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VLOGGING – Campus Rape Exaggerated?

This is the 3rd episode of Sex-Positive Gamer, where we play popular videogames whilst answering your shagging questions. Now your male friends have no excuses for not knowing their sex education (unless they were too busy with Planned Parenthood volunteering or something). Our adviser is occasional Feministe contributor Echo Zen.

After a stupidly long hiatus (entirely the fault of our editor being AWOL, because of a new job), we’re back with a new episode – and this time it’s a topic from the headlines. Now that campus rape in the U.S. is finally getting the attention it deserves from media and federal investigators, the usual pro-rape lobbyists are stepping up their efforts to stop the oh-so-ghastly spectre of rape prevention, claiming that campus rape is way overblown by feminist propaganda


Welcome to the third episode of Sex-Positive Gamer.

Today your favourite sex educators are playing Portal 2, whilst answering your questions.

So, whilst we were teleporting our way through life’s problems…

…we actually got a question on a topic involving violence.

The question was whether President Obama is making too big a deal out of campus rape.

Here’s the email we got.

“Hey, you’re into politics, right?”

“You may remember some time ago, the White House released a major report on college rape.”

“The report claims rape is pretty common.”

“But I also see websites attacking the report as biased, fraudulent pap.”

“I figure they just hate Obama, but has anyone found good reason to question the report?”

Okay, in April 2014, the White House issued a report on new efforts to combat campus rape.

Notably, the report claims 1 in 5 college women experiences assault in university.

Now, those aren’t random numbers.

The Centers for Disease Control reported virtually the same numbers, in its own study on sexual violence.

The numbers in the White House report are from that study.

These numbers aren’t new to violence researchers either.

The report simply reaffirms what’s already common knowledge amongst researchers.

However, not everyone agrees.

When the report came out, conservatives condemned the White House…

…for allegedly making too big a deal out of campus rape.

In question is the White House’s claim, that 1 in 5 college women experiences assault.

Since these numbers are backed by the CDC’s own study, it’s become a target for conservative attack.

Notably the American Enterprise Institute, a prominent lobbying group in Washington…

…claims that study is “fraudulent”, and also “these numbers were fudged” by the CDC.

Other conservative websites also claim the CDC study is “ridiculous”, “bizarre and wholly false”.

So, is that CDC study fraudulent?

The main argument from conservatives is that, whereas other studies ask people if they’ve been raped…

…the CDC asks people if they’ve experienced forcible sex, AKA rape without using the word “rape”.

To conservatives, rape doesn’t count unless a person officially calls it rape.

However, this is bollocks, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

After AEI claimed fraud by the CDC, the NSVRC issued a response…

…pointing out why the CDC’s method is actually more accurate, not less.

Crucially, the CDC’s method avoids asking rape victims to label themselves as rape victims…

…since many victims, for numerous reasons, would rather not identify as having being raped.

Studies on violence are more accurate when asking about behaviour to see if rape occurred…

…rather than forcing victims to call themselves victims.

Studies by the National Institute of Justice and National Institute of Mental Health…

…also find 1 in 5 college women experiences assault, so clearly the CDC’s numbers aren’t flukes.

Conservatives aren’t always wrong when it comes to facts, but in this case…

…the critics are factually challenged.

Well, we’re hoping you got your answer, because we’re almost out of footage from today’s puzzle.

If you have other questions, post a comment on Feministe or message our Tumblr.

Also let us know if you want us to play other feminist games besides Portal.

Till next time…


Behind the scenes, we’re planning 4 more episodes by October, which will conclude this season of vlogging. (After that, we’re taking a break to work on a gun violence project, but that’s another story.) In the interest of wrapping up this season ASAP, we’ve already locked down topics for the next and final 4 episodes…

- Girl gamer visibility
- Rape culture in gaming
- Female videogame characters
- Sexism in the gaming industry

Today’s episode is a transition point. After this, we’re fully embracing the gaming aspect of this series and focusing on sex(ism) in gaming, something we couldn’t do before because of academic reasons (which have since been resolved).

Another change is the switch from playing “Call of Duty” to more feminist titles like “Portal 2”, frankly more palatable to our tastes than glorifying jingoism by shooting brown people and foreigners. We also took steps behind the scenes to speed up our episode schedule, by using Fat Steve’s method of processing voice recordings. (Thanks, Steve!)

We’re plugging away at the final 4 episodes in another room as we type this, so there’s not much more we can say… besides thanking everyone for tolerating the oddities we’ve posted to Feministe over several months. If you think this entire series has been stupid… well, hey, at least we’re wrapping up in October.

Till next time, farewell!