Sexual Assault Awareness: More Than a Month

Premium Membership, The Good Men Project

About Ethan Miller

Ethan is an undergraduate at American University in Washington, DC. Since working on anti-sweatshop campaigns in high school, Ethan has dedicated the vast majority of his time to activism. Currently, he is an organizer with the AU Student Worker Alliance and Director of Men's Outreach for the AU Women's Initiative. Ethan also writes for The Huffington Post and Where is Your Line?

Comments

  1. The one in four statistic is based on a terrible study done in 1989 by Mary Koss that has been debunked countless number of times.

    • Transhuman says:

      A more recent calculation using actual Campus numbers, taking into account the hypothetical 90% of rapes are not reported, came up with 1 in 3,750. That means there is a lot of rape going on outside of campus to even bring the numbers within cooee of the claim of 1 in 4.

  2. Has anyone got decent statistics on all sexual assault on campuses, including men forced to penetrate with a breakdown of age, gender, ethnicity and for extra points maybe income-class for both victim and perpetrator? Super duper extra points if they can break it down further to where the assaults take place (parties, etc), relationship between victim and perp, alcohol and other drug usage of all parties involved. Please no single gender statistics as I cannot stand them, I only like to see indepth stats which can accurately compare both genders experience as too often I see stats showing abuse of one group/gender being portrayed in a way to assume that group/gender is being abused FAR FAR FAR more than the other without actual stats to back it up. Also I hope they don’t leave out envelopment/forced to penetrate as that is the main form of abuse perpetrated by females that force another into sexual intercourse so the lack of that data can skew the results massively. The only study I know of close to this is the CDC’s-The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) 2010.

    Of the statistics I’ve seen on college rape it’s usually been female victim, male perpetrator which simply continues a narrow narrative of sexual abuse and in my mind that is helping to continue rape culture, violence culture, whatever wording you want to use. To really tackle sexual abuse you need to go super indepth, support both male and female victims AND make aware the fact both are abused and both can be abuser.

    But one thing that bothers me is the “Men can stop rape” organization, is it meant to be ONLY men can stop rape? How do men stop women raping men? I feel these chivalrous organizations have good intentions but without a sister “Women can stop rape” organization I feel it’s extremely limited in it’s ability to make major difference. I really have to know, why do we care so much about rape against women though where there is a huge black hole in caring about rape against men? Are there gendered organizations that have an equal sister/brother setup?

    I ask all of this due to recent statistics by the CDC showing a heavy level of sexual abuse and rape committed by women against men to the levels that pretty much equal rape of women by men in a 12 month period, and perpetration for forced to penetrate and forcible penetration being 40% female and 60% male (+- a few percent). If the abuse rate is 1 in 4 for college women, is it going to be 1 in 4 men as well, 1 in 6? 1 in 8? Surely there are enough for campaigns led by women to speak out against the abuse women commit against men like the many chivalrous campaigns that exist against male abuse of women?

    • As a bit of a side-note, I’ve always found the “Men can stop rape,” slogans to be a bit off-putting and missing the mark. For me it wasn’t about the neglect of female rapists, so much as it was the focus on the gender of the perceived aggressors. Plus, it was a strange way of phrasing things – it’s not one man’s responsibility to stop another man from committing a sexual crime. And telling men “don’t rape,” ends up sounding like a scolding, or something.

      Personally, I think a lot of the “Men, don’t rape,” types of campaigns are confusing not-completely-consensual sex with rape. (In addition to ignoring the fact of female rapists).

      • Marketing. Because a slogan like, “We understand that all people are capable of assaulting each other so don’t do that and report it even if it makes you feel wrong.” Doesn’t fit on a poster.

        You’d think though that people would have come up with a slogan like “We can all stop rape.” Because that would include people who get assaulted fighting back, and people stopping other people from assaulting.”

        I mean I thought of that, and I’m no marketing expert.

        • True, true. Or how about just a simple “Stop Rape,” slogan. It worked for No H8.

        • I think there was a “consent is sexy” campaign?

          I am pretty worn out by the chivalrous campaigns, to me they feel like half-arsed attempts at a massive problem, feels like one gender isn’t actually lifting their weight (females for female perpetrated abuse) with all that damn silence as well compared to all of these men supporting men can stop rape, even the white ribbon type stuff too. It often feels like men need to sacrifice their own concerns for that of women in these arenas, I do hope to see some women speak out against female abusers during this awareness period since I’ve already seen plenty of men speak out against other men….Hell I’ve seen men who would grab a baseball bat against rapists if the law turned the other cheek, don’t think I’ve ever seen that level of protective instinct? (though probably unhelpful) spoken by women against female abusers. It’d be great to know both genders have each others backs and their own.

          I also think these campaigns are losing support due to an overriding notion of male abuse towards women, without similar concern of the reverse. I myself find it hellishly annoying to have this expectation on ending violence against women without society also being concerned of violence against men, it smacks of chivalrous sacrifice of one gender to protect the other and I just don’t find that at all honorable. The true honor is helping ALL people, not ignoring one for the benefit of the other.

          • Hell I’ve seen men who would grab a baseball bat against rapists if the law turned the other cheek, don’t think I’ve ever seen that level of protective instinct? (though probably unhelpful) spoken by women against female abusers. It’d be great to know both genders have each others backs and their own.
            Hell there are stories where men have done just that. This is also related to how there is no shortage of people who openly say that men accused (not even charged, arrested, or on trial but simply accused) of sex crimes deserve to sexually attacked themselves, however such sentiment is rarely expressed about women that are accused of sex crimes.

            I also think these campaigns are losing support due to an overriding notion of male abuse towards women, without similar concern of the reverse.
            Not just the reverse, but any other form that is not male against female. Mensactivism.org brings up stories of women attacking men but they are lumped in with hate groups for it….

            But you’re right Archy I think most of it is a desire to cherry pick the parts of chivalry that people want to keep. They don’t want women to be treated like they can’t fight and lift heavy objects but also don’t want to hold women responsible for the violence they commit…

            • “This is also related to how there is no shortage of people who openly say that men accused (not even charged, arrested, or on trial but simply accused) of sex crimes deserve to sexually attacked themselves, however such sentiment is rarely expressed about women that are accused of sex crimes.”

              Okay I’ve never heard anyone say that. I’ve only heard one person say that he had no sympathy for men who were convicted of sex crimes who end up getting raped in prison themselves…but the person who said that had been working specifically on child molestation cases as a DA Investigator for the past couple years…so his perspective at the time was somewhat skewed. I’m not saying that there aren’t people out there who say that…I just am curious as to why you think there’s “no shortage.” I mean, outside of the internet, do you ever hear anyone say that? And I ask about ‘outside the internet,’ because when online sometimes people will say some really outrageous things, even if they don’t actually believe them.

            • I think that way because of offline conversations I’ve had.

              Oh and also the people that guys who might be rapists should be castrated. You would think that for something as drastic as removing someone’s genitals there would be some desire for at least a conviction first?

              And (understandably) the younger the victim the more intense the reaction….but only if the accused is male….

            • With regards to castration, again the only person I ever heard suggest that was the DA Investigator (oh, and his wife, in this case), and again they were specifically talking about men who were convicted. And actually, he was more for chemical castration, whereas his wife was more for physical castration.

              Anyway, hmmm…maybe it’s to do with the assumption that someone who is accused will be convicted? And so you end up equating the two things together. So it’s not that they don’t think that there needs to be proof, they just assume that there will be proof. I dunno. I do think that it’d be worth finding some sort of survey about, to see just how common this idea is. Only because, yeah, we seem to have had completely opposite experiences with it.

            • Anyway, hmmm…maybe it’s to do with the assumption that someone who is accused will be convicted?
              More like the assumption that someone who is accused must be guilty (if you consider that conviction doesn’t always equal guilt) but I dig what you’re saying.

            • From a 2007 ABC News article ( http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=3985832&page=1#.T40hg9U0h8F ):

              Treatment of sex offenders by castration, usually through the use of prescription drugs, is common throughout the United States, though less than a dozen states legally require repeat offenders to be treated chemically.

              At least one state, Florida, allows sentenced prisoners to choose surgical castration in lieu of prison time. In September, confessed rapist James Allen, 35, chose to be castrated to obtain a reduced sentence.

              It is common enough that some 8* states mandated chemical castration for repeat offendersof these 4 states (Florida, California, Lousianna and Texas) offers surgical castration as an alternative to a chemcial castration. Florida even have offered lower sentencing if the defendants consent to surgical castration within a certain amount of time (8 days in one case). The prosecution in one case stated outright that that the victims viewed the castration as part of the punishment for the defendant and a deterrent for others. **

              These laws and that Florida judgement does not come from nothing – they come from the sentiment Danny refers to. This sentiment is perfectly displayed in the comments to the linked ABC News article.
              The effect chemical and surgical castration have on re-offense rates are heavily disputed.
              From the article I quoted above:

              That rate of recidivism in surgically castrated offenders is about the same as it for all sex offenders.

              * http://www.cga.ct.gov/2006/rpt/2006-R-0183.htm

              ** http://jonathanturley.org/2007/09/11/florida-judge-allows-rapist-to-avoid-life-sentence-in-exchange-for-castration/

            • Danny and I were talking about suspected sex offenders, not convicted sex offenders.

            • And you were talking about how people conflate accusation and conviction and assume guilt before a conviction is reached in a court of law? Enough people argue for and support castration laws for them to exist and I am pretty sure that a non-negligibly ratio of them are quick to assume guilt before a conviction has been delivered.

            • Random_Stranger says:

              Holy cr*p!! I did not know we actually advocate castration for sex offenders. That’s just about as draconian and immoral a policy as I can think of.

              So not only do we have laws reserved for the prosecution of men, we have barbaric sentences also reserved for them as well. A female offender, if we bother to prosecute her and then manage to find her guilty, will not be subjected to this punishment.

    • Archy

      Here are some stats. from campus on female “sexual aggression” (the don’t call it rape) here

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

      and here

      http://feck-blog.blogspot.com/2011/05/predictors-of-sexual-coercion-against.html

      • Thank-you, those stats are pretty scary.
        “Rates of sexually aggressive behaviors among women vary from one segment of the United States to another, but the evidence presented here shows that as many as 7% of women self-report the use of physical force to obtain sex, 40% self-report sexual coercion, and over 50% self-report initiating sexual contact with a man while his judgment was impaired by drugs or alcohol (Anderson, 1998).”

        Begs the question, why hasn’t the media picked up on all of these studies n shouted it across the globe? That’s a huge headline!

        • I guess for whatever reason no media I am aware of reported the last 12 months statistics for rape and “being made to penetrate someone else” in the NISVS 2010 Report. It is some kind of selective blindness, bias, at play. The idea that female perpetrators are more than just a very few exceptions is simply so foreign that it simply does not register. It’s a blind spot. And even when it is pointed out it’s still not acknowledged in any way – or one is accused of being selective about statitics by leaving out the lifetime numbers (ironically often by the same person who only mentioned lifetime numbers and left out the last 12 months ones). No discussion on what effect such findings ought to have on rape-prevention campaigns. Just people still writing “only men can stop rape.

          The pessimist and misanthrope in me kind of expects the next NISVS Report to have done away with the “being made to penetrate someone else” category or in some other way make it impossible to gauge how much men are victimized and how many are victimized by women.

  3. Apologies for derailing a serious topic. But I do believe that we all have the responsibility to promote consent in realistic ways, and acknowledge that the dialogue has to change, that men need the safe spaces and respect to come out as individuals who have suffered assault and really start dealing with all of this, together.

  4. Aaaarrrghhh. Articles like this make me so glad I don’t go to college nowadays. At least 20 years ago I just had to run the angry feminist gauntlet; now there are the feminist AND the white knight gauntlets to navigate.

    The fact of the matter is that Men Cannot Stop Rape. I, as a man, can decide not to rape, but that’s the totality of what I can do. This is why “Rape Culture” is B.S. and a hate attack on males.

    And I’d almost managed to forget about “Take Back the Night.” It’s is yet another example of ritualized man-shaming that needs to end.

    • Random_Stranger says:

      “Take Back the Night” yeah, I totally remember that. The worst part is they would rally in front of the frat houses to make it clear who they thought they needed to take the night back from.

      Almost staged a “Take Back the Day” rally in front of the sorority houses and let them make the association.

  5. There is also the potential for high-profile male feminist speakers on campus, such as Don McPherson, NCAA football hall of famer and pro-feminist activist, who recently came to my campus to speak to students about the problems with derogatory language in an event called “You Throw Like a Girl.” What made this event so successful is the fact that all members of campus sports teams, fraternities and sororities were mandated to come to the event. With such large turnout, there was a huge opportunity for his message to reach those who would not normally come to an event about critical masculinity, and McPherson was able to reach these athletes, fraternity brothers and sorority sisters not as an academic, but as a NCAA hall of famer.
    If this is the event that I’m thinking of that “mandate” was backed by a threat of punishment of students and their organizations that did not attend (to the effect of being banned from campus activities). I don’t care how informative and successful something is if its done by force then its doomed to eventually fail.

    But one reason I think a lot of people get turned off on the conversation about sexual assaults is because people try so hard to keep the conversation gendered.

    For many, it is a month marked by guest speakers, consent workshops and Take Back the Night. For those of us on college campuses, where one in four women are raped, sexual assault awareness cannot end on April 30.
    That 1 in 4 has been contested at best and outright dis-proven at worst. Yet and still people will lead off with it and/or endless chirp it.

    When it comes to rape awareness campaigns its almost tabboo to talk about any other form of rape that’s not male against female. Sure most rape is male against female rape but how far do you think you’re gonna get by pretending only one form of it exists? (I think the DV conversation has this same problem.)

  6. Transhuman says:

    It isn’t like men get up each morning and, while deciding what socks to wear and does it matter if the colours don’t match, they contemplate should I rape someone today.I mean there is work, the haircut at lunch, pick up some milk and bread on the way home, no today is packed I’ll have to fit a rape in some other time. Slogans such as “Men can stop rape” are infantile.

  7. “Preventing sexual assault takes more than giving women whistles or self-defense training.”

    Indeed. It includes training women on how women commit sexual assault. Sex with a drunk man is rape, rape of the man. Unsolicited touching is not “hot”, it’s not some kind of gift, it’s sexual assault.

  8. End “rape culture” ? that’s not happening, ever.
    There will never come a point where rapes and sexual assaults aren’t being commited.

    - This ridiculous idea that if we just tell men who commit rapes that it’s wrong they’ll stop needs to end.
    These are sick individuals who aren’t concerned about being wrong.
    - We need discussions on alcohol consumption, when you get drunk you become vulnerable and sick individuals prey on vulnerable people.

    Also we need to start dicussing with both men and woman that humans aren’t mind reading, if you don’t want to have sex TELL YOUR PARTNER.

  9. Ethan

    One definition of rape culture according to Shakesville is not talking about rapes that happen.

    Doesn’t that make all that campus rape culture activism and your article here that tell only one half of the story rape culture?

  10. A couple of people have brought up the 1 in 4 statistic. Mary Koss asked the female respondents in her study to list unwanted sexual encounters starting when they were 13-years-old until their mid twenties. There was no context given, meaning that Koss did not ask where or when the assaults occurred. The 1 in 4 result does not represent the rate of sexual violence that happens against women in college, but rather represents the rate of sexual violence against females by the time they are in college.

    As for addressing sexual violence on college campuses, I do know how you can raise awareness for that issue if you ignore that a significant number of victims are not female. Men understand that sexual assault is a serious issue that affects them because 1 in 6 of them are victims of sexual violence. I think the biggest hindrance to raising awareness about sexual violence is the attitude that men somehow do not get it. You cannot teach people if you are being condescending, and you cannot reach them if you act like their victimization does not count.

  11. You cannot teach people if you are being condescending, and you cannot reach them if you act like their victimization does not count.

    So true. Being exposed to anti-rape campaigns which left out male victims and absolutely never ever mentioned male victims of female perpetrators only fueled my anger and distrust at women for quite a while after I was raped. “If what happened to me was not even worth mentioning then why the hell is it so important when it happens to women” is a question I wanted to ask before I decided that what happened to me was important and it was wrong and it was rape and that the people who told me that I got lucky should not get to override my feelings about what happened.

    • ““If what happened to me was not even worth mentioning then why the hell is it so important when it happens to women.”

      This is pretty much why I don’t support any services, rights, or freedoms for women at all.

      • I feel the frustration (and Tamen makes a very good point that needs to be addressed) but ultimately not supporting services, rights, and freedoms of women would damn us all. We’re all in this together and the “F U I’m gonna get mine!” attitude doesn’t help in the long run.

  12. Ok if we’re going to focus on sexual assault, can we please address the lowered standard for evidence and amazing number of falsely reported rapes?

    Can we please address the way that men who are accused get villified in the media while their accusers remain anonymous?

    Or is this only about women?

Speak Your Mind