Why I am not a feminist »« In defence of freedom of speech

What could really be done to reduce rape

If the prime aim of the interviews and comments provided by Nick Ross this weekend was to publicise his new book, it is safe to say mission accomplished.

Ross is the veteran presenter of BBC’s Crimewatch series, and now the author of a new book simply called ‘Crime.’ His comments on rape prevention were highlighted by the Mail on Sunday which, he insists, grossly misrepresented and hyped his views. It seems to me that selling serialisation and interview rights to the Mail and then complaining about being misrepresented is a bit like inviting a viper up your trouser leg then complaining about being bitten. Predictably, his comments have invoked a storm of criticism and controversy.

Plenty of other commentators have already pointed out why comparing sexual integrity to theft of valuables is misguided, unhelpful and offensive. Others have talked about victim-blaming and the myths that significant numbers of rapes can be avoided by women adapting their social and sexual habits, clothing or other behaviours. I fully endorse those critiques.

But to Ross’s credit, he makes at least one important and under-appreciated point. He is quite right to observe that many victims of rape do not think of what happened to them as rape. This is something well known to researchers and academics, and is the main reason why crime surveys (such as BCS/CSEW) do not ask respondents ‘have you been raped?’ but something like ‘have you been forced to have sex when you did not want to?’ The latter question reaps vastly higher positive responses than the former. Whether this is accounted for by ignorance of the letter of the law, psychological defence mechanisms or the fuzzy boundaries between coercion and compulsion is hard to say.

What Ross misses is that the exact same applies to rapists. One conclusion that can be drawn from the work of David Lisak and others who have replicated his work is that when men are asked whether they have forced someone to have sex or other sexual contact against their will, disturbingly high numbers will say yes (between about 5% and 15% in different samples). When asked explicitly whether they have raped or assaulted someone, far fewer will admit it.

It may be that many rape victims do not describe the experience as rape because they simply do not understand what constitutes rape in law. It may also be a cognitive defence mechanism – that it is easier to cope with and heal from the trauma of the attack if one doesn’t consider it as a rape. I would suggest the exact same thing applies to rapists.

One of the important insights contained in Nicholas Groth’s classic typology of sexual offenders is that power rapists – the most common variety – often delude themselves into believing the victim wants what is happening to (usually) her and will come to enjoy it at the time or afterwards. Power rapists may want to buy the victim a drink or a gift after the attack or make conciliatory approaches (sometimes in the form of a half-hearted apology) the next day. In other words, such attackers do not want to think of themselves as rapists.

Last July a thread on Reddit invited users to confess if they had ever raped someone. The results were startling and controversial. One striking feature of the contributions was that many of those who admitted attacks described themselves as having been racked by indecision, doubt and uncertainty.

What this tells us, I think, is that rapists often do not think of themselves as rapists. Just like Nick Ross, and perhaps like many victims, they imagine a rapist to be the man in the bushes with a ski mask, not someone like them, not a (seemingly) ordinary guy who has a few drinks too many and refuses to take no for an answer.

It is vital that everyone understands that, in most respects, rapists are just like any other guy. It is equally important to understand that raping is not normal behaviour. By the best estimates, at least 90% of men will never rape anyone. Other men in the same situation would not do the same thing, because other men are not rapists. People who force sex upon others are statistical, psychological and moral aberrations.

This is why I, as a man, fully support feminist efforts to replace rape avoidance campaigns with genuine rape prevention campaigns. That means reducing the desire, the willingness, the motivation to commit rape in the first place. There are very good reasons to believe campaigns with slogans like “don’t be that guy” as opposed to “don’t be that girl” could be highly effective in reducing rape and sexual assault, because there are very good reasons to believe that many sexual offenders really don’t want to be “that guy.” They don’t want to think of themselves as abusers, don’t want to think of themselves as rapists. They are actively looking for loopholes which allow them to think that it wasn’t entirely their fault, the victim takes a share of responsibility, or that anyone would do the same in the circumstances. This is why even well-intended advice to women on their supposed responsibility to avoid being raped can actively contribute to the problem.

More importantly, I think, sex education (both at school and in the broader cultural conversation) needs vastly stronger emphases on the meaning, nature and importance of enthusiastic consent. This would also help to address the issue of forced penetration assaults by women on men, particularly within relationships, which is being increasingly recognised as a real and serious issue.

Slut-shaming, which attempts to stifle women’s expressions of their sexual desires and encourages them to play coy or hard-to-get, needs to be banished once and for all. There is perhaps no more dangerous cultural meme than the idea that “no means maybe and maybe means yes.”   

Realistically, there will always be sociopaths, sadists, damaged and damaging individuals for whom no amount of education or awareness will help. There will always be rape, just as there will always be assaults and murders. However changing appreciation of consent, improved awareness and a change in culture has already produced significant reductions in the incidence of rape. Those who said, 40 years ago, that rape was a fact of human nature and nothing could be done to change that, have been proven utterly wrong. I see no reason to believe that we couldn’t improve things much further still.

Comments

  1. Edward Gemmer says

    I get banged on, but I definitely endorse the idea that enthusiastic consent is a really good model for young people – men and women included. It seems correct to say that we don’t put enough emphasis for education of young people on sex and drugs and how they interact and how that affects consent.

  2. says

    You have written a rather powerful piece
    and we agree with nearly all of it as well
    But what is your opinion on the removal
    of juries in rape trials in order to secure
    higher rates of conviction than exist now

  3. Soarer says

    “But what is your opinion on the removal of juries in rape trials in order to secure higher rates of conviction than exist now”

    I don’t speak for Ally, but I think that would be stark, staring mad.

    Unless, of course, you are not worried about large numbers of unsafe verdicts, but just want to get the numbers up.

    In which case, why bother with a trial at all? Why not just believe the accuser, and lock up the accused for life? Or maybe capital punishment would be more to your liking?

  4. says

    The figure for false rape accusations is
    between two to eight per cent so is but
    a rather small percentage of all claims
    And judges would be far less reluctant
    to jail than juries would and so the rate
    of conviction would be so much higher
    That may mean more coming forward
    which in turn would mean even higher
    rates of conviction that has to be good

  5. Clarence Woodworth says

    What could really be done to reduce rape?

    Two things:
    A. Reduce drunken sex or any kind of drugged sex. Push against the idea that alcohol and other drugs lead to a sexually good time.
    B. Allow colleges and other institutions (even IF drinking is still illegal) to actively monitor college frats and sororities and parties.
    C. Cultural change. Lots of rapes are not reported due to the popularity (and the perceived hit on the victim’s sexual /social popularity of the victim) of the offender.

    I think “A” would do more to reduce rape than all the stupid shaming signs and campaigns put together.

  6. Clarence Woodworth says

    What could really be done to reduce rape?

    Three things:
    A. Reduce drunken sex or any kind of drugged sex. Push against the idea that alcohol and other drugs lead to a sexually good time.
    B. Allow colleges and other institutions (even IF drinking is still illegal) to actively monitor college frats and sororities and parties.
    C. Cultural change. Lots of rapes are not reported due to the popularity (and the perceived hit on the victim’s sexual /social popularity of the victim) of the offender.

    I think “A” would do more to reduce rape than all the stupid shaming signs and campaigns put together.

  7. Ally Fogg says

    in all honesty I’ve got rather more faith in juries than I do in judges to deliver good sense on such matters.

    But in broad terms, while I’m all in favour of any steps that would lead to higher proportions of rapists being rightfully convicted (without also increasing the chances of false convictions), I don’t think this is the most important factor.

    I would much rather we found ways to prevent rapes happening in the first place, and I really don’t believe the (slim) prospect of being prosecuted and convicted are a particularly relevant factor, not least because in many rapes, as I said above, the perpetrator doesn’t really think of it as being rape at the time.

  8. Jacob Schmidt says

    Reduce drunken sex or any kind of drugged sex. Push against the idea that alcohol and other drugs lead to a sexually good time.

    I think most people are aware that drugs do little for sex, in and of itself. Drugs are often used in social situations, and sex is inherently social. Decoupling drugs and sex just isn’t that simple.

    I prefer enthusiastic consent campaigns, where it’s made clear that consent is mandatory and that drugs negate consent.

  9. Thil says

    I imagine “don’t be that guy” campaigns won’t work very well because I imagine the sort of mind that would commit rape and then try to make excuses for why it didn’t really count as rape, sure as shit wouldn’t respond to someone telling them they’re capable of rape before they’ve even done it. when I was 14 I saw a TV add telling me not rape a women (that one with the guy banging on the glass well the other him rapes the girl). The first time I saw it I assumed it was directed at someone other than me, later I considered that it was directed at me and I just feel insulted rather than inclined to take anything on bored listen. I’m betting a future self deluding rapist would react either of those two ways too

  10. Ally Fogg says

    @Thil

    I don’t think that specific ad (the guy banging on the glass) is a perfect example, although it’s definitely a step in the right direction. (If we’re thinking of the same one, it’s a partner-violence ad rather than a sexual violence / rape ad, yes?) But anyway…

    “The first time I saw it I assumed it was directed at someone other than me”

    Are you the type of guy who is in the habit of beating his girlfriend? (rhetorical question, no offence intended). Assuming not, you could probably happily conclude that the ad isn’t aimed at you. The only way we’d really know the effectiveness of the ad would be if we had a 14 year old boy who is inclined to beating his girlfriend, and asking how he reacted to it.

    later I considered that it was directed at me and I just feel insulted rather than inclined to take anything on bored listen.

    I ask again, are you the type of guy who is in the habit of beating his girlfriend? (rhetorical question again!) If not, I can see no reason why you should think it is directed at you.

    I don’t drink and drive, never have. When I see ads aimed at drink-drivers with horrible imagery of dead kids etc, I find it disturbing, but am quite comfortable in the knowledge that it is not aimed at me, it is aimed at a small proportion of the population who do drink and drive.

    Do you feel offended by adverts against drink-driving? If not, what is the difference?

  11. Thil says

    @Ally Fogg

    yeah but you know you’re not a drink driver based on the empirical facts that you’ve had licence for years, and you’ve never tried to operate a car under the influence of a alcohol. At the age of 14 I’d never had a girl friend and my belief that I wasn’t likely to hit her if I did was based solely on my own biased judgment of my own strength of character and morals.

  12. Jacob Schmidt says

    surreptitious57

    The figure for false rape accusations is between two to eight per cent…

    Gonna need a citation for that one.

    Ally Fogg

    in all honesty I’ve got rather more faith in juries than I do in judges to deliver good sense on such matters.

    How did you come to that conclusion? Unless I’ve misunderstood something, judges have to justify their position. A jury make theirs behind closed doors, allowing much more bias. Considering how common “she was asking for it” and “men can’t be raped; you can’t rape the willing” is, I’d be very wary of any jury handling a rape case.

  13. Ally Fogg says

    Not sure where you live Jacob, but in the UK we have a long and ugly history of judges making the most obscene and reactionary pronouncements, particularly in relation to issues like rape. Example

    the impression I get is that things aren’t any better in the US

  14. Jacob Schmidt says

    Not sure where you live Jacob, but in the UK we have a long and ugly history of judges making the most obscene and reactionary pronouncements, particularly in relation to issues like rape.

    Canada, for the record. Here, you must have an education in Law, and legally one must have practiced law as a lawyer for 5 years. Realistically, you aren’t becoming a judge unless you have 10 years experience. It seems easier to enforce law and regulation on a small group of people than to the entire population. Though it would mean some significant changes in the US (and the UK?).

  15. JamesT says

    You compare American men to British men by extrapolating an American study to British men. One way American men are different from British men is that they are circumcised. I wonder if this affects their propensity to rape. If so that study you cited isn’t relevant Britain.

  16. Jimminy says

    Are you suggesting we allow an increase in convictions of innocent people in order to improve conviction rates of rapists?

  17. Jimminy says

    @Ally

    I ask again, are you the type of guy who is in the habit of beating his girlfriend? (rhetorical question again!) If not, I can see no reason why you should think it is directed at you.

    And why would a potential rapist?

  18. kevinalexander says

    Ally is right. Ugly reactionary judgments by powerful men are the reason we have juries in the first place.

  19. thascius says

    It’s hard to imagine any mechanism where that would make a difference. On the other hand there should be a good empirical check on it. The rate at which American men are circumcised has dropped dramatically over recent decades. If circumcision increased or decreased or decreased the propensity to rape the rate of rapes in America should be either plummeting or skycrocketing. Neither seems to be happening.

  20. Ally Fogg says

    I linked to the American stats because that graph is a particularly dramatic illustration.

    The BCS is a bit less reliable on sexual violence, and have only made sporadic attempts to collect data since, but there was an analysis in 1994 which found a 0.6 annual victimisation rate among women and did it again in 2010 and it was 0.4, which would be a 50% drop, but because they are quite small numbers the margin of error is pretty big.

    As for the circumcision connection, I don’t, I mean I can’t, I mean YOU WHAT?

  21. Jacob Schmidt says

    Jimminy

    And why would a potential rapist?

    Because sexual assault and physical assault often go hand in hand.

    kevinalexander

    Ally is right. Ugly reactionary judgments by powerful men are the reason we have juries in the first place.

    I understand that. I’m not convinced that juries are consistently any less reactionary in (as an example) Orange County, California, during their Gay Rights controversy. And I’m not convinced that a jury operating on significant biases is any better than a reactionary and biased judge.

    JamesT

    One way American men are different from British men is that they are circumcised. I wonder if this affects their propensity to rape. If so that study you cited isn’t relevant Britain.

    You now what else? Americans drink American beer, while British drink British beer. Superficial differences mean nothing unless they have a demonstrable affect.

  22. Sasori says

    I suspect that the manboobs piece is overblown. He neglects to mention that the rate of rape seems to have gone down at the same rate as other violent crime (at least in the US). iirc in that litzack piece, a majority of convicted rapists have also committed other violent crimes. This seems to have a better correlation than the ‘don’t rape’ education program.

    What other crime has been reduced by similar measures; do you think the ‘don’t mug anyone’ etc posters had any effect on inner city youth crime, I can tell you that all they did was reinforce the idea that inner city youth are dangerous and scary and provide a subsidy to various ad agencies. The ‘don’t rape’ narrative is also somewhat counterpreductive as it feeds into the ‘men are evil/tainted’ narrative that is symbiotic with slut shaming.
    I think also that the rather strained relationship between ‘men’ and feminists over the last decades has led to most men simply ignoring any message from feminists and a few taking it too far and becoming alienated from their own sexuality.
    Your idea of sensible sex education I 100% agree with. But, afaict, in countries with more enlightened sexual mores than our own, they don’t frame sex education around ‘don’t rape anyone’ but rather normalising positive and mutually trusting sexual interaction, you can’t shame people into that.

    I suspect there will always be enough cultural tropes for people who have little empathy for others to justify things to themselves. I think the debate should be around creating less of these people. afaik a high number of rapists have a history of child abuse and other things that can decrease your empathy for people, so that would be interesting to examine as well as creating the kind of society where there is less violence.

    It is also interesting that you neglected to mention the rather startling findings of the NISVS 2010 report and a few others about female perpetrated sexual violence. One of the inferences from this that is interesting to me, is that if rape is culturally influenced why does it seem as though there are so many female rapists, if females are not subject to the cultural conditioning that males are.

  23. Ally Fogg says

    I suspect that the manboobs piece is overblown. He neglects to mention that the rate of rape seems to have gone down at the same rate as other violent crime (at least in the US). iirc in that litzack piece, a majority of convicted rapists have also committed other violent crimes. This seems to have a better correlation than the ‘don’t rape’ education program.

    Yes, that’s a very good point and I agree. Although I think it is all connected to a large extent. I wasn’t meaning to suggest it was specifically anti-rape campaigns that were responsible, more a general change of attitude towards violence, especially sexual violence, which is a much broader cultural thing.

  24. Sasori says

    Well I absolutely agree that it is part of wider phenomenon. But, although what you say has probably had an effect; iirc, criminologists don’t really have a proper explanation as to why crime went down in the last decades. Mabye it is because of demographic changes, maybe it’s socio economic factors, George Monbiot made a slightly convincing case that environmental led played a role. A consequence of this, is that people can pick and choose which factors they emphasise based on agendas, like Manboobz.

    Also interestingly, I’ve seen some evidence that Japanese victim surveys (which afaict ask similar questions to UK and US surveys) report much lower rates of victimisation than here. Japan is a much more classically sexist society with a more ‘patriarchal’ division of labour and an outdated police approach to crime; it also has a more classic ‘rape culture’ than the UK or US, but it does have a much lower rate of violent crime.

    This made me think that the correlation between violence and sexual violence might be stronger than that of sexism, or even the ‘greater understanding’ that you quote. But there are other studies including the Denise A. Hines multinational study that saw a correlation between gender relations and sexual violence so I don’t really know; I am skeptical that this has had as much of an effect as you say though, for all the reasons I listed above.

  25. Tamen says

    Since the CSEW is mentioned I think it’s in it’s place to make people aware that although it appears to claim so (by giving numbers for “Most serious sexual offence”) it in fact doesn’t count victims of Sexual Offenses Act 2003 Section 4 subsection 4 (c & d specifically):

    4. Causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent

    (4) A person guilty of an offence under this section, if the activity caused involved—
    (a)penetration of B’s anus or vagina,
    (b)penetration of B’s mouth with a person’s penis,
    (c)penetration of a person’s anus or vagina with a part of B’s body or by B with anything else, or
    (d)penetration of a person’s mouth with B’s penis,

    is liable, on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for life.

    As a sidenote I am wondering if they plan to make “Section 1 Rape” and “Section 2 Assault by penetration” obsolete as section 4.4 a and b seem to define the same acts that are defined in section 1 and 2.

    Although CSEW appears to ask “have you been forced to have sex when you did not want to?” it follows it up with the following question:

    You said that someone has forced you to have sexual intercourse or take part in some other sexual act when you were not capable of consent or when you made it clear you did not want to. What did they do to you?

    If this has happened more than once since you were 16, please select all those that apply.

    We need this level of detail to allow us to classify the exact type of sexual assault experienced.

    * Penetrated your [vagina or anus/anus] with their penis

    * Penetrated your [vagina or anus/anus] with an object (including fingers)

    * Penetrated your mouth with their penis

    * Did some other sex act not described above

    * Don’t know

    * Don’t want to answer

    Note that this question is from one of two questions set for the latest CSEW (two set were evaluated in a split sample experience – the corresponding question in the other question set did not have the option “Did some other sex act not described above” and only included options where the victim was penetrated). Here’s what the analysts thought about those who answered that someone had intercourse with them and that they did some other sex act (apart from being penetrated) :

    In the analysis presented here those respondents who said that they had only experienced ‘some other sex act not described above’ were categorised as non-victims to ensure that the category of serious sexual assault retained the same definition as in the current question set (this is not an option in the current question set).

    Non-victims!

    The NISVS 2010 Survey done by the CDC in the US found that 1 in 5 men have been a victim of a sexual violence which would fall under SOA2003 4.4 c-d. When the CSEW does not count/report these victims in the UK it seems very likely that the number of male victims reported by the CSEW grossly underestimates the number of male victims.

    So when CSEW reports:

    Overall 2.5 per cent of females and 0.4 per cent of males had reported experiencing some form of sexual offence in the last 12 months

    and

    Focusing on the most serious sexual offences (including attempts), 0.5 per cent of female respondents had reported being a victim in the last year. Of these, the majority had been a victim of rape and two fifths a victim of assault by penetration. Males were much less likely than females to report being a victim of a most serious sexual offence (0.1 per cent).

    one should keep in mind what’s not included in those numbers.

  26. Tamen says

    Ally:

    There are very good reasons to believe campaigns with slogans like “don’t be that guy” as opposed to “don’t be that girl” could be highly effective in reducing rape and sexual assault, because there are very good reasons to believe that many sexual offenders really don’t want to be “that guy.”

    I am well aware that you by “don’t be that girl” in this context means “don’t be that girl who put herself at risk”, but I wish you’d write that explicitly since we certainly do need “don’t be that girl” slogans in context of female perpetrators.

    Just about the whole article is gendering rape as a man on woman crime. You touch on female perpetrators in the end of the article, but as it is written the impression it leaves is that you think having “don’t be that guy” campaigns will have the side-effect of letting women care about men’s consent. I believe female perpetrators have to be explicitly addressed as well as male perpetrators.

  27. Sasori says

    Wow, great article, Really interesting thanks! ◕‿◕
    It made me think of the section on the parenting practices promoted by influential right wing thinker (and author or ‘Dare to Discipline’) James Dobson, in max bluminthal’s book about the religious right in the US, ‘Republican Gomorrah.’
    I can’t find a direct quote, but here Bluminthal describes.
    ” In this book [Dare to dicipline], he [Dobson] says pain is a marvellous purifier…that pain goes a long way with a child, that pain should be dispensed sufficiently enough to make a child cry, but then the child will crumple to your breast, and you should welcome the child with warm, open arms. This is a recipe for sadomasochism.”

    I wonder if that movement (the book has sold 3.5 million copies) has had any observable effect on levels of violence in the US.

  28. JamesT says

    Thascius, actually there is not that much difference http://www.cirp.org/library/statistics/USA/
    Very recently, in the past few years, it has come down to about 55%. But these males are not yet at sexual maturity.
    Also 55% is still high.

    I don’t think it is that unlikely or extraordinary to conclude that taking a knife to someone’s genitals at birth can affect their sexuality and how they think about sex, and women.
    It makes it harder to masturbate because there is no foreskin to move up and down. So already they need women more to relieve themselves than intact men do.
    Here are some articles which link circumcision to male violence giants women:
    http://www.circumcision.org/harmswomen.htm
    http://www.cirp.org/library/psych/

  29. Schala says

    What Ross misses is that the exact same applies to rapists. One conclusion that can be drawn from the work of David Lisak and others who have replicated his work is that when men are asked whether they have forced someone to have sex or other sexual contact against their will, disturbingly high numbers will say yes (between about 5% and 15% in different samples). When asked explicitly whether they have raped or assaulted someone, far fewer will admit it.

    Did they ask women if they have forced someone to have sex or other sexual contact against their will? Has it ever been asked?

    And ditto what Tamen says. Your article seems to point out that rape is a male problem, with predominantly female victims, vindicating people who want to do those “men can stop rape” campaigns (with no corresponding “women can stop rape”, stop being the perpetrator that is) and that assume men don’t need rape crisis centers, because they’re soooo few of the victims they can be left to rot.

  30. Metalogic42 says

    I think this discussion should start with determining exactly what “enthusiastic consent” means. I’m a pretty subdued and admittedly somewhat shy person IRL. If I take the term at face value, then every time I’ve ever had sex, I’ve been raped, because I was never really outwardly enthusiastic. Except, I can verify that I’ve actually wanted it every time.

    But the people I’ve had sex with can’t read my mind. They weren’t working off of enthusiastic consent, but simply consent. So if we don’t take the term at face value, how are we to interpret it?

    Furthermore, there’s the issue of people who want to grant consent to an instance of sex in advance, such as people who enjoy being woken up by oral sex.

  31. says

    I applaud your attempt to address the issue of reducing the numbers of rapes. You mentioned the work of Lisak and Miller who identified that most rapes appear to be perpetrated by a small percentage of recidivists who probably don’t even consider themselves to be rapists. This conclusion is bolstered by Stephanie McWhorters studies of sexual assault amongst Navy personnel.
    One interesting feature was the finding that those individuals who were repeat rapists (and, as you said, didn’t explicitly call the act “rape”) made up around 5% of the study group, and this same 5% were also responsible for a disproportionate amount of violent criminal acts – indicating, perhaps, that they may have sociopathic tendencies in general and date rape is just one of the antisocial behaviours they manifest.

    There was another 5% of men who also admitted what we could probably term date-rape, but who were not repeat offenders and whose offense seemed strongly linked to alcohol intake.
    It seems to me, and correct me if I’ve got the wrong idea here, that a promotion of the kind of “Don’t be that guy” or “Don’t rape” message to young men will really only be effective on the latter 5% of non recidivists.

    I’m not suggesting that we should avoid that kind of campaign – if it’s effective for those 5% then it is worth doing, any reduction in the incidence of rape is to be applauded.

    What I’m suggesting is that there may need to be a multiplicity of approaches. We need to also tackle the 5% of sociopathic repeat date rapists in some way. Indeed, since these individuals carry out the vast majority of actual rapes then successfully tackling THAT group should be a priority.
    If we are dealing with sociopaths (rather than psychopaths, who are probably more akin to the ‘jumps out of the bushes’ type rapist) then a direct appeal to their emotions, as in a Don’t be that guy” campaign, is probably not going to be successful. A different approach, for example helping people to recognize sociopathic tendencies and being more careful around those individuals, may be beneficial.
    As Clarence Woodworth suggested above probably the number one thing that would cut down on the incidence of rape is to reduce the numbers of drunken parties, or at the very least introduce some kind of monitoring or buddy system into such events.
    Anyway, good article Ally.

  32. Tim² says

    I can tell you, from personal experience, that it is very well possible to masturbate when you are circumcised. Believe me, I have several years of hands-on experience, so to speak :-D

  33. Ally Fogg says

    Hi Tamen

    I think you’ve misunderstood something important there. I’ll need to check, but I think you’re quoting from a split sample comparison of two different data sets, an exercise that is conducted to provide comparative measures for two different years so they can separate out what is an actual trend, and what is a result of changes to the questionnaire.

    So the bit about ‘non-victims’ doesn’t apply to the BCS/CSEW data. It only applies to a complicated statistical analysis to provide like-with-like comparisons

    Will check that when I get the chance and get back to you.

  34. Tamen says

    Ally: Feel free to check.

    The “non-victim” quote is from a split sample comparison of two data sets obtained by using two sets of questions – one sub-sample got asked one set while the other sub-sample got asked another question set. Namely this document: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/science-research-statistics/research-statistics/crime-research/analysis-bcs-ipv-2011

    As far as I could see the analysis did just analyze the difference between the two different question set for 2010/2011) and not for two different years to discover a trend.

    The current question set can’t count victims of SOA2003 Section 4.4 c-d. If you look through the current question set (link later in comment) you’ll see that no questions fits for someone who has been made to penetrate someone else. This is not an option in the current question set as the analysis I quoted stated.

    The revised set can (albeit in my view it would be better if it offered concrete examples of the acts and not put it into a “other sex act” bag), but the analysts decided to discount those as NON-VICTIMS for their analysis to evaluate the new question set against the old one. They could’ve stated that the new question set counts victims of SOA2003 4.4 c-d while the old does not. If one intends for the new question set and the future CSEW to include these victims I’d presume that it would be interesting to note how many of them the new question set captured. They instead choose to disregard those respondents in the analysis by categorizing them as “non-victims” which tells me that that’s how they’re likely to be counted as if/when the new question set is being put to use in future CSEW.

    In the analysis presented here those respondents who said that they had only experienced ‘some other sex act not described above’ were categorised as non-victims to ensure that the category of serious sexual assault retained the same definition as in the current question set (this is not an option in the current question set).

    makes me strongly suspect that they plan to keep the definition of serious sexual assault as is currently defined.

    Question sets for sexual victimization can be seen in chapter 19 (current set: 19.2 and 19.3, new set: 9.6, 9.7 and 19.9) in this document: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/method-quality/specific/crime-statistics-methodology/crime-survey-for-england-and-wales-2011-12-adult-questionnaire.pdf

  35. Sid says

    When similar female populations are asked similar questions, a similar number of rapists are found in the femalepopulation, as Liask found in the male.

    >“..as many as 7% of women self-report the use of physical force to obtain sex, 40% self-report sexual coercion..50% self-report initiating sexual contact with a man while his judgement was impaired by drugs or alcohol ..” From Deviance to Normalcy: Women as Sexual Aggressors – Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, Volume 5, October 23, 2002

    http://www.ejhs.org/volume5/deviancetonormal.htm

  36. Ginkgo says

    “the impression I get is that things aren’t any better in the US”

    For the record, we in the US have a hideous history of false rape accusations being used in the dervice of campaigns of racist terror.

  37. Gjenganger says

    Yes, A and B would surely reduce rape. But (like enthusiastic consent, BTW), how realistic are they?

    There is a reason that young people like to party without a chaperone. In short, they LIKE to do things that might be inhibited, or even stopped if a chaperone was present. Odds are they would seek more private places and do similar things.

    There is also a reason that people drink before sex. Asking for or inviting sex, especially with a stranger, is potentially embarrassing, makes you socially vulnerable, and requires you to overcome your inhibitions. Again, people WANT to experience and do things that they know quite well would be unlikely to happen were they sober. For some there is the additional bonus that being drunk gives you an excuse you can present to yourself if you feel too much remorse the next day.

    Just for illustration:
    Kate Fox, the anthropologist of ‘Watching the English’ claims that alcohol is almost necessary for the repressed Brits to meet and get to know each other socially. We are talking about fully clothed, chaste meetings to establish that ‘I am sufficienlty interesting to meet again and get to know you better’!

    Or I can offer this quote form my chaste, careful dad, thinking back on a mate from his student days in the fifties: “God, that man was incredibly confident! He did not even have to get drunk in order to go out and have fun!”

  38. Gjenganger says

    Very good question. Can someone please answer?

    I have a lot of problems with enthusiastic consent myself, and maybe some explanation of what it is would help.

    The best source I found was Claire Fuller (Feminism 201: Consent Paranoia and related pages (link does not work for me – try Google). She is both practical and positive, but the impression she gives is that enthusiastic consent amounts to eternal vigilance, the constant worry that something is likely wrong, and generally a lot of stress. You can ovecome that and have as much sex as before (and maybe better too), but you need A LOT of work to achieve that, and it seems to take an infinity of talking to even get started. For those who are nervous, inhibited, or unused to large quantities of psychobabble, that is a hard requirement to overcome.

  39. Ally Fogg says

    Tamen

    Being forced to penetrate would certainly come under “unwanted sexual touching” in section P5/P6.

    There’s a very legitimate complaint that BCS/CSEW categorises such an offence as “less serious sexual assault” while only penetrative assaults are counted as “serious sexual assaults” but it’s not true to say they are not counted at all.

  40. thascius says

    Indeed Tim. Contrary to the claims of the hysterical anticircumcision brigade circumcised men are quite cabable of having normal and happy sex lives. “Taking a knife to someone’s genitals at birth affects their sexuality and how they think of women” Really? The only way that would make sense at all would be if someone was circumcised when he was old enough to remember it (i.e. not an infant) and it was done without any kind of anesthesia. While older kids and adults are sometimes circumcised for medical reasons, as far as I know at least local anesthesia is always used. And while my personal experience has been limited to gay men, I’ve yet to meet anyone who found lack of a foreskin any sort of barrier in his sex life, masturbation or otherwise. And seriously, whoever came up with the idea that you can’t masturbate without a foreskin is just clueless. I can’t think of any nicer way to put it.

  41. Ally Fogg says

    To the best of my knowledge Schala, no, it has never been asked.

    I’ve been trying to research this exact issue when I’ve had a spare moment in recent weeks and there is very little.

    I quite agree there should be a lot more.

  42. Ally Fogg says

    Sid

    I’ve just checked on that reference you gave, and checked the references it gives. It traces back to a paper by Anderson (1998) which compares two samples of about= 200 in two different colleges.

    One found a figure of 7.1%, the other found a rate of 1.6%.

    CDC stats, which are often quoted here give a lifetime victim report of 4.8% for men, as against 18.8% for women.

    But as I said to Schala above, research into this is pretty paltry.

    I don’t for a moment deny that women sexually abuse men, most often than popularly believed.

    I also choose to use the UK/US legal definition of rape which is an act of penetration.

    I wholeheartedly support the thinking behind your comments, and those of Tamen and Schala. I would certainly want improvements in culture and education on this front to acknowledge and include that.

    I’m far from convinced that there is gender symmetry in sexual abuse, but I don’t really care, I don’t think it is a numbers game. A victim is no less of a victim because he is in a statistical minority.

  43. Ally Fogg says

    Enthusiastic consent is not a legal test, and it cannot be. I’m not saying someone becomes a rapist because their partner wasn’t waving flags and panting like a porn star.

    I’ve been in the same relationship for very nearly 20 years! (say no more)

    I do think it is a very good personal code of conduct, particularly with a newer partner or until you are 100% you know your partner’s body language, signals and personality.

    Do you want to be absolutely sure you are not committing an act of abuse or rape? Then make damned sure you know your partner wants you to be doing whatever it is you’re doing. Exactly how you do that and how it will look between any two people (or hey, as many people as floats your boat) is unique to you and your partner.

    If in doubt, ask. It’s a pretty simple policy.

  44. Ginkgo says

    “I also choose to use the UK/US legal definition of rape which is an act of penetration. ”

    MayIi ask why? Is it a tactical decision to settle on the legal standard for the time being, or do you really consider penetration more of a violation than envelopment as a matter of principle?

  45. Ally Fogg says

    Gjenganger

    Just to add to what I said above, I’ve never seen a problem with a simple question like “is this nice?” *

    And of course paying attention to the answer. I think that’s a lot less stressful than constantly worrying if you’re doing something wrong.

    * raunchier alternatives are available.

  46. Ally Fogg says

    it’s an interesting point about Lisak.

    I’d be wary of assuming that his 5% repeat offenders are all sociopaths. Some of them certainly will be, but a lot of convicted rapists are not, so it’s unlikely unconvicted rapists exclusively are.

    I think a lot of it might be habitual behaviour. A guy does it the first time, gets away with it, gets a kick from it, opts to do it again.

    So the key intervention would be on preventing the behaviour pattern setting in in the first place. Most stressful behaviours become psychologically easier the more we do them, so I’d imagine that dissuading someone from committing their first rape (and therefore committing any rapes) is vastly easier than persuading someone who has already begun raping to stop.

  47. Ally Fogg says

    It’s about clarity of language. I don’t for a moment consider it an easy question, and it is something to which I’ve given a lot of thought.

    One reason is because there are many forms of extremely traumatic and abusive non-penetrative sexual assault and abuse. When I’m talking about the full range I try to use the phrase “rape and sexual assault” for that very reason. I’m not sure separating forced penetration from those assaults makes any more sense than including it with penetrative assaults.

    So I have to go one way and choose to use the legal definition. I reserve the right to change my mind about that at some point in the future!

  48. Edward Gemmer says

    Very, very few rape cases go to juries anyway, so I don’t know that this would accomplish anything. Rape charges have such huge punishments (up to life in prison, registration as a sex offender) that I wonder if the punishments are hurting things as well. When it comes to date rape (which certainly seems to be what we are talking about), we are typically talking about sexually charged atmospheres that are consensual to some extent (but not as far as it actually goes). This means that at some level the women actually liked the other person to some extent, and may not wish to see them put in prison or otherwise be ruined.

  49. says

    Given that most men in the US at least are circumcised before they are even a week old, the “reduced sensitivity” thing has always sounded stupid. If that’s all you remember, or all you’ve ever had, it’s not reduced, it’s normal. is it as sensitive as an uncircumcised penis? Honestly, as long as it works ‘correctly’, who cares? There’s different levels of sensitivity for everything else. Some people have very sensitive nipples, others don’t. I’d be willing to bet you find a rather nice variation within the (un)circumcised populations as well.

    It’s like people who ask me if I ‘miss’ having a sibling when they find out i’m an only child. How the fuck would I ‘miss’ something I never had. I was circumcised so young that it is just how I am. I have absolutely nothing else to compare it to, and so, i evaluate things on their own in this case. Or thing as the case may be. It works well enough, so the fact it may work less or more well than someone else’s has no meaning whatsoever.

    On the masturbation thing…harder than what? Again, it’s not like circumcised men have to tug all day or have to use vaseline or what have you. Really, it works really damned well, you don’t have to take a pad sander to it or anything. Seriously, that sounds like complete and utter bullshit to me.

  50. Tamen says

    I am aware of one study among college students in the US and I think there is a German paper as well. I am not at a computer now, but I could try to look them up after work if anyone is interested.

  51. Gjenganger says

    @Ally
    Put like that it is very reasonable. Maybe I am even practising it. But it is not always put like that. You will find plenty of debaters who say that enthusiastic consent is an absolute moral imperative, and that anyone deviating from it is a rapist – morally if not legally. The ‘Feminism 201′ link is a good illustration.

    Besides, is the test ‘wants’ or ‘accepts’? Is that the difference? Personally I could never see why it is morally wrong to accept sex as a gift from someone who may not be excited but who is willing to do something nice for me – I would do the same for them, after all.

    At this point, why the ‘enthusiastic’? Why not stick with just ‘consent’ when you are campaigning against rape? You can still encourage explicit communication – and run a “Don’t be an asshole!” campaign to discourage people from being nasty to their bedmates whether or not it breaks the law.

  52. HSA says

    Ally, you have earned my respect for acknowledging that misandry exist and can’t be hand waved away as misogyny, for a supporting free speech, and for not using the brine shrimp gambit. That said, there are parts of this post that I must disagree with. Apologies for the monster of a comment. A few quick notes.

    -I am not a feminist or a MRA. I am a egalitarian.
    -I define rape as “any act of sexual intercourse where one or more participants is unwilling or unable to give consent”. I consider anyone who knowingly causes a rape to be rapist.
    -Parts of this comment are going to appear pretty objectionable at first. Try as I might, I can’t find a way to make them immune from quote mining, accidental or otherwise. I ask that readers examine the whole thing before drawing conclusions.

    1. I wanted to highlight a sentence from your paragraph:
    “It seems to me that selling serialisation and interview rights to the Mail and then complaining about being misrepresented is a bit like inviting a viper up your trouser leg then complaining about being bitten.”

    In other words: Ross should have been able to predict that the Mail would misrepresent him, and thus any misrepresentation is at least partially his fault. One might even say he was asking for, no?
    Seriously, the irony is so strong in this sentence that I am unsure whether you deliberately included it to see if anyone would notice.

    2. You called the statement that “significant numbers of rapes can be avoided by women adapting their social and sexual habits, clothing or other behaviours” a “myth”. I have no data on the effect of clothing choice on rape risk (if someone does have some, I’d love to see it), but I do for another decision that is almost entirely in the hands of rape victims: alcohol/drug consumption. According the US National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS), 1.1% of all women in the US are raped each year (pages 18, table 2.1). That means that about 0.003% of women are raped every day. Restated the probability that any given American woman will be raped tonight (P(R)) is roughly 0.00003. Of the women who are raped , 54% have been drinking at the time; in other words: the probability that any given woman has been drinking given that she will be raped tonight (P(D|R)) is 0.54. On the other hand the probability that a given woman has been drinking in general (P(D)) is probably less than 0.2 (note that the higher this number is, the worse my case. I’m deliberately inflating it). Bayes theorem tells us that the probability a woman will be raped in the next 24 hours given she’s been drinking(P(R|D)): P(R|D)=P(D|R)*P(R)/P(D)=~0.00081. On the other hand the probability of a given woman being raped given that she hasn’t been drinking is P(R|~D)=P(~D|R)P(R)/P(~D)=~0.0000172. Therefore, a woman CAN significantly affect the probability that she will be raped.

    Does this mean that a woman who has been drinking deserves/was asking to be raped. NO! If I was sitting on a jury and a rape defendant tried to argue as much, I’d send him to jail so fast he wouldn’t know what hit him. If I could get away with it, I’d sentence him more severely for failure to understand a very basic ethical concept: Just because someone does something that makes it easier to victimize them does not make it ethically acceptable to do so. Having said that, making it easy for someone to do so for no good reason is foolish.

    3. You said that self reporting surveys designed to measure the prevalence rape ask questions like “have you been forced to have sex when you did not want to?”. I can’t claim to have read every such study, but I did read Mary Koss’s “1-in-4″ study. The questions where worded “have you had sex when you didn’t want to?” Notice the absence of “been forced to”. Koss’s question would be answered in the affirmative by anyone who had ever had sex with their partner as a favor, along with any prostitute who had sex with a client they found unattractive, etc. It would also mean anyone who would do their job for free is enslaved. Wouldn’t it just be simpler to ask “have you been forced to have sex?” The “have you been forced to” part renders the “when you did not want to” part irrelevant anyway, because if someone was truly forced to do something, then they obviously didn’t want to do it.

    4. About rape victims often not considering their experiences rape. I think that this problem is overblown by feminist academics, as I have seen it used to help cover up problems in their studies. Nevertheless, it is a real problem. I watched a DVD on it (I forget what it was called and the name of the professor who made it, but I think it was adapted from her book) which consisted mostly of actresses portraying rape victims who the professor had interviewed. Two things stood out to me. One, the victims often actively avoided saying “no” or “stop”. Their logic seemed to be that being raped was horrible, but if they didn’t say no it wasn’t quite rape, so it was better not to say anything or to try give subtle hints that they wanted to stop. Perhaps this is actually an effective way of minimizing the psychological damage associated with rape, but I somehow doubt it. Two, some of the victims not only didn’t say no, but felt pressured into acting like they wanted to have sex. I find this to be very troubling.

    5. You clearly support enthusiastic consent as a method of preventing rape. While I appreciate the sentiment, think that this won’t be an effective strategy. Here’s why: recall that the rape victims who don’t say no do so because they want to find a way to categorize what happened to them as “not quite rape.” Since they think that if they say “no”, it will become rape, they intentionally avoid doing so. So what happens if you convince such a woman that they have to say “yes!” enthusiastically or any sex they had was rape. Well, if they feel pressured into having sex with someone, then they’re going to want to make the experience into a “not-rape”, which they will do by enthusiastically “consenting”. Back to square one.

    6. Your (or rather Nicholas Groth’s) description of “power rapists” seems off. If someone wants to demonstrate (to themselves or their victim) that they power over another person by victimizing them, they generally don’t want to convince anyone that they didn’t victimize their victim. For example, the US’s opening strike in the Iraq war was designed partially to demonstrate on a visceral level the comparative might of US military as compared to the Iraqi military, hence the term “shock and awe”. You didn’t see the US government offer the Iraqi government gifts or a half-hearted apology the next morning. That would have been completely counter to their goals. What Groth appears to be describing is another category of rapist altogether, a category which I think is responsible for a sizable fraction (if not a majority) of non-stranger rapes: people who are after sex, and don’t mind using force to get it. Obviously rape can be about power as opposed to sex, as war rapes demonstrate, but if that was the only motivation, one would expect victims to be chosen based only on their vulnerability. In reality, men rape women almost exclusively, and mostly target young women, even though the elderly are just as vulnerable.

    7. You claim ” significant reductions in the incidence of rape” have occurred over the past decades. You cite manboobz, who cites the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) (note the link in his post isn’t working anymore because the BJS redid their website). Not only is the decline partially explained by the reduction in violent crime over the same period, I don’t think the numbers can necessarily be trusted. In the 1970-1985, when those surveyed by Marry Koss’s study would have been growing up, the rape rate seems to have averaged ~2.25 per 1,000 females over 12. That means Koss’s study should have found that 4.5% or less of her sample had been raped in their lifetime. Instead, she found three times that (with an additional 10% or so being victims of attempted rape.) So one of the studies must be flawed, but which one? For many feminist that depends on what they is try to prove at the moment. How big a problem is rape? “Huge! 1 in 4 women will be a victim of rape or attempted rape in their life time! [Koss]” Are feminist programs helping? “Of course! Since we started rape rates have been significantly reduced! [BJS]” On the plus side at least manboobz didn’t sight police reports to show how helpful the programs were, like Greta Christina did. Incidentally, if one tosses out the cases of “rape” in Koss’s study where the victims refused to call what happened to them rape, the studies are more or less comparable. This indicates that the BJS numbers may well come from simply asking women “have you been raped?”

    So, do self reporting surveys like Koss’s show a similar drop. There’s to much “noise” in them for me to tell for sure, do to differences in questions, methods, samples etc. for me to be sure, but it doesn’t seem like there is anything near the drop shown in that graph. Ergo, a large part of the drop isn’t to to a reduction in victimization, but rather a reduction in the number of women who admit what happened to them was rape. Several things have happened during that period that could explain such decline:

    -Rape became politicized. Some women might have thought of admitting to themselves that they had been raped as somehow siding with the feminists.
    -The negative psychological effects of rape began to be hyped (don’t get me wrong, those effects are both present an severe, but they have been exaggerated). By now some online feminist are claiming that being raped is worse than being murdered. This would be likely to feed the “if I don’t admit I was raped, I’ll be better off” phenomena, and make women who didn’t feel adequately victimize conclude they must not really have been raped.
    -Victims who do report the crime are praised for their courage. This could lead to women who don’t want to report inventing excuses for why they aren’t really rape victims and thus aren’t cowards.
    -The sexual revolution has reduced the stigma on premarital sex. Before the sexual revolution, a woman who had sex before being married was bad, but if she was forced to, it wasn’t her fault. This would tend to incentive reporting (both true and false).

    Is the above just my speculation? Yes, but the fact remains that the decline in rape rate reported by the BJS survey appears to be due almost entirely to decline in violent crime in general and fewer rape victims being willing to describe what happened to them as rape.

    8. As for the “don’t be that guy” campaign, others have tried to point out why many men find it offensive. I can’t tell whether they’ve been successful, so I thought I’d share a MRA parody of it. (Again, I am not MRA). “Just because you regret it…doesn’t make it rape. Don’t be THATgirl” Suffice it to say, feminist suddenly “got it”. I put “got it” in quotes because they didn’t seem to figure out that any valid criticism of the parody could be used just as effectively against the original. The “is” statement is obviously true: regret the next morning doesn’t automatically make the sex you had rape. The ought statement is also pretty non-controversial: one should not accuse someone of rape if the person you are accusing didn’t actually rape anyone. So why the well deserved (if they were serious, I can’t tell if they were) backlash? Simple: it criticizes women in general. The same way the “don’t be that guy” does. You may claim that isn’t the intention, but if so, why think the “don’t be that girl” parody was aimed at women in general.

    There is however one important difference in between the “don’t be that guy” campaign and the “don’t be that girl” parody. False allegations almost certainly come near exclusively from women. Not because women are more evil, but because most rapes are reported by them. On the other hand, there is good evidence to show that real rapes are now about equally common across gender lines. For example, the NISVS (page 18-19, table 2.1-2.2) shows that around 1.1% of men were forced to penetrate someone over the proceeding 12 months, while 1.1% of women were forcibly penetrated in that same period. Note that “made to penetrate” wasn’t included in the “rape” category in the original report, although it should have been. Other survey’s indicate the same thing–for example, the International Dating Violence Survey–and show that most male rape victims were raped by a woman. Even ignoring these studies, I find it hard to believe anyone can review the studies that asked men and women the same questions and included questions about being force to penetrate and conclude that the problem of female-on-male rape can be safely ignored. Yet this is precisely what the “don’t be that guy” campaign does. In fact, it could be argued that because the public still isn’t really conscious of male victims and female perpetrators, it is more important to educate about them.

    This is one of the reasons I conclude that modern feminism–both second and third wave–is sexist. If one is simply concerned with stopping rape, one wouldn’t operate under the assumption that women don’t rape men. Profiling is never helpful or ethically correct even if the stereotype it is based on is correct on the average. In addition, this profiling fuels backlash against anti-rape campaigns from people who conclude that they are really anti-male. If the only motive were to reduce rape, then that criticism would be fairly easy to stop by simply making your program gender neutral. But what most feminist really do is not only focus on male-on-female rape to the exclusion of female-on-male rape, but often actively work to conceal the number of female rapist. (The only time I’ve seen a feminist use crime reporting numbers on rapes was to “prove” 99% of them were committed by men.) This makes perfect sense under the hypothesis that feminism is primarily about advancing women as a class, whether or not that means greater equality.

    But feminism hasn’t just refused to help male victims, it has contributed to the problem of female-on-male rape. The male perpetrator, female victim language used by feminists means men are less likely to recognize a rape by a woman for what it is, are less likely to feel safe reporting it if they do, and less likely to be believed if they do report. It also means that women are less likely to view their behavior as rape, even if it is, and less concerned about being caught even if they know that they are raping someone. But the worst part is the insistence that we “believe the women”, that “women almost never lie about rape” rhetoric. If a man does report a rape by a woman and there isn’t good external evidence of her guilt, she has three choices:
    1. confess and be punished.
    2. defend herself in a court of law, and risk punishment
    3. make a counter-accusation against her victim.
    If she takes option three, it is extremely unlikely she’ll ever be caught (no external evidence, remember). At “worst” (for her), the police decide they don’t know who to believe and drop all charges. At “best”, they believe her and throw her victim in jail. Sure, she’ll probably face some slut-shaming backlash, but it would be nothing compared to the contempt she’d face as a rapist. What’s more her victim probably knows that she has this option, and so wouldn’t feel safe reporting her for fear of this sort of retaliation.

    None of this is rocket science. I have a hard time believing no feminist has ever thought of this. The only conclusion I can draw is that they just don’t care.

    http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/nisvs_report2010-a.pdf

    http://www.hawaii.edu/hivandaids/Similarities_And_Differences_In_Women_s_Sexual_Assault_Experiences_Based_On_Tactics.pdf

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2013/01/08/rape-prevention-aimed-at-rapists-does-work

    http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2/ID45-PR45.pdf

  53. Tamen says

    Ally:

    Here is the complete question in P5 (the current question set):

    Since the age of 16, has ANYONE ever caused you fear, alarm or distress by doing any of the following? This may have been a partner, a family member, someone you knew casually or a stranger.

    YOU CAN CHOOSE MORE THAN ONE ANSWER AT THIS QUESTION IF YOU WISH

    1. Indecently exposed themselves to you (i.e. flashing)
    2. Touched you sexually when you did not want it (e.g. groping, touching of breasts or bottom, unwanted kissing)
    3. Sexually threatened you (e.g. demanded sex when you did not want it, followed or cornered you in a sexually threatening way)
    4. None of these
    5. Don’t know/ can’t remember
    6. Don’t wish to answer

    Questions P6 A-F are follow-up questions asking about who the person causing you fear, alarm or distress is.

    Categorizing into “less serious sexual offense” is certainly a concern, but there are more problems with the idea that P6 captures those victims.

    I find this a very poor instrument to capture those victims. I think very few male victims would characterize unconsenting PIM/PIV/PIA intercourse as being “touched sexually” (I don’t) – especially since the examples given in the question are groping, touching of breast or bottom and kissing). Being touched sexually is also a different crime – sexual assault as defined in SOA 2003 Section 3.

    But conceivably it could since intercourse involve touching and is sexual, but then by same account this question also captures female victims of rape and assault by penetration. Would you say P5 certainly does capture those victims and that question P13 hence is redundant?

    So given that this question likely would miss a number of male victims (those who considers being made to penetrate as something separate from being touched sexually), it also makes it impossible to get a separate number for those victims – thus letting the scope of that particular crime (SOA2003 s4.4c-d) “drown” in the much more prevalent crime sexual assault (SOA2003 s3). Thus it can’t be said to capture/count those victims (SOA2003s4.4c-d) in any meaningful way.

    One could also argue that those male victims (as well as victims of rape and assault by penetrations) would/could answer “none of these”. I think that’s a stretch and then I’d be very interested in seeing how this is categorized because it would cover any action at all which made people experience fear, alarm or distress – for instance when my 4 year old tried to climb the rail on the second store balcony. So you get a measure that really can’t be used for anything and I suspect it isn’t used either – at least I can’t recall this category being reported in the CSEW reports.

  54. Tamen says

    I saw someone else posted a reference to the US study. Here is the German study (it is being published in English): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23629691

    Sample size was 2,149 first year student from different universities in Germany.

    The overall perpetration rate was 13.2%, for men and 7.6% for women.

    Here’s another study by Denise Hines looking at victimization: http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2/ID45-PR45.pdf
    It’s a aggregated study with a sample of 7,667 student from 38 sites globally.
    Here are some extract from it’s findings:
    ——————————–Men————Women-
    Forced sex: 2.8% 2.3%
    -forced oral/anal sex: 2.4% 1.6%
    -forced vaginal sex: 2.1% 1.6%

    Verbal Coercion: 22.0% almost 25.0%
    - insisted on sex w/o condom 13.5% 11.0%
    - insisted on vaginal sex 11.7% 14.7%
    - insisted on oral/anal sex 7.5% 8.3%
    - threatend into oral/anal sex 1.9% 1.7%
    - threatend into vaginal sex 1.9% 1.8%

    At least one type of CSA 30.0% 32.0%
    —————————————————-

  55. Tamen says

    I’m not sure separating forced penetration from those assaults makes any more sense than including it with penetrative assaults.

    But legally forced penetration is separated from sexual assault. Forced penetration fall under “Causing sexual activity without consent” (which is a mouthful). So your adherence to legal terms seem inconsistent when you only apply it to rape while conflating sexual assault and “causing sexual activity without consent” the way you do when you say “rape and sexual assault” to also include forced penetration.

  56. Tamen says

    A small errata:

    Categorizing into “less serious sexual offense” is certainly a concern, but there are more problems with the idea that P6 captures those victims.

    should be

    Categorizing into “less serious sexual offense” is certainly a concern, but there are more problems with the idea that P5 captures those victims.

  57. Schala says

    -The negative psychological effects of rape began to be hyped (don’t get me wrong, those effects are both present an severe, but they have been exaggerated). By now some online feminist are claiming that being raped is worse than being murdered. This would be likely to feed the “if I don’t admit I was raped, I’ll be better off” phenomena, and make women who didn’t feel adequately victimize conclude they must not really have been raped.

    Your last sentence relates to how being trans is presented as.

    It’s presented as this oh-so-horrible thing that you’re suicidal and want to change at all costs, lest you kill yourself before that. And yes, it’s pretty bad, and makes you feel shitty over years if not decades untreated. But to feel this shitty is not *required* to be trans, either.

    It’s just easier to find the courage to do something about it when the situation looks bleak. Do or die is more compelling than do or status quo, if status quo isn’t that bad.

  58. Sid says

    Het pat >I don’t for a moment deny that women sexually abuse men, most often than popularly believed.

    Het Pat >I also choose to use the UK/US legal definition of rape which is an act of penetration.

    These sentences contradict each other in a way, by limiting rape to penetration we allow certain groups to pretend that its overwhelmingly men that force others to have sex.

    You cannot tackle rape by focusing on only what men do anymore than you can tackle child abuse and domestic abuse by sweeping most of it (“women’s) under the carpet.

    The framing of these things as mainly gendered suits the political and financial agendas of a certain dishonest group and works to perpetuate the problems.

Trackbacks

  1. […] On the 22nd of April I wrote a post titled UK: CSEW doesn’t count all sexual offences on my blog detailing how this UK survey doesn’t capture victims of “being made to penetrate” as defined in the Sexual Offences Act of 2003 Section 4.4 (c)(d). The post was based on an analysis I did last year for comments on FeministCritics, Genderratic and Heteronormative Patriarchy for men. […]

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