Sunday, February 23, 2014

Are Domestic Violence Statistics Bogus?
...Attorney General Eric Holder repeated the domestic violence version of the statistic in a 2009 speech; he stated, “Disturbingly, intimate partner homicide is the leading cause of death for African-American women ages 15 to 45.” The statistic was posted in at least two places at the Department of Justice (DOJ) website. The conservative feminist Christina Hoff Sommers took exception. In USA Today (Feb. 4, 2011), she wrote, “That's a horrifying statistic, and it would be a shocking reflection of the black family, and American society generally, if it were true. But it isn't true.”

Over two years later, the Washington Post fact checker, Glenn Kessler investigated Holder's statement and published his results. Kessler wrote that CDC “data show that, for the year 2008 (the year before Holder’s speeches), cancer, heart disease, unintentional injury and HIV/AIDS all topped homicide. Then if you break out intimate-partner homicide, that ends up being seventh or eighth on the list (depending on whether you also include all homicides.)” As a basis of comparison, in 2008, cancer killed 1,871 black females; heart disease, 1,629; all homicides, 326.

Kessler next ran a forensic investigation of the claim. “As best we [Washington Post] and the Justice Department can determine,” he stated, “this all started with a 1998 study by the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), titled “Violence Against Intimates,” that examined the data concerning crimes committed by current and former spouses, boyfriends and girlfriends.” But that study did not find domestic-violence homicide to be the leading cause of death in black women aged 15 to 45 years. Indeed, the study even reported a marked decline in such homicides....

...The foregoing might suggest intentional fabrication, but other explanations, such as ideological blindness, are always a possibility. While debunking the infamous World Cup myth—namely, that the UK World Cup (as well as the American Super Bowl) created a spike in domestic violence each year—Sommers noted an interesting response. The BBC had checked the proffered data and concluded that the World Cup claim was “a stunt based on cherry-picked figures.” When journalists confronted a woman who spread the myth, she replied, “If it has saved lives, then it is worth it.” The ideologically driven are notoriously willing to disregard truth in the name of a “noble” goal...or whatever they define as one.

Another reason that academics have falsified data is to gain more grants and academic respectability or power....