Following up on my post yesterday about the White House claim that 1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted while in college…. Using actual crime data from the University of Wisconsin-Madison over four years, here’s a question – what would the level of under-reporting of sexual assaults have to be to get the “1 in 5 women are assaulted while in college” claim? And is that under-reporting level believable?
There are 22,329 female students at UM-Madison, and if 1 in 5 was sexually assaulted over four years, there would have to be 4,465 sexual assaults during that time period. Since there were only 137 sexual assaults reported at UW from 2009 to 2012, that would mean there would have to have been 4,328 unreported sexual assaults (3 every day) to get to the “1 in 5″ claim over four years. That would also mean that only 3.1% of sexual assaults get reported, a level far below the 12% reporting claim made by the White House. It would also mean that there were more than 32 unreported sexual assaults for every one reported at UW, which seems pretty unbelievable. So either the White House claim of “1 in 5″ is way too high, or its claim that only 12% of assaults get reported is way too high. Either way, at least one of the claims is false.
While even one sexual assault is too many and unacceptable, shouldn’t it also be unacceptable for the White House to spread false, exaggerated and misleading data about campus sexual assaults?