Information that will ruin your day:

From an Australian study:

ONE in every three boys believes it is acceptable to hit girls and many children are routinely exposed to domestic violence, according to a disturbing survey.

The unprecedented survey of violence and attitudes shows one third of boys believe “it’s not a big deal to hit a girl”. One in seven thought “it’s OK to make a girl have sex with you if she was flirting”.

The survey also shows one in four teenagers lives with violence at home, prompting calls for domestic violence education programs in schools.

The study, which reviewed data from the past seven years, including a survey of 5000 12 to 20-year-olds, found up to 350,000 girls aged between 12 and 20 – one in seven – had experienced sexual assault or rape.

Almost one third of girls in Year 10 had experienced unwanted sex.

I’m not Australian, but I assume Year 10 is roughly equivalent to 10th grade in the American system — when girls are 14-15 years old.

via The Glass Wall.


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87 comments for “Information that will ruin your day:

  1. Banisteriopsis
    November 17, 2008 at 4:28 am

    New Zealand also has a huge problem with domestic violence. The last statistic I saw was one in three girls is a victim of domestic abuse.

  2. November 17, 2008 at 7:19 am

    We posted on this today as well – horrifying. The comments in response on some of the newspaper sites and on our blog predictably accuse the literature review (not one study, a review of lots of studies) authors of a “misandrist” agenda.

  3. November 17, 2008 at 8:44 am

    That age is correct.

    And what they don’t say is that this is the one in seven boys who think it’s perfectly fine to rape girls and that it’s perfectly fine to admit to that. How many more are there who are wannabe (or actual) rapists, but know just enough to keep their mouths shut?

    The domestic violence figures are horrifying.

  4. Eileen
    November 17, 2008 at 8:47 am

    “Experienced unwanted sex”

    Is that a euphemism for something? I think maybe they could have picked a simpler, more direct phrase, but I can’t for the life of me think what it would be.

  5. November 17, 2008 at 9:14 am

    Here’s another story that won’t do much for you either, and it’s from inside the US. A police officer rapes a woman while in uniform and on duty, and the charges are reduced to “unlawful compensation.” Why? Because the victim had been drinking and was taking methadone.

  6. CBrachyrhynchos
    November 17, 2008 at 9:46 am

    Eeeeeg. I just got out of an extended internet argument with a group of people who argued that men can stop rape campaigns were talking down to men because everyone agrees that rape is wrong.

  7. preying mantis
    November 17, 2008 at 10:03 am

    “Is that a euphemism for something? I think maybe they could have picked a simpler, more direct phrase, but I can’t for the life of me think what it would be.”

    They use phrases like that instead of “rape” because of how people react to the word. I think it’s called definitional distress? Basically people will categorize rape as something that is awful and terrible and therefore what happened to them or what they did to someone else wasn’t really rape.

    So if you ask “Have you ever been the victim of rape?” a girl might say no because she doesn’t mentally categorize that time a date coerced oral sex by threatening to kick her out of the car in the middle of nowhere with no way to get home or call for a ride at 2am as “rape.” If you ask if she’s ever experienced unwanted sex or been pressured into a sexual encounter she didn’t want, you get a “yes.” Same thing with the “make a girl have sex with you” question for boys. Perpetrators tend to have dozens of reasons why what they did wasn’t “rape,” but they’ll frequently admit to the assault based on a description instead of a term.

  8. Rhiannon
    November 17, 2008 at 11:28 am

    As bad as the results of the study are… “unwanted sex” just sticks out. I mean, call it what it is, if it’s unwanted it’s not sex, it’s rape.

  9. sammy
    November 17, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    Hmm.

    Most domestic violence studies are actually extremely dependent on their chosen defintions. If you throw a couple of different definitions in one bucket and stir a little, you’ll probably be able to show whatever you want to show – so methodology is an important aspect in these matters, particularly if there’s a “white ribbon day” coming up and a “white ribbon organisation” is trying to get some press coverage. Doesn’t make the problem go away, of course, but it may help explain why there is always a correlation between particularly horrible figures and media attention.

    A couple of things I’m wondering about (and English is not my native language, please bear that in mind) –

    “The unprecedented survey of violence and attitudes shows one third of boys believe “it’s not a big deal to hit a girl”.

    Well, it’s certainly ok to emphasize this kind of information in a press release for the “violence against women” day. But there are a lot of problematic informational issues here as well. We don’t really get the context of the question, or anything about the respondents – was the question maybe – “is it a bigger deal to hit a girl than to hit a boy?” What would be the appropriate feminist answer to that? I don’t know.

    Same thing here –

    “One in seven thought “it’s OK to make a girl have sex with you if she was flirting”.”

    What does “make a girl have sex with you if she was flirting” mean? Does “make” is equivalent to “force” or even “rape” here? Or does it simply refer to their opinion that it is ok to pursue (“make it happen”) a girl further if she is flirting with you? I don’t want to sound defensive in any way, but I just don’t know what this means. If no one knows, we can all pick what we want to read and we still won’t know anything.

    With respect to the misandry-charge referred to by tigtog above… I’m always torn in this respect. I mean, this stuff needs to be researched and put out there. Domestic violence will never disappear, but it’s a problem that needs awareness – it also needs awareness for and also from a male perspective. But at the same time I’m often getting the feeling that, particularly in a feminist environment, men are not deemed worthy of an “in dubio pro reo” assumption and that women cannot trust them in any way. To the extent that these sloppy statistics reinforce such a problematic view of men, I think they could be considered misandrist. It makes me feel bad about these things happening but also about being a man if the assumption is that, one day, statistically inevitably, I will do this, too.

  10. November 17, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    Here’s another story that won’t do much for you either, and it’s from inside the US. A police officer rapes a woman while in uniform and on duty, and the charges are reduced to “unlawful compensation.” Why? Because the victim had been drinking and was taking methadone.

    Unfortunately, that’s common in LE. Here, we had a city police officer who was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting three women giving them drugs he carried with him or threatening them with arrest. I wrote about that and received some anonymous blathering about being sick for essentially going to a hearing on his case and being obsessed with officers arrested for sex offenses. Because of course, we’re not supposed to care that this is going on and we’re certainly not allowed to do so. Someone has to because LE doesn’t seem to that much. One sad thing was that when this officer was arrested, I saw the headline and he came to mind only second after someone else. People complain but don’t report this kind of misconduct. Of course, there’s not much reason why they should until they improve the system.

    Another correctional deputy beat and raped a woman and then took off and so far all they found was his vehicle. That county agency has 6-7 active sexual assault under the color of authority cases.

    Two officers in L.A. have been indicted in recent months including one last week. And there were at least four other cases on one of my mailing lists this morning.

  11. November 17, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    “Experienced unwanted sex”

    Gee, what a nice way of saying “rape.”

  12. james
    November 17, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    First time I heard that term in these sort of studies I was puzzled too. But by ‘unwanted sex’ they mean exactly what they say – sex that you don’t desire. Rape is ‘sex without consent’, what they’re trying to get at is people who’ve had sex without desiring it for their own happiness. Sex in response to a “sleep with me or I will stop being your boyfriend” ultimatum or because your friends are taking the piss out of you for being a virgin, for example. That’s what they’re trying to get at.

    Obviously, at this age it’s all rape whether it is ‘wanted’ or not; they’re trying to get at distinctions like whether it’s ‘not desired’, and whether it’s without even apparent consent.

  13. November 17, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    What does “make a girl have sex with you if she was flirting” mean? Does “make” is equivalent to “force” or even “rape” here? Or does it simply refer to their opinion that it is ok to pursue (”make it happen”) a girl further if she is flirting with you? I don’t want to sound defensive in any way, but I just don’t know what this means. If no one knows, we can all pick what we want to read and we still won’t know anything.

    I don’t know, what does “make a girl have sex with you” mean to you? Would you really feel better about it if the boys talk about “pursuing a girl for sex” using the language “make a girl have sex”? Is there really a difference if they see the two as synonymous? Because I don’t feel any better, nor do I see a huge difference in the problem. I see the same problem: a rape culture that teaches boys the inability to differentiate between sex and sexual violence.

    And guess what, “force to have sex” is always synonymous with “rape.” Always. Always. Always. This should go unsaid.

  14. SarahMC
    November 17, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    I bet they posed the question (to the boys) using the phrase “make have sex,” rather than rape, to get as honest an answer as possible. I think fewer boys and men would admit to approving of “rape” (because their definition of rape is very narrow), but when you define it for them, they are more forthcoming.

  15. November 17, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    Exactly, Sarah. I’d put money on it.

  16. November 17, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    Actually, James and Sammy, it’s what Cara, SarahMC and others have said: They’re using the term “unwanted sex” because they want honest answers, and fewer people will admit to rape (or being raped) than to forcing sex (or being forced).

  17. sammy
    November 17, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    Cara,

    “I don’t know, what does “make a girl have sex with you” mean to you? Would you really feel better about it if the boys talk about “pursuing a girl for sex” using the language “make a girl have sex”? Is there really a difference if they see the two as synonymous? Because I don’t feel any better, nor do I see a huge difference in the problem. I see the same problem: a rape culture that teaches boys the inability to differentiate between sex and sexual violence.”

    as I said English is not my native language, so maybe I’m missing something. Again, I wasn’t trying to defend but to point out that I’m not sure if they understood what was the question or if their answers were reframed afterwards.

    It may the case, as SarahMC suggests, that they did not ask for rape to get a more open answer, but that’s the problem when you’re asking for proxies that aren’t defined in a mutually accessible way – you can pick and choose the results one way or another and nobody is right, and nobody is wrong.

    Personally, had I been asked that question by an interviewer, I would have asked “what are you actually asking me”? What does “make a girl have sex” mean here. I can absolutely imagine that there are guys who imagined this means – “making her excited about me to the extent she will want to jump me tonight” – and now their answers are used to insinuate they actually wanted to rape the woman.

    “And guess what, “force to have sex” is always synonymous with “rape.” Always. Always. Always. This should go unsaid.”

    I’m thinking rape is defined as forced intercourse? So I thought there is a possibility for “forced sex” that is not defined as rape? Is that not the case?

  18. Casey
    November 17, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    Obviously, at this age it’s all rape whether it is ‘wanted’ or not

    Huh?

    to sammy – in English, when we say “make a person do something” we mean “force them to do it” or “make them do something they don’t want to”.

  19. Casey
    November 17, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    So I thought there is a possibility for “forced sex” that is not defined as rape?

    What kind of “forced sex” would you not define as rape?!

  20. November 17, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    Sammy–Casey is right, while your point about keeping in mind different interpretations of questions by respondents is important when dealing with survey results is very important, to a native English speaker I do think “make a girl have sex with you” is pretty unambiguous and the alternatives you pose are not relevant (though an understandable mistake if English is not your native language).

    Casey–I assume Sammy was referring to, for example, forced oral sex, or forcing someone to masturbate in front of you, or something like that. Which brings me back to:

    Sammy–the legal definition of rape varies; in the US for example, some states define it only as forced penile-vaginal penetration (the definition you seem to be referring to), others define it as any forced sexual penetration (including penile-anal, or of an orifice by an object), others include forced oral sex or other forced sexual acts (in the states with stricter definitions of rape, the things that get left out are as I understand it usually referred to as sexual assault).

    In a non-legal usage, again, the term varies, but I think Cara–who I hope will correct me if I’m wrong–uses it to mean any forced sexual activity.

  21. November 17, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    Casey, my only assumption is that he by “forced sex that might not be defined as rape, he means “sex that is not vaginal intercourse with a penis.”

    But any and all forced sex is rape, Sammy. Forced oral sex is rape, forced anal sex is rape, forced penetration vagina with a finger or object is rape. Rape is most defined by the U.S.’s leading anti-rape group RAINN as (very closely paraphrased) “forced or coerced penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth with a penis, digit (finger) or object.” And I personally think that definition is a little too narrow, as it doesn’t necessarily cover all rapes that are committed say, by a woman against a woman, or by a woman against a man.

  22. Foolish
    November 17, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    In the debate over terminology, I tend agree with post #15. I agree the most effective way to combat this would be a domestic violence program in place in schools. I hope there are people banding together to accomplish this.
    A website and a coalition of organizations insisting on domestic\ sexual violence education would be a large step towards this, Is this happening yet?

  23. November 17, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    Isabel, I think I largely answered that question with the comment right below yours (which also repeats some of what you said!). I would probably not call any forced sexual activity rape — for example, I was sexually assaulted and raped numerous times, but I wouldn’t say that all of the sexual assaults, including things like forced groping, were “rape.” Then again, I wouldn’t even remotely begrudge a survivor of such an act who did choose to use the word for that kind of experience.

    As an addition to my response to Sammy’s question, while I think the more enlightened among us would generally include oral sex when asked a question about “sex,” I think that a vast majority of people at least in the U.S. still think of “vaginal intercourse” when they hear “sex.” I’m not sure if it’s the same in Oz, but I lived there for three years and have an Australian husband and can’t say that I personally noticed a huge difference in that respect. But again, I could be wrong.

  24. November 17, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    Given the gross racism I’ve heard expressed by virtually every Australian I’ve ever met it doesn’t surprise me to learn they’re equally vile towards women

  25. james
    November 17, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    Actually, James and Sammy, it’s what Cara, SarahMC and others have said: They’re using the term “unwanted sex” because they want honest answers, and fewer people will admit to rape (or being raped) than to forcing sex (or being forced).

    How do you know this?

    I’m guessing it’s not through reading the study. Because I have read the study, and it’s not a study of rape. They’re not using ‘unwanted sex’ it as a proxy for anything. In fact they don’t even use the word ‘rape’ once in the study – in any context. The reason they asked about ‘unwanted sex’ is because they were interested in ‘unwanted sex’. There’s nothing wrong with that. ‘Unwanted sex’ is a perfectly legitimate topic of research in sexual health, and it’s not synonymous with rape. Sex without desire does not equal sex without consent.

    “Huh?”

    I was trying to imply it would have all been statutory rape.

  26. November 17, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    James, if all they’re interested in is how many girls and women had had sex when they didn’t really feel like it, why would that be included in a study about violence against women?

    Give me a fucking break. The study was trying to get to sexual assault experiences without using the terms “rape” or “sexual assault,” because those are loaded and don’t get the same responses. No one was trying to figure out if women sometimes do it with their partners even if they would prefer to roll over and go to sleep. I know being willfully ignorant is kind of your MO, but it’s getting tiresome.

  27. sammy
    November 17, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    Isabel,

    thanks for your explanation. Fair enough, if it’s unambiguous in English and the respondents were English native speakers then I have no alternative explanation that may help to not ruin your day (as per the title).

    You are right about the sexual acts that I was referring to with “forced sexual encounters”.

    Cara,

    I personally even include French kissing in my definition of sex. So yeah, I guess this is where the misunderstanding came from.

  28. November 17, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    Given the gross racism I’ve heard expressed by virtually every Australian I’ve ever met it doesn’t surprise me to learn they’re equally vile towards women

    Being married to an Australian and having many Australian friends, I’d say that kind of generalization is wildly uncalled for and pretty offensive. It’s also an accusation that could be thrown out against the citizens of virtually any country and thus seems pretty pointless so I’d really watch that sort of thing. If you think things are wildly better in the U.S., you’re outrageously mistaken. If you’re from another country, you’re most likely also mistaken about your own.

    Sex without desire does not equal sex without consent.

    Oh, now who’s replacing words. Did they say anything about “desire” James? No, they said “want.” So, for example, I’ve heard of couples where one person is sexual and the other is asexual, but the asexual partner will still have sex with the other. They don’t desire the sex, but in order to have it consensually they need to want it for some reason, in this case usually because they love their partner and don’t not want the sex. See the difference between the two? I’d also like to remind you that we use the standard of enthusiastic consent around these parts. A lack of no does not equal a yes, saying yes because you’re scared does not equal yes, etc.

  29. November 17, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    I know being willfully ignorant is kind of your MO, but it’s getting tiresome.

    Oh, so we know that James is a troll? Good info to have. Just disregard my last comment addressing him then.

  30. Ashley
    November 17, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    **Puts head in hands**

    What do you say to this? What can you say? Nothing. So do something! http://www.mencanstoprape.org/

  31. james
    November 17, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    Jill;

    I’m being totally serious when I say I have read the study and you haven’t. It wasn’t a sexual assault survey. It was a sexual health survey – and people in that area are genuinely interested in if people are having sex they don’t desire as a research topic in its own right.

    The phrasing’s a standard one – I know a little about that area – picked up on it and used my judgement to let you all know what was really behind it. When you challenged me I went and checked. I looked up the report the article was based upon, found the statistic – which is referenced – followed the reference to the original study where the claim was made, and verified what was going on. Turns out I was right.

    I admit I’ve been a bit of a wind-up artist in the past, but not here. I’m not saying black is white for the hell of it. When they asked people about ‘unwanted sex’ they genuinely meant ‘unwanted sex’.

  32. Rockit
    November 17, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    I don’t really have anything to add on the main topic, it seems fairly straightforward to me, but to address the racist Australians thing, I lived there for a while, and while I loved the country and the people on the whole, I heard a huge amount of genuinely shocking casual racism aimed towards indigenous Australians and to a slightly lesser extent, non-white immigrants.

  33. November 17, 2008 at 11:50 pm

    I’d like to thank Cara for sticking up for Australians and I’d like to do the same here also. Zooeyibz and Rockit, there is racism everywhere in the world, and sexism everywhere in the world. I’ve lived in the US, the UK, NZ and currently Australia and I encountered instances of racism in all of these places, of which Australia was most certainly not the worst. Yes, there are big problems here in Aus, covering racism and sexual attitudes- just as there are everywhere else. But painting all Australians with the same brush is a form of prejudice, and one I will respond to in the same fashion I do when encountering racism and sexism: Keep it to yourself, thanks.

  34. myriad
    November 18, 2008 at 12:18 am

    not wanting to derail the thread, but as someone working in multicultural affairs in Australia:

    – yes Australia is a racist place. Like every other country I’ve ever travelled or lived in. For ever ‘I’ve heard Australians say terrible things’ I and no doubt others can offer ‘I’ve heard say terrible things’. This is not to minimise the appalling consequences of overt and covert racism, and I’m glad to have a government that is now increasing the government commitment to anti-racism campaigns and setting an appropriate tone itself.

    – Australia is the second most multicultural country in the world, and has just under 25% of its population born overseas, and over 40% with at least one parent born overseas. We are a multicultural success story by any standard, and have managed it without resorting to gross assimilation* or integration.

    Context is always good. Now back to the discussion of the very serious problem of sexual/violence against women in Australia and prevalent attitudes.

    since 1970, and with the exception of the blight that was John Howard’s government.

  35. myriad
    November 18, 2008 at 12:20 am

    apologies my last post lost some important bits.

    the last line links to my asterix.

  36. November 18, 2008 at 12:56 am

    Thanks for the link, I wondered about the phrasing “unwanted sex” myself. I assumed it was something to do with the questions posed to respondents.

    But as part of a wider issue it ties in with an general reluctance to use the word “rape”. Honestly, when it comes to shocking social attitudes to violence against women like the ones in the study, using a word that is unpleasant and blunt to refer to sexual assault seems like a great idea.

  37. misskate7511
    November 18, 2008 at 1:33 am

    In defense of surveys using the wording “unwanted sex” over “rape” [even when we all know these things mean the EXACT SAME THING]:

    Something happened to me in my first semester of college. Long story about a bunch of friends insisting this really drunk guy “walk me home” to my dorm for assorted stupid reasons. Drunk guy forced his way past the front desk of my dorm (friends with the front desk ppl), into my room, and more or less forced himself on me. Didn’t get “the full enchilada” out of me, shall we say, but forced a number of things on me, that I sort of “gave in” to, for fear of bodily harm/hoping he’d cum and not be able to rape me in the PiV sense of the term.

    If you’d ask me if I was “raped”, I’m not sure how I would answer. I didn’t realize that what happened to me counted as rape, or even a form of sexual assault, until a year ago (7 years after the incident itself). Now, after the blur of definitions above, I’m once again not sure if it’s rape. But “unwanted sex”? No doubt, that DID happen. DEFINITELY.

    Rape is a world of legalese at this point. “Unwanted sex”? Still pretty clear.

  38. November 18, 2008 at 1:45 am

    James:

    It wasn’t a sexual assault survey. It was a sexual health survey

    Yeah, because anti-violence-against-women organizations totally run sexual health surveys with no violence-against women component all the time.

  39. Sean
    November 18, 2008 at 2:34 am

    James is correct in that the survey cited had no apparent interest in violence against women. The survey questions, available at: http://www.latrobe.edu.au/arcshs/assets/downloads/reports/nat_sch_srvy_02_question.pdf were general health questions relating to knowledge of/exposure to HIV, other STDs, sex, drugs, and alcohol. I have pasted the exact question below. Indeed, the question is really oddly worded. For the record, of those respondents marking “Yes” by year 10 (30.2 percent females/22.6 percent males), the most common reason given was “too drunk” (18.8 percent females/15 percent males) compared to, what I consider to be “the rape question”, “my partner thought I should” of (12.1 percent females/10.9 percent males). While I certainly can’t get in the minds of the respondents, I think assuming that this question was designed to find how many people by grade 10 have been raped or even coerced into sex is a bit of a stretch.

    D5. Have you ever had sex when you didn’t want to?
    No __
    If YES, √√√√ as many as you think apply
    Yes, because I was too drunk at the time __
    Yes, because I was too high at the time __
    Yes, because my partner thought I should __
    Yes, because my friends thought I should __

  40. Sean
    November 18, 2008 at 2:41 am

    Final thing, to read “rape” into “had sex when you didn’t want to” would also mean that 22.6 percent of males are raped by grade 10 in Australia. Due to the large similarities in the numbers above, the problem of rape in Australia would not appear to be one of men against women as it would be one of rape against young people.

  41. Emma
    November 18, 2008 at 4:59 am

    Zooeyibz and Rockit – Yes, racism – particularly directed at indigenous Australians and Middle Eastern people – and sexism are both major problems here, but you are indeed using a pretty broad brush there. It’s kind of insulting to be accused of being a rabidly misogynistic racist based solely on the basis of where you were born.

  42. November 18, 2008 at 11:34 am

    Sean, prove to me that’s the right questionnaire. Because I don’t see a single question in there about whether or not “it’s no big deal to hit a girl” or about experiencing violence at home or about making a girl have sex with you. Not a single question. Nor do I see any evidence that the questionnaire has the same title as the study, or was even conducted by the same people. I call bullshit.

  43. Sean
    November 18, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    Cara,
    The article cited by Jill cites this study, http://www.whiteribbonday.org.au/media/documents/AssaultOnOurFutureFinal.pdf, by the White Ribbon Foundation. Page 18 has the bullet point generating this widely reported fact: “Among girls who have ever had sex, 30.2 per cent of Year 10 girls and 26.6 per cent of Year 12 girls have ever experienced unwanted sex (Smith et al. 2003).” That (Smith et al. 2003) is, of course the citation for their fact. If you go to the end of the report to find details on the (Smith et al. 2003), you find this on page 49: Smith, A.M.A., P. Agius, S. Dyson, A. Mitchell, and P. Pitts (2003) Secondary Students and Sexual Health: Results of the 3rd National Survey of Australian Secondary Students, HIV/AIDS and Sexual Health. Melbourne: Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society, La Trobe University.

    You then go to find a summary of the findings, download the full report, and, what I cited, the survey questionnaire at http://www.latrobe.edu.au/arcshs/scdry_stdnts_sxl_hlth.html I spent quite a long time tracking this down and I don’t appreciate your baseless “bullshit” call.

  44. Sean
    November 18, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    Oh, and one more thing, the reason you don’t find data saying “it’s ok to hit a girl” is because the White Ribbon Foundation’s report did what many reports do: collected data from multiple sources. The source for the “it’s ok to hit a girl” citation is some Crime Bureau source or another if my memory serves me right. Personally, I want to call bullshit on that stat too, but it was late and I didn’t feel like researching the basis for that claim. Maybe I’ll do that later today.

  45. November 18, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    So you’re talking about a survey cited within the study, not the study cited by Jill? Well that could have been a bit more clear.

    So let me respond to your points then:

    1. A sexual health survey can and does often have a lot to do with sexual violence. Sexual violence is a sexual health issue, and is routinely brought up during the course of questioning about sexual health, both in surveys and in doctors’ offices. As it should be.

    2. “Too drunk” and “too high” is not also assault? That screams “too drunk/high to consent” to me. So no, “my partner thought I should” is not the only response to that question that says “rape.”

  46. Sean
    November 18, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    Cara,
    Quick responses to your responses:

    1. You’re right. A sex survey can and often does deal with sexual violence. But THIS survey does not even appear to have that as a secondary goal. This is the ONLY question (out of approximately 125) that can even possibly be read as forced or coerced sex. But the distinction between “unwanted sex” and “have sex when you didn’t want to” is potentially large. That latter can easily be read, especially by a less sophisticated 10th grader, as “sex when you weren’t in the mood” or “sex you later regretted.” Maybe that is what happened and maybe it’s not. The point is that ONE question this poorly worded is a woefully insufficient basis to draw the “sex when you didn’t want to = rape” conclusion.

    2. Too high and too drunk is not necessarily an assault. While I concede it MAY be an assault, there just isn’t enough information in this question to draw a conclusion. Let’s say you have a girlfriend and you are at a party drinking heavily. You start talking to another girl in your class, one thing leads to another and you wind up cheating on your girlfriend. It would be easy (especially after the fact) to classify that as “having sex when you didn’t want to” because you didn’t want to cheat on your girlfriend but you let the mind altering substance and hormones get the better of you and you wound up having sex. Indeed, due to the VERY similar numbers between boys and girls, I would say this is just as reasonable–if not more so–interpretation of the numbers than “sexual assault.”

  47. Sammy
    November 18, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    Cara,

    I thought the press release cited a “meta-study”, that is a review and reinterpretation of a number of different studies and definitions?

    As per –

    “D5. Have you ever had sex when you didn’t want to?
    No __
    If YES, √√√√ as many as you think apply
    Yes, because I was too drunk at the time __
    Yes, because I was too high at the time __
    Yes, because my partner thought I should __
    Yes, because my friends thought I should __”

    and –

    “2. “Too drunk” and “too high” is not also assault? That screams “too drunk/high to consent” to me. So no, “my partner thought I should” is not the only response to that question that says “rape.””

    I think you’re asking an important question. All these are also plausible ex-post rationalisations that don’t mean there was no consent at the time. I mean, I’m very much a fan of “enthusiastic consent”, but that doesn’t help in a situation where both partners are engaging enthusiastically in a mutually pleasurable activity but one or both of them regret this the next morning (because I was too drunk at the time).

    What’s the appropriate standard for conclusive enthusiastic behaviour here? I mean, I’m certainly not talking about one sober person taking advantage of a semi-unconscious drunk person or the use of date-rape drugs to make someone high and unconscious, but of two people who are drunk, aware of their state, but with a lot of GABA in them that’s lowering their inhibitions, possibly to a degree they would not like when not drunk. To many, and not just men, that’s the whole point of drinking in night clubs.

    How much responsibility should two roughly equally drunk people have for each other in that situation? Can they trust their enthusiasm as an expression of consent or not? Do you think men should be more responsible in this situation than women? This is difficult… and I haven’t really seen a concept that appropriately deals with this kind of (I’m thinking most common) problem of people experiencing sex they regret later on (ex-post unwanted sex).

  48. Banisteriopsis
    November 18, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    /me notices it’s always and only dudes who are immediately skeptical, and wonders why.

    How much responsibility should two roughly equally drunk people have for each other in that situation? Can they trust their enthusiasm as an expression of consent or not? Do you think men should be more responsible in this situation than women?

    Both people have a responsibility to stop if the other person doesn’t want to have sex. Hint: If your partner keeps passing out (too drunk), then it’s time to stop. Sex is something you do with people, not to them.

  49. Matt
    November 18, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    I think all that the critics of this survey are pointing out is that there is ambiguity in the questions.

    This is a feminist message board, so lets be honest, when people in this type of forum hear “unwanted sex” of course they are going to immediately think of rape. That doesn’t mean that Australian teenagers are going to think the same things. And if one can have “unwanted sex” “because my friends thought I should” that is certainly a huge scenario where I can see obvious examples of rape not applying. Maybe lots of teens felt like they “should” be having sex because of social cliques and then regretted it afterward. Without specifics, we have no idea, and so any conclusions are going to be inherently suspect.

    And just to reiterate one other idea, using a euphemism like “unwanted sex” to mean “rape” even when it’s explicitly used that way means that you are corrupting your data right off the bat. You might still get useful results, and you might somehow be able to control for the bias. But pointing out that using different phrases gets different results is not being willfully ignorant, it’s just accurate.

  50. Sammy
    November 18, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    Banisteriopsis,

    “/me notices it’s always and only dudes who are immediately skeptical, and wonders why.”

    simple. Because, as I explained above, as much as I want this sexualised violence to disappear it sucks to be considered a walking danger to the planet’s female population simply because I have a penis. Particularly not if you’d actually like to have a decent relation with it. The assumption may have a statistical basis, but it still makes me feel bad about myself. I’m sure others react the same way – so I don’t find it hard to understand why it’s mainly guys who are sceptical. By the way, being sceptical here is trying to find an explanation that is challenging information deemed to “ruin your day” (as per the title). If any of the charges are incorrect (well, incorrect and less severe than suggested) then this world would be a slightly less troublesome place for everyone. I think that makes being sceptical rather worthwhile…

    “Both people have a responsibility to stop if the other person doesn’t want to have sex. Hint: If your partner keeps passing out (too drunk), then it’s time to stop. Sex is something you do with people, not to them.”

    Sure. No doubt. But that’s actually the case I thought is self-evident (and thus excluded in my statement above) and not the one I consider to be problematic.

  51. Sean
    November 18, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    Banisteriopsis,

    It’s dudes who are immediately skeptical of a stat that shows “15% of males had unwanted sex because he was too drunk” because we have a physiological condition making it damn difficult, if not impossible, to achieve and maintain an erection when we are so drunk we are literally passed the fuck out. As a guy whose experienced the dreaded whiskey dick and couldn’t get hard WHEN I WANTED TO because I was too drunk, I find it beyond the realm of credibility that these guys are too drunk to be conscious yet not so drunk as to be able to achieve and maintain an involuntary erection WHEN HE IS UNFUCKING CONSCIOUS. Does that clear up your confusion??

  52. November 18, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    simple. Because, as I explained above, as much as I want this sexualised violence to disappear it sucks to be considered a walking danger to the planet’s female population simply because I have a penis.

    Then stop looking at yourself that way. You have no reason to feel badly about your penis unless you personally use it as a weapon. I’m a rape survivor. I see every man as “a walking danger.”

    But I do take great offense at your statements as reason to invalidate the experiences of the extraordinary number of rape survivors walking the planet. It pisses me off a whole fucking lot, actually. And, in fact, feminists are generally the ones sticking up for men by pointing out that they can do better, and that the whole “men just can’t control themselves” meme is actually a myth that is offensive to men and only serves to perpetuate rape culture.

    And no, purposely trying to undermine evidence when there’s no reason to undermine it doesn’t make my day better. Saying “oh well, the stats aren’t that bad” doesn’t make me feel better. Giving people a reason to stop worrying does make me feel better. And it sure as hell doesn’t make the world a less troublesome place for me or for the women who are raped every single fucking day.

  53. November 18, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    As a guy whose experienced the dreaded whiskey dick and couldn’t get hard WHEN I WANTED TO because I was too drunk, I find it beyond the realm of credibility that these guys are too drunk to be conscious yet not so drunk as to be able to achieve and maintain an involuntary erection WHEN HE IS UNFUCKING CONSCIOUS. Does that clear up your confusion??

    So because you’ve had one experience with your own body, you find it outside the realm of credibility that a significant number of men have a different experience? Interesting.

    Large intakes of alcohol can impair many men’s ability to achieve erection, yes. But it’s: a.) not universal and b.) less likely to happen to a teenage boy, who generally more easily achieve and maintain erections than adult men. I’ve known men who can get it up pretty easily while drunk, and those who can’t. I’ve also spoken to a man who was raped while drunk by a woman. Further, a guy doesn’t have to achieve an erection either for very long or even at all in order to have sex. Starting to have sex and losing your erection because you’re drunk is still sex. Performing oral sex on someone else, for example, is also considered sex to many people.

  54. Sean
    November 18, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    Cara,
    Not all guys are the same. Got it. Check and check. But the question was why are guys always the ones who are skeptical. That’s the answer. We have very real physiological differences that make it more difficult to be raped due to excessive alcohol. Consequently, we raise an eyebrow at any study that finds such incidents nearly as frequent for men as they are for women.

  55. Sammy
    November 18, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    Cara,

    “Then stop looking at yourself that way. You have no reason to feel badly about your penis unless you personally use it as a weapon. I’m a rape survivor. I see every man as “a walking danger.””

    Very, very sorry to hear that. The thing is, as much as I can’t imagine how you have been hurt and how this makes you feel when you read and comment in a thread like this, I also doubt you can imagine how these constant general accusations of men make me feel. I’m not trying to say my feeling bad about being considered a potential rapist is in any way comparable to your suffering through and from an actual rape, I’m just saying that it’s not that simple to “stop looking at yourself that way”. I’ve tried.

    Naomi Wolf once wrote about this problem in “fire with fire”, she said something along the line of “there’s an elaborate feminist vocabulary to describe the sexual harm men do to women, but there’s hardly any feminsit vocabulary to describe how women can celebrate sex with men.” Maybe I’d not feel as bad about myself if this kind of vocabulary existed.

    “And no, purposely trying to undermine evidence when there’s no reason to undermine it doesn’t make my day better.”

    No, it’s not about purposely undermining evidence. It’s about trying to understand what’s really going on – what’s actual evidence and what’s not. I’m a bit confused – wouldn’t you be relieved if the alligations in the survey weren’t true, or not true to the extent suggested?

  56. Matt
    November 18, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    All the ad hominem is quickly diverting us from the point.

    Even in a forum that is specifically set up for people within a common group with a similar vocabulary, we’re having disagreements about how the questions in this survey should be interpreted.
    When the whole point of the argument is that the recipients of the survey may have interpreted them differently, that fact itself seems like strong evidence.
    If the recipients did misinterpret them, this data may not suggest what everyone staring at it from a distinctly feminist perspective may initially think that it suggests. The people responding to it may have had widely varying ideas about what it was asking. Also remember that as a feminist website, the people here are predisposed to view questionable situations as ones in which the male was at fault.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go use my penis as a weapon.

  57. November 18, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    I’m a bit confused – wouldn’t you be relieved if the alligations in the survey weren’t true, or not true to the extent suggested?

    I’d love it if it weren’t true. But I’ve got a damn strong feeling that it is. That may be anecdotal, but it’s a shitload of anecdotes. And whether it’s 1 in 7, in in 5, or 1 in 20, we’ve still got ourselves a huge ass problem, and that is what needs to be dealt with.

  58. November 18, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    Goodbye Matt. Rape jokes are not permitted here.

  59. Rachael
    November 18, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    I actually came to this discussion board curious about people’s responses to a different part of that survey and it hasn’t really been addressed, so I thought I’d throw it out there. What do you all think about the stat that one out of three boys thought it was no big deal to hit a girl? I struggle with the “boys shouldn’t hit girls” mentality in the same way that I think most acts of chivalry (i.e. opening doors for or letting girls go first) are misplaced and harmful. I think it leads to a sense of entitlement if, from a very young age, boys have been told to treat girls in a “special” way. By the time they hit twelve I think these boys are feeling they like it’s time they took something back for all those years of letting girls go first at the drinking fountain.

    Obviously hitting someone can have many different connotations. I think “hit a girl” means something different depending on if a boy hits her in defense or even in the course of a schoolyard fight. I’m not saying I support schoolyard fights, just that I think it leads to something worse when boys are told “you can’t hit girls, they’re weaker/softer/different”. This is different, though, than if “hit a girl” was interpreted to mean “hit a girl the way dad hits mom after he’s had too much to drink or when she makes him mad.” Hitting somebody because they’re vulnerable to you in some way (physically, economically, etc) is inexcusable in my book.

    But what if the question was interpreted in the former manner. What do you all think about boys thinking it’s not a big deal to hit a girl if in the same situation they would hit another boy?

  60. Banisteriopsis
    November 18, 2008 at 7:37 pm

    Rachael I’d say it would be a step forward, but still far from the goal. Ideally kids would be taught how to resolve their differences without using their fists. However given the overarching prevalence of rape culture, I’m skeptical about that interpretation being the case here.

    Also, what Cara said about being pissed that male dominated rape culture is having a minor backlash against you. Until they know you, many women have no reason to assume you’re not a potential rapist. The correct response is sympathy and understanding, and a resolve to stop the societal pressures that are causing her to feel that way. Being resentful against women about the effects of Patriarchy is foolish. It’s not their fault. Blame the game son, not the player.

  61. November 18, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    Sammy:

    Because, as I explained above, as much as I want this sexualised violence to disappear it sucks to be considered a walking danger to the planet’s female population simply because I have a penis.

    *patpat* It’s wonderful that you feel that way. Now go and change the world so that women don’t have to assume you’re a danger in order to keep themselves and their friends safe.

  62. leta
    November 18, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    “I’d love it if it weren’t true. But I’ve got a damn strong feeling that it is. That may be anecdotal, but it’s a shitload of anecdotes. And whether it’s 1 in 7, in in 5, or 1 in 20, we’ve still got ourselves a huge ass problem, and that is what needs to be dealt with.”

    Inaccurate statistics helps us solve the problem how exactly?
    In my opinion it just makes people distrust anything else you have to say.

  63. November 18, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    “Inaccurate statistics” don’t “help” anything, nor did anyone said they did. I said that sitting here bickering about whether the statistics are dead on or pretty damn close (because I absolutely do not believe that they are in any way wildly inaccurate) is a stupid and shitty distraction, and one being seemingly conducted by people who aren’t all that concerned with the problem, anyway.

  64. leta
    November 18, 2008 at 11:47 pm

    “because I absolutely do not believe that they are in any way wildly inaccurate”

    That is your opinion. And you are perfectly entitled to that opinion. But just because someone else has a different opinion should in no way infer that they are doing a stupid and shitty distraction or that they have no concern about a problem.

  65. Matt
    November 19, 2008 at 12:15 am

    I suppose I already said that I would stop posting, so sorry, but I just thought I would make one last point.

    *patpat* It’s wonderful that you feel that way. Now go and change the world so that women don’t have to assume you’re a danger in order to keep themselves and their friends safe.”

    Until they know you, many women have no reason to assume you’re not a potential rapist.

    I don’t see how the idea that you think it’s okay to make assumptions about me because of my gender is any better than me making assumptions about the women I meet merely because of their gender. I came here hoping to actually discuss feminist issues and contribute in an intelligent way. I made a sarcastic comment to make a point, and it may have been over the line; but the attitude that all men should be viewed as rapists until proven innocent is just insulting, alienates men, and should be exactly the kind of stereotype that an outspoken feminist should try to avoid.

    I’m responsible for my actions, not the actions of all other men. Suggesting that it is my responsibility to “go and change the world” just so that women like you won’t assume I’m a rapist is ridiculous.

  66. November 19, 2008 at 12:25 am

    I don’t see how the idea that you think it’s okay to make assumptions about me because of my gender is any better than me making assumptions about the women I meet merely because of their gender.

    Because failing to automatically assume something about a woman is unlikely to get you raped.

  67. November 19, 2008 at 12:48 am

    Matt, you’re completely missing the point here. Women aren’t assuming you’re a rapist until proven otherwise; they’re assuming you _might_ be. You have the right to not be imprisoned without trial, but you are absolutely not entitled to complete, immediate trust by every woman you meet.

    If you’re walking too close behind me on a deserted street? Yeah, I’m going to assume you might be a rapist. I won’t attack you for it, but I’ll initiate evasive manoeuvres. If you’re staring at me, then you follow me out of a bar, uninvited? ditto. Acting creepy, however I decide to define that? I can walk away. I can decide that I want no further contact with you.

    You have a right to liberty, but you don’t have a right to my friendship or my trust or my proximity or my time or my attention.

    Amazing that society will blame women for inviting their own rapes by being in certain spaces at certain times, then will turn around and call them untrusting bitches who shouldn’t have a right to protect themselves lest some innocent men feel a little miffed.

  68. Matt
    November 19, 2008 at 12:53 am

    Behaving cautiously in all circumstances is different than making assumptions about individuals based on nothing but gender. You’re talking about looking at all men as if they are violent criminals as a default position. If prudential considerations allow for automatic assumptions it sounds like racial profiling is back on the market. All the other civil rights activists will be so disappointed.

  69. Matt
    November 19, 2008 at 1:02 am

    I’d accept that position completely Lauredhel. In fact, I’m sure we would agree with the vast majority of things. I’m not sure why I’m being treated like a troll. I would never “blame women for inviting their own rapes” or suggest that you shouldn’t do everything prudent to protect yourself. If someone is following you down a dark alley, by all means, assume they’re a rapist.

    That is different than seeing me out at a restaurant with my family several tables away and assuming that I am a walking danger. We’re talking about subtle semantics here.

    That might be my problem also I assume that on sites like this, discussion of subtle differences would be the interesting part. I suppose it’s easier to all sit around agreeing with each other.

  70. November 19, 2008 at 1:18 am

    That is different than seeing me out at a restaurant with my family several tables away and assuming that I am a walking danger. We’re talking about subtle semantics here.

    Straaaaaawmaaaan…..

    Look, Matt, the fact remains that you, as a male-bodied person, have an assault weapon attached to your body. You can’t help it, but it’s true, and if you’re in an unsafe place with someone who doesn’t know you, she is completely justified in behaving as if you had a gun rather than a penis.

  71. Bagelsan
    November 19, 2008 at 1:56 am

    Aw, gee! I didn’t know women were expected to read men’s minds! I totally missed out on the mad feminine psychic skillz that would allow me to know the true most innermostest heart and soul of any guy I’m near, which would let me predict with 100% accuracy who is a good guy, and who is a rapist!

    Oh, and I guess I should also be able to figure out at a moment’s notice when a guy who is normally a “great family guy” (“he was always so quiet and polite, before they found those women’s torsos in his basement!”) will be drunk/angry/lonely/fill-in-the-excuse-blank enough to rape me. Or maybe I should plug in (his emotional state) + (his upbringing) + (amount he’s drunk tonight) – (amount of my skin covered) + (time of night) – (number of people around) = (likelihood he wants to rape me). And if that number is greater than some arbitrary value I’m allowed to move away from him.

    That sounds like a safe and realistic strategy.

    Or I could just, yanno, not give a fuck what the male thought-police are whining about, and prioritize my own safety over their self-conscious and often false assumptions about what I think of them.

  72. Bagelsan
    November 19, 2008 at 2:09 am

    Oh, don’t let me forget to mention all the fun us girls have negotiating trusting and loving relationships with men, while still keeping in mind all those horrible statistics about domestic abuse. (“My boyfriend started out nice, but in a couple years…” Or worse: “My daughter was very happy at first, but then…”) I know I always had fun as a kid keeping an eye on my little sisters around older male family members, ’cause gosh darn, you just never know! And it always seems to be the ones you trust the most. (This was needless, thank god, but how could I ever know without watching carefully? I knew I couldn’t!)

    Yes, constant vigilance (or at least the societal expectation of it, because “how could that mother not protect her kids!” or “didn’t that chick realize how dumb it was to get in his car?”) is so relaxing! Everyone should try it! I *do* realize it’s mildly troublesome for the self-esteem of some men to be occasionally reminded that not all women will love them on sight, of course, so I try to be very polite and discreet about panicking when I’m alone with a man I don’t know.

    Oh, don’t thank me. Your seamless personal comfort is thanks enough!

  73. Bagelsan
    November 19, 2008 at 2:11 am

    …eh. Sorry to the people who *don’t* say dumb things for the length of this little rant. Clearly this shit hits a nerve.

  74. Matt
    November 19, 2008 at 2:11 am

    Guns are inherently violent. Are penises?

  75. November 19, 2008 at 2:26 am

    Matt, what exactly is happening to you in family restaurants that has you so worked up?

    The problem is that you:

    1) charged into this thread making rape jokes; and
    2) think that this is all about you.

    If you seriously can’t see what’s wrong with those two things in a sexual violence thread in a feminist space, you need to shut up and do some more Feminism 101 reading.

    And if you, in any social situation with me present, ever said “jokingly” or otherwise, “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go use my penis as a weapon”, I certainly reserve the right to be creeped right the fuck out and to treat you as a hazard to my person.

  76. SarahMC
    November 19, 2008 at 9:36 am

    So Sammy, do fellow men like Matt, who casually made a rape joke in this thread, make you feel bad about yourself? Or is it just us women, who have to be on guard against men who use their penises as weapons?

  77. November 19, 2008 at 10:21 am

    Sorry folks; let’s try this whole banning Matt again thing. Hopefully he’s gone for good now.

  78. Dharmaserf
    November 19, 2008 at 10:38 am

    Of course women assume that men might pose a threat. We live in a culture of rape. It is the onus of men to understand their place of privilege within this system of Patriarchy and rape and be sensitive to the ways it affects both genders. For women’s own safety it is not unreasonable to assume certain things about men. For men, the assumption that to some random stranger you may be a potential rapist is not about you, nor is it about the person who assumes things about you. What it is is the logical outcome of rape culture. It is a systemic and structural problem. Do not blame women for being afraid of being raped by men, when 1/3 of 19 years old women have been sexually assaulted by men or whatever the stat is these days. If any freaking blame is to be laid, it should be laid on those men who rape and sexually assault. And until we figure out how to construct masculinities that deny rape in a much more systemic way, then those who take up/are born with/etc. the mantle of maleness/masculinity will have to take their lumps and deal with it until women stop being raped by men. Taking this shit personally, as a male, is another form of male privilege. The more men say, “it is not me who is raping”, the less men take responsibility for reclaiming a rape-free masculinity, and combating the systemic masculinities that make rape possible.

  79. Sammy
    November 19, 2008 at 10:45 am

    Lauredhel,

    “So Sammy, do fellow men like Matt, who casually made a rape joke in this thread, make you feel bad about yourself? Or is it just us women, who have to be on guard against men who use their penises as weapons?”

    I think he crossed a line with the penis as a weapon quip, but I don’t think he or other men who engage in this kind of conversation are part of the problem, but rather part of the solution, even if you may have problems seeing that in this conversation. It’s those who don’t even show any kind of emotional reaction to the alligations that I think are (possibly) problematic.

    Personally, I’m uneasy with the “penis as a weapon” talk. A lot of things are can be used as assault weapons, like forks, or steak knives, yet people in a family restaurant generally won’t think that another person will use theirs as a weapon against them.

    See, for me, I’ve been taught by a feminist mother that my sexual desires are inherently harmful to women and that they are bad. Maybe that’s not exactly what she wanted to teach me, but it’s what stuck and what led to a generalised anxiety with respect to ever expressing sexual desire towards women. I just can’t bring myself to do it because I was told that male sexuality is bad and violent.

    I know that a lot of feminists may think that’s a good thing: One weapon less. But this, essentially, takes us back to the “feminist sex wars” and that’s why I quoted Naomi Wolf above. To me, the problem is not reasonably careful behaviour based on statistically valid assumptions about creepy male behaviour – sure, women are also “potentially” dangerous, but statistically women clearly need to be a lot more careful about physical and sexual violence. I don’t have a problem with *that*.

    I’m just having the impression, and that may very well be a consequence of my early indoctrination with “all men are bad” ideology, that the assumption here is that men *ARE* like this, not that they *CAN BE*. That it’s not a statistical assumption about problematic specimen within a healthy male population but assumptions about the violent part within each male.

    Thus, to me this sounds more like the assumption is rather “when” instead of “if” a single male person will become a rapist. And I’m not sure that’s a fair assumption.

  80. November 19, 2008 at 10:51 am

    Sammy: I don’t think it’s a good thing, and sexual desire does not cause rape. Violence, a desire to control, and dangerous attitudes towards sexuality and women cause rape. Not sexual desire itself.

    And I don’t know why you’re assuming that the rest of us are holding that assumption. I’d be surprised if any of us did. Honestly, it sounds like you’re projecting an awful lot of your own stuff onto the rest of us.

  81. Sammy
    November 19, 2008 at 11:22 am

    Cara,

    “And I don’t know why you’re assuming that the rest of us are holding that assumption. I’d be surprised if any of us did.”

    Hmm, true, it’s an assumption. One that I’m basing on my personal experience of talks with feminists. Could be wrong here though, sure.

    “Honestly, it sounds like you’re projecting an awful lot of your own stuff onto the rest of us.”

    I don’t know. I’m partly a product of my own experiences and education, as everyone. I can only see the world through my eyes. And all I can attempt is to explain to others what it looks like from my point of view. So, just as with everyone else, I can’t claim that my perspective is objective. But projection? Not sure.

  82. Sailorman
    November 19, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    Isn’t this a pretty basic research issue?

    In the context of feminism and of feminist rape discussions “unwanted sex” is semantically equivalent to “rape” or at the least “moral rape” (as distinguished from “criminal rape.”) And even if there are folks here who DON’T equate unwanted sex with rape, they can probably nonetheless admit that unwanted sex is bad. Enthusiastic consent is good, unwanted sex is bad.

    But… that is a completely different issue than the issue of “what exactly is this particular survey question, given to this particular population, measuring?”

    If you’re going to cite the survey, then you have to be able to talk about the survey. if you’re going to cite the survey statistics, you have to be able to talk about how the authors got those statistics. Otherwise, the report may as well be made up, and that’s a bit Republican for me.

    researchers make mistakes. That’s why i used to spend time rewriting questions (and redoing surveys.) And even when they get exactly what they intend, history is rife with overweening extension of survey results into areas which aren’t really related to the study. I think this may be one of them.
    Oh, and cara:

    # Cara says:
    …whether it’s 1 in 7, in in 5, or 1 in 20, we’ve still got ourselves a huge ass problem, and that is what needs to be dealt with.

    Yes. The problem is huge and needs to be solved. But you’re not living up to your own claim.
    If it really doesn’t matter what the statistics are then you shouldn’t mind if people discuss the study; there’s no harm to anyone’s position irrespective of the outcome. If it really DOES matter what the statistics are, then you should expect to have to defend the statistics you cite.

    I think facts matter, in all cases. And I do not think it is reasonable to expect folks to ignore them even on an important issue like this.

  83. Torri
    November 21, 2008 at 8:55 am

    I just want to again thank the people in this thread who spoke up against the broad claims about Australians being an Australian myself.

    When I heard about this study I was reminded of a conversation I had a few years ago. I’d called one of my male friends out on joking about date-rape/having sex with someone who is drunk and was very shocked when another male ‘friend’ tried to diffuse the issue with “it’s the only way some guys can score.” I’ll never forget that he said that.

    This is what is meant by rape-culture.

  84. Bagelsan
    November 21, 2008 at 10:00 am

    Hmm, true, it’s an assumption. One that I’m basing on my personal experience of talks with feminists. Could be wrong here though, sure.

    Gee, I wish we collective feminists would stop making insulting generalizations about men. Judging the intentions of an entire group based on a few personal experience is so wrong of us (feminists) to always collectively do!

  85. November 21, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    you, as a male-bodied person, have an assault weapon attached to your body. You can’t help it, but it’s true, and if you’re in an unsafe place with someone who doesn’t know you, she is completely justified in behaving as if you had a gun rather than a penis.

    Uhm, I don’t disagree with you in the main, but treating people as if they had a gun on them simply because they happened to be born male seems to me the very definition of sexism. Everyone should be wary, just as I am wary when I am in unsafe place with someone I don’t know who may or may not have a gun. But if I treated everyone as though they actually did have a gun, it would not be ‘justified’, it would be out and out paranoia. All rapists may be men, that does not make all men rapists.

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