Adherents of Junk Campus Rape Science Are Retaliating Against Critics


What happened when new research undercut the prevailing justification for the public panic about serial rapists on college campuses? Psychologists deeply invested in their discredited theory launched a crusade of retaliation against the people who proved them wrong.

"There's been a scientific misconduct case filed against us," Mary Koss, a professor of public health at the University of Arizona and a critic of the serial predator assumption, told Reason. "It's frustrating."

Last year, a team of social scientists including Koss, Georgia State University's Kevin Swartout, and four other researchers made a startling discovery about the assumption that most campus rapists are serial perpetrators. The ubiquitous theory—constantly cited by activists, policymakers, and even the Obama White House—was false. New data just didn't support it.

Their findings were in line with the conclusions of Reason's recent investigation into psychologist David Lisak—author of the canonical 2002 study on serial predators—who routinely exaggerated his findings. For years, Lisak was recognized as the nation's leading expert on campus sexual violence, consulting with college administrators, lawmakers, and activists about the best strategies for identifying and stopping student rapists—most of whom are repeat offenders who plan their attacks, according to Lisak.

But Lisak's theory is at odds with more recent research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association by Swartout and Koss's team. Their paper, "Trajectory Analysis of the Campus Serial Rapist Assumption," disputes Lisak's main finding.  Most men who committed rape while in college could not properly be classified as serial offenders, according to their paper.

"If colleges and policymakers continue to focus on a serial rapist conceptualization, they are going to miss more than three-quarters of the rapes that happen on campus," Koss told Reason.

It's easy to understand why Swartout, Koss, et al's paper reached a starkly different conclusion: Their research was much more comprehensive. They used data sets from two different time periods at a large, representative southeastern university. Lisak's data, on the other hand, came from surveys of people at a commuter college, the University of Massachusetts at Boston. The subjects of Lisak's study did not live on campus and were older than traditional college students—in fact, they weren't even all students. Nor were they specifically asked about violent acts they had committed on campus, or against other students.

Koss told Reason that she expected Lisak and his cohorts to accept the new research and adjust accordingly. After all, that's how scientific progress works. Old assumptions are constantly tested against new data, and abandoned when they prove faulty.

But it's not what happened.

James Hopper, a psychologist and associate of Lisak who helped produce the data in the 2002 study, accused the Koss and Swartout study of committing numerous technical and analytic mistakes.

According to Koss, Hopper identified some minor errors in coding within the data, which the paper's authors were able to correct before the article was published by JAMA.

"The effect [of the corrections] on the results was it made it stronger in opposition to the serial rape hypothesis," says Koss.

But Hopper and Lisak insisted the paper's conclusion was wrong, and wrote a letter to JAMA not simply accusing Swartout, Koss, and their co-authors of being wrong but of "systematically suppressing the number of serial offenders."

Swartout and Koss's team re-ran their statistical models. JAMA was ultimately satisfied that the paper was sound and its conclusions logical. The organization declined to publish Hopper and Lisak's concerns.

"We thought that was going to be the end of it," says Koss.

She was wrong. In early January, her team learned that Hopper had filed a research misconduct claim against Swartout, the lead author on the new study.

"I am hoping that Georgia State University will conduct a complete investigation with appropriate review of the materials I have provided them, on PubPeer, and directly, and all other necessary information from all other appropriate sources," Hopper told Reason in a statement.

Swartout declined to comment on the matter.

Koss expressed full confidence that further review of the paper would reach the same conclusion: its findings are valid.

The dispute between Lisak/Hopper and Swartout/Koss may seem academic, but it has major implications for how the public confronts the issue of sexual assault on college campuses. Lisak for instance, was interviewed as an expert witness for the 2015 activist documentary The Hunting Ground, which told the story of a handful of purported rape victims. Their attackers allegedly fit the model of the serial rapist—even though new information casts doubt on this assertion.

Koss worries that public health advocates who continue to buy-in to the serial rapist hypothesis are fixated on the wrong issue.

"They are going to end up with a policy that is directed at a much smaller proportion of the problem than what we had previously believed based on Dr. Lisak's 2002 paper," says Koss.

Watch Reason's interview with Koss, below.

Runs about 4:28
Produced by Robby Soave, Camera by Anthony Fisher, Edited by Austin Bragg

Scroll down for downloadable versions and subscribe to ReasonTV's YouTube Channel to receive notification when new material goes live.

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72 responses to “Adherents of Junk Campus Rape Science Are Retaliating Against Critics

  1. The goal of this propaganda is to pathologize normal behavior and to institutionalize the entire population as either criminal or mentally ill. They will push it aggressively for this reason, and nothing will convince them otherwise. Thank you for debunking it. (For details, see the delightful short story ‘O alienista’ – Brazil – 1881.)

    1. The Alienist is a fucking killer novella and everyone should read it.

      1. I second this.

      2. Novella? Are you being cute?

        In any case, you are absolutely right.

        I really don’t know why people say you’re the worst. Well, aside from the obvious….


  3. After all, that’s how scientific progress works. Old assumptions are constantly tested against new data, and abandoned when they prove faulty.

    False assumption in writing this article; psychology is not science. It is has as much science in it as political science.

    1. That’s so cute how they called it “science” and had some odd illusion that JAMA is a “science” journal.

    2. Assuming “social science” is science is a bridge too far…fuck these douchebags with a rusty chainsaw bar. (No it’s not a blade for you retards) .

      Yeah, I’ve killed trees 7 feet in diameter with a 60 inch bar, afaik now no sjw’s were harmed in the process…now if we are using random sjw’s as a target, i bet a few of us would like play whack a sjw…j/k…

    3. Psychology and political science are like any other science and engineering discipline: a lot of charlatans and some good people.

  4. Define rape first.

    1. MEN.
      It’s rape, all the way down to the rapey Y chromosome.
      The rapiest chromosome.

      1. Penises are EVIL!

      2. Princess,

        So, a genetically XX woman cannot be a perpetrator of rape? Thanks for that handy redefinition of rape from a sadistic domination act in the form of some kind of sexual act, or simulated sexual act by one or more of any gender on one or more of any gender.

        Of course, an open minded person will note that most acts of social or one-on-one aggression are male on male, or male on female. But only a very inexperienced person will think that there are no one-on-one aggressions are not female on male.

    2. Fencing them in is like intellectual rape.

      1. Fencing WITH them, on the other hand…

  5. After all, that’s how scientific progress works. Old assumptions are constantly tested against new data, and abandoned when they prove faulty.



  6. Requesting the paper be reviewed further seems dumb if they have their facts in order. Maybe they think they can get a biased group to denounce it, but it would seem better to simply let this paper go down the memory hole. The activists control the narrative and if they can get away with the seventy-three cents on a dollar idiocy they can get away with just pretending there is no newer research.

    1. As is often said here, the process is the punishment

    2. Your grasp of science is astounding. Were you one of my students?

      1. Can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or not.

        1. Can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or not.

          The H&R motto, right behind our slogan of “Mexicans, pot, and ass sex”

    3. Like the few times per season a coach throws a challenge flag on a play that clearly will not be overturned.

  7. Didn’t Deirdre (n?e Donald) McClosky pull similar bullshit on a psychologist researcher who didn’t toe the line on transsexuals?

    1. Shouldn’t that have been “n? Donald”?

      1. Yes, also no.

      2. I feel like you’ve discovered a new variant of the halting problem…

        1. I know right

      3. Nobody knows. Even with a spreadsheet, posted guidelines, and old and new photos of the person in question, you’re sure to improperly identify the proper preference/gender/pronoun.

        The only guarantee? Someone will be offended.

  8. As someone who isn’t an expert on rape data, the docs on pubpeer seem at least worthy of analysis. They seem to claim that an entire data set is not available. Do we know if that’s true?

    1. Anyone having deja vu about all the GW studies on respected publications….except we were on the opposite side of the argument?

      1. I’m all for review, because good studies should be able to withstand it. I don’t see a reason to suspect this paper won’t pass it with flying colors though. They identified several issues with earlier studies in the field and corrected for them. There is more work to be done, but this seems to be better research than what we’ve previously been relying on.

        1. “Review” is one thing, and should be done through the usual scholarly channels.

          This is an allegation of misconduct, which is not “review”. Review is aimed at getting the truth. Misconduct allegations are aimed at punishment.

        2. Since the paper was already attacked by its opponents in the review process, it is unlikely there is any issue left to find.

    2. It would be hardly unusual for data sets not to be available.

  9. You know who else adhered to faulty “science” and retaliated against critics?

    1. Uri Geller?

      1. The amazing randi is my hero.

    2. James Hanson?

    3. Goebbels?

      1. You’re ruining the game!!!

    4. Pope Paul V?

    5. Hitler. It’s fucking Hitler, every god damn time. I need a swastika-bladed wood chipper for the lot of you.

    6. Plate techtonics

  10. The mistake here is pretending that this is a ‘scientific’ debate rather than a political one.

    No one in the business of pumping the ‘Campus Rape’ issue cares about the actual underlying reality. They only care about ‘science’ (or the appearance of science) insofar as it *gives them more power*

    And once a successful narrative is established, anything countering that narrative (regardless of how more actually-sound-science it is, or better descriptive of the ‘problem’ they ostensibly exist to help ‘solve’) is a THREAT. It doesn’t matter if they’re right.

    The entire point is that none of them really care about actual ‘rape’. They’re all just parasites trying to further their own careers in an academic environment that funnels money and power to people who make lots of noise about this issue. The content of the noise is ultimately irrelevant as long as it keeps the gravy-train moving.

    1. Also = it should never be forgotten that Mary Koss is one of the academics who helped invent this whole bogus problem in the first place

      “During the 1980s, feminist researchers committed to the rape-culture theory had discovered that asking women directly if they had been raped yielded disappointing results?very few women said that they had been. So Ms. commissioned University of Arizona public health professor Mary Koss to develop a different way of measuring the prevalence of rape. Rather than asking female students about rape per se, Koss asked them if they had experienced actions that she then classified as rape. Koss’s method produced the 25 percent rate, which Ms. then published.”

      Should we suddenly see Mary Koss as a “Good Guy*” in this debate?

      (*sexist ugh)

      Or is she just one of the Gender-Oppression-Studies establishment hacks who wants to regain her prominence in this invented-crisis-story by undermining the people who stole her thunder?

      The answer *should be* = WHO FUCKING CARES. The only take-away from this story should be to repeat, endlessly… that there’s *more rape* off-campus than on-campus, and that young college students are *victimized less* than their non-college peers, and that all this whining about them is just a money-grubbing scam.

      1. I’d suggest calling the people whining about rape on campus are demonstrating and abusing their privilege when poor and minority women who aren’t lucky enough to get their are victims far more often.

      2. One thing about the serial rapist theory that puzzles me is that, for the “rape culture” adherents who claim that all us males view the raping of women as our “privilege,” the serial rapist theory actually undermines their position. It suggests that rape is the product of a small number of psychopaths rather than an act of sexual politics in which all males are complicit. I am therefore surprised that the serial rapist theory has as many pro-feminist adherents as it does.

        1. “the serial rapist theory actually undermines their position. It suggests that rape is the product of a small number of psychopaths rather than an act of sexual politics in which all males are complicit.”

          Good point.

          that said, the social-justice set has never really had any problems maintaining two completely-contradictory ideas in their minds at one. But its possible that the Koss side of the argument may appeal to some in the Campus-Rape community because it helps harmonize those different ideas.

        2. Perhaps many/most/all men are serial rapists but not all act on it.

    2. What’s true about your point is the reality that 18-24 year old women who do not attend college have a much higher chance of being raped than those that do, and by a significant margin.

      1. i think the point re: the charade of this being a “scientific” debate is probably more important.

        Because the standard rebuttal to the point that “campus rape” is less-prevalent than off-campus rape“… is that “ALL RAPE MATTERS” and OMG why are you trying to diminish people’s lived experiences!??

        They handwave the issue away and go, “well we can’t *control* that other stuff*.. but we can control this campus stuff, because we’re professionals and campuses are our little social-science laboratories….”

        The more fundamental-criticism is that their “movement'” is based on a lie. And that the “science” they employ only exists to perpetuate a cottage victim-mongering-industry. they *need* more ‘serial campus rapists’ because that’s a story that suggests that there are “bad people” who need fixing.

        the reason they hate Koss’ criticism of Lisak’s work is because her study suggests that the “stuff they call ‘rape'” (drunk sex, etc)… “Just happens” to regular people, and there’s no boogeymen rapists lurking in the shadows.

        1. I guess that makes sense. That is also terrible. These are terrible human beings.

    3. Progressive causes are simply rationalizations for power.

      1. basically, yes.

        one might argue all political arguments are rationalizations for power.

        but the difference is that the progressives use “fringe” issues as levers the way conventional politics typically use mass-issues. meaning – things that affect groups as small as 1% or so of the population are used to wield a hammer over the rest of the population. progs need victims the same way socons need god.

  11. “There’s been a scientific misconduct case filed against us,”

    I’m surprised they don’t this more often with climate change heretics.

    I’m not surprised to see the campus rape agitators doing this though. There’s a narrative to construct and innocent men’s* lives to ruin.

    *I know, I know. No such thing. It’s not a question of if a man is a rapist but when and how often, everyone knows that, amirite?! /SJW TARDO

    1. I’m surprised they don’t this more often with climate change heretics.

      Shouldn’t be surprising: they don’t even get academic positions.

  12. Don’t worry, proggies f*cking love science!

  13. The harder they flail and insist on Lysenkoism, the harder the fall and the more history will discredit them. But in the meantime, they sure fuck things up for everybody with a brain.

  14. At my son’s college, they have these shiny and expensive emergency call stations every 200 feet or so. I would guess that whoever is selling those things to all the colleges has a big interest in keeping the hysteria going.

    1. They had them at the University of Maryland in the mid 90s (had blue lights on top). During orientation they were joked about given the slow response time of police. “Run from call box to call box hitting the button each time and hope the police can figure out where you are headed next before the assailant catches you.”

  15. Protecting 3/4s of the rapist on campus is no small thing. Good for the feminists.

  16. I laughed….well done

  17. up to I looked at the draft which was of $7319 , I be certain …that…my neighbour was like they say realie receiving money part time at there labtop. . there moms best frend started doing this less than and just paid the mortgage on their apartment and bought a gorgeous Lexus LS400 . site here……..

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  18. Up to I looked at the draft which was of $7319 , I be certain …that…my neighbour was like they say realie receiving money part time at there labtop. . there moms best frend started doing this less than and just paid the mortgage on their apartment and bought a gorgeous Lexus LS400 . site here……..

    Click This Link inYour Browser….

    ???? ? ? ?

  19. Don’t forget that Koss is a dishonest anti-male sexist who redefined rape in order to avoid telling the truth about women raping men.

  20. The technology is so developed that we can watch videos, live streaming, TV serials and any of our missed programs within our mobiles and PCs. Showbox
    All we need is a mobile or PC with a very good internet connection. There are many applications by which we can enjoy videos, our missed programs, live streaming etc.

  21. The serial predator (rapists) hypothesis is exactly the same as the rogue shark theory Hooper from Jaws had about the Great White Shark terrorizing Ammityville.

  22. Mary Koss is a rape apologist. –…..nistlogic/

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