A Numbers Game
For example, Macdonald does not seem to believe in statistics unless they are irrelevant to the point. First she argues against statistical reports of sexual violence because she thinks there are many incidences that are “ambiguous”. She does not believe the women who are self-reporting their own experience of sexual assault, which in itself is a large part of rape culture. Fear of being blamed, shamed or disbelieved holds many people back from reporting these kinds of crimes.
But she does believe that statistics on rates of crime in Detroit, a high crime urban centre, disprove the rates of sexual violence on campuses because the reality couldn’t reflect such comparable rates or people would do something about it. Here she is literally faced with facts, is compelled to do nothing about them, and then says that people would do something about it if it were true.
And when those numbers don’t get her far in the debate, Macdonald goes on to argue that “90% of rapes are perpetrated by only 3% of men.” Her point is that rape is a rare and deviant activity perpetrated by few, and not the symptom of a larger societal issue.
Yet I am left troubled to know that 90% of those who commit a rape are repeat offenders. Does this not, then, mean they are part of a system that allows them to perpetrate over and over? Whether this refers to a justice system that cannot sufficiently deal with these crimes, or a culture that looks the other way, this is exactly what rape culture purports to be.