Thursday, October 11, 2007

Oct 15 Protest Of Cosmo Panel On Definition of Date Rape

For any of you who live near New York City or know someone who does, you may be interested in a protest planned to coincide with a panel discussion called "The Changing Definition of Date Rape" which will be held at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and which is sponsored by Cosmo. This discussion has Laura Sessions Stepp (Ms. Gray Rape) and Linda Fairstein as 2 of the experts.

This protest is co-sponsored by NYC Alliance Against Sexual Assault and the NYC Media Response Project (collaboration between the Alliance and Take Back TheNews) and will take place on Monday Oct. 15 at 11 am.

If Ms. Fairstein is answering questions will someone please ask her about this quote attributed to her: "there are about 4,000 reports of rape each year in Manhatten. Of these, about 50% simply did not happen."

Are these her words? Does she stand by this quote? If so, what data supports these numbers?

For more information go here.

Update (10/13): In response to my questions for Linda Fairstein I received a fascinating anonymous comment. Especially notable is how this person begins by quoting 2 men as experts and then admits that their expert opinion is in fact a post-publication retraction.

Anonymous:

According to KC Johnson and Stuart Taylor, Ms. Fairstein never made the claim of 4000 rape reports per year in Manhattan half of which were false. Her claim was that 10 to 15 per cent of reported rape claims were false. Go to DIW, click on the link for source notes for UPI [Until Proven Innocent] and read the errata. Stuart and Johnson apologize for quoting that statistic.

I suppose you are going to twist that into some condemnatiom of UPI and of Taylor and Johnson. You are obviously one of the Something Happened crowd.

I don't need to twist anything for this sloppy error and this buried correction to be a black eye for these authors. For authors who presented themselves as experts determined and able to get to the complete truth, they likely accepted the now debunked quote because it conveniently supported their bigotry and their agenda.

For anyone attending the panel, please ask Ms. Fairstein about this modified claim. If she did make this one, what data supports those numbers.

Update (10/15): I found the following in a City Room post about this event:

Ms. Fairstein said that although acquaintance rape is underreported, there is a higher rate of false reporting (about 9 to 10 percent) for acquaintance rape than for most other crimes.

This is notably different than the number quoted by anonymous and I suspect a significant number of that 9 or 10 percent are real rapes that are falsely labeled consensual. If anyone learns of the methodology for this number, please let me know.

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