Risk factors and sexual victimization
Just a few days ago, freethought blogger Jason Thibeault published this groundbreaking piece of original research revealing that there is only one risk factor for sexual vicitimization. In doing so, he overturned decades of prior published research into the topic, including (among many others) all of the following academic publications:
- Discriminant analysis of risk factors for sexual victimization among a national sample of college women
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, vol. 57(2), 242-250, Apr 1989
- Sexual abuse in a national survey of adult men and women: Prevalence, characteristics, and risk factors
Child Abuse & Neglect, vol. 14, Issue 1, Pages 19–28, 1990
- Risk factors for sexual victimization in dating: A longitudinal study of college women
Psychology of Women Quarterly, vol. 19 no. 1 31-48, Mar 1995
- Alcohol and dating risk factors for sexual assault among college women
Psychology of Women Quarterly, vol. 20, Issue 1, pages 147–169, Mar 1996
- Risk factors for rape, physical assault, and posttraumatic stress disorder in women: Examination of differential multivariate relationships
Journal of Anxiety Disorders, vol. 13, Issue 6, Pages 541–563, Nov 1999
- Risk Factors for Sexual Victimization of Women
Violence Against Women, vol. 9 no. 8 902-930, Aug 2003
We can safely assume that once his results are peer-reviewed, published, and shown to be backed up by some sort of scientific methodology, he will completely revolutionize the branch of the social sciences which deals with this subject matter. No longer will researchers conduct longitudinal studies on victims, or multivariate analyses on survey data from victims, henceforth they can focus all of their efforts on identifying and mitigating the elusive single risk factor.
Either that, or else Jason’s post was just another attempt to wrap up certain moral conclusions in the garb of scientific language, an invasion of the realm of the social sciences, an attempt to establish a bridgehead just across the is-ought gap. But surely this cannot be so. Freethinkers are almost universally pro-science, and surely would know better than to discount a growing body of psychological literature for the sake of advancing an ideological program. Right?