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PR: Centers for Disease Control Should Remove Flawed Rape Survey, Says Washington Post Editorial

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Contact: Teri Stoddard


Centers for Disease Control Should Remove Flawed Rape Survey,

Says Washington Post Editorial

Washington, DC/January 31, 2012 — A growing number of commentators are questioning the legitimacy of the CDC’s claims about rape and sexual assault. An op/ed published in the Washington Post exposes the scientific flaws in the study and calls outright for its retraction:

Columnist Christina Hoff Sommers concludes that the CDC’s findings are “wildly at odds with official crime statistics.”

Sommers does not exaggerate: The CDC reports 70 times the number of sexual crimes that the FBI’s gold-standard National Crime Victimization Survey does. Sommers makes the case that the political pressure of the domestic violence industry, whose interests are served by exaggerated statistics, is largely responsible for the CDC’s irresponsible sexual violence research.

Writing in December, Robert VerBruggen explained just how the CDC achieves its inflated statistics: “Researchers ask women about their sexual experiences, and then classify some experiences as ‘rape’ that most people, including the women themselves, do not consider to be rape.”

Analyst Carey Roberts laid out commonplace New Years Eve scenarios in a recent column, and then explained how the CDC would have classified them all as rapes. “Rigging definitions to create bogus victims is old-hat to the abuse industry,” he said.

The CDC’s exaggeration may be well-intended, these experts concede: the agency may believe that it is shedding light on the plight of victims. But as Sommers explains, “survivors of sexual violence would be better served by good research and sober estimates — not inflated statistics and sensationalism.”

In early January, Stop Abusive and Violent Environments sent a 12-page letter to CDC director Thomas Frieden outlining numerous concerns with the survey definitions, methods, and recommendations. Abuse prevention programs based on dubious research findings divert scarce resources away from true victims of violence, SAVE notes.

Stop Abusive and Violent Environments is a victim-advocacy organization working for evidence-based solutions to partner violence: