This article by a new contributor is aimed at a broad audience. This could be a good candidate for introducing others to an important issue.
As what many consider a far left progressive, living in one of the most left leaning states in the United States, I always prided myself in my stance on equitable treatment of others. The main reason for this is that many on the far right, whose politics I oppose, base their political arguments on skewed or outright dishonest statistics or misrepresentation of facts…often a combination of both. It’s a misnomer to consider these individuals as political conservatives, because they’re far removed from the traditional conservative definition. While ad hominem, they are more accurately defined as bigots.
A prominent example would be Faux News.
As many of my core values align with third wave feminism, for the majority of my adult life I’ve considered myself a feminist, or at the very least, a strong supporter of feminist ideology. As a minority, I strongly identified with their message of equity and equal treatment.
However, over this last weekend, I discovered in my virtual travels online, feminists, many of them unwittingly, have been misrepresenting facts about one of their main grievances that is the lightning rods of the feminist movement…sexual assault. Their narrative has always been that large numbers of women are being sexually assaulted by men, who are hardly ever are sexually assaulted themselves, in large part, they believe, because of a patriarchal society that allows it. The takeaway has always been that sexual assault is almost exclusively a crime perpetrated by men against women.
Now before people start getting irrationally upset, sexual assault is something I strongly oppose and I’ve always believed that every allegation should be investigated in a timely and objective manner. I continuously take exception that many rape kits collected by law enforcement go unprocessed. This is a travesty of justice.
However, my concern is feminists misrepresenting rape statistics with gender biased studies to support their narrative…potentially from the very beginning. When a person conducts a study, their study is peer reviewed for methodology and objectivity. The problem here is that many of the sexual assault studies conducted by feminists and their supporters were also peer reviewed by other feminists and their supporters…creating a strong potential for confirmation bias and a kind of echo chamber.
Recently, more objective studies of sexual assault have been conducted which thoroughly debunk the feminist narrative that sexual assault is a crime almost exclusively committed by men against women.
In 2013, the National Crime Victimization Survey conducted by the United States Government Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) found 38% of all sexual assault victims were men. Further, Lara Stemple of the Human Rights Project at UCLA co-authored a paper called: “The Sexual Victimization of Men in America: New Data Challenge Old Assumptions,” published in the April 17, 2014 edition of the American Journal of Public Health found when a more objective count of sexual assault victims was compiled, which included sexual assault in prisons and other correctional facilities (an area excluded by most feminists when studying rates of sexual assault and not counted in most general national statistics) found 1.270 million women and 1.267 men reported being sexually assaulted… both genders were sexually assaulted in equal numbers. Further, the BJS found that in regard to male victims of sexual assault, 46% reported their assailant was female. What’s even more disturbing is regarding incarcerated juveniles sexually assaulted. In 89% of all reported cases, the victims were boys who reported the perpetrator as a female staff member.
The United States Center for Disease Control found that men are sexually assaulted at nearly the same rate as women. USAToday reports that 43% of high school and young college men reported they had an unwanted sexual experience and 95% of that number reported their assailant was a female acquaintance.
On top of all of this, there’s the issue of false rape allegations. While the statistics are all over the map, ranging from 2% reported by feminists and 40% reported by men’s rights activists (MRAs), a recent article by Dara Lind: “What we know about false Rape Allegations, ” published on Vox.com, looked at a variety of studies and found women falsely report rape approximately 5.9% of the time. Which means of the 1.270 million women who reported being sexually assaulted, approximately 74,930 of these allegations were false. If 5.9% of females allegations of sexual assault are false, then based on Lara Stemple’s paper, males are sexually assaulted in the United States more often than females.
While feminists are correct that sexual assault is drastically under reported in the United States…it’s often elements in the feminist movement doing the under reporting.
By excluding large segments of male sexual assault victims and female rapists from their studies, feminists have created a false narrative allowing them to fraudulently receive government benefits and subsidies, while painting sexual assault as a crime exclusively perpetrated by men against women. Sexual assault in the United States is an important issue that needs attention, but it’s not the gender battleground falsely created by feminists. By misrepresenting facts of sexual assault victimization through gender bias, feminists create serious credibility issues that may be fatal to their message of equality and potentially their movement.