Criminology, Features, Feminism

Rethinking Gender, Sexuality, and Violence

Over the past two weeks, America has been rocked by the revelation that the Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein has engaged in numerous instances of sexual harassment and possibly even sexual assault. In response, the actress Alyssa Milano began a social media campaign to raise awareness of these forms of abuse in the world at large, tweeting:

While Milano may have had the admirable goal of drawing attention to a serious issue, the subsequent narrative that has been presented has not been entirely accurate, and a non-trivial amount of ugliness has also been unleashed.

In the mainstream and on social media, we’ve been told that that all women live under constant threat and that all men are part of the problem.1 If a man had the audacity to say #MeToo and point out that he had also been a victim, he might have been ridiculed for being insensitive to women:

One columnist admonished “nice guys” that they were most likely responsible for the bulk of the problem and bore the responsibility for fixing it.3 The journalist Benjamin Law started the hashtag #HowIWillChange for men to publicly confess and “take responsibility for their role in rape culture, complicit or otherwise,” portraying any man who has ever questioned the accuracy of a claim of harassment as a “bad guy.”4

Men and violence

It is important to consider the accuracy and impact of stereotypes of men in general as violent. While it is true that the overwhelming majority of violent crimes are committed by men, it is a tiny minority of men who are responsible for the majority of violence. In a Swedish sample, the most violent 1% of the population committed 63% of all violent crimes (N = 2,393,765) —nearly twice as many as the other 99% combined.5 It has also been shown that the subset of the population with the greatest propensity to criminality, those known as “life-course persistent offenders,” are much more likely than the general population to commit rape or engage in sexual coercion.6 The researchers who have investigated this go on to suggest the tendency of this small minority of men to commit such acts may be caused by the genetics of those specific men, not by a “rape culture” that teaches men in general that violence against women is acceptable.

In the realm of sexual harassment as well, repeat offenders are likely to be giving the male population a bad name. It is quite likely that a very small percentage of men harass large numbers of women, causing a disproportionate amount of distress. And this type of offender (a life-course persistent offender) is often resistant to rehabilitation and treatment. Indeed, some investigations have found that attempts to rehabilitate psychopaths (as diagnosed by the Hare psychopathy checklist) have actually increased their likelihood of committing violent crimes such as sexual assault.7 Considering this reality, it’s doubtful that a hashtag campaign such as #MeToo will be effective in reducing the violence committed by this specific group of men.

Casting all men as violent is not just inaccurate but harmful, and it does considerable damage to the innocent along with the guilty. Life-course persistent offenders are but a small percentage of criminal offenders, who are in turn but a small percentage of the general male population.

Are violent experiences universal?

The scale of the response to Milano’s tweet does not necessarily mean that her experience is shared by all women. Suppose, for the sake of argument, that only 5% of the population had suffered these types of abuse. Since Milano has 3.25 million followers on Twitter, if 5% responded to her tweet, then that would lead to 162,500 posts. If each of those followers in turn had 100 friends, of which 5% responded that they too had been victims, that would lead to 812,500 posts. Continue this for a few more levels, and we can see how the scale of the Internet can cause an awareness campaign to go viral with millions of posts even if it is raising awareness of something that affects only a small percentage of the population.

Of course, this analysis does not prove that abuse is rare; it only shows that the success of #MeToo does not prove the contrary. In order to answer the question of how widespread abuse actually is, it is crucial that we define clearly what exactly constitutes abuse. To have been “sexually harassed or assaulted” can encompass anything from hearing a sexually explicit joke once to being brutally raped repeatedly over an extended period of time. The former is a relatively small affront that most adults of either gender have likely experienced at some point in their lives, while the latter is one of the most horrific ordeals that a person can be put through, and there are certainly many shades of gray in between. If we treat every inappropriate joke as if it were a violent felony, then we do a disservice to all involved: True victims have their experiences diluted by comparatively trivial grievances, innocent men stand to be swept away along with the guilty in the resulting moral panic, and the factual integrity of our understanding of these important issues is severely compromised.

It’s also behooves us to be aware that violent crime, including sexual assault, has been in decline for decades. As illustrated by Steven Pinker in his book The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, this trend is represented across many nations and cuts across many demographic categories.8 According to RAINN, our country’s largest non-profit devoted to rape prevention, sexual assault has dropped by half in the U.S. since 1993.9 While even one rape is one too many, we should also be concerned about creating a moral panic when the evidence suggests that the situation is actually improving. Doing so may interfere with our ability to learn from experience and understand how have we achieved this decline, making it more difficult for us to most effectively ensure that we continue to build on the progress that we have made toward preventing this horrific crime.

Sexual violence statistics

To understand the actual scope of the problem, we can look to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS), a 2010 study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control to measure the prevalence of different forms of abuse.10 By examining these data, we can evaluate the claim that sexual violence is a universal experience among women and that men are unaffected.

To begin, let us consider the most severe form of sexual violence, rape. According to the survey, 18.3% of women and 1.4% of men have been raped at some point in their lifetimes. However, the NISVS uses a definition of rape that excludes most male victims, including only those who were either raped by another man or anally violated using the rapist’s fingers or an object. Most men who were raped by a woman—whether through physical force, threats of physical force, or incapacitation from date rape drugs or alcohol—are instead listed as being “made to penetrate,” which is classified as a form of “other sexual violence” despite meeting the common definition of rape as forced sexual intercourse. The lifetime prevalence of this form of rape is 4.8% for men and too small a number to accurately estimate from the survey results for women. Combining these two pairs of numbers, we find that rape is approximately 3-4 times more prevalent among women than among men, depending on how many men who were “made to penetrate” were also victims of rape under the NISVS definition.

However, the gender gap vanishes altogether when we look at the prevalence over a 12-month period instead of lifetime prevalence: 1.1% of women were victims of rape, while 1.1% of men were “made to penetrate.” We do not know the reason for this discrepancy. It is possible that there was a greater gender gap in the past than there is today or that male victims who were violated more recently are more likely to report their victimization on the survey. Whatever the true gender ratio, we know that rape is far from being a universal experience of either gender but nonetheless an problem for both. It is simply the decent thing to do to treat all victims with sympathy and respect and not write anyone off just because of their gender.

The NISVS also measured other forms of unwanted sexual contact that do not rise to the level of rape. These types of abuse are somewhat more common but still far from universal, affecting 27.2% of women and 11.7% of men. Once again, when we look at the 12-month prevalence statistics, the gender gap narrows to the point of vanishing, with 2.2% of women and 2.3% of men reporting victimization over the course of a single year.

Domestic violence statistics

Having discussed sexual abuse at length, let us now turn our attention to domestic violence. It is true that women are more likely to experience the most serious forms of domestic violence, which can culminate in stalking and murder. However, 30% of the victims of intimate partner homicides are men.11 Even for this rarest and most severe form of violence, male victims are far from negligible. Less severe forms of intimate partner violence are both more common and more evenly distributed.

Domestic violence is indeed a scourge that affects people of both genders. According to the NISVS, 32.9% of women and 28.2% of men report having been victims of domestic violence at some point in their lives. The gender ratio flips when one looks at the 12-month prevalence, which is 4.0% for women and 4.7% for men. If we restrict ourselves to looking solely at severe domestic violence, we find that it is less common with a somewhat larger gender skew, with 24.3% of women and 13.8% of men reporting victimization at some point in their lives, although once again the gap is somewhat smaller (2.7% vs. 2.0%) over a 12-month period. Whether one defines it more broadly or more narrowly, domestic violence is an affliction affecting significant numbers of people of both sexes—although it is far from universal for either.

LGBT couples are at especially high risk of being victims of domestic violence. According to the NISVS data, lesbians were significantly more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to experience domestic violence, as were bisexual people of either gender, with a whopping 61.1% of bisexual women reporting that they had been victims.12 The domestic violence infrastructure, including shelters and other services, was built on the assumption that abuse is male-on-female, and LGBT victims often report experiencing discrimination when seeking help.13

Male victims also face gender-related barriers to being taken seriously. ABC News conducted a social experiment in which a woman acted out beating a man in public in front of a hidden camera.14 The experiment carried on for hours while no less than 163 bystanders of both genders walked by before someone finally called 911. One woman even rooted for the female abuser, saying “You go, girl!” When some of the bystanders were interviewed by ABC, they said that they assumed that the man must have done something to deserve it, rather than thinking that he deserved help.

We also see these attitudes play out in popular culture. Consider, for example, the music video released in 2014 by the country singer Taylor Swift for her song “Blank Space.”15 In it, Swift is shown pushing her boyfriend and throwing a heavy object at his face. Toward the end of the video, he is shown lying on the ground unconscious with her on top of him, violently shaking his head back and forth and kissing him erotically. While what happens next is left to the viewer’s imagination, it is safe to say that that it is not consensual.

Male victims of domestic violence often face the surprising obstacle of being falsely accused of the very crime of which they have been the victim. One of the most emotionally wrenching scenes of the 2016 documentary film “The Red Pill” shows a male victim recounting how he was admonished by a police officer that had better get out immediately if his wife got violent again, as he would be hauled off to jail if she so much as broke a fingernail while beating him.16 A 2011 study confirms that these are not just isolated incidents but a pervasive problem—in fact, men who call 911 for help with domestic violence are more likely to be arrested themselves than to see their abusers arrested.17 The same study found that men who call domestic violence hotlines or other service providers were often turned away on the grounds that they only help women, and 95% felt that the service providers were biased against them because of their gender.

Other forms of violence

The forms of violence examined by the NISVS are those that are most likely to affect women, yet they are far from the only forms of violence. For the rates of other crimes, we can look to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), an annual survey taken by the Bureau of Justice Statistics that measures the victimization rates for all crimes. The data show that the majority of the victims of violent crime overall are men.18 The one crime not measured by the NCVS is murder, as a victim who has been killed cannot respond to a crime victimization survey. For data on murder, we look to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports to find that no less than 78% of the victims are men.19

The criminal justice system

In addition to discussing the perspectives of victims, it is also important to consider the injustice arising from stereotypes of men in general as violent. To see this, we need only look to the ways that men and women are treated differently by the criminal justice system. According to the National Registry of Exonerations, over 90% of those found to have been wrongfully convicted of crimes they did not commit are men.20 When a man is convicted of a crime, whether rightly or wrongly, he can expect to receive a sentence that is on average 63% longer than a woman convicted of the same offense.21 The death penalty is applied almost exclusively to men. While women make up 10% of those convicted of murder in the first degree, they are only 2% of those sentenced to death and less than 1% of those actually executed.22

Conclusion

While there is no denying that violence tends to affect men and women differently, the notion that women are always the victims and men are always the aggressors is demonstrably false. All victims deserve our sympathy, whether they are male or female and whether the crime they have endured is typical of their gender or typical of the other. No one deserves to be viewed as violent or threatening just because of the anatomy with which they were born.

Rates of violence against both men and women are much lower today than they have been historically. We should work to devise effective solutions to continue that progress, rather resorting to using all men as scapegoats for the violence that remains.  Competing over which gender has it worse is counterproductive and only serves to needlessly divide us. We must be willing to listen to men’s pain along with that of women, including the perspectives of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, and seek solutions that build a better world for all of us. Until the day arrives when that begins to happen, men everywhere should raise their hands and respectfully say #MeToo.

 

References

[1] Wilhelm, Heather. Where #MeToo Goes Off the Rails [Internet]. New York: National Review; 2017 Oct 20 [cited 2017 Oct 20]. Available from: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/452922/metoo-train-wreck-calls-all-women-victims-all-men-toxic-abusers

[2] Baker-Jordan, Skylar. I’m a man who has been sexually harassed – but I don’t think it’s right for me to join in with #MeToo [Internet]. London: The Independent; 2017 Oct 18 [cited 2017 Oct 22]. Available from: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/harvey-weinstein-metoo-sexual-assault-male-victims-oppression-patriarchy-a8006976.html

[3] Blake, Casey. Columnist: Nice guys, #MeToo is your problem to solve now [Internet]. Asheville (NC): Citizen-Times; 2017 Oct 17 [cited 2017 Oct 22]. Available from: http://www.citizen-times.com/story/opinion/2017/10/17/blake-nice-guys-metoo-your-problem-solve-women-me-too-socialmedia-asheville/771215001/

[4] Esposito, Brad. Men Are Sharing How They Will Change In Response To #MeToo [Internet]. New York: BuzzFeed; 2017 Oct 18 [cited 2017 Oct 22]. Available from: https://www.buzzfeed.com/bradesposito/how-i-will-change

[5] Falk, Örjan; Wallinius, Märta; Lundström, Sebastian; Frisell, Thomas; Anckarsäter, Henrik; Kerekes, Nóra. The 1% of the population accountable for 63% of all violent crime convictions. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology [Internet]. 2013 Oct 31 [cited 2017 Oct 22]; 49(4): 559-571. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3969807/

[6] Boutwell, Brian B.; Barnes, J.C.; Beaver, Kevin M. Life-Course Persistent Offenders and the Propensity to Commit Sexual Assault. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment [Internet]. 2012 Jul [cited 2017 Oct 24]; 25(1): 69-81. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Brian_Boutwell/publication/229075046_Life-Course_Persistent_Offenders_and_the_Propensity_to_Commit_Sexual_Assault/links/562bfbd808aef25a2441ce13.pdf

[7] Seto, Michael C.; Barbaree, Howard E. Psychopathy, Treatment Behavior, and Sex Offender Recidivism. Journal of Interpersonal Violence [Internet]. 1999 Dec 1 [cited 2017 Oct 24]; 14(12): 1235-1248. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Michael_Seto/publication/238432306_Psychopathy_Treatment_Behavior_and_Sex_Offender_Recidivism/links/564b8c5508ae020ae9f82e3d/Psychopathy-Treatment-Behavior-and-Sex-Offender-Recidivism.pdf

[8] Pinker, Steven. The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined. New York: Viking; 2011. 802 p.

[9] Scope of the Problem: Statistics [Internet]. Washington (DC): RAINN; [cited 2017 Oct 24]. Available from: https://www.rainn.org/statistics/scope-problem

[10] Black, Michele C.; Basile, Kathleen C.; Breiding, Matthew J.; Smith, Sharon G.; Walters, Mikel L.; Merrick, Melissa T.; Chen, Jieru; Stevens, Mark R. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Summary Report [Internet]. Atlanta (GA): National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2010 Nov [cited 2017 Oct 22]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/NISVS_Report2010-a.pdf

[11] Catalano, Shannon; Smith, Erica; Snyder, Howard; Rand, Michael. Female Victims of Violence [Internet]. Washington (DC): Bureau of Justice Statistics; 2009 Oct 23 [cited 2017 Oct 24]. Available from: https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/fvv.pdf

[12] National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Findings on Victimization by Sexual Orientation [Internet]. Atlanta (GA): National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; [cited 2017 Oct 24]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/nisvs_factsheet_lbg-a.pdf

[13] Stafford, Zach. LGBT people face discrimination over domestic violence claims, report finds [Internet]. New York: The Guardian; 2016 Oct 18 [cited 2017 Oct 24]. Available from: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/18/lgbt-hiv-affected-people-domestic-violence-study

[14] Reaction To Women Abusing Men In Public [Internet]. ABC News. New York (NY): ABC; [cited 2017 Oct 22]. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRCS6GGhIRc

[15] Swift, Taylor. Blank Space [Internet]. [place unknown]: 2014 Nov 10 [cited 2017 Oct 22]. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-ORhEE9VVg

[16] The Red Pill. United States: Jaye Bird Productions; 2016.

[17] Douglas, Emily M.; Hines, Denise A. The Helpseeking Experiences of Men Who Sustain Intimate Partner Violence: An Overlooked Population and Implications for Practice. Journal of Family Violence [Internet]. 2011 Jun 04 [cited 2017 Oct 22]; 26(6): 473-85. Available from: http://wordpress.clarku.edu/dhines/files/2012/01/Douglas-Hines-2011-helpseeking-experiences-of-male-victims.pdf

[18] Truman, Jennifer L.; Langton, Lynn. Criminal Victimization, 2014 [Internet]. Washington (DC): Bureau of Justice Statistics.; 2015 Sep 29 [cited 2017 Oct 22]. Available from: https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/cv14.pdf

[19] Murder Victims by Race, Ethnicity, and Sex, 2015 [Internet]. Washington (DC): Federal Bureau of Investigation; [cited 2017 Oct 22]. Available from: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2015/crime-in-the-u.s.-2015/tables/expanded_homicide_data_table_1_murder_victims_by_race_ethnicity_and_sex_2015.xls

[20] The National Registry of Exonerations [Internet]. Ann Arbor (MI): University of Michigan; [cited 2017 Oct 22]. Available from: https://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/Pages/detaillist.aspx

[21] Prof. Starr’s Research Shows Large Unexplained Gender Disparities In Federal Criminal Cases [Internet]. Ann Arbor (MI): University of Michigan; 2012 Nov 16 [cited 2017 Oct 22]. Available from: http://www.law.umich.edu/newsandinfo/features/Pages/starr_gender_disparities.aspx

[22] Women and the Death Penalty [Internet]. Washington (DC): Death Penalty Information Center; [cited 2017 Oct 22]. Available from: https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/women-and-death-penalty

Filed under: Criminology, Features, Feminism

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The author is a software engineer. Gideon Scopes is a pseudonym. Given the current climate surrounding political expression in the technology industry, his real name has been withheld.

40 Comments

  1. I sincerely hope the statistic saying nearly 1 in 5 women have been raped is either a typo or is defining rape to include things that aren’t rape.

    Regarding violence perpetrated by women – I don’t think you can conclude that the courts, or public’s reactions, are sexist. Nearly all men are significantly stronger than nearly all women (these days it’s necessary to back this up, so, for example: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17186303) so violence conducted by women will, in general, be less severe than that conducted by men.

    This plays out in the ABC experiment you describe (in which I’m assuming they had a control and the reported numbers support the hypothesis). If a woman is being violent towards a man, he is almost certainly able to stop her, and furthermore they are far more likely to be a couple than two men – and anyone who’s got involved in such a dispute knows not to do so again!

    • Greg Turner says

      You’re comment, that a man will always be able to stop a woman being violent towards him, assumes that the only variable in that equation is physical strenght. It completely overlooks the role that social conditioning and social judgement plays in our ability to enact violence to another person.

      Without exception, every single time I’ve seen a man getting hit by a woman (probably a dozen or so times), his response has been to cower and back off. The guy never hits back or tries to restrain the woman (and speaking as someone who trained in martial arts for 15 years, I promise you, physical restraint is not easy to achieve unless you really know what you doing).

      In contrast, one the two occassions I’ve seen a man actually defend himself against a female attack, the guy was the one who got arrested. Fortunately, on those occassions I was able to be a witness to the arresting officer to say that what he did was purely in self defence.

      A guy getting physical with a woman in any physical confrontation initiated by the woman will almost certainly end badly for the man. That is a societeal and judicial failing in my view.

    • What a stupid post Fish and shows you have no experience or understanding of female violence.

      My father (6ft tall and capable of looking after himself) was often beaten by my mother (5ft 2″) and at one time had his head split open and about 20 stitches put in after she janked open a kitchen door and hit him in the head with the corner of it. His statement at the hospital was “Fell off my bloody bike again” as he had been there before.

      One wrong word and something would be thrown at his head or boiling water thrown, if it was handy. She was so violent we all kept very quiet around her most of the time as you never knew what for or when she would ‘go’.

      After she died it was just a feeling of relief for me, I asked the old boy why he put up with it and he said “Only weak men hit women” and on why he stayed “I stayed for you boys, she would have put you in a home (suggesting an institution)”.

      So there you go. I am sure I am not the only child raised in house like that.

      As a finale – her reaction to causing him serious wounding was often the same “Good that’ll teach you”. She was a bitch on wheels and affected my decision making about women, I never wanted to be near another woman like her.

  2. John A says

    While this article may be valuable push back against a moral panic, it does itself a disservice by treating the stats as support of one side of an adversarial argument, neglecting to address the aspects inconvenient to the argument. For example:

    “90% of those found to have been wrongfully convicted of crimes they did not commit are men”. A powerful statement. But 80% of arrests for violent crime in the US are male, somewhat nullifying the significance of the stat on wrongful conviction (though a large source of wrongful conviction will come from wrongful arrest)

    Stats on the prevalence of violence against men and women are compared as if there is no qualitative distinction between them. I suggest that a majority of male/female conflicts occur with an imbalance of physical power; a violent crime against a less physically powerful person (normally the women in the majority of cases) is a much more traumatic experience than one on someone who could overpower the attacker if necessary.

    A similar neglect is made of the qualitative differences between rape of women and rape of men. I suggest that being “made to penetrate” requires that the man has a hard-on; not symptomatic of not wanting sex.

    • Zachary Reichert says

      Some women who are raped get wet, or even orgasm, while being raped. Is their victimhood somehow lessened because of that fact? By your argument, it is. Consider that carefully.

      • John A says

        It would be difficult to make any claim to be able to grade subjective experiences. The only measure that ultimately matters is subjective experience, by definition impossible to grade against another’s. Purely hypothetically, speculatively, for the sake of thought experiment, it may be the case that a women’s experience of rape when, as you say, they orgasm, is actually worse (e.g. given the additional cognitive mind fuck). I’m not aware of any attempt to objectively tease out any subjective difference, and I suspect anyone who tried might be subject to a morally outraged hounding. Whatever, I can testify to my experience of a reflexive hard-on/hard-off reaction to conscious good/bad cognitive input. That experience is obviously only mine and cannot be generalised to a universal male experience. But it would be unlikely to be unique. That male experience was my point. But thanks for the false equivalence lure towards the make-a-comment-about-the-subjective-experience-of-rape-of-a-woman hell.

        • Ben A says

          And the average woman would tell you that her experience was that she has a reflexive hard-on/hard-off reaction to conscious good/bad cognitive input, so she doesn’t understand why this other woman’s body reacted during the sexual assault.

          The point Zachary made still stands. Not only are bodies complicated, we specifically know they sometimes react with arousal even during sexual assault. Zachary was correct in saying that your argument is the same as those of people who argue that if a woman’s body responds to the sexual assault, it is probably intentional and therefore an indication that the sexual assault was not as bad.

    • I think the serious problem with being “made to penetrate” is that it makes no distinction between assault through force or threat of force and drunken sex that you voluntarily engaged in and later regretted. That men reported low lifetime prevalence but almost as high prevalence in the last 12 months as women indicates that whatever happened most men didn’t take it seriously enough to recall events that happened a few years ago.

      • David W says

        Men are socialized not to be traumatized by it. They are told they got lucky, that they should man up and get back on the horse. Women are told they are traumatized victims for life. You can’t judge the seriousness of it by a man’s reaction vs a woman’s without taking that into account.

        • If men are socialized not to be traumatized by it isn’t that good? That surely is much preferable than being socialized to be traumatized by regretted drunken hook-ups

          • David W says

            Exactly. The logical answer then is to fix the broken way women are socialized rather than to demonize one sex (the feminist approach) or try to eradicate something that both sexes do and has been with humanity since the dawn of time (a seemingly impossible task).

    • David W says

      Erections are involuntary. They can come and rage when they are unwanted and go away when they are quite welcome or even needed. They do not signify consent or its absence in any way. Traditionally, someone named “John” would know that.

      • John A says

        “Traditionally” John really does have experience of his reflex hard-on/hard-off reaction to conscious experience. That personal experience cannot, obviously, be generalised (like your universality statement) but it is unlikely to be anywhere near unique. (See another of my replies above).

        • David W says

          You have equated arousal with consent. They have nothing to do with each other.

          • John A says

            Correct, to an extent. I was responding to your implication that John would know, on the basis that I’m a man, that arousal is independent of cognitive input. On the contrary, my state of arousal IS dependant upon conscious, cognitive input. But your statement of arousal and consent having nothing to do with one another is correct, as concepts.

            But my original point was about the *qualitative* difference between rape of women and rape of men. “…neglect is made of the qualitative differences between rape of women and rape of men”. Your comments do point out a flaw in my subsequent statement: having a hard-on is “not symptomatic of not wanting sex”. What I should say is that it is not symptomatic of not being aroused, and I maintain that at least in some circumstances that correlates with less of a traumatic experience than if a man could be forced to have sex without arousal, thus invalidating any supposed equality between the prevalence of rape of men and women, on the basis of qualitative experience.

            Since I’m on the subject, I’ll add the following. I suggest that a woman’s subjective experience of rape would be much worse than that of a man, using evo psych reasoning. An intense pleasure (e.g. sexual) is predicated on the evolutionary consequence. The proximate outcome, pleasure, is correlated with the ultimate consequence, (in the example of sexual pleasure, genes in the next generation). Similarly, the subjective experience of rape is the proximate outcome. What is the ultimate purpose of the proximate emotional experience? It’s the deterrence against the enforced pregnancy and the loss of being in control of the choice of mate, control of reproduction with regards to other children, one’s well-being, and related non-proximate concerns. At least two factors result in rape being the subjective horror that it is. One, the severity of the loss of that control. Two, its utility: utility in the sense of a personal deterrent to avoid such an outcome; and the utility in recruitment for retribution (ultimately another deterrent). But here’s the significance in my argument about qualitative differences in male/female rape victims’ experience: the massive asymmetry between the ultimate, evolutionary consequences of a man being raped and a woman being raped. To argue towards male and female rape #metoo equivalence just on numbers requires that you also argue that a male rape victim’s subjective experience is equivalent to that of a woman’s. I submit that they are nowhere near equivalent.

    • You’re confusing two different sets of things. The first sentence says that “90% of those found to have been wrongfully convicted of crimes they did not commit are men,” with no mention of “violent crimes.” So your saying that 80% of arrests for violent crime are male doesn’t follow (I have to wonder if you’re consistent in your thinking with regard to black vs. white crime rates and, if you are, whether you’d say it out loud).

      Women are more apt to use weapons against men, thereby making up for lack of equal physical strength (see http://www.zurinstitute.com/female_clinicalupdate.html).

      A person can physically desire sex without willing sex to happen for any number of reasons (fear of pregnancy, for ex.). And people can have autonomic physical reactions without physical desire. Men can be and are raped by women. Deal with it.

      • John A says

        Ah, yes. 73% of arrests, for violent crimes or not, in the US in 2014 were by men. The point remains.

        My comment was push-back against “treating the stats as support of one side of an adversarial argument, neglecting to address the aspects inconvenient to the argument”. One aspect is any qualitative difference between rape of women and rape of men. See another of my replies dealing with arousal and consent. I have admitted something of mistake in my unqualified statement that having a hard-on is not symptomatic of not wanting sex. What I should have said… see the other comment.

  3. Way to go Captain Obvious. I’ll save you the time of reading this article:

    “Pop culture over simplifies. This is the problem with #metoo campaign.”

    Your welcome.

    • When you’re smugly dismissing the work of others, basic rules of grammar and spelling still count.

      You’re welcome.

  4. Steve says

    >If a woman is being violent towards a man, he is almost certainly able to stop her, and furthermore they are far more likely to be a couple than two men – and anyone who’s got involved in such a dispute knows not to do so again!

    Actually, this isn’t true given the social context. While men have greater physical strength, they are punished if they ever use that strength – much harsher than even the abuser can do on their own. If a man dares defend himself or tries to stop his abuser, he’s likely to be arrested.

    Since, as you stated, we need to support this with proof, here you go:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3175099/

    Men who attempt to report domestic violence to the police are more likely to be arrested than the female perpetrators. Think about this: a man who is told his whole life that he can’t be a victim actually gets the courage to call the police, which would likely consist of the most severe cases, and he’s more likely to be arrested than his abuser.

    This was the case with a good friend of mine. He got arrested for domestic violence when his girlfriend suffered a boxer’s fracture – from punching him.

  5. Zachary Reichert says

    So this whole post was about one throwaway line regarding genetics throughout the whole of the essay? What is your evidence that all of this is cherry-picked, beyond the obvious fact that it would be impossible to reference ALL research in one article?

    Your outrage seems disproportionate to me. Maybe you can explain it?

  6. You’re right to say that behaviour can’t be explained entirely by genetics, but that is not what the article said (and rather misses the point of the article anyway). The article said “… may be caused by genetics…”. How is this controversial (expect to a blank-slatist). Some men are genetically more disposed to violence than others and some men are more violent than others. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume that a venn diagram of these two populations would have at least a little overlap, still less worthy of a tirade.

    “my name here is my real world name” Your parents must be very… imaginative!

  7. I do think there’s a serious problem with the definitions used by the NISVS (other than excluding being made to penetrate from rape), their definitions of rape (and being made to penetrate) could be interpreted to include regretted drunken hook-ups, and sexual coercion include cases where one partner is tired but reluctantly agrees to sex because the other partner is unhappy. That the vast majority reported an intimate partner as perpetrator of sexual coercion speaks volumes.

    Rape is a serious crime, I agree being made to penetrate should be included but regretted drunken hook-ups should not be. Too wide definitions threatens to weaken popular perception of rape as the serious crime it is. Unfortunately this is emblematic of the victimhood culture we live in.

  8. Randy says

    The two aspects of this controversy I find interesting are:

    1. All these people coming out of the woodwork now chose any route they could prior to recent days to NOT prosecute anyone for these supposed crimes. Oh, they were too scared. Oh, they really wanted that job instead of some other one. Oh, that million dollars really did take away the pain. And yet now they all bandwagon about, as if to distract from the fact that they were complicit in the conspiracy to allow the accused to keep on doing what they are accused of doing. I can tell you if someone committed a serious crime against me, I would see them behind bars. That’s that. So then I think, maybe what happened wasn’t really that serious. How could it have been? They let him keep going. There might be some jerks in the world, but I am unconvinced that EVERYONE was.

    2. For male accused, the accusation has become the crime. Nobody even bothers to read what the details are, to see if they match up in their own mind with what “sexual harassment”, or “sexual assault”, or “rape” even are. The accusation is taken at face value (“listen and believe”) and is then assumed to be the worst possible thing that could fit in that category, if the accused is male. After all, asking for details is re-victimizing, isn’t it. Of course, for female accused, nobody cares in the first place, but if they do, people interpret it as the tamest version of whatever could fit in the category.

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  10. Patrick Barkus says

    The 12 month versus lifetime differences are, at least by my reckoning suggestive of the narrowing psychological gap between men and women.
    Men more and more see themselves as desirous with all sexual risks that inherently adhere to beauty.
    That this proposition is laughable on its face doesn’t alter it’s essential truth.
    Like it or not men and women are more alike today than ever before. However much one might decry sexual or, I guess I should say gender fluidity, the truth is there has been great movement by both women and men towards ground both sexes can comfortably reside in.
    Part of this whole sexual climate of violence myth is a pushback from all types of both men and women not comfortable with this simple observation.

  11. I have a hard time with the 1.1% of men and women experiencing a form of rape. In the US that would imply that there are 3.2 million rapes every year. That number is just extraordinary.

    Moreover RAINN puts the number each year ~400,000. So which one is right? Or are they both wrong? There seems to be a lot of inconsistencies in the research underlying these figures.

    • Yes the NISVS stats aren’t reliable so I wish the author hadn’t put so much emphasis on them, the huge discrepancy between lifetime occurrence and the last 12 months tells you there’s something fishy going on. That over 1% of men are violently raped by women every year is very doubtful to put it mildly

  12. No mention of men raped in prison? Last I saw any research it showed that men are actually raped more in the USA than women are – to which feminists responded “Well they were raped by men!” as though that means it doesn’t matter that they were raped?

    As for ‘John’ above making the point that men are more often arrested for violent crimes than women are, yes, and that was part of the article he obviously failed to understand (or deliberately ignored?). Yes, for the exact same offense the man is more likely to be arrested, more likely to be charged, more likely to be found guilty, more likely to receive a custodial sentence and it;s likelier to be a longer sentence (by over 60%, scroll up…)

    Such discrimination was rather the point of the article, I thought?

  13. Prof_W says

    I’m a gender studies professor. Would you like to hear my thoughts on software engineering? You think you can look at some crime stats and draw conclusions while not reading any of the actual analysis of the issues. The gender analysis isn’t biological and doesn’t reduce to individual levels.

    • Possibly; it depends if they’re any good or not. Your identity has little bearing on that.

      Ideas and opinions – good ones, at least – can stand on their own without being qualified as belonging to a particular type of person.

      Likewise they cannot be dismissed because they were espoused by the “wrong type” of person.

      If you take objection to particular points of the article, address them specifically.

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  16. While this article makes a lot of true points re decreasing crime rates and the fact that sexual offences are committed by a tiny minority of recidivists, it misunderstands the point of #MeToo. The point isn’t to lump all men in a category of rapists. It’s to raise awareness and challenge denial, silence, victim blaming and minimising in society. Not just that committed by men, but that committed by the majority of us- including women, and yes, including some rape survivors.

    The author rightly refers to rape as “one of the most horrific ordeals that a person can be put through” and to serious sexual assault as “a violent felony”.

    But not everyone subscribes to this view. Some people think of rape as no big deal or as the victim’s fault. This past Glastonbury, a woman was nearly prevented from attending by her former group of friends who harassed and threatened her for “ruin[ing] the group” and “spoiling Glasto” because she reported her two rapists to the police. Her friends prioritised having the entire group, including her and her rapists, present at Glasto over her obtaining justice and the group being split into two at Glasto.

    Even parents, friends, employers and educational institutions minimise or deny sexual assaults and rapes if the perpetrator is known to the victim. Even in cases of stranger rape- which are extremely rare- (female, adult) victims are often blamed for trusting a stranger, drinking, what they were wearing, etc. Even in law courts. The idea that sex crimes are very rare contributes to juries not believing survivors and letting rapists go, so they’re free to rape again, often multiple times.It also contributes to shame and silence, as victims believe it’s their fault or that they’re the only one to be raped by a friend, colleague or a stranger who talked to them prior to the attack. This lack of understanding of the prevalence of sexual violence against men, women and children discourages survivors from reporting. Male adult victims are often shamed even more than adult females.

    This article is just the #notallmen tag writ large- diverting attention from an important message to irrelevantly claim that not all men are rapists- which nobody is saying.

  17. I found the article to be clarifying about todays tendency among feminists (including men feminists) to extrapolate a tiny minority of problematic men, or outiers on the bell curve, to the entire population of men. What that does is stigmatize men just for “being” men, and creates a flase narrative about masculinity, virility and maleness in our society that shutting down the d8along between men and women. More men are becoming feminized to avoid the label of manhood, becoming feminists as a form of approval seeking of women. Unfortunately, women are sexually repulsed by such men, seeking the sexual vitality of the men they have stereotyped as toxic. All this stems from a lack of understanding about the bell curve or wider dispersion of behavior types among men that among women. The bell curve shows that men are more likely in the outliers to exhibit toxic behavior, but also more likely to people of exceptional vision and genius.

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