"97% of rapists don't spend a day in jail" - why this feminist statistic is dishonest, and harmful to victims. [Original Analysis] (self.MensRights)

{MensRights}

113 ups - 26 downs = 87 votes

Lately, I've seen a lot of people quoting the 97% statistic – that is, “97% of rapists do not go to jail.”

Unsurprisingly, this statistic, like many other feminist statistics, is misleading, dishonest, and demonstrably false.

This statistic comes from RAINN and perhaps other places as well.

Is it really true that someone who commits rape only has a 3% chance of going to jail? No.

The first problem is that the statistic assumes that every rape reported to police is true. Given that even convicted rapists have later been exonerated, to say nothing of the fact that:

>Moreover, commencing in 1989 in cases of rape and rape-murder where there has already been either arrest or an indictment, the FBI has conducted large numbers of DNA tests “to confirm or exclude the person. In 25 percent of the cases where they can get a result, they excluded the primary suspect.”

This assumption is obviously quite false.

The second – and even bigger problem – is that the statistic simply assumes that every rape not reported to police – that is, only reported on an anonymous survey is a truthful and accurate claim of rape. It goes without saying how false this is.

In addition, the statistic they used for this, the National Crime Victimization Survey: 2008-2012, may even be an outright lie.

http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/ncvs104.pdf

>Question 41a:

>(Other than any incidents already mentioned,) has anyone attacked or threatened you in any of these ways (Exclude telephone threats) – Any rape, attempted rape or other type of sexual attack –

>Question 43a: Incidents involving forced or unwanted sexual acts are often difficult to talk about. (Other than any incidents already mentioned,) have you been forced or coerced to engage in unwanted sexual activity by –

As we can see from the survey, respondents who said that they were “threatened” (i.e., not raped) or experienced “unwanted sexual activity” (but not rape) could still be counted as rape victims (RAINN has not explained their methodology of how they used the NCVS to arrive at their figure, so the lack of transparency means their figures cannot be fully analyzed). Clearly, this is dishonest.

The third problem is that the statistic assumes that every rapist who is imprisoned, only committed one rape. If instead that rapist committed several rapes (and was therefore responsible for several reports), that would double, triple, quadruple, etc. the percentage of rapists who were imprisoned.

This is quite a dishonest and unreasonable assumption, given that the majority of rapists are serial offenders:

http://www.wcsap.org/sites/www.wcsap.org/files/uploads/webinars/SV%20on%20Campus/Repeat%20Rape.pdf

Of the 120 in the sample who claimed to commit rape, 76 of them were repeat offenders while the others only once. This 63% of the rapists committed an average of 5.8 rapes.

TLDR:

The “97% of rapists don't go to jail statistic” is dishonest because:

  1. It assumes all rape claims made to police are true (in reality, even some convicted rapists, let alone those who are not even charged, are victims of false claims).
  2. It assumes all rape claims NOT made to police are true – obviously false.
  3. It assumes all rapists who go to jail only committed one rape (most likely false given that most rapists tend to be serial offenders)

If you see anyone repeating this dishonest statistic, that in fact harms rape victims (a rape victim who believed it might reasonably think, I should not bother reporting my rape since it's a 97% chance they won't go to jail) – point them to this post and tell them not to say it again.

30 comments submitted at 18:32:44 on Jan 26, 2014 by Celda

  • [-]
  • ThrashtilDeath
  • 5 Points
  • 19:19:27, 26 January

And how many falsely accused of rape are in jail?

  • [-]
  • Celda
  • 9 Points
  • 19:20:23, 26 January

We don't know - if we knew, they wouldn't be in jail.

  • [-]
  • IOIOOIIOIO
  • 2 Points
  • 03:47:36, 27 January

Let's take the "only 3% of those accused of rape go to jail" claim at face value despite this post. Other studies have shown that at least 2-8% of rape accusations are false (the upper bound is 95-98%)... and OP points out that 25% of the folks imprisoned for rape seem to be innocent.

Lets charitably call the rate of false accusation 5%, because, you know, women would never lie about that sort of thing.

So! If 100k rape accusations at made, 5k will be false, 95k will be true, and 3k will go to jail.

Of the 3k who go to jail, 750 (25%) are innocent.

So, if you are one of the falsely accused (5k) you have a (750/5k) 15% chance of going to jail.

Note that real rapists would have only a (2250/95k) 2.4% chance of going to jail in this analysis.

  • [-]
  • nicemod
  • 2 Points
  • 19:25:35, 26 January

Would you like to add this to our wiki/FAQ?

  • [-]
  • Celda
  • 1 Points
  • 19:28:45, 26 January

Yeah, I'd be happy for it to go in there. Are you able to do that, or should I do something?

  • [-]
  • nicemod
  • 1 Points
  • 20:29:19, 26 January

I'd like you to do it. In fact, we need volunteers to manage the wiki in general - and to update our older FAQs.

I'll give you editing access.

  • [-]
  • SporkTornado
  • 3 Points
  • 19:35:31, 26 January

I wonder what the statistics would be for other crimes if was measured it as "all reported incidents" + "Estimated number of unreported Incidents" / "Number of criminal convictions"

  • [-]
  • Celda
  • 2 Points
  • 00:57:44, 27 January

Good question. I've certainly experienced battery (actually being physically hit, even though I didn't want to fight) and never reported it to police. Most guys I know can say the same.

I'd imagine the numbers are pretty similar - 98% of those who commit battery don't go to jail.

  • [-]
  • plasmatorture
  • 3 Points
  • 19:41:13, 26 January

Well given the high occurrence of prison rape the notion that 97% of rapists don't spend a day in jail is obviously wrong without even having to look at numbers.

But good job nonetheless.

  • [-]
  • Celda
  • 2 Points
  • 19:54:33, 26 January

Yeah, looking only at non-prison rape though, even that's false.

  • [-]
  • notnotnotfred
  • 2 Points
  • 22:41:43, 26 January

https://twitter.com/mensrightsrdt/status/427571832812613632

  • [-]
  • Celda
  • 1 Points
  • 22:58:43, 26 January

Please let me know if they reply.

  • [-]
  • notnotnotfred
  • 1 Points
  • 23:00:39, 26 January

ofc.

  • [-]
  • [deleted]
  • 2 Points
  • 01:39:44, 27 January

[deleted]

  • [-]
  • Celda
  • 1 Points
  • 01:43:01, 27 January

Well said Pierce.

Sometimes I have to remind myself of that, this is why we are fighting these lies.

  • [-]
  • PierceHarlan
  • 1 Points
  • 02:08:48, 27 January

I know YOU know it, Celda. Sometimes I think it's good that the enemy hears us say it.

  • [-]
  • Celda
  • 1 Points
  • 02:58:39, 27 January

Even I sometimes forget why, actually.

I see these blatant lies and I know they're false, so I expose them.

But sometimes I forget that it's not just about exposing misinformation for some abstract ideal of arriving at the truth, or seeking knowledge.

There is a practical, tangible purpose to fighting such misinformation.

Thank you for reminding me of it.

  • [-]
  • PierceHarlan
  • 3 Points
  • 01:43:34, 27 January

It is important to remind ourselves -- and to keep reminding ourselves -- why we need to expose lies like this. This dishonest mantra, and others like it, is used to justify chipping away at the due process rights of the presumptively innocent. We've seen it on campus, and we see it in Fed.R.Evid. 413 and its state law progeny, among others. When it comes to sexual assault, the public discourse about the proper balance to insure that the guilty are punished while the innocent are spared has become a monologue -- with the entire focus on punishing the guilty and no concern whatsoever about sparing the innocent. It is little wonder that the only discussion is about punishing the guilty when the innocent are assumed to be non-existent.

In their highly acclaimed book about the Duke lacrosse false rape case, "Until Proven Innocent," KC Johnson and Stuart Taylor conclude that "[t]he pendulum" to assist rape victims "has swung too far," and now threatens innocent men and boys. See also, e.g., R. Klein, An Analysis of Thirty-Five Years of Rape Reform: A Frustrating Search for Fundamental Fairness, 41 Akron L.Rev. 981, 1052 (2008).

Please -- I implore you -- let us never forget that this is why we are exposing these lies. We have no desire to protect the guilty. We have every desire to protect the innocent. And sometimes to insure that the innocent go free, the guilty will benefit. http://www.cotwa.info/2012/05/barbaric-it-is-worth-risk-to-punish.html

  • [-]
  • xNOM
  • 2 Points
  • 04:40:45, 27 January

This just in: "97% of all RAINN readers flunked statistics"

  • [-]
  • rightsbot
  • 1 Points
  • 18:34:16, 26 January

Post text automatically copied here. (Why?) (Report a problem.)

  • [-]
  • not_just_amwac
  • 1 Points
  • 21:12:20, 26 January

Yep, it's a bit hard to jail an alleged rapist if the police don't know about it.

  • [-]
  • wrez
  • 1 Points
  • 00:58:41, 27 January

With all the prison/jail rape occurrences, aren't men the majority victims of rape anyways in the US?

  • [-]
  • Celda
  • 1 Points
  • 01:41:47, 27 January

Yes, however it goes without saying that all rapists who are already in prison, are imprisoned.

Giving the benefit of the doubt and looking only at rape in regular society, it is still dishonest.

  • [-]
  • OfSpock
  • 1 Points
  • 05:13:54, 27 January

But do they do extra time for the rapes? I would assume from context that they want the rapists to do time for the crime of rape and are not including any rapists who are later imprisoned for tax fraud.

  • [-]
  • Celda
  • 1 Points
  • 05:22:29, 27 January

If they are caught then I suppose yes.

  • [-]
  • [deleted]
  • 1 Points
  • 01:36:10, 27 January

[deleted]

  • [-]
  • Celda
  • 1 Points
  • 01:40:39, 27 January

I mentioned that actually, that is point #3.

  • [-]
  • it_turns_out
  • 1 Points
  • 02:15:32, 27 January

Huh. That's like the one thing in that post I somehow didn't read. Ima delete my comment eh

  • [-]
  • IMULTRAHARDCORE
  • 1 Points
  • 04:06:34, 27 January

Anyone with an ounce of logic should know this is bunk without having to even read an explanation. If you aren't convicted of a crime you are not officially a criminal. That isn't to say there aren't criminals that don't get away with their crimes, just that you cannot account for them in a statistic like this. As an aside even if there were any validity to this claim the United States justice system (and really most of the western world) is built on the idea that it is BETTER that 10 criminals go free than 1 innocent man go to jail. You have to prove someone is a criminal beyond any doubt and even then there are mistakes made every day. Anyone using this "statistic" is a fool or a propagandist of the worst sort.

  • [-]
  • Celda
  • 1 Points
  • 04:50:54, 27 January

You're right.

I wonder why so many feminists repeat this statistic...

>Anyone using this "statistic" is a fool or a propagandist of the worst sort.

I think I've figured it out.

  • [-]
  • RealQuickPoint
  • 1 Points
  • 05:52:17, 27 January

Why not point out that they're using the wrong percentages?

Using their statistics:

40% (40/100) of rapes get reported.

25% (10/40) of reported rapes lead to an arrest.

80% (8/10) of arrests for rape lead to prosecution.

50% (4/8) of prosecutions for rape lead to felony convictions.

I'm not exactly sure where "single day in jail" bit comes from. I guess that'd be with respect to the prosecution? I dunno.

Obviously, you can't arrest people who haven't been accused of any crime. You can't prosecute people who haven't been arrested, and you can't get felony convictions on people who haven't been prosecuted. So it makes no sense to consider them out of the statistical whole when looking at success rates. To encourage reporting, you want to look at the "A|B" rates. If you can get an arrest, then you're very likely to get prosecution.

  • [-]
  • [deleted]
  • 0 Points
  • 19:25:27, 26 January

But for female rapists who rape children, the 97% figure is actually too low.