Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Inflating campus sexual assault statistics

By Bettina Arndt - posted Thursday, 31 August 2023

In recent weeks our proud Teal Independents have been busy showing their feminist credentials by supporting student activists seeking to force universities "to do more" about sexual assault on campus. "All of us women who have attended tertiary facilities in Australia know someone who has been raped while at university," pronounced Dr Monique Ryan. Well, perhaps in your circles, Monique.

Wentworth's Allegra Spender was on ABC radio jumping on board the ABC's latest propaganda claim - that 275 people are sexually assaulted on our campuses each week.

Is that disinformation, or simply misinformation? This wild 275 headline figure has provided useful propaganda for media stories supporting Education Minister Jason Clare's recent attack on the universities.


The ABC attributes the statistic to the 2021 National Student Safety Survey. Yet Universities Australia, who ran the survey, said the 275-a-week claim was not in their survey results. It appears to have been cooked up by End Rape on Campus (EROC) activists who extrapolated from the tiny 2.7% of the student population who bothered to answer the survey to the whole student population and included it in a submission to the Federal Government.

(Funnily enough, they got it wrong by using 1.3 million for the student population, when government statistics show 1.6 M is nearer the mark. Haha, those pesky activists could have claimed 339 rapes a week if they'd got their sums right!)

The manufactured statistic was derived from an extremely dubious statistical manoeuvre, specifically warned against by the Australian Human Rights Commission which ran the previous survey. The Commission stressed the respondents were "self-selected students who were motivated to respond" which means these responses "cannot be regarded as representative of the Australian university student population as a whole."

It's rather like counting up the number of different models of car in a smash repair shop and using this to warn drivers about comparative safety of vehicles.

Note that this calculation was based on the tiny 1.1% of students answering the survey who claimed to have been sexually assaulted in the previous year – using the broadest possible definition which included any sexual contact such as being kissed as well as any sexual activity involving drugs or alcohol. (About half of these assaults weren't actually on campus but took place in private homes, clubs and other outside locations. So, they weren't campus sexual assaults at all.

Clearly, that measly result was very disappointing for the feminist activists who'd worked so hard to try to get these numbers up. Look at this social media post from EROC zealots announcing a social media event to keep people company while they complete their surveys. Hmm, surely that's rather like helping someone fill in their slip at the ballot box.


So EROC corrupted the survey by manipulating responses but were so disappointed with the minimal 1.1% result that they were inspired to come up with the 275-a-week concoction.

This manufactured statistic was endlessly quoted by not only the ABC but also Greens Senator Larissa Waters, and all manner of feminist groups who have jumped on the bandwagon to attack the universities.

Jason Clare has responded by giving EROC just what they always wanted - namely an "expert" independent taskforce to make sure the universities toe their line. And who's got the gig to run this show? Patty Kinnersly, the CEO of Our Watch – Australia's main organisation for promoting male-hating domestic violence misinformation. Kinnersly is to be given oversight of our kangaroo courts and the massive Sexual Assault and Harassment (SASH) bureaucracy running rampant in our universities.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. All

This article was first published on Bettina Arndt.

A message from Bettina: If you are enjoying these free blogs perhaps you might also consider supporting my work financially andbecome a paying subscriber. I use these funds to contribute to the costs of my various campaigns, and to provide support for falsely accused students facing our campus kangaroo courts.

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

5 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Bettina Arndt is a social commentator.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Bettina Arndt

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Article Tools
Comment 5 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy