A New and Improved Graphic
Here is a recreation of the graphic that I’ve been criticizing.
It just doesn’t look as dramatic as the first graphic. There is no vast desert of grey-pink men whose rapes go unreported. The black figurines are not just a speck down in the corner anymore. The aesthetics change.
Dylan Matthews called the first one the “saddest graph you’ll see all day”. Break that down. Many people who found the first graphic sad probably find this one sad too, but a certain number of people will not be saddened by the new and fact-based graphic that I’ve created here. To say the graphic is sad is a meaningless statement, when you get down to it. That graphic and this graphic are what they are. They are statements that produce a certain distribution of responses across the sea of people who see them. This graphic is less effective in ginning up the desired “sadness” that Matthews and Marcotte are looking for.
If we do want to discuss the sadness or the value of this graphical statement, think of what its closed 20 x 50 matrices suggests. This is a closed system. The sympathy we grant to victims of rape is “competing” against the sympathy we grant to the falsely accused. It is mutually exclusive; this is inherent to the closedness of the system represented by the media. The first graphic grossly overstated the balance of sympathy in favor of rape victims.
I will go through my work here.
1.) I changed the top left label from “Rapists” to “Rapes”.
2.) I matched the more widely accepted figure of 46% rape report rate that RAINN and Marcotte have used. Compare to the 10% rate that Enliven randomly selected.
3.) I took some license here and used an 8% false accusation rate. Enliven took the low side; I am taking the high side. David Lisak found that 5.9% of reported rapes in his sample study were deemed to be false reports based upon conclusive evidence disproving the initial claim. We can assume that there are some other false claims that weren’t definitively proved false. So instead of 2 / 1000 we have 36.
4.) Enliven figured in a 30% ratio of “faced trial” to “reported”. It’s hard to figure out how accurate this number is. I just applied the same ratio to the new graphic. The National Violence Against Women Survey put the ratio at 37%. That proportion of rape accusations end up being prosecuted. There is some grey area between prosecution and “face trial”. So then instead of only 30 rapes ending up at trial/prosecution, we have 135. Both graphics use a conservative estimate.
5.) I used another strange kink in their methodology to arrive at the “Jailed” figure. Both Enliven and RAINN for some reason cite 1999 data from the National Center for Policy Analysis which found that 9% of all reported rapes lead to prison terms for the offenders. In that case, about 40 offenders are put behind bars. This is 4 times larger than the original graphic. It also ignores the large number of offenders who are prosecuted and then receive local jail time or plea down to probation or fines.
This paints something of a different picture. You guys can check my math. I promise I won’t weasel out of it.