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Jessica Valenti and rape stats - what do commenters want?

(105 Posts)
BuffytheReasonableFeminist Mon 17-Nov-14 18:34:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AWholeLottaNosy Mon 17-Nov-14 18:44:01

Hmm I'm not totally sure what you're asking here? Are you saying that there needs to be absolute facts about reported/ unreported rapes? Also this article was about rapes in America ( although I doubt the stats are very much different there than here). Were there any comments in particular you wanted to discuss? Not trying to be difficult, just want to clarify what you want to talk about as I'm sure there's an important debate to be had.

BuffytheReasonableFeminist Mon 17-Nov-14 18:47:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AWholeLottaNosy Mon 17-Nov-14 18:56:11

Well in the UK, the stats from the British Crime Survey are:

Every year Aprox 85,000 women are raped in the UK

Only 5-10% of those report it

Of the reported rapes, only 6% result in a conviction.

Therefore the conviction rate for all rapes is apox 0.01%

( I used to teach this stuff which is how I know it)

However, I don't think this is the issue. Rape apologists will always try to find holes in the argument whatever 'facts' you throw at them.

What to do about that? That's a whole other question...

AWholeLottaNosy Mon 17-Nov-14 19:01:45

You think about the number of men ( and some women) who want to make a distinction between 'real rape' ( ie women who are jumped on in the street by a mad man) and the more murky ( but much more common) real rape that happens in relationships, between acquaintances, in workplaces etc. it's not acknowledging that 'real rape' is much more commonplace and perpetrated by ' normal' men and justified and normalised by the misogynistic society in which we live. Much harder to admit to IMO.

AWholeLottaNosy Mon 17-Nov-14 19:08:00

Just to clarify the above stats. It essentially means that if a man rapes a woman there is only a one in a hundred chance he will be convicted. To quote Julie Bindell, 'rape may as well be legal in this country'...

Raconteurs Mon 17-Nov-14 19:18:33

I have just read this too. It is depressing reading some of the comments.

Raconteurs Mon 17-Nov-14 19:29:07

They want women to stop talking about rape, to stop making such a fuss.

vesuvia Mon 17-Nov-14 20:40:57

AWholeLottaNosy wrote - "Therefore the conviction rate for all rapes is apox 0.01%"

0.01% is 1 in 10,000.

There are about 1,000 convictions for rape in the UK per year.

If this conviction figure represents only 1/10,000 of the total rapes, doesn't that imply that total rapes is 1,000 x 10,000, which is 10 million? 10 million of 30 million women in the UK raped per year?

Am I missing something, or is there an error in the calculation?

LurcioAgain Mon 17-Nov-14 20:52:28

There is another question - which is whether you think the odds are 1 in 100 or 1 in 10,000, what percentage of men are prepared to play those odds?

I know David Lisak's work has been reported here before, but this is a fascinating and incredibly depressing read: Repeat Rape in Undetected Rapists. This is 120 out of 1882 men (i.e a shade over 6%) surveyed admitting to behaviours which meet the legal definition of rape or attempted rape. I've seen other meta-anaylses which put the figure round about the 6% mark. So NAMALT, thank goodness, but 6% is bloody high. Next time you're on public transport, look round the bus or train carriage...

vesuvia Mon 17-Nov-14 20:53:25

AWholeLottaNosy wrote - "there is only a one in a hundred chance he will be convicted."

Thanks for clarifying. So, the conviction rate for all rapes would be 1%, not 0.01%.

Parietal Mon 17-Nov-14 20:54:45

10% reported x 6% convicted = 6 convictions per 1000 rapes (not 0.01%)

1000 convictions per year implies 166,666 rapes per year, which is double the figure AWholeLotta originally quoted.

So something is wrong in the numbers , but not by far too much.

SevenZarkSeven Mon 17-Nov-14 20:54:52

Don't know about the numbers confused

Is 85,000 correct though?

SevenZarkSeven Mon 17-Nov-14 21:00:11

Crime survey for year ending June 2014 gives police recorded rapes at a bit over 22,000 and doesn't seem to say what their estimate is across the population unless I can't find it.


I suspect the answer is somewhere between 85,000 and 10 million!

AWholeLottaNosy Mon 17-Nov-14 21:31:02

Here is the British Crime survey re rape and sexual violence. It's never an exact science but it's estimated that only between 5-15% of victims report rape but I think the fact still stands that a man who commits rape only has a minuscule chance of being convicted. and those that do tend to fit the stereotype of a ' classic' rape, ie a stranger, young ' blameless' victim etc.

AWholeLottaNosy Mon 17-Nov-14 21:33:07

This is an excellent article by Julie Bindel where she talks about how 'alcohol is the new short skirt' and why so few rapists get convicted.

Amethyst24 Mon 17-Nov-14 21:38:01

Where to begin with this?

A couple of quotes stood out for me.

"just because an accuser genuinely believes she was assaulted, it doesn't necessarily mean there's enough evidence to convict someone" - yes, true, but why does the accused's "genuine belief" that he didn't commit a crime out-trump her knowledge that she was raped?

And "Its not at all complicated when both parties are sober, or the victim alone is intoxicated - the so called "black-and-white" rape cases. When alcohol or drugs have been consumed by both parties things become a lot more difficult." I've never heard the first example referred to as "black and white" before. And what if the accused was drunk and the victim not? Is "I was pissed, officer, I lost control" a defense in law? (I genuinely don't know the answer to this.)

It strikes me that what rapists and rape apologists are objecting to is a sense that the goalposts are being moved - a bit like people arguing against smacking children being made a crime. There's an element of, "I could be banged up for the time I shagged a drunk girl 20 years ago, even though she said she didn't want to, but she liked it in the end, I know she did." Or, "I've had sex a few times when I haven't really wanted to, but I'm no rape victim."

It's something I struggle with myself, even though I KNOW that consent is and should be central.

SevenZarkSeven Mon 17-Nov-14 21:41:19

There was a good infographic in the independent a while back but I can't find it now.

Sabrinnnnnnnna Tue 18-Nov-14 22:10:59

This is a good one.

QueenStromba Thu 20-Nov-14 12:27:53

Even more worrying than 6% answering yes to the questions in the paper that Lurcio linked to is the fact that the questions only cover "violent rape" and rape of someone too intoxicated to consent. Implied threat of violence is not covered. Neither is paying for sex with trafficked women (and one in nine men admits to having paid for sex at least once). Or having sex with someone who didn't explicitly say no but obviously didn't actually want to have sex.

The vast majority of rapists don't think that they're rapists - just look at Ched Evans. Equally, the majority of women who've been raped don't admit to themselves that they have been.

If 6% of men admit to being rapists and 20% of women admit to having been raped I shudder to think what the real numbers are.

NeoFaust Thu 20-Nov-14 12:39:35

if they are a bit wrong, does that negate everything?

It depends on why they are wrong.

If they are wrong because she is forcing her ideology onto scientific results, this makes her argument irrational and therefore irrelevant.

If they are wrong because she is lying, that makes her argument a malevolent attempt to mislead and therefore irrelevant.

Of course the truth matters. Rape is horrific and too prevalent. There are enough good arguments for an increase anti-rape measures without having to listen to the liars or irrationally misguided.

BuffytheReasonableFeminist Thu 20-Nov-14 13:18:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BarbarianMum Thu 20-Nov-14 13:25:52

I think statistics - all statistics - should be as accurate as possible, based on data collected correctly (with care to introduce biases, of the correct sample sizes etc) and not presented deliberately to mislead. Equally, I think that quibbling over percentages when a trend is clear or a figure is clearly significant is a tactic employed time and time again to shut down a discussion.

The responses to this article put me in mind of holocaust deniers going on and on about the number of Jewish people being killed not being 6 million - as if a "true" figure of 5,989,999 or whatever would make the whole thing OK angry.

Callani Thu 20-Nov-14 13:31:41

QueenStrombaIf 6% of men admit to being rapists and 20% of women admit to having been raped I shudder to think what the real numbers are.

- According to the Lisak, Miller paper linked above, repeat rapists are responsible for an average of 5.8 rapes. So imagining that some of the 20% of women have been raped by more than one individual (horrible thought) then actually 6% of men being rapists could be about right. Of course that doesn't include men who employ sexual coercion who really are rapists in all but name.

NeoFaust Thu 20-Nov-14 14:11:34


why is this the one thing that commenters always home in on?

There's probably a continua of reasons, from the ever-present sexists who will look for any opening to the academically trained who's teeth itch when exposed to evidently biased interpretations.

But the real problem that I believe most have, including myself (confirmation bias maybe), is that using these statistics actually undermines her own argument no matter how worthy it may be, simply because they are so open to interpretation. This makes them precisely the distraction that the genuine sexists, as opposed to the non-gender-specific-egalitarians and non-Valenti-aligned feminists, embrace so happily.

The latter two groups really want to discuss the genuine issues that arise from articles like this - the inarguable excess of rape and the promulgation of sexist behaviours that make it possible - but by including data that is evidently biased (and sometimes just bad) makes it very difficult for rational posters (which most would like to consider themselves) to be supportive of the argument in the article.

tl;dr - Bad data is a distraction that detracts from the important issues, enthusing sexists and undermining otherwise supportive posters. Stop using bad data and it would easier for everyone to engage with the real issues.

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