The 1 in 4 lie is one of the traditional falsehoods of mainstream feminism’s cannon. That it is still used after it’s been so thoroughly and repeatedly debunked – should alert anyone in hearing of the lie’s repetition of the foundational fraud of big-feminism’s premise.
The number comes from a study conducted by Mary Koss in 1984 in which she surveyed 3,187 college students with a questionnaire. 1 in 4 women answered yes to at least one of a subset of three questions on this questionnaire – and in Koss’s conclusions, these were determined to be the 1 in 4 victims of rape.
8. Have you had sexual intercourse when you didn’t want to because a man gave you alcohol or drugs?
9. Have you had sexual intercourse when you didn’t want to because a man threatened or used some degree of physical force (twisting your arm, holding you down, etc.) to make you?
10. Have you had sexual acts (anal or oral intercourse or penetration by objects other than the penis) when you didn’t want to because a man threatened or used some degree of physical force (twisting your arm, holding you down, etc.) to make you?
That 27.5% of those who answered yes to any of these three questions is where the 1 in 4 number comes from. The veracity of the study is somewhat diminished by the fact that Koss herself admitted in 1992 that her question relating to sex after consuming alcohol was misleading– and that if omitted from the study the actual number of Koss-defined rapes is 1 in 9. When considered in the context that of Koss’s identified victims, only 27% self-identified as rape victims, the number drops to 1 in 33.
The 1 in 4 lie has been soundly debunked many times before, and much more thoroughly than here. And yet, it’s still endlessly recycled by rape-culture dogmatists. In fact, recent recitations of the “rape-epidemic” line are now tossing out a 1 in 3 number. Who can blame them – if you’re going to cook the books, there’s no point in telling anything but the biggest and most outrageous lies. Outrage is, of course the goal. Women must be outraged and terrified, and men must feel shame and remorse. And everybody must pony up a few dollars for the women’s shelter, oh yes.
None of this is new information, but it provides context. It’s a very popular lie, and has a life and momentum independent of the truth and critical thinking. But the actual falsehood doesn’t even matter – because behind the 1 in 4 lie is a subtler deception.
It goes like this:
A: [Some number] B: [of women are the victims of] C: [some terrible thing]
[A] is a number, it doesn’t matter what number. 1 in 4, or 1 in 99 – who cares, it’s just a number.
[B] is women, and whatever awful thing is happening, it’s women who are the victims of it.
[C] is a terrible thing, maybe rape, maybe domestic violence, maybe even being killed.
(although probably not in the workplace)
It’s a simple and effective formula.
[Some number] [of women are being victimized by] [a terrible thing].
It doesn’t matter what the number is, or what the terrible thing is, in fact, it even works if you use real numbers! Just plug in the formula and you get automatic moral panic, and quick access to everybody’s wallet.
The deception lies in what’s left unsaid. If 5 out of 6 women are sexually harassed at the office in their lifetime – is that a lot or is it no big deal? Is it normal? How can anybody determine what the number means when it’s presented in isolation from any context? I don’t know how many women are sexually harassed at work, I made up the “5 out of 6” number.
But what if we discover that 5 out of 6 women are sexually harassed at work, and 4 out of 5 men are sexually harassed at work. Ignoring that the numbers are imaginary, we finally have context.
The presentation of [some number] of women victimized by [some terrible thing] – with no comparative statistic of what happens to the other half of the human race – is a statement designed to cultivate outrage, but not to inform. Every time a number of victims is waved in front of us in isolation of context – we are being deceived and manipulated.
Setting aside the factual falsehood of the 1-in-4-women-is-raped lie, the structure of the statement itself is built to deceive and control. It means nothing without context. How many men are raped while these claimed 1 in 4 are being supposedly victimized?
It happens that for sheer volume, twice as many men within the walls of prisons are raped each year as the number of women raped in america’s non-incarcerated public. How many men in that same public are also victims of rape is unknown, largely because nobody’s bothered to fund a comprehensive study. I know with certainty that it’s more than zero.
In a world of two sexes, presenting the bad outcome for a fraction of just one sex to promote outrage, fear and shame is deception by design. But it pays well.