Tuesday, August 11, 2015

20 Women, 200 Dates, and a Little Math

Two weeks ago I cited two well-known statistics to you. Well, at least they’re well-known to me. The first was:

1 in 5 women will be the victim of some sort of sexual assault.

The second one, from my 19 years of teaching, was:

5% of the students cause 95% of the problems.

I also said that the first statistic did not necessarily imply that 20% of all sexual encounters between women and men involved some sort of assault.

Today is where I show you how that works, by looking at 20 women and 200 dates.

Now before I start out, let me just say that the information I present here is not going to be done to the same rigorous standards that it would be if it were done by a certain statistician I know, but it should be enough to make my point.

We’re going to start off with a set of 20 women, labled F1 through F20, and have them each go out with 10 men over the course of a number of years, thus giving us a total of 200 dates. The 10 men each woman goes out with may or may not be from the same set, since people move around a lot. This means that there could be as many as 200 different men involved or there could be some overlap. It really doesn’t matter.

What does matter is that 5% of the up to 200 different guys are assholes who don’t know the meaning of the word “no”, and that they will cause problems for four of the 20 women. With 200 dates, that means that a chart of the women and dates would look like the one below:

So while 20% of the women have dealt with some form of sexual assault on a date, 96% of the dates…and possibly guys…are just fine.

Now let’s take a look at what the statistic isn’t saying, but could easily be misunderstood to mean. It most definitely is not saying that 20% of all dates go horribly wrong. If that were true, then the chart would look like this one:

Now, notice that even though one fifth of all dates here ended up with some sort of assault, the assaults weren’t evenly distributed. F1 only had one date that resulted in an assault, and F17 got off scot free. On the other hand, F20 was a very unlucky woman.

So now that we know what it is and what it isn’t, we’re faced with two possibly conflicting sets of statistics: The first says that 20% of all women will have to deal with an incident of sexual assault. The second says that 96% of all dates are just fine.

If you’re a woman, which set of stats should you let guide your life?

As a person who knows that flying is statistically the safest way to fly, but whose favorite airline is Amtrak, and hasn't flown since 1987, I don’t really have an answer to that.


  1. While I appreciate your illustration, it doesn't really get to the heart of the matter. The real question is not whether 20% of the dates women go on end in sexual assault, but rather whether 20% of women are sexually assaulted. I (and many others) don't see the 20% figure as being even remotely accurate. I know debating the statistic itself wasn't your purpose, but do you think it is credible? Why or why not?

    1. By all means, lets debate the statistic. After all, I know what Mark Twain said about them.

      Do I believe that it's accurate? I don't know. Quite frankly, it seems a little high to me. On the other hand, I'm not female. Also, the definition of sexual assault has been applied so loosely these days that even a *guy* who woke up with a hangover in the bed of a woman who he wouldn't have chosen to sleep with had he been stone cold sober, could claim non-consent, and therefore sexual assault. However, because he's a *guy* and was drunk, it's also very likely that both facts would be used against him to paint *him* as the aggressor and her as the victim.

      Actually, I think the figures are a little high, and I seem to recall reading that even the researchers who gave us those figures think that they may be high, and being totally misinterpreted...that these were the figures for a certain subset of women, and thus they may not be a totally accurate representation of what's going on out there.

      But...I also know that as a guy, I get pilloried for even asking the question, so I'm very careful about this (ha...wanna know why white people don't want to talk about race?).

      But please, let's keep talking. I hope you're still out there.

  2. Hello Mr G,

    Yes, I'm still here. Funny that you should compare men's reluctance to questioning rape statistics to the reluctance of whites from engaging in racial dialogue. The two are analogous, although racial questions are inherently more tension filled. Regardless of how heated conversations between men and women become, both sides fraternize wildly with the enemy, limiting hard feelings. Not so with blacks and whites (yeah, I know that there are other racial groupings in the US, but black/white divisions seem to be the most enduring, so I'll reference that one).

    The 20% figure is, I think by any measure, a dubious statistics, but one taken as gospel by the MSM. If it is true that 20% of women will be raped at some time in their lives, was the rate of sexual assault higher in the past? Supposedly, crime, especially sexual assault, is way down:


    If the incidence of reported rape is down by 80% since 1973, how can the so called culture of rape be sustained:


    Is this a real culture?

  3. Without having read any of the articles you've cited yet, let me give you my opinion on things.

    I think that our definition of rape has expanded from 20 or 30 years ago, to include what we would've called "taking advantage of a girl" or "not being a gentleman." It was definitely bad form, but not criminal behavior. By the standards of the day, Bill Cosby would still have been a louse, but not a potential criminal.

    Similarly, the definition of sexual assault, which is what I've heard the stats talk about, have been expanded to not just include rape, but someone copping a feel. Now, having said that, I understand that there's such a thing as being molested, and that's definitely sexual assault, but are someone copping a feel the same as molesting someone?

    And as far as "rape culture" goes, I remember a time when we'd look at cartoons about cavemen, and the running gag was that they got married by walking around, finding a nice-looking woman, hitting her over the head with their club, and then dragging her back to his cave. Done. We all laughed at that. Nowadays we look at that as an example of how long "rape culture" has been going on and how pervasive it is. But I don't think that any of us really thought of it in terms of rape. I'm not sure that any of us really thought of it in terms of "He's gonna club her, drag her home, and force her to have sex with him." None of us really thought all that deeply about it.

    Similar thing with stories that involve love potions. Nowadays, with our concern about consent, and the ability to freely give it, all those stories where there's a potion that makes Person A fall in love with Person B sound like there's a serious lack of consent involved, and would therefore imply rape by modern standards.

    And please, stick around...I'm enjoying this conversation.

    And I *will* read those articles.

  4. You wrote:

    By the standards of the day, Bill Cosby would still have been a louse, but not a potential criminal.

    I have to strongly disagree with you here. Loutish behavior is having consensual sex with a woman one night and pretending not to know her the next day. Drugging a woman without her knowledge to have sex with her while she was incapacitated is rape. I found Beverly Johnson's account compelling:


    This would have been a crime in 1960 or 2015. Don't get me wrong. I used to be a Cosby defender. After all, some women do accuse men falsely of rape. Below is a particularly maddening example:


    There is just too much smoke around Cosby. And the stories of his accusers are remarkably consistent.

    but are someone copping a feel the same as molesting someone?

    Could be. If the woman being gripped doesn't like it, it's molestation. If she does, it's “copping a feel”. The guy won't know how the grip will be interpreted until he does it. That's the problem, although it is a problem that most men solve although there are no explicit rules. Feminists are trying to establish rules with “Assertive Consent”, but those rules are clearly going to fail because women don't want men they are attracted to to ask permission for physical contact. If a guy does asks before he grabs, the woman will be less attracted to him as a consequence. Men know this, so most men don't ask and roll the dice.

    The problem with Feminism is that it ignores human nature. It is similar to Communism in that respect. Feminism ignores the reality that women want to be taken BY MEN THEY ARE ATTRACTED TO. This does not mean that women want to be raped. It does mean that women want the men they are attracted to to be sexual aggressive at the appropriate moment. There is no codifying this.

    1. As far as my comments on Cosby being a louse, but not a criminal go, I guess I was thinking about the last 20 or so minutes of "The Philadelphia Story", where the Jimmy Stewart character explains that he didn't sleep with the drunken Katherine Hepburn character "because there are rules about that." I seriously doubt that there were *legal* rules about that, but there were definitely rules about how a gentleman should behave. I guess the standards of the day allowed you to have sex with a woman who had *gotten herself* drunk and have it be considered loutish behavior, but not rape.

      As far as feminism (and the "Yes Means Yes" rules) ignoring human nature, I say with all the gusto of Meg Ryan's character in "When Harry Met Sally", "Yes! Yes! YES!"

      I guess I would unscientifically distinguish between "copping a feel" and molestation by how long the incident lasted and whether it was forced rather than opportunistic.

      But now...as Jerry Colonna might say, "something new has been added" with the case of the 13-year-old kid arrested for sexual assault for kissing a female classmate on a dare. Definitely a case of overkill here.