Author: Campus rape statistics ‘misleading’

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NEW YORK — The co-author of a new book about campus rape says that while the problem of sexual assault and rape on campus is real, the numbers have been inflated.

Stuart Taylor Jr., who wrote “The Campus Rape Frenzy: The Attack on Due Process at America’s Universities” with KC Johnson, said that although there is a “serious rape problem on campus,” the statistics are “highly misleading.”

According to a large-scale study by the Association of American Universities, 23 percent of female students have experienced some form of unwanted sexual contact while attending college.

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Taylor disputes these often-cited numbers. For instance, President Barack Obama’s said, while launching an awareness campaign in 2014, that one in five students will be sexually assaulted. Taylor said the figure was “absolutely false.”

“Frankly, I’m surprised that a man as smart as former President Obama, and as careful a politician, would say something so wildly inaccurate, something that had already been totally discredited at the time he said it,” Taylor said.

Asked what he thought the real number was, Taylor suggested a much lower figure, which he had calculated in his book “according to the best Justice Department statistics.”

“Maybe 1 in 100 women are raped during their college careers. Maybe 1 in 50, including the rapes, are sexual assaulted, maybe fewer. And those statistics come from the best surveys that have been done,” he said.

“Surveys that get you to one in five or one in four are highly misleading, if not fraudulent.”

The overinflation of statistics has led to misleading press coverage of cases that later were disproved, he argued, specifically calling out the New York Times for “shameful” coverage of members of the Duke lacrosse team who were accused and later exonerated of sexual assault.

“The people who are hyping this as a huge epidemic are ideologues. Facts don’t matter to them,” he said.

Taylor said tackling the issue of campus rape should not involve “rounding up people who are accused under dubious circumstances of having sex while drunk and then kicking them out of college, pretending they’re rapists.”