Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sometimes I just like to cite Hugo Schwyzer....

*Sigh* I usually do not agree with that guy, but when he has a point, he has a point:

Women are shamed for their sexuality in a way that men aren’t. That has innumerable consequences. For example, we raise women to be objects of desire. This is where we get the famous Paris Paradox (which goes back long before Paris Hilton), where girls learn how to be sexy long before they discover their own sexuality.

At the same time, we raise boys to believe their bodies aren’t as beautiful, as desirable, as appealing as those of girls. Boys get to be sexual, but too rarely get to trust that they’re wanted, lusted for, desired. Girls are much more visual and much more sexual than we admit; boys “long to be longed for” to a far greater extent than we realize.

You just can't make this shit up....

Assume the following, a large study by a government body finds, among other data, that in the last 12 month the same number of men and women have been raped (almost 50/50). The study however has a flaw and defines the rape of men not as rape but as something different. Now assume a major feminist blog posts about the study yet does not mention that little fact (almost 50/50 rape victims in the last 12 months). When called out said feminist said she does not name that number because she trusts other data in the study more. Of course said feminist also does misinterpret data so that it seems that men are most of the perpetrators. This is happening right now.

The study we are talking about is the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey by the CDC, sample size a tad more than 16,000. Now the CDC is a bit shaky with their definitions of rape, and with shaky I mean these fuckers do not call male rape, rape. Which strangely reminds me of Whoopie Goldberg's it wasn't "rape-rape" remark.

Toysoldier has a nice summary (as always; read it all).

-Among women, rape includes vaginal, oral, or anal penetration by a male using his penis. It also includes vaginal or anal penetration by a male or female using their fingers or an object.

-Among men, rape includes oral or anal penetration by a male using his penis. It also includes anal penetration by a male or female using their fingers or an object. (Page 17)

Horrible fail, most male rape cases via that study got covered via this category:

being made to penetrate someone else could have occurred in multiple ways: being made to vaginally penetrate a female using one’s own penis; orally penetrating a female’s vagina or anus; anally penetrating a male or female; or being made to receive oral sex from a male or female. (Page 17)

As for the results, we take a look at page 18-19 (this number also includes attempted rape as well as alcohol/drug facilitated rape):

Made to penetrate in the last 12 months: 1.1% (There was only a male number as there were not enough women reporting this item)

Rape in the last 12 months: 1.1% (There was only a female number as there were not enough men reporting this item)

The lifetime numbers is where it gets confusing. Although we have the same number (almost, they count 1,270,000 female and 1,267,000 male victims) in the last 12 months the lifetime numbers are 4.8% (male) vs 18.3% (female). Why? I could only speculate. It might be that men are more likely these days to label their experience as rape, it might be that women have become more aggressive of course we have to keep in mind that men are still less likely to report than women. I don't know and I am really waiting for an expert to explain that. However this doesn't change the fact that in the last 12 months the same amount of men and women have been raped (and this even leaves out incarnated men and boys living on the street where both groups are more likely to be rape than similar female ones). This is fucking significant. I can not stress that enough, similar to DV studies there is a study here saying, victims, equal. Sadly, the figure that will be cited everywhere will be the figure with the most female and the least male victims, the lifetime rape number (which also excludes the being forced to penetrate definition). On another note we now have several large scale studies with a huge chunk of male victims. The NVAWS found that 1/3 of rape victims were male (even though they ignored being made to penetrate. A huge multinational study on several campuses found more male victims than female ones. And now the CDC.

So what about the perpetrators:

Most perpetrators of all forms of sexual violence against women were male. For female rape victims, 98.1% reported only male perpetrators. Additionally, 92.5% of female victims of sexual violence other than rape reported only male perpetrators. For male victims, the sex of the perpetrator varied by the type of sexual violence experienced. The majority of male rape victims (93.3%) reported only male perpetrators. For three of the other forms of sexual violence, a majority of male victims reported only female perpetrators: being made to penetrate (79.2%), sexual coercion (83.6%), and unwanted sexual contact (53.1%). For non-contact unwanted sexual experiences, approximately half of male victims (49.0%) reported only male perpetrators and more than one-third (37.7%) reported only female perpetrators (data not shown). (Page 24)

In short for the rape categories it is 98.1% male on female and 79.2% female on male. Which gives us a divide of 60% male perpetrators and 40% female perpetrators. That is a whole lot of women. Surprised? Well to cite from one of my latest posts, maybe not.

Anderson (1998, 1996), presented self-reported prevalence rates for women's sexual coercion of between 25% and 40% and for physically forced sexual contact between 1.6% and 7.1%. Of perhaps greater significance was the women's self-reports of engaging in a classic date-rape scenario - taking advantage of someone who was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. When asked about initiating sexual contact with a man when his judgment was impaired by drugs or alcohol, between 32% and 51% of the women said that they had. Further, between 5% and 15% of women reported giving a man alcohol or drugs in an attempt to have sexual contact with him.

So a short recap, last year almost same amount of female and male rape victims, with a whole lot of female perpetrators. For reasons unknown, the life time figure looks quite different. Also in this study they really fucked up the rape definition BUT of course we have to be glad they asked the question of "being forced to penetrate at all". So there was a reaction on feministing, probably the most important and most popular feminist blog out there. Now recently I said somewhere, I am mostly okay with this site, well, not this time. Some citations:

Men are affected by sexual violence too.

As Hugo Schwyzer said, “Though men remain the overwhelming majority of perpetrators of rape, the new research makes it more evident than ever that men are also its victims.” One in 71 men (1.4%) have been raped and nearly 5% have been made to penetrate someone else in their lifetimes. (By the way, this is the first national study to distinguish between being forced to penetrate someone and being penetrated.) [...] * Note: In this study, “rape” was defined as “completed forced penetration, attempted forced penetration, or alcohol/drug facilitated completed penetration.”

Hm, while they mention the "rape-rape" problem, no critique of it, and not mentioning the huge amount of male victims that were there last year? What is going on here. She clarified it in the comments:

when I discuss the way men are affected by sexual violence. Obviously, the study’s definition of rape is imperfect–which is why I included a note so it would be clear that I was using their definition, not my own. But perhaps it wasn’t clear. My apologies.

Imperfect? You have got to be kidding me. Alienating male victims is imperfect? It is more than that. I would say it is scandalous (even if expected). It is mindbogling, those guys point out every ism there is under the sun on a daily basis, yet when it comes to men they start to dodge around the issue like politicians. "I admit that their definition of rape wasn't entirely perfect". I'll help to spell it out for you Maya. That is some blatant sexism right there.

What about the numbers:

I highlighted the lifetime stats, as opposed to the figures for the past 12 months, because, with limited space to go into every single finding, those seemed to paint the most comprehensive picture of what’s going on. I’d be interested to hear an explanation from an expert for the more equal numbers by gender for the past 12 months, but I’m still gonna lean toward trusting the lifetime stats. And I still feel pretty confident in saying that “men remain the overwhelming majority of perpetrators of rape.”

Did I get it right she didn't trust the last year results from the same survey? The results that could really be more accurate? I am not sure what to say, but Jebus, that view of the world is kind of fucked up as she basically says "yeah that study is nice and such, but only when it comes to female victims". Selective reading of the worst kind....and sadly business as usual.

EDIT: From a recent NSWATM comment, kudos go to makomk

Discussion section on page 84:

“As an example of prevalence differences between the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey and other surveys, the lifetime prevalence estimate of rape for men in this report is lower than what has been reported in other surveys (e.g., for forced sex more broadly) (Basile, Chen, Black, & Saltzman, 2007). This could be due in part to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey making a distinction between rape and being made to penetrate someone else. Being made to penetrate is a form of sexual victimization distinct from rape that is particularly unique to males and, to our knowledge, has not been explicitly measured in previous national studies. It is possible that rape questions in prior studies captured the experience of being made to penetrate someone else, resulting in higher prevalence estimates for male rape in those studies.”

To cite myself: "these fuckers do not call male rape, rape"

Friday, December 9, 2011

On alcohol, sex and rape...

To be honest, I am not 100% sure how I stand on that issue. There is only a thin line between a drunken hook-up you regret the next morning and someone using alcohol to coerce or even rape you it seems. This is what I gather from several posts from feministing or feministe. I can't even call out a certain post it just seems to be a mindset, that when it gets to drunken hook-ups we are always talking about rape, as if consent and sex while drunk as well as regretting it the next day is not possible. I do not see it framed that way often on feminist sites. And I admit I am not fair here as I really can't pin down a post especially. Those two go sort of in the direction but are just close. Now I don't blame the victim, there should always be consent, the more enthusiastic, the better. It just seems to me that when there is talk on feminist spaces that goes in the direction of alcohol, sex, consent and victim blaming the possibility of drunken men as possible victims and the possibility of a regretful yet consensual sexual encounter fly out of the window.

Two posts come to mind which I saw the last week. The first one was on Reddit and had a headline in it that said something akin to "50% of women have raped a man". Now I can not find the headline again, but luckily saved the article. My first thought after reading that headline was "bullshit" after reading the data, well. Look yourself:

Anderson (1998, 1996), presented self-reported prevalence rates for women's sexual coercion of between 25% and 40% and for physically forced sexual contact between 1.6% and 7.1%. Of perhaps greater significance was the women's self-reports of engaging in a classic date-rape scenario - taking advantage of someone who was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. When asked about initiating sexual contact with a man when his judgment was impaired by drugs or alcohol, between 32% and 51% of the women said that they had. Further, between 5% and 15% of women reported giving a man alcohol or drugs in an attempt to have sexual contact with him.

Now, I know that this is a sample of college students and that there are several samples in that ranging between 32-51% but dammit that are a whole lot of cases. If we had a several study with the genders reversed, where men admitted to initiating sexual contact with a woman when here judgment was impaired by drugs or alcohol I can totally see certain feminist argue that, to bring up my previous headline again, "50% of men have raped a woman".

There is obviously a double standard, something I see with myself. To me "men admitted to initiating sexual contact with a woman when here judgment was impaired by drugs or alcohol" sounds worse than with the sexes reversed. Which is of course sexist. There is a recent case about this form of sexism:

The College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts expelled a young man the day before he was supposed to graduate last May with a 3.13 grade point average. The expulsion was punishment following a college board's determination that the young man was responsible for raping a female student. Now the young man, Edwin Bleiler, 23, is suing the school for breach of contract and for violating his civil rights in a case that raises an important issue with possibly widespread implications.

At issue is this: if a male and female college student engage in sexual activity while intoxicated (not incapacitated), should the male be deemed a "rapist" while the female is deemed a "victim"? That's what Mr. Bleiler alleges happened in his case, and if that's correct, it's a gross distortion of even the semblance of equal justice, not to mention a breach of the school's contract with its students.

According to the complaint: “The college’s sexual misconduct policy imposes a form of strict liability on male students: if a male and female student are both intoxicated and engage in sexual activity, the male student could face expulsion for violation of the policy without any evidence of coercion, manipulation, force or any additional culpable behavior.”

To finish my incoherent ramblings, I am still not sure where I stand on that issue or what the data should tell us. We should either get a better understanding of the studies, maybe a better way to differentiate between date rape / drunken hook-ups, or we should accept that also many men are raped that way. Something tells me the solution is somehow in the middle, the situation now though surely smells fishy.

Two famous DV victims

Who would have thought Lincoln and Hawking were abuse by there spouses:

Abraham Lincoln's wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, physically abused him routinely, pelting her husband with potatoes and books and whacking him with firewood, according to a new biography.

Michael Burlingame, a historian at Connecticut College, argues in "The Inner World of Abraham Lincoln," due next month from the University of Illinois Press, that the 16th president was a classic victim of spousal abuse.

"She threw coffee in his face and chased him with a knife," Burlingame said.
- from here

A nurse who cared for Professor Stephen Hawking claimed last night that she saw his wife abusing and mistreating him.

Elaine Hawking called her disabled 62-year-old husband a cripple, bathed him in water that was too hot and allowed him to wet himself, it was alleged.

The nurse was reported as saying: "She gets angry and has thrown him on the bed where he kicks his limbs or hurts himself. She allowed him to slip down low in the bath so the water goes in the hole in his throat.

"She has left him in the garden without his computer mouse so he cannot talk and call for anyone. She gives him lots of verbal abuse and calls him a cripple and an invalid, which depresses him.

"She would withhold the bottle he used to go to the toilet so he wet himself, which he does not like because he is a very dignified person and a very private person. The verbal abuse is unbelievable. Her mouth is like a sewer. We (his nurses) got so used to it we forgot it was not normal behaviour.

"She throws things around the kitchen to frighten people and has temper tantrums.

"During one visit to hospital she was asked to leave because she was throwing things around."

[...] Professor Hawking's 24-year-old son by his first wife Jane said yesterday he felt certain his stepmother was behind a string of alleged assaults on the academic.

Tim Hawking described his father's alleged abuse as "completely despicable and unacceptable".

He added: "I believe quite strongly that it's true, based on what I have been privy to in the past.

"It makes me feel sick, as I'm sure anyone would be in my position. I feel completely helpless. He denies it every time I speak to him and I would hope he would respect me enough to tell me the truth."

Tim's mother Jane said: "The situation is far worse than any of us imagined."

Cambridgeshire Police confirmed they will be speaking to a nurse about allegations of assault on the academic.
- from here

It can happen to everyone.

Circumcision.....a huge sigh

Kind of funny, it is Clinton again, this time with something different:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently announced that 1 million circumcisions have been performed over the last 4 years, three-quarters funded by the U.S. government. This is just 4% of the number of circumcisions needed in sub-Saharan Africa.

This is just sad.

Circumcision is Africa’s best weapon against AIDS

No you idiots, condoms are. Oh my...

EDIT: User ml66uk makes a good case in the comments:

NO NO NO. Condoms are the best weapon against AIDS for Africans as well as for everyone else.

“There appears no clear pattern of association between male circumcision and HIV prevalence—in 8 of 18 countries with data, HIV prevalence is lower among circumcised men, while in the remaining 10 countries it is higher.” CR22.pdf

The South African National Communication Survey on HIV/AIDS, 2009 found that 15% of adults across age groups “believe that circumcised men do not need to use condoms”. _2009.htm

From the committee of the South African Medical Association Human Rights, Law & Ethics Committee :
“the Committee expressed serious concern that not enough scientifically-based evidence was available to confirm that circumcisions prevented HIV contraction and that the public at large was influenced by incorrect and misrepresented information. The Committee reiterated its view that it did not support circumcision to prevent HIV transmission.”

The one randomized controlled trial into male-to-female transmission showed a 54% higher rate in the group where the men had been circumcised btw: /article/PIIS0140-6736(09)60998-3/abstr act

ABC (Abstinence, Being faithful, and especially Condoms) is the way forward. Promoting genital surgery will cost African lives, not save them.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gay rights = human rights

"Some have suggested that gay rights and human rights are separate and distinct; but, in fact, they are one and the same. Now, of course, 60 years ago, the governments that drafted and passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were not thinking about how it applied to the LGBT community. They also weren’t thinking about how it applied to indigenous people or children or people with disabilities or other marginalized groups. Yet in the past 60 years, we have come to recognize that members of these groups are entitled to the full measure of dignity and rights, because, like all people, they share a common humanity.

This recognition did not occur all at once. It evolved over time. And as it did, we understood that we were honoring rights that people always had, rather than creating new or special rights for them. Like being a woman, like being a racial, religious, tribal, or ethnic minority, being LGBT does not make you less human. And that is why gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights."

Nothing more to add.

Once in a committed relationship, men and women have similar attitudes toward sex

Not much to say, but pretty interesting stuff:

“Men experience a lot of pressure in our society to have sex with a number of different partners,” said one of the study’s researchers, Paul Perrin, a graduate student in psychology at the University of Florida, “the opposite of what women experience as kind of the gatekeepers of sexuality.”

Past studies, the scientists point out, have shown that compared with women, men are more sexually permissive, endorse casual sex at higher rates and masturbate more often.

And even in dreamland, men are from Mars and women from Venus. A recent study showed men were more than twice as likely as women to report dreams about multiple sex partners.

[...]While women placed more emphasis on the emotional aspects of sex, men focused more on the physical side of sex. Men were much more likely to find sex personally and physically pleasurable, while women were more likely to think sex violates social taboos.

Thoughts often turn into actions. “Sexually restrictive gender roles too often become self-fulfilling prophecies because women know that they are expected to be less sexual than men,” the scientists write, “and men know that they are expected to be more sexual than women.”

Men gave much higher ratings for risky sexual behaviors, such as “I should have sex with as many people as possible,” than women. And women were more apt to endorse waiting longer and not engaging in premarital sex.

When Mr. Right shows up, however, women ditch society-imposed gender roles, warming up to sexual pleasures, the researchers found.

In the context of an intimate relationship, both genders expressed that sex was important as a way to bring couples closer, to help maintain healthy relationships and to increase one’s self confidence.

“People in romantic relationships give more importance to their own feelings and their partners’ than they do to social expectations about sexual behavior,” Perrin said.


Came across some interesting studies about flirting, body language and sex differences. We start with a study and two articles that are based on the study that come to totally different conclusions. It again shows us not to trust the media that much:

70 percent of college women reporting an experience in which a guy mistook her friendliness for a sexual come-on, Farris said.

In the study, appearing in the April issue of the journal Psychological Science, men who viewed images of friendly women misidentified 12 percent of the images as sexually interested. Women mistook 8.7 percent of the friendly images for sexual interest.

Both men and women were even more likely to do the opposite -- when viewing images of sexually interested women, men mistakenly called 37.8 percent of the images "friendly." Women mistook 31.9 percent of the sexual interest cues for friendliness.

"Relative to women, men did not oversexualize the image set in our study," said lead author Coreen Farris, a doctoral student in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at IU Bloomington. "Both men and women were reluctant to state that ambiguous cues were 'sexual interest.' In fact, men and women utilized nearly identical thresholds for the degree of sexual interest that must be perceived before they were willing to go out on a limb and state that the nonverbal cues were sexual in nature."

[...] "The observed advantage among women in ability to discriminate between friendliness and sexual interest extends to processing of sad and rejecting cues. This suggests that the increased tendency among young men to incorrectly read sexual interest rather than friendliness may simply be an extension of a general disadvantage in reading nonverbal cues, rather than a process unique to sexual signaling."

The study involved 280 heterosexual college-age men and women, average age of 19.6. Seated in a private computer room, the men and women each categorized 280 photo images of women (full body, fully clothed) into one of four categories -- friendly, sexually interested, sad or rejecting. Images were selected for each of the categories based on an extensive validation process.

The study found that both men and women were least accurate at correctly identifying the photos indicating sexual interest. Farris, whose research focuses on sexual aggression in men, noted that the results reflect average differences.

"The data don't support the idea that all men are bad at this or that all women are great at this," she said. "It's a small difference."

Pretty interesting stuff. Another study (pdf warning) had a different finding, women are harder to read:

Furthermore, as predicted, it was on average easier for observers to gauge men’s intentions than it was to gauge women’s intentions (though there was high variance in observers’ performance levels across individual daters of both sexes). The lower overall accuracy concerning women’s intentions was not due to observers guessing or
performing at chance but to a systematic overperception of female daters’ interest (Fig. 3)—surpassing 80% erroneous interest predictions for the five hardest-to-read women.

This dramatic rate of incorrect perception supports our hypothesis that women are harder to read, presumably because
they mask their true intentions: As Grammer et al. (2000) argued, the biologically deep-rooted sex inequality in parental investment (Trivers, 1972) puts greater risks on the females of a species during mate choice. As a result, females, including women in speed dating (Todd, Penke, Fasolo, & Lenton, 2007), are much more critical and picky when making mate-choice decisions. And, in order to evaluate potential mates longer without signaling their true intentions, women behave more covertly and ambiguously during initial interactions with the opposite sex. Men, in contrast, face lower risks and consequently should be less likely to hide their intentions.

And while we are at it, something about women initiating:

He (Perper 1985) made note, however, of the fact that it was the womans's behaviour, that was more likely to usher in the next stage. Similarly, when Kendon (1975) filmed a kissing couple seated on a park bench he found that the womans's behavior particularly her facial expressions, functioned as a regulator, modulating the behaviour of her partner. Cary (1976) also has shown that the woman's behavior is important in initiating conversations between strangers. Both in laboratory settings and in singles' bars, conversation was initiated only after the woman glanced at the man. And Perper (1985) discovered in his filed of studies on couples in singles' bars that the woman was responsible for courtship initiation approximately seventy percent of the time.

Interesting stuff...

EDIT: And a recent one:

The researchers found that:
Men who wanted a short-term sexual encounter were more likely to overestimate a woman's desire for them.
Men who believed they were "hot" also thought the women were hot for them, but men who were actually considered attractive by women did not think this way.
The more attractive a woman was to a man, the more likely he was to overestimate her interest.
Women tended to underestimate men's desire.