CHAPEL HILL – The results of a student survey on the prevalence of sexual assault at the University of North Carolina are raising eyebrows and stand to revive the ‘Rape Culture’ narrative en vogue just a few years ago. Notably, of more than 6,000 student respondents to the survey, more than a third of female students reported experiencing “nonconsensual sexual touching or penetration in college.” The reported rate rose to 45 percent for fourth year students.
That’s a high number. It would mean HALF of the girls graduating any given year have been raped or sexual assaulted.
From the News & Observer:
“[…] The rates were “alarming” and higher than they were in a 2015 survey, UNC officials said in a report released to the campus community Tuesday.
Among the findings at UNC:
- 20% of undergraduate women said they had experienced nonconsensual sexual penetration since entering college.
- That number was 27% for undergraduate women in their fourth year or higher.
- 35% of undergraduate women at UNC said they had experienced nonconsensual sexual touching or penetration in college.
- That number was 45% of undergraduate women in their fourth year or higher.
The survey defined nonconsensual penetration as penetration involving physical force (including attempts), coercion, no voluntary agreement or the inability to consent or stop what was happening because the student was passed out, asleep or incapacitated due to drugs or alcohol. Nonconsensual sexual touching was defined under the same circumstances. […]”
Again, that’s more than a quarter of senior girls reporting having been raped in college. That’s an understandably shocking figure taken at face value, and it feeds right into the narrative of toxic masculinity and sexual violence the Left has used as a weapon against the right. But do these results really support a narrative concluding college campuses are rampant with rape and half of girls should expect to be sexually assaulted before receiving their degree?
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While the issue is serious, of course, context therefore that much more important. Right out of the gate, it’s important to consider that this was a voluntary survey about sexual assaults to which almost 6,000 students chose to respond. What is the likelihood that students with sexual assault experiences would be more likely than others to respond to the survey, thereby skewing results to show ‘alarming’ rates of sexual assault?
Further, included in the broad net of sexual assault experiences includes ‘no voluntary agreement or ‘inability to consent’ due to being intoxicated.
Of the “alarming” number of students reporting experiencing sexual assault or rape, less than a fifth of those report the incident in any way. Why?
“[…] The biggest reason students didn’t contact programs or resources for help was because they didn’t feel like it was serious enough. Many said they didn’t think the assault was worth reporting because it seems common, they weren’t injured or hurt, it started as consensual or alcohol or drugs were involved. […]”
Most students that voluntarily took the survey, reported experiencing sexual assault situations as defined by the survey authors, but didn’t themselves feel like those situations were ‘serious enough’ in real time for any recourse. Yet, the headlines that read…
A third of female undergraduate UNC students reported sexual assault, survey found
…is decidedly serious. One can hope that these survey results are a misrepresentation of life on a idyllic college campus like UNC Chapel Hill, and that such a possibility is at least considered by the mainstream media and social justice activists before assuming it proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Rape Culture is rampant.
Read more about the survey and the results here.
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