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Lack of Women Skeptics — 4 Comments

  1. Thank you, Dan, for pointing out the misuse of the term “rape” when it really should be “sexual assault.” And you’re right the 1-in-4 statistic refers to sexual assault. I do suspect some political motivation in that renaming… As I mentioned, there are some feminists who consider any sexual intercourse rape, whether it was consensual or not. I think such arguments are ultimately undermining rape awareness work.

    And thank you for the link to the NOW site. I am very much hoping that the 25% rate is too high! It might just simply be out-dated, which I could argue might be due to the work on rape awareness…

  2. We were talking about this MacDonald article earlier today. I had only briefly scanned the article beforehand and hadn’t fully appreciated its character. If I had made my way down to the “drunken cheerleader” anecdotes, I would definitely have been much more critical.

    The term I was searching the inside of my upper eyelids for is “sexual assault”. I don’t know if someone suggested it at the time or not, but that’s what I was looking for. People often copy statistics for “sexual assault” and somewhere in the cut and paste they mysteriously turn into inflated statistics for “rape”. I have found a number of web sites quoting alarming rape statistics where I was able to track down the originals and found just such a misquote. Such as this site:

    http://www.womensafenetwork.com/index.htm?pageid=statistics

    Which claims “Every 2 minutes, a woman is raped in the U.S.”.
    The statistic comes from the RAINN web site. RAINN is aware of the frequent misquote and they have a page addressing it:

    http://www.rainn.org/statistics/minutes.html

    Which reduces it to a rape every 8 minutes, better, but hardly reassuring.

    “Sexual assault” is too often misunderstood to mean “rape”, but sexual assault has a much broader definition which can even vary with the agency using the term. Here is one:

    http://www.4woman.gov/faq/sexualassault.htm

    including uninvited groping and witnessing an exhibitionist exposing themselves, etc. While all these other forms of sexual assault are foul in their own way and rightly punishable under the law, they do not rise to the level of trauma of true “rape”.

    In my earlier hasty reading, I misunderstood MacDonald as talking about similar kinds of rape statistic inflation and not the “drunken slut was asking for it” kind of mischaracterization that she was actually engaging in.

    MacDonald aside, I am still somewhat skeptical of the 1 in 4 statistic.
    These data seem to indicate a somewhat lower incidence:

    http://www.now.org/issues/violence/030702college.html

    I’m glad I stopped by your blog to be set straight on MacDonald’s article. A true skeptic should not have stated an opinion on such a hasty reading.

  3. Ken: I did not deny the fact that women perpetrate child abuse.

    The statistics are not irrelevant, especially when they are misused. You are linking to men’s rights sites that are claiming that there are just as many female abusers as there are male. That is simply not true. As the document you are selectively citing from also shows.

  4. Unfortunately, Rachel, I think your reaction illustrates the point I was making. My post Facing up to child abuse had the purpose of describing how society’s refusal to recognise the reality of child abuse in the cases where the offender is/was the mother is another form of abuse of the victim – a slap in his/her face carried out by society itself.

    I think there is a knee-jerk reaction of denial when the reality of this specific form of abuse is mentioned – it being interpreted as a denial of the problem of male violence. The statistics relating to general male/female violence, and there interpretation, are irrelevant here. It the interests of compassion for the survivors, and of attempting to prevent future occurrences, this specific form of child abuse should be recognised and its relative prevalence acknowledged.

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