Please define sexual assault

A third of female students in Britain have endured a sexual assault or unwanted advances at university, stark new research conducted for The Telegraph shows.

Or perhaps “unwanted advances” needs to be defined.

“Watcha, fancy a coffee?”

“No”.

That’s an advance and, given the answer, was obviously unwanted. Yet given the basics of human sexuality, where men propose and women dispose, it seems like a reasonably necessary part of keeping the species going.

The rape rate (and yes, obviously, there’s arguments about definitions here) appears to be around 22 cases per 100,000 adults per year. 22 too high, of course, but rather different from one third of all female students we might think.

One per cent of students of either gender said they had been raped at university.

That’s 1,000 per 100,000. Or, given the average three year course, a rate of 333 per 100,000. 15 times the rate in the general population? Could be: although it does seem more likely that we’re using a slightly different definition of the word “rape”, doesn’t it?

And then this is just ludicrous:

It came as a new legal briefing commissioned by the End Violence Against Women Coalition, an alliance of charities and campaign groups, warned that higher education institutions are avoiding their legal responsibilities by refusing to investigate sexual assault allegations.

It argues that the governing bodies of higher and further education institutions count as “public authorities” and therefore subject to both the Human Rights Act and the Public Sector Equality Duty, which imposes legal obligation on public bodies including eliminating discrimination and harassment against women.

The report’s author, Louise Whitfield, a partner at Deighton Pierce Glynn and specialist in public law, said: “UK universities whose policies at present would lead them for example not to investigate a rape allegation and to regard it as purely a police matter, are failing to protect women students and are very likely to be in breach of the law. “

So they want to import the American system of kangaroo courts, no legal training or representation and all the rest? Like that system works so well, eh?

You can all fuck off quite frankly.

51 thoughts on “Please define sexual assault”

  1. The camel’s nose is already well inside the tent, with freshers at Cambridge now getting mandatory training on sexual consent along with all the other Health and Safety stuff.

  2. So they want to import the American system of kangaroo courts, no legal training or representation and all the rest?

    Of course they do. Tribunals working with untrained ‘investigators’, ‘academics’ as judge, jury and executioner, ‘balance of evidence’, rather than ‘reasonable doubt’, no representation. What could possibly go wrong?

    Its almost as if they believe that any man accused of anything is automatically guilty.

    The question I have is – can any university afford the liability insurance premiums which would quickly be required to defend themselves against the lawsuits from innocent ex-students?

  3. “UK universities whose policies at present would lead them for example not to investigate a rape allegation and to regard it as purely a police matter, are failing to protect women students and are very likely to be in breach of the law. “

    Not an area of law I know about, but I’d say “be careful what you wish for.” The Catholic Church dealt with allegations of sexual abuse. With hindsight it might have been better dealt with as “purely a police matter.”

  4. I can just picture the conversation between two girls:

    “Last night Mike touched me up.”
    “OMG! Did you call the police?”
    “No, I’d much rather talk to the university about it, I couldn’t possibly go to the police.”

    I’ve spent many years trying to understand the female mind, but I still don’t see the logic there. Are they afraid that the police won’t take them seriously? If so, why should the university take them seriously?

  5. The language is rather confused but they do define “unwanted advances” as a “more intimate advance” than “inappropriate touching or groping”. The former is experienced by 5% and the latter by 33%.

    So it really isn’t referring to being asked for a coffee by someone you find a bit creepy.

    More oddly the report is asking people not about what has happened to them, but what they think has happened to people they know. So assuming only one person has been raped at university but was friends with everyone, then 100% of people would know a friend who had been raped.

  6. I can’t keep up. I thought failing to treat crime as purely a police matter was “taking the law into your own hands” and that that was a bad thing. So can I defend myself from assault now? Or is that purely a police matter?

  7. Shinsei,

    > More oddly the report is asking people not about what has happened to them, but what they think has happened to people they know.

    Oddly? Calculatedly, more like.

    I stopped believing any of these sorts of stats back when I was at university and we were told that 1 in 4 women was a victim of domestic violence (that’s since been raised to 1 in 3). That stat was achieved by defining “violence” to include purely verbal fighting with no physical contact.

  8. Right, so the subtext is that leaving it to the police doesn’t give the desired result. But we can’t be bothered to solve that, so make someone else have a go.

    Otherwise getting the police to handle the matter would be a pretty damn good way of ‘eliminating […] harassment against women’, wouldn’t it? (I note harassment of men isn’t seen to be a responsibility, as usual. Oddly specific principles, these people)

    @anomalyUK – genius.

  9. So can I defend myself from assault now? Or is that purely a police matter?

    Well, no, being legalistic. The right of self-defence still exists, but …

    Because the definition of assault is “apprehension” not actual conduct. You can defend yourself against “battery” which, with assault, make up (E&W) the offence of “Common Assault”, ABH, GBH, attempted murder, commission of gross stupidity in a public place (err, no, sorry, wishful thinking), etc.

  10. It’s the Arms Race of Activism. Each piece of ‘research’ must be more terrifying than the last. Soon it will be 1 in 2, then more than half, then two thirds. All will be believed despite being completely absurd.

    As an example, I give you the sentence frequently quoted in the media: “two thirds of the population are now obese”. A blatant lie, and one obviously refuted by just looking around you. Often also “two thirds of the population are overweight or obese”, which is less dishonest but inappropriately conflates the minor and the major into one group. A fair number of those people will be just inside the BMI ‘overweight’ category, and BMI is bollocks anyway.

    We have a weird culture now where ‘science’ is the new God yet the most ridiculous unscientific bollocks is accepted as truth.

  11. As Yewtree shows–the rot goes all the way to the top and the police are hardly trustworthy. Nor would Uni’s even be thinking about importing this American-style nonsense if they had not been given the nod from much further up the food chain.

    The only justice possibly available is the poetic kind. That is the Westminster crew who have aided and abetted this madness might just be engulfed by it themselves. It doubtless will not be allowed to go as far as bogus allegations against Camoron and his gang but we can always hope.

  12. It argues that the governing bodies of higher and further education institutions count as “public authorities” and therefore subject to both the Human Rights Act and the Public Sector Equality Duty,

    Since one or both parties to an alleged rape will hold a driver’s licence the proper investigating body would be the DVLA.

  13. This is indeed the Tele’s feminist cadre led by Emma “Barmy” Barnett, pushing for the American System. They’ve initiated a trawl for lurid, unverified allegations that they can publish, like today’s story of Rachel, who’s just a girl who can’t say no. Apparently.

  14. Yarp. Knew it wouldn’t be long till they tried to import the fake feminist “rape crisis” from America.

    30 years ago it was Satanic Panic that progressives and social workers imported to these shores.

    A Telegraph survey shows half of female undergraduates know someone who has suffered sexual assault or unwanted advances ranging from groping to rape

    Lumping everything together from bum-grabbing at a drunken fresher do to actual rape-rape is like saying everybody who has suffered things ranging from unwanted tickling to murder is a victim of violence.

    Which is to say, deliberately deceitful, but helpful if your goal is to start a moral panic.

    Gender violence campaign groups warned that academic authorities are creating an “environment of impunity” on campus by refusing to step in to protect women from assault. The Telegraph is planning to highlight the issue in a series of articles.

    The Telegraph is now just the Guardian, but with a fetish for David Cameron.

    The polling, carried out by YouthSight, the specialist research group, showed that as many as half of female students and a third of their male counterparts knew of a friend or relative who has experienced intrusive sexual behaviour ranging from groping to rape.

    Because it’s not as if there’s a certain type of girl who really, really likes attention… no, wait… there is!

    University students tend to be young and gullible, so let me clue them in on something: when a girl tells you her sad story about being “almost raped”, unless you’re a policeman taking her statement she’s probably a fantasist.

    Though with the loose and expanding definition of “rape” to include pretty much any sexual encounter a female student later regrets, “almost raped” is just so 90’s now.

    Shockingly, people respond to incentives. And when you incentivise young women to say they were raped – because they’ll get all sorts of gratifying attention, be able to punish men who dumped them, and get exemption from exams – then more young women will say they’ve been raped.

    That’s one of the reasons why it’s a hideously bad idea to turn sexual assault into a university disciplinary matter rather than a police matter.

  15. Alan Douglas – I read her bio. She’s a specialist in proggy lawfare, and using Hyoomin Rights legislation to defeat the purposes of democratically accountable government bodies.

    Can we start rounding up the progressives and making them fight lions yet?

  16. bloke (not) in spain

    “That’s 1,000 per 100,000. Or, given the average three year course, a rate of 333 per 100,000. 15 times the rate in the general population? Could be: although it does seem more likely that we’re using a slightly different definition of the word “rape”, doesn’t it? ”

    Or that there’s a logic failure in the supposition. You’re selecting from the section of the general population who’ve elected & been selected for a university education. Have undergone a different lifestyle from the general population. (Contrast living away from home with your community largely of the same age group, ample time on its hands & self referencing behavioral standards with likely remaining at home, the responsibilities of employment & interacting with a more diverse community. And the general population isn’t all randy young adults.)
    A difference is what one might expect.
    Add, that the statistics that add to the university set must subtract from the non-university set & the university set is a high proportion of the total you’re examining.
    No doubt the proposition is bollocks but you can’t prove the bollocks by the comparison.
    You’d get something similar with punch-ups between young men undergoing military service, I’d imagine. Especially if the comparison group includes the Women’s institute

  17. “unwanted advances” as a “more intimate advance” than “inappropriate touching or groping”…

    …while shiters in an end-of-the-exams party themed around a beach with vodka shots at 2-for-1 and a pound each. I’ve been in those parties, I seem to remember inappropriate touching or groping being compulsory on the part of both sexes. Who the fuck knew who did what the next day?

  18. Steve,

    > Shockingly, people respond to incentives. And when you incentivise young women to say they were raped – because they’ll get all sorts of gratifying attention, be able to punish men who dumped them, and get exemption from exams – then more young women will say they’ve been raped.

    At St A, if your one of your flatmates died, you got an automatic third — which you could of course improve via exams. So they were understanding enough not to fail you, but cynical enough to to incentivise students to kill their acquaintances. Sensible people.

    (This came up because one of my flatmates nearly died. Meningitis.)

  19. Gender violence campaign groups warned that academic authorities are creating an “environment of impunity” on campus by refusing to step in to protect women from assault.

    That’s the other problem as well. A lot of British universities are not campus universities, with Manchester being a good example. Most of the clubs and bars were not affiliated with the university, and with there being 3 universities (now 2) all in the same area, plus Salford Uni and the RNCM, it wasn’t even clear that the bird you were copping off with was from the same university as you. Furthermore, most students lived in privately rented accommodation after their first year. How the hell is a single university supposed to police this?

  20. They’re supposed to fail. That’s the whole point. Feminism, like all progressivisms (and campaigns in general) runs out of road if it achieves its stated objectives. The whole basic strategy is to therefore fail, and to blame the failure on the intransigence of everybody else.

    Campaigners inevitably, if their campaign lasts for any length of time, end up in a dark place where success becomes a catastrophe. The Campaign Against This Sort Of Thing has offices, employees, networks, entire career structures. The last thing they want to do is actually eradicate This Sort Of Thing.

    A rare example of a campaign who did the right thing was the (almost humourously acronymed) Campaign for UNmentered Telecommunications. They were set up to end per-minute charging on landline telephones. They succeeded. They called a meeting and resolved to close down. This is rare behaviour. Normally such an organisation- if it’s full of proper campaigners- call a meeting to decide what new campaign objectives they can find, and carry on. Hence Barnardos for instance, who ran childrens homes, then there was no need for childrens’ homes because the government were doing it, instead reinvented themselves as an “advocacy” organisation, which is the normal strategy.

    So anyway, the last thing any feminist wants is to put an end to, or even reduce, rape. It’s sawing through the branch they’re sitting on.

  21. I used to enjoy unwanted advances as an undergraduate: it was rather flattering, and it wasn’t hard to let the girl down gently.

    I was surprised, I admit, to receive an unwanted advance in my middle fifties. But, again, it wasn’t hard to deal with. I’ve not had one since then but I dare say I could cope.

    As for “female students”: some will, no doubt, be subjected to nasty, and worse, experiences. Will their cause be helped by so many others crying wolf, and generally rendering frivolous what ought to be a serious topic? Will enough innocent male students be abused about in this ignoble cause that people will start to treat all accusations of misbehaviour as exaggerations or falsehoods? If so, how does that help defend blameless women from being molested?

  22. “A lot of British universities are not campus universities”: quite – what it shows is that this campaign involves uncritical regurgitation of American propaganda on the topic.

    Remember The Rule – we copy only bad American habits, never good.

  23. Most of this is uncritically regurgitated from the States. You tend to get centres of philosophy in diffferent times and places. A while ago, Germany was one. Before that, the Scottish Enlightenment. America has these two major centres- New York and California- where most of this crap was, and continues to be, hatched, and will be until the centre of intellectual gravity shifts somewhere else in the world. Maybe 100 years from now young radicals all over the world will be blindly repeating slogans from Beijing, or Delhi.

  24. Universities have a specific “in loco parentis” responsibility for some students; not all of them are 18 years of age. That doesn’t mean universities should intervene or cover up when young adults (post-18) perceive sexual assault. It’s somebody else’s job to investigate.

    Universities appoint marketing teams who convince VCs and Pro-VCs that they can manage reputation. Which mostly amounts to bollocks. Marketing types tend to be excitable and may need to be told to push off when acting beyond the limits of their expertise. Sexual health and personal safety are matters for professionals and students to manage responsibly; bugger reputational damage.

    The unfortunate reality is that universities do not understand their responsibilities to students. They’re not sure whether they’re providing a post-18 minding service or a lift-off platform for adulthood. Academic reports are provided for parents (presumably with student consent). At the same time, induction programmes for new students are designed to separate incomers from helicopter parents.

    @BniS: “Or that there’s a logic failure in the supposition. You’re selecting from the section of the general population who’ve elected & been selected for a university education. Have undergone a different lifestyle from the general population.”

    When admission to higher education amounts to ~40% of 18ish year olds, students become much more like non-students of the same age. Students are less likely to live away from home and are more likely to have non-student friends.

    Universities are run by people who attended one as a student when ~10% of the population had a degree. They understand people like them pretty well, the other 30% perhaps less.

  25. It’s funny, but the End Violence Against Women Coalition almost makes me want to begin violence against the End Violence Against Women Coalition.

    My sensible daughters are growing up in this mad world. It makes me seethe.

  26. IanB @ 2.55pm

    Another example is Lepra. With leprosy in decline, they have broadened their remit to cover “neglected tropical diseases” including AIDS. Their strap line is “Fighting Disease, Poverty and Prejudice” – which could cover just about anything.

  27. Theophrastus-

    I think another general rule is that any proggie-infected organisation, however precisely defined its initial remit, will end up fighting for social justice in the broadest sense.

  28. @Theophrastus: “Another example is Lepra. With leprosy in decline, they have broadened their remit to cover “neglected tropical diseases” including AIDS.”

    All of this stuff is on Lepra’s web site.

    Lepra has changed its remit to include lymphatic filariasis (commonly known as elephantiasis), tb and other diseases including HIV/AIDS. As an agency treating sick people, with knowledge about more than leprosy, they employ a few smart people. The experts in leprosy, a microbial disease, may have some words of advice to experts in viral diseases.

  29. Charlieman:

    “All of this stuff is on Lepra’s web site.”

    Yes, I know. And I never suggested that Lepra had a secret agenda.

    “As an agency treating sick people, with knowledge about more than leprosy…. The experts in leprosy, a microbial disease, may have some words of advice to experts in viral diseases.”

    They may, or they may not. That is for the experts in those charities treating other tropical microbial diseases to decide. (And, in any event, AIDS is viral.) It looks like Lepra realised it could not justify its existence unless it broadened its remit. In so doing, it risks unnecessary duplication of services already provided; but, hey, it keeps the HQ staff in a job! (Which is IanB’s point, above.) In the 1970s, I used to raise money for Lepra, but not anymore.

  30. Theophrastus: “They may, or they may not. That is for the experts in those charities treating other tropical microbial diseases to decide. (And, in any event, AIDS is viral.)”

    I suggested that Lepra doctors may be useful when considering diagnosis of bacterial versus viral infection. Like differentiation. Wake up.

    Theophrastus: “It looks like Lepra realised it could not justify its existence unless it broadened its remit.”

    Probably true. In order to maintain a help organisation, where most leprosy sufferers live (and are identified) but few new sufferers (thankfully) rarely turn up, the charity looks after different people with socially challenging conditions.

    Organisations like Lepra treat citizens with horrible skin diseases. They send patients to doctors where they might be helped for microbial or viral infection.

    Theophrastus: “In so doing, it risks unnecessary duplication of services already provided.”

    Or are you just making that up?

  31. As its job on leprosy is largely done, Lepra would have done better to have merged with another charity, rather than broaden its own remit. Expertise would not have been lost; and overheads would have been reduced. But, no, third sector jobs, salaries and careers are more important. Pass the sick bag…

  32. @Theophrastus: “As its job on leprosy is largely done, Lepra would have done better to have merged with another charity, rather than broaden its own remit.”

    No, it is better that Lepra continues to campaign for people who live different lives, their own lives.

    “Expertise would not have been lost…” Have you ever met a modest doctor?

  33. “No, it is better that Lepra continues to campaign for people who live different lives, their own lives.”

    Sentimental, reality-denying guff, charlieman.

    What you are saying implies that charities should never rationalise, merge or wind themselves up when their job’s done.

  34. > What you are saying implies that charities should never rationalise, merge or wind themselves up when their job’s done.

    No, I think what he’s saying is that Lepra is a really shit example. And I’d agree. I generally agree that the problem with bureaucracies is that they tend to define their remit in such a way as to ensure they can never succeed — see the latest definitions of “poverty” in the UK — but that’s not to say that no charity should ever change or broaden its scope. Sometimes it is a perfectly reasonable thing to do.

    “We’ve got a load of doctors and nurses, we’ve got infrastructure in this country, we speak the language, we’ve got the local government on our side, the people trust us, and there’s a nasty epidemic taking off. But it’s the wrong epidemic, so we should leave and let some other charity set up from scratch. Which could take years.”

    Sounds ethical to me.

    I wonder how many of the charity workers currently helping fight the ebola epidemic are employed by charities who had some other purpose but found themselves in the affected areas with relevant expertise? Should we tell them to stop?

  35. “that’s not to say that no charity should ever change or broaden its scope. Sometimes it is a perfectly reasonable thing to do.”
    Yes. Thank you.
    “Should we tell them to stop?”
    Nope. But we might just suggest that they merge — or at the very least coordinate service delivery.

  36. I’m pretty sure service delivery is being coordinated against ebola.

    If we were discussing private firms, it wouldn’t occur to anyone here to suggest that all those doing the same thing should merge in order to avoid duplication. Like London black cabs and Uber, for instance. Utter errant nonsense.

  37. Sq2:

    “I’m pretty sure service delivery is being coordinated against ebola.”

    Perhaps, with governmental support; but this is not relevant, because Lepra has broadened its scope to include “neglected tropical diseases”, which ebola and HIV/AIDS are not.

  38. Sq2:

    “If we were discussing private firms, it wouldn’t occur to anyone here to suggest that all those doing the same thing should merge in order to avoid duplication. Like London black cabs and Uber, for instance. Utter errant nonsense.”

    Er…have you ever heard of markets??

    Uber: good luck to it

    Charidites: merge and focus on their aims without the PC crap-orola

  39. > have you ever heard of markets??

    There is a market for charities, obviously. This is why they advertise. If a number of charities do the same thing, some will do it better. Donors can choose which ones to give to. If you merge them to avoid duplication, you achieve exactly the same thing as when you do that to to vehicle manufacturers to create British Leyland: you remove the mechanism whereby the failures lose and the successes win.

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