Tara Elizabeth Conner is crowned Miss USA
In a completely unrelated story:
University police got 6 complaints in 2005
Monday, April 24, 2006
By CHRISTINE FREY
Allegations of rape rose faster than reports of any other violent crime on the Seattle campus of the University of Washington last year, perhaps reflecting a willingness by students to tell police about sexual assaults and efforts to educate young people about the crime.
The UW Police Department got reports in 2005 of six rapes on university property, compared with none the previous year. One of those alleged rapes occurred in 1999 but was reported last year and will be included in the latest statistics, said Chief Vicky Stormo.
The rise in reported rapes doesn’t necessarily mean that more students are being attacked but that more are reporting sexual assaults, she said. Still, there were likely more rapes students didn’t report.
“It’s alarming to us that this many people would report these incidents, but we also know that most times they don’t get reported at all, so there are probably more cases out there that we’re not aware of,” Stormo said.
Reporting alternative explanations for any finding is good reporting. Repeatedly explaining that the increase in reported rates may be due to increased reporting rather than an increase in rapes suggests an agenda. The alternative explanation is offered in the first sentence of the story, and it’s repeated several times. It’s even mentioned in a graph provided with the story:
Enough! By beating this particular horse to death in four short paragraphs, the message of the story is “Don’t worry. Things haven’t changed.” In other words, we don’t need to pay attention to the change in reported rapes. It’s just business as usual.
The reporter and the police chief strain credulity. Do they really believe there were more than six rapes on campus in 2005? Does anyone believe that more than zero women were raped in 2004? Frey and Stormo must be radicals. Who else would believe such a thing? But we don’t need to worry. The rape rate isn’t increasing. Therefore, the situation doesn’t deserve attention. It’s business as usual.
Business as usual. Why aren’t we paying more attention to rape? Why are we still obsessing over numbers instead of acknowledging that YES rape happens in far greater numbers than what is reflected in police reports. Why aren’t we doing something about rape?
Of the reports of rape to the UW police last year, one was unfounded and one was an attempted rape, Stormo said. Two were alleged acquaintance rapes that prosecutors decided not to pursue, and in another instance, the victim did not want to go forward with prosecution. Officials are still investigating the 1999 incident, which involved a child, Stormo said.
Of the six incidents reported to police in 2005, exactly one seems to have been taken seriously-the 1999 incident. Forgive me if I question the police finding that one of the reports of rape was “unfounded”. The police “know” that the false accusation rate for rape is very high. Hey, in this example it’s 17%. What happened in the attempted rape? Was it prosecuted or not? Two women report acquaintance rape, and it’s not worthy of prosecution. Now maybe we’re onto something. The vast majority of rapes are acquaintance rapes. But if the police and attorneys decide that they’re just too difficult (read: not worth it) to pursue, then most rapists will go unpunished.
So when you read a remarkable statistic such as six rapes reported on campus in 2005, don’t marvel at the low number. Instead, think about why so few women report rape. How does it make you feel that in 2006, the criminal justice system treats rape as a crime that’s not worth taking seriously. The way we view women must change. Rape must not be business as usual.