Lately I've been seeing feminists pass around statements like "68% of sexual assaults go unreported to police". This seemed kind of shady to me so I did some research into where they might be getting that number. Seeing as how feminists are prone to making things up (Like the 1 in 4 Women being raped statistic) I didn't immediately trust a feminist that said this. During my search Rainn.org came up. I trust that site as they are a very well known reliable database for sexual assault statistics. However how exactly does one put an exact number on something that is unreported?
The rest of the statistics on that page are realistic and information that can be easily gathered. Yet this one kind of sends up red flags in my brain. In order to know how many sexual assaults go unreported, Rainn would also have to know how many occur in any given time frame. If people who are sexually assaulted report the assault but only to a therapist (where confidentiality applies) then the there actually was a report but the therapist can't do anything about it. I understand that up there it says "to police", though. Going by this statement it also denotes that police know about every last instance of sexual assault that occurs. They know when someone is raped/assaulted and they know when someone reports it and someone doesn't. This is an impossible thing to know. If the police were actually able to put a solid number on this then there would be far less assaults because they would effectively be predicting crime and when it happens.
Unreported statistics are just that, unreported. They are unknown. There is no way to put a number like this on the unknown. I understand there is a way to estimate these things by looking at previous crime data and conviction rates, but there is no way to actually know. Rainn publishing such a brash statement is very flawed and it makes me question a lot of things. Even though their other research and the rest of their history is sound, this one seems to make very little sense to me. I haven't been offered a realistic explanation of how unknown statistics can be known. How police can be psychic.
Plus, we run into the problem of what they define sexual assault as. If you ask a feminist what sexual assault is, it can be anything from catcalling (which they define a rape or rape culture) to a man switching positions with them while having consensual sex. How are they defining sexual assault? How do they know how many are taking place? How do they know when this is happening? If people aren't reporting it to police then they aren't reporting it to police. Do they count the people who tell a parent? A friend? A person who is legally allowed to call the authorities? Are they gathering these stats from rape crisis hotlines that have nothing to do with the police? Even if they are, there is still no way to put a solid number on this.
If that's the case then there's also no way to tell how many rapists will actually spend any time in jail or in prison. There are plenty of men convicted of rape who never raped anyone. There are even resources on how to survive prison after being falsely convicted of rape if you are a man. The false accusation rate is very high, yet if a man is convicted of rape (even if he didn't rape someone) that gets marked down as a statistic of rape. It isn't ever cleared from the record. Since false rape accusations are high, and men are going to jail for rapes they never committed, the second statistic in this statement is also flawed. As I said, I usually trust Rainn and their judgement and data on these things, but these two stats stick out like a sore thumb. I'd really like to know how they are gathering these numbers and if they are solid or just estimates.