Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Much-Derided 1-in-5 Statistic: Is It Holding Up?

   If we're talking about sexual assault generally, and not rape specifically, and we characterize sexual assault fairly broadly, then at least some studies seem to be confirming it. Under those conditions, I don't think we should find this very surprising. I've never thought it was implausible, at any rate.
   The broad characterization is a problem, of course. It includes "unwanted kissing." Of course some unwanted kissing is sexual assault and some isn't. If A is trying to force A's self on B by kissing B: assault. If A reasonably but erroneously believes that B wants to be kissed, and so kisses B: not assault. Mistake. Not assault. I've heard people deride counting any unwanted kissing as sexual assault, but that's dumb. Likewise counting all of it. But you've got to chunk things up somehow on questionnaires, and this doesn't seem to be a completely crazy way to do so.
   Is this a crisis? Well, it ain't good... But by the definition in question, come to think of it, it sounds like I've both been sexually assaulted, and been a sexual assailant. Girls who I didn't want to kiss me have kissed me. Likewise, one dude. (No harm no foul, man. It's all good.) And I've misread the signs myself before. None of those cases was sexual assault. In fact, it would be insanity to say any of them were. Utter, total, batshit insanity. So, come to think of it, it'll depend on what percentage of cases are like [the genuine assault case], and what percent are like the normal I-Saw-The-Signs-...All-Way-Wrong variety. And has anyone who ever lived not thought, at one time or other, mid-sex: Huh. This was probably a sub-optimal decision on my part...? Does that count? Because if it does, then everyone's been both rape victim and rapist...
   Hmm. Well...  I suppose I'm thinking now that that broad conception is a bigger problem than I initially thought...depending on the specifics...  But it should be improvable, no? I mean...the questions could be refined so as to rule out such cases...
   Ok. Now I'm not sure.
   Forget I said anything.


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