Sunday, 24 May 2015

Jessica Valenti Has Zero Ethics in Journalism - Cites Studies Saying Rape is Not an "Epidemic" by Accident

Jessica Valenti has recently written an article for The Guardian titled Sexual assault is an epidemic. Only the most committed apologist can deny it. Valenti's article is completely based on the "Incapacitated and Forcible Rape of College Women: Prevalence Across the First Year" 'study' which she claims is proof that there is truly an "epidemic" of the sexual assault of women - because the researchers say so in their abstract. Valenti would like you to think she indeed read the full study, but when you click on the link she gives in her article, it goes only to the abstract of that 'study', not the full 'study' itself. 

Being someone who likes to do a lot of research, I was able to find the complete 'study' in less than 5 minutes in a Google search. Seems Valenti is not familiar or concerned with doing some real research for an article, but I digress.

As one can clearly see when they read both Valenti's article and the full 'study', she never went any further than the initial abstract to which she linked - the abstract confirmed her ideological biases, and that was enough. It is because of this that she runs into a lot of problems, especially regarding ethics and integrity as a journalist.

As a journalist you are supposed to leave your personal beliefs and biases at the door. Your journalistic integrity lies in your ability and commitment to report the truth, regardless of what you want that truth to be. It requires you to do considerable research in order to present accurate and well-informed and informative articles to the public. Jessica Valenti fails at all of this miserably - her first major mistake being the high likelihood that she never even read the full 'study' on which her whole article is based, that is, if one is to judge based on her error ridden reporting. That means that all the information Valenti passed on to her readers in her article was done dishonestly and unethically. This is dishonest journalism at it's finest - knowingly misleading your readers by pretending to have all the facts is unethical and should not be tolerated.

Right out of the gate, in Valenti's second paragraph, she writes:

"The study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, only counted as rape those sexual assaults that were physically forcible or that happened while the victim was incapacitated due to drugs or alcohol. That means the study didn’t include rape by coercion and threats, nor did it include sexual assault other than nonconsensual [SIC] vaginal, anal, or oral penetration."

It probably won't surprise you that, according to the actual study:

"Sexual victimization was assessed at baseline and every 4 months using a 20-item version of the Sexual Experiences Survey revised by Testa et al.[8] to include the tactic of incapacitation. The Sexual Experiences Survey was nested within a longer health survey; it crosses four perpetrator tactics (i.e., overwhelm you with arguments or continual pressure for sex, use physical force, threaten to harm you or someone close to you, perform sexual acts while you were incapacitated by drugs or alcohol) with five types of contact (i.e., fondle, kiss, or touch sexually; oral sex; try to have sexual intercourse, but it did not happen; succeed in making you have sexual intercourse; anal sex or penetration with a finger or objects). Participants reported how many times each had happened (1) before college; (2) fall semester; (3) spring semester; and (4) summer. We report rates of both A/C FR or IR; completed FR or IR was defined as vaginal, oral, or anal penetration achieved using threats of violence or use of physical force (FR), or using the tactic of victim incapacitation (IR)."

As you can see, the 'study' did indeed include rape by threats (which is coercion within feminist parlance) which is contrary to what Valenti claims in her article. The 'study' used the Sexual Experiences Survey (revised by Testa et al.) which asks participants to answer questions regarding rape and sexual assault by coercion and threats, and includes sexual assault other than non-consensual vaginal, anal, or oral penetration as well as incapacitated sexual assault or rape. So these were all indeed factors included in the 'study's' results:

"We report rates of both A/C FR or IR"  

This means that the 'study' did indeed include A/C FR or IR (Attempted or Completed Forced Rape or Incapacitated Rape) based on the Sexual Experiences Survey. 

Valenti then goes on to make several claims that are not supported by the full 'study'. 

Her first unsupported, and misleading claim, based solely on what she believes to be the truth, is the following:

"Indeed, already some folks have glommed onto the results about incapacitated rape and speciously claimed that it demonstrates a need for us to discuss the “taboo” of the link between women’s drinking and rape – which is so taboo that it’s written about with alarming regularity. For the record: yes, there is a relationship between drinking and rape. It’s the one in which a rapist uses alcohol as a weapon."

Of course, this is more of Valenti at her journalistic finest. However, reality would beg to differ: The "Incapacitated and Forcible Rape of College Women: Prevalence Across the First Year" (IFR) 'study' never says that alcohol was used as a "weapon":

"...perform sexual acts while you were incapacitated by drugs or alcohol."
This quote, from the IFR 'study' never specifies whether the incapacitation was voluntary or involuntary, so Valenti cannot make the claim that alcohol is being used as a weapon, since there is no evidence to indicate that this is the case. The 'study' she herself links to at the end of that paragraph is, at best, unclear - Researchers state in Repeat Rape and Multiple Offending Among Undetected Rapists that, "A majority of these men, 80.8%, reported committing rapes of women who were incapacitated because of drugs or alcohol." There is no indication whether the use of alcohol or drugs was voluntary or involuntary on the part of the 'victim'. For Valenti to claim that "rapists use alcohol as a weapon" is completely dishonest on her part, since neither 'study' makes any such claim.

Valenti isn't done though, she continues to mislead, or indeed, to demonstrate her ignorance of the 'study's contents:

"The inclusion of sexual assaults that didn’t include penetration, physical force or incapacitation in past research studies made them vulnerable to attack by those who insisted that the results didn’t represent incidents of “real” rape, so I understand why Carey might have wanted to exclude non-penetrative sexual assaults or rapes facilitated by threats or coercion."

But Carey did not exclude them, as I already showed you. Again, this is complete misinformation on the part of Valenti who wants to make this study seem less "vulnerable to attack". The 'study' still has all the same limitations in it as previous 'studies' regarding rape and sexual assault, which we will explore in more detail shortly.

For all of Valenti's horribly unethical journalism, we also must thank Valenti for linking to the "Repeat Rape and Multiple Offending Among Undetected Rapists" (RR) 'study'. The RR 'study', along with the IFR 'study' tells us that campus rape is not an "epidemic", that most men are not sexual predators, and that feminists are actually the ones to blame for all this rape-culture hysteria by doing what Valenti does - ignore what these 'studies' actually say, interpret them under the ideological lens of feminism, and create false narratives which are then passed off as fact to purposefully mislead others.

The RR 'study' makes several important claims that serve to discredit the feminist narrative that rape, specifically campus rape, is at "epidemic" levels - as Valenti claims in her article. It also discredits the feminist narrative that men are inherent sexual predators.

Let's look at the first claim made by Valenti, and other feminists - that rape, specifically campus rape, is at "epidemic" levels. According to the IFR 'study', this is indeed not the case:

"The sample consisted of 483 first-year women, aged 18-21 years, constituting 26% of the females in the incoming class at a large private university in the northeastern United States."

Before we go any further, It should be noted that I could only locate the data for 2013 the Freshman Survey, so the numbers are likely to be off by a certain percentage, given that post-secondary enrollments tend to rise slightly each year. However, the 2013 data are not all-inclusive for all post-secondary institutions in the USA either. Again, this number is only an estimate on the lower end, meaning the actual numbers are indeed higher than the 2013  data suggests, as "two-year colleges are not included in the norms sample" (page 52), which means that the 0.06% would likely be even lower. I would also like to caution that I am not a statistician, so if any errors in my calculations appear to be wrong, please feel free to correct me. One final caveat: the 0.06% is the number of women who responded to the survey, and not the number of women who experienced rape due to intoxication, or any other means within the respondent group, which if factored in, would lower the percentages to even greater lows of statistical insignificance.

With that said, let's proceed.

If we take the sample size of the IFR study (483), which was conducted in 2010 and is to be a representative sample of all first-year women - otherwise known as first-time female freshmen - then look at the numbers from the 2013 CIRP Freshman Survey National Norms Sample and Population (page 52)*, the total of both male and female first-time freshman for "all institutions" was 1,550,189. We know that the ratio of female to male college students is approximately 50/50, so we would then divide the total of first-time freshman for "all institutions" by 2 (1,550,189/2=775,095). This means, that the IFR study represents only 0.06% of all first-time female freshman in US post-secondary institutions (483 students being representative of 775,095 first-time female freshman = 0.06%). This shows us that the IFR study is representative of less than half of one woman per 100 women. This also means that the percentages reported in the IFR study for attempted or completed F/R I/R, when applied to all first-time female freshman is much lower than 0.06%, and therefore is not and cannot in any way be indicative of a rape-culture crisis or "epidemic", notwithstanding the assertion made in the abstract by the study authors.

Let's look at another feminist narrative - the one that pegs all men as potential rapists or sexual predators. Thanks to Valenti's link to the "Repeat Rape and Multiple Offending Among Undetected Rapists" (RR) 'study', we now have several findings from that 'study' that indicate that feminist narrative to be false.

The first finding we'll look at is on page 8 of the RR 'Study' which states that:

"A majority of the undetected rapists in this sample were repeat offenders. Almost two-thirds of them raped more than once, and a majority also committed other acts of inter-personal violence, such as battery, child physical abuse, and child sexual abuse. These repeat rapists each committed an average of six rapes and/or attempted rapes and an average of 14 interpersonally [sic] violent acts. Within the universe of 3,698 violent acts that the 1,882 men in this sample were responsible for, the 76 repeat rapists by themselves accounted for 1,045 of that total. That is, representing only 4% of the sample, the repeat rapists accounted for 28% of the violence. Their level of violence was nearly ten times that of non-rapists, and nearly three and a half times that of single-act rapists. The evidence that a relatively small proportion of men are responsible for a large number of rapes and other interpersonal crimes may provide at least a partial answer to an oft-noted paradox: namely, that while victimization surveys have established that a substantial proportion of women are sexually victimized, relatively small percentages of men report committing acts of sexual violence (e.g., Rubenzahl & Corcoran, 1998). In this sample of 1,882 men, 76 (4%) individuals were responsible for an estimated 439 rapes and attempted rapes."

In other words, according to the RR 'study' findings, a only a small portion of men are responsible for a 'large' number of rapes because they are repeat offenders. It also means that all the "victimization surveys" that feminists so often quote to promote and justify their rape-culture narrative are ignoring the findings that indicate only a small percentage of men are committing these sexual offenses. These findings in the RR 'study' dispel the feminist born myth that all men are prone to inherent sexually violent behavior and so they (men) therefor must be targeted as a whole in order to prevent the rape or sexual assault of women.

The second finding on page 9 of the RR 'study' says that:

"Almost two thirds of these rapists were repeat offenders who averaged close to six rapes each, and the majority also engaged in other forms of interpersonal violence, ranging from battery to physical and sexual abuse of children. This portrait is more consistent with the data on recidivism among sex offenders than with the still-prevalent image of a male college student who, under the influence of alcohol, mistakenly crosses the line between sexual pressure and rape."

Again, the RR 'study' tells us that the majority of rapists are found to be repeat offenders. The RR data also shows that repeat offenders are more of an accurate description when describing sex offenders than the popular yet inaccurate description that sex offenders are mostly male college students.

This is where we come to the statement I made earlier - that feminists are actually the ones to blame for all this rape-culture hysteria. 

As the RR 'study' clearly states, most rapes/sexual offenses are committed by a small percentage of men who are more than likely to be repeat offenders, and not the average male college student. The prevalent idea that there is a rape "epidemic" and that college men are raping women all over the place is pure rape-culture hysteria on the part of feminists who want to push their false narrative onto the public in order to vilify men, and in some cases, pursue an agenda that would destroy due process for accused men and coincidentally increase the amount of time that repeat offenders would have to commit more acts of rape, since resources would be allocated to correcting young men who are unlikely to ever rape than to the prosecution of actual rapists. Not to mention the fact that women would also continue to be taught that the responsibility for rape rests solely and exclusively on the rapist rather than admitting that it is feminism that contributes to these types of outcomes by a priori and prima facie absolving all women of any responsibility to take care of themselves (which is also a primary factor in the societal infantilization of women, by making the 'victim blaming' claim if and when anyone suggests that women might benefit from taking better care of themselves and not becoming voluntarily intoxicated in high risk environments).

If there is any rape-culture to be had, it is the one that feminists have created themselves. Feminists are indeed to blame for the victimization and re-victimization of women on campus because of the false narrative that they have been pushing for decades now - that almost all college men are inherent sexual predators, that reporting a rape or sexual assault is either too stressful or scary for victims, that authorities will not take the victim seriously, or that the victim will be ridiculed publicly in some way. By pushing these false narratives, feminists are vilifying all men and actively encouraging women not to report any sexual assaults or rapes to authorities regardless of how much evidence the victim may or may not have. Feminists are normalizing the non-reporting of these crimes for women, which in turn enables offenders and creates more victims.

By encouraging a woman not to report a sexual assault or rape to the proper authorities, there is no record on file which the authorities could then use to track and arrest repeat offenders sooner which would prevent the victimization or re-victimization of more women. Feminists are encouraging women not to report these crimes instead of insisting that women do so regardless of how hard it may be, or how uncomfortable it may make a victim feel in order to prevent more victims. 

Feminists would rather believe their own false narratives and normalize them instead of acknowledging reality - where not reporting an offense will most likely mean another woman will be victimized by that same offender, since the RR 'study' shows that a repeat offender "averages about 6 rapes each". That means 5 victims could possibly have been saved had the first victim reported the offender right away. Maybe it would take 2-3 more victims of that same offender to have him investigated or arrested, but it would mean that there was a record of that offender with authorities alerting them to prior accounts, and this could mean fewer victims in the end. And isn't that what feminists want? Less victims? If so, then feminists need to stop helping these offenders re-offend by telling women it's ok not to report it. 

But we must thank Jessica Valenti for bringing all this information to our attention. Her shoddy journalism has indeed exposed an epidemic - the epidemic of rape-culture hysteria among feminists which has led to their wholesale vilification of men while simultaneously enabling real sexual offenders to re-offend and victimize more women without fearing any real consequences. Thank you Jessica Valenti and feminists everywhere for your commitment to the truth and to justice. Where would we all be without it?

So if you are a woman on campus you can thank feminists like Jessica Valenti next time you, or someone you know is sexually assaulted or raped. And don't worry about reporting it to the proper authorities, as I'm sure some of your abuser's future victims will eventually get around to doing it. And if not, at least you were not made to feel worse by having to report it to the police. I'm sure your abuser's future victims will completely understand.

Written by Kristina Hansen
*** No re-prints without permission