Controversial Study on Rape was Wrong: Daily

The study's findings on attitudes towards sexual violence, which caused a social media uproar, were misrepresented.

By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On Friday, April 4th the Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada (Institute for Applied Economic Research – IPEA) stated that two findings from its controversial study “Social Tolerance of Violence Against Women,” a survey that explored attitudes towards sexual violence in Brazil, were inaccurate due to errors in the visual representation of the gathered data.

corrected IPEA survey, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News

The corrected IPEA survey results which were initially wrong, image by IPEA.

Originally released on March 27th, the study stirred outrage and controversy in Brazil after its graph showed that 65.1 percent of respondents agreed with the statement: “Women who wear clothes that show their body deserve to be attacked.”

“We publicly apologize and correct two errors in the results of our research on social tolerance of violence against women, released on 27/03/2014,” the IPEA stated in a press release last Friday. “The relevant error was caused by the change of graphics for the percentage of responses to sentences: that a woman who is assaulted and continues to participate likes to be caught and that women who wear clothes that show their body deserve to be attacked.”

The latter statement, which prompted an uproar on social media, was originally represented by a graphic that showed that 42.7 percent of 3,810 respondents agreed with it, 22.4 percent agreed partially, 8.4 percent partially disagreed and 24 percent totally disagreed.

The true values, according to IPEA, should have been 13.2 percent strongly agreed with the statement, 12.8 percent partially agreed, 11.6 partially disagreed, 58.4 percent totally disagreed and 3.4 percent remained neutral. The new survey results conclude seventy percent of those surveyed do not believe that women who wear clothes that show their body deserve to be attacked.

The IPEA also released corrections for errors in the representation of the reactions to the statement, “a woman who is assaulted and continues to participate likes to be caught.” IPEA’s newly-released numbers show that 42.7 percent strongly agreed with the statement, 22.4 percent partially agreed, while 8.4 percent partially disagreed and 24 percent totally disagreed.

For both questions the findings appeared to have been almost reversed in the original visual representation of the survey. The IPEA, which fired its Director of Social Studies and Policies over the errors, said the study’s results were still valid. “They allow for in-depth reflections and discussions in society about their prejudices. We apologize again for the inconvenience caused and we state our solidarity with all who are sensitized against violence and prejudice, in defense of freedom and security of women.”

Read more (in Portuguese).

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