HA note: The following is written by Kathi and reprinted with permission from Julie Anne Smith’s blog Spiritual Sounding Board. It was originally published on March 3, 2015 with the title “Is there a correlation between sexual abuse as an adult and homeschooling?”
About Kathi: Kathi is a Bible-belt midwest transplant to the beautiful Pacific northwest. After homeschooling her kids for 10 years (she decided that high school math and science were not her strongest subjects), both kids are in public school. She is a former church goer and finds herself in that unstudied demographic of middle-aged Nones. She has a B.A. in Urban Ministry and a M.S.W. (Master of Social Work). Her goal is to work with children who have been abused or are in foster care. She loves to knit, cook and read (not in any particular order). Kathi blogs at Moving Beyond Absolutes. Also by Kathi on HA: “Kevin Swanson, Child Abuse, and Dead Little Bunnies” and “A Closer Look at Karen Campbell and Lisa Cherry’s Podcast Series on Sexual Abuse Prevention.”
On February 6th, Christian homeschool leader Kevin Swanson and Steve Vaughn did a radio broadcast entitled, “1/3 of College Women Sexually Abused.” Swanson fails to mention the name of the study referencing this statistic and states that he received an email from his father with a link. The Oregonian reported in September 2014 about a survey done by the University of Oregon in which 35% of the female respondents indicated they had at least one non-consensual sexual contact event. I can only assume that this is the survey to which Swanson is referring.
The title of the radio broadcast is a bit deceiving because it seems that Swanson’s primary purpose was to discuss the findings of the Gen 2 Survey. The discussion of college women being sexually abused occurred in the middle of the broadcast.
Swanson starts off this part of the broadcast by discussing the findings of child sexual abuse in his Gen 2 Survey. Based upon self-report, 6% were primarily homeschooled, 18% were primarily public schooled, and 16% were primarily Christian (private) schooled.
The obvious conclusion of the study was that there is a greater chance of a student being sexually abused if he/she is in (or primarily educated by) public or private school.
Swanson continues by acknowledging that there is anecdotal evidence of child sexual abuse among homeschoolers because of recent stories being told. However, he warns that anecdotal evidence is not equal to statistical evidence, therefore, anecdotal evidence should not be a strong basis for change in public policy. Swanson’s hope is that the Gen 2 Survey will play an important role for family and parental rights in the future.
Moving on, Swanson then talks about the University of Oregon survey. At this point he states, “You wonder why anybody would want to send their daughters to a university like this. They’ve got a 1 in 3 chance of being sexually assaulted.” I fully understand the concern regarding the statistics from the University of Oregon survey. I have a daughter getting ready to go to college in the fall and I find myself feeling like it’s one more thing I have to worry about.
However, Swanson doesn’t end there, he says, “Homeschooling numbers are more attractive to parents who want to protect their daughters.” At this point I see where the conversation is heading. Swanson blames the college culture of sexual revolution, the grey line between consensual sex and rape (huh?), fornication, and students “having sex like rabbits” for the high number of sexual assaults. He compares sending daughters off to college to cohabitating prisons where there is no separation of men and women. In an environment such as this, surely bad things are going to happen. Right? He then suggests that a good way for daughters to attend college is by taking online classes from home. Vaughn chimes in and promotes College Plus, which is a program that is promoted and talked about by a lot of proponents of Patriarchy and the Stay-at-Home Daughter Movement, including Doug Phillips and Voddie Baucham. You can read a little bit more about Voddie Baucham’s daughter and College Plus in this article, Jasmine Baucham, CollegePlus, and Leaving Things Out.
Folks, Kevin Swanson is promoting the stay-at-home daughter movement. Is anyone surprised?
Getting back to the original question related to the correlation between homeschooling and sexual abuse as an adult, Swanson makes one of his generalized statements that makes me so fond of him. In relation to the University of Oregon study he says, “This kind of thing was not happening 20 years ago.” It just so happens, Mr. Swanson, that the Department of Justice issued a special report, “Rape and Sexual Assault Victimization Among College-Age Females, 1995-2013.” (psssttt…1995 was 20 years ago.) This report found that “the rate of rape and sexual assault was 1.2 times higher for non-students (7.6 per 1,000) than for students (6.1 per 1,000).” The report also found that “most (51%) student rape and sexual assault victimizations occurred while the victim was pursuing leisure activities away from home, compared to non-students who were engaged in other activities at home (50%) when the victimization occurred.”
It is interesting that non-students reported that half of the incidents happened at home. How does this look for the stay-at-home daughter movement?
So, Mr. Swanson, it does not seem that there is any correlation between your child sexual abuse statistics for those who were homeschooled and adult college women who are sexually abused. Apparently college-age women can be sexually assaulted whether they are in college or not and whether they are living at home or not. What is comparable, though, is that like most children who are sexually abused, most college-age women who are sexually assaulted know who their offender is.
While I applaud your effort in encouraging homeschoolers to protect their daughters, I’m not buying your push for stay-at-home daughters.