HAVE 1 IN 5 COLLEGE WOMEN BEEN RAPED?: No, it isn’t true. If it were true, we’d have called out the National Guard long ago. Nor is it true that 1 in 5 college women have been “sexually assaulted.” But the figure gets repeated anyway. But have you ever wondered if there are parents, particularly immigrant parents, out there who believe it and hence discourage their daughters from even attending college?

It happened to my grandmother at the tail end of the White Slavery Panic (and I wrote about it in my essay on “sex-trafficking”). During that unfortunate period in history it was claimed that women were routinely being snatched off city streets and forced into prostitution. I’m sure it happened way too often. But fortunately it wasn’t nearly as common as people were led to believe. Alas, my great grandparents hadn’t gotten the memo. So when my grandmother was granted admission to Radcliffe College (then Harvard’s sister school), they agonized over it for a while, but ultimately told her she couldn’t go. It would be too dangerous. She had to stay on the farm with them until she married.

People who exaggerate the dangers to women aren’t heroes. They are the reason my grandmother had to give up her dreams.