U.S. Colleges’ Sexual Assault Crusade

Because of the Obama Administration, it is now only "She Says" and he is guilty.

Because of the Obama Administration, will “He Said, She Said” become “She Said and He is Guilty?”

By Peter Berkowitz | RealClearPolitics | September 5, 2014

If an undergraduate were accused of committing murder, no one in charge of a U.S. college or university would think of convening a committee of students, professors, and administrators to gather and analyze evidence, prosecute, adjudicate, and mete out punishment.

If an undergraduate were accused of the dramatically lesser but nevertheless quite serious offense of holding up the student cafeteria at gunpoint, no college or university would summon students, professors, and administrators to attempt to adjudicate the felony of armed robbery.

Why then if an undergraduate is accused of sexual assault or rape — heinous crimes for which the criminal justice system can send the convicted to jail for many years — do colleges and universities routinely convene committees of professors, students, and administrators to investigate, judge, and punish?

One part of the answer is that the Obama administration has intensified pressure upon them to do just that. Ostensibly, the administration wants to curtail sexual attacks on college campuses. But what the federal government is really doing is encouraging students, professors, and administrators to enmesh themselves in quasi-law enforcement activities for which they are utterly untrained. Underwriting that dubious enterprise is a pernicious notion that has taken hold in certain quarters of the academy that seems to equate heterosexual sex with assault.

In April 2011, amid controversy that universities shielded star athletes from prosecution and exposed other accused men to kangaroo courts, Department of Education Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Russlynn Ali sent a letter to institutions of higher education throughout the country. The missive set forth requirements that universities must honor to comply with Title IX, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in higher education. The requirements include conducting investigations and holding a hearing even if the criminal justice system concludes the accusation of sexual misconduct is meritless; using the lowest evidentiary standard to determine guilt — preponderance of the evidence, which means more than 50 percent; shielding the accuser from answering questions from the accused; and, in the event of acquittal, also providing the accuser an appeal.

Such procedures constitute eviscerations of the due process afforded defendants in criminal courts across the 50 states while nevertheless subjecting the convicted to penalties that can blight their lives. They effectively eliminate the presumption of innocence, the right to confront and cross-examine the accuser, and protection against double jeopardy. Nonetheless, the Department of Education letter warned that if schools didn’t comply, they would face loss of federal funding, which in the case of top research universities involves hundreds of millions of dollars annually. To further ensure compliance with this dubious approach to guilt or acquittal, the Department of Education initiated more than four dozen investigations of pending cases at a wide range of schools including such marquee institutions as the University of California at Berkeley, Dartmouth, Princeton, Swarthmore, and Harvard Law School.

President Obama believes more needs to be done. In January, he established the White House Task Force to Protect Students From Sexual Assault. And were it delivered to his desk, he would undoubtedly sign the Campus Accountability and Safety Act introduced by Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, which would impose even stricter demands on colleges and universities to demonstrate to the federal government they are meeting their legal obligations to protect women.

Surely only a massive epidemic of sexual assault could justify such concerted federal government involvement in university governance. Indeed, Obama and Senate supporters of the pending legislation routinely assert that one in five women attending college have been sexually assaulted.

If this seems sky high, it’s because the data show no such thing. As Washington Examiner journalist Ashe Schow has pointed out, the claim is based on a 2007 online survey conducted by the National Institute of Justice, a division of the Department of Justice, at only two universities. The survey, which paid participants, involved a non-random sample, a relatively low response rate, tendentious and ambiguous questions, and an expansive understanding of sexual assault.

According to a 2012 Department of Justice report produced by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, for every 1,000 citizens above the age of 12, 1.3 are sexually assaulted or raped. That’s a rate of 0.13 percent. It seems inconceivable that the incidence of sexual assault at universities is more than 150 times higher than among the general population.

And who really believes the president’s numbers? Parents certainly don’t behave as if they do. Would mothers and fathers really spend almost $60,000 a year to expose their daughters to a one-in-five chance of sexual assault?

Since the professed reason for the federal government’s growing supervision of sex on campus is bogus, one is impelled to consider cynical explanations. One need not look far. By showcasing Obama’s devotion to women, the 2011 Department of Education letter helped lay the foundation for his 2012 presidential campaign, which trumpeted the charge that Republicans were waging a war against women.

The 2014 presidential task force and McCaskill’s bill revive the invidious but politically potent issue for the midterm elections. That some Republicans support the legislation only proves that in politics foolishness competes with cynicism for explanatory power.

Since the 1989 publication of law professor Catharine MacKinnon’s “Toward a Feminist Theory of the State,” certain quarters of the academy have been internalizing — and propagating — the charge that America is a “male supremacist” society whose pervasive structures of oppression deprive women of the capacity to give meaningful consent to sex. The surprisingly widespread acceptance of this radical notion does much to explain the whole campus sexual misconduct industry.

But why does the academy readily embrace the illiberal practices foisted upon it by cynical and foolish politicians? Well, here the government is pushing on an open door. Since the 1989 publication of law professor Catharine MacKinnon’s “Toward a Feminist Theory of the State,” certain quarters of the academy have been internalizing — and propagating — the charge that America is a “male supremacist” society whose pervasive structures of oppression deprive women of the capacity to give meaningful consent to sex. The surprisingly widespread acceptance of this radical notion does much to explain the whole campus sexual misconduct industry.

In a male supremacist society, due process rights for men impede justice because by definition heterosexual sex occurs between a male exploiter and an exploited female. In a male supremacist society, the police and courts are hopelessly inadequate because they define rape in terms of physical coercion. Unconscious male objectification and subordination of women and unconscious female submissiveness to men necessitate campus disciplinary boards capable of understanding coercion in terms of impersonal social forces and emotional manipulation.

And, in a male supremacist society, a friendly presidential administration’s supervision of campus sexual conduct codes is most welcome, even when it involves government officials’ cynical manipulation of preposterous statistics, because extreme circumstances warrant extreme measures.

We do not, however, live in a male supremacist society. Despite lingering inequities, women in America enjoy the unprecedented security, freedom, and equality under law that men do. Our universities’ assiduous efforts to transform men into monsters who can’t be trusted with rights and women into frail creatures who bear no responsibility for their deeds represents educational malpractice. Paradoxically, those efforts also undercut the reality of female empowerment: for many years women have been earning more BAs, MAs, and PhDs than men.

Liberal education should equip our students to question the cynicism and foolishness of our politicians, not to make common cause with it.

 Peter Berkowitz is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.  His writings are posted at http://www.PeterBerkowitz.com and you can follow him on Twitter @BerkowitzPeter.

Posted in Female Violence, Feminism, Gender Politics, Male "Power" and "Privilege", Media Sexism, Sexual Harassment and Economic Harassment | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is widely promoted but won’t achieve much

UDaily, University of Delaware

UDaily, University of Delaware

As a former world-peace promoter, I’ve always said it’s a good idea to walk in the shoes of another in order to better understand that person.

But it’s not a good idea for only one sex to walk in the shoes of the other. As well-intended as the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” is, the one-sidedness can foster as much alienation as understanding.

The program leads many to believe that domestic violence is strictly male-to-female and only males must change. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Consider first:

  • Women are more likely to commit major physical abuse of their children than are men: 56.8 percent to 43.2 percent. [Source: Fire With Fire, by feminist Naomi Wolf, p. 221, hardcover] See also this: “According to the American Anthropological Association, about 200 women kill their children in the United States each year.”
  • Women are more likely to kill their children than are men: 55 percent to 45 percent. [Source: “Women and Violent Crime,” a paper by Prof. Rita J. Simon, Department of Justice, Law and Society and Washington College of Law, American University, Washington, D.C] See examples in Utah, which has a Safe Haven law, of serial baby killers, in a report dated April 13, 2014: “Police find seven dead babies in Utah County home.“
  • Women commit almost all of the murders of newborns. In Dade County, Fla., between 1956 and 1986, according to the June 1990 Journal of Interpersonal Violence 5:2, mothers accounted for 86 percent of newborn deaths. [Source: When She Was Bad, by Patricia Pearson, p. 255, note 71.]

Since women, without provocation, batter and kill small children, whom they supposedly have been socialized to love, they can, without provocation, commit violence against men, whom they definitely have been socialized — by the media, feminist literature, and “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” — to distrust, fear, and hate.

Women indeed do commit violence against men. Reporting findings from the Centers For Disease Control, the American Psychiatric Association makes a statement that no doubt shocks the sensibilities of many because such views have long been suppressed by a biased, feminist-influenced media:

“In fact, when it comes to nonreciprocal violence between intimate partners, women are more often the perpetrators.”

But what about sexual assault? More shocking news, this time at the liberal Slate.com:

“A recent analysis of BJS data, for example, turned up that 46 percent of male victims reported a female perpetrator.”

The promoters of “Walk a Mile” seem to want women portrayed as innocents who do no wrong. Perhaps without realizing it, they are, I believe, setting females up to come across to many men as holier-than-thou, as someone on a higher moral plane, as someone who should perhaps be put on a pedestal (which men are criticized for doing).

Portraying one group as never to blame and the other as always to blame is not, peace advocaters like myself believe, the impression to convey if you want those whom you blame to understand you. If you want a group — men, in this case — to understand you, let alone listen to you, you must first talk about the mote in your own eye, your own sins; that was essentially the approach President Obama used early on when talking to or about our country’s enemies; it may have helped win him his Pulitzer prize. Because the promoters of “Walk a Mile” have to my knowledge never done this, they have, as they might admit, achieved little. You could argue, reflecting on President Obama’s approach, that the promoters of Walk a Mile protect women’s image in the way that conservative patriots protect America’s image as morally superior to other nations.

__________________________________

Here’s a very important area where each sex could benefit enormously by walking in the shoes of the other. It is one that women’s ideological advocates would not even discuss, never mind promote:

“The Sexual Harassment Quagmire: How To Dig Out” http://malemattersusa.wordpress.com/2011/12/11/the-sexual-harassment-quagmire/

Recommended reading:

“Open Letter to Senate Judiciary on the VAWA” http://malemattersusa.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/open-letter-to-senate-judiciary-on-the-vawa/

“Jay Z and Ray Rice Cases Show Our Savage Hypocrisy on Domestic Violence” https://sg.news.yahoo.com/jay-z-ray-rice-cases-show-savage-hypocrisy-100214953.html

Posted in Female Violence, Feminism, Gender Violence, Male "Power" and "Privilege" | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sorry, Emma Watson, but HeForShe Is Rotten for Men

Until feminism recognizes discrimination against men, the movement for gender equality will be incomplete.

By Cathy Young • Time.com • September 26, 2014

“I decided I was a feminist and this seemed uncomplicated

Emma Watson

Emma Watson

to me,” said Emma Watson at a UN Women speech in September. “Men– I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender Equality is your issue, too.”

“Gender equality is your issue too.” That was the message to men from Emma Watson, Harry Potter star and now United Nations Women Goodwill Ambassador, in her widely hailed U.N. speech earlier this week announcing a new feminist campaign with a “formal invitation” to male allies to join. Noting that men suffer from sexism in their own ways, Watson asked, “How can we affect change in the world when only half of it is invited or feel welcome to participate in the conversation?” Truer words were never spoken. Too bad they are belied by the campaign itself, which is called “HeForShe” and asks men to pledge to “take action against all forms of violence and discrimination faced by women and girls” but says nothing about problems affecting men and boys.

Watson clearly believes that feminism — which, she stressed, is about equality and not bashing men — will also solve men’s problems. But, unfortunately, feminism in its present form has too often ignored sexist biases against males, and sometimes has actively contributed to them. Until that changes, the movement for gender equality will be incomplete.

Take one of the men’s issues Watson mentioned in her speech: seeing her divorced father’s role as a parent “valued less by society” than her mother’s. It is true that in the 1970s and 1980s, feminist challenges to discriminatory, sex-specific laws helped end formal preferences for mothers in child custody matters. But as fathers began to fight against more covert anti-male biases in the court system, most feminists sided with mothers.

There are plenty of other examples. The women’s movement has fought, rightly, for more societal attention to domestic abuse and sexual violence. But male victims of these crimes still tend to get short shrift, from the media and activists alike. Despite several recent high-profile recent sexual assault cases in which the victims were teenage girls, disturbing cases in which boys were victimized — by other boys or by girls — have received far less publicity and sparked little outrage. Experiments have shown that while people are quick to intervene when a man in a staged public quarrel becomes physically abusive to his girlfriend, reactions to a similar situation with the genders reversed mostly range from indifference to amusement or even sympathy for the woman. To a large extent, as feminists sometimes point out, these attitudes stem from traditional gender norms which treat victimhood, especially at a woman’s hands, as unmanly. But today’s mainstream feminism, which regards sexual assault and domestic violence as byproducts of male power over women, tends to reinforce rather than challenge such double standards.

Just in the past few days, many feminist commentators have taken great umbrage at suggestions that soccer star Hope Solo, currently facing charges for assaulting her sister and teenage nephew, deserves similar censure to football player Ray Rice, who was caught on video striking his fiancée. Their argument boils down to the assertion that violence by men toward their female partners should be singled out because it’s a bigger problem than female violence toward family members. Meanwhile, in Watson’s native England, activists from women’s organizations recently blamed the shortage of services for abused women on efforts to accommodate abused men (despite the fact that, as Guardian columnist and blogger Ally Fogg demonstrated, even the lowest estimates of the prevalence of domestic violence against men suggest that male victims are far less likely than women to get help).

Watson deserves credit for wanting to end the idea that “fighting for women’s rights [is] synonymous with man-hating.” But she cannot do that if she treats such notions only as unfair stereotypes. How about addressing this message to feminists who complain about being “asked to modify our language so we don’t hurt men’s feelings” when talking about misogyny — for instance, not to generalize about all men as oppressors? Or to those who argue that “Kill all men” mugs and “I bathe in male tears” T-shirts are a great way to celebrate women’s empowerment and separate the “cool dudes” who get the joke from the “dumb bros”? Or to those who accuse a feminist woman of “victim-blaming” for defending her son against a sexual assault accusation — even one of which he is eventually cleared?

Men must, indeed, “feel welcome to participate in the conversation” about gender issues. But very few will do so if that “conversation” amounts to being told to “shut up and listen” while women talk about the horrible things men do to women, and being labeled a misogynist for daring to point out that bad things happen to men too and that women are not always innocent victims in gender conflicts. A real conversation must let men talk not only about feminist-approved topics such as gender stereotypes that keep them from expressing their feelings, but about more controversial concerns: wrongful accusations of rape; sexual harassment policies that selectively penalize men for innocuous banter; lack of options to avoid unwanted parenthood once conception has occurred. Such a conversation would also acknowledge that pressures on men to be successful come not only from “the patriarchy” but, often, from women as well. And it would include an honest discussion of parenthood, including many women’s reluctance to give up or share the primary caregiver role.

It goes without saying that these are “First World problems.” In far too many countries around the world, women still lack basic rights and patriarchy remains very real (though it is worth noting that even in those places, men and boys often have to deal with gender-specific hardships, from forced recruitment into war to mass violence that singles out males). But in the industrial democracies of North America and Europe, the revolution in women’s rights over the past century has been a stunning success — and, while there is still work to be done, it must include the other side of that revolution.* Not “he for she,” but “She and he for us.”

Cathy Young is a contributing editor at Reason magazine.

*To understand more about why we need the other side of the revolution, see:

“The Doctrinaire Institute for Women’s Policy Research: A Comprehensive Look at Gender Equality”

Posted in Feminism, Gender Politics, Media Sexism | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Jay Z and Ray Rice Cases Show Our Savage Hypocrisy on Domestic Violence

By Matt Campbell | International Business Times | September 15, 2014

RayRiceAndDaughter

Ray Rice kisses his one-year-old daughter.

Recently, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended running back Ray Rice after it was reported an unnamed official, working for the sport’s governing body, received footage five months ago showing the athlete striking his then-fiancee (now wife) unconscious in a hotel elevator. Rice is now unable to play, and his team, the Baltimore Ravens, have terminated his contract.

A story dated March 27 suggests the NFL authorities had the tape, and Goodell was aware of it. As criminal evidence, the NFL says it was not allowed to view the CCTV footage. Yet if Goodell knew a copy had been received by the NFL, he should have reported it then.

Goodell’s dereliction of civic/moral duty, assuming the above is true, is its own matter. Morally vacant behaviour from corporate officers long pre-dates this story. Instead, keep in mind that Rice’s fiancee Janay was also arrested for assault for the same incident, the difference being that Rice rendered her unconscious in his response to her assault; for if they were both arrested and charged with assault, and she was knocked out by Rice with a single blow, must she not have thrown the first punch?

The charges against both were dismissed, possibly due to admissions of violence from both, or neither wanted the other charged, or other reasons. Co-mutual domestic violence (DV) is sadly typical in troubled or simply bad relationships.

A study appearing in the May 2007 edition of the American Journal of Public Health reported that almost half of DV incidents in the US are co-mutual, with 70% of non-co-mutual assaults committed by women, not men. But you wouldn’t know that listening to feminists, the US president, and US vice-president, who paint DV as largely, or exclusively, male-on-female.

In June, Hope Solo, the winning goalkeeper on the US Olympic women’s football team in 2008 and 2012, was arrested and charged after allegedly hitting her sister with a broomstick repeatedly and punching her nephew likewise in the face.

The response to Solo losing it on her relatives, one a minor, was silence. No demands for her to be barred from her sport indefinitely, no calls for the National Women’s Soccer League president’s resignation for failing to act aggressively enough to satisfy… who?

In the case of American football players, it’s feminists and opportunistic politicians. But what of female athletes of any kind, as well as women generally? There is no outraged constituency to appease when a woman is accused of or caught committing DV.

In May, a lift security camera video surfaced showing singer Solange Knowles beating up her brother-in-law, rap musician Jay Z, and the reaction of people was at best “Meh”, and at worst, “LOL!” Was Knowles released from her singing contracts? Did her fans rail against her? No.

The real story is the double standard around what is the necessary level of outrage over DV incidents attributed to celebrities, athletes or anyone else. DV against women by men is regarded as heinous; DV by women against men is regarded as comedic. Same-sex and familial DV are hardly acknowledged despite the statistically high prevalence of both as compared to heterosexual partner DV.

DV shouldn’t be about politics or subject to double standards based on the sexes of those involved. Regardless of sex, victims should have equal resource access and consideration from the government and society.

Perpetrators must be held accountable and where productive, be made to undergo sufficient psychiatric remediation to give them an opportunity to learn new habits and interpersonal skills that don’t entail using violence or threats.

If the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, the on-ramp is paved with false assumptions. Have the Rices been served by the sudden attention, Ray’s loss of work, their loss of privacy, etc? Not according to Janay. Who assumed Janay needed to be “saved” from her husband’s multimillion-dollar income and the privacy in which they could learn better relationship skills?

Most should wonder how and why they are on the DV On-Ramp of False Assumptions. What got them there, and how to get off it? This on-ramp tends to leave both truth and justice in the rearview mirror, and with those, a lot of damaged lives. Enough’s enough.

Matt Campbell writes for Men’s Activism, a website that tracks news and information about men’s issues from around the world, and promotes activism in support of men’s rights and equality.

See the related:

Open Letter to Senate Judiciary on the VAWA

Posted in Female Violence, Feminism, Gender Politics, Gender Violence, Media Sexism | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When Men Are Raped

A new study reveals that men are often the victims of sexual assault, and women are often the perpetrators.

ThoughtSheWouldKillMeLast year the National Crime Victimization Survey turned up a remarkable statistic. In asking 40,000 households about rape and sexual violence, the survey uncovered that 38 percent of incidents were against men. The number seemed so high that it prompted researcher Lara Stemple to call the Bureau of Justice Statistics to see if it maybe it had made a mistake, or changed its terminology. After all, in years past men had accounted for somewhere between 5 and 14 percent of rape and sexual violence victims. But no, it wasn’t a mistake, officials told her, although they couldn’t explain the rise beyond guessing that maybe it had something to do with the publicity surrounding former football coach Jerry Sandusky and the Penn State sex abuse scandal.

Stemple, who works with the Health and Human Rights Project at UCLA, had often wondered whether incidents of sexual violence against men were under-reported. She had once worked on prison reform and knew that jail is a place where sexual violence against men is routine but not counted in the general national statistics. Stemple began digging through existing surveys and discovered that her hunch was correct. The experience of men and women is “a lot closer than any of us would expect,” she says. For some kinds of victimization, men and women have roughly equal experiences. Stemple concluded that we need to “completely rethink our assumptions about sexual victimization,” and especially our fallback model that men are always the perpetrators and women the victims.

Sexual assault is a term that gets refracted through the culture wars, as Slate’s own Emily Bazelon explained in a story about the terminology of rape. Feminists claimed the more legalistic term of sexual assault to put it squarely in the camp of violent crime. Bazelon argues in her story for reclaiming the term rapebecause of its harsh unflinching sound and its nonlegalistic shock value. But she also allows that rape does not help us grasp crimes outside our limited imagination, particularly crimes against men. She quotes a painful passage from screenwriter and novelist Rafael Yglesias, which is precisely the kind of crime Stemple worries is too foreign and uncomfortable to contemplate.

I used to say, when some part of me was still ashamed of what had been done to me, that I was “molested” because the man who played skillfully with my 8-year-old penis, who put it in his mouth, who put his lips on mine and tried to push his tongue in as deep as it would go, did not anally rape me. … Instead of delineating what he had done, I chose “molestation” hoping that would convey what had happened to me.

Of course it doesn’t. For listeners to appreciate and understand what I had endured, I needed to risk that they will gag or rush out of the room. I needed to be particular and clear as to the details so that when I say I was raped people will understand what I truly mean.

For years, the FBI defined forcible rape, for data collecting purposes, as “the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.” Eventually localities began to rebel against that limited gender-bound definition; in 2010 Chicago reported 86,767 cases of rape but used its own broader definition, so the FBI left out the Chicago stats. Finally, in 2012, the FBI revised its definition and focused on penetration, with no mention of female (or force).

Data hasn’t been calculated under the new FBI definition yet, but Stemple parses several other national surveys in her new paper, “The Sexual Victimization of Men in America: New Data Challenge Old Assumptions,” co-written with Ilan Meyer and published in the April 17 edition of the American Journal of Public Health. One of those surveys is the 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, for which the Centers for Disease Control invented a category of sexual violence called “being made to penetrate.” This definition includes victims who were forced to penetrate someone else with their own body parts, either by physical force or coercion, or when the victim was drunk or high or otherwise unable to consent. When those cases were taken into account, the rates of nonconsensual sexual contact basically equalized, with 1.270 million women and 1.267 million men claiming to be victims of sexual violence.

“Made to penetrate” is an awkward phrase that hasn’t gotten any traction. It’s also something we instinctively don’t associate with sexual assault. But is it possible our instincts are all wrong here? We might assume, for example, that if a man has an erection he must want sex, especially because we assume men are sexually insatiable. But imagine if the same were said about women. The mere presence of physiological symptoms associated with arousal does not in fact indicate actual arousal, much less willing participation. And the high degree of depression and dysfunction among male victims of sexual abuse backs this up. At the very least, the phrase remedies an obvious injustice. Under the old FBI definition, what happened to Rafael Yglesias would only have counted as rape if he’d been an 8-year-old girl. Accepting the term “made to penetrate” helps us understand that trauma comes in all forms.

So why are men suddenly showing up as victims? Every comedian has a prison rape joke and prosecutions of sexual crimes against men are still rare. But gender norms are shaking loose in a way that allows men to identify themselves—if the survey is sensitive and specific enough—as vulnerable. A recent analysis of BJS data, for example, turned up that 46 percent of male victims reported a female perpetrator.

The final outrage in Stemple and Meyer’s paper involves inmates, who aren’t counted in the general statistics at all. In the last few years, the BJS did two studies in adult prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities. The surveys were excellent because they afforded lots of privacy and asked questions using very specific, informal, and graphic language. (“Did another inmate use physical force to make you give or receive a blow job?”) Those surveys turned up the opposite of what we generally think is true. Women were more likely to be abused by fellow female inmates, and men by guards, and many of those guards were female. For example, of juveniles reporting staff sexual misconduct, 89 percent were boys reporting abuse by a female staff member. In total, inmates reported an astronomical 900,000 incidents of sexual abuse.

Now the question is, in a climate when politicians and the media are finally paying attention to military and campus sexual assault, should these new findings alter our national conversation about rape? Stemple is a longtime feminist who fully understands that men have historically used sexual violence to subjugate women and that in most countries they still do. As she sees it, feminism has fought long and hard to fight rape myths—that if a woman gets raped it’s somehow her fault, that she welcomed it in some way. But the same conversation needs to happen for men. By portraying sexual violence against men as aberrant, we prevent justice and compound the shame. And the conversation about men doesn’t need to shut down the one about women. “Compassion,” she says, “is not a finite resource.”

 

Posted in Female Violence, Feminism, Gender Politics, Gender Violence, Male "Power" and "Privilege", Media Sexism, Men Expressing Feelings | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Feminism as hate speech, and no, that’s not hyperbole

 
 

AntifemHateSpeedh

Feminism: Hate and the Mechanism of Dehumanization

by Observing Libertarian

A delve into the underlying nature of hatred and the mechanism of dehumanization.

Please watch the video links LAST. They are the example of what this article articulates. the videos are collected examples of hate and dehumanization — in practice.

First however – a few things to clear your mind of a lot of misconceptions and propaganda.

Some facts for you:

Domestic Violence ~

Published in the “Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma”, the paper “CURRENT CONTROVERSIES AND PREVALENCE CONCERNING FEMALE OFFENDERS OF INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE” written by Murray A Straus of the University of New Hampshire.

http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2/V75-Straus-09.pdf

Straus cites over 200 studies conducted in the United States which determined no statistically significant difference in the frequency of violence against a cohabiting partner and no difference  as to either minor or severe injuries dealt to the victim.

Simply stated: women are just as likely to severely injure their partners through domestic abuse as men are.

More evidence:

CDC Researchers discovered interesting facts when examining their own data.

The study, by CDC researchers Daniel J. Whitaker, PhD, Tadesse Haileyesus, MS, Monica Swahn, PhD and Linda S. Saltzman, PhD, found that a surprising 70% of cases of non-reciprocal violence were perpetrated by women.

http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2005.079020

The researchers studied 11,370 18- to 28-year-olds who had been in a total of 18,761 heterosexual relationships. They found that about 50% of cases of intimate partner violence were reciprocal, which they define as “perpetrated by both partners”, and 50% were non-reciprocal. Cases of violent women and non-violent men accounted for 70% of non-reciprocal cases, whereas cases of violent men and non-violent women accounted for 30% of non-reciprocal cases.

Thus: 50% of all cases of intimate partner violence among heterosexuals involve violence by both partners

35% of all cases involve a violent woman and an non-violent man

15% of all cases involve a violent man and an non-violent woman”

Rape~

“Female Victims of Sexual Violence, 1994-2010″ by Marcus Berzofsky, Dr.P.H., RTI, Christopher Krebs, Ph.D., RTI, Lynn Langton, Ph.D., BJS, Michael Planty, Ph.D., BJS, Hope Smiley-McDonald, Ph.D., RTI. March 7, 2013

http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/fvsv9410.pdf

The study “presents trends in the rate of completed or attempted rape or sexual assault against females from 1995 to 2010. The report examines demographic characteristics of female victims of sexual violence and characteristics of the offender and incident, including victim-offender relationship, whether the offender had a weapon, and the location of the victimization. The report also examines changes over time in the percentages of female victims of sexual violence who suffered an injury and received formal medical treatment, reported the victimization to the police, and received assistance from a victim service provider. Data are from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), which collects information on nonfatal crimes, reported and not reported to the police, against persons age 12 or older from a nationally representative sample of U.S. households.”

The study concluded the following:

From 1995 to 2010, the estimated annual rate of female rape or sexual assault victimizations declined 58%, from 5.0 victimizations per 1,000 females age 12 or older to 2.1 per 1,000.

DeclineOfRapeWhich means the current popularized estimate of 1/4 women or 1/5 women will be raped: false far short. If a rape rate of 2.1 victimization per 1,000 populace were maintained that would equate to .2% of women being raped every year.

Rape – men always victimizer: women always victim… Or is that the case?

In “The Sexual Victimization of Men in America: New Data Challenge Old Assumptions” written by Lara Stemple, JD, and Ilan H. Meyer, PhD, they came to the following conclusion.

http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/research/violence-crime/the-sexual-victimization-of-men-in-america-new-data-challenge-old-assumptions/

“We assessed 12-month prevalence and incidence data on sexual victimization in 5 federal surveys that the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted independently in 2010 through 2012. We used these data to examine the prevailing assumption that men rarely experience sexual victimization. We concluded that federal surveys detect a high prevalence of sexual victimization among men—in many circumstances similar to the prevalence found among women. We identified factors that perpetuate misperceptions about men’s sexual victimization: reliance on traditional gender stereotypes, outdated and inconsistent definitions, and methodological sampling biases that exclude inmates. We recommend changes that move beyond regressive gender assumptions, which can harm both women and men.”

Further evidence: men being raped by women -

In “When Men Are Raped” By Hanna Rosin

http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2014/04/male_rape_in_america_a_new_study_reveals_that_men_are_sexually_assaulted.html

“Data hasn’t been calculated under the new FBI definition yet, but Stemple parses several other national surveys in her new paper, “The Sexual Victimization of Men in America: New Data Challenge Old Assumptions,” co-written with Ilan Meyer and published in the April 17 edition of the American Journal of Public Health. One of those surveys is the 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, for which the Centers for Disease Control invented a category of sexual violence called “being made to penetrate.” This definition includes victims who were forced to penetrate someone else with their own body parts, either by physical force or coercion, or when the victim was drunk or high or otherwise unable to consent. When those cases were taken into account, the rates of nonconsensual sexual contact basically equalized, with 1.270 million women and 1.267 million men claiming to be victims of sexual violence.”

Child Abuse~

In July 2008 Mark B. Rosenthal wrote an article detailing data collected by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services“Child Maltreatment” reports, 2001-2006* Victims by Parental Status of Perpetrators“.

http://www.breakingthescience.org/SimplifiedDataFromDHHS.php

 

” The DHHS data shows that of children abused by one parent between 2001 and 2006, 70.6% were abused by their mothers, whereas only 29.4% were abused by their fathers.

And of children who died at the hands of one parent between 2001 and 2006, 70.8% were killed by their mothers, whereas only 29.2% were killed by their fathers.

Furthermore, contrary to media portrayals that leave the viewer with the impression that only girls are ever harmed, boys constituted fully 60% of child fatalities. (Table 4-3, p. 71, Child Maltreatment 2006,http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/pubs/cm06/cm06.pdf, reports that 675 boys died in 2006 as compared to 454 girls).”

~SYNOPSIS~

By taking a close look at the data collected by national organizations we find that women are more likely to abuse children than men, just as likely to rape men as men are to rape women and just as likely to commit domestic violence as men are. So why is the prevailing image of men one that it is a crime just to be male? If actual crime, survey data and collected records show us that women are no less likely to commit violent and or sedition crimes than men why are men depicted as the “Bad Guy” in so much rhetoric?

The first reason I would like to propose: patriarchy. Yes, I think the patriarchy at one time was real and that it’s left an indelible impact on society. However the second is far more malicious in intent: Feminism.

While patriarchy left us with the unmistakable ideal that women are beauty, pure, gentle and incapable of behaving in such inhuman ways – it is feminism which has tried it’s very “bestest” to dehumanize men. As where patriarchy taught us that all women are good: feminism has shifted the public paradigm into believing that all men are bad. Thus, we have ourselves a double edged sword.

Feminism however: has gone to great lengths, through lobbying and the publishing of propaganda to ensure that men could be vilified with false reports and fake research papers that often ignores it’s own research data.

Proof of concept: Mary Koss. In the above CDC report “Made to penetrate” having been added to their roster of classifications, we have Mary Koss to thank. She lobbied the CDC to exclude male victims of female predators as being classified as “rape.” Now if you ask the common person – if you are made to have sex with someone by being physically forced, or forced at gunpoint/knife point, coerced with threats of violence, you are unconscious, roofied, comatose or any other form of incapacitation whereby you are incapable of providing consent or the sexual activity is committed directly against your will – is that rape? The vast majority of people would say yes, that is rape. Anytime someone conducts sex with you either against your consent or while you are incapable of providing consent – it is rape.

Not according, to the CDC. Due to the actions taken by Mary Koss “made to penetrate” was created so that male victims of female predators could be discluded, by definition, from being “raped”. Therefore she could tout feminist statistics on female rape victims while completely excluding figures of males having been raped by women.

According to the CDC a man cannot be raped by a woman even if he is physically forced, forced at gunpoint/knife point, coerced with threats, comatose, intoxicated, passed out, roofied or otherwise incapacitated by any other means. By legal definition he cannot be raped by a woman – no matter what. It’s instead referred to as “made to penetrate” and is therefore constituted as a form of sexual assault – but not rape.

Once again this was done strictly so that Koss could publish intentionally tampered and gender biased research data on the rate at which victims are raped. You see, having a number of males victimized equal to that of women doesn’t look good when you’re trying to talk about “patriarchy” and the inherent “rape culture” found in it, which has a narrative that all men are potential rapists and all women are potential victims.

This by the way, is not the first time Mary Koss has used such tactics. Most people are unaware – the commonly quoted “1/4 women will be raped” statistic comes from her study. In this study 73% of the women she claimed were raped explicitly said that they were in fact NOT raped. 40% of those same women continued to have relationships with the person the survey data exclaimed had raped them. If you control the definitions of terms you can get any answer you want – no matter how bogus.

Are Feminists simply always about hating men or do they support women’s rights while they’re at it?

Well, we run into an interesting thing when it comes to women’s rights: Feminists hate independent, empowered women. If a woman takes self defense classes, carries mace, attains a concealed carry weapon license or even recently: nailpolish that can detect the date rape drug in your drink – Feminists don’t like it.

They refer to all of the above subscribed behavior as “victim blaming”.

Feminists don’t like that. Anything that would prevent rape diminishes the feminist narrative of “rape culture” as females with firearms pointed out. Also, if you have truly strong independent empowered women capable of defending themselves, it takes away from the feminist paradigm of the patriarchy – which asserts that all women are victims and all men perpetrators. Feminists don’t like that either.

See if you can follow the feminist logic on this….

Anything that helps prevent crime is “victim blaming” women who were victimized by that same crime. So apparently – it’s bad if we try to prevent crime that would victimize women…. So to prevent victims from feeling bad – we shouldn’t try to prevent other women from being victimized….

That’s their logic, that’s their argument: they would rather more women be victimized than allow women who were victimized feel bad about having been victimized. Feminists -want- women to be raped, so that other rape victims will not feel bad about having been raped.

Sad and sorry to say – feminism isn’t about protecting women and hasn’t been for a very long time. It’s about enforcing the narrative that a woman is a victim and a man is a victimizer. At one point feminism may have been about equal rights for women – it used to be pro-woman: now it’s simply anti-male. And feminists don’t like anything that empowers women.

More to the point: TRULY strong, independent self empowered women who dare to disagree with feminist’s sisterhood hive mind face ridicule and even death threats to try and shame them or scare them into line. So while feminism claims to want equality, their activities add up to being nothing more than social terrorists. Suppressing women’s freedom of speech should they ever dare to step out of line, and disagree with the sisterhood.

Why would feminism stoop to such fantastically underhanded tactics? Well, two reasons. One is hatred: the other is systematic dehumanization.

If you look closely at the things feminists say and do – you’ll be shocked by just how obvious it is. Below are some useful bits of information on hate and the process of dehumanization, written by world authorities on the subject.

Feminists are not pro-woman, they are anti-male. Spreading hate-speech and that hate speech is active dehumanization. Through dehumanization – group B feels guiltless about doing inhuman things to group A. They even feel justified, that it’s the righteous thing to do. By dehumanizing men, they can justify any action, no matter if it’s an atrocity or not.

The science of hatred

Posted in Science by Jen Robinson onOctober 19, 2009

http://psycnet.apa.org/books/10930/003

“Professor of Psychology Ervin Staub has been studying hatred and violence for almost 30 years. In a recent article entitledThe Origins and Evolution of Hate, he extends Penguin’s definition, pointing out that hate is more likely to occur when we view another person as having either equal or greater social or economic value rather than less. Humans may feel things like pity or distain for people they view as inferior to them, but true hatred typically comes about when the other is seen as equal or superior. Often, the hated person or group is seen as having more than they deserve, and that these fortunes have been acquired at the expense of the hater.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Seven-Stage Hate Model: The Psychopathology of Hate

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/let-their-words-do-the-talking/201103/the-seven-stage-hate-model-the-psychopathology-hate

Not all insecure people are haters, but all haters are insecure people.

Published on March 18, 2011 by Jack Schafer, Ph.D. in Let Their Words Do the Talking

“Stage 1: The Haters Gather

Stage 2: The Hate Group Defines Itself

Stage 3: The Hate Group Disparages the Target

Stage 4: The Hate Group Taunts the Target

Stage 5: The Hate Group Attacks the Target Without Weapons

Stage 6: The Hate Group Attacks the Target with Weapons

Stage 7: The Hate Group Destroys the Target”

The Individual Psychology of Group Hate

http://web.mit.edu/cis/pdf/15-48.MICHENER.pdf

Willa Michener

“Revenge is often taken against people who were not perpetrators of the original offense, provided that they belong to the perpetrator’s group. People react as if they believed that if one member of a group attacked, then they all did or would. Groups are culturally defined, though the tendency to relate to them is universal. It is proposed that “the enemy” is an inherited category while the identity of the groups placed into that category is learned. Enemies are subject to hate, fear, and coldness (the inhibition of empathy). We are prepared to experience an entire outgroup as “enemy” if any of them attack us. We anticipate the same reaction in outgroups by experiencing them as “enemy” when any of us attack them. We mirror fellow ingroup members’ hatreds.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now that we have identifying behavior which should be interpreted as hatred: nothing more, nothing less. Hate is hate. You can dress it up however you like. How does hate feed itself? Dehumanization: when you subscribe to the idea that all of group A are evil and all of group B are innocent. So let’s examine dehumanization.

http://www.lucifereffect.com/dehumanization.htm

At the core of evil is the process of dehumanization by which certain other people or collectives of them, are depicted as less than human, as non-comparable in humanity or personal dignity to those who do the labeling. Prejudice employs negative stereotypes in images or verbally abusive terms to demean and degrade the objects of its narrow view of superiority over these allegedly inferior persons. Discrimination involves the actions taken against those others based on the beliefs and emotions generated by prejudiced perspectives.

Dehumanization is one of the central processes in the transformation of ordinary, normal people into indifferent or even wanton perpetrators of evil. Dehumanization is like a “cortical cataract” that clouds one’s thinking and fosters the perception that other people are less than human. It makes some people come to see those others as enemies deserving of torment, torture, and even annihilation.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Michelle Maiese is a graduate student of Philosophy at the University of Colorado, Boulder and is a part of the research staff at the Conflict Research Consortium.

What it Means to Dehumanize

http://www.beyondintractability.org/essay/dehumanization

Dehumanization is a psychological process whereby opponents view each other as less than human and thus not deserving of moral consideration. Jews in the eyes of Nazis and Tutsis in the eyes of Hutus (in the Rwandan genocide) are but two examples. Protracted conflict strains relationships and makes it difficult for parties to recognize that they are part of a shared human community. Such conditions often lead to feelings of intense hatred and alienation among conflicting parties. The more severe the conflict, the more the psychological distance between groups will widen. Eventually, this can result in moral exclusion. Those excluded are typically viewed as inferior, evil, or criminal.

We typically think that all people have some basic human rights that should not be violated. Innocent people should not be murdered, raped, or tortured. Rather, international law suggests that they should be treated justly and fairly, with dignity and respect. They deserve to have their basic needs met, and to have some freedom to make autonomous decisions. In times of war, parties must take care to protect the lives of innocent civilians on the opposing side. Even those guilty of breaking the law should receive a fair trial, and should not be subject to any sort of cruel or unusual punishment.

However, for individuals viewed as outside the scope of morality and justice, “the concepts of deserving basic needs and fair treatment do not apply and can seem irrelevant.”Any harm that befalls such individuals seems warranted, and perhaps even morally justified. Those excluded from the scope of morality are typically perceived as psychologically distant, expendable, and deserving of treatment that would not be acceptable for those included in one’s moral community. Common criteria for exclusion include ideology, skin color, and cognitive capacity. We typically dehumanize those whom we perceive as a threat to our well-being or values.

Psychologically, it is necessary to categorize one’s enemy as sub-human in order to legitimize increased violence or justify the violation of basic human rights. Moral exclusion reduces restraints against harming or exploiting certain groups of people. In severe cases, dehumanization makes the violation of generally accepted norms of behavior regarding one’s fellow man seem reasonable, or even necessary.

The Psychology of Dehumanization

Dehumanization is actually an extension of a less intense process of developing an “enemy image” of the opponent. During the course of protracted conflict, feelings of anger, fear, and distrust shape the way that the parties perceive each other. Adversarial attitudes and perceptions develop and parties begin to attribute negative traits to their opponent. They may come to view the opponent as an evil enemy, deficient in moral virtue, or as a dangerous, warlike monster.

An enemy image is a negative stereotype through which the opposing group is viewed as evil, in contrast to one’s own side, which is seen as good. Such images can stem from a desire for group identity and a need to contrast the distinctive attributes and virtues of one’s own group with the vices of the “outside” group. In some cases, evil-ruler enemy images form. While ordinary group members are regarded as neutral, or perhaps even innocent, their leaders are viewed as hideous monsters.

Enemy images are usually black and white. The negative actions of one’s opponent are thought to reflect their fundamental evil nature, traits, or motives. One’s own faults, as well as the values and motivations behind the actions of one’s opponent, are usually discounted, denied, or ignored. It becomes difficult to empathize or see where one’s opponent is coming from. Meaningful communication is unlikely, and it becomes difficult to perceive any common ground.

Once formed, enemy images tend to resist change, and serve to perpetuate and intensify the conflict. Because the adversary has come to be viewed as a “diabolical enemy,” the conflict is framed as a war between good and evil. Once the parties have framed the conflict in this way, their positions become more rigid. In some cases, zero-sum thinking develops as parties come to believe that they must either secure their own victory, or face defeat. New goals to punish or destroy the opponent arise, and in some cases more militant leadership comes into power.

Enemy images are accentuated, according to psychologists, by the process of “projection,” in which people “project” their own faults onto their opponents. This means that people or groups who tend to be aggressive or selfish are likely to attribute those traits to their opponents, but not to themselves. This improves one’s own self-image and increases group cohesion, but it also escalates the conflict and makes it easier to dehumanize the other side.

Deindividuation facilitates dehumanization as well. This is the psychological process whereby a person is seen as a member of a category or group rather than as an individual. Because people who are deindividuated seem less than fully human, they are viewed as less protected by social norms against aggression than those who are individuated. It then becomes easier to rationalize contentious moves or severe actions taken against one’s opponents.

Dangers of Dehumanization

While deindividuation and the formation of enemy images are very common, they form a dangerous process that becomes especially damaging when it reaches the level of dehumanization.

Once certain groups are stigmatized as evil, morally inferior, and not fully human, the persecution of those groups becomes more psychologically acceptable. Restraints against aggression and violence begin to disappear. Not surprisingly, dehumanization increases the likelihood of violence and may cause a conflict to escalate out of control. Once a violence break over has occurred, it may seem even more acceptable for people to do things that they would have regarded as morally unthinkable before.

Parties may come to believe that destruction of the other side is necessary, and pursue an overwhelming victory that will cause one’s opponent to simply disappear. This sort of into-the-sea framing can cause lasting damage to relationships between the conflicting parties, making it more difficult to solve their underlying problems and leading to the loss of more innocent lives.

Indeed, dehumanization often paves the way for human rights violations, war crimes, and genocide. For example, in WWII, the dehumanization of the Jews ultimately led to the destruction of millions of people. Similar atrocities have occurred in Rwanda, Cambodia, and the former Yugoslavia.

It is thought that the psychological process of dehumanization might be mitigated or reversed through humanization efforts, the development of empathy, the establishment of personal relationships between conflicting parties, and the pursuit of common goals.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

According to Baron and Richardson (1994), dehumanization occurs when an individual views another person in negative ways, which leads to the belief that they are undeserving of the respect and kindness usually afforded to another person. It is as if that individual is compared to being nonhuman (Haslam, Kashima, Loughnan, Shi, & Suitner 2008). In comparing groups under the same situation, Esses, Veenvliet, Hodson, and Mihic (2008) state that, for example, if group B is seen as failing to uphold values belonging to group A, then group B must be immoral and less than human. This results in group B being less deserving of humane treatment. The fate of the members of group B is less relevant to group A, and their interests may be ignored. The implication is then that dehumanization of a target increases aggressive behavior because dehumanized group members have no moral standards applied to them (Castano & Giner-Sorolla, 2006). Bandura (2002) adds that strangers can be more easily depersonalized than acquaintances because of a lack of moral obligation to try and comprehend a stranger.

There are three different ways in which people are dehumanized. Haslam, et al. (2008) points out that people can be compared to animals, in which uniquely human attributes are denied and the person is described as being coarse, uncultured, amoral, irrational, and childlike. Bandura (2002) adds that attributing demonic or bestial qualities to a person also makes them less than human. A second way in which people are dehumanized is by comparing a person to a machine (i.e., “mechanistic dehumanization”), in which human attributes are removed, and the person is perceived to be unfeeling, cold, passive, rigid, and lacking individuality (Haslam, et al., 2008). By doing this, the person is denied of emotionality and desires (Haslam, et al., 2008). Controlling or manipulative interpersonal relationships have been identified as one antecedent of mechanistic dehumanization (Moller & Deci, 2010).

The third way that a person can be dehumanized is by perceiving the other person as being the enemy. Esses, et al. (2008) state that the enemy is constructed to exemplify manipulation and is described as being opportunistic, evil, immoral, and motivated by greed. The enemy is shown to take advantage of the weak, which in turn justifies any action taken against the enemy (Esses, et al., 2008). Esses, et al. (2008) go on to describe the barbarian image, which includes the perceptions of a ruthless, crude, and unsophisticated individual that is willing to cheat to reach glory.

The consequence of constructing these dehumanizing forms is the inequality that is brought on as a result. It can be seen that those who support the existence of social dominance view the world as a competitive place where only the toughest survive and are willing to discriminate against other groups in order to reach or uphold group dominance. What this does is legitimize entitlement and the dehumanization of others (Esses, et al., 2008).

In order to combat dehumanization, it is essential to do the opposite of what it takes to instill dehumanization. Moshman (2007) states that in dehumanization, individuals are interpreted as containing elements of a subhuman, nonhuman, or anti-human group. In order to not view others in those terms, then the two groups must unite and be intimate with one another so as to see the humanistic qualities that each possess. The reason for this is because it is difficult to mistreat humanized people without risking personal distress (Bandura, 2002).

Another way to counteract possible conflict is to keep both groups separate. Moshman (2007) states that there is no need to try to dehumanize another group provided that that group stays in one location, and the other group stays in another. The only problem with this suggestion is that no matter how hard it can be tried, there is bound to be trouble. This is because human groups often get in each other’s way and fail to meet each other’s expectations (Moshman, 2007).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now, a look at what goes on in the world out there as a result of this hatred and active campaign of dehumanization.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0INrpezqOk0&list=UUlfqxOGWFlOMQWpIhbhzL2w

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UH-T1ukKy4&list=UUlfqxOGWFlOMQWpIhbhzL2w

http://www.vice.com/read/is-reducing-the-male-population-by-90-percent-the-solution-to-all-our-problems

http://jezebel.com/331323/thai-women-cut-cocks-because-murder-isnt-enough

Still think feminism isn’t hate speech?

JB here: reading all the dehumanization tactics is actually rather upsetting. I think I will go and hug all the men and boys I love.  Maybe you should too.

And then get ready for war.

Lots of love,

JB

Posted in Female Violence, Feminism, Gender Politics, Gender Violence, Gender Wage Gap, In-depth commentary for the serious activist, Male "Power" and "Privilege", Media Sexism, Men Expressing Feelings, Sexual Harassment and Economic Harassment, World of Children/World of Work | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

5 Feminist Myths That Will Not Die

Much of what we hear about the plight of American women is false. Some faux facts have been repeated so often they are almost beyond the reach of critical analysis. Though they are baseless, these canards have become the foundation of Congressional debates, the inspiration for new legislation and the focus of college programs. Here are five of the most popular myths that should be rejected by all who are genuinely committed to improving the circumstances of women:

MYTH 1: Women are half the world’s population, working two-thirds of the world’s working hours, receiving 10% of the world’s income, owning less than 1% of the world’s property.

FACTS: This injustice confection is routinely quoted by advocacy groups, the World Bank, Oxfam and the United Nations. It is sheer fabrication. More than 15 years ago, Sussex University experts on gender and development Sally Baden and Anne Marie Goetz, repudiated the claim: “The figure was made up by someone working at the UN because it seemed to her to represent the scale of gender-based inequality at the time.” But there is no evidence that it was ever accurate, and it certainly is not today.

Precise figures do not exist, but no serious economist believes women earn only 10% of the world’s income or own only 1% of property. As one critic noted in an excellent debunking in The Atlantic, “U.S. women alone earn 5.4 percent of world income today.” Moreover, in African countries, where women have made far less progress than their Western and Asian counterparts, Yale economist Cheryl Doss found female land ownership ranged from 11% in Senegal to 54% in Rwanda and Burundi. Doss warns that “using unsubstantiated statistics for advocacy is counterproductive.” Bad data not only undermine credibility, they obstruct progress by making it impossible to measure change.

MYTH 2: Between 100,000 and 300,000 girls are pressed into sexual slavery each year in the United States.

FACTS: This sensational claim is a favorite of politicians, celebrities and journalists. Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore turned it into a cause célèbre. Both conservatives and liberal reformers deploy it. Former President Jimmy Carter recently said that the sexual enslavement of girls in the U.S. today is worse than American slavery in the 19th century.

The source for the figure is a 2001 report on child sexual exploitation by University of Pennsylvania sociologists Richard Estes and Neil Alan Weiner. But their 100,000–300,000 estimate referred to children at risk for exploitation—not actual victims. When three reporters from the Village Voice questioned Estes on the number of children who are abducted and pressed into sexual slavery each year, he replied, “We’re talking about a few hundred people.” And this number is likely to include a lot of boys: According to a 2008 census of underage prostitutes in New York City, nearly half turned out to be male. A few hundred children is still a few hundred too many, but they will not be helped by thousand-fold inflation of their numbers.

MYTH 3: In the United States, 22%–35% of women who visit hospital emergency rooms do so because of domestic violence.

FACTS: This claim has appeared in countless fact sheets, books and articles—for example, in the leading textbook on family violence, Domestic Violence Law, and in the Penguin Atlas of Women in the World. The Penguin Atlas uses the emergency room figure to justify placing the U.S. on par with Uganda and Haiti for intimate violence.

What is the provenance? The Atlas provides no primary source, but the editor of Domestic Violence Law cites a 1997 Justice Department study, as well as a 2009 post on the Centers for Disease Control website. But the Justice Department and the CDC are not referring to the 40 million women who annually visit emergency rooms, but to women, numbering about 550,000 annually, who come to emergency rooms “for violence-related injuries.” Of these, approximately 37% were attacked by intimates. So, it’s not the case that 22%-35% of women who visit emergency rooms are there for domestic violence. The correct figure is less than half of 1%.

MYTH 4: One in five in college women will be sexually assaulted.

FACTS: This incendiary figure is everywhere in the media today. Journalists, senators and even President Obama cite it routinely. Can it be true that the American college campus is one of the most dangerous places on earth for women?

The one-in-five figure is based on the Campus Sexual Assault Study, commissioned by the National Institute of Justice and conducted from 2005 to 2007. Two prominent criminologists, Northeastern University’s James Alan Fox and Mount Holyoke College’s Richard Moran, have noted its weaknesses:

“The estimated 19% sexual assault rate among college women is based on a survey at two large four-year universities, which might not accurately reflect our nation’s colleges overall. In addition, the survey had a large non-response rate, with the clear possibility that those who had been victimized were more apt to have completed the questionnaire, resulting in an inflated prevalence figure.”

Fox and Moran also point out that the study used an overly broad definition of sexual assault. Respondents were counted as sexual assault victims if they had been subject to “attempted forced kissing” or engaged in intimate encounters while intoxicated.

Defenders of the one-in-five figure will reply that the finding has been replicated by other studies. But these studies suffer from some or all of the same flaws. Campus sexual assault is a serious problem and will not be solved by statistical hijinks.

MYTH 5: Women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns—for doing the same work.

FACTS: No matter how many times this wage gap claim is decisively refuted by economists, it always comes back. The bottom line: the 23-cent gender pay gap is simply the difference between the average earnings of all men and women working full-time. It does not account for differences in occupations, positions, education, job tenure or hours worked per week. When such relevant factors are considered, the wage gap narrows to the point of vanishing.

Wage gap activists say women with identical backgrounds and jobs as men still earn less. But they always fail to take into account critical variables. Activist groups like the National Organization for Women have a fallback position: that women’s education and career choices are not truly free—they are driven by powerful sexist stereotypes. In this view, women’s tendency to retreat from the workplace to raise children or to enter fields like early childhood education and psychology, rather than better paying professions like petroleum engineering, is evidence of continued social coercion. Here is the problem: American women are among the best informed and most self-determining human beings in the world. To say that they are manipulated into their life choices by forces beyond their control is divorced from reality and demeaning, to boot.

Why do these reckless claims have so much appeal and staying power? For one thing, there is a lot of statistical illiteracy among journalists, feminist academics and political leaders. There is also an admirable human tendency to be protective of women—stories of female exploitation are readily believed, and vocal skeptics risk appearing indifferent to women’s suffering. Finally, armies of advocates depend on “killer stats” to galvanize their cause. But killer stats obliterate distinctions between more and less serious problems and send scarce resources in the wrong directions. They also promote bigotry. The idea that American men are annually enslaving more than 100,000 girls, sending millions of women to emergency rooms, sustaining a rape culture and cheating women out of their rightful salary creates rancor in true believers and disdain in those who would otherwise be sympathetic allies.

My advice to women’s advocates: Take back the truth.

Christina Hoff Sommers, a former philosophy professor, is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. She is the author of several books, including Who Stole Feminism and The War Against Boys, and is the host of a weekly video blog, The Factual Feminist. Follow her @CHSommers.

Posted in Feminism, Gender Politics, Gender Violence, Gender Wage Gap, Male "Power" and "Privilege", Media Sexism, World of Children/World of Work | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment