How Many Rapists Are Out There?

I came across a claim by the inestimably frustrating Bob Jones today, stating that 99.999% of men are not rapists, and these non-rapists disgusted by the few men that are. I would like to dispute that number, because it seems utterly unrealistic.

There are 2.2 million men in New Zealand, and 22% are under 15. This leaves 1.76 million men who are (arbitrarily) able to rape people. If only 0.001% of men in New Zealand are terrible enough to rape people, we have a rapist pool of 17.6 men. So are a small handful of men running around the country raping women like mad, making Santa Claus-like dashes from house to house in order to get everyone raped? It seems rather unlikely.

Perhaps Mr Jones means that only 0.001% of men are hide-in-the-darkness rapists – you know, the ones that jump women in dark alleys. Well, about 14% of rapes are committed by a stranger. There are about 2.25 million women in New Zealand. Something like one in five women are victims of rape in their lifetimes. This amounts to 450,000 rapes. That means that there are 67,500 stranger rapes, which is a hell of a lot for our 17.6 rapists.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be looking at total rapes, but rapes per annum. Let’s be generous and assume that women are going to have the current life expectancy of 83 years (let us also ignore birth and death rates. They’ll just complicate things). If 67,500 stranger rapes occur over that lifetime, it amounts to 813 stranger rapes per year. Our 17.6 rapists can probably do this.

813 rapes divided by 17.6 rapists is 46 rapes per year. Finally, we have a workable number. If they manage 3.8 rapes a month, then our numbers are happy. Our 17.6 rapists can manage that without being caught, I’m sure.

Let’s come back to the real world. 450,000 rapes. 17.6 rapists. That’s impossible. It’s shitty hyperbole, and it discounts the reality that twenty percent of our women (and 1.4 percent of our men) live. The men we know, trust, and sometimes love are often rapists. Think about this: if 20% of women are raped, what proportion of men are rapists? The figure would be higher than anyone wants to admit.

Bob Jones knows rapists. You know rapists. They’re not out there. They’re at your parties, whether they be booze and madness or high tea. They’re people you went to school with. They don’t have to hide in bushes to be rapists.


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