The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing -- Edmund Burke

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Breathing Oxygen Causes Death In 100% Of Victims

Michael R. Bowen, MD

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Michael R. Bowen, MD

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"One in seven NH women raped, according to study."
-- Headline, The Conway (NH) Daily Sun

August 26, 2003


Take a good look around.  There is probably a rapist near you right now.  I mean, there must be one, because there must be battalions of them.  There are 1,235,786 people in NH according to the 2000 Census, including 627,646 females.  That's 89,664 women raped.  If there are 100 full-time rapists in the state, they will each have to accomplish 2.5 rapes a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, no holidays or weekends off.  And that's a low estimate; the article warns that there is "severe underreporting of assaults", and "victim's advocate groups say that figure includes women older than 18 and doesn't take into account minors."

It is no slight on the seriousness of rape, or the suffering of its victims, to point out that if you buy the results of this "study", I've got a bridge to sell you.  Rule of thumb:  whenever any "advocacy" group releases a "study", get out the high boots.

But don't just take my word for it.  Let's take it right from the article:  "The study used national data from two separate studies, one conducted in the 1980s, and the other in the 1990s, that found common factors among women who said they were raped.  Those numbers were applied to current Census data." (Author's italics)

Go back and read that sentence again.  It speaks volumes.

For one thing, it tells you that this important "study" on how many women are raped in NH did not identify one single living, breathing woman who had been raped.  Not even one who claimed to have been raped.  In fact, these researchers didn't even find any women, raped or otherwise.

Instead, they found two old studies which identified "common factors" among women who said they were raped.  Then they went to the Census, found the number of women with those characteristics, and declared them raped.  This will no doubt come as a surprise to many NH women who may not have noticed that they were assaulted.  The article doesn't tell us what those "common factors" were, and they could be anything.  Age, socioeconomic status, area of residence, marital status, habits, height, weight, smoking, drinking.  But it doesn't matter, because the underlying premise of the study is a whopping fallacy:  that if you identify some common characteristics among people who have a certain thing happen to them, then anyone who has those characteristics will have that thing happen also.

This was not a matter of going to NH and actually talking to women and finding out who was reporting rape.  It was not even a matter of going to the police records to find what rapes had been reported to the authorities.  It was simply a matter of saying "this study shows that most women who had been raped had X characteristic.  Therefore every woman in NH with that characteristic has been raped."  Look at it this way:  ovarian cancer is closely associated with female sex.  By the logic of this study, I can go to the current Census and tell you that more than 625,000 women in NH have had ovarian cancer.

Any chowderhead can see that this is nonsense.  It's a sterling example of junk science and sloppy thinking.  If rape is the serious problem it's claimed to be -- and it is -- the way to address it is to get serious, not to publish outlandish claims.  Today's news is saturated with overblown statistics, and people are learning to tune them out, with the result that important matters go begging.  Maybe it's because advocacy groups are everywhere these days, all competing for our attention and money.  But the advocates should remember that while Chicken Little and The Boy Who Cried Wolf may have both had a point, nobody listened because of their hysterics.

 

Copyright Copyright 2020 by Michael R. Bowen, MD & America's Voices, Inc.  All rights reserved.
Dr. Michael Bowen, a former Naval officer, has a private medical practice in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.  He writes the weekly column
"The Basics" and the occasional guest column "Mixed Reviews" for America's Voices, a conservative political opinion and educational web site.  His columns also appear in other popular Internet sites, including Opinionet.com and Enterstageright.com.  E-mail Dr. Bowen at mbowen@americasvoices.org.

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