The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the results of The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. The researchers conducted the survey during 2010, and according to the results:
Nearly one in five women surveyed said they had been raped or had experienced an attempted rape at some point, and one in four reported having been beaten by an intimate partner. One in six women have been stalked, according to the report.
“That almost one in five women have been raped in their lifetime is very striking and, I think, will be surprising to a lot of people,” said Linda C. Degutis, director of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which conducted the survey.
“I don’t think we’ve really known that it was this prevalent in the population,” she said.
The survey was based on the National Women’s Victimization Survey, hence the similar. Like the NWVS, the NIPSVS found that sexual violence against women were epidemic while virtually non-existent against males. With such results, it is hardly surprising that Hugo Schwyzer would use the CDC’s new results to challenge my previous article on the Good Men Project Magazine.
Last month GMP ran my article about the prevalence of women’s sexual violence against boys. Schwyzer did not like, objecting to it in the comments and twitter-beefing with James Landrith over what Schwyzer called “Most dishonest thing I’ve see at @goodmenproject”. The CDC results must have been a godsend because Schwyzer wasted no time with trying to refute seven different articles and studies showing a high rate of female-on-male sexual violence.
I cannot help but feel that Schwyzer did not expect anyone to actually read the CDC report. Schwyzer stated:
Despite recent claims about a proliferation of female rapists, the CDC found that “male rape victims and male victims of non-contact unwanted sexual experiences reported predominantly male perpetrators.”
This was just a thinly veiled insult aimed at me. I made no “claims.” I cited several well-researched articles and studies that showed a high prevalence of female-on-male sexual violence. Granted, either he or some other editor conveniently removed the links to those sources, but one can easily find the papers and studies online.
Secondly, the CDC researchers defined rape as:
-Among women, rape includes vaginal, oral, or anal penetration by a male using his penis. It also includes vaginal or anal penetration by a male or female using their fingers or an object.
-Among men, rape includes oral or anal penetration by a male using his penis. It also
includes anal penetration by a male or female using their fingers or an object.
According to that definition, women cannot rape men or women by forcing the victims to penetrate them. They cannot rape men by forcibly performing oral sex on the victims. The researchers instead created a separate definition called “being made to penetrate someone else” that is not counted as rape. The final 1 in 71 statistic, a stat that does not match any recent studies’ rate for sexual violence against males, specifically excludes the majority of sexually violent acts, most of which legally count as rape in most states. Indeed, the researchers explained this difference in the discussion:
As an example of prevalence differences between the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey and other surveys, the lifetime prevalence estimate of rape for men in this report is lower than what has been reported in other surveys (e.g., for forced sex more broadly) (Basile, Chen, Black, & Saltzman, 2007). This could be due in part to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey making a distinction between rape and being made to penetrate someone else. Being made to penetrate is a form of sexual victimization distinct from rape that is particularly unique to males and, to our knowledge, has not been explicitly measured in previous national studies. It is possible that rape questions in prior studies captured the experience of being made to penetrate someone else, resulting in higher prevalence estimates for male rape in those studies.
Take a moment read the quote again. The researchers first note that being forced to penetrate someone is something generally done to males. However, according to the researchers, being forced to penetrate someone is not rape and should never count as rape. They know their results for male victimization are ridiculously low, and indeed lower than any other recent study, and yet the researchers explain this away by saying that the other studies mistakenly counted forcing males to penetrate someone else as rape.
If one needed an example of the kind of sexism at play in researching sexual violence, one can get no better than the above quote.
As for Schwyzer’s article, I noticed that he did not quote anything directly from the study, and perhaps this is why:
For male victims, the sex of the perpetrator varied by the type of sexual violence experienced. The majority of male rape victims (93.3%) reported only male perpetrators. For three of the other forms of sexual violence, a majority of male victims reported only female perpetrators: being made to penetrate (79.2%), sexual coercion (83.6%), and unwanted sexual contact (53.1%). For non-contact unwanted sexual experiences, approximately half of male victims (49.0%) reported only male perpetrators and more than one-third (37.7%) reported only female perpetrators (data not shown).
That data suggests that women commit far more sexual violence against males that people think, which oddly coincides with the “recent claims about a proliferation of female rapists.” Please note, I am not manipulating the data. The above information is on page 24 of the report. Also keep in mind that with the exception of non-contact unwanted sexual experiences, all of the above act legally count as rape in most states with rape statutes.
Schwyzer also stated that boys under 10 face the greatest risk of sexual violence, yet according to the researchers:
More than one-quarter of male victims of completed rape (27.8%) were first raped when they were 10 years old or younger (data not shown). With the exception of the youngest age category (i.e., age 10 or younger), the estimates for age at first completed rape for male victims in the other age groups were based upon numbers too small to calculate a reliable estimate and therefore are not reported.
Too few men reported rape victimization in adulthood to examine rape victimization as a minor and subsequent rape victimization in adulthood.
In other words, they did not have enough data from male victims to figure out a reliable estimate. That seems to occur so often with the sexual violence data that it makes the results questionable. It seems possible that the male respondents underreported their abuse, but that the researchers’ own methodology — not their the questions, which are surprisingly neutral, but the way the researchers compiled the data — may have skewed the results.
Schwyzer also stated:
Close to 50% of all stalking victimizations that men experienced were also perpetrated by men.
That implies that most of the people who stalk men are women. Framing it as he did veils the amount of stalking women commit. Here is what the report actually states:
Among male stalking victims, almost half (44.3%) reported being stalked by only male perpetrators while a similar proportion (46.7%) reported being stalked by only female perpetrators. About 1 in 18 male stalking victims (5.5%) reported having been stalked by both male and female perpetrators in his life (data not shown).
The intellectual dishonesty displayed in Schwyer’s article was exactly what I was talking about in my article. Here we have a study that states that if a man or woman performs oral sex on a girl or forcibly penetrates her, it is rape, but if those same people perform oral sex on a boy or force him to penetrate them, it is not rape. For someone to then selectively report that problematic data when it does not support their position is the height of dishonesty. Schwyzer did not just misinform readers about the report’s results for male victims of sexual violence and stalking, but he also failed to note that 1 in 4 men reported being victims of domestic violence (compared to 1 in 3 women).
However, to pretend to then care about male victims as one deliberately withholds information about sexual and physical violence against them is the very definition of hypocrisy. To this point, Schwyzer claimed that:
It can’t be said often enough: men are victims too. Male suffering in the aftermath of sexual assault is as real and profound as what women endure.
I do not know anyone who genuinely cares about male survivors who would ever use a study to deny that women can rape or commit any violence against males. When Schwyzer can make the above quoted statement without following it up with a “but only men commit rape” comment, then male survivors will believe him rather than rightly assuming that he finds our suffering bogus and trivial, and that he said otherwise just to look good.
Nevertheless, despite all the researchers’ definition shenanigans and the possibility that males underreported, the data still suggests that women commit more physical, sexual, and emotional violence against men than people think. All the sound and fury in the world will not change that, and anyone trying to wastes their time doing something that ultimately signifies nothing.