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.

10 comments:

  1. Anderson (1998, 1996) doesn't tell me much. Do you have any more information about this study? Where it was published or even better where it can be found online?

    I am a bit wary of citing it without verifying it for myself and without being able to provide more information.

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  2. Sadly no, but would also find it interesting if you are able to find it.

    Some googleing I did lead me to this:
    http://www.jstor.org/pss/3813772 which can be read online here http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2372/is_1_40/ai_101530212/pg_5/?tag=content;col1

    It does not seem to be the same study though as it was the victims perspective not the perpetrators one. Hm.

    This comes a bit closer:
    In 1988, the Journal of Sex Research published a study of nearly 1,000 college students. Its most surprising finding was that far more men than women reported having suffered unwanted intercourse -- 62.7 percent to 46.3 percent. A 2001 study of 285 women at a private midwestern university identified 52 as sexually "coercive" - - based on self-reported admissions of verbal manipulations, and insistent, deceptive, or threatening (including physically) behavior. Of those women, 30 reported "becoming so sexually aroused that they felt it was useless to stop even though the partner did not want to have sex."

    Peter B. Anderson, the University of New Orleans professor, co- edited -- with Struckman-Johnson -- a book called Sexually Aggressive Women. In one study they conducted, 51 percent of college-age women polled admitted they had once taken advantage of a man who was drunk or high. "If we were applying the same standards as we apply to men," says Anderson, "these women would be talked about as date-rapists."
    - http://www.charmandrigor.com/clips/details-raping.html

    Getting closer:
    These high rates of sexual coercion by women are consistent with a number of other recent studies ((Anderson 1998; Anderson and Struckman-Johnson 1998; Fiebert and Tucci 1998)
    [...]Anderson, Peter B. 1998. "Variations in college women's self-reported heterosexual aggression." Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment 10:283-292.

    Anderson, Peter B. and Cindy Struckman-Johnson. 1998. "Sexually aggressive women: Current perspectives and controversies." Pp. 244. New York: The Guilford Press. - http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2/ID4J.htm

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  3. Toysoldier has them link, they only link to paywalls though ( http://toysoldier.wordpress.com/2010/02/07/bibliography-on-female-offenders/ )

    http://sax.sagepub.com/content/10/4/283.abstract

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  4. D'oh....I just realised the source of the text ( http://www.ejhs.org/volume5/deviancetonormal.htm ) is and article by Anderson citing himself. I would argue it is fair to assume that he cites himself correctly....well I would. On top of that, we now have the whole names of said studies.

    Oh my...

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  5. Thanks Feckless. It's nice to have to show that this is a human issue not necessarily a gendered issue when someone throws out the stats on how many men admit being rapists as long as the question doesn't contain the word rape. It's quite idiotic in my view to just survey one gender and then based on the response decalre that this is a gendered problem.
    We had the same problem where I live a few years back when Amnesty and another organization polled men on whether wowmen's outfit or behaviour made them partly responsible for being raped. The result was poor and a shitstorm ensued with headlines declaring that 20% of men thinks it's ok to rape you if you wear a miniskirt. (20% (I don't recall the actual number) answered somewhat responsible on a scale from no responsibility to full responsibility for being raped when wearing skimpy outfits. A percentage which was too high in my view. Only a few weeks later did a newspaper bother to buy a poll where also women were asked. And whaddya know - almost the exact same percentages to the same questions.

    But of course, only men rape so what women thinks of responsibilities to avoid being raped is irrelevant.. Wait, the new NISVS 2010 report and research such as the one mentioned here reveals that it bloody well do matter.

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  6. It is frustrating that such data is out in the open yet will never be talked about in the msm. Le sigh....

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