Six Problems with Lisak’s Work – Marc MacYoung

I’ve always had problems with Lisak’s work. I’ve especially had problems with people who use his works as Holy Writ about rape and rapists and why we need draconian laws. I’ve had too many extremists claim “All rapists are serial rapists” and demand excessive punishment because anyone who is accused of rape — using Lisak’s ever changing numbers — has gotten away with 7-15 previous rapes.

From the “Repeat Rape and Multiple Offending Among Undetected Rapists” study ” by Lisak, ” …self reported acts met the legal definitions of rape or attempted rape but were never prosecuted by criminal justice authorities.”

Problem one. With the new legal definition of rape, drunk sex is rape.

Problem two, we don’t know what state’s statutes he’s using so we don’t know what that ‘legal definition’ is (Hint, back when this report was published, Montana didn’t have a rape law. They had unwanted sexual contact [misdemeanor] and unwanted penetration [felony]) So on top of the lack of investigation, arrest and conviction we have an impressive sounding ‘…legal definition…’ but we don’t know what definition that is.

Why’s that a problem? Well number three — from the same study — “…are compromised of behaviorally specific questions describing sexual acts that approximate the legal definitions of rape, attempted rape and sexual assault. However to avoid evoking defensive reactions in participants it does so without referencing any of those legal terms.” 

So problem 3A, you’ve lumped three different crimes/ actions as one. Then you’ve identified a person as a rapist. (hint, coping a feel is sexual assault, not rape) 3B, ‘approximate’ 3C, you’re beating around the bush in the questions, but making absolute conclusions about the answers?

Problem four. Lisak’s findings were after interviewing 1882 men at college he found 120 “…whose self-reported actions” Now my little calculator says 120 time six equals 720. Not even close to 1 in 6. When I divide 1882 by 120 I get 15 plus change.

Problem five. Those 120 claimed responsibility for 1225 anti-social, violent acts.(And this one is where I really start getting pissed) OF those 483 were sexual acts. My calculator says that in the 39% area. So 61% of the bad shit they did was something else… yet from the SECOND sentence of the report, these individuals are specifically identified as ‘rapists.’…/SV%20on%20Campus/Repeat%20Rape.pdf

Problem six. So we’ve already blown a hole in the 1 in 6 is a rapist number. But here’s where we get even worse, of the 120 only 76 (63.3%) admitted to multiple incidents. Yet Lisak assigns 4.0 ‘rapes’ to each of them. Well that isn’t fair, because 44 guys only ‘admitted’ to one. So then Lisak — in the same paragraph (Results, page 78) — subtracts the 44, divides the remaining 439 ‘rapes’ among 76 ‘rapists.’ Thereby assigning 5.8 rapes to each person who ‘admitted’ to multiple offenses.

Now I know I’m from the Los Angeles Unified School District, but 5.8 (actually 5.7+++) isn’t 7 and it sure isn’t 15 — which is the range of numbers stated in absolute certainty as to how many rapes all rapists are assigned of having gotten away with before he’s caught. This by people claiming to use Lisak’s study as the basis of their arguments about why we need to just lynch anyone accused of rape.

But let’s visit an old friend. Let’s see 76 is what percentage of 1882? Hmmm according to my calculator it’s 4%. Oh hell, let’s go hog wild and say 120! Well 6% … hmmm not so impressive.

Odd because the statement 1 in six men have ‘violating intent’ tracks to 16.67% of ALL men. Where’s that extra 10% come from?

Now ordinarily I wouldn’t give a rat’s ass about a study with this much bias and spindoctoring. My problem is Lisak’s work and the Dear Doctor himself has become a cornerstone on rape lobbying, legislation, investigation, and prosecution training. It is in fact, so ingrained in this training that it is considered prima facie that you’re nailing him for the 7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14 or 15 rapes he’s gotten away with.

Because anyone who is accused of sexual assault, much less rape is a serial rapist, doncha know.

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