The White House is kicking off an effort to combat sexual assault on colleges campuses, an admirable and noble goal without argument. Except, the repeat-offenders in the Obama administration behind the new website NotAlone.gov are driven by their usual motivation, which is political reward at the expense of facts, truth and wise policy-making decisions.
Sexual assaults on college campuses are a real problem, just not to the extent the White House claims. Last month, the White House sent out the following Tweet:
— White House Archived (@ObamaWhiteHouse) April 29, 2014
It was retweeted around 743 times, at last count, but unfortunately it was researched far less.
This figure comes from the 2005-2007 Campus Sexual Assault Study, which has been widely debunked by academics, government organizations and even Washington Post Fact Checker, Glenn Kessler. While Kessler highlighted that the so-called study was conducted at just two schools, which yielded a staggeringly low response rate for such a magnanimous claim, there are far more troubling irregularities. In fact, to an outside observer, there is a clear ill-intent to obfuscate the truth.
For starters, two-thirds of the college women cited in the study and counted as rape victims were drug or alcohol related instances, with the victims themselves saying they did not think they were raped. Further, only a handful out of these particular “victims” even reported suffering from some psychological harm.
“Drug- and/or alcohol-enabled sexual assault,” which represented roughly 70 percent of all the “rape” incidents in the study, consisted of instances of unconsciousness or incapacitation, but also flat-out cases of intoxication. Just to clarify, getting drunk and making a bad decision is not the same as passing out and being sexually assaulted by a predator, man or woman. Intoxication can cloud a woman’s or man’s judgment and blur the lines of consent, as well as result in someone giving it who might have otherwise declined to give it.
But putting aside garbage data from this study, and the numbers cited by the White House simply do not make sense.
The White House task force on campus sexual assault estimated that 12 percent of sexual assault cases go unreported, which if true, results in nowhere near 1 in 5 college women being assaulted throughout the course of attendance. In fact, using the administration’s numbers, University of Michigan economist Mark Perry did the number crunching and found it’s more like 1 in 20 or 1 in 30. But even that may be too high.
The Justice Department estimates that fewer than 5 percent of completed and attempted rapes of college women are reported to law enforcement officials. Worth noting — that is, if we want to actually pursue legitimate policy — that number is far below the rate for the country as a whole, where roughly 40 percent of all sexual assaults are reported.
Still, the phony White House numbers aren’t even as bad as other alarmist figures.
At least 1 in 4 college women will be the victim of a sexual assault during her academic career, claims one alarmist statistic found in a book written by Kathleen Hirsch in 1990, ”Fraternities of Fear: Gang Rape, Male Bonding, and the Silencing of Women.” This is a widely circulated — and, sadly false — statistic that is drummed over and over and proudly displayed on the website at Sarah Lawrence.
So, why would the White House — with an entire task force of researchers at their disposal — be pushing an otherwise noble agenda with disgracefully dishonest facts?
Politics, plain and simple.
College campuses are a rich, on-tap source of Democratic voters, who are by majority female. According to a recent poll conducted by Harvard’s Institute of Politics, turnout among young voters in the 2014 midterm elections will be very, very low. But it’s actually worse than it seems, because young conservative voters, who are by majority men, are far more likely to say they will “definitely be voting” in November.
“This is a no-brainer,” says senior political analyst, Richard D. Baris.
“We have seen this time and time again from the White House,” he added. “Whether it’s voter ID to scare black voters to the polls, income inequality to target single-working women or delaying the Keystone XL pipeline to satisfy the far left radical environmentalists, there’s always an aim to increase voter turnout in November among groups who are notorious for not participating in midterm elections.”
And sadly there’s always a legitimate problem that sacrifices it’s integrity. The problem of sexual assault on college campuses deserves a real response, not to be used as a political ploy or a tool to further degrade constitutional rights, which is exactly what is occurring now through the national, White House-backed initiative to combat the problem.
The Department of Education is recommending that college administrators resort to the lowest burden of proof, or the “preponderance of the evidence” standard. As Cathy Young of Time noted, this standard often “means a finding of guilt if one feels the evidence tips even slightly toward the complainant—in disciplinary proceedings on sexual assault.” Whereas students who have been accused of misconduct have traditionally enjoyed the higher standard of “clear and convincing evidence,” in line with our actual codified Constitution, the administration is now pushing a guilty until proven innocent standard.
“A far better solution would be to draw a clear line between forced sex (by violence, threats or incapacitation) and unwanted sex due to alcohol-impaired judgment, miscommunication or verbal pressure,” Young proposes. “For the former, victims should be encouraged to seek real justice: a rapist deserves prison, not expulsion from college. For the latter, the answer is to promote mutual responsible behavior, not female victimhood.”
But victimhood is exactly what the Obama administration has promoted for the past five years, reaching unprecedented levels in 2012 (except in the case of late Ambassador Chris Stevens) to ensure his reelection. The president’s party thrives and survives on victimhood, which they have aimed to take to a whole new level in 2014 to avoid loosing the Senate to the Republicans in November; even if that means abusing actual victims.