A Stanford University class based around the misleading ‘1 in 5’ women are sexually assaulted statistic is moving from a 3 week seminar and “will become a normal course offering in the feminist, gender and sexuality studies (FGSS) department” according to the Stanford Daily.

The class, taught by Michele Dauber, “focuses on the legal, policy, and political issues surrounding sexual assault on college campuses”and “Expected guests speakers include Catherine Lhamon, the Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights; Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA); lawyers from the National Women’s Law Center; the Legislative Director for Senator Kristin Gillibrand (D.N.Y.); Kirby Dick, the director of the acclaimed documentary the Hunting Ground; and many of the activists who appear in the film, as well as journalists, policymakers, and theorists.”

There are several problems with this course. First, the course perpetuates the myth that ‘1 in 5’ women are sexually assaulted on college campuses, a claim the authors of one of the original studies even dispute and warn against using as nationwide statistic. As two criminologists have pointed out, the original study “is based on a survey at two large four-year universities, which might not accurately reflect our nation’s colleges overall. In addition, the survey had a large non-response rate, with the clear possibility that those who had been victimized were more apt to have completed the questionnaire, resulting in an inflated prevalence figure.”

Second, it relies on people, specifically Kirby Dick, that have been caught promoting falsehoods and debunked stories about sexual assault on college campuses through the movie The Hunting Ground.

Nineteen Harvard University law professors have denounced the film

Reason, a libertarian magazine, points out several issues with the film, calling it “a work of activist propaganda disguised as a documentary about sexual assault on American college campuses”. 

Robby Soave points out,

“the film blames the campus rape problem on a plague of serial rapists; expert opinion on this matter comes courtesy of psychologist David Lisak, whose misleading interpretation of his flawed research on serial predators is given center stage throughout the film.”

Soave continues,  “Nineteen Harvard University law professors have denounced the film for (among other faults) misrepresenting the case of Harvard law student Brandon Winston, whose life was put on hold after a night of drunken, drug-fueled sexual contact resulted in his expulsion from the university and criminal charges.”

Even Slate contributor Emily Yoffe (and a contributing editor at The Atlantic as well) found numerous faults with the movie, calling it “a polemic that—as its title suggests—portrays young women as prey, frequently assaulted and frequently ignored by their universities and law enforcement when they try to bring charges.”

Stanford University media relations referred Hypeline News to Dauber. Dauber did not respond to a request for comment.

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