Saturday, October 19, 2013
From Eugene Volokh at The Volokh Conspiracy:
Last week, JAMA Pediatrics published Prevalence Rates of Male and Female Sexual Violence Perpetrators in a National Sample of Adolescents, which promptly hit the news (see, e.g., this USA Today storyand this National Geographic story, among many others). The results, based on a survey of 1058 youths age 14 to 21, were shocking. . . .
But then one looks closely, and what does one see under “tactics used” (a question asked about the last “perpetration” of “attempted or completed rape”)? Of the 49 perpetrators, 10 reported that they used physical force or threat of physical force; 10 more reported that they used alcohol, 23 reported that they used “guilt,” and 21 reported that they used “arguing and pressuring victim” (since more than one answer was possible, the amounts add up to more than 49). So 80% of the reported “rape[s]” involved neither force nor the threat of force, and 59% involved only “guilt” or “arguing and pressuring victim,” with no use of force, threat of force, or even alcohol.
So actually only 1% of the respondents had used physical force or threat of physical force to get sex. Another 1% used alcohol; this might involve what the legal system would label rape (e.g., getting someone so drunk that they became unconscious and then having sex with them), but certainly need not (e.g., giving someone some alcohol to loosen their inhibitions). The remainder of the supposed rapists or attempted rapists aren’t really rapists at all.