Biden gets slapped with ‘three Pinocchios’ for claiming the ‘average rapist rapes about six times’ using stats from controversial research
- President Joe Biden was given three Pinocchios by The Washington Post’s fact-checker on Monday
- On Friday, Biden said ‘the average rapist rapes about six times,’ as he talked about funding for the Violence Against Women Act
- That statistic likely came from a 2002 study penned by David Lisak in which researchers spoke to under 2,000 men walking around a college campus
- Researchers found 120 men self-reported acts that met the legal definitions of rape or attempted rape with 76 identified as ‘repeat rapists’
- ‘These repeat rapists each committed an average of six rapes and/or attempted rapes and an average of 14 interpersonally violent acts,’ the report said
- Biden’s statement was problematic because he wasn’t speaking specifically about campus rapes, but the ‘average rapist’
- Biden saying that on top of criticism that the study is flawed led to him being dinged with three Pinocchios, meaning what he said was largely false
Biden was speaking to reporters during his weekly economic briefing and said he requested funding doubled in support of the Violence Against Women Act, which would go toward getting rid of the rape kit backlog.
‘We’ve been working on this for a long, long time, and we still have a backlog on the rape kit’, Biden said. ‘And the point is: A significant number of women who have been raped – and the person has not been found or convicted is because they’re sitting in jail. The average rapist rapes about six times.’
On Friday, President Joe Biden said during an economic briefing that an ‘average rapist rapes about six times,’ a statement that earned him three Pinocchios from The Washington Post’s fact-checker on Monday
The statistic is most likely from a 2002 study authored by David Lisak (pictured), which has come under scrutiny for how it was conducted – and how it’s helped craft a narrative that most college sexual assaults are from serial offenders
‘And so, out there, we’re – we want to make sure we go through this backlog and find out, to bring some certitude to – for the woman who is saying, “No, no, it was true. That’s the man. He did it.” And it changes the whole perspective,’ Biden said.
The White House didn’t tell The Post where Biden’s statistic came from, but the fact-checking operation said it most likely came from a 2002 study penned by David Lisak entitled, ‘Repeat Rape and Multiple Offending Among Undetected Rapists.’
Researchers spoke with 1,882 men between the ages of 18 and 71 who were walking around a college campus between 1991 and 1998.
They filled out questionnaires for a small payment.
Of those researchers talked to, 120 men self-reported acts that met the legal definitions of rape or attempted rape, though were never prosecuted for those actions.
Seventy-six men in the group were identified as ‘repeat rapists.’
‘These repeat rapists each committed an average of six rapes and/or attempted rapes and an average of 14 interpersonally violent acts,’ the report said.
Other academics have poked holes in Lisak’s research, including that the paper came from pooled data from four studies conducted by others on Lisak’s campus.
Those studies were not centered on campus sexual assault.
Study participants weren’t the average college student, but rather commuters who held jobs outside of campus.
Still, the study has been used to create the narrative that serial rapists engage in the bulk of campus sexual assault.
Making it more confusing, Biden was speaking about the ‘average’ rapist and not specifically making claims about campus sexual activity when speaking about the backlog of rape kits.
The Washington Post’s fact-checker gave him a score of three Pinocchios, and not two, because he didn’t make the distinction between campus rape and rape generally, the latter of which should be based on a nation-wide sample, which Lisak’s study is not.
‘Ordinarily, given the academic dispute, we’d consider this a Two-Pinocchio claim,’ the write-up said.
Four Pinocchios is the worst score, for when a politicians tells a ‘whopper.’
Three Pinocchios is doled out when a politician makes a claim with a significant factual error, which is in the realm of ‘mostly false.’
‘Obviously, The Fact Checker cannot litigate the debate between Lisak and his critics. But the White House should be aware of the dispute and be more cautious about validating a statistic that may or may not be correct,’ the fact-checker said. ‘Otherwise, Biden may be perpetuating misinformation.’