Rape

Is Male Rape More Common at College Than in Prison? Yes, Suggests the White House.

If statistics are true, young men sentenced to prison should breathe a sigh of relief: "At least I wasn't accepted to Harvard."

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Tobias
Screenshot via Netflix

Today in difficult-to-fathom statistics: sexual abuse is actually more prevalent on college campuses than it is inside U.S. prisons—if information cited by the White House is to be believed. Even crazier: male college students are in greater danger than male inmates.

Since that doesn't actually make a lot of sense, perhaps we should be questioning whether the reports are underreporting prison rape, overreporting college rape, or both. 

recent White House report, "Economic Perspectives on Incarceration and the Criminal Justice System," claims that 8.5 percent of women in prison suffer sexual abuse. About half of these assaults are perpetrated by other inmates; the slight majority are perpetrated by prison staff. The citation for this information is the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Compare that White House report with this one from January 2014, which asserts that college-aged women are particularly vulnerable to sexual assault. "1 in 5 women has been sexually assaulted while in college," it claims. 

So 8.5 percent of female prison inmates are sexually abused while behind bars, but a whopping 20 percent of female college students are sexually assaulted during their time on campus, according to the federal government. Does this make any sense? Could it possibly be the case that college is more dangerous than prison? 

There is a possible explanation: men commit most sexual assaults. College campuses are full of men. Women's prisons are not. Therefore, it's not so strange that rapes are more likely on campus than in prison. 

But this explanation seems lacking when one considers the data on sexual assaults against men. Oft-cited surveys published by The Washington Post / Kaiser Foundation and the Association of American Universities put the college male victimization rate at between 5 and 8 percent. The sexual assault rate for male prison inmates, however, is 3.7 percent, according to the White House report. 

In other words, the sexual assault rate for men in prison is half what it is for male college students. 

Perhaps I can accept that women's prisons are safer than colleges. But I have a very difficult time believing that male prisons are significantly safer—for men—than university campuses are. Try taking that idea to its logical conclusion. Imagine the parents of a young man who has been sentenced to four years in a federal penitentiary: instead of crying, they should breathe a sigh of relief and say, "At least he wasn't admitted to Harvard."

The idea that a college acceptance letter is more likely to imply forthcoming sexual abuse than a prison sentence seems preposterous to me. It makes me wonder if there could possibly be something wrong with the way we survey sexual violence on campuses. [Related: Junk Science and Campus Rape]

(Thanks to the American Enterprise Institute's Mark Perry for drawing my attention to the White House report on prison rape.)

Updated at 9:30 a.m. on April 29: On Twitter, someone points out that the two statistics do measure different time periods: four years of college versus a single year in prison. Still, the idea that a year of prison is the safer of the two options (for men!) confounds me.

NEXT: An Open Letter From the GOP to the State's Criminal Class

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  1. Your other convict story – the one about ex-con voters, links to Stossel’s cancer story from this morning.

    1. I sent an email to the webmaster. Is the the proper person to contact?

  2. “n other words, the sexual assault rate for men in prison is double what it is for male college students.”

    Think you mean “half” there, Rico…

    1. Or transpose “prison” and “college students”….

    2. Correct, thank you.

    3. Oz lied to us. I am gonna have to rewatch with a different eye.

  3. Fewer priests in prison?

    1. Chaplains.

    2. Or fewer cops?

  4. But this explanation seems lacking when one considers the data on sexual assaults against men. Oft-cited surveys published by The Washington Post / Kaiser Foundation and the Association of American Universities put the college male victimization rate at between 5 and 8 percent. The sexual assault rate for male prison inmates, however, is 3.7 percent, according to the White House report.

    In other words, the sexual assault rate for men in prison is double what it is for male college students

    While I’m pointing out reason errors, I think you have that lone sentence on the end of the quote backwards.

    1. EAT IT, UCS, cause THIS HERE BUREAUCRAT beat you to it!!!

      1. Sorry, it must have been the time I took to triple check (and post the other issue before reading the article)

        1. Yes, you should be FAR MORE CAVALIER in your corrections. Just like a civil servant to do everything in triplicate!!

  5. “I sold you to White Power Bill for a pack of cigarettes.”

      1. “I hate you!”

        “You hate White Power Bill.”

        “I hate… the government?”

        “You hate White Power Bill.”

        “I hate White Power Bill…”

        1. Tobias Funke, certified Analrapist

          1. He’s ready for ANUSTART

  6. “Try taking that idea to its logical conclusion. Imagine the parents of a young man who has been sentenced to four years in a federal penitentiary: instead of crying, they should breathe a sigh of relief and say, “At least he wasn’t admitted to Harvard.”

    That is a masterpiece.

  7. Can it be called rape if you volunteered to pledge? I’m asking for a friend.

    1. Are you Female or identify as such at the time of the encounter?

      Did you regret it afterwards?

      1. Can it be called regret if you are looking forward to the feeling?

  8. If parents really believed that their daughters faced a 1-in-5 chance of being raped in college, there would be very few co-eds attending university.

    The fact is that nobody believes this bullshit. I don’t doubt that drunken sluts have a 1-in-5 chance of being raped, as the crime is now defined. Of course, very few parents think of their own daughter as a drunken slut, but few college women really qualify as drunken sluts.

    1. nobody believes this bullshit.

      But they’ll still set upon you like a pack of starving wolves if you dare to say so out loud.

      1. Of course, they have to shut down the discussion before you start getting logical and shit. That’s Progtard 101.

  9. Actually it is really easy to see how they came up with this.

    Rape researchers consider all drunk and stoned sex rape, so they ask the men on campus “has anyone ever initiated a sexual encounter with you while you were drunk/stoned/some other altered state of consciousness” the college guy says yes and so he gets counted as a rape victim.

    In prison while drugs are not unavailable they certainly are less available than they are in college and more importantly the prisoner is not going to admit to actually being an a state of altered consciousness by consuming them so basically no one in prison would ever report drunk/drugged sex to inflate the numbers.

    Combine that with the fact that men in prison who have been raped have far more of an incentive to conceal their victimization than men in college lest the be seen as an easy target and the rapes that did occur are very much likely to be far more under reported in prison than they are in college.

    1. Check out…

    2. Those numbers are absolutely colored by incentives. All levels of one institution encourage reporting, even of events that don’t rise to the legal definitions of crimes, were consensual at the time, or even completely made up. All levels of the other institution discourage reporting and have powerful means of punishing those who try to report crimes committed against them.

      1. I’m going to point out this isn’t completely true. There is a guy in every prison who’s job is investigating, writing reports, and making recommendations for sex crimes that occur. It does get taken seriously when reported. Though, they tend towards preventive methods (no bathroom’s with doors, prison officials must have windows into their office so they can’t get private alone time with prisoners, etc.).

        1. Yes, but there’s still a huge incentive for prisoners to keep their mouths shut if they’ve been raped. In colleges, if someone accuses a frat boy of rape, then they might not get invited to future greek events. In prison, if someone accuses someone of raping them, then there’s a significant chance of getting shanked. That’s a fairly huge difference in disincentives.

    3. It was simpler than that. They just defined sexual assault in a way to inflate the numbers. For example, respondents were asked something like “have you ever received unwanted touching?” So if a guy once came up to a woman at a party, patted her on the butt and said “Hi, I’m John….” she may have responded yes to the question. Then the study authors counted those types of affirmative answers as sexual assault.

      1. Did some guy come up to you at a New Year’s Eve party and kiss you without warning? RAPE!!!!

    4. “In prison while drugs are not unavailable they certainly are less available than they are in college and more importantly the prisoner is not going to admit to actually being an a state of altered consciousness by consuming them so basically no one in prison would ever report drunk/drugged sex to inflate the numbers.”

      Which implies crazy amounts of consensual, intoxicated, gay prison sex is a thing.

      1. Yeah, I don’t know if most criminals would admit consensually sleeping with a guy unintoxicated compared to intoxicated.

  10. Wow thats kinda scary dude.

    http://www.Complete-Privacy.tk

    1. Is it, libertarian bot? Tell us more.

  11. What’s your major?
    Embezzlement.
    Can I touch your shoulder?
    Yes.
    Can I put my entire arm around you?
    Yes.
    Can I enter you?
    I guess so.
    It has to be yes or no.
    Okay. Yes.
    And yes mean yes, right.
    Yes.
    Hey guys, he gave affirmative consent. Hold him down!

    1. This needs to be set to music.

      Where the verse (the exchange between characters) is a cute playful melody… then the “HOLD HIM DOWN” triggers the Death Metal Chorus which includes lots of whooping and hollering.

  12. One in five women are raped at college. Also, let’s make it easier to go to college by making it free for everyone. #FeelTheBern

    1. #Whenweurinate

  13. I guess just inflating rape stats for womyn wasn’t getting the SJW’s far enough, so now they feel compelled to inflate the stats for men too. I’m sure it’s somehow because TEH PATRIARCHY!111111!!!!!!!!

  14. Stabbed. In a way.

  15. It makes me wonder if there could possibly be ….

    How many years has robby been covering this topic?

    at what point does the polite-understatement start to sound ‘boneheaded’?

  16. Who knew there were so many Popeyes in college? “GIMME SOME CHON-CHON!”

    Blood In, Blood Out – the Citizen Kane of Chicano prison gang movies.

    1. Where does the 1983 classic Bad Boys rate on your scale? One of the guys was Chicano…

      1. Very underrated movie that Bad Boys. Beating dudes with a pillowcase full of sodas was hardcore.

      2. Never seen that one, but I’ll take Blood In, Blood Out over American Me. Years ago when I lived in Long Beach, the apartment across from mine belonged to some cholo gangster types, and those dudes watched Blood In, Blood Out all the damned time at full volume.

  17. If so many people, men and womyn, are being raped on college campuses, then why does Bernie Sanders insist that college should be free so that everyone can go? Is he just a twisted old fuck who wants as many young adults as possible to be raped?

    1. He got Steve Smith a low interest car loan for the van.

  18. So 8.5 percent of female prison inmates are sexually abused while behind bars, but a whopping 20 percent of female college students are sexually assaulted during their time on campus, according to the federal government.

    So we just need to make colleges more like prison to fix this problem, right?

  19. The study that came up with this ridiculous 20% number defined sexual assault in a way that no reasonable person would. For example, respondents were asked something like “have you ever received unwanted touching?” So if a guy once came up to a woman at a party, patted her on the butt and said “Hi, I’m John….” she may have responded yes to the question. Then the study authors counted those types of affirmative answers as sexual assault.

    1. I see your example as reasonably being within the definition of “sexual assault.” A better example would replace “butt” with “shoulder.” Since the question asks whether the person “received unwanted touching,” the person could answer “yes,” thinking of some random dude who touched her shoulder without her permission, while the pollster concludes the person’s answer means she was sexually assaulted. Under the law, that would not be a crime if the guy didn’t have the requisite intent, no matter how the girl felt. But the pollster would get to add her to the “sexual assault” statistic, anyway.

      Amazing what pollsters and researchers can “discover” when they fail to define their terms sufficiently.

      1. BS. Some drunk grabbing ass at a party is not a sexual assault. If it continues after it’s made clear his behavior is not approved of, perhaps things get more serious. I’ve had, on occasion, some rather, er, large, women start grinding on me at dance clubs. This contact was unsolicited and was not wanted on my part. I was not, however, sexually assaulted.

    2. If a stranger is coming onto me and pats me on the butt, it’s on the spectrum of sexual assault. I define it that way, and I’m a very reasonable person. Don’t pat my butt if we haven’t even met, that’s creepy and in fact crosses all sorts of reasonable expectations of physical boundaries.

  20. Robby, people seem to be equating “rape” with “sexual assault.” In most states of which I’m aware, “rape” specifically refers to intercourse without consent, while “sexual assault” is an umbrella term referring to other kinds of sexual misconduct (such as “sexual contact”). For example, Montana has a Sexual Intercourse Without Consent statute, which carries prison sentences up to life, and a Sexual Assault statute, which imposes a maximum sentence of five years in prison (unless the offender also inflicted bodily, which leaves open the possibility of life in prison). The enormous differences in sentencing between these crimes show that these are precise terms under the law and that legislators intentionally distinguish different kinds of sexual misconduct.

    People, especially reporters, need to be more precise when discussing “rape” and “sexual assault,” because, in practice, these terms can have very different legal consequences for the accused. For example, that one-in-five statistic: is it referring to rape (SIWOC) or to sexual assault? And if the latter, what definition of sexual assault is the statistic using?

    1. *there should be the word “harm” after “bodily.”

    2. what definition of sexual assault is the statistic using?

      Drunken hookup followed by morning after regret = rape.

      Touching someone on the shoulder or other innocuous location without consent = sexual assault.

    3. What I’ve seen (and I’m sure there’s variation) is that some statutes don’t use the r-word at all, but classify everything as degrees of sexual assault.

    4. Funny thing about sexual assault surveys: they don’t make mens rea a factor, then are treated as crime statistics.

  21. The WH stacks the numbers [liars figure…] because that is their is their agenda, and all the more reason for government to do more government stuff under the aegis of programs like Title IX. As in “you needs us, and we are only here to help [and rationalize doing so].

  22. How do you tell if the White House staff is lying?

    Well, if you don’t know that, you must be a Democrat.

    1. Their very broad definition of sexual assault, for starters. And their love of Title IX inquisitions and disdain for any aspect of due process.

  23. Wow, this would be disconcerting if we didn’t already know that most white house statistics are utter bullshit.

  24. The difference is pretty clear… there’s vested interests in minimizing prison stats and maximizing college stats. So they’re called the same thing, but one measures ‘forcibly penetrated against your will’, and the other measures ‘tapped on the shoulder without signed and notarized affirmative consent not withdrawn in the lifetime of the girl or anyone with knowledge of the act’.

  25. Based on your update on 4/29, you’re comparing a cumulative rate across 4 years of college, to a 1-year rate in prison. If the average college 1-year rate is roughly 1/4 of the 4-year rate (between 1.25 – 2 percent) then it’s roughly half the prison 1-year rate. So you don’t need to be confounded that prison is safer for males than college. It isn’t. It’s about twice as dangerous.

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