Uptick In Sexual Assault Cases

Grind for September 15th
“Worrying is like paying a debt you don’t owe.”

– Mark Twain

Taking Action

The Headline

President Trump considers widespread ban on vape products

The Grind

Speaking with HHS Secretary Alex Azar and FDA Commissioner Norman Sharpless Wednesday at the White House, President Trump said the Administration was considering a ban on all non-tobacco-flavored vape products to protect “innocent children.”

The comment follows several worrisome reports on “vape lung,” a severe respiratory disease associated with the use of e-cigarettes and THC vape products.

The Details

Over the past three months, there have been more than 450 reported cases of “vape lung” and 6 fatalities. Most patients are teens and young adults.

“I am deeply concerned about the growing epidemic of e-cigarette use in our children,” tweeted First Lady Melania Trump. “We need to do all we can to protect the public from tobacco-related disease and death, and prevent e-cigarettes from becoming an on-ramp to nicotine addiction for a generation of youth.”

Researchers have yet to identify the cause of the disease, but have discovered toxic chemicals in some vape products and have identified a proliferation of oil-carrying immune cells inside patients’ lungs.

Last week, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer imposed a six-month ban on the sale of non-tobacco-flavored vape products in the interest of protecting children’s health.


The Headline

National survey reveals sharp increase in sexual assault

The Grind

Results from the 2018 National Crime Victimization Survey, published this week, suggest a twofold increase in rape and sexual assault.

The annual survey asks participants to share personal experiences with crime, whether or not the incident was reported to police.

“We go to about 15,000 households each year, interviewing about 240,000 people,” explains statistician Rachel Morgan. “We have found consistently that about half or less than half of crimes are actually reported to police, so the FBI are getting different numbers than we are.”

The FBI gets its numbers directly from police departments.

The Details

The NCVS revealed small increases for a variety of crimes, but the most significant figure was a dramatic increase in rape and sexual assault – from 1.7 per 1,000 in 2017 to 2.4 per 1,000 in 2018.

And that’s a conservative estimate.

“I think the fact that even with that conservative estimate, with the fact that most people aren’t willing to share these incidents that we’re seeing a signifiant increase from one year to another is something really worth paying attention to,” says Colorado Professor Callie Rennison. “It says something important.”

As Rennison points out, the uptick is likely a combination of increased crime and increased willingness to talk about uncomfortable experiences at the height of the #MeToo movement.

“I think that people are more willing to share this with interviewers and tell about victimizations they’ve experienced, but I also think that a part of it could be, is that there has been, among some people…this idea that grabbing people – which is sexual assault – or raping, isn’t a big deal. And so we might be seeing just actual more offenses, as well.”

Did you know… Eighty percent of Americans will be the victim of violent crime at least once in their lifetime.