Are you a man? Did you know that you might be a rapist?
This is the message that the newly launched White Ribbon Ireland campaign wants men to hear. After all, thousands and thousands of women are raped every year in this country, so someone must be responsible.
Except, of course, they aren’t. As White Ribbon Ireland was launched to much fanfare, its organisers managed to overstate the number of rapes that take place in Ireland eightfold, an astoundingly farcical failure from people who are supposed to be the experts on serious issues like rape and the violence of men toward women. Conor Lally of The Irish Times reports:
The organisers of the high profile launch in Ireland of White Ribbon Day have been forced to retract their claims for the number of rapes recorded last year.
The retraction came after it emerged they had overestimated the number of rapes reported almost eight-fold.
Literature distributed at the Irish launch of the international campaign highlighting the problem of violence by men against women said there were 3,500 rapes recorded by the Irish authorities last year.
The official figure recorded by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) is 451.
The literature distributed by Carr Communications, which is handling the media for the campaign, said: “According to CSO statistics, there were 3,500 reported rapes in Ireland in 2013.”
However, the CSO data reveals 451 recorded rapes of women and men last year.
The White Ribbon Ireland campaign is being managed by three groups: SAFE Ireland, the Men’s Development Network (MDN), and the Rape Crisis Network Ireland. Apparently the moral-panic-inducing incorrect numbers were provided by the MDN to themselves, as leaders of the Irish chapter of “the world’s largest male-led movement to end men’s violence against women.”
Tom Meagher, whose wife was tragically murdered in Australia, is the spokesman for the campaign. He penned an essay entitled “The Monster Myth” for White Ribbon, which, as you can probably guess, implies that rapists aren’t stereotypical monsters, unhinged and violent individuals often with a long history of violence and crime, but rather, and I quote, “friends, acquaintances, husbands, lovers, brothers and fathers.”
This despite the fact that his wife’s murderer was, as we learned after a suppression order was lifted by Justice Geoffrey Nettle, a man with an “extensive history of rape and violence.”
What Meagher is describing with his “Monster Myth” is the feminist concept of rape culture, which claims that we live in a culture where rape is normalised and accepted by society instead of being the universally reviled and despised crime it actually is.
When pressed on the matter, feminists usually fall back on saying that the idea merely represents power imbalances between men and women, but as the White Ribbon campaign makes manifest, in terms of dealing with the public, they’re very much talking about physical violent rape. Seen through a feminist lens, men are collectively culpable for the actions of a miniscule minority.
Needless to say, even major victim support groups have started to distance themselves from the insane idea of “rape culture,” including the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), which is the largest and most influential anti-sexual violence organization in the United States. In a February 2014 letter advising a U.S. White House task force charged with creating a plan to reduce rape on college campuses, RAINN’s president, Scott Berkowitz, and vice president for public policy, Rebecca O’Connor, stated:
There has been an unfortunate trend towards blaming ‘rape culture’ for the extensive problem of sexual violence on campus. While it is helpful to point out the systemic barriers to addressing the problem, it is important not to lose sight of the simple fact: rape is caused not by cultural factors but by the conscious decisions of a small percentage of the community to commit a violent crime.
The enormous inflation of sexual assault figures by White Ribbon Ireland is very much emblematic of their feminist contemporaries; they were simply taking a page out of the books of other feminist research that has been conducted at home and abroad, such as The SAVI Report: Sexual Abuse and Violence in Ireland:
Researchers now suggest that the optimal way to collect accurate information is to provide behaviourally specific definitions rather than summary terms which have varied meanings across the general public (e.g. “put his penis in your vagina against your will” is preferable to “raped you”) (Walby and Myhill, 2001; Kilpatrick et al., 2000; Koss, 1993; Wyatt and Doyle Peters, 1986; Russell, 1983). The researcher can then provide the specific prevalence estimates of these experiences as well as combining these very specific categories into larger ones such as “contact” or “non-contact abuse”.
The problem—or advantage, as the “researchers” would no doubt see it—is that these questions remove all context from sexual acts. If they were brought up in court by a distraught victim, would they result in a conviction? Maybe. But “distraught victims” aren’t bringing such matters to the attention of the law because in the context of the moment they certainly wouldn’t have called it rape. The researchers have taken that burden upon themselves.
Essentially the research is predicated on the idea that women don’t know what “rape,” “violence,” or “stalking” means and need a feminist expert to speak for them.
This is a technique that was pioneered by Mary Koss and also used by the much touted European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) report: a feminist researcher decided that the official unbiased government reports weren’t giving her the answers she wanted, so she set up her own surveys in order to adjust the statistics to make them more useful for her ideology.
Post-survey examination of the outcomes revealed that around three-quarters of the women she identified as having been raped did not consider themselves victims of rape and almost half of them not only had sex with their supposed attackers after the event identified as a rape had occurred but also continued dating them.
Koss herself admitted that her methodologies were fatally flawed back in 1992; the 27.5% of survey respondents who answered yes to any of the following three questions resulted in the 1 in 4 shibboleth:
8. Have you had sexual intercourse when you didn’t want to because a man gave you alcohol or drugs?
9. Have you had sexual intercourse when you didn’t want to because a man threatened or used some degree of physical force (twisting your arm, holding you down, etc.) to make you?
10. Have you had sexual acts (anal or oral intercourse or penetration by objects other than the penis) when you didn’t want to because a man threatened or used some degree of physical force (twisting your arm, holding you down, etc.) to make you?
Koss owned up to the fact that her question relating to sex after consuming alcohol was misleading—and that if omitted from the study the actual number of Koss-defined rapes is 1 in 9. When considered in the context of Koss’s identified victims (only 27% self-identified as rape victims), the number drops to 1 in 33.
And that’s before we start to examine the rest of the survey.
Weasel words, asking seemingly innocuous or contextless questions and representing the answers as among the most foul of crimes like these, permeate the entire moral-panic-mongering industry. One of those recently putting them before the public was Dearbhail McDonald in the Irish Independent, who complains:
The landmark Sexual Abuse and Violence in Ireland Report (SAVI) showed that 42pc of Irish women and 28pc of Irish men reported some form of sexual abuse or assault in their lifetime.
Almost a third of Irish women and more than one in five men experiences sexual abuse in their childhood, with more than a quarter of women and more than one in 10 men experiencing sexual abuse in adulthood.
Yet the vast bulk of sexual assaults, including rape and incest, go unreported.
And of those that are reported to gardai, about eight out of 100 cases result in a conviction – that leads to a staggering amount of abusers in our midst who are never held to account.
Something is seriously wrong: in 1977, 73pc of reported rape cases were prosecuted.
Hold on a minute—8 out of 100 result in a conviction, but 73% of reported rape cases were prosecuted? Surely Dearbhail realises that a prosecution is not the same as a conviction? What percentage of reported rape cases in 1977 resulted in a conviction? Dearbhail wraps it up with:
A commitment by the Government for a SAVI style report to be produced every three to five years is vital.
No, Dearbhail, neither the government nor the victims of sexual assault need a SAVI-style report on a regular basis—or ever. What they need are impartial, non-ideologically warped facts and action taken on the basis of those facts.
But the international White Ribbon is no stranger to controversy, and has raised serious questions among the Irish public even as it gets started. Biased, misleading, heavily slanted, and hateful rhetoric has resulted in White Ribbon Campaign materials being destroyed and sites being taken offline by government bodies in Australia:
An online ‘domestic violence study’ has been ordered offline by the University of NSW Human Research Ethics Committee.
Flyers published by the survey organisers have been ordered destroyed.
The study, being conducted by the Gendered Violence Research Network, White Ribbon Australia and Youth Action NSW, was found by the Ethics Committee to have breached the University’s code of ethics.
The decision comes after a national coalition of men’s health advocates made a formal complaint to the University claiming the survey was gender-biased, poorly formulated and misleading. They argued it could not achieve its stated aims and any consequent findings would be unreliable and likely to mislead the public.
Chair of the Ethics Committee, Professor Heather Worth, found that a quote on the original flyers claiming that “childhood exposure to intimate violence increased the likelihood of intergeneration violence particularly amongst boys” was incorrect. The ethics committee has ordered that the flyers be destroyed and replaced by a new flyer that has correct information, including any quotes.
But surely it’s for a good cause, right? One can hardly criticise zeal in the defence of the weak and defenceless.
Except not a red cent appears to be going toward helping the victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, at least in the cases of White Ribbon Australia and White Ribbon Canada. Instead, about half of it seems to be going toward salaries and most of the rest toward making more money by ginning up hysteria.
Just prior to White Ribbon Day in Australia, AVfM publisher Paul Elam exposed the White Ribbon Australia fraud:
With $1,130,402 in salaries and benefits, you can add $203,064, $416,077, and $85,565 respectively for “advertising and marketing,” “fundraising expense,” and “travel and accommodation.” You end up with a total of $1,835,108. That amounts to nothing more than raising money, paying themselves with it, but leaving enough left over to go raise more money.
With additional expenditures under informative headings like “purchases” ($58,603) and “other expenses” ($321,483), White Ribbon Australia ended up with a net loss of $441,787.
Elam followed up a few days later with this exposé of White Ribbon Canada’s financials:
According to Canadian law, a charitable institution may not pay out more than 50% of gross revenue in the form of salaries and benefits. As you can see by the numbers in this report, the Canadians skated in just within the limits of the law.
From ignominious start to inevitable collapse, we’ll be chronicling, tracking, and investigating the actions of the White Ribbon Ireland group and its finances, and broadcasting our findings as they arise.