Dropping in on the blog Biased BBC, as is my way, I was struck by David Vance's characteristically pithy post entitled ALL MEN ARE RAPIST?, which highlights a BBC report about violence against women across Europe.
The BBC report begins:
About a third of all women in the EU have experienced either physical or sexual violence since the age of 15, according to a survey by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights.
That corresponds to 62 million women, the survey says.
The figures in the EU's survey are absolutely staggering (if true), finding that one in 10 women has experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 15, and that one in 20 has been raped, that 22% of women have suffered from physical or sexual violence by a partner, and around 18% of women say they have been the victims of stalking since the age of 15, and that 55% say they have been sexually harassed, often in the workplace.
I have to say that my immediate thought was that an e-mail should be sent to Radio 4's More or Less to check these results out.
They sound utterly unbelievable, don't they?
Have 44% of British women really suffered from some form of physical or sexual violence? It really seems hard to believe that it's so high a figure for something so serious, doesn't it?
So, is there something wrong with the way the survey was carried out? How did it define its terms? Or is there something wrong instead with the way the media has reported the survey?
Or, God forbid, could it actually be true?
I myself know quite a few women who have been seriously physically abused, and even a member of my own family has been stalked, so the incidence of such crimes should never be underplayed or taken lightly...
...but these figures are truly extraordinary, and I'm finding them hard to accept at face value.
The BBC report, by Bethany Bell, simply parrots what the survey says, without question.
I'd be very interested to read what statisticians make of the survey. Does it stand up? And, if so, how does it stand up?
David Vance regards the survey on which the report is based as "manipulated nonsense from the EU" [pro-EU bias] before wondering "if the BBC comrades might explore which ..ahem..communities within this apocalyptic zone of rape and abuse contribute most towards such violence?"
...by which he means Muslims (as his regular readers quickly spotted).
As there are 19 million (or so) Muslims in the EU, they can't (logically) contribute "most" towards that 62 million figure (especially as around half of those Muslims will be women), so I'm afraid to say that I'm as sceptical about David's take on this as I am about that of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (in fact, more so - if truth be told!) but...
...what on earth should we make of this story?