The Sexist

“Denim Day” Counts All the Ways We Excuse Sexual Assault

denimday
Today is Denim Day, an annual event dedicated to raising awareness about all forms of sexual violence. I love Denim Day's "No Excuses" campaign [PDF], which illustrates a dozen ways that people manage to excuse sexual assault, blame victims, and ignore that the crimes even happen. The effectiveness of the campaign lies in its relentlessness—it details exactly how we excuse rapes against girlfriends, wives, women who drink, men, prisoners, the elderly, flirts, military personnel, sex workers, women who wear "sexy" clothing, and the disabled.

It's extremely important to unpack all the myths and excuses provided around sexual assault together. When we detail every way that rape apologists shift their justifications to fit the circumstances of each crime, we reveal that these excuses really aren't about what assault victims are wearing, or who they're dating, or what crimes they've committed in the past—it's about the people in our society who just don't care to stop sexual assault. When you add up all the excuses, you'd be hard pressed to find an instance of sexual violence that can't be explained away through the cultural script:

Here are Denim Day's 12 examples of ways we discount sexual assaults:

#1 SHE WAS WEARING TIGHT JEANS:

In 1999, the Italian High Court overturned a rape conviction because the victim was wearing tight jeans at the time of the assault. The justices stated that the victim must have helped her attacker remove her jeans, from which they inferred consent. People all around the world were outraged. Wearing jeans on this anniversary became an international symbol of protest against erroneous and destructive attitudes abotu sexual violence.

#2 SHE WAS ASKING FOR IT:

It is often believed that sexy or suggestive clothing invites wanted male attention, positive or negative. Regardless, wearing revealing clothing does not invite sexual assault. In fact, women and girls have been raped in everything from jeans to business suits to pajamas. This belief reinforces the myth that women and girls invite assault by their clothing choices and shifts the blame for the crime to the victim and away from the perpetrator, where it belongs.

#3 SHE WAS FLIRTING ONLINE:

Teenagers and children have increasingly become targets for predators both online and via mobile devices. Predators today will use social networking sites to contact youth and convince them that the "stranger" is a "friend."This connection increases the child / teen's trust in them and interest in sexual relations. Learning about the dangers of internet use and speaking about them openly can help minimize the risks from those who wish to abuse.

#4 SHE WAS HIS STEADY GIRLFRIEND:

One of the most common misconceptions is that most rapes are committed by strangers. In reality, more than 75% of sexual assaults are committed by someone the survivor knew and trusted—such as a teacher, co-worker, relative, friend, or even their steady girlfriend or boyfriend. Just because someone has consented to a sexual act in the past does not give someone the right to assume consent and force or coerce sexual contact.

#5 SHE WAS DRUNK AND PARTYING:

It is commonly believed that because a woman is drinking she somehow invites rape. In most states, it is against the law to have sex with someone who is unable to give legal consent. Coercing or forcing sex without consent is considered rape/sexual violence. If convicted of this crime, a perpetrator would likely have to register as a sex offender.

#6 HE HAD IT COMING:

Male anger and violence is afflicted upon other men and not just women. Rape is a violent act of power and control that damages the victim—male or female. The socialization of men creates immense challenges for them to disclose any type of sexual victimization.

#7 SHE WAS HIS WIFE:

Spousal rape or marital rape is often unreported and overlooked.There is a widely held view that a woman surrenders consent at the time of marriage, and is responsible for satisfying all her husband's needs and desires in order to be a good wife. The law has been slow to criminalize marital rape, but it is now recognized as a crime in all 50 states.

#8 I HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING FOR HER:

Sexual assault is a function of power and control. Frail older persons are often dependent on others for care and can be extremely vulnerable to sexual mistreatment. 96% of sexual abuse of elder persons is committed by a family member or a caretaker. 86% of elder sexual assault victims are women.

#9 THE INTENSITY GOT TO HIM:

Today, there are more women serving in the military than ever before.  However, women soldiers who signed up to defend their countries have instead had to defend themselves from assault and rape by their own fellow soldiers and in some cases their commanding officers. The phenomena is not only unique to women, but inclusive of men as well. Military sexual violence has occurred during training, times of peace, and times of war.

#10 SHE HAS SEX FOR MONEY:

Because a sex worker exchanges a sex act for money does not mean that they cannot be raped or deserve to be sexually violated. Someone's choices in profession, lifestyle, and appearance do not give anyone the right to rape, assault, or otherwise hurt them.

#11 SHE CANNOT HEAR, TALK, OR REPORT:

According to a survey by the U.S. Department of Justice, rates of rape and sexual assault among persons who are deaf or disabled are more than twice that of the general population. Persons who are deaf or have a disibility are also more likely to experience repeated sexual assaults throughout their lifetimes. The perception of vulnerability or inability to report does not give someone the right to force or coerce sexual contact.

#12 RAPE IS NOT PART OF THE SENTENCE:

Every year, more than 100,000 U.S. male and female inmates are sexually abused by other inmates or correctional staff. More often than not, the perpetrators are correctional staff, whose very job it is to keep prisoners safe. When the government removes someone's liberty, it takes on an absolute responsibility to protect that person's safety. Rape is not part of the penalty. In the aftermath, most prisoner rape survivors are forced to suffer in silence, too fearful of retaliation and further abuse ever to file a formal report. Rape is an abomination, whether it occurs in jail or in the community.

See a pattern emerging here? No, me neither. We excuse rape if she's a "bad girl." We excuse rape if she's a "good wife." We excuse rape if her clothes are too difficult to remove. We excuse rape if her clothes are too easy to remove. We excuse rape if he's a man. We excuse rape if the victim is serving time. We excuse rape if the victim is serving our country. In short, we excuse rape. And Denim Day's 12 excuses are hardly an exhaustive list: Off the top of my head, I'd also add "She was transgender" and "We must protect the reputation of the Catholic Church." I imagine a list of all the sexual assault scenarios that are never discounted, disbelieved, or brushed under the rug would be much, much shorter.

  • Jess

    I would also add "They were queer" to this list. Many perpetrators see sexual assault of queer folks as a form of "punishment," and these assaults are often more violent than sexual assaults not motivated by homophobia. Furthermore, when the survivors attempt to seek help, they fear discrimination by healthcare providers and law enforcement.

  • TJ

    @Jess, I would completely agree. And I'll add to yours with "They were trying to cure the gay."

  • http://suchavegan.blogspot.com Megan

    Jess - great addition.

  • Corbin

    I was assulted while serving in Iraq. I was told "What is the point of having women in the Army if they don't put out."

    Funny, I thought I was a medic.

  • Sarah

    As far as explaining away sexual assaults after the fact goes:
    1) She didn't call the police or press charges.
    2) And ... if she didn't feel comfortable confiding in some of the people who talked to her about the encounter, she "changed her story" or "didn't say it WASN'T consensual"

    and many, many more shitty ways to try to explain rape away rather than deal with the reality that it happens, it happens to people you know, and it will keep happening until we stop making excuses for the perpetrators

  • https://scatteredfemthoughts.blogspot.com Ami

    She was walking in the wrong area or she was walking alone.

  • Eo

    Its dispelling some myths while perpetuating others. So its very useful in some ways and problematic in others.

    The problems there that I can see - The campaign discriminates against anyone that has been sexually assulted by a woman. It also makes no reference to the gender parity that is there in incidence of coerced and forced rape among couples and implies, lastly that the most common, violent and unchecked form of rapes - prison rapes arent mainly happening to men but to men AND women, so our perception is being coloured in a certain ideological direction and against a certain group in society.

    As well as dealing with lesbian and female on male sexual assault there should to be an anti false accusation message too, IMO.

    It goes on to wrap it all up in "socalised male violence" without actually offering a solution at the root.

    The "orchid gene" seems the be the most promising explaination for dysfunctional and violent behaviour in society - its down to a combination of genetics and parenting style which will be uncomfortable for many people, for obvious reasons.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/12/the-science-of-success/7761/

  • Thanks!

    Thanks for posting this. I'm wearing my denim.

  • Resident85

    *Another excuse would be "I'm famous and you're not"

    *See Ben Roethlisberger

  • LeftSidePositive

    *See Roman Polanski

  • noodlez

    IS IT JUST ME OR HAS THIS "DAY" THING GOTTEN OUTTA CONTROL?

    YESTERDAY WAS WEED DAY(NOT THAT IM COMPLAINING), TODAY IS DEMIN DAY(1ST I HEARD OF IT) AND TOMMORROW IS A 2FER EARTH DAY AND TAKE YOUR CHILD TO WORK DAY. WHICH ACTUALLY MIGHT WORK OUT IN THE REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE ARENA. I'LL HAVE MY DAUGHTER CLEAN OUT MY CUBBY, CUBE AND DESK. THAT WAY I CAN GET RID OF ALL THE USELESS GIVEAWAYS I HAVE ACCUM'D. SHE CAN HAVE ALL THE OLD CLICK BALLPOINTS AND KEEP ALL THE LOOSE CHANGE SHE FIND FOR HER EFFORTS. LUNCH IS ON THE COMPANY!

    WE EVEN HAVE A DEFUNCT MAYOR DECLARING A DAY IN HONOR OF AN ICONIC FIGURE'S DEATH. THE IRONY IS SHE HAS MET WITH PRESIDENTS AND DIGANTARIES TO FIGHT SOCIAL INJUSTICE SO THAT THIS BAMA CAN BECOME MAYOR AS A BLACK MAN. SO INSTEAD OF MEETING HER WHEN REQUESTED TO POSSIBLY HONOR HER IN LIFE THIS CLOWN DECLARES A DAY WHERE WE WILL HONOR HER IN DEATH. (MS MANDY-DR. DOROTHY HEIGHT WAS ONE OF THE EARLY FEMINISTS WHO HAD DOUBLE DUTY. FIGHTING FOR ALL WOMEN BUT ESPECIALLY FOR THOSE OF COLOR)

    SO TODAY IS DEMIN DAY. WHAT IS PROTOCOL TO BRING AWARENESS TO THIS CAUSE? DO THE LADIES WEAR A "UNIVERSAL NO MORE SEXUAL ASSAULTS" SIGN IN THE LAVENDER SCENTED, FRESHLY SHAVED REGION OF THEIR SKINNY'S? DO THE FELLAS SPORT A SLEVELESS JEAN SHIRT WITH AN ACRONYM OR CATCHY PHRASE ON THE BACK? HELP A BROTHA OUT. YOU KNOW MY STEEZE(R.I.P. Guru) noodlez IS DOWN FOR HELPING THE OPPRESSED AND THOSE THAT HAVE BEEN LEFT BEHIND. PLUS MY BABY GIRL WILL BE ON HER OWN BEFORE YOU KNOW IT SO I WANT TO STAY IN FRONT OF ISSUES SUCH AS THIS ONE!

    MS. MANDY YOUR ASSISTANCE IN THIS MATTER WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED.

  • BC

    Let's add "She didn't say 'no'" to the list.

  • http://guyinism.com DirkJohanson

    The only rape I've ever actually witnessed was woman-on-woman, orally, so how about this as a #13: It can't be rape if a woman did it.

    Because many of you excuse rape if a woman does it.

  • http://toysoldier.wordpress.com Toysoldier

    See a pattern emerging here?

    Yes. The list is highly gendered. It acknowledges only men as potential rapists. It gives only two passing mentions of the many issues male victims face. It ignores gay and transgender victims.

    It is not half-assed, but it does do a great disservice to victims who are not heterosexual females. Of course, there are no victims of rape who are not heterosexual females, or so feminists claim.

  • Em

    @Toysoldier: other than the feminists who are claiming it here; like Jess, who said "I would also add “They were queer” to this list." Which was the very first comment...

  • Lizrd

    @Toysoldier

    I am in no way trying to invalidate the experiences of male rape victims, and I think there are some serious social stigmas that prevent men from speaking out. That needs to change. Preventing male rape is crucial is stopping rape, in general. And I agree, rape being used to "cure" gay women is a HUGE problem that needs to be address specifically (as some commenters noted)
    But, this list in no way comes across to me as heterosexist (besides the fact that most gay couples can't marry). Rapists generally don't ask someone's sexual orientation before raping them, and a drunk girl at a party who's a lesbian can still be raped and then blamed for it for being drunk.

    Additionally, the national center for victims of rape estimates that somewhere around 3% of men will experience rape in their life. It's closer to 15% for women. 1 in 10 of every rape is of a man. Yes, Denim Day was largely focused on women, and that could be because way more than most rape victims are women. I think this piece does a fine job acknowledging the validity male victims while still recognizing that women take the brunt of sexual violence in this society.

  • squirrely girl

    Toysoldier -

    #6 HE HAD IT COMING

  • Palaverer

    Toy Soldier, I've NEVER heard anyone claim that there are no victims of rape who are not heterosexual female. Where did you hear that?

  • Jenny

    ToySoldier heard it from the Straw Feminist who lives in his head.

  • Eo

    Lizrd and other, you cant trust any figures from womens groups, they treat rape like they do wage gap and try to mislead the public.

    See what they did on that poster?

    You'd never get an impression of reality from it, reality being that there is gender parity in sexual assault and rape among het. couples, that 30% of all rapes outside of prison are of men, that lesbian relationships have much higher rates of violence than any other and that the 100,000 figure of prison rapes is in the main made up of men.

    There is a little lip service paid to male victims, because there has to be and no mention of female perpertrators, so in the main this campaign is taxpayer funded feminist party political broadcast.

  • http://toysoldier.wordpress.com Toysoldier

    @EM: Tokenism does not change anything, and neither does feigned concern. Male victims face a host of issues that are just as valid and contribute to sexual violence against them. To give them token consideration is lazy at best and indicative of gender politics at worst. Whoever created the campaign could have asked Malesurvivor, 1in6, or gay and transgender-rights organizations for information about those victims for information about those victims. Instead, they presented a highly gendered campaign marginalizing male victims and ignoring gay and transgender victims.

    @Lizrd:The National Center for Victims of Crime statistics come from the 1995-1996 National Violence Against Women Survey that largely excluded women as rapists, failed to ask male victims direct questions about rape, and allowed both women and men question male respondents, which impacted male victims' responses. When matched with other research about male victimization, the NVWS results match no other studies. The current accepted statistic for the rate of sexual violence against males is 1 in 6 by the age of 18, or about 16% of males, which researchers acknowledge is an underestimate. The rate is higher and probably equal to the rate of female victimization, although the ages in which the violence occurs may differ.

  • LeftSidePositive

    And, of course, Toysoldier thinks that women never, ever do enough FOR HIM. And, of course, our attention to the unique concerns of Toysoldier is the ultimate determiner of our value as people. Mr. "It just seems more prudent and important to focus on diseases that impact men more" thinks we're marginalizing him. If we mention men's concerns, it's "tokenism."

    And, as I've already pointed out to you, Toysoldier, that the rate of sexual violence against girls is one in FOUR by age 18. This is from a cited source from the 1 in 6 organization, the very same one you link to, so don't just imagine that it's "higher or equal to the rate of female victimization" when your OWN sources indicate otherwise. This refers to "sexual violence" but not explicitly to rape (obviously, any type of sexual violence is abhorrent and unacceptable, but from an epidemiological perspective one can't equate the two). One in six women will experience attempted or completed rape, whereas for men it's 1 in 33.

  • activist17

    i'd add, "you wanted it" and "it sounds like rough sex gone awry."

  • Eo

    Leftsidepositive this..

    "One in six women will experience attempted or completed rape, whereas for men it’s 1 in 33".

    Is incorrect because the 100,000 prison rapes that are mainly of men and all other unrerported rapes arent factored into that figure.

    Here - Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance — United States, 2007 survey by the CDC

    A look at TABLE 12. Percentage of high school students who were ever physically forced to have sexual intercourse" column median of the state surveys reveals that 6.5% of males and 12% of females have been forced to have sex. According to that data men are about 35% of rape victims.http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/ss/ss5704.pdf

    And look here at - Predictors of Sexual Coercion AgainstWomen and Men:
    A Multilevel, Multinational Study of University Students
    Denise A. Hines

    3% of men reported forced sex (of which 2.1% was forced vaginal sex... this is in fact men reporting victimization by women)
    22% of men reported verbal sexual coercion

    By comparison, in the same study it was found that:
    2.3% of women reported forced sex (don't ignore the decimal point)
    25% of women reported verbal sexual coercion
    http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2/ID45-PR45.pdf

    There are only two studies for you, I can lay my hand on more but thats not the point, if you are going to debate with people like Toysoldier you need to use evidence, not factoids, just the rapes reported or other misleading data because you will be out sourced as you were above.

  • http://toysoldier.wordpress.com Toysoldier

    @LeftSidePositive: I do not believe 1in6 lists statistics about female victimization on their site. The organization does state that the 1 in 6 statistic is a low estimate and lists the acts included in the rate, which all fit the legal definition of rape. The statistics you listed are not just based on acts committed against adults, but all acts committed over the respondents' lifetime, meaning that acts against children were included. Aside from creating an imbalanced survey (which is what occurred), one should not see a high level of discrepancy between statistics, especially since there is only a small gap in the rates for sexual violence against girls versus sexual violence against all females and a small gap in the age ranges interviewed for the surveys.

    There is no harm splitting the campaign three ways, with four spots focused on women, four on men, and four on sex and gender orientations. That would create a balanced campaign that would not marginalize, tokenize, or ignore any group. I fail to see how that hurts anyone or why anyone genuinely concerned for victims who are not heterosexual females would oppose this.

  • squirrely girl

    EO - just FYI, that 1 in 6 statistic is a LIFETIME prevalence NOT just high school students. Younger people, male AND female, have a higher likelihood of being the victim of a sexual assault than adults.

    Likewise, just because you say prison rapes "are mainly of men" doesn't make it fact. Truth is, a horrific number of female inmates are raped while in prison as well and usually by guards.

    Ultimately this IS a gendered crime whether you want to acknowledge it or not. MORE MEN RAPE WOMEN THAN WOMEN RAPE MEN. I'm not saying this to "disenfranchise" the men or make them feel bad. But this IS reality. Get over it.

    BTW - The Hines study was a study on PREDICTORS of sexual coercion NOT a study on the PREVALENCE of sexual coercion. There is a HUGE difference between the two. Using these findings as "evidence" or "proof" of "equality" in sexual violence not only highlights your LACK of critical thinking skills, but... well... it's retarded. I'm sorry if I offended any people with slowed mental processes there, but it's the best word I can think of right now.

    Additionally, the study relied solely on data taken from the International Dating Violence Study, which, while I totally appreciate cross cultural research, makes the findings extremely difficult to generalize solely to the United States. Likewise, the collection sites in the US were - Mexican American, Historically Black Colleges, "other sites." Even the main researcher involved in this data collection acknowledges this sample is NOT representative - http://surveypractice.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/straus.pdf

    Likewise, participants who reported that they were not currently or recently involved in a romantic relationship and those students involved in gay/lesbian relationships were eliminated from the analyses.

    Am I saying the study doesn't have merit? Absolutely not! It makes a great contribution to the literature. But, reading is fundamental! I'm not trying to be a total jerk here, but I really lack patience for people who distort research findings to further their own agenda or just don't understand HOW to read academic research.

  • LeftSidePositive

    I love how Toysoldier can just refuse to believe certain statistics, and that's that!!

    Seriously, man, that's, like, totally, like, the most brilliant refutation of all time. Wow. I only hope one day my feeble lady brain can attain such brilliant analytical skills.

    Creating what you call a "balanced" campaign would, in fact, focus on male rape an extraordinarily disproportionate amount for its actual occurrence. Just like a public health campaign will focus the majority of its attention on preventing heart attacks (very common!) and might only offer an aside to dangers specific to G6PD deficiency (pretty rare!), there is nothing wrong with this campaign focusing the majority of its efforts on the most prevalent problems. This is yet another example of you declaring that no one's activism will ever be good enough unless it exactly matches your exalted criteria.

  • Eo

    Squirrly girl

    Here is some information of prison rapes for you. You need to back up what you are saying with research. The serious abuse research community dismisses feminist "research" and patriarchal abuse theory as agenda driven.

    Women make up 10% of those raped and sexually assaulted in prison.

    http://www.insideprison.com/prison-rape.asp

    Prison rape is not only a physically and psychologically damaging experience, it is also a formidable challenge for correctional departments attempting to secure basic human rights within correctional institutions. A study of four Midwestern states in 2000 found that about 1 in 5 inmates experiences some form of pressured or coerced sexual conduct while incarcerated (Struckman-Johnson & Struckman-Johnson, 2000). According to Stephen Donaldson, the president of the organization Stop Prisoner Rape and previous inmate victim of prison rape, roughly 300,000 inmates are sexually abused each year (Donaldson 1995). Courts not only recognize that "homosexual rape is commonplace" in prison, but they also make a point to depart from sentencing guidelines if they believe that a convicted felon is particular vulnerable to rape, and fits the "prisoner rape victim profile" (Man and Cronan 2001).
    [...]
    Some facts on sexual violence among inmates reported to correctional authorities:

    * 8,210 allegations of sexual violence reported
    Nationwide in 2004
    * 42% of allegations involved staff sexual misconduct;
    37%, inmate-on-inmate nonconsensual sexual acts;
    11%, staff sexual harassment; and 10%, abusive sexual
    contact.
    * Correctional authorities reported 3.15 allegations of
    sexual violence per 1,000 inmates held in 2004.

    Correctional authorities substantiated nearly 2,100
    incidents of sexual violence, 30% of completed
    investigations

    * Males comprised 90% of victims and perpetrators of
    inmate-on-inmate nonconsensual sexual acts in prison and
    jail.
    * In State prisons 69% of victims of staff sexual
    misconduct were male, while 67% of perpetrators were
    female.
    * In local jails 70% of victims of staff sexual
    misconduct were female; 65% of perpetrators, male.

    Its better that you deal in research and fact rather than factoids and myth.

  • http://toysoldier.wordpress.com Toysoldier

    @squirrely girl: Telling male victims of rape to get over it is a very insidious thing to say, and is why I do not believe feminists care about addressing male victimization. Who assaults who is irrelevant. More women abuse and murder children (mostly boys) than men. We would not, however, mention only male victims. We would acknowledge all victims because all need and deserve equal access to help. As for lifetime prevalence, all adults were once children, so the rate of sexual violence against children should be reflected in the lifetime prevalence. Perhaps not the same number (since adults outnumber children), but certainly very close.

    @LeftSidePositive: Even if we only accept that 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused (despite that the rate would not magically change once boys turned 18), that rate is high enough to warrant equal inclusion for male victims of childhood sexual abuse in the campaign. The failure to equally include male victims in such campaigns is a major reason why male victims do not come forward. And consider this: the vast majority of victims of violent crimes are male, yet female victims receive equal (actually greater) acknowledgment. What is the harm in acknowledging victims other than heterosexual females?

  • LeftSidePositive

    Toysoldier, this campaign is generally (but not exclusively) focused on adult sexual violence. Different people and different advocates are well within their rights to address issues that are concerning to them, in the way they wish. As I've tried to explain to you (over and over again!), there is nothing wrong with the National Kidney Foundation focusing the vast majority of their energy on diseases of the kidney. It's not that they have anything against liver diseases, it's not that they're trying to marginalize sufferers or survivors of liver disease, they just have a different focus, and that's okay. It makes just as much sense for a cirrhosis patient to hate the National Kidney Foundation for not focusing enough on livers as it does for you to show up on all these blog posts whining about how our goals don't exactly match yours.

    You're the one with the chip on your shoulder, you're the one who distrusts any concern we have for your cause, you're the one who actively dislikes any attention being paid to women or women's issues, you're the one who always whines that our activism isn't good enough, you're the one who's perpetually trying to turn this into a us-vs.-them disagreement, and THAT is why you've lost any and all credibility.

    Female victims actually DON'T receive equal or greater acknowledgement (I'm speaking of law enforcement, not of media sensationalism). Initiatives like the Violence Against Women Act address particular challenges that are relatively unique to violent situations against women--there is a strong cultural prejudice not to take domestic violence victims seriously (e.g. the recent incident where a judge married a couple DURING a domestic violence trial and then found the batterer not guilty), there are social and economic handicaps that coerce people into staying in violent situations, victims can have a great deal of emotional and financial difficulty leaving violent situations, there is a lot of "he-said-she-said" propaganda, and it tends to be perpetrated by people known and trusted by the victim(s). As such, it does not fit well within the established paradigm of discrete incident, report, arrest, trial, conviction that is designed for other violent crime and therefore needs specific resources and procedures to address those challenges. That's not to say there aren't other challenges related to poverty, drug policy, etc., that deserve attention in their own right, but these shouldn't "cancel-out" women's needs with regard to violent crime.

  • squirrely girl

    Toysoldier,

    You said, "Telling male victims of rape to get over it is a very insidious thing to say, and is why I do not believe feminists care about addressing male victimization."

    Reading is fundamental. I said, and I quote, "Ultimately this IS a gendered crime whether you want to acknowledge it or not. MORE MEN RAPE WOMEN THAN WOMEN RAPE MEN. I’m not saying this to “disenfranchise” the men or make them feel bad. But this IS reality. Get over it." NOWHERE in that statement did I say ANYTHING to the effect of male rape victims should "get over it." I specifically told EO that he needed to "get over" the idea that women ARE raped more than men.

    "Who assaults who is irrelevant." No, it isn't. While I completely agree that victims need help and support, ignoring who does the assaulting puts the focus completely on the victim and continues to allow the perpetrators to be ignored by society. THIS IS WRONG.

    You also mention, "As for lifetime prevalence, all adults were once children..." - You are correct. All adults WERE once children. But not all children live to become adults (e.g., suicide, homicide).

    You DO bring up a great point here - "that rate is high enough to warrant equal inclusion for male victims of childhood sexual abuse in the campaign." But I think you're still missing a key point of this campaign. It wasn't directed toward victims of CHILDHOOD sexual abuse, but rather sexual assault in general. So I agree that it certainly warrants inclusion for male victims of childhood sexual abuse but I don't think that means EQUAL coverage. Sorry but I disagree.

    You go on to say, "The failure to equally include male victims in such campaigns is a major reason why male victims do not come forward." Honestly, having worked with the male victims of childhood sexual assault for a number of years, I would suggest that male victims don't come forward for many of the same reasons female victims don't come forward, particularly when you're talking about children. Again, if we're talking about CHILDHOOD victims, this campaign and many campaigns like this are NOT DIRECTED AT CHILDREN.

    Further, you say, "the vast majority of victims of violent crimes are male, yet female victims receive equal (actually greater) acknowledgment." YES! Men ARE the victims of violent crimes at higher rates than women - interestingly enough they, like women, are overwhelmingly the victims of OTHER MEN. Again, bringing the focus back around to WHO is perpetrating the violence not just the victims. As to whether women are receiving equal or greater acknowledgement - now you're talking about violent crimes in GENERAL... NOT JUST SEXUAL ASSAULT. That's not the focus of this campaign OR this discussion.

    Finally, you asked, "What is the harm in acknowledging victims other than heterosexual females?" There is NO HARM in acknowledging victims other than heterosexual females. But there IS harm in your desire to completely refocus a campaign to make it "balanced" when the problem obviously isn't. I firmly believe there SHOULD be attention directed to ALL victims of sexual assault. But I also believe that making a campaign EQUAL would give people the impression that problem itself is equal, and it's just not.

    Take home message: You now seem to want to bring this around to cases of CHILDHOOD sexual violence (or victims of violent crimes in general) when the campaign in question was directed at sexual assault in general... of which women are victims at much higher rates than men. Should there be a separate campaign for victims of childhood sexual abuse? TOTALLY! I'm ALL FOR bringing attention to this area. And I DO think those campaigns should be MUCH MORE balanced in their direction with regard to the sex of the victim.

  • squirrely girl

    EO - thank you for the link. I'm more than happy to check out that additional information just as soon as I get the chance and I will do my best to address your concerns once I've done so.

    Until then - I'm curious as to why you focused solely on my comment about prison rape and completely ignored everything else in my post.

  • Eo

    @Squirrely girl
    I ignored the personal attacks and noted where you said

    "Likewise, just because you say prison rapes “are mainly of men” doesn’t make it fact.

    And then went on to say

    "Truth is, a horrific number of female inmates are raped while in prison as well and usually by guards".

    And I pointed out that the "horiffic number" you are talking about is 10% of the total and I am suggesting that you take your own advice when making claims based on assumptions, factiods and myths about rape that you have picked up along the way.

    You have also said above "more women get raped than men".

    From the wiki prison rape page -

    "In 2001 Human Rights Watch estimated that at least 140,000 inmates in the US had been raped while incarcerated,[1] and there is a significant variation in the rates of prison rape by race. Stop Prisoner Rape, Inc. statistics indicate that there are more men raped in U.S. prisons than non-incarcerated women similarly assaulted. They estimate that young men are five times more likely to be attacked"

    Its likely that there are more men raped in prison than woman are outside of prison, again I say dont make claims based of factoid myth and the presumption that women are always the primary victims.

    Rape hysteria is in the process of being debunked as was IPV hysteria and wage gap conspiracy theory.

  • http://toysoldier.wordpress.com Toysoldier

    @squirrely girl: I referred your comment and its implication, i.e. male victims who want equal acknowledgment should suck it up and shut up. I consider that an insidious thing to say.

    The campaign is generalized, with nine of the items applying to victims of any age. Two items on the list specifically refer to age ranges. The rape statistic one mentioned counts childhood sexual violence. So the argument about age is a red-herring. Harping on perpetrators is also a red-herring as the campaign is not about them, but victims. The rates are likely comparable. What differs is likely the age at which males and females are victimized. Ironically, arguing that sexual violence against males does not count because of their ages discounts sexual assault.

    A balanced campaign only shines light on a part of the problem that rarely receives attention, hence Just Detention's campaign about prison rape giving equal focus to female victims. The purpose of this campaign is to address the discounting of sexual assault. One cannot do this by discounting victims' assaults, nor can one do so by defending the discounting and further marginalizing victims.

  • squirrely girl

    Eo -

    So, you've chastised me several times for making statements based on "factoid myth" or presumption, which I can certainly acknowledge as being fair enough. And in an effort to be both fair and accurate, I've taken up the overwhelming task of digging in to the pile of materials available through the Stop Prison Rape campaign as well as the Bureau of Justice.

    But when you follow up with statements like: "Its likely that there are more men raped in prison than woman are outside of prison...", it's honestly hard to take you seriously.

    It's "likely?" Because more men in prison are raped than women in prison, you feel more than confident overgeneralizing to the rest of the general population? It's genuinely disheartening that men may risk sexual assault at greater rates than women in prison, but to assume that this is reflective of society as a whole is incredibly myopic... and awfully manipulative/hypocritical given your previous statements.

    Ultimately if this discussion is going to come down to throwing numbers and statistics at each other we're both going to lose. Like the "real world," prison rapes are going to be GROSSLY underreported in relationship to the actual number of assaults perpetrated. They have to be. Plenty of victims, both male and female, don't report their sexual assault to begin with. This is further exacerbated in a correctional setting due to fear of reprisal from perpetrators, a code of silence among inmates, personal embarrassment, and a lack of trust in staff. So where do we go from here?

    Toysoldier - I'm genuinely apologetic if that's how you perceived my statement because I in NO WAY want to imply that male victims should "suck it up and shut up." But I think you're reading an awful lot into my statements to come up with things like "sexual violence against males does not count" and "discounting victims’ assaults." And, while we may just have to agree to disagree, I am sticking with my position that when a problem isn't balanced in the first place, people shouldn't expect the ad campaigns to be either.

  • Eo

    No Squirrly girl.

    You missunderstand me I wrote that according to Stop Prison Rape's stats. the total number of men that are sexually assaulted in prison is greater than the total number of women that are sexually outside of prison. I didnt make an assumption on the general pop based on the 10/90 breakdown of F/M prison rape.

    If you look at non biased studies you will see that sexual assaults of men are make up between 30 and 50% depending of sexual assaults outside prison, when you look at the figures from inside prison the sexual assaults against women make up 10% of the total... so according to numerous non biased sources and I have pleny of european studies, women are not disproportionatly victimised by sexual assault.

    And toysoldier is right, be main problem for male victims coming forward at the moment is feminist rape myth and protective and victim services that opperate on patriarchal abuse theory. If victims are theorised to not really exist and that women are generally the victims and the system, promotion, awarness and funding is set up accordingly, they cant come forward. Two examples, I know of men who were sexually abused by their mothers who were told that they must have imagined it when they went for help and VAWA.

  • http://toysoldier.wordpress.com Toysoldier

    @squirrely girl: I did not read anything into what you stated. I took you at your word. I understand how the feminist narrative works. You discount sexual assaults against victims who are not heterosexual females. I am not faulting you for it. I am, however, calling you a hypocrite for doing it, and telling you go do what Jon Stewart said.

  • LeftSidePositive

    Toysoldier continues to be delusional:

    "I understand how the feminist narrative works. You discount sexual assaults against victims who are not heterosexual females."

    THIS IS ALL IN YOUR FUCKING HEAD, MAN

    Let me try to explain this to you:

    1) The voices in your head are not real.

    2) The voices in your head are not real feminists.

    3) The voices in your head do not represent any respected viewpoint on feminist thought.

    4) The real statements by real people in the real world are generally better indications of their feelings than the voices in your head.

    5) Real people in the real world will have a variety of causes and concerns, and they might not exactly match up with yours.

    6) Just because real people's causes and concerns are not exactly the same as yours does not mean that they are out to marginalize you.

    7) Just because real people in the real world do not spend every fucking minute of every fucking day speaking on the issues you want them to speak on, does not mean that you get to imagine the voices in your head speak for them.

    I hope that clears things up.

  • Saurs

    "I did not read anything into what you stated. I took you at your word."

    You really are a lying sack of shit, Toysoldier. squirrely girl repeatedly asked that you stop misrepresenting what she wrote. In #34 you commented that you were offended by what you perceived to be the "implications" of her statement re the sexual assault of men and boys. She corrected you. Now you've come full circle, and you're once again putting words into her mouth. You're being ridiculous and childish and trying to score points. Fuck the fuck off, as much as you possibly fucking can, you big fucking baby.

  • Of Course I’m Anonymous

    As a male rape victim, raped by a female, I am not included in this list.

    Why should I give a shit about movements that conspicuously omit cases like mine? This is perpetuating one of the most poisonous myths about rape while pretending to be an all-inclusive list dispelling all myths.

    Seems like a big fucking oversight.

  • LeftSidePositive

    Of Course, I generally agree that this campaign is more female-centered (it grew out of an outraged response to a court case where a woman was raped and the judges made ridiculous assumptions about her clothing), but just to be picky, it does actually mention female perpetrators of rape:

    In reality, more than 75% of sexual assaults are committed by someone the survivor knew and trusted—such as a teacher, co-worker, relative, friend, or even their steady girlfriend or boyfriend.

    That said, I agree #6 might benefit from not having a gender-exclusive perpetrator.

  • Charlotte

    I can't believe you all are arguing over this. Some of you are essentially angry for not including everyone, while missing the point: RAPE = BAD.

    Do we all agree on that point? Okay! Good.

    I do, however, think there should have been some mention of lesbian-on-lesbian rape and woman-on-man rape, since these in particular are EXCELLENT examples of ways we excuse rape!

  • C

    it's funny, but in actuality toysoldier and EO have just demonstrated more forms of rape excuse ("it's a myth!" "men are ACTUALLY the victims here and women are the overbearing wenches in a conspiracy to try and cover it up!") and highlight just why causes like Denim Day are so important. for the rest of us critical thinkers at least.

    It doesn't really matter if you want to refuse to believe that the majority of rape victims are women (and they ARE: just because more incarcerated victims of rape are men does not mean that men are the majority of rape victims in society OVERALL. There are a lot more people who are NOT in prison than who are. Out of the 3 billion women alive if even 1% [a gross underestimate] of them were sexual assault victims, that number would be 30 MILLION. critical thinking people) because even if it were the case that women are not raped as much as men, that is still not a reason to excuse their rapists or in any other way justify rape against women. You still have to deny any ridiculous excuses people use to try to let their rapists off the hook, regardless of 'who gets raped more.' And if you feel that you would like to participate in a movement more centered around the sexual assault of men, then go do it. But don't try to use that to de-ligitimize this cause.

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