Creative Destruction

May 30, 2006

Men Are Much Less Likely To Be Victims of Rape

Filed under: Feminist Issues — Ampersand @ 3:37 pm

On the Male Privilege Checklist (henceforth “the list,”) I wrote:

7. If I’m a teen or adult, and if I can stay out of prison, my odds of being raped are so low as to be negligible.

Karmaq, writing in The Unseen Kid’s comments, responded:

I question some of the stats… For example, the myth that rape only happens to men in prison (or gay men), when the FBI stats (if you want to believe the FBI) are that it happens way more often than we think. No one wants to talk about and even if they do, no one wants to hear about it. But I’ve met enough men (straight, never been in jail) who have talked to me about it (cause people tend to tell me stuff they don’t normally share) that I tend to suspect the FBI’s “1 in 7 men; 1 in 3or4 women” had some validity.

My response to Karmaq:

First, Karmaq is mistaken about what the FBI’s statistics say. The FBI only counts the small proportion of rapes that are reported to police, and they calculate their numbers per year, rather than per lifetime. As a result, the FBI’s numbers are far, far, far lower than the numbers you provide here. Most importantly, because the FBI’s inexcusably sexist definition of rape excludes men (“forcible rape, as defined in the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, is the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will”), the FBI’s numbers are irrelevant to Karmaq’s point.

Second, contrary to Karmaq’s remarks, I never claimed that “rape happens only to men in prison (or gay men).” That would obviously not be true.

What I said is, that for men who aren’t in prison, the chances of being raped are very low, and I stand by that claim.

According to this study by the Centers for Disease Control, 15% of women and 2% of men in the US have ever been raped in their lifetime. That difference alone is enough to justify my statement. (The CDC’s numbers are based on interviews with a representative sample of the US population, not on police reports.)

Although the CDC’s is one of the best rape prevalence studies, I believe their results underestimate the prevalence of rape, especially for women. One particularly striking (but not at all unusual, as these studies go) flaw of the CDC’s survey is that their interview questions didn’t include a specific question asking about rapes that take place while the victims are unconscious or otherwise unable to resist due to drink or drugs – which is to say, a prototypical frat-house rape. Of course, anyone can be raped while passed out, but anecdotally I believe it happens significantly more often to women. (Unfortunately, I haven’t seen any good studies addressing this question, so anecdotal evidence is all I have.)

Readers may be wondering, of that 2% of men who report having been raped, how many were raped in prison? The CDC did not ask if rapes took place while incarcerated, so there’s no way of knowing what portion of the 2% of raped men, were raped in prison. However, it’s at least plausible that a significant portion of that 2% represents prison rape.

According to this Bureau of Justice Statistics report, 5% of US men have been in prison at some point in their lives. If one in ten men are raped while in prison – and some studies suggest prison rape prevalence may be that high or much higher – that would account for a quarter of all the male rape victims in the US. So although this is speculative, it’s plausible that a substantial number of the 2% of American men who have been raped, were raped while in prison.

* * *

Does it matter where rape takes place or who the victims are? In every moral sense, it does not matter. No one deserves to be raped. Prison rape is rape, and is totally inexcusable. Rape is rape, evil and wrong no matter where or to whom it happens. Every rape victim deserves sympathy and support.

But one point of the male privilege checklist is to make visible some ways a male-centric society harms women. (I believe that male-centric societies also harm men, but that’s a subject for a different post). Pretending that there’s no statistical difference in the likelihood of being raped goes against that purpose. In that context, that rape in ordinary US society is a crime overwhelmingly committed by men against women is important, and must be acknowledged.

It should be noted that the prison rape epidemic is probably going to get worse. Over the next couple of decades, the proportion of male rape victims may increase, because the proportion of men who have been in prison is projected to skyrocket. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ projections, if our current rate of sending men to prison is maintained, then at some point in the future 15% of American men will have spent time in prison. (6% of white men, 17% of Latinos, and 32% of Black men. For comparison’s sake, the projections for women are 1%, 2% and 6%.)

If those projections are true (or even partly true), and if the prison rape epidemic continues unabated, the overall number of American rape victims will vastly increase over the coming decades. This is true even if rape prevalence outside of prison doesn’t change at all. This is one reason why it’s essential to support strong measures to combat prison rape; unfortunately, all that’s gotten through congress so far are weak half-measures.

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38 Comments »

  1. Ah, the male-centric society. It might be nice, but I imagine the 3,124th consecutive “Topless Pizza and Beer Night” would get a little old.

    Gender is an inadequate lens through which to view society. There are insights to be gained from feminist (or masculinist) analysis – lots of them. But they aren’t the whole canvas, just one little paint splatter.

    It is fair to say that our society is in many ways dominated by men. (In other ways it is dominated by women, but I’ll agree to the general point that the areas dominated by men are more important; the balance is male.) This has less to do with power politics and more to do with inclinations.

    Regardless, social dominance by a group is not the same thing as the society being centered around that group. The Catholic Church is dominated by a million celibate men in funny hats; the actual life of the church is so far from being centered around those people, it’s not even funny.

    There have been male-centric societies in the past, times and places where dominance did transcend power and control and achieved centrality. But we aren’t in one of those places or times; they don’t last. No society centered around one gender can long survive.

    Comment by Robert — May 30, 2006 @ 6:13 pm | Reply

  2. “It’s not the only lens” does not lead to “therefore, it’s not really a significant point of view and anyway it’s just about people’s inclinations, so, look! A monkey!”

    Comment by mythago — May 30, 2006 @ 11:57 pm | Reply

  3. I didn’t say it wasn’t the only lens. There are lots of lenses; six billion or so.

    I said it was a defective lens. It’s a flawed way of looking at the world. You can find some truth in it – but if you limit yourself to that one lens, you’ll never really find understanding.

    Around here, we reserve monkey status for the youngest child. For distraction purposes, we say, “look! a bird!”

    Comment by Robert — May 31, 2006 @ 12:02 am | Reply

  4. I think a lot of female-perpetrated rape is unreported because of stereotypes and misconceptions about rape. Coercion and mis-representation into sex are forms of rape, (indeed all unmarried sex is legally non-consensual, since consent isn’t official until they have publicly said “I do” at the altar), but because of stereotypes, a drunk man is not likely to feel he was raped when a woman seduces him, but a woman is much more likely to recognize it as rape. And men are much more likely to blame themselves and assume responsibility when they have been raped. And because a man can usually stop intercourse before coming if a woman hops on and initiates intercourse against his will (which is very common, it’s happened to me twice) , men don’t need to call the police, and just think how cool it is that this woman is so horny. And though it would sure be degrading to be physically assaulted and anally sodomized by a man, at least there wouldn’t be a worry that maybe that five seconds of non-consensual sex before you pushed her off might have resulted in pregnancy. Even when a man was raped, judges still don’t have a problem making the man pay child support to his rapist.

    Comment by John Howard — May 31, 2006 @ 2:01 am | Reply

  5. John Howard:

    (indeed all unmarried sex is legally non-consensual, since consent isn’t official until they have publicly said “I do” at the altar),

    This is just plain silly. Free clue: What is ‘legally non-consensual’ is what the law says it is, not what you might wish the law to say. Remarks like this tend to undermine what little credibility you have left here, which is a pity with regard to this comment, since there are some worthwhile points buried in this comment.

    but because of stereotypes, a drunk man is not likely to feel he was raped when a woman seduces him, but a woman is much more likely to recognize it as rape.

    Your language implies that you think drunk seduction is rape. It isn’t. Seduction, drunk or otherwise, and rape are mutually exclusive.

    Some acts of drunken intercourse are rape. Some aren’t. I agree with Amp that failure to ask about this undercounts both male and female rape, but female more so than male.

    And men are much more likely to blame themselves and assume responsibility when they have been raped.

    Your evidence for this is?

    And because a man can usually stop intercourse before coming if a woman hops on and initiates intercourse against his will (which is very common, it’s happened to me twice)

    For that to happen you would need to be (i) naked at the crotch, (ii) erect, (iii) not so incapacitated as to be unable to stop it, and (iv) unconcenting. I find that combination of circumstances rather implausible. Delete (iii) and you have a more plausible scenario. I’m sure it happens, and possibly as often or even more often than the equivalent male on drunk-female rape scenario. However there are many other possibilities for drunken rape which don’t start with the victim lying on their back with their pants down.

    men don’t need to call the police, and just think how cool it is that this woman is so horny.

    Although thinking that doesn’t in itself constitute consent, (because consent is the expression of willingness) it again seems rather implausible that a man would be thinking that without having conveyed his willingness in some fashion.

    I said that there were some worthwhile points buried in all this. Firstly women are very often careless about men’s consent, just assuming that men will be willing. Though I doubt this results in a completed rape very often. Secondly the kinds of rape we are talking about here (where someone makes another person penetrate them without consent) weren’t covered at all by the screening questions in the VAWS. I know of no estimates for the incidence of these kinds of rape, but it seem likely that they are more common than we might think, mostly perpetrated against men, but still a minority of all rapes against men.

    And though it would sure be degrading to be physically assaulted and anally sodomized by a man, at least there wouldn’t be a worry that maybe that five seconds of non-consensual sex before you pushed her off might have resulted in pregnancy.

    Which of course is the main worry for any male rape victim, rather than trivial considerations such as, say, HIV.

    Even when a man was raped, judges still don’t have a problem making the man pay child support to his rapist.

    Happens all the time, doesn’t it? There must be thousands of such cases.

    I bet you can’t cite more than two.

    Comment by Daran — May 31, 2006 @ 6:32 am | Reply

  6. What is ‘legally non-consensual’ is what the law says it is, not what you might wish the law to say.

    i know there’s a big difference between violent rape and unmarried consensual intercourse, but the point stands as I made it, right up there with all of the other points that no one makes but me. Until people say “I do” publicly, officially, they haven’t officially consented to have sex, and the only reason we don’t prosecute fornication as rape is because we can’t tell who the victim is and who the perpetrator is. They are each taking advantage of the other, and allowing themselves to be victimized.

    Seduction, drunk or otherwise, and rape are mutually exclusive.

    I think it gets murky here. Surely, lots of women ad men like to get drunk and get laid, and if we started calling that rape all the time, the fun would completely go out of our lives. But consent requires sobriety, or at least enough sobriety to make an adult consensual decision.

    Your evidence for this is?

    Well, maybe the tendency to blame oneself is equal, but women are encouraged to recognize it as rape, while men are assumed to be rapists.

    For that to happen you would need to be (i) naked at the crotch, (ii) erect, (iii) not so incapacitated as to be unable to stop it, and (iv) unconcenting.

    that’s what I was. You’ve heard of oral sex, hand jobs, etc? Maybe it is stupid to think we could be lying naked next to each other without initiating intercourse, but I certainly would never put it in a woman that was saying “no”. I might move into position, but if I get a “no”, or a “we need a condom”, I’m not going to thrust in and out and in and out anyway, like what happened to me. In both cases, I think the woman was hoping for pregnancy (yeah, I picked some crazy women to be hanging out with).

    Which of course is the main worry for any male rape victim, rather than trivial considerations such as, say, HIV.

    That’s certainly a major concern, but that’s more a form of abuse and maybe even attempted murder than rape. I still say the thing that should seperate rape from abuse and assault is the taking of another person’s reproductive choice from them. Taking someone’s reproductive choice is intended to be the ultimate form of degradation and abuse and show of power, and it should be seperated and punished much more severely than other forms of abuse, unless there’s an attempt at murder, which anal rape could be.

    Comment by John Howard — May 31, 2006 @ 11:46 am | Reply

  7. i know there’s a big difference between violent rape and unmarried consensual intercourse, but the point stands as I made it, right up there with all of the other points that no one makes but me.

    Hmm, you might want to think why no one but you makes these points.

    Comment by Tuomas — May 31, 2006 @ 12:47 pm | Reply

  8. Many studies suggest that male rape is greatly underreported and not specific to prison as Barry has implied. The current statistics place the likelihood of male rape at around 20% of males and most likely higher (which is quite close to the 30% often cited for female rape). Likewise, the current statistic for boys is 1 in 6 (or 1 in 5 if non-physical acts are counted as they are for female victims). There are also studies that suggest males are both less likely to report rape and less likely to view the event as rape, particularly when the rapist is female. Several studies have been conducted demonstrating the rather high rate of female rapists than was previously believed. There are also studies suggesting that males have been forced into sexual encounters with women. One should note that many of the misconceptions about male rape being blasted out of the water lately are largely based on the “best rape prevalence studies.” Basing the assumption that male rape simply never happens outside of prison on statistics that can be manipulated rather easily, particularly by the types of questions asked, to whom they are asked and in what context they are asked, makes little sense.

    Male rape is less reported than female rape (see the above links), and male victims do not enjoy the same support often extended to female victims (see the original post). Despite the disingenuous concern about male rape in the original post, the problem is much larger than some people may be willing to admit. It extends beyond prisons (and there are studies and male victims that prove that). Much of the shame that keeps men from reporting rape once out of prisons keeps men and boys in the general public silent as well. Granted, it is considered a less serious issue because it cannot be used as a tool to sideswipe political opponents. Regardless of how tactless it is to attach any quantitative value to a person’s rape for the sake of reducing its importance to prove point, it is commonly done. It is should not be about who has it worse or how only one group of people can be victims, but how can we prevent all of it. As we see on this thread, unfortunately that is not the case. Until the issue is taken seriously and studies demonstrating a greater prevalence of male rape than previously believed are accepted, it will always be viewed as “No male deserves it, but…”

    At any rate, more information about the seriousness of male rape, its prevalence and affects can be found at Male Survivor, Stop Abuse for Everyone, Stop Prison Rape, Mankind UK, For Men Only or you can type “male rape victim,” “male sexual abuse,” or “male rape” into a search engine. It is an important issue and should not be marginalized for the sake of a dismissive political perspective or to win a debate.

    Comment by toysoldier — May 31, 2006 @ 4:41 pm | Reply

  9. Amp’s concern for male victims of rape is not disingenuous.

    Comment by Robert — May 31, 2006 @ 5:02 pm | Reply

  10. My experience with him has shown that he does.

    Comment by toysoldier — May 31, 2006 @ 5:22 pm | Reply

  11. My experience with him predates yours by 20 years. Amp is a deluded tool of socialist tyranny, is culturally isolated from decent American values, and will be the first one against the wall when the revolution comes, but he is also two things: intellectually honest, and personally decent. His intellectual honesty means that if you can prove what you say about male rape, he will listen and he will assess your evidence soberly and fairly. His personal decency means that he genuinely cares about the suffering of people whether that suffering fits into his deviant political agenda or not.

    I have seen both of these traits damage him time and again with “allies” who are disingenous and whose emotional connection to a suffering person does depend on their suffering being part of the correct cause or agenda item. There are plenty of people who will blow you off because what you have to say is uncomfortable for them; Amp is not one of them, and his concern is genuine.

    Comment by Robert — May 31, 2006 @ 5:33 pm | Reply

  12. As I stated, my experience with him has shown different. I cannot change my opinion of his statements based on your experience nor do expect you to change your opinions based on mine. Perhaps in person that is not the case. I do not know and I cannot say I wish to given his past treatment of male victims. Regardless of that, there is information that calls into question his position that male rape rarely happens and that it is virtually exclusive to prisons.

    Comment by toysoldier — May 31, 2006 @ 6:18 pm | Reply

  13. That isn’t his position, as is very clear from a fair reading of his posts on the subject.

    Comment by Robert — May 31, 2006 @ 6:28 pm | Reply

  14. Amp’s concern for male victims of rape is not disingenuous.

    What “concern”? I’m sorry but I must support toysoldier in this. My experience of Amp is that he will not only allow attacks against male sexual assault victims on his blog he will passively support those doing the attacking. I don’t care if he’s the nicest bloke on the planet. He must be judged by his actions and where consideration for male rape victims is concerned he is sadly lacking.

    Comment by G — May 31, 2006 @ 6:48 pm | Reply

  15. That isn’t his position, as is very clear from a fair reading of his posts on the subject.

    I did not misread his post. He stated: “What I said is, that for men who aren’t in prison, the chances of being raped are very low, and I stand by that claim.” I took very low to mean rare or negligible. I am confused as to how one can consider an issue simultaneously serious and yet so unimportant as to be of no real consequence, but that is not my point.

    My point is that quantitative comparisons have no place in a discussion about rape, regardless of the victim’s gender because such things do not matter.

    And I will end with this. If the point of the post were to dicuss male rape, where is that discussion?

    Comment by toysoldier — May 31, 2006 @ 11:56 pm | Reply

  16. “The chances of being raped are very low” and “male rape rarely happens” are not equivalent statements, toysoldier.

    If the chance of being raped for any given man on any particular day is one in a million, then there are a little more than a million rapes of men each year worldwide. That’s a low chance of being raped – but a million rapes is hardly something that “rarely happens”. You’d be wasting your life on fret and worry if you were particularly concerned about your own personal one in a million chance – but the issue itself would be pretty significant.

    You can take “very low” to mean rare or neglible, but you’ll be mistaken in so doing. It seems here that the issue is that Amp is using language precisely, and you aren’t understanding it. You’re misreading his post(s).

    Similarly, you may decide that quantitative comparisons don’t matter in questions of victimhood – and if you’re talking about giving aid and comfort to someone who has been hurt, you’re quite right. Who cares whether their fuzzy bits are convex or concave? But if you’re trying to accurately ascertain the shape of reality, then the numbers matter. If there are a million rapes of men and a million rapes of women, we have one type of problem. If there are a million rapes of men and ten billion rapes of women, we have a very different type of problem. It’s important to know what’s actually happening, if you want to have some impact on changing it.

    I don’t think the purpose of Amp’s post was to discuss male rape per se; it was to discuss what the balance is and where the crimes are occurring.

    Comment by Robert — June 1, 2006 @ 12:10 am | Reply

  17. Toysoldier:

    Many studies suggest that male rape is greatly underreported and not specific to prison as Barry has implied.

    Barry has not implied this. In fact, according to the back-of-an-envelope calculations in his post, three quarters of male rape take place outside prison. By all means attack what he says, but don’t invent strawmen.

    The current statistics place the likelihood of male rape at around 20% of males and most likely higher (which is quite close to the 30% often cited for female rape).

    The cite does not refer to a statistic, but to a figure which “experts believe”. That, of course, must depend upon which experts you ask.

    In general, little credence should be given to statistics cited by sites like this one. At best they are cherry-picked and stripped of the qualifications and caveats that all reputable experts and researchers attach to their work. At worst they are misrepresented or even outright fabricated.

    Likewise, the current statistic for boys is 1 in 6 (or 1 in 5 if non-physical acts are counted as they are for female victims).

    That’s an excellent cite, which doesn’t deserve to be distorted by you in this way. Firstly it’s talking about sexual abuse, which covers a wider range of acts than rape. Non-physical acts are not counted as rape for female victims. Whether they are counted as sexual abuse depends upon the study. Some do, and some don’t. It is not the case that they are counted “for female victims” as a generality.

    There are also studies that suggest males are both less likely to report rape and less likely to view the event as rape, particularly when the rapist is female. Several studies have been conducted demonstrating the rather high rate of female rapists than was previously believed.

    While I am in no doubt that all these conclusions are true, there is one rather obvious methodological problem with the study you cite – the (respectably large) sample was drawn from a narrow, unrepresentative population.

    Comment by Daran — June 1, 2006 @ 12:15 am | Reply

  18. Robert:

    Who cares whether their fuzzy bits are convex or concave?

    Feminists do.

    Comment by Daran — June 1, 2006 @ 12:22 am | Reply

  19. Amp’s concern for male victims of rape is not disingenuous.

    What “concern”? I’m sorry but I must support toysoldier in this. My experience of Amp is that he will not only allow attacks against male sexual assault victims on his blog he will passively support those doing the attacking. I don’t care if he’s the nicest bloke on the planet. He must be judged by his actions and where consideration for male rape victims is concerned he is sadly lacking.

    I wouldn’t call it disingenuous. I would say say rather that his concern for male victims (of rape or anything else) was cerebral, as distinct from the emotional gut-response he expresses toward female victimisation.

    I agree that male victims of rape and sexual abuse have at times been shamefully treated on Alas.

    Comment by Daran — June 1, 2006 @ 12:40 am | Reply

  20. John Howard:

    i know there’s a big difference between violent rape and unmarried consensual intercourse, but the point stands as I made it, right up there with all of the other points that no one makes but me. Until people say “I do” publicly, officially, they haven’t officially consented to have sex, and the only reason we don’t prosecute fornication as rape is because we can’t tell who the victim is and who the perpetrator is. They are each taking advantage of the other, and allowing themselves to be victimized.

    Um saying something repeatedly won’t make it true. The reason we don’t prosecute unmarried Adult couples for consensual sex is that it isn’t rape or otherwise unlawful, according to law. Nor is it rape as people generally use the word. If you choose to call it ‘rape’ according to your own humpty-dumpty definition, that’s not going to change reality in any way.

    Seduction, drunk or otherwise, and rape are mutually exclusive.

    I think it gets murky here. Surely, lots of women ad men like to get drunk and get laid, and if we started calling that rape all the time, the fun would completely go out of our lives. But consent requires sobriety, or at least enough sobriety to make an adult consensual decision.

    It requires enough sobriety to comprehend the nature of the act, assume the mental state of ‘willingness’ and to communicate that mental state to their partner. That requires some sobriety, but not much. Consent is an action; being drunk does not relieve a person of responsibility for their actions.

    Well, maybe the tendency to blame oneself is equal, but women are encouraged to recognize it as rape, while men are assumed to be rapists.

    I agree that there is a lot of encouragement given to women to regard all kinds of sexual misadventures as rape, but in the context under discussion (sex without the consent of the man) the response is usually to dismiss the injury: “Lucky you”.

    The assumption that men are rapists arises in a quite different context – men who are accused of rape are assumed to be guilty.

    For that to happen you would need to be (i) naked at the crotch, (ii) erect, (iii) not so incapacitated as to be unable to stop it, and (iv) unconcenting.

    that’s what I was. You’ve heard of oral sex, hand jobs, etc?

    A non-consensual hand-job is sexual assault, not rape. Non-consensual oral sex is probably rape.

    Maybe it is stupid to think we could be lying naked next to each other without initiating intercourse, but I certainly would never put it in a woman that was saying “no”. I might move into position, but if I get a “no”, or a “we need a condom”, I’m not going to thrust in and out and in and out anyway, like what happened to me. In both cases, I think the woman was hoping for pregnancy (yeah, I picked some crazy women to be hanging out with).

    Consent is a communicative act. The default (i.e., in the absence of any communication at all) is non-consent, but consent can be expressed non-verbally, by such acts as undressing and getting into bed together. A verbal ‘no’ should override that, though.

    Which of course is the main worry for any male rape victim, rather than trivial considerations such as, say, HIV.

    That’s certainly a major concern, but that’s more a form of abuse and maybe even attempted murder than rape. I still say the thing that should seperate rape from abuse and assault is the taking of another person’s reproductive choice from them. Taking someone’s reproductive choice is intended to be the ultimate form of degradation and abuse and show of power,

    Rapists have many different motivations, and not all intend to degrade their victims, though of course, some do. In the case of female rapists, I doubt that many would attempt to get pregnant in order to degrade their victim – the impact upon her would be too great. If pregancy were a part of the motivation at all, it would be because the women wanted to get pregnant.

    and it should be seperated and punished much more severely than other forms of abuse, unless there’s an attempt at murder, which anal rape could be.

    It could be, but it’s not a particularly efficient method.

    I don’t agree that rape per se should be separated and punished more severely than other forms of abuse. It’s a serious offence because of the impact it generally has on its victims. That’s true of oral and anal rape as well as vaginal rape, and one significant factor in this harm is the denial of sexual (as distinct from reproductive) choice of the victim. Some non-rape offenses also have serious effects upon victims and should be regarded as serious for the same reason.

    Your obsession with reproduction seems to be just that – an obsession, and yours only.

    Comment by Daran — June 1, 2006 @ 1:43 am | Reply

  21. Thanks to Robert and Daran for rising to my defense. I am genuinely grateful.

    I do think that I’m going to reword item 7; “so low as to be negligible” is too strong a wording, and in addition the word “negligible” has unfortunate, unintended-by-me connotations.

    Since a significant portion of debate here is about my character, rather than the relevant issues, I don’t intend to participate in further discussion on this thread.

    Comment by Ampersand — June 1, 2006 @ 8:29 am | Reply

  22. Robert, quantitative amounts have no real impact on addressing the issue of rape because both sides agree that rape is largely underreported. Logically, that means any numbers cited as definitive probably are not.

    Comment by toysoldier — June 1, 2006 @ 11:54 am | Reply

  23. Thanks to Robert and Daran for rising to my defense. I am genuinely grateful.

    Keep your worthless gratitude! Send money.

    Robert, quantitative amounts have no real impact on addressing the issue of rape because both sides agree that rape is largely underreported.

    A counsel of perpetual ignorance; we don’t have all the data, so we must ignore the data we have!

    Comment by Robert — June 1, 2006 @ 12:31 pm | Reply

  24. A counsel of perpetual ignorance; we don’t have all the data, so we must ignore the data we have!

    Right. I am ignorant, but Barry is not, although we both appear to believe the same thing.

    Comment by toysoldier — June 1, 2006 @ 12:34 pm | Reply

  25. Barry has not implied this. In fact, according to the back-of-an-envelope calculations in his post, three quarters of male rape take place outside prison.

    That contradicts his position that “If I’m a teen or adult, and if I can stay out of prison, my odds of being raped are so low as to be negligible.” Also, if the greater amount of male rapes happen outside of prison, then it is plausible that the 1 in 10 ratio would be higher, perhaps 1 in 8 or more likely 1 in 6, which is hardly negligible.

    That’s an excellent cite, which doesn’t deserve to be distorted by you in this way. Firstly it’s talking about sexual abuse, which covers a wider range of acts than rape.

    That is not a distortion. The legal definition of rape can in some states include oral sex, forced masturbation and anal sex. It depends on the statutes.

    However, none of that matters in terms of addressing the issue of male rape in our society, the stigmas attached to it and offering services to those who need it. It seems no one actually wishes to address those problem, which would do a lot more for the victims than citing numbers. And I say because on Alas, the discussion does include the affects on the victims, not just how often its frequency.

    But perhaps I am wrong, and it should not be discussed.

    Comment by toysoldier — June 1, 2006 @ 12:41 pm | Reply

  26. Barry has not implied this. In fact, according to the back-of-an-envelope calculations in his post, three quarters of male rape take place outside prison.
    ————-
    That contradicts his position that “If I’m a teen or adult, and if I can stay out of prison, my odds of being raped are so low as to be negligible.”

    No, it doesn’t. I don’t mean to be rude, but it’s increasingly obvious that you don’t know how to think about probability. (You’re in good company; most people don’t.)

    There are two populations of men. One population is men in prison. It is relatively small. The other population is men outside of prison. It is relatively large – let’s call it 100 times the size of the prison population, to make the math easy.

    Let’s say that 3/4 of the total number of rapes happen to men in the bigger group, and 1/4 to men in the smaller group. If that’s the case, then the chance of being raped in prison is a smidgen less than 25 times as great than the chance of being raped outside of prison. And thus, if you’re a man outside of prison, your chance of being raped is (comparatively) negligible – but the bulk of rape still happens to your subpopulation of men.

    Comment by Robert — June 1, 2006 @ 12:50 pm | Reply

  27. Me:

    Barry has not implied this. In fact, according to the back-of-an-envelope calculations in his post, three quarters of male rape take place outside prison.

    toysoldier:

    That contradicts his position that “If I’m a teen or adult, and if I can stay out of prison, my odds of being raped are so low as to be negligible.”

    Robert:

    No, it doesn’t. I don’t mean to be rude, but it’s increasingly obvious that you don’t know how to think about probability. (You’re in good company; most people don’t.)

    Indeed he is, since that company includes you.

    There are two populations of men. One population is men in prison. It is relatively small. The other population is men outside of prison.

    Wrong subpopulations. Using Amp’s figures above, the relevant populations are men who have been in prison at some point in their lives (5%), and men who have never been to prison (95%). Henceforth I will refer to the former as ‘prisoners’ even though they may not be in prison at any particular point in time.

    Assuming a 2% prevalence rate for the entire population, and a 10% prevalence rate for prisoners, the prevalence rate for non-prisoners is x where x is given by the following formula:

    x * .95 + 10% * .05% = 2%

    x = 30/19 % which is a little over 1.5%.

    (In fact it will be a little less than this. The figure of 10% is not the proportion of the prisoners who have been raped, but the proportion of prisoners who have been raped in prison. Some prisoners who were never raped in prison will have been raped outside, which would serve to increase the prevalence rate for prisoners, and reduce it for non-prisoners. Any adjustment to account for this will be negligible.)

    The 10% rate suffered by the prison subpopulation is less than 5 times that of the non-prison population, not 25 times as you calculated.

    The word ‘negligible’ – as used by Amp – is not precisely defined. But it would certainly not be unreasonable for him to regard 1.5% or thereabouts as negligible and 10% as non-negligible. Thus Amps statement, construed as implying that the prevalence rate for prisoners may be non-negligible is defensible.

    However, this is not the only way, or even the most natural way to construe Amp’s comment. It could perhaps more plausibly be construed as implying, not that the prisoner population may have a non-negligible prevalence, but that the entire male population may have a non-negligible prevalence. Amp really wants to talk about the entire male population, but he’s not sure he can defend the statement, so he restricts it to a subpopulation (non-prisoners) he feels he can defend the statement about.

    Construed like that, toysoldier’s objection becomes more cogent. While you might reasonably consider 2% to be non-negligible, to do so, while regarding 1.5% as negligible pins down the word ‘negligible’ more precisely than it will admit.

    Comment by Daran — June 1, 2006 @ 2:31 pm | Reply

  28. toysoldier:

    That is not a distortion. The legal definition of rape can in some states include oral sex, forced masturbation and anal sex. It depends on the statutes.

    I’m aware of no jurisdiction which includes as rape “non-physical acts” or even physical acts such as touching short of forced masturbation, all of which (where non-consensual) falls under the rubric of sexual abuse.

    In any case, it make no sense to refer to legal definitions when talking about rape in the general. Rather we should agree on a consensus definition, or failing that, at least be clear what we mean by the word. When I use it, I mean any sexual act which involves penetration and where one of the parties (penetrator or penetratee) is not consenting. “Consent” means expressed willingness through some communicative act including but not limited to verbal assent. “Willingness” implies sufficient maturity to understand the nature of the act.

    Comment by Daran — June 1, 2006 @ 2:56 pm | Reply

  29. How come sometimes, in other contexts, “consent” requires signing papers, and other times it requires only a smile or handshake? How does coercion and intimidation and inebreation and desperation enter into consent? How about education, and miseducation? And could there be such a thing as a crime mutually committed by willing partners on each other? How about when there might be an additional victim of the crime other than the people consenting to the crime?

    Comment by John Howard — June 1, 2006 @ 4:10 pm | Reply

  30. Ampersand said:

    I do think that I’m going to reword item 7; “so low as to be negligible” is too strong a wording, and in addition the word “negligible” has unfortunate, unintended-by-me connotations.

    Where I come from that is described as “weasel words”.
    Ampersand said:

    Since a significant portion of debate here is about my character, rather than the relevant issues, I don’t intend to participate in further discussion on this thread.

    On this particular issue it should be. I don’t take kindly to your supporting of people who insinuate that I am a paedophile when I am actually a victim. Their cruelty is one thing but your support for them was unforgivable. You give them license, and encouragement, to repeat the act with others.
    Secondly this thread relates specifically to an article you posted on your blog. Of course it’s about your character. If you don’t want your character questioned get out of blogging and, more importantly, stop pandering to hate filled gender feminists.

    Comment by G — June 1, 2006 @ 8:56 pm | Reply

  31. I’m aware of no jurisdiction which includes as rape “non-physical acts” or even physical acts such as touching short of forced masturbation, all of which (where non-consensual) falls under the rubric of sexual abuse.

    You would be surprised how laws can be interpreted.

    While I agree that defining what we mean by rape would be wise, our meaning would have no bearing on the meanings used in studies and statistics.

    Regardless of that, citing numbers does not address the problem of male rape and how to deal with it. Rather than debate who has it worse, why not offer solutions to help existing male victims? We are 31 posts deep and not one single option has been suggested besides my initial post. What can we to do address the problem or is it not actually problem worthy of such attention?

    Comment by toysoldier — June 2, 2006 @ 11:33 am | Reply

  32. I’m aware of no jurisdiction which includes as rape “non-physical acts”

    Different jurisdictions address sexual misconduct differently. Some states still differentiate between ‘rape’ (penetrative sexual assault) and other forms of assault. Others, following the Model Penal Code, do away with the term ‘rape’ entirely and have varying degrees of criminal sexual conduct or sexual assault.

    Rather than debate who has it worse, why not offer solutions to help existing male victims?

    How would they differ from solutions to help female victims?

    Comment by mythago — June 2, 2006 @ 1:18 pm | Reply

  33. How would they differ from solutions to help female victims?

    One could argue that if the solutions for female victims were effective for male victims there would be a greater reporting of male rape.

    In terms of therapy, many therapists who work with male victims, such as Richard Gartner acknowledge the difference in how male victims will recount their experiences. Techniques that work with female victims often are not as effective because males are less willing to openly discuss the abuse, the affect on the victim’s sense masculinity and specifically because a male’s emotional reaction differs from that of a female’s.

    Males also face a different set of stigmas than females. Male victims are often assumed to be gay and then subjected to the same treatment gay men face. Victims are also assumed to be rapists or pedophiles, and disclosure of the assault could potentially cost the victim his position or his job, particularly if he works with children. There is also a greater expectation that males can prevent any such act of violence. This attitude effectively silences many men and boys since mentioning it would be an admission that they are not “real” men.

    Likewise, within current services there exists an unwillingness to extend the aid to male victims. That sexism is an issue in and of itself. However, since it is so prevalent, many of the current services would have to be overhauled to be beneficial to male victims as well as female victims. It would be easier to provide separate services, particularly since this would allow therapists and psychologists to gain a greater understanding of the affects rape has on males.

    In short, the overall methods would be similar, but the individual application of those methods should be tailored so that they best serve the victims.

    Comment by toysoldier — June 2, 2006 @ 11:10 pm | Reply

  34. Mythago:

    I’m aware of no jurisdiction which includes as rape “non-physical acts”

    Different jurisdictions address sexual misconduct differently. Some states still differentiate between ‘rape’ (penetrative sexual assault) and other forms of assault. Others, following the Model Penal Code, do away with the term ‘rape’ entirely and have varying degrees of criminal sexual conduct or sexual assault.

    I’m aware of this. I’m not aware of any jurisdiction in which a non-physical act would be classed as rape. Do you know differently?

    Comment by Daran — June 3, 2006 @ 3:08 am | Reply

  35. toysoldier:

    You would be surprised how laws can be interpreted.

    The case you cite is outrageous and an example of an ill-thought-out law. It’s not an example of a non-physical being classed as ‘rape’.

    While I agree that defining what we mean by rape would be wise, our meaning would have no bearing on the meanings used in studies and statistics.

    It would enable us to discuss them more intelligently.

    Regardless of that, citing numbers does not address the problem of male rape and how to deal with it. Rather than debate who has it worse, why not offer solutions to help existing male victims?

    I have done so. For several years I provided administrative support to a group for male and female survivors. We encountered the same hostility from from the feminist/female-victims-only wing of the movement as you have described on many occasions here, and in other blogs. I have long advocated an integrated non-discriminatory response to victims. However I don’t see this as an alternative to discussing statistics. I agree with robert; that discussion is necessary in order to understand the problem.

    Comment by Daran — June 3, 2006 @ 3:33 am | Reply

  36. How would they differ from solutions to help female victims?

    toysoldier has already pointed out some of the particular needs of male survivors. I recognise those, of course, but I think the similarities are more important. The problem is not that men need different solutions, it’s that the solutions routinely applied to women are denied to men.

    Comment by Daran — June 3, 2006 @ 3:45 am | Reply

  37. […] A few months ago Barry posted a response to some of the criticism he received for his “Male Privilege” Checklist. He stated that males rarely are sexually assaulted, deeming the occurrence of sexual violence against all males “so low as to be negligible.” Following this claim, he produced the results of a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention demonstrating a remarkably low rate of sexual assault among males, and therein confirming his claim of the virtual nonexistence of male sexual assault. […]

    Pingback by Toy Soldiers » The Denial of Male Sexual Assault — July 8, 2006 @ 7:37 pm | Reply

  38. […] few months ago Barry posted a response to some of the criticism he received for his “Male Privilege” Checklist. He stated that males […]

    Pingback by Feminist Critics — January 21, 2007 @ 6:58 pm | Reply


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