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Sex crimes spin?

Original post made by skeptic on Oct 5, 2007

Stanford reporting more sexual assaults

In this Weekly article (see link below), Stanford Deputy Chris Cohendet is quoted as saying:

"It's not an increase in assaults but an increase in reports of them."

How exactly is he able to make this determination?

Sounds to me like this is one of those undeterminable questions since how would you know what wasn't reported in the past in order to compare to what is being reported now?

Sounds like PR spin to me in order to keep Stanford campus community from being concerned and Stanford's low-crime reputation
from being sullied.



Web Link

Comments (9)

Posted by ???, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 5, 2007 at 8:00 pm

A lot of this comes down to the definition of what is a sex crime? When I was working in an office about 25 years ago I remember one incident which if it happened nowadays would be a completely different incident. I was standing in a filing area looking at a file I had open on the open drawer. This area was not frequented very often unless there was a filing clerk there. It so happened that one of my coworkers, male, crept up behind me and undid the zipper on my dress to see if I was wearing a bra or not. He thought it very funny, I did not, but I gave him a piece of my mind and that was the end of it. It did not affect the way I treated him, but he never did anything like that again. Now if that happened today the same incident would be called a crime, or sexual harrassment at the very least.

The thing is, what we construe as inappropriate has always been inappropriate, but it happened. Nowadays we can do something about it, in the past we couldn't. Sometimes, I am sure, it is hard to draw the line and decide what is appropriate and what isn't. The incident I described is most definitely not. However, sometimes I can see what someone may think of asjust teasing is taking things much too far in someone else's eyes. A pat on the shoulder may be fine for one person, but not for another. A hug, blowing a kiss or even a wolf whistle, can now be taken as an insult even if the original intention was supposed to be otherwise.


Posted by Frankie, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Oct 5, 2007 at 8:20 pm

The TV news report I saw last night said:

- the increase was primarily (or entirely) in "acquaintance rape" situations
- someone (the YWCA?) had opened a rape counseling center on campus, which appeared to be generating more rape reporting

So I imagine that Stanford is trying to avoid the impression of rapists wandering their campus looking for women walking alone. At some level may be helpful, to the extent it distracts from the very real danger of date rape.




Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 5, 2007 at 9:44 pm

oh, c'mon...looks like the spin here is coming from "skeptic", and "Frankie". Stanford is, for all intents and purposes, a very safe campus. As applies to all campuses, "be careful", because bad things do happen.


Posted by SKEPTIC, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 6, 2007 at 2:05 am

Well if we're talking date rape, doesn't matter how you look at it...rape is rape. But back to my basic point -- how can you come to the conclusion there is no increase in rapes, just an increase in reported rapes?

It's clear there's an increase in reported rapes--by definition. However, there is ZERO basis for concluding there is no increase in actual rapes since nobody knows how many rapes weren't previously reported.

This just seems irresponsible to me for a stanford official to be making a claim like this that is simply unsupportable by the facts because there are no facts regarding what wasn't reported. If there are, tehn they wouldn't be "unreported" now, would they?


Posted by Skeptical of Skeptic, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Oct 6, 2007 at 6:25 am

Skeptic--you moved from barron Park to Charleston Meadow in 8 hours--plus you found time to bash stanford--what a way to multitask


Posted by Terry, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 6, 2007 at 11:22 am

I don't more any more than what I read here, but looks like they think the increase in reporting comes from a new counseling center, and hence doesn't represent an increase in incidents. No way to be certain of that of course, but there is a logic to it.


Posted by ???, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2007 at 1:12 pm

There seems to be a difference in what we are discussing. Many posters have written about rape and date rape. The article mentions sex crimes. The reporting on tv I saw mentioned a woman who had had her breasts fondled while she was opening her dorm door. What I think needs to be differentiated between is are the lesser crimes than rape being reported as sex crimes whereas in the past it was rape in its violent entirety that was reported. Granted that none of these acts are pleasant for the victim and all can be described as violent, but it may be that in the past those incidents which did not include the violence from an unknown assailant aspect were never reported.


Posted by Nora Charles, a resident of Stanford
on Oct 10, 2007 at 3:13 am

Nora Charles is a registered user.

The Weekly used to report Stanford crimes, but not recently. I'm sure many would like to be kept aware of any incidents.

As for the sex crimes, it would be helpful if a differentiation could be made between rape and groping, or similar incidents as described by ???. And I am surprised that girls are walking alone at midnight. That seems rather risky for anyone.


Posted by Patricia, a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 31, 2007 at 1:09 am

Seems to me from the the quote by the Stanford Deputy that assaults were apparently UNDER reported in the past, that counseling has provided some long needed support to correct that, and now the Deputy's department needs to step up to the plate, welcome the increased reporting and hand out some law enforcement to the guilty.


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