CBC and random numbers

Don’t get me wrong, I think we need more media attention on sexual assault. But the preposterous article today by CBC about sexual assault statistics on university campuses, ‘announcing’ that Mount Allison has the highest rate in the province, did not contribute anything. Someone has to have the highest rate, right? So if the highest rate is 14 sexual assaults in five years, I think that looks damn good and has no relation to reality, given what I know, and yet that is what is giving Mount Allison a bad name? But more importantly, the statistics CBC compiled are not comparable, they’re not collected in the same way, and not all universities have statistics. So WTF CBC?? Are we ranking universities based on sexual assault statistics now? Have sexual assault statistics become like a sports result? Will Canadian Interuniversity Sport soon have a category for it?

We have high rates of sexual assault, especially sexual assault of children, in New Brunswick. That is a social problem. The justice system – police, courts, etc, – deals with the aftermath. We are supposed to deal with its prevention. All we seem to do is wait for next year’s “results”. And now in between publication of results, CBC makes up a story based on random numbers?

A while ago, when it was announced, once again, that the City of Saint John had the highest rate of reported sexual assaults in Canada, the officials tried to say that it is because they do such a good job convincing victims to come forward. But Saint John lays very few charges as a result of reports of sexual assault – it has one of the lowest rates. And Saint John has had a very high rate of sexual assaults for several decades, since long before new victim programs or officer training or public relations were put in place.


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