Hugo Schwyzer does not like my Good Men Project article. According to his twitter feed, my article is “Most dishonest thing I’ve see at @goodmenproject: ‘Women Rape Boys Too’ … Conflates rape stats with other abuse stats.”
I am not sure how I conflated rape statistics with other abuse statistics given that all the examples were specifically about sexual abuse. The editors on GMP did not include the links to the studies and articles, but I did include them in my version of the post. Anyone who reads them would see that I am not confusing physical or emotional abuse with sexual abuse.
It is rather egregious to accuse me of deliberately misrepresenting statistics without citing a single example of me doing so. Obviously Schwyzer could not do that on twitter, but he did not cite anything in his response on GMP either. It takes little effort to accuse someone of lying, but I think a person should invest some time in proving that claim if they going to go on a twitter rant over it.
Granted, I am not surprised by Schwyzer’s reaction. In a previous exchange he dismissed the Long-Term Consequences of Childhood Sexual Abuse by Gender of Victim study as “an outlier” without, to my knowledge, ever reading the study. I am surprised, however, that he so readily contradicted himself in his response to me. He stated:
Women rape boys, and it is awful. It is also comparatively rare. And though we can presume some degree of underreporting from boys, that underreporting cannot be quantified. What can be quantified makes it clear that the overwhelming percentage of sexual predators are men, and the overwhelming percentage of victims are women.
As I wrote on GMP, if we can presume there is underreporting but we cannot quantify it, how can we then quantify who commits most abuse and who experiences most abuse when that is based on how many victims report abuse? How can you know that the overwhelming majority victims are female when you acknowledge that you do not know how frequently males are abused? How can you know that the overwhelming majority of abusers are male when you acknowledge that an quantifiable number of victims do not report their abuse?
Schwyzer seems to draw conclusions as he admits he does not have enough information to draw those conclusions. On twitter, he asserted that the NVAWS study that RAINN cites is basically infallible fact that he will not question unless RAINN repudiates the study. (For the record, the NVAWS study did not include questions about the sex of the abuser or questions that focused on types of “envelopment” rape, i.e. rape in which the victim is forced to penetrate the abuser. To use that study as unquestionable fact is at best misleading.)
What I find curious about Schwyzer’s response is that he appears to take the rate of women’s sexual violence against boys as an attack on female victims, as if saying boys are victims more often than we think means that women are victimized less often than the research reports. Violence does not work that way. Two different groups can experience similar levels of violence simultaneously. Both males and females can have high rates of abuse.
Yet Schwyzer seems bent on women being the victims of sexual violence, and that view is not limited to him. Many feminists share it, but in Schwyzer’s case he is holding to that view while looking at research that shows his view is wrong. It is akin to someone claiming that babies come from storks as they watch a woman give birth.
When people ask why I have such a problem with feminism, it is because of the dogma and doctrine that would lead an intelligent, educated man to dismiss research just because it does not fit his political views.
We have no idea how frequently boys are victims of abuse or how often women abuse. Part of that is because our society treats this as a non-issue. Part of that is because victims do not come forward. Part of that is because the professionals never bother to ask. And part of that is because people already assume to know who the victims and abusers are. We cannot begin to prevent sexual violence until we accept that what we think is true may not be true.