In response to the U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s announcement on Thursday that the federal government will stop pressuring colleges to trample on the civil rights of students accused of rape, a feminist advocacy organization has trotted out the thoroughly discredited claim that “one in four women” are “raped on campus.”
The feminist group is UltraViolet.
“With one in four women sexually assaulted while in college, we are facing a national rape epidemic on our campuses, and today’s announcement makes clear that Betsy DeVos and Donald Trump are more concerned with protecting perpetrators than the survivors they sexual assaulted,” said UltraViolet co-founder Nita Chaudhary in a statement sent to The Daily Caller on Thursday.
Chaudhary also flatly dismissed the notion that people accused of serious crimes should receive due process or fair treatment in campus disciplinary hearings that could lead to their expulsion.
“There are no two sides when it comes to rape. Period,” she declared. “The idea that we need to focus more on the rights of the accused would be laughable if it weren’t so terrifying and outright dangerous.”
Government statistics released by the U.S. Department of Justice under former President Barack Obama have demonstrated the considerable inaccuracy of Chaudhary’s claim that “one in four” female college students suffer rape or any other sexual assaults.
The actual annual sexual assault victimization rate for America’s female college students is about 0.61 percent — a very far cry from UltraViolet’s claim that 25 percent of college women suffer sexual assaults.
The Justice Department report, compiled by the Bureau of Justice Statistics in December 2014, also shows that collegiate women are substantially less likely to be assaulted than their non-student peers.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics, a branch of the Justice Department, produced the report using years of data collected in the National Crime Victimization Survey, a national survey of tens of thousands of households that seeks to measure the frequency of American crime, both reported and unreported. (RELATED: DOJ: 0.61 Percent Of Students Are Sexually Assaulted)
The data spans the period from 1995 to 2013, and looks at females from the ages of 18 to 24, dubbed “college-age.” Over that period, the average number of sexual assaults suffered annually by college-age women not attending school was 65,700, while for those attending school it was substantially lower, at 31,300.
After adjusting for the different number of people in each group, women not attending college were almost 25 percent more likely to be victims of assault, although in 2013 there was no difference in victimization rates between the two groups.
Groups in favor of running roughshod over the due process rights of students accused of sexual assault have typically cited a false statistic of one in five college females suffering sexual assaults. This statistic was based on a far more limited study in 2007 at only two universities.
UltraViolet provides no basis for its unfounded claim that “one in four women” suffer rapes or sexual assaults as college students.
DeVos, Trump’s education secretary, announced that the Department of Education will move away from Obama’s enforcement of Title IX, a comprehensive 1972 federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. The new yet-to-be-established policy will embrace public feedback, DeVos said during her concerning anti-discrimination law and campus sexual misconduct.
“The era of rule by letter is over,” DeVos said.
The reference to “rule by letter” refers to a notorious 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter issued by the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights under President Obama. This letter has dictated how American colleges and universities must respond to allegation of sexual violence. (RELATED: The Obama Administration Is Gripped By Radical Feminists Who Despise Due Process)
“Through intimidation and coercion, the failed system has clearly pushed schools to overreach,” DeVos continued in her Thursday speech. “This unraveling of justice is shameful. It’s wholly un-American.”
“The rights of one person can never be paramount to the rights of another,” the education secretary also said, noting that parties in sexual misconduct cases often could not appeal decisions and stating that it is “no wonder” these institutions are called “kangaroo courts.” (RELATED: Secretary DeVos Slams ‘Shameful’ Obama-Era Campus Sexual Assault Policy)
UltraViolet claims to speak for “all women, especially women of color and LGBTQ women” and actively seeks to define “what equality looks like for women.” The group was founded in 2012 by Chaudhary, formerly of MoveOn.org, and Shaunna Thomas, who has worked for a bunch of groups with the word “progressive” in the title.