E-mail RAINN on Saturday, March 15, 2014

The current FBI definition of rape is “The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”  As we’ve said before, this erases victims of rape who are forced to penetrate, generally men forced to have sex with women.  The number of victims who are erased this way is not insignificant; according to the 2010 CDC NISVS, it’s almost equal to the number of women who are raped.

While the FBI definition doesn’t have a direct legal impact, it affects how crime statistics are collected and serves as a model to state legislatures.  This continued erasure is a self-perpetuating cycle that must be stopped.  Rape victims who are not ciswomen victimized by cismen need more support.  With this in mind, I’m asking any readers of this post to help me in an effort to try to create a world in which fewer rape victims are erased.

While it’s probably unrealistic to expect the FBI to change their definition again in the next few years, it might be possible to encourage certain other organizations to stop erasing male victims. RAINN in particular is a very popular source of statistics regarding rape, some of which erase many victims.

I’d like to get as many people as possible to contact RAINN at  info@rainn.org and/or chelseab@rainn.org on Saturday, March 15, 2014, asking them to consider using a more gender-inclusive definition for their statistics and rape awareness campaigns. It would be best for all of this contact to happen all on the same day; it’s easy to ignore a few scattered pleas, but a flood of concern is harder to brush off.  Until that date, I’d like people to reblog this post and spread the message as much as possible.  Talking to local feminist groups or other gender rights-oriented groups is particularly important.  Additionally, I’d like anyone interested in taking a more active role to contact me; a clearer line of communication would help me organize this effort.

While we most likely will not succeed at actually getting RAINN to change their policies, this campaign will increase the visibility male victims, help us learn how to organize social justice campaigns, foster positive connections with feminist groups, and encourage greater activism within the MRM and egalitarian movements.

What do you guys think?

-DJ

info@rainn.org is the “umbrella” RAINN e-mail for contact.  Here’s a possible general model for e-mails directed there:

I’m an individual concerned about gender issues. While RAINN’s overall message and purpose is amazing, your methods often are both problematic and uninclusive.

Your definition of rape, which can be found at http://www.rainn.org/get-information/types-of-sexual-assault/definition-of-rape, is pretty intersectional. However, it directly contradicts one statistic regarding male victims that can be found athttp://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-victims. The current FBI definition of rape is “The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” This erases victims of rape who are forced to penetrate, generally men who are forced to have sex with women. The number of victims erased this way is not insignificant; according to the CDC NISVS, it’s almost equal to the number of women who are raped. More information on the topic can be found at http://permutationofninjas.org/post/57003274589/gender-symmetry-in-sexual-assault-an-analysis-of-the.

You should change some of the information on your site and materials to more accurately represent the facts. Additionally, some particular campaigns, such as http://www.rainn.org/get-information/sexual-assault-prevention/men-can-help, should become more inclusive. Changing the message from “men can try to stop rape” to “everyone should try to stop rape” would be a good start towards addressing sexual assault without erasing male victims or female perpetrators.

chelseab@rainn.org is an e-mail line for membership inquiries.  Here’s a possible model for e-mails directed there:

Mrs. Chelsea Bowers,

I’m an individual concerned about gender issues. RAINN’s overall message and purpose is amazing, and I’d be interested in joining and supporting your organization. However, your methods often seem both problematic and uninclusive.

Your definition of rape, which can be found at http://www.rainn.org/get-information/types-of-sexual-assault/definition-of-rape, isn’t the best, but it’s okay. However, it directly contradicts one statistic regarding male victims that can be found athttp://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-victims. The current FBI definition of rape is “The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” This erases victims of rape who are forced to penetrate, generally men who are forced to have sex with women. The number of victims erased this way is not insignificant; according to the CDC NISVS, it’s almost equal to the number of women who are raped. More information on the topic can be found at http://permutationofninjas.org/post/57003274589/gender-symmetry-in-sexual-assault-an-analysis-of-the.

You should change some of the information on your site and materials to more accurately represent the facts. Additionally, some particular campaigns, such as http://www.rainn.org/get-information/sexual-assault-prevention/men-can-help, should really become more inclusive. Changing the message from “men can try to stop rape” to “everyone should try to stop rape” would be a good start towards addressing sexual assault without erasing male victims or female perpetrators.

Thank you, and I’d love to hear back from you!

(YOUR NAME)

 

Editorial note: reprinted from Permutation of Ninjas. –DE

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