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Megan McArdle

Campus Rape Debate Needs Better Numbers

A widely cited study on sexual assaults rests on flawed research.
Start by going back to school.

Start by going back to school.

Photographer:NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Back in the dark ages, when I was in college, we marched to the slogan "No means no!" Those were the days when we were still trying to convince people that date rape was real rape -- that women did not somehow imply consent because of the way they were dressed, or where they'd chosen to do their drinking.

Back then, the assumption was that most campus rape was caused by a bad culture -- that men were committing rape because they'd been raised to understand that women who placed themselves in certain situations were "asking for it." In the years since then, however, that assumption has been shifting. Now the focus is on serial predators, men who may be enabled by a culture that shames victims of sexual violence, and fails to do enough to protect them, but are very different from the majority of men who realize that rape is not really all right if she showed up at your fraternity party in a short skirt.