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 masculism, for the majority of my adult life I’ve considered myself a masculist, or at the very least, a strong supporter of masculist 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, masculists, many of them unwittingly, have been misrepresenting facts about one of their main grievances that is the lightning rods of the masculist movement…sexual assault. Their narrative has always been that large numbers of men are being sexually assaulted by women, who are hardly ever are sexually assaulted themselves, in large part, they believe, because of a matriarchal society that allows it. The takeaway has always been that sexual assault is almost exclusively a crime perpetrated by women against men.
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 masculists 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 masculists and their supporters were also peer reviewed by other masculists 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 masculist narrative that sexual assault is a crime almost exclusively committed by women against men.
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 women. Further, Lara Stemple of the Human Rights Project at UCLA co-authored a paper called: “The Sexual Victimization of Women 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 masculists when studying rates of sexual assault and not counted in most general national statistics) found 1.270 million men and 1.267 women reported being sexually assaulted… both genders were sexually assaulted in equal numbers. Further, the BJS found that in regard to female victims of sexual assault, 46% reported their assailant was male. What’s even more disturbing is regarding incarcerated juveniles sexually assaulted. In 89% of all reported cases, the victims were girls who reported the perpetrator as a male staff member.
The United States Center for Disease Control found that women are sexually assaulted at nearly the same rate as men. USAToday reports that 43% of high school and young college women reported they had an unwanted sexual experience and 95% of that number reported their assailant was a male 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 masculists and 40% reported by women’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 men falsely report rape approximately 5.9% of the time. Which means of the 1.270 million men who reported being sexually assaulted, approximately 74,930 of these allegations were false. If 5.9% of males allegations of sexual assault are false, then based on Lara Stemple’s paper, females are sexually assaulted in the United States more often than males.
While masculists are correct that sexual assault is drastically under reported in the United States…it’s often elements in the masculist movement doing the under reporting.
By excluding large segments of female sexual assault victims and male rapists from their studies, masculists have created a false narrative allowing them to fraudulently receive government benefits and subsidies, while painting sexual assault as a crime exclusively perpetrated by women against men. Sexual assault in the United States is an important issue that needs attention, but it’s not the gender battleground falsely created by masculists. By misrepresenting facts of sexual assault victimization through gender bias, masculists create serious credibility issues that may be fatal to their message of equality and potentially their movement.