No… study does not show that 20% of college freshman have been raped

A new study from Brown University social “scientists” claims that 18.6 percent of freshmen women surveyed at a university in upstate New York in 2010 endured at least one completed or attempted rape.

This study is junk science because it is based on 483 self-reported and unverified survey responses from paid volunteers (26% of non-randomly selected freshman girls at a large private university in the northeast US).

There is nothing scientific about this process. No one can be sure that even one attempted or completed rape occurred or that whatever happened among this particular cohort is representative of anything.

Given that this survey was completed in 2010, one can only wonder if its sole merit is that its storyline fits right in with the media perpetuated myth that rape is rampant on college campuses.

The excavation of old data like this is reminiscent of the then 10-year old ‘Is oral sex, sex?’ survey of college students that surfaced right before Bill Clinton’s Senate impeachment trial in 1999 and that got Journal of the American Medical Association editor George Lundberg fired for timing its publication to coincide with the trial.

No one is saying rape doesn’t happen. But junk science like this survey does rape awareness advocates (and, ultimately, potential victims) no good.

The media release is here.

The survey used is here.

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