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1 in 4 College Women Will be Victims of Rape

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By Laura Strachan, Esq. on September 10, 2010 12:56 PM

A recent study from the Department of Justice produced a disturbing figure: 1 in 4 college women will be victims of rape or attempted rape before they graduate within a four-year collge period. The report also noted that women between the ages of 16 to 24 are four times more likely to be raped than older women.

The study, entitled "Acquaintance Rape of College Students" was made by attorney Rana Sampson. Sampson compiled her numbers through the examination of many studies on the topic -- an approach that may have skewed the numbers. The Daily Caller quotes Dr. Neil Gilbert on the reliability of the figures, "the study's numbers are severly inflated due to the broad definition of rape and the manner in which subjects were questioned."

There is an important distinction to note between the study's definition and the legal definition of rape that accounts for the shocking figure. The Daily Caller notes some of the differences: "Researches asked subjects to explain what happened to them and then decided, using their own definitions, what was and was not rape. The inclusion of psychological coercion as part of the definition greatly increased the number of victims."

As defined by law, rape generally refers to non-consensual sexual intercourse committed by force, threat of injury, or other duress. In addition to including attempted rape in its definition, the study casts a much wider net than the criminal justice system does. Close to 50% of those who fell under the study's definition of rape, would fail under the legal definition of rape. Skewed or accurate, the study should serve as a cautionary tale for young women everywhere of the increased danger.

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