree with whatever agendas one might have.

    Publication bias is also an issue that might make it more likely that studies with alarming results are published more often than studies that produce less alarming results. The publication bias might also go the other way with studies that report more conservative statistics being taken more seriously. As it stands, rape statistics vary widely from study to study, so the field is very difficult to negotiate. If nothing else, this variability suggests serious problems of credibility within the field.

  54. Anonymous Says:
    February 5th, 2012 at 2:33 am

    “Attention: having sex when you don’t want to IS rape. That is kind of the definition of it, albeit sugar-coated.”

    Actually, sex without consent is the definition of rape. Consenting to sex when you didn’t want it isn’t rape. Both men and women give into having sex to satisfy their partners when they don’t really want it, I’d hardly call that rape because consent was involved and I don’t think most reasonable people would. Considering things like that “rape” gives you the inflated rape statistics the OP points out and does a real disservice to actual rape victims when you pretend that is equal to the real assault they faced.

  55. Luke Says:
    February 7th, 2012 at 9:48 am

    Under the definition many above have been putting forwards, I myself have been raped.

    I took a girl home from a club, who I was looking to have some fun with, but I did not wish to, or intend on having sex with her. After a few hours of fooling around, she said she wanted to sleep with me. I was embarrassed to say I would rather not, so I “pretended” to look for a condom, and apologised, saying I did not have one…She promptly said she did….Uh oh…I couldn’t very well now say “Only kidding!” and felt psychologically pressured into having sex.

    I considered it coercive/pressured sex, but in no way did I consider this to be rape. Of course, some will say that as a guy I probably could not have been physically forced by the girl, if I did say no, true.

    But if you go down that road it comes down to “could the rape be prevented by physical means?” Such as if your friend/s were staying in the adjacent room. You yelling ‘help’ or ‘rape’ would certainly bring somebody to help. So, under circumstances (even if very very rare) where there was no chance or little chance of being forcefully raped by the man, how is this much different from my case, where the physical forceful act of rape could not be committed?

    I mean who knows, would it have been classed as rape if I knew she were a body-builder, and a member of the University Boxing and Karate team? It is a fine line to walk down, when there is a physical element, since even though most men COULD physically rape most women if given the opportunity and they had the inclination to. But, when women are psychologically coerced, or feel pressured (giving rise to these large rape numbers) I wonder how many of the men would have physically forced and raped the girl?

    I wonder at the potential shock on the face of the girl I went home with, if I showed up a few days later accusing her of rapping me….

    The pressure on me to have sex when I did not wish to has happened more than once, yet I take my own responsibility that I have not been raped, and was merely coerced psychologically/drunkenly. Coercion is of course wrong, young people (men in particular) should be educated about it, and I feel ashamed that many young men pressure their partners into having sex.

    Looking back after researching this topic, I can think of a few occasions when the girl I was with probably thought “oh bugger it, lets get this over with” and this makes me regretful and sad that this may have occurred. But to label me or others a rapist is abhorrent.

    Particularly in light of the fact that if the women said “No” or “I don’t want to”, I would have immediately ceased my attempts to take things further (would this be classed as attempted rape under the above study?)

    Now whilst it is a crying shame that many men expect that they should ‘get sex’ and are due sex with a women they take on a date or go home with, its also a shame that women think that they should give in because the men think this and feel they ’should’.

    I understand it is hard (as i explained I have been there myself), but I would advise saying “No”, and then “I said No” in a more forceful voice if they persist.
    ….If they think No means Yes, then go for:
    “I said no, are you actually going/prepared to Rape me?”

    ‘Giving in’ is wrong and coercive, but in many cases, this would be dangerous and unjust to label it “Rape”.

    Otherwise I may give the police a call about a certain young women from a couple of years ago during my college years….

  56. Cathleen Says:
    February 12th, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    The majority of rapes are never reported. Take that into account in your study.

  57. Denton Dentist Says:
    February 27th, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    “Have you had sexual intercourse when you didn’t want to because a man gave you alcohol or drugs?” Does this take into account that a woman drank 1 drink that was purchased by a man and was not drunk from the 1 drink?

    While not trying to make light of this serious situation, if that same woman has sex with the man and later thinks that he is a creep in general, is it considered rape then?

  58. David Jackson Says:
    March 18th, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    What’s wrong with you idiots? Short of the obvious….

    If a woman is in any way “coerced” into any form of sex act, without benefit of her expicit consent, she has been raped; I don’t care if she “know” it or not! I’ll never come to terms with why any woman would refuse to be treated for the physical and psychological trauma of such an event: I’ve had friends who didn’t want their parents to know - Then, don’t tell them! Another actually professed to having “forgiven” her assailant - How magnanimous! Maybe she’ll be able to explain her altruism to the scumbag’s next victim. Rape is rape…period! It isn’t a case of mistaken identity or a Freudian slip. It isn’t a right or a biological imperiative. It is a crime against another human being; and, it should be reported and punished as the criminal affront that it is!
    I’ve tried to get this across to my students for more yers than I care to admit: If I wasn’t so overwhelmed by general disbelief that anyone would prefer to suffer in silence, I’d have given it up, long ago.

    As a male, I am not surprised at the number of rapes. I am, however, disappointed at the lack of interest in the psychosocial ramifications of the acts themselves. Women shouldn’t be paranoid, they should be p—ed! And they should do whatever it takes to defeat any attempt to rob them of their most basic humanity and personhood. We ought to be reading and hearing about the ever-increasing number of attempted rapes that result in the severest of injuries to the assailants.

    David Jackson

  59. Toni Says:
    March 28th, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    Thank you David for your words. I am shocked and saddened at some of these responses. Particularly from other women. Rape is rape. Once when I was drunk in a dorm room at the age of 17, I passed out from drinking while partying with a group of “friends”. Everyone else left, except two other 17 year olds who both had sex with me while I was incoherent. I thought I was dreaming until they bragged about it the next day, and left me feeling humiliated. My reputation at school was ruined. Mine was…not theirs. I was also raped by an abusive husband who would not take no for an answer….although I said no repeatedly. He felt he had a right to my body.

    I am an upper middle class educated woman. I have never told anyone about these incidents outside of therapy. If you ask me, the 1 in 4 may actually be too low.

  60. Slut Walk - Page 12 - Grasscity.com Forums Says:
    March 30th, 2012 at 3:49 am

    […] Originally Posted by Heosphoros They absolutely are about that, and who are you to say different? And you’re hilariously naive if you think rape is a rare occurence. 1/4 of all women are raped in their lifetime, and that’s just the reported ones. 1/14 is the number your looking for. Rape Statistics: Are 1 in 4 women raped? Skeptical analysis. | AspiringEconomist.com […]

  61. John Says:
    April 3rd, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    I’ve read a lot of complaints about how we are afraid to talk about rape as a society right after the same poster goes on a rant about how questioning skewed surveys is victim blaming. We cannot have an honest conversation if people treat these statistics like the ten commandments! And if a study said the number of men who have been anally raped is 1 in 4 I’d be very suspicious of that statistic. But being skeptical of statistics like these does not equate to men saying rape is alright and never happens. Lets just try and be honest for a change.

  62. Woman Says:
    May 3rd, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Chris- I understand your confusion and concern. But I fear being a man it would be hard for you to ever get a clear picture of this problem becuase most women if they can admit it happened at all they can’t admit it to a man. I had the same doubts at one point in time and I asked many of my girlfriends not many admitted it… at first. As the years have gone by more and more of them have admitted that yes someone did- sometimes more than one someone. Sometimes there were ropes involved sometimes it was not till they woke in the morning and found themselves used without thier knowledge or consent. The numbers on my personal counter rose and rose then wonder of wonders I joined thier ranks. It is real it does happen and it does happen WAY TO OFTEN. 1 in 4? I think that is generous… 2 in 5 is closer… and the real truth- I thought twice about posting this because my email was required… and that is something you probably can’t understand I’m not sorry you can’t I wish I still couldn’t… so yeah that many don’t get reported.

  63. Anna Says:
    May 3rd, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    I don’t understand how many commenters feel that everyone raped has this strong compulsion to report it.
    It will make you feel weak. These were moments when you had no power in the situation and this is absolutely terrifying.
    I was raped repeatedly by an older brother and cousin. They didn’t go so far as penetration, but there was touching licking in places an 8 year old was taught to think are naughty places (not to be talked about)
    My sister had a security guard’s tongue down her throat when she was 7. She only remembered this at a later age and couldn’t report it. At 14 her friend shoves his hand down her pants. After a resounding No he throws her over his shoulder and tries to get her inside his house. She managed to lock herself in a bathroom and phone other friends to rescue her. Said friends later tell her she was at fault because she drank with him and she’s slept with some of the guys before.
    My mother was first assulted when she was 11. When she was in her 30s, a man bent her over a pool table, licked her face, and asked for sex. All the wile my father was in the other room, playing poker with the guy’s buddies.
    Mama didn’t report him because he was a wealthy man. He had connections and power. She was poor and with child, she couldn’t afford the stress, couldn’t give the time, didn’t have the money or support to go against him. (She told myfather some 10 years after theincident. He said he was disgusted. With her.)
    My sister didn’t report him because he was her friend and the locals saw her as a slut who got what was coming to her.
    We didn’t report them because we were young and didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t report them because they’re my cousin and brother. Everyone saw them as good guys. (And yeah, now after 9 years, they are. Though that doesn’t atone for the 9 years of internal turmoil and damage that happened to me.)
    Rape isn’t just a scary man with a knife in a dark alley. Rape can be your brother in your bed at night when he thinks you’re sleeping. Rape can be your friend with a drink and a skewed sense of entilement. Rape can be a wealthy acquaintance with too much power.

  64. Lynn Says:
    May 6th, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Thank you Anna.. I work with many women who have been molested and or raped at very young ages, who were afraid to say anything, or thought it was their fault .. they should not have been at a certain place (at the playground as a child or horse stable .. for example) at that time. But the pain of being molested as a child carries with you the rest of your life! The fears that we as victims follow.. fear of being loved, or accepted again. Fear of being pretty, fear of being a women, are with us. Those who have never been molested or raped, have no clue and feel this is a ploy of some kind.. but I say, it is not. And untll someone has walked in their shoes, they will never know how horrible the experience is.

  65. Ryan Deschamps Says:
    June 16th, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Oh for goodness sakes. To suggest that a question can be misinterpreted is not the same as suggesting that rape is not rape. The point of the article is that the one study that advocacy groups seems to be using has some serious procedural errors that call the oft-quote results (1 in 4) into question.

    The reality is that rape statistics on either side are not reliable. It is impossible to record the proper statistics of a crime when everyone knows someone who’s been raped (hearsay), those who have been raped are unlikely to report it, and there is a psychological benefit for people who have been raped to believe that everyone else has had it happen to them too. The problem is that the 1 in 4 is not oft-quoted with qualifiers, what is meant by “rape” (because the definition can mean different things in different countries).

    The whole “rape-culture” line is akin (in my mind) to the Hutu calling the Tutsis “cockroaches” and “tall trees.” It implies that men are at every corner ready to attack, which is laughable in my country because the (reported, annual, also fallable put out by the U.N.) per capita rape stats (both men and women) are 1.6 in 100,000 people. Even with a 95% non-disclosure rate and assuming that all of those rapes represent individual women (ie. one women being raped more than once only counts once), we are talking a very small number of people being raped.

    Now I would love to talk about how the fear of rape results in an unequal environment for women. I would even more like to talk about the sexual education of young men, or even just the plain education of young men, who are absolutely underserved by their predominantly female teachers. They represent the vast majority of assault victims (which is not a light crime either), and as their numbers increase, so does the likelihood that a country will send them to war. The message should include “don’t rape”, absolutely. It also should include other kind of basic stuff like “you are more than an economic machine,” “girls who only like you for your car aren’t worth your time,” and “love your neighbour.”

    And an oft-quoted statistic that is tenuous at best is a ploy. If it were not a ploy, it would be quoted with all of the qualifiers afore mentioned. Advocacy group looking for funding depend on these kinds of statistics to draw attention to their cause and raise money for the likely excellent work they do to support victims.

    And I agree that it does not make the situation better, but worse. Spreading news about a ‘rape culture’ does not make anyone feel any safer in society.

  66. Making up statistics for good causes | Ceteris Non Paribus Says:
    July 4th, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    […] misrepresented or just fake outright. For example, the semi-anonymous Chris of Aspiring Economist deconstructs the claim that one in four women are raped here. It’s probably not true, and the top comment is telling – Angie more or less admits the […]

  67. GBO Says:
    July 11th, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    So basically you are denying that rape is rape.

    You cannot assume that every woman who “had sexual intercourse when you didn’t want to because a man gave you alcohol or drugs” didn’t say no or push her rapist away.

    You are also denying that date rape (the use of drugs!) is rape, and I don’t really need to say anything more on why that’s wrong.

    Plus even if these women “regret their one night stands” it is still legally considered rape because you cannot give consent when you are under the influence.

    One of my close friends was raped by three college-aged men while under the influence of alcohol. It was not a one night stand she regretted, it was rape and they all got off scott-free.

    Thank you for denying that it was rape and being a part of the problem, Chris.

  68. Plop Says:
    July 25th, 2012 at 8:33 am

    Reading the comments, I discovered that I was raped several time by my girlfriend, having had sex when I was drunk, and also when I didn’t really want, but consented.

    What should I do now ?

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  70. anon Says:
    August 20th, 2012 at 10:48 am

    IS there any reason why this website is blocked by Google for “Malware warning”?
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  71. What Do Feminists Have Left? « Starting Young & Aiming High Says:
    October 3rd, 2012 at 7:18 am

    […] Sociology Males are more likely to be victims of violence than females Aspiring Economist My university recently hosted a forum on rape for female college students. They emphasized that […]

  72. READ THE LINK BEFORE YOU RAGE KTHX. Says:
    November 1st, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    I did the masochistic thing (because I’m bored and stuck at a desk) and read ALL 71 COMMENTS. I reached the appalling conclusion THAT NO ONE READS LINKS PROVIDED.

    At the very beginning of this blog, the author cites and provides a link to “Researching the ‘Rape Culture’ in America” by Dr. Christina Sommers. It is excruciatingly apparent, from the concerns and criticisms directed against Brandon, that few if any of you bothered to read the link. I know this, because the VAST MAJORITY OF YOU are offering criticisms and concerns that were directly and thoroughly addressed in the article by Dr. Sommers.

    SO, TO SAVE YOU ALL THE PAIN OF TYPING REDUNDANT POINTS ALLOW ME TO POST THE CENTRAL CRITIQUE OF KOSS’ STUDY:

    “When Neil Gilbert, a professor at Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare, first read the “one in four” figure in the school newspaper, he was convinced it could not be accurate. The results did not tally with the findings of almost all previous research on rape. When he read the study he was able to see where the high figures came from and why Koss’s approach was unsound.

    He noticed, for example, that Koss and her colleagues counted as victims of rape any respondent who answered “yes” to the question “Have you had sexual intercourse when you didn’t want to because a man gave you alcohol or drugs?” That opened the door wide to regarding as a rape victim anyone who regretted her liaison of the previous night. If your date mixes a pitcher of margaritas and encourages you to drink with him and you accept a drink, have you been “administered” an intoxicant, and has your judgment been impaired? Certainly, if you pass out and are molested, one would call it rape. But if you drink and, while intoxicated, engage in sex that you later come to regret, have you been raped? Koss does not address these questions specifically, she merely counts your date as a rapist and you as a rape statistic if you drank with your date and regret having had sex with him. As Gilbert points out, the question, as Koss posed it, is far too ambiguous:

    What does having sex “because” a man gives you drugs or alcohol signify? A positive response does not indicate whether duress, intoxication, force, or the threat of force were present; whether the woman’s judgment or control were substantially impaired; or whether the man purposefully got the woman drunk in order to prevent her resistance to sexual advances…. While the item could have been clearly worded to denote “intentional incapacitation of the victim,” as the question stands it would require a mind reader to detect whether any affirmative response corresponds to this legal definition of rape.[17]

    Koss, however, insisted that her criteria conformed with the legal definitions of rape used in some states, and she cited in particular the statute on rape of her own state, Ohio: “No person shall engage in sexual conduct with another person . . . when . . . for the purpose of preventing resistance the offender substantially impairs the other person’s judgment or control by administering any drug or intoxicant to the other person” (Ohio revised code 1980, 2907.01A, 2907.02).[18]
    The Blade Cuts Deep

    Two reporters from the Blade a small, progressive Toledo, Ohio, newspaper that has won awards for the excellence of its investigative articles-were also not convinced that the “one in four” figure was accurate. They took a close look at Koss’s study and at several others that were being cited to support the alarming tidings of widespread sexual abuse on college campuses. In a special three-part series on rape called “The Making of an Epidemic,” published in October 1992, the reporters, Nara Shoenberg and Sam Roe, revealed that Koss was quoting the Ohio statute in a very misleading way: she had stopped short of mentioning the qualifying clause of the statute, which specifically excludes “the situations where a person plies his intended partner with drink or drugs in hopes that lowered inhibition might lead to a liaison.”[19] Koss now concedes that question eight was badly worded. Indeed, she told the Blade reporters, “At the time I viewed the question as legal; I now concede that it’s ambiguous.”[20] That concession should have been followed by the admission that her survey may be inaccurate by a factor of two: for, as Koss herself told the Blade, once you remove the positive responses to question eight, the finding that one in four college women is a victim of rape or attempted rape drops to one in nine.[21] But as we shall see, this figure too is unacceptably high.

    For Gilbert, the most serious indication that something was basically awry in the Ms./Koss study was that the majority of women she classified as having been raped did not believe they had been raped. Of those Koss counts as having been raped, only 27 percent thought they had been; 73 percent did not say that what happened to them was rape. In effect, Koss and her followers present us with a picture of confused young women overwhelmed by threatening males who force their attentions on them during the course of a date but are unable or unwilling to classify their experience as rape. Does that picture fit the average female undergraduate? For that matter, does it plausibly apply to the larger community? As the journalist Cathy Young observes, “Women have sex after initial reluctance for a number of reasons . . . fear of being beaten up by their dates is rarely reported as one of them.”[22]

    Katie Roiphe, a graduate student in English at Princeton and author of The Morning After: Sex, Fear, and Feminism on Campus, argues along similar lines when she claims that Koss had no right to reject the judgment of the college women who didn’t think they were raped. But Katha Pollitt of The Nation defends Koss, pointing out that in many cases people are wronged without knowing it. Thus we do not say that “victims of other injustices-fraud, malpractice, job discrimination-have suffered no wrong as long as they are unaware of the law.”[23]

    Pollitt’s analogy is faulty, however. If Jane has ugly financial dealings with Tom and an expert explains to Jane that Tom has defrauded her, then Jane usually thanks the expert for having enlightened her about the legal facts. To make her case, Pollitt would have to show that the rape victims who were unaware that they were raped would accept Koss’s judgment that they really were. But that has not been shown; Koss did not enlighten the women she counts as rape victims, and they did not say “now that you explain it, we can see we were.”

    Koss and Pollitt make a technical (and in fact dubious) legal point: women are ignorant about what counts as rape. Roiphe makes a straightforward human point: the women were there, and they know best how to judge what happened to them. Since when do feminists consider “law” to override women’s experience?”

  73. Mind youpr biz Says:
    November 19th, 2012 at 11:20 am

    So, what are my daughter’s chances of being raped or molested before she is 12? Let’s talk about that. Set aside the in her lifetime question and all the stats about that.

    You guys are arguing over valid points however no matter how you slice it, at LEAST 20% of female CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 12 in the U.S has been and will be sexually abused (i.e, RAPED–that is, fucked without her wanting it, sodomized–that is fucked in any orifice other than the vagina, forced to perform a sexual act–like giving hand jobs, etc). Let’s not forget what we are talking about here. No matter how you slice it, there is NO CONSENT when you are UNDER 12! And the stats for boys is equally ALARMING.

    People don’t believe it because it’s just so damn high, they think, there can’t be so many sick people out there, otherwise … Well, the whole country would be up in arms so it can’t be true but it IS true and a CULTURAL issue to boot.

  74. A peculiar kind of writer’s block | &persand Says:
    January 2nd, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    […] until it looks the way they want it to. I can’t do that. (In that vein I went and reloaded this article on the Aspiring Economist, that made me so angry the first time I read it that I closed it and […]

  75. Holly Says:
    January 16th, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    I know when I start speaking openly and honestly with women from 20-45 the numbers actually seem far higher than 1 in 4. I don’t know who you are speaking with and if they open up to you, but when I start chatting, things come back from the past like friends having woken up to their boyfriend on top of them when they didn’t want it. Or even with older women who have had it happen but there wasn’t even a term for it. If you are a woman and start talking to other women about all the times they’ve been groped or fondled or had their body attacked in ways that were not welcome, it really seems like it is much higher than 1 in 4. The molestations that happen to young girls, the brothers who have forced themselves on their sisters, the fathers who have abused their daughters including a retarded one, these are things that women don’t feel comfortable opening up about often, but if you are a friend and a woman they can confide in, oh the horror you will hear. That train conductor who touched you under your skirt and you were confused because it felt good. I could go on and on and on, and that is just among the people I know. And it’s not like I know the whole world. Look at what happened in Ohio and then ask yourself why more of us don’t feel comfortable speaking up about these atrocities. Why? Because if it is only he said, she said, then they are going to stand behind the football team and not do a god damn thing.

  76. google Says:
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  77. More Random Musings on Rape Culture Nonsense | M3 Says:
    August 9th, 2013 at 10:07 am

    […] PROBLEM WITH 1 IN 4 (aside from it being based on COMPLETE BULLSHIT[link] […]

  78. jinkies Says:
    September 13th, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    It’s worse in Canada, we keep seeing tv commercials telling us 1 in 2 women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime! so clearly canadian men are twice as rapey as american men. And people say canadians are polite….

  79. Dean Says:
    October 1st, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    Clearly some people either don’t understand or don’t want to understand what ‘didn’t want to’ means.

    One example from here;
    “I am a man. I have had sex many times with girlfriends and one night stands when I did not want to. I did it so they wouldn’t feel bad, or rejected, or unattractive.”

    He says, he didn’t want to, but then proceeds to detail the reasons that he did want to have sex for.
    He’s confused ‘didn’t want to have sex primarily for my sexual gratification’, with ‘didn’t want to have sex’. Full stop. He did however want to have sex because he feared his partner may feel unattractive. Maybe a well meant altruistic motivation, perhaps not a very good motivation in some situations, but one he’s fully capable of weighing and giving his informed consent to.
    No one has said a woman is raped if her motivation for having sex is tempered by anything but purely a desire for sexual gratification.
    So no, in spite the attempt to spin, a person in such a scenario did want to have sex. It’s motivation that he’s talking about and that’s irrelevant in the specific context of whether you wanted to or not.
    And we’re not talking about coercion there either, we’re talking about reasons he himself describes for his making a decision.

  80. Dominic Derrin Says:
    October 23rd, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    I am sorry, but this discussion gets very silly very very quickly.

    It is obvious that the 1 in 4 is absurd. Obvious.
    You do not need to examine a study to know that. You actually go AND examine said study because that number is absurdly high and represents no sort of reality in which we live in.

    It is also obvious that even 1 rape is 1 rape too many.
    We do not live in a rapey-rape society. We do not live in a society that condones rape at all. Quite the contrary.

    Let me make this double clear:

    Our society despises rape. Ok, got it?

    Go and ask any cop, any man, any woman (perhaps), which kind of criminal they would like to get their hands on and either tear apart or put in jail - that creature is the rapist.

    It is obvious that rape is an extremely serious subject. Something that needs to be discussed, not used in some sort of political struggle by this or that group with some twisted ideology.

    Let’s cut the nonsense here. Anyone that has any ability to analyze data, can go back to that ’study’ and to more recent studies and surveys and see where the nonsense lies, how the metadata was ill organized, how the questions are badly phrased and are triggering people to answer in this or that way.

    This is an embarrassment. Not to the people creating and putting forth these studies, not even the idiots behind certain groups that try to sell their failed ideology. This is an embarrassment and a shame to us as a society. Rape is a serious matter, and by faking these studies and letting our emotions rule where our reason and our intelligence should, is making all the matter murky and incomprehensible.

    Let me be very clear, because I have spent quite some time and effort reading after badly published paper after badly published paper, and I am getting tired of this nonsense…

    These studies and this ‘research’ is incredibly flawed and leads no one nowhere. It speaks volumes of the people behind it, and it speaks volumes of the people trying to push them in order to advance their agenda, but little else.

    I don’t even care if you are insane enough to believe that 1 in 4 claim. If you are, good. Then get your money on the the hands of good researchers that can do a proper study, so that we can find out the real statistics.

    Let us stop debating if incredibly lousy and lazy studies really represent our society. Apparently not even insane values of 25% of all women seem to make the general public suspicious of either foul play or fool’s play.

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  84. Alex Says:
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    Reality is 60% of rape reports are false.

    The reality is women can be caught blatantly lying and not be punished for false accusations.

    The reality is you have loads of insane women who think regret after sex is rape.

  85. Sean Says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    The key problem with many of the inflated stats is that they don’t differentiate between desiring to have sex and giving consent to have sex. They also don’t see the difference between coercion through threats with coercion by being charming.

    The first point - Rape means without consent. It doesn’t mean that you weren’t in the mood but said ok. But the stats don’t care about that. Anyone who is sexually active has had sex at some point where they consented but didn’t really want to. Having sex that you aren’t all that interested in because you love someone, or because you just don’t want to hurt their feelings isn’t rape. Couldn’t be rape. You consented. But the stats don’t care that you said yes. It just asks if you wanted to or not. Imagine if we created stats about other crimes like that. Imagine asking people ‘Have you ever been forced to go somewhere you didn’t want to go?’ and counting everyone who said ‘Yes’ as being a victim of kidnapping, with schools, colleges and jobs being the prime offenders. If you consented then you couldn’t have been raped, even if you didn’t really want to all that much.

    Next up let’s talk about intoxication and ‘giving’ someone something that inhibits their ability to consent. As others above have pointed out - Consent goes both ways, and just being drunk or high doesn’t automatically make sex into rape for either partner. If someone is unconscious or insensible; intoxicated to the point where they couldn’t make a rational decision then it was rape, but that’s the only situation where it definitely was. People often do things they otherwise wouldn’t when they were intoxicated but that doesn’t preclude them from having an ability to say no. That’s the problem here. Plenty of people above seem to assume that everyone who has sex while drunk was too drunk to consent, but as anyone who drinks can tell you it’s seldom as clear cut as that. Regretting it in the morning doesn’t make it rape, nor does someone buying a drink for you. All we can do is trust the people involved to know what was rape and what wasn’t when they had a few drinks. When someone leaps at you saying ‘Do me now’ after a couple of glasses of wine, how can we call that non-consensual? Not black out drunk. Just had a few drinks. And as others have pointed out, why are we singling women out? Why can’t they decide if they should drink or not? If women having sex after two drinks are being raped, then men are too.

    Secondly - Coercion is an extremely dangerous thing to start including in the stats. In the context of rape what coercion in fact should mean is threats of violence (I’ll hurt you if you don’t…) , abuse of authority (I’ll have you fired…) and blackmail (I’ll tell everyone all that nasty stuff I know…). It means using words to force someone to do something against there will. Force being the key word, which implies fear of the rapist. Researchers could ask a question like ‘Have you ever had sex with someone because you were afraid of the consequences of saying no?’. I think we can all agree that someone who answers yes to that was raped. But they don’t ask that and it’s an intentional choice. Instead they talk about ‘pressuring’ - a nebulous word that means whatever you want it to mean.

    Much of what the stats count as coercion isn’t that, including things that aren’t within a country mile of being rape. Being charming to someone to convince them to sleep with you isn’t coercion. Nor is buying someone flowers or chocolates or taking them to a swanky restaurant. Nor is trying to convince them that they want to sleep with you. Even something less pleasant like begging or being passive aggressive isn’t coercion. Even telling someone you won’t love them unless they sleep with you isn’t coercion as long as consent is freely given (again; desire and consent aren’t the same thing). And yet all of these things can easily be seen as ‘pressuring’. Hell, asking someone to have sex with you IS pressuring them to have sex with you. Maybe not a vast amount of pressure, but saying no can feel extremely hard, especially with someone that you like. Imagine this situation - It’s a first date, and one of the couple suggests going home and jumping in the sack. The other one likes the partner and would like to sleep with them but wants to get to know them better first. But because they do like the partner, and because they do want to see them again they feel pressured. If they do say yes, no-one would ever call that coercion and definitely not a rape, but there’s obviously some degree of pressure there.

    They create an intentional grey area because activism is an industry and getting high figures means getting more money and more exposure. Writing books and publishing studies isn’t done out of the goodness of anyone’s heart. Everyone involved gets paid. The more people buying the books and t-shirts, hiring the speakers and going to the rally means more money. Magically high rape figures means more money. That’s a huge conflict of interest. No-one has any vested interest in making rape appear less common than it is. What possible reason could there be for the DoJ to make rapes appear less common? So who do you chose to trust?

    And as for unreported rapes… When you broaden the definition of rape far beyond the point of reason it’s easy to argue how the vast majority of rapes aren’t reported. They aren’t reported because the vast majority of acts covered by that definition aren’t rape at all and the women involved would certainly not consider themselves victims. If the law wouldn’t consider something a rape AND the victim doesn’t consider something rape then it’s not a rape. Only activists consider it to be rape.

    It’s easy to ‘find’ an unreported rape by deciding for yourself if someone was raped or not. That’s the problem with all the comments bringing up how women talk differently among trusted friends. Certainly some women would tell a friend but not a researched. But I ask all of you who claim to know dozens of friends who have been raped - Did they tell you they had been raped? Did they use those words? Or did they talk about a less than satisfactory encounter that you decided was rape for them? Was what they told you significant enough for you to advise them to go to the police? A rape crisis center maybe? It seems unlikely that a really close friend, one that was close enough to tell something that no-one else had ever heard, wouldn’t do anything to try and help their friend, to take the attacker off the streets.

    Absolutely rape is an under-reported crime, and that’s something that we need to address. But just making assumptions about how under-reported it is doesn’t help anything. RAINN (the rape abuse and incest national network) say that that about 60% of rapes are unreported and that’s clearly a shamefully huge number. But for the 1 in 4 stat to add up we’d be talking about 99%+ unreported which strains credibility beyond the limit. That number would suggest that being raped isn’t that big of a deal to the vast majority of women, not enough to bother the police with. Certainly rape has some terrible side effects that prevent people wanting to come forward, but to that degree? After something that wrecks your life 99% of women just do nothing about it ever? Only 1% of women want to try and take the bastard off the streets? There are certainly more rapes than the official stats of reported rapes show, no-one has ever claimed differently. But 99% is ludicrous and claims that rape is one of the most common crimes, rather than one of the least. Of course when you count rapes as things that neither partner, nor the law, believe are rape then of course it’s quite easy to come up with that huge figure.

    The activists seem to want it both ways. They want to widen the definition of rape to include all kinds of things that would equally apply to both genders, but only count when those things happen to women. They argue that a woman consenting to sex when she doesn’t really want to is rape, but that a man consenting when he doesn’t want to isn’t. They argue that women can be coerced into sex against their will by extremely minor things but men can’t be. They claim to know better than the women involved if sex was a rape or not. They say in public that they want women to be empowered and that they should fight back against men, but in private they treat women like they don’t know their own lives, their own experiences and their own bodies. In public they trumpet ‘No means no’ but when they take a poll and ask if someone believed they were raped, no means yes to them.

    Anyone who thinks women can’t decide if they were raped is the problem here. What sort of feminist is it that believes that women are too stupid or brainwashed to know if they were the victim of a terrible crime or not?

    And that’s the crux of the problem. They aren’t conducting science to try and fight a problem, they are creating propaganda to promote an ideology. They have a philosophical construct of what a rape is and how victimized women are. They have no problem of calling anyone who criticizes them brainwashed pawns of patriarchy. Those aren’t my words. These are things that women who disagree with their findings have been called. Someone above me talked about Christina Hoff Sommers - She’s an extremely well credentialed academic, but apparently she’s not intelligent enough to know what are her own views and what are the ones imprinted on to her by a masculinist society.

    Sex has to be consensual. But if asking for consent is coercive, how does anyone have sex at all? I’ve been told to my face that sweet talking a woman into bed makes me a rapist. It apparently doesn’t matter that she said yes, or even that she actually wanted to sleep with me. It doesn’t matter that it’s totally in opposition to the facts of the situation. To that woman I am a rapist for presenting myself in a positive light to a woman.

    This kind of aggressive anti-male, anti-sex stance is typical of the activists that are creating laws. They care about punishing men and recruiting converts. If they cared about rape and it’s victims they certainly wouldn’t be focusing on college campuses - some of the safest environments for women in the country. They would be focusing on deprived inner cities where women are at the highest risk and the rapists the least likely to be caught. But apparently being raped at gun point in Detroit or Philadelphia is much less worthy of resources than arguing about pressure and coercion on college campuses.

    Rape is a terrible crime, one of the most horrific things that can happen to anyone. If we had more honesty from researchers then we could actually make real changes to ensure it doesn’t happen. But the activists aren’t interested in that.

    The activists ask insulting questions of women and then decide for them they were raped. They want to show that men are rapists so they ignore that their questions should apply to both genders and treat all women like victims, and claim a lot of consensual sex is rape.

    Where’s the harm right? They’re raising awareness! No, they are hurting people. They are stripping resources from people who need it to line their own pockets. When you call a woman a victim and treat her like a victim and tell her she was too stupid to realize that she was raped then some of them start acting like victims; scare and lonely and vulnerable. When you call a man a rapist, and treat him like a rapist and tell him he’s already a rapist some of them are going to start acting like that. It’s the perfect way to create men who are angry at all women and who want to hurt them.

    Labeling people creates hate and fear and makes it easier for rapists to attack, and harder for victims to come forward. These lies hurt people.

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  90. Should men identify as feminists? - Page 18 Says:
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    […] women are raped. You can argue against the methodology used to get the 1 in 6/1 in 4 statistic, but even a criticism of that says the numbers may be closer to 1 in 14. This is compared to 1 in 33 statistic given for men. This is not to disparage male victims of rape […]

  91. meh Says:
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    Even RAAIN site says 1:1300 people are raped.

    I really don’t get where 1:4-6 comes from, and if being drunk counts as rape, I guess that explains it. But that means dudes are raped by ladies, too.

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  93. Travis Says:
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    It’s always pathetic when a feminist is confronted with exaggerated rape stats and, instead of admitting that it’s wrong to lie about such things, they just say “Well…instances of rape are still too high!”.

    How many instances of rape would NOT be too high? And how does lying eliminate rape?

  94. Velouria Says:
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    “Have you had sexual intercourse when you didn’t want to because a man gave you alcohol or drugs?
    An affirmative answer was counted as rape”

    “In other words, a women who regretted a one night stand after a night of drinking was considered as having been sexually assaulted.”

    Nope. Wrong. If someone has sex when they don’t want to, that is rape. That is what the question asked and that is what the answer is. The question was not, “Did you regret a one-night stand.”

    You are taking one thing and calling it something else. Did you want to have sex? No. Oh, then you regretted it? No. I was assaulted.

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  96. bob Says:
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    Sarah: No does mean no. But “yes” followed by regret the next morning doesn’t mean “no.”

    I’m not trying to belittle the problem, nor imply that all, or even most, reported campus sexual assaults follow that pattern. But I’ve yet to find any really reliable data to support the current meme that 1 in 5 college women will be sexually assaulted. It’s become a meme, accepted as true simply because it’s been repeated endlessly. And I find it very hard to believe without supporting data.

    It reminds me of the panic over child abductions a decade or two ago, with the media constantly reporting statistics that meant every elementary school would have suffered multiple cases of abduction. The numbers were eventually shown to be bogus, but that never got much press coverage.

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  105. Alyson Says:
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    Alcohol removes the ability to consent in every legal standard worth mentioning, and psychologists have repeatedly shown that returning to a rapist and not wanting to identify yourself as having been raped are positively correlated with HAVING BEEN RAPED.

    Are you bad at science, or did you intentionally not actually check any of your facts for this article?

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    “Alcohol removes the ability to consent in every legal standard worth mentioning”

    “Are you bad at science, or did you intentionally not actually check any of your facts for this article?”

    A glass of wine before sex = literal inability to consent.

    Doesn’t really matter if he checked his facts because it sounds like YOU checked your entire BRAIN.

    Honey, some of us women don’t like it when you turn this stuff into a joke. You damage the credibility of real, actual victims. I know this is stylish to treat women like irresponsible children but you’ve pushed the standard so far that at this point, the only way to return to your senses is to visit a women’s shelter or talk to women who have actually been raped.

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