Friday, April 02, 2010

Keeping those numbers in perspective

Lifesite News (and one of the usual suspects) want us to keep the numbers of allegations of priestly abuse in perspective:
In the last several weeks such a quantity of ink has been spilled in newspapers across the globe about the priestly sex abuse scandals, that a casual reader might be forgiven for thinking that Catholic priests are the worst and most common perpetrators of child sex abuse.

But according to Charol Shakeshaft, the researcher of a little-remembered 2004 study prepared for the U.S. Department of Education, "the physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests."
100 times more abuse by teachers than priests? Worth remembering.

But keeping things in perspective may not in fact help their argument much. There are 6.8 million teachers in the US (see here), which is about 164 times the number of priests ( 41,406 according to wikipedia).