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Wed Aug 6, 2014, 02:32 PM

RAINN's letter to Obama's task force on campus sexual assault

Perpetrators of Campus Sexual Assault: What We Know
In the last few years, there has been an unfortunate trend towards blaming “rape culture” for the extensive problem of sexual violence on campuses. While it is helpful to point out the systemic barriers to addressing the problem, it is important to not lose sight of a simple fact: Rape is caused not by cultural factors but by the conscious decisions, of a small percentage of the community, to commit a violent crime.

While that may seem an obvious point, it has tended to get lost in recent debates. This has led to an inclination to focus on particular segments of the student population (e.g.,athletes), particular aspects of campus culture (e.g., the Greek system), or traits that are common in many millions of law-abiding Americans (e.g., “masculinity”), rather than on the subpopulation at fault: those who choose to commit rape. This trend has the paradoxical effect of making it harder to stop sexual violence, since it removes the focus from the individual at fault, and seemingly mitigates personal responsibility for his or her own actions.

...

Research supports the view that to focus solely on certain social groups or “types” of students in the effort to end campus sexual violence is a mistake. Dr. David Lisak estimates that three percent of college men are responsible for more than 90% of rapes.iii Other studies suggest that between 3-7% of college men have committed an act of sexual violence or would consider doing so. It is this relatively small percentage of the population, which has proven itself immune to years of prevention messages, that we must address in other ways. (Unfortunately, we are not aware of reliable research on female college perpetrators.)

Consider, as well, the findings of another studyiv by Dr. Lisak and colleagues, which surveyed 1,882 male college students and determined that 120 of them were rapists. Of those determined to be rapists, the majority — 63% — were repeat offenders who admitted to committing multiple sexual assaults.v Overall, they found that each offender committed an average of 5.8 sexual assaults.vi Again, this research supports the fact that more than 90% of
college-age males do not, and are unlikely to ever, rape. In fact, we have found that they’re ready and eager to be engaged on these issues. It’s the other guys (and, sometimes, women) who are the problem.

https://rainn.org/images/03-2014/WH-Task-Force-RAINN-Recommendations.pdf

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