Causal Claims-Dohertyk9

Single cause with a multitude of effects (X causes Y and Z):

Laws have changed to state that anyone can give or retract consent, and that it must be constantly expressed in order for consensual sex to occur.

Effects- it should be easier to bring up charges for rape, easier to convict for rape, men can now bring up charges for rape, status of virginity does not matter, how sexually active the victim is no longer matters (or should no longer matter), sexual orientation should no longer matter, race should no longer matter.

It is easier to bring up charges for rape. This is a causation fallacy. If it is easier to bring up charges for rape, then there is no explanation for why there has been a decline in police-reported rape offenses.

It is easier to convict for rape. There seems to be no data to prove whether or not it is easier to get a conviction for rape…

Men can now bring up charges for rape. The change of definition for consent is an immediate cause in this situation. Because laws were changed to become more inclusive, men are now taken into consideration and are able to bring up charges as a victim in rape cases too.

Whether or not the victim is a virgin does not matter. In this case, the change of definition for consent is an immediate cause. In the past, the victim needed to be a virgin to have been legally raped.

How sexually active the victim is no longer matters. In this case as well, the change in definition for consent is an immediate cause. Because the legal definition of consent has changed over time, even very “promiscuous” individuals can bring up charges for rape.

Sexual orientation of the victim does not matter. This is also a situation in which the cause is an immediate cause. The sexual orientation of the victim likely would have played into whether or not the person was legally raped in the past, but now holds no importance in court.

Race does not matter. This is another situation in which the cause is an immediate cause. Regardless of race or ethnicity, a person can be raped, and now, the person is able to press charges and obtain a conviction even if he/she is a minority.

Works Cited

7 thoughts on “Causal Claims-Dohertyk9”

  1. Prof., despite reviewing the directions, examples, definitions of the types of arguments and class notes several times, I am still incredibly lost on this assignment. I recognize that this does not reflect my best work, however, I cannot seem to figure out how to continue and am unsure if I have even started this assignment correctly. Feedback would be greatly appreciated so that I can revise my work and hopefully match the actual purpose of the assignment. Thank you.


    1. Also I would like to add that sources for this argument are extremely difficult to find, especially in the rowan database. If you have any suggestions for places to look for information, that would also be greatly appreciated.


  2. Thanks for asking, DK.

    First of all, this does reflect very fine work. The best I expect from serious students is that you actually begin to grapple with the difficulty of proving a thesis through research instead of grabbing the first piece of evidence that seems related to a preconceived conclusion and calling it “proved.”

    Yours is a perfectly appropriate draft for this frustrating stage of your process.

    If, in the end, all you’re able to demonstrate with certainty is that we lack the data to draw credible conclusions about the prevalence of rape in our culture, you’ll have provided a very useful rebuttal position to undermine the too-easy pontifications of others. Don’t worry if you can’t prove what you set out hoping to prove, DK. Press forward confident that the informed conclusions you will draw from your research—whatever they turn out to be—will be more valuable than any fatuous “proof” of a thesis that can’t be proved.


  3. Second, I followed the link to your source, which made clear why drawing conclusions from the current state of the data is so difficult.

    An excerpt that highlights the problem:

    1. Data on the prevalence of rape vary greatly depending on what definition of rape is used.
    2. The FBI recorded 85,593 rapes in 2010.
    3. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported nearly 1.3 million incidents.
    4. CDC’s definition of rape “represents the public health perspective” and takes into account the ability of the victim to consent to sex because he or she had been drinking or taking drugs
    5. The FBI defines rape as “Penetration, no matter how slight” without regard to the drug or drink status of the reported victim.
    6. The National Institute of Justice found that 19.0% of college women and 6.1% of college men experienced either sexual assault or attempted sexual assault since entering college.
    7. Tuerkheimer reported on the problems surrounding credibility of rape victims, and how that relates to false rape accusations. 1 in every 5 women will be raped during their lifetime, BUT
    8. Law enforcement officers default to disbelief, leading to reduced investigation and criminal justice outcomes that are faulty compared to other crimes.
    9. Credibility discounts are especially pronounced when the victim is acquainted with the accuser, and the vast majority of rapes fall into this category.
    10. 2% of victims who were raped while incapacitated (from drugs, alcohol or other reason) reported the rape to the police, compared to 13% of victims who experienced physically forced sexual assault.
    11.National Violence Against Women Survey described the incidence of attempted or completed rape as 1 in 6 lifetime.
    12. U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, defines rape as forced penetration by the offender.
    13. The majority of rapes in the United States go unreported.
    14. According to the American Medical Association (1995), sexual violence, and rape in particular, is considered the most under-reported violent crime.
    15. A significant number of rapes reported to the police do not advance to prosecution.
    16. Twenty-five percent of reported rapes result in arrest.
    17. Only 16% of rapes and sexual assaults are reported to the police.
    18. 5% of rapists spend a day in jail.
    19. 68% of rapes occur in the perpetrators’ or the victims’ homes
    20. From 2000 to 2005, 59% of rapes were not reported to law enforcement.

    An additional note on 20. No one can know what percentage of rapes “were not reported to law enforcement.” All that can be known is what percentage of rapes KNOWN TO THE INVESTIGATOR were reported to law enforcement.

    The problem, highlighted in the list above, is obvious as early as the comparison between 2 and 3. Two credible organizations investigating what they think is the same phenomenon count rapes and generate numbers that differ by a factor of 15!

    If they were counting the population of the United States using similar criteria, the FBI would report 327 million Americans, while the CDC would maintain there are 5 billion of us!

    Almost every item in the list above highlights the difficulty of drawing anything like firm conclusions from available data for good reasons. Agencies that try to count the chickens disagree about what’s a chicken. And nobody wants to tell them how many chickens they have.


  4. Among the many ways to “count” are: 1) rape convictions, 2) rape cases brought to trial, 3) rape allegations deemed credible by law enforcement, 4) rape allegations made to law enforcement, 5) rapes reported to anyone at all, 6) undisputed rapes whether reported or not, 7) all rapes as defined by anyone.

    By that incomplete ranking system, the number of total rapes in 7 (even if the rapist thinks he had consent, and even if the victim is uncertain she gave it) might easily outnumber the number of convictions in 1 by a factor of 15. As a result, no broad generalization has any credibility.

    The chart from the Bureau of Justice Statistics that appears in your source uses definition 12 in my list: penetration by force. Coming from the Bureau of Justice, it likely means proved cases. So, are there 15 times as many rapes as proved cases of forcible penetration? Who knows? but no doubt there are many many more if we include cases in which consent was sometimes given, sometimes not during the same sex episode, and cases in which the ability to provide indisputable consent was compromised by drinking or drugs.

    Proving the impossibility of making credible claims about numbers in such a hazy definitional cloud may not be the sort of Causal essay you intended to write, DK, but it’s the proof that the evidence seems to be offering you.

    Your Definition argument demonstrated the difficulty of agreeing on the parameters of your very broad topic (the nature of rape). Now your Causal argument demonstrates the impossibility of providing accurate statistics on a phenomenon that is not well defined. That shouldn’t be a surprise.

    Consider all that you’ve done so far to be successful. You are drawing conclusions based on research. Can you narrow your focus now that you’ve clearly demonstrated the problem? Choose any single aspect to drill down on. For example, could you try to explain, on the basis of their own numbers, how the BJS can report that over 30 years rapes declined by 80 percent (from 2.5 cases per thousand to .5 cases per thousand)!?

    That one little puzzle would be more than enough to solve for an essay of 3000 words, DK, and nothing you’ve done to this point would be wasted. You could identify the disagreement about rape’s definition as the cause of the wide disparity in rape statistics (DEFINITION, CAUSATION), leading to the inevitable problem that nobody’s numbers can be used to draw any general conclusions (REFUTATION). Then you use the test case of the BJS numbers to prove your point: THERE ARE WAY MORE RAPES than can be counted by the “forcible penetration” definition, so we shouldn’t be impressed by the BJS chart that forces the narrative of a radical reduction in rape over time.


  5. Wow. Well that certainly puts my argument into perspective. It seems inevitable that my argument will have to change. It’s a relief to hear that it is the fault of the inconclusive data and not my own inability to find sources. The best direction to go in with the argument seems to be what you have suggested above, to argue that the data proves nothing because of the dispute over definition of rape and because of the underreported nature of rape. Therefore, I think I’ll try to redirect my argument that way.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: