Menstuff® has compiled the following information on Rape.

Women stage flash mob protest outside Harvey Weinstein trial
What Nobody Wants To Admit About Rape Culture
The Story Of Mankind: A Story of Sex, Violence & Power? (Warning: Intense & Breathtaking)
When Is It Rape?
Woman Explains Difference Between Rape And Consent In 5 Tweets To Men Who Still Don’t Get It Forced Oral Sex Isn’t Rape if the Victim is Intoxicated, Rules Oklahoma Court
Worst States For Pregnant Rape Victims
Rape Victims in Louisiana Are Being Charged for Hospital Exams
How the GOP sees Rape
Think "no" means "no"?
Rape and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
"Corrective Rape"
If a Woman Isn’t Bruised and Bleeding, Will Her Rape Be Counted?
Tell the FBI: Rape is Rape!

Myths and Facts about Male Victims and Rape
Rape is... - A documentary - Margaret Lazarus Documents Human Rights Violations
Rape Culture
Through a Rapist's Eyes
Teen Slang: Why The Word 'Rape' Should Never Be Used Casually
Ohio school rape victim didn't consent, prosecutor says
Student says school rules punished her for reporting rape
Margaret Lazarus Documents Human Rights Violations
Date Rape DrugsResources
Sleep Assault
Prison Rape
Slut Walk
GOP Rape Advisory Chart

Sen. Franken Questions an Arbitration Lawyer about binding Arbitration

A message to my rapist
By Brie Lybrand. The rapist is Steven Bressler married to Suz Bressler.
If you know either one of them, out him.

Disney Princesses Used To Raise Rape Awareness In Controversial Campaign

Lady Gaga - Til It Happens To You

It's amazing what happens when boys are actually taught to respect women.

When Is It Rape?

On Jan. 6, the California Supreme Court ruled 6-1 that if a woman rescinds consent during the sex act, the man is guilty of rape if he does not stop immediately.

It also ruled that statements such as "I should go home" constitute an unambiguous "no" on the woman's part. The definition of rape has evolved again.

What are the facts of the case? Seventeen-year-old Laura T. attended an otherwise all-male party at which she did not drink. After allowing two teenaged boys to undress and fondle her in a bedroom -- acts she admitted enjoying -- she had sex with each. Laura did not say the word "no" nor did she resist. Instead, she said, "I have to go home."

Because John Z. continued for approximately four minutes after she first expressed what might have been reluctance, he was convicted of rape.

Rape is an abomination no civilized society can tolerate. But precisely because rape is such a serious crime, it is important to establish explicit and reasonable standards by which to judge the guilt or innocence of those accused.

If a woman (or man) clearly says "stop" during consensual sex, then the partner should be morally and legally constrained to do just that -- stop. But what if the partner proceeds in good faith on the basis of a "yes" given moments before? Common sense dictates that the rescinded "no" must be explicit and that the partner should have a reasonable amount of time to grasp the changed circumstances.

But the court ruled that sex becomes rape the instant the woman rescinds consent and it provided no guidance on what constitutes the withdrawal of consent.

The sole dissenting voice, Justice Janice Rogers Brown, found that none of Laura's statements were "unequivocal." Her requests to go home could have been interpreted as a need for reassurance or a request for greater speed.

This is a nontrivial point. The law assumes that all adults are responsible agents in sexual matters. (Laura T.'s age was not introduced as a significant factor in the court's conclusion.) The law assumes that women and men are able to make their wants known and, so, have a responsibility to do so.

As for the timing issue ... the court relied heavily upon John Z.'s failure to desist immediately. But, as Brown observed, the decision "does not tell us how soon would have been soon enough. Ten seconds? Thirty? A minute? Is persistence the same thing as force?"

John Z.'s attorney, Carol Foster, argued that her client should have been given a "reasonable amount of time" in which to withdraw. This is also nontrivial. If John Z. had a reasonable belief of consent, then he should also have a reasonable amount of time to realize circumstances had changed.

Brown -- the dissenting judge -- continued, "and even if we conclude persistence should be criminalized in this situation, should the penalty be the same as for forcible rape?" In essence, Brown is asking whether consensual sex that becomes nonconsensual at some point should be treated in the same manner as a back alley rape committed at the point of a knife. Or should there be another category of rape, such as negligence, which carries a lesser penalty?

No one wants to return to the '70s when women who took rape cases to trial were emotionally shredded in cross-examinations. None of us long for the days when the reports of a raped woman were summarily dismissed by a cynical police department. But the recent California decision is not a remedy for such problems surrounding the issue of rape.

Sixties feminism deserves a lot of credit for bringing sanity to bear on the crime of rape. They broke down a mythology that claimed only "bad" girls who walked alone at night in tight clothing were raped. Research showed exactly the opposite to be true. Every woman was vulnerable to attack, even in her own home and especially from men she knew.

Sixties feminism attacked a court system that believed rape complainants were less reliable than other victims. Feminists attacked the "reasonable resistance" requirement imposed by most states; that is, rape was not deemed to have occurred unless the woman had manifested strenuous resistance. Meanwhile, other crimes did not require a victim to resist in order for a crime to have occurred.

The prosecution of rape used to be skewed against women. Now it seems to be skewed against men. No longer is criminal intent necessary for criminal guilt . No longer is an explicit "no" necessary for the withdrawal of consent. And men may be well advised to keep a stopwatch as well as contraceptives by the bedside.

The Laura T. decision may well become a Pandora's Box for false accusations of rape. No longer can the man point to a woman's explicit consent because she can now argue that -- once penetration occurred -- she changed her mind. She need not utter the word "no!" She can merely say, "I have to go home."

As the former mainstream feminist professor Erin O'Connor notes in her blog , "this ruling neatly dispenses with the idea that rape necessarily involves force, and replaces it with a definition of consent that is as uncertain and shifting as the woman who wields it."
Source: Wendy McElroy, www.ifeminists.net/introduction/editorials/2003/0114.html

 Woman Explains Difference Between Rape And Consent In 5 Tweets To Men Who Still Don’t Get It

Even though it’s easy enough for most of us to comprehend, there are sadly still many people out there who don’t understand the difference between rape and consent. Because of this, Twitter user Nafisa Ahmed decided to break it down in a way that everybody can understand.

“I don’t get how rape is so hard to understand for some men,” she wrote in the first of a series of tweets. “But, if you put it like this, they get it.” Ahmed then goes on to explain the difference using a super simple and effective analogy involving a purse and some money. While it’s pretty sad that she even has to do this, we’re certainly glad that she did. Let’s just hope everybody takes note.

Twitter user Nafisa Ahmed used a simple analogy to explain the difference between rape and consent

If you ask me for $5, and I'm too drunk to say yes or no, it's not okay to then go ake $5 out of my puse...just because I didn't say "No."

If you put a gun to my head to get me to give you $5, you still stole $5. Even if I physically handed you $5.

If I let YOU borrowe $5, that doesn't give the right for your FRIEND to take $5 out of my purse. "But you gave him some, whycan'tI?"

If you steal $5 and I can't prove it in court, that does NOT mean you didn't steal $5.

Just because I gave you $5 in the past, doesn't mean I have to give you $5 in the future.

If you can undersand alllllll of that, how do you not undersstand the concept of rape?

Ok, rant over. Times like this are good because it lets me know which men to avoid spending time with or in the vicinity of.

And to think a man said "Well she sat on his lap & went to his house." Okay, if I ask you to hold my purse, does thast mean you can take $?

The internet was quick to respond to her tweets

Walley - I'm not chastising anybody...But being aware of how much alcohol u can consume before u don't know between ys/no is being an adult.



If rape was about how revealing their clothes were, rape rates would lquadrumple during the summer.

But they don't.

If rape was about how much sex someone's had in the past, then virgins wouldn't get raped.

But they do.

Ifl rape was about how attractive a person was by conventional standards, then onkly thin, white, abled people would get raped.

But they don't.

If rape was about how much they drank, then sobert people wouldn't gt raped.

But they do.

Michael Lmond @lemond2007

@thatxxv Your analogy is stupit, and you should feel stupid for coming up with it.

nafisa ahmed

@lemond2007 @ me when you're not hiding behind a cartoon avi, bro

nafisa ahmen

And thank YOU to the men who have interacted w/this thread. It's sad, but sometimes they need to hear it from another man.

What do you think?

Michel M. Prins

I am ashamed to hear that so many of my gender still lack the knowledge of understanding the difference between consent and rape. You might get away with it, but there is a big chance that she will have to carry it with her for the rest of her life. I can say with full honesty that there are many men who can be trusted and we do know what the difference is, but sadly have to agree that there are tons of rotten apples in between them as well. To whose who had to deal with such pain and terror: Do not let the person win who has done you harm. Do not be afraid to speak out, seek guidence, training and support, because you know you deserve to be happy.

Daria B

Hey, people! Let's upvote this kind and supportive comment up!

Marcia J. Downing

I am a rape victim and I wish men could see how this changes who we are or were. I suffered from PTSD after. I could not be left alone because of fear, my Mother or my adult children would have to stay with me when my husband had to go out of town on business or to serve in the Air National Guard. I was a very independant woman and I loved being alone, not anymore. I lost all of that for 30 minutes of fun for him!!! He was a serial rapist in our neighbor hood, there were 7 of us, thankfully he's in jail and has been since 1985 and we will keep him there as long as I have breath in my body!!! One more thing, his wife was pregnant at the time he did all of this. He was the called the airport rapist in Nashville, Tn.

Nomadus Aureus

I too have been raped. And it was my first time. And I used to have such (probably unrealistic) romantic ideas about how that is going to be like. Something tender, and fun, and warm... Even more than a decade later, I still can't break away from it. To this day I suffer from PTSD. I can't go to clubs. I can only go to a live concert if I'm standing at the back. I can't go into a closed place with people I don't know. And worst of all, I can't make honest, genuine love with the person I love. Did I have sex while in a relationship? Yes. But mainly because I felt it was an obligation. It feels like I've been robbed of something that is supposed to be brilliant. BUT! Last year, I finally made it to a point where I got myself together and moved out and away to a new country! All on my own! And started University. It took weeks to learn to fall asleep, I still experience difficulties in communicating with people I'm not familiar with and sometimes I still get depressed. (1/2)

Alusair Alustriel

If there is no allowance from the victim, it's a crime, no matter if it's stealing 5$ or raping. Crime is a crime. Forcing someone is forcing someone. Abuse is an abuse. Stop explaining the perpetrator and pushing the guild to the vicitim! Even if a woman agrees to have sex and then changes her mind in the middle, the other party HAS to respect it! And no "But"!!!

Source: www.boredpanda.com/sexual-assault-consent-analogy-tweets-nafisa-ahmed/

What Nobody Wants To Admit About Rape Culture

Nobody’s in favor of rape, but it keeps on happening. What’s not working?

The first reaction most people have, upon being told about the concept of rape culture, is to dismiss it. It’s intuitively obvious to them that our society doesn’t condone rape or consider it a trivial matter. Very much the opposite: rape is seen as the worst crime in the world, rapists are considered inhuman monsters, rape is often talked about as worse than murder. (Editor's note: While male-to-male prison rape is common, usually a convict who ends up in prison for rape or child molestation is hated and fears for his life daily. Many of his fellow convicts would rather see him dead which happens quite often.)

What nobody wants to admit is that those assumptions and attitudes are rape culture.

The key to understanding rape culture is that, in our society, nobody (outside a few MRA bloggers, who are beneath consideration) says “Hey, rape is just fine and dandy!” They say “Rape is awful, it’s vile, it’s the worst crime a human can commit, I am totally opposed to rape.” Yet somehow, when any actual case of rape is put before them, they work to find reasons why it wasn’t really rape, it was something else instead. Those last two sentences depend on and support each other.

One of the most common occurrences when a woman has been raped is that her entire sexual history is brought up and used against her. The point of this attack is not that rape is okay, it’s that she’s a slut so she must have consented, right? Therefore it’s not rape.

When guys are told “When a woman says no, she means try harder,” it doesn’t mean that rape is okay. It means that a woman is still consenting even if she says no. Therefore it’s not rape.

When a man is raped, he’s often outright laughed at. Everyone knows guys are always horny, there’s no way a man wouldn’t consent to sex. Therefore it’s not rape.

Perhaps most often, we see the character or friends of an accused rapist being held up as proof that they can’t possibly be guilty. “I’ve known that guy for years, and he’s no rapist!” “How could someone think he’s a rapist? He volunteers at the food bank!” and so on and so forth. Rapists are inhuman monsters, everyone knows that, and this person’s not an inhuman monster. Therefore he’s not a rapist. Therefore it’s not rape.

It’s weird to have to say this to adults, but let’s be clear: there’s no such thing as monsters. Every person who’s ever been raped has been raped by a human being. No exceptions. Dehumanizing rapists actually helps perpetuate the very culture it tries to oppose.

*    *    *

There’s a certain platonic ideal of rape, a model of what it’s supposed to look like. It was most clearly described, in disturbingly specific detail, by a state senator named Bill Napoli, who thought he was discussing abortion policy:

A real-life description to me would be a rape victim, brutally raped, savaged. The girl was a virgin. She was religious. She planned on saving her virginity until she was married. She was brutalized and raped, sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it, and is impregnated.

That, our cultural subconscious is vaguely aware, is what “legitimate rape” looks like. The further from that image that any given rape gets, the more likely that we’ll pull out our excuses for how it’s not really rape.

What’s more, even anti-rape campaigns very often buy into that image. All those lines about how women should carry their keys sticking out between their fingers like Wolverine, all those slogans about women being afraid to walk down the street; they’re all based on defending against Bill Napoli’s legitimate rape.

This can’t be repeated enough: most real-life rapes don’t look anything like that. If you’re raped, it will probably be by someone you know, in a place that you usually feel safe. It will definitely not be by a monster, so stop keeping an eye out for monsters. Most likely it will be someone fairly likable in most respects, as most people are. You might have been laughing at their jokes right up until they assaulted you.

It is very, very common for people who’ve just been raped to have a hard time admitting that that’s what happened. They’ve heard all the reasons why something doesn’t really count as rape. They’ve probably said or thought some of those rationalizations themselves. So if all those other cases weren’t really rape, theirs must not be either, right?

Then, too, rape is the worst crime in the world, the most horrible, traumatic, life-destroying thing that can happen, right? So if they don’t feel completely traumatized and destroyed, it couldn’t really have been rape, right?

And the person that raped them isn’t a monster. Maybe they still like their rapist, even love them. Maybe they don’t want to permanently label that person as an inhuman monster. Maybe they just don’t want to accuse someone who’s well-liked and will have an army of defenders arguing that they’re not a monster. Maybe they don’t want to be accused of lying because after all, it obviously wasn’t really rape.

So another man or woman just keeps their mouth shut about what happened, tries to file it away and forget about it. And another rape ends up being condoned by a society that vociferously does not condone rape. And nobody wants to talk about how this happens, because saying that rapists are human beings, and human beings commit rape, sounds like being insufficiently anti-rape. We would rather condone actual rape than appear to not oppose imaginary rape strongly enough.
Source: goodmenproject.com/ethics-values/brand-what-nobody-wants-to-admit-about-rape-culture

Women stage flash mob protest outside Harvey Weinstein trial

If you were looking at the courthouse in New York City where disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein is currently on trial for multiple counts of sexual assault on Friday morning, it would have seemed pretty quiet.

But just across the street, something was brewing.

Dozens of women had gathered in the park facing the courthouse. They were a diverse group, wearing black with accents of red, many of them tying black mesh around their eyes and carrying totes emblazoned with “TIME’S UP” and Dolores Huerta quotes. Just before 11 a.m., they marched out of the park and lined up, faced the court and began to chant.

“Patriarchy is our judge that imprisons us at birth! And our punishment is the violence you don’t see,” the women sang in unison as they swayed back and forth in a choreographed dance.

“The rapist is you. It’s the cops. The judges. The state. The president.”

The song they were singing, “Un Violador en Tu Camino” (which translates to “A Rapist in Your Path” in English), was written by LasTesis, a feminist performance group based in Chile. It was first performed publicly in Chile in November 2019 in the midst of the country’s nationwide uprising against inequality. The video footage of the flash mob spread quickly, and “Un Violador en Tu Camino” has since been performed around the world in London, Mexico City, Paris, Berlin, Bogota and Barcelona.

Zakiyah Ansari and Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas gather to perform the Chilean anti-rape anthem "A Rapist In Our Midst" outside of the courthouse where Harvey Weinstein's trial is ongoing.

Activists Paola Mendoza, Yara Travieso and Sarah Sophie Flicker first saw video footage of “Un Violador en Tu Camino” last month. As the performance grew in popularity within Chile and then moved to other countries, Mendoza, an artist based in New York City, emailed choreographer and director Travieso and Flicker, a creative director and artist.

“It was very moving to see a group of women come together in their own terms and talk so openly, blatantly, and boldly, and fiercely about rape culture,” Mendoza said. “I was like, ‘Let’s do it in New York. Let’s translate it into English and let’s do it in New York.’”

And so they got to organizing, along with actor and activist Amber Tamblyn and the national organizing director of the Working Families Party, Nelini Stamp. They all reached out to their own networks and encouraged those attending to bring other women-identifying people.

Organizers Paola Mendoza and Sarah Sophie Flicker.

The lyrics of “Un Violador en Tu Camino” express the philosophy of Argentinian theorist Rita Segato, which identifies fundamentally broken institutions rather than just poorly behaving individuals as the root of rape culture and sexual violence.

“We can say ... that this is not on us. This is on the system that doesn’t protect us, and doesn’t protect our basic human rights,” said Travieso, who sees the words of “Un Violador en Tu Camino” as almost a mantra.

The focus on systems that perpetuate violence against women over singular monsters is why Mendoza, Flicker and Travieso found the song so powerful in this current moment.

“It is much larger than one man committing a horrific crime, this is a systematic problem,” Mendoza said. “And so it’s not just about the Harvey Weinstein trial, though he represents something specific in the United States. It’s about something that’s bigger than that.”

Yasmeen Hassan, the global executive editor of Equality Now, was one of the women in attendance. She told HuffPost that she sees the Weinstein case as symbolic, “the epitome of what led to the Me Too movement.”

“Justice systems nowhere work for survivors,” Hassan said. “We want to show solidarity with survivors all over the world and we want to push for reform of the justice system to better serve survivors in their quest for justice.”

A group of women activists perform the Chilean anti-rape anthem "A Rapist In Our Midst" outside of the courthouse where Harvey Weinstein's trial is ongoing.

This is also why Mendoza, Flicker and Travieso decided to stage the flash mob protest in multiple locations across the city. After performing “Un Violador en Tu Camino” outside of the courthouse, the group planned to reprise the performance on the subway, then move to their final destination: the Trump Hotel by Columbus Circle. (President Donald Trump has been accused of sexual misconduct or assault by more than 40 women to date.)

“Since 2016, women have been the punching bag of the administration,” Mendoza said, “and so [this protest] is a way for us to gather our strength, and to gather our solidarity, and be bold and fierce for the year that lies ahead, which we know will be difficult.”

?[This is us] saying to the administration and to the system that we are not going to be silent, and we’re not going to just take it,” she continued. “We’re going to fight back, and we’re going to fight back with dignity and love and sisterhood and lots of strength.”
Source: www.aol.com/article/news/2020/01/10/women-stage-flash-mob-protest-outside-harvey-weinstein-trial/23898559/

Think "No" means "No"?

Well, 173 members of Congress don't.

A far-reaching anti-choice bill, introduced by Republican Chris Smith and supported by 173 members of the House, includes a provision that could redefine rape and set women's rights back by decades.1

Right now, federal dollars can't be used for abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or when the woman's life is in danger.

But according to the New York Times, the Smith bill would narrow that use to "cases of 'forcible' rape but not statutory or coerced rape."2 This could mean cases where women are "drugged or given excessive amounts of alcohol, rapes of women with limited mental capacity, and many date rapes" would no longer count as rape.3

As far too many women know, bruises and broken bones do not define rape—a lack of consent does. The Smith bill is scary. And with 173 supporters it already has a frightening chance of passage—unless the public speaks up right away with an outcry that can't be ignored.

Can you sign the petition to Congress today, demanding they oppose the sexist, anti-choice Smith bill?

The petition says: "Bruises and broken bones do not define rape—a lack of consent does. Stand up and oppose the dangerous GOP legislation to redefine rape."

Federal funds are already severely restricted when it comes to reproductive rights and women's health care, a situation that ends up hurting lower-income women in particular, who tend to use federally-funded services more often than wealthy women. The last thing we ought to be doing is legislating to make these laws more stringent.

In addition, the Smith bill is full of dangerous anti-choice provisions as well as the rape redefinition. Called "Stupak on Steroids" by NARAL Pro-Choice America in reference to Rep. Bart Stupak's failed attempt to push stringent restrictions on insurance coverage for abortion during the health care debate, it would "force millions of American families to pay more taxes if their health plan covers abortion care, jeopardizing abortion coverage in the private market."4

The Smith bill is just the first of many attacks on women's rights to come in the new GOP-controlled House.5 If it moves forward, it would set an incredibly dangerous precedent for GOP action in the House for the next two years.

Can you sign the petition asking Congress to denounce the Smith bill to redefine rape? Click here: pol.moveon.org/smithbill/?id=25965-299027-G0utnUx&t=4


1. "The House GOP's Plan to Redefine Rape," Mother Jones, January 28, 2011 www.moveon.org/r?r=205936&id=25965-299027-G0utnUx&t=5

"Stupak on Steroids," The Hill, January 25, 2011 www.moveon.org/r?r=205938&id=25965-299027-G0utnUx&t=6

2. "The Two Abortion Wars: A Highly Intrusive Federal Bill," New York Times, January 29, 2011 www.nytimes.com/2011/01/30/opinion/30sun1.html http://nyti.ms/eEUJgY

3. "The House GOP's Plan to Redefine Rape," Mother Jones, January 28, 2011 www.moveon.org/r?r=205936&id=25965-299027-G0utnUx&t=7

"Stupak on Steroids," The Hill, January 25, 2011 www.moveon.org/r?r=205938&id=25965-299027-G0utnUx&t=8

5. Ibid.

Worst States For Pregnant Rape Victims

A Republican state representative in New Mexico introduced a bill Wednesday that classified abortions for rape victims as "tampering with evidence," effectively requiring women to carry their pregnancies to term in order to prove their case in a sexual assault trial.

This bill will not pass, as Democrats control both chambers of New Mexico's state legislature, but there are plenty of other state laws that extend the nightmare for women who are impregnated through rape.

Of the 26 states that require a waiting period (usually 24 hours) for women seeking abortions, only Utah makes an exception for cases of rape or incest. Pregnant rape victims in some states must also undergo counseling about the negative effects of abortion before having the procedure.

If a woman who conceives through rape does go on to have the child, she can open herself up to being victimized by her rapist again and again. In 31 states, paternal rapists are allowed to sue for custody and visitation rights like any other father, as a Chicago woman who was served with custody papers from her rapist brought to the public's attention last summer after former Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) made his "legitimate rape" comments.

Even in the states that don't protect the parental rights of rapists, many rapes never lead to a conviction and certain provisions can make it difficult for a woman impregnated through sexual assault to keep her attacker out of her and her child's life. Mother Jones reports:

But of the 19 states that have laws addressing the custody of rape-conceived children, 13 require proof of conviction in order to waive the rapist's parental rights. Two more states have provisions on the issue that only apply if the victim is a minor or, in one of those cases, a stepchild or adopted child of the rapist. Another three states don't have laws that deal with custody of a rapist's child specifically, but do restrict the parental rights of a father or mother who sexually abused the other parent.

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/26/pregnant-rape-abortion_n_2552183.html?icid=maing-grid10%7Chtmlws-sb-bb%7Cdl2%7Csec3_lnk1%26pLid%3D262092

Rape Victims in Louisiana Are Being Charged for Hospital Exams

Many victims of sexual assault are burdened with paying out of their own pockets for forensic medical exams and related care

1 in 5 U.S. Women Are Raped at Some Point, Report Says

Some rape victims in Louisiana are being forced to literally pay the price of their own assault.

An investigation by the Times-Picayune found that many victims of sexual assault were being billed by hospitals after they sought treatment and, in some cases, were charged thousands of dollars.

Though the Violence Against Women Act was amended in 2005 to stipulate that sexual assault victims should not be billed for medical forensic exams in the wake of their attack, the requirements only include the basics for a rape kit or SANE exam, such as “an examination of physical trauma, a determination of penetration or force, a patient interview and collection of evidence.”

“By that definition,” reports Rebecca Catalanello in the Times-Picayune, “costs for procedures that are a regular part of the SANE screening — pregnancy tests and HIV tests, among them — could be considered extra. And, in many cases throughout Louisiana and the United States, they are.” Some of the women who spoke to the Times-Picayune reported they had been billed for simply being admitted to the emergency room, despite being required to do so in order to have their exam completed.

One woman, who was violently sexually assaulted, received two medical bills following her visit to the hospital, which came to $4,200. Her mother told the Times-Picayune, “You know what really gets me? Prisoners in Angola [the Louisiana State Penitentiary] get medical treatment for free.”

Some of the costs can be recouped by victims, as long as they apply for reimbursement from the Louisiana Crime Victims Reparations Board. Yet there are conditions: Victims must file charges against their rapists, and must also be clear of felonies on their own records (at least within the past five years). Victims also can’t have been involved in illegal activity at the time of the rape, which could include underage drinking. What’s more, the victim must not “have behaved in a way that, in the opinion of the board, ‘contributed to the crime.'”

Yet Louisiana doesn’t appear to be an outlier. According to the Times-Picayune, only 15 states pay for tests for STIs and medication prescribed in the course of a forensic exam and only 13 states pay for pregnancy tests. There are only 10 states that cover the cost of emergency room fees for sexual assault victims and the number of states that cover the cost of treating injuries sustained during a sexual assault is a mere five.

This practice could have serious consequences. While law enforcement workers and victim advocates often lament that only around a third of rape victims actually report their attack to the police, the possibility of being saddled with exorbitant bills for medical treatment could deter victims from seeking medical treatment. And without the forensic exams, valuable evidence against the rapist is unlikely to be collected, which would likely hinder prosecution of the victim did file a report at any time.

But while Catalanello’s investigation is an upsetting read, the report has already made waves. In a statement released after the Times-Picayune piece was published, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals said, “We take a strong stand against sexual violence. Our heart goes out to victims of these crimes. This is a result of disjointed local parish health policies, as well as a poor legacy charity system that was run inefficiently for many years. We will work with the Legislature and the partners to address this and ensure sexual assault victims are provided the services they need, and also make sure we are doing everything we can to fight sexual violence.”
Source: time.com/3444686/louisiana-rape-victims-exams/

FBI Rape definition expanded to include male victims

The Obama administration on Friday expanded the FBI's more than eight-decade-old definition of rape to count men as victims for the first time and to drop the requirement that victims must have physically resisted their attackers.

The new definition will increase the number of people counted as rape victims in FBI statistics, but it will not change federal or state laws or alter charges or prosecutions.

The issue received top-level White House attention starting in July, when Vice President Joe Biden raised it at a Cabinet meeting.

Biden, author of the Violence Against Women Act when he was in the Senate, said the new definition is a victory for women and men. "We can't solve it unless we know the full extent of it," the vice president said.

Since 1929, the FBI has defined rape as the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will. The revised definition covers any gender of victim or attacker and includes instances in which the victim is incapable of giving consent because of the influence of drugs or alcohol or because of age. Physical resistance is not required. The Justice Department said the new definition mirrors the majority of state rape statutes now on the books.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said all rape victims "should have access to the comprehensive services that will help them rebuild their lives."

In November, Leahy introduced legislation to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act and provide an increased emphasis on efforts to stop sexual assault.

"We've always had a broad definition of who is eligible for services, and the change could result in additional resources being made available for survivors of rape," said Linda McFarlane, deputy executive director of Just Detention International. The nonprofit human rights organization works to eliminate sexual abuse in prisons and other detention settings.

Congress approved $592 million this year to address violence against women, including sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking, under the Violence Against Women Act and Family Violence Prevention and Services Act. The Obama administration had sought $777 million to combat violence against women.

Using the old definition, a total of 84,767 rapes were reported nationwide in 2010, according to the FBI's uniform crime report based on data from 18,000 law enforcement agencies.

Nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in the United States have been raped at some time in their lives, according to a 2010 survey by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.
Source: This article appeared on page A - 5 of the San Francisco Chronicle, www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/01/06/MNDJ1MLTPQ.DTL
(Editor's note: An important piece the above article left out is the following:  "The revised FBI definition says that rape is “the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object,” without the consent of the victim. Also constituting rape under the new definition is “oral penetration by a sex organ of another person” without consent.")

Myths and Facts about Male Victims and Rape

Myth: Rape happens because of an uncontrollable desire for sex with an irresistible victim.

Rape is an act of violence in which sex becomes the weapon used to control and or harm a victim the rapist perceives as vulnerable.

Myth: Men and boys cannot be raped.

One in six men report having been sexually abused by the time they were 18 (Finkelhor et al., 1990).

Anyone from infants to the elderly, regardless of gender, race, religion, socio-economic status, education, physical appearance, marital status, or culture can be raped. Rapists choose their victims carefully, looking for anything that will make the victim vulnerable and give them the advantage. They isolate their victims from bystanders who could help them, and rely upon shock, surprise, weapons, threats, strength, or positions of authority to counter the victim’s ability to resist.

Myth: Homosexual males perpetrate most sexual abuse of boys.

Men who sexually abuse males are usually pedophiles or persons who prefer a child as their sexual partner, not homosexual males. Most perpetrators know their victims (Groth et al., 1989) (Roesler et al., 1994).

Myth: A man or boy who experiences sexual arousal or orgasm during the abusive act enjoyed it.

Males may respond to stimulation even when it is abusive or violent. A man or boy who experiences sexual arousal may feel shame and guilt, but the arousal does not mean that he was willing or enjoyed it (Gartner, 1999).

Myth: Boys abused by males are or will become homosexual.

A boy may question or be confused about his sexual identity and orientation after having been abused by a male, especially if he experienced sexual arousal. But there is no reason to believe that sexual abuse causes homosexuality (Gartner, 1999).

Myth:  Boys who are sexually abused will grow up to be sexual abusers.

While the majority of sexual abusers were abused themselves, the majority of sexually abused boys never become perpetrators (Lisak et al., 1996).

Myth:  If the perpetrator is a female, the boy should consider himself lucky, not abused.

Our societal norms encourage a boy to deny any negative or traumatic responses to having been “so lucky,” to having earned a “badge of honor.” But, having been coerced or manipulated into sex by an older girl or woman is always abusive and often damaging (Lisak et al., 1996).


Monika said...

Great myth busting, and great link. (It seems to be linked incorrectly, however, on your post; I think blogger sometimes does that).

There are also some great books out there for male survivors. An autobiography I read that I found particularly moving was Sheldon Kennedy's "Why I didn't say anything" www.amazon.ca/Why-Didnt-Say-Anything-Sheldon/dp/1897178077

Kennedy did a great job of showing the complexities male survivors (and survivors in general) experience.

In my experience (I am a sexual assault/abuse therapist), men and boys are really hit with the "you are going to be an offender" myth, as well as homophobia / "you are going to turn out gay" - both of which are often well internalized.

Just as there needs to be greater awareness about sexual violence in general, so does there need to be greater awareness about male survivors, specifically.

Thanks for the education!
Source: straightguise.blogspot.com/2008/01/men-against-sexual-violence-sexually.html

Men Against Sexual Violence: Sexually Abused Males by Joe Kort

I found an excellent site about raped and sexually abused males that every therapist and male who has raped or been raped should have as a resource. The site at which I found the following is Men Against Sexual Violence www.menagainstsexualviolence.org/myths.html

Tell the FBI: Rape is Rape!

Each year, the FBI fails to count hundreds of thousands of rapes in its Uniform Crime Report (UCR)—even missing many rapes that are reported to police. That’s because for over 80 years, the FBI has been using the same fundamentally flawed definition of “forcible” rape: “The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will” to track rape statistics in the UCR.

This excludes rapes involving forced anal sex and/or oral sex, vaginal or anal fisting, rape with an object (even if serious injuries result), rapes of men and transgender people and other injurious and degrading sexual assaults. Also, because the definition includes the word “forcibly,” police departments often interpret the rule (against UCR guidelines) as leaving out rapes of women with physical or mental disabilities and those who were unconscious or under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

A recent Ms. investigation revealed that the archaic definition plays a key role in the vast underreporting of rape in the U.S.:

  • The FBI’s 2007 Uniform Crime Report listed 91,874 “forcible rapes”, but some estimates suggest the actual number may be 24 times higher.
  • Police departments go to great lengths to look good on the UCR, the FBI’s comprehensive national crime report by which all U.S. police departments are judged, and federal funding is determined. Often this means interpreting “forcible rape” even more narrowly than the FBI does when classifying sexual crimes.
  • Police departments across the country, notably Baltimore and Philadelphia, have been found to be juking the stats—coding legitimate rape cases as “unfounded” in order to make it appear that rape numbers have declined.

Without an accurate definition, we won't have accurate statistics about rape, and without accurate statistics, we will never have adequate funding for law enforcement to solve these crimes. A change in the definition of rape would lead to better law enforcement response and could thus reduce dramatically the incidence of rape.

It’s high time for a change. For rape survivors, a modern definition of rape at the federal level would acknowledge, once and for all, that rape is rape—and that the stories and experiences of all rape survivors (women and men, gay or straight) count.

Make sure that all rapes are counted. Sign this petition to tell FBI Director Robert Mueller and Attorney General Eric Holder to update the overly narrow, outdated “forcible rape” definition.

Read Petition Letter

Change the "forcible" rape definition


I was shocked to learn that the FBI uses an archaic definition of rape (“The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will”) to gather statistics for the Uniform Crime Report. This definition, drafted more than 80 years ago, is problematic for many reasons, chief among them that it excludes victims of forced anal or oral sex, rape with an object, statutory rape, and male rape. Moreover, this definition is often used by law enforcement to exclude rapes of women whose ability to give consent has been diminished by drugs or alcohol.

This poses several problems:

1. This archaic definition of what constitutes "real rape" affects perception of the crime by law enforcement, and likely impacts the treatment of rape victims

2. With such an incomplete description, the FBI has undercounted rapes by hundreds of thousands of cases, resulting in an inaccurate understanding of the scope of the problem.

3. Without accurate rape statistics, allocation of funding to (and within) local law enforcement to combat and investigate crime will be misdirected away from this terrible crime.

It’s high time for the FBI to recognize this error and modernize the definition to reflect the reality of rape in the United States. Please update the Uniform Crime Report so that the definition of rape includes all victims. Every rape should be counted.

I look forward to your reply.


[Your name]
Source: www.change.org/petitions/tell-the-fbi-rape-is-rape?utm_medium=email&alert_id=WqIorhKQzm_XhWolTRbyr&utm_source=action_alert

If a Woman Isn’t Bruised and Bleeding, Will Her Rape Be Counted?

In late January, U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) sparked outrage when he introduced the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 3), which sought to further restrict abortion funding for all women. But what also angered feminists was that, in drafting an exception to allow abortion funding for survivors of rape, the bill defined “real” rape exclusively as “forcible” rape. For sexual assaults that didn’t fit that narrow definition, funding for an abortion would be denied.

After a week of intense pressure, Rep. Smith dropped the term “forcible” from the controversial bill. Problem solved? Hardly.

In fact, the concept of “forcible rape” has long been used and is still being used to limit the reporting of rape at the federal level. Since 1929, the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report (UCR), which tallies all crimes reported to local law enforcement each year, has used this archaic definition of rape: “The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.”

That counts some rapes, certainly. But what gets left out?

Plenty. The UCR’s definition excludes victims of nonconsensual sodomy and oral sex, and those raped with fingers, fists or objects. And all male victims, of course. Also, because the definition includes the word “forcibly,” police departments often interpret the rule (against UCR guidelines) as leaving out rapes of women with physical or mental disabilities and those who were unconscious or under the influence of drugs and alcohol (despite the fact that at least 22 percent of all rapes involve those substances or incapacitated victims—and some studies put the number as high as 77 percent). The assumption, strangely, is that those women weren’t “forced.”

The UCR definition, both in its wording and its effect on police practices, thus omits a large number of rapes—which then impacts the investigation and prosecution of rapists. Some studies have shown that 90 to 95 percent of rapes are committed by serial rapists. If those serial predators are not prosecuted, they’re free to rape again and again.

And that’s why a change in the definition of rape would lead to better law enforcement response and could thus reduce dramatically the incidence of rape. A modern definition would include sex of all kinds without consent. It would embrace victims regardless of sex, gender, age, disability, consciousness or level of intoxication. And it would encompass incest; rape with an object, finger or fist; and sodomy or oral copulation without consent.

Joanne Archambault, a sexual-assault-investigation expert and founder of the nonprofit End Violence Against Women International, insists that the UCR’s definition of rape sends a frightening message to society about what types of sexual assaults matter.

“The fact that it only tracks forced penile-vaginal rape says a lot,” she points out. “Are we saying all those other ones aren’t important? Of course they are.”

She adds that the UCR definition feeds into social stereotypes about who is a “real” rape victim, which have a huge impact on rape reporting. “When they’re first assaulted,” she says, “[rape survivors] aren’t thinking of law enforcement; they’re thinking of safety. They go to their friends, loved ones, family first.” If a rape survivor isn’t validated by her community, she’s less likely to report the crime.

It’s high time for a change. For rape survivors, a modern definition of rape at the federal level would acknowledge, once and for all, that rape is rape—and that the stories and experiences of all rape survivors count.

This is an excerpt from the cover story in the Spring issue of Ms. magazine. For the entire story, look for Ms. on your newsstands or join the Ms. community and have a copy of the magazine delivered to your door.

Comments on this piece? We want to hear them! Send to letterstotheeditor@msmagazine.com. To have your letter considered for publication, please include your city and state.

Want to help fight rape in your own community? Join the No More Excuses! campaign of the Feminist Majority Foundation and Ms. magazine and demand that the FBI change its outmoded definition of rape, that city police departments test every rape kit in their backlog and that cities make sure untested kits don’t accumulate again. Go to our online campaign headquarters where you’ll be directed to letters you can send to FBI director Robert Mueller and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. You can also order a local take-action package that includes a dramatic video about the rape-kit backlog by Lorraine Sheinberg and Susan Rubin and ideas for making a difference on this vital issue.
Source: msmagazine.com/blog/blog/2011/05/23/if-a-woman-isnt-bruised-and-bleeding-will-her-rape-be-counted/

Teen Slang: Why The Word 'Rape' Should Never Be Used Casually

This is a teen-written article from The Communicator, the student-run print and online newspaper of Community High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Words, like most other teenage cultural expressions, go in and out of fashion. And though certain phrases we use on a daily basis can leave older generations perplexed, they are often harmless and insignificant. However, the increasing use of the weighted word “rape” as a casual slang term threatens to do much more than raise a few parental eyebrows.

The word “rape” is generally used by high school students either negatively, to represent mental or physical injury or damage, (“Wow, that math test totally raped me.”) or positively, to represent beating, winning, or acing something. (“Oh yeah, I just raped that math test.”).

The use of “rape” in such a casual way misrepresents the gravity of sexual assault. Rape is no laughing matter. In the United States, approximately 16 percent of women and three percent of men have been victims of attempted or completed rape. Fifteen percent of sexual assault victims are under 12. Sexual assault victims are three times more likely to suffer from depression and four times more likely to contemplate suicide than non-victims.

Therefore, the use of rape as a positive term is confusing and worrying. How can committing an act of rape be equated to winning or doing something well? There is nothing glamorous about rape, and nothing “cool” about committing sexual assault. The negative use of the word ”rape” is not much better. Losing a sports game or doing badly on a test is nowhere near comparable to being a victim of rape. Imagine how a victim of sexual assault would feel hearing the word thrown around so casually.

Sure, rape is not the only word used in this context. “Kill” has often been used in exactly the same way, and complaints about it are few and far between. The use of murder in this context, however, is not as problematic as that of rape. The two words, while perhaps interchangeable in a sentence, are different entities with different histories.

For the last several centuries, murder has been universally accepted as the horrible crime that it is. When a murder is reported, it is always investigated and taken seriously. Even young children know and understand that killing is wrong.

Rape, however, still has a long way to go in terms of awareness, understanding, and prosecution. Almost all rapists (94 percent) do not spend even a day in jail. On average for the past five years, 60 percent of sexual assaults are not reported to the police. Even when a rape is reported, there is only a 50.8 percent chance of an arrest being made, and 31 percent of those convicted of a felony for rape will not spend time in jail.

In addition, rape prevention efforts and the recognition of marital rape as a crime did not come about until fairly recently, contrary to what one might assume. The first legally incorporated rape crisis center was not established until 1972. Every U.S. state had a marital rape exemption law, which stated that a husband raping his wife was not a crime, until 1975, when South Dakota became the first to remove it. The last state to remove this exemption, North Carolina, did not do so until 1992. Many countries today still do not view rape within marriage as a crime.

In just four decades, the United States has come a long way in terms of assistance for rape victims, education about rape, and prosecution of rapists. But there is still a long way to go in both our own country and others. We need to start by treating rape as the serious issue that it is. How can students in our generation understand the damage and severity of rape when it is thrown around in every other sentence? How can the 60 percent of sexual assault victims who do not report the crime to the police find the courage to do so when “rape” is used jokingly and treated as “nothing”?

I know that the students who use the word “rape” in a casual way usually do not mean anything by it. They do not condone rape or think that it is a good thing. I know that there have been times I’ve used the word more lightly that I should have. But in this case, intention doesn’t count. Even if you don’t think rape is insignificant or funny, using it as a slang term sends the message that you do.

There is nothing funny, glamorous, or casual about rape. Committing an act of rape does not make you cool, powerful, or superior. As high schoolers, we should know this. So why can’t our vocabulary reflect that knowledge?
Source: www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/09/teen-slang-why-the-word-r_n_1194059.html?ref=high-school&icid=maing-grid10%7Chtmlws-main-bb%7Cdl17%7Csec3_lnk1%26pLid%3D12605

Ohio school rape victim didn't consent, prosecutor says

A 16-year-old girl was "substantially impaired" after an alcohol-fueled party, was unable to consent to sex and suffered humiliation and degradation when she was raped by two high school football players, a prosecutor said in her opening statement at the boys' trial.

But a lawyer for the defendant said his 17-year-old client "did not rape the young lady in question."

Special Prosecutor Marianne Hemmeter and the defendant's attorney, Brian Duncan, spoke at the opening of the juvenile court trial, which has drawn international attention to a small town in a football-loving region of eastern Ohio.

Hemmeter told Judge Thomas Lipps, who is hearing the case without a jury, that she would show that the girl was "somebody who was too impaired to say no, somebody who was too impaired to say stop."

The attorney for the other defendant, 16, gave no opening statement.

The case has divided the community amid allegations that more students should have been charged. It also has led to questions about the influence of the local football team, a source of a pride in a community that suffered massive job losses with the collapse of the steel industry.

The defendants are charged with digitally penetrating the West Virginia girl, first in the back seat of a moving car after a party and then in the basement of a house. The 17-year-old defendant also is charged with illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material.

Witnesses said the girl was so drunk she threw up at least twice and had trouble walking and speaking. She also was photographed being carried by the two boys.

In an excerpt of a videotaped interview with ABC's "20/20," Richmond said the photo was a joke. He contends the girl was awake and was a willing participant, the show said.

Following opening statements, prosecutors presented two witnesses, 17-year-old girls who saw the girl the night of the party. Questions by prosecutors and defense lawyers focused on how much the girl had been drinking that night.

One of the 17-year-old girls, a Steubenville High School student, said the 16-year-old girl was having trouble walking but never appeared to pass out. The other 17-year-old girl said she had never seen her friend so intoxicated.

If convicted, the defendants, who deny any wrongdoing, could be held in a juvenile jail until they turn 21.

They were charged 10 days after the party, after a flurry of social media postings about the alleged attack led the girl and her family to go to police.

Steubenville officials have protested that outsiders have unfairly criticized police handling of the case and have given Steubenville a black eye. Officials created a website to counter misinformation about the case, disputing, for example, the allegation that the police department is full of ex-football players from the local powerhouse team, nicknamed Big Red.

Hacker activists have publicized tweets and other social media postings made the night of the alleged rape, including a 12-minute video in which one student joked about it while others in the background chimed in.

The National Organization of Women has demanded that the student be charged under the state's failure to report law. Attorney General Mike DeWine has called the video disgusting but said the student didn't have firsthand knowledge of the alleged assaults.

Bob Fitzsimmons, a lawyer for the girl's family, said, "The family wants this matter over so they can move on with their lives and their daughter's healing."

Dozens of witnesses for both sides were expected to testify at the trial. Their testimony is considered crucial because the girl was severely intoxicated that night and appeared to be passed out at times, according to several witnesses.

Editors’ Note: The Associated Press named the suspects in the case but FoxNews.com did not because the trial is being held in juvenile court.
Source: www.foxnews.com/us/2013/03/13/trial-to-get-under-way-in-case-ohio-high-school-football-players-accused-raping/?test=latestnews?cmpid=prn_aol&icid=maing-grid10%7Chtmlws-main-bb%7Cdl16%7Csec3_lnk2%26pLid%3D283131

Student says school rules punished her for reporting rape

A 2011 letter from the Department of Education to schools reads: "Schools should be aware that victims or third parties may be deterred from reporting incidents if alcohol, drugs, or other violations of school or campus rules were involved. ... Schools should consider whether their disciplinary policies have a chilling effect on victims' or other students' reporting of sexual violence offenses." Learn more
Source: www.aol.com/article/2016/04/23/student-says-school-rules-punished-her-for-reporting-rape/21349719/

Actual leter:  (3 pages) www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201704.html
Fact sheet: (6 pages) www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/dcl-factsheet-201704.html
Know your rights (5 pages) http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/title-ix-rights-201704.html
How to file a complaint (6 pa(5 pages)  www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/howto.html

Hot Link - Rape Culture?

I ran across a video, recently laying out the statistics, or lack of them, behind rape on college campuses. Supposedly one in five women will be raped or sexually assaulted before graduation: the video ties the statistic to a phenomenon called "Rape Culture" and includes a somber quote about rape culture by Joe Biden.

The video, presented by Caroline Kitchens from the American Enterprise Institute (a conservative think tank), offers a counterargument, backed up by a few statistics. The original one-in-five statistic was based, according to Kitchens, on a fairly superficial study: self-reporting from 5000-plus women in two colleges, one in the Midwest and one in the South. Kitchens claims that the study was flawed in numerous other ways, including using the Internet to send a questionnaire to the respondents and not verifying their claims.

Rape and other sexual crimes are serious issues, and should be punished accordingly. And if true, the one-in-five statistic should have young women and their parents very nervous.

In case you don't bother with Kitchens's video, here's the gist, according to studies cited by Kitchens: Rape is on a long-term decline generally; the rate is more like one in over 50 (still horrible); college-educated women are less likely to be raped on a college campus than off a college campus. Kitchens also makes a logical point: if the one-in-five statistic were true, many or most parents wouldn't be sending their daughters to college.

Initially, given the studies Kitchens cites, I tended to go along with her analysis, even though her references whizzed by as I watched. My wife encouraged me to dig deeper, and I found myself in a labyrinth of data, claims, and conclusions.

Kitchens's video is just over five minutes long - not a sure indication of superficial reporting, but the statistics she cites did go by pretty quickly. On my second viewing, I had to go back over small sections of the video, hitting "pause," just to be clear about what she was saying and to get some references I could look up. And then I hit Google.

It seems that both the proponents and debunkers of "rape culture" have some valid points. I started with a story by Alia Wong in the online edition of The Atlantic: "Why the Prevalence of Campus Sexual Assault Is So Hard to Quantify: Every statistic seems to be contradicted by another one" (January 26, 2016). There are many links to external sources in the article, and though I highly recommend this article, I admit that it could become difficult to navigate the labyrinth of popular-press articles and government studies.

One link was to the 2007 US Department of Justice study, which Kitchens uses as her main reference and criticizes for being the basis for the one-in-five claim. And some of the other articles I found in the Atlantic post link back to it. The 2007 study seems to me to have been carried out very carefully, and the authors define their terms and the structure of the study (in 111 pages) and warn against overinterpretation of the results. The one-in-five statistic in one of the charts conflated actual forced rapes and rapes accompanied by alcohol or drugs with attempted rapes and completed and attempted assaults that weren't rapes - for instance, forced kissing or even attempted forced kissing. The authors did not make claims about one in five women being raped, nor did they use the term "rape culture" (first coined in the 1970s, according to Wikipedia ).

I followed many other links in the Atlantic article and in the articles it sent me to - which I doubt you'll bother with. One article concluded that rather than a pervasive rape culture on college campuses, there was a small percentage of men committing the vast majority of rapes.

If you've stayed with me this far (thank you), let me just stick my own nose into the situation:

Is there a true rape culture on college campuses? Probably not. Does Kitchens's video, by itself, make a definitive case against the term "rape culture"? Probably not. Bottom line from the mixed salad of articles on the Internet? Sexual assault of all kinds is real (and horrible); reporting of incidents and prosecuting of perpetrators needs to be made easier and less traumatizing to the victims; accused perpetrators deserve due process (not only to mitigate false accusations but because due process is guaranteed by the Constitution); convicted perpetrators need to be punished severely. Finally: There is a lot of room for intensified efforts at education, in academic institutions and in the wider society, of all aspects of sexual assault - from prevention to victim empowerment.

And here's my educational message for readers of Menletter: If you think rape or assault is okay; if you think women "have it coming to them" or that they are merely objects for your pleasure: over ninety percent of the men around you consider you to be the worst kind of scum. You're not only making the rest of us look bad, you're making our sincere attempts at romantic connection a lot harder. And, of course, you're needlessly traumatizing women. Clean up your act.

Aftermath: A Broader Issue

There's a broader issue, beyond the discussion above, about research and the way popular culture and the Internet mess things up. When a set of claims about a problem becomes a meme (as I think happened with the term "rape culture" and the Super Bowl claim in the next paragraph), the meme takes over and stops or distorts further inquiry, into both the underlying facts and the best ways to address the problem.

Some supposed phenomena, ostensibly backed up by purported statistics, but with dubious factual support, take on lives of their own. As memes, they are hard to refute, and factual evidence is ignored or discounted as politically motivated.

An example from 1993 was that domestic abuse skyrocketed on Super Bowl Sunday - apparently perpetrated by testosterone-poisoned and beer-soaked men. The media was filled with warnings and advice about prevention. This meme was debunked years ago (see the Snopes.com article here). (add more here) Yet in the third quarter of Super Bowl 50 (2016) a commercial from the organization "No More" aired a warning about domestic abuse. This commercial was reported widely, with links to a video of it, including the online edition of Sports Illustrated .

Even ostensibly scientific medical investigation is not immune to playing around with facts and coming to preordained conclusions. An example is a meta study of research, leading to the questionable claim that men should not be screened for prostate cancer. See my articles here and here . (PCAW.org resources)

Due diligence

Any claim, especially one that gains wide distribution, can be solid, or it can be the result of a combination of careless research, a political agenda, a compliant media machine, lazy journalism, and sometimes downright dishonesty. This applies not only to social issues but to "hard" science research, medicine, and anything else for which results are supposed to be backed by numbers.

It's always a good idea to check out Snopes, but also to seek out further information by following links in online articles and by Googling the study, the authors, and other research on the topic. Specifically, what question was being asked? Was it asked in such a way as to bias the numbers? How much data were collected? How much of the data was cherry-picked, ignored, or set aside? Does the interpretation match the data or lapse into speculaton? Who is making claims, and what is their affiliation? What other, independent studies are cited? Is the article we're reading a rehash in the popular press or websites? This kind of due diligence can be difficult, time-consuming, confusing, and annoying. I certainly discovered that in trying to untangle the skein of information and misinformation about rape culture. But that's what due diligence is all about. It can keep us from going crazy or from spouting counterarguments with no backup.

Should We Answer?

As men, we have a vested interest in claims having to do with violence, crime, assault, the wage gap, and any other claim purporting that all men or most men or even lots of men do harmful things. When we hear something that sounds fishy (like the one-in-five meme being equated to rape culture), it probably doesn't do us a lot of good launching into a verbal dueling match - mansplaining, you know. I suggest listening carefully and then saying: "Hmmm. I'm not sure I agree. But I don't have enough information to form a clear response. I'll get back to you." And I suppose it's a bad idea to say anything that can be quoted to others with intentional or unintentional misinterpretation.

This gives us breathing space to do a little research and to decide whether the "get back to you" part is worth doing.

A lot of times, it's not worth it. The readers of Menletter are mostly of like mind and agreeable. And I get to write and edit my thoughts. But in the heat of a verbal exchange, with someone who is angry and unmovable, I try (my ego doesn't always cooperate) to disengage.

[Many many thanks to my wife, Ann, for encouraging me to do my own due diligence for this article.]
Source: mail.aol.com/webmail-std/en-us/suite

*     *     *

 Perhaps rape itself is a gesture, a violent repudiation of the female, in the assertion of maleness that would seem to require nothing beyond physical gratification of the crudest kind. The supreme macho gesture - like knocking out an opponent and standing over his fallen body, gloves raised in triumph. - Joyce Carol Oates

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