Rape on Campus: 1 in 33

Campus rape statistics have become highly politicized over the past decade. Campus feminists and rape advocates often cite figures claiming that as many as 1 in 4 college women are victims of rapes. Critiques of such high figures, including this author, argue that such statistics are based on problematic surveys that vastly overestimate rape incidence among college women.

The U.S. Justice Department’s National Institute of Justice and Bureau of Justice Statistics joined the fray recently with their report, “The Sexual Victimization of College Women.” The report is based on data obtained from interviews with college women. Like a lot of reports, the media chose to sensationalize the reports finding that 13 percent of college women said they had been stalked in the prior year, while downplaying the fact that only 1.1 percent said they had been the victim of an attempted rape, while 1.7 percent reported being victims of a completed rape in the previous year, meaning that about 1 in 33 were the victims of rape or attempted rape in the previous year.

On the one hand the survey backs up other evidence that large numbers of rapes and attempted rapes go unreported to police. On the other hand it also provides evidence that many women’s advocates overestimate the incidence of rape among college women.

Which is not to diminish the extent of the problem. Based on these statistics about 1 in 14 women will be the victims of rape during a four year stay at an American university or college. This is way too high.


Rape on campus. Geraldine Sealey, ABCNews.Com, January 26, 2001.

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